PASTOR NAN DEHNKE
Pastor Nan Dehnke was ordained in 2009 after receiving her Master’s of Divinity degree at The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and receiving her first call to the Indiana-Kentucky Synod. She enjoys creating and encouraging relationships for the sake of God’s mission in the world…..so collaboration, respect, and the Word guide God’s ministry through her. Chaplaincy, working with folks suffering with addictions, empowering leaders, nurturing faith and spirituality through the Word, the Sacraments, and relationships are some of the tools she uses to love God’s people wherever and whoever they are. With God, she leads to empower, encourage, and engage people to help them deepen their relationships with God and with one another.
Dear People of God, Jesus Followers,
Greetings in Christ!
As I have been packing, preparing to join the faith community of Prince of Peace, become a resident of Ogemaw County, and humbling becoming your pastor, I have been praying even more than usual. I have been listening deeply to God’s still small voice between taping boxes and goodbyeing, wondering about best ways to begin, first hellos, excitement, anticipation, dreaming possibilities, desiring to learn from you, learning your adiaphoras (ways of doing things), and wondering about your God gifts and potentials….wondering how you are already serving God’s mission and how you might be willing to stretch out of your comfort zones and live into Godly play and service with me to further God’s mission in the here and now?
The verse that keeps running through my heart and mind is this:
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? Isaiah 43:19 The Message – a popular paraphrase Bible
19 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19 New Revised Standard Version (which is the primary translation used in the ELCA)
19 I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? Isaiah 43:19 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
From Hebrew to English: I will do a new thing now. It shall spring forth, shall you not know it?
I regularly compare translations and paraphrase Bibles to see how the word choices may change my perception of God’s word praying within me as I intentionally consider the context….the setting, the people, and current events that intersect with the Word here and now.
We will begin in earnest, together, as partners, so I am struck by the beginning: I AM. The great I AM is God. God initiates the action, not us. So are we tuning to God’s heartbeat as we find our rhythm? God didn’t just do it before and finish, God is still working in and through us!!!
I love the word creating—it suggests imagination, dreaming, trying on different possibilities and ways of being God’s people…..we are invited to be co-creators with God. God doesn’t act on us, God creates with us….there’s dialogue, not monologue, we are called to live together vibrantly being nourished by our diversity and knit together by our Oneness in Christ. Imagine what beautiful things can happen!
It will erupt, spring forth, shout “look here at what God is up to”, so it may be a little scary at times, exciting at other times, and even uncomfortable at times. Are you ready for the power of God? Do we mean it when we pray “Thy Will Be Done”…..put on a crash helmet, a life jacket, and tether yourself for what’s coming from God? (Ann Lamott).
And the verse ends with, shall you not know it? Will we bring our whole selves, all of our senses, into God acting in and through us into these new things?
So people of God at Prince of Peace are you ready, are we, ready for the Great I AM to call us out to share peace, justice, mercy, and love in our world? Our neighborhood? With each other? To use our best gifts to serve God’s mission?
May we begin boldly, with great heart, bringing our best gifts and alertness to respond in love!
Ready to listen and respond with you all! Pastor Nan