Last week, I notified the church council that I had been approached to consider a part time chaplain position to the Rochester Institute of Technology’s new Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry and that I was praying about moving forward with that position. St Timothy’s council fully supported this idea, questions were asked, and ultimately the council voted unanimously that this was a wonderful use of my time and a service that St Timothy would be willing to support.
I am pleased to write that, as of this morning, the offer has been extended my way, and I have accepted it. *Breathe* I am not leaving St Timothy *breathe* I want to make that really clear as it was the first question that came from the council.
What will be changed is my availability on Sunday evening and nine hours through the week, as the position is a twelve hour position and service at R.I.T. is on Sunday evening followed by dinner. During the interview, a potential schedule was drawn up, looking at a typical week, and the times lost by St Timothy will be Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon with a few hours some other day as my Fall schedule takes shape at St Timothy and as I assess the needs at R.I.T.
Should there be an emergency such as a hospitalization or an immediate need to visit from a member at St Timothy, there would be no change, except Sunday evening for approximately 2 hours. I have the ability to shape my time at R.I.T. along with my schedule. In that sense, for St Timothy, nothing will change. The only change would be the number of hours that I would have normally used in the office doing administration/paperwork.
The exciting thing is this is a new ministry built on the end of a previous ministry. The Lutheran Campus ministry at R.I.T. used to be a ministry partnered by the ELCA and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. The LCMS chose to leave the ministry a few years ago and the ELCA continued the ministry alone. Last year, the Episcopal church and the ELCA started discussing the possibility of coming together to do ministry together. After a year of talks and planning, this new ministry was formed. As the chaplain, I will get to be part of the ways this new ministry can take shape. One of the gifts in ministry I bring is my ability to create new ministries. The other gift is my heart for youth and young adult ministries. It was a natural fit.
So, as we move forward, please pray for both St Timothy and R.I.T and the ministries they provide. Pray for patience as change happens, pray for a Spirit of new life for both ministries, and pray for me as this is new grounds for my ministry. This is very exciting for all involved. The Spirit continues to move, it is a blessing that we can move with it.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Justin Johnson
PS- I really am not leaving St Timothy. I love you guys!