Meet Our Interim Senior Pastor

By: Pastor Carl Wilfrid, Interim Senior Pastor

Greetings, friends in Christ at St. John’s! I am looking forward to our three months together, April 17 – July 16. As a pastor in nearby communities, I have known for years that St. John’s is an effective congregation, generously “living God’s love in the world” in a variety of ways, continuing to build on a solid foundation while adapting to changing times and needs. I am honored to have been asked to serve as Interim Senior Pastor and pleased to support St. John’s and Pr. Frank in this way.

Here is a quick chronology of my journey as a pastor:

  • 1969: Graduated from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. I was a classmate of Pr. Dave Mullen, a previous Interim Pastor here at St. John’s.
  • 1969 – 1977: served two parishes (5 small congregations) in rural western North Dakota
  • 1977 – 1980: Associate Pastor at Prince of Peace, Phoenix, AZ
  • 1980 – 2000: Senior Pastor at Faith, Chico, CA
  • 2000-2014: Senior Pastor at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Reno, NV
  • June 29, 2014: retired on the 45th anniversary of my ordination

Behind that chronology lies a broad experience; I’ve been a solo pastor, an associate on a three-pastor staff and a lead pastor on a staff with other clergy and non-clergy. Behind that chronology lies much joy; I have been delighted to do the work of a pastor.

My wife Dianne is a North Dakota native and retired R.N. Our daughters, Alissa and Erica, grew up mostly in Chico.  Alissa, husband Tom Sykes and son Sam (our only grandchild!) live in Natomas and are members at St. John’s. So Dianne and I, though living in Reno, have been a peripheral part of the St. John’s family for several years. I look forward to coming out of mothballs, commuting weekly between Reno and Sacramento and working again, albeit about 20 hours per week, as a pastor: supporting an excellent staff, preaching and leading worship, teaching, providing pastoral care and more.

In 1993, after a productive but stressful several years, my congregation gave me the gift of a three-month sabbatical. The rest was wonderful; after only two weeks away from the routine and stress of my work, I became aware that my mind was becoming clearer and sharper. The time to do research, through reading and conversations, into small group ministry and the catechumenate, a process called “Luminaria” at St. John’s, was most fruitful for me and the congregation. 

The surprise blessings that came to me, my family, the congregation and specific members were significant – as  if the Holy Spirit seized this out-of-the-ordinary time to shower out-of-the-ordinary blessings. I pray for Pastor Frank and this congregation that his sabbatical gift of time away from ordinary work, this time  for rest and research, will similarly be a source of significant, even surprising, blessings. And I am delighted to do my small part to help that happen! 

Pastor Carl Wilfrid will serve half time as Interim Senior Pastor at St. John’s while Pastor Frank is on sabbatical.