EAST TOLEDO PARISH FACT SHEET
1. To develop a more intentional presence in our neighborhood and in East Toledo, developing missional relationships.
2. To increase collaboration between East Toledo churches for the sake of the Gospel.
Basics of the East Toledo Parish Plan (ETPP)
1. Continue the ministry of St. Mark as it is currently, with the current staff.
2. Hire a part-time Visitation Pastor to assist with pastoral care, visits, and other pastoral tasks as needed. Pastor Cindy Ritter has recently been called to serve at Bethlehem and would be available to St. Mark for this position.
3. Issue a joint call with the Northwestern Ohio Synod and Bethlehem Lutheran Church to Jake Nekoranec, a recent seminary graduate, to serve as the part-time East Toledo Parish Pastor.
4. Create a supervisory team from St. Mark, Bethlehem and the Synod to create a vision and manage day-to-day functions.
5. This would be a three-year arrangement, to be evaluated regularly.
Funding (for 2021, 2022, 2023)
1. The Visitation Pastor would be paid $10,000/annually, funded by endowment disbursements. This has been approved by the Finance Board and the Council.
2. The East Toledo Parish Pastor position would be jointly funded by St. Mark, Bethlehem, and the NW Ohio Synod, with support from the Rudolf and Florence Willer Memorial Scholarship. St. Mark’s portion of that salary would be $7,000/annually, with $4,000 offered by the Scholarship and $3,000 from our Memorial Fund. This has also been approved by the Finance Board and the Council.
3. None of the funding comes from St. Mark’s annual operating budget.
1. Are we merging with other churches?
No, this is not a merger. Congregations will retain their individual identity and programming. The hope is that we can be stronger together in certain areas, and share the Gospel more effectively through new avenues.
2. Will our staff be going to other churches?
Like our current situation, there are occasionally Sundays when one of our staff is on vacation or out because of COVID or illness. There may be a Sunday when Emily or Pastor Beth is at Bethlehem, or one of the other pastors is at St. Mark. This will probably not be a frequent occurrence.
3. Isn’t this a different procedure for issuing a call?
Yes, this is different than the procedure that has been used at St. Mark in the past, but the last time St. Mark issued a call was to Pastor Giller in 2000. Our other staff members (Ron Fournier, Don Clark) have been hired by the Church Council and not been “called.” As the ELCA changes over time, the NW Ohio Synod and indeed, the whole ELCA, is looking at ways to make ministry more accessible to congregations, more streamlined, and more collaborative.
4. What will this ministry look like on a day-to-day basis?
We will be discerning that and figuring out as we move forward. This is new territory for all of us, and it is helpful to think about the East Toledo Parish Proposal as a three- year experiment in ministry. It can be anxiety-producing not to know exactly what is going to happen, but we are very fortunate that St. Mark has the resources and personnel to explore what God is calling us to be and do in East Toledo. In all things, we turn to God for guidance and direction, so please be prayerful and hopeful.
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