To the Members and Friends of St. John’s, Irmo:
The events over the past six weeks or so have been almost like a blur — things have happened rapidly. After finishing all my educational requirements for ordination, I met with the Competencies Assessment Panel on August 28. The panel, after an hour and a half interview then recommended me for ordination. On the Sunday afternoon, September 23, while sitting in the sanctuary of Pisgah Lutheran Church waiting for the funeral of a good friend, I began having symptoms of a heart attack. A quick trip (by my son) to Urgent Care confirmed just that. Just a little over three hours later I was sitting up in bed in the Intensive Care Unit at Lexington Medical Center, with a stint in an artery on my heart, sitting upright and talking lucidly. An hour or so later I was visited by our Bishop Yoos. It was at that time we tentatively set a date of October 14 for my Ordination Service. I was dismissed early Tuesday afternoon directly from ICU. In order to make all this work, I had to get in four different forms, one of them over fifteen pages in length (essay questions)
to the ELCA. I then met (another hour interview) with the Candidacy Committee on October 2, when they gave me final approval. Then on October 14, at my home church, we all participated in a wonderful Ordination Service, with a great representation made by the folks here at St. Johns. It was, obviously for Julia Ann and me, a very uplifting and emotional service. I was almost able to keep it all together, but the emotion got to me several times! Now on this Sunday, October 28, I will formally be installed as your called Pastor! I can’t tell you how the emotions have run during this time frame. You have showered me with your love with cards, texts, phone calls, visits, and prayers during my time in the hospital and at home recuperating. And with your attendance at the Ordination, cards, and prayers have piled on this love and concern. Being surrounded with the love of friends during both times of uncertainty and celebration is what living as children of God is all about. You have made Julia Ann and me part of your family as well as you being part of our family—all of us being members of God’s ever widening family. As your called and ordained pastor, I will do my best to meet your spiritual and emotional needs. I will lead you in your growth in faith and service to our neighbors. I will pray for you and I ask that you include me in your prayers, to give me wisdom and strength to do God’s will at St. John’s as well as the community to which we serve. As always, I thank you for being the church! See all of you in church Sunday!
In His Service,
John Derrick, Pastor