Great weekend at First Lafayette. Synod Council met here Saturday. Saturday evening I preached at the 5:30 service, then went to Randol’s with Pastor Ken and Jo Burke and Assistant to the Bishop Don Carlson (www.Randols.com). Lafayette is the epicenter of Cajun culture. We used the time as part of an exit interview.

Ken is retiring after serving First faithfully for almost 30 years. His last Sunday is May 31. Unusual in these days of 7-8 year pastorates. It was a joy to hear the stories. Jo is a nurse in neonatal ICU. They have kids and grandkids, in the first pew!

Lafayette, a growing city of 120,000 is perhaps 85% Roman Catholic. First has kneelers, cantors, and a pretty standard LBW service, with communion every Sunday, at every service, as most of our congregations now do. Pastor wears a black collar all the time. I’ve never seen him in anything else. This is also one of the few formerly LCA congregations where the pastor is president of the congregation.

I preached two services this morning. Pastor Carlson gave a transition process and call process presentation to the congregation between services. Then we met with the Congregation Council leaders after worship over lunch. Now for the 4.5 hour drive home.

I sense that the congregation has a clearer sense of confidence after this weekend. I felt a corporate sigh. There is tremendous grief over the loss of a beloved pastor who has stood at graveside, hospital bed, altar and baptismal font with countless families. There is also a cautious optimism for the future. Let’s lift them in prayer.

Michael Rinehart, bishop
Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
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Houston, TX 77060-1243
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