On Sunday, June 8, Pastor Steve Svoboda submitted his letter of resignation as Associate Pastor to Idella Ziegler, council chair, in order to accept a call to Grace Lutheran Church in Bloomington, MN. In the letter that follows, Pastor Steve reflects on his ministry at Zion and his hopes for the future.
It is with sadness that I write to you to say goodbye. Goodbyes are a necessary part of living; that does not make them fun or easy – just necessary. For me, the time spent as a pastor here at Zion has gone by very quickly, and I want to thank the congregation for making me feel welcome and accepting the ministry to which God calls me, along with the necessary changes that come with it.
Zion is a strong church. Zion has a very strong history. Zion has a strong future. The commonality in those statements is obviously strength, solidity, endurance. I have enjoyed serving here because strength – true strength – comes from God alone; it works through you, and collectively we become the body of Christ – stronger even than death! Zion is a church that is founded on the strength of the word of God and it is that characteristic that will continue to steer this congregation through transition and into a new and exciting phase of life.
My own life is guided by the same strength. For the next step on that journey, this transition will take me to a congregation in Bloomington, MN to begin the process of serving God and growing in Christ with the people in that place. I will miss Zion, but am fortunate to be able to remain a resident of Buffalo for the immediate future. For a short time it has been my privilege to serve as one of your pastors, and for that privilege you have my sincere gratitude. For the many good friends I have met here, I hope that our relationship can continue in a new and refreshing way.
No matter who your pastors have been, are, or will be, the promise of Jesus that, “I will be with you always,” does not change. In fact, it becomes stronger the more we rely on it!
Jesus is with us always; in Buffalo, in Bloomington, to the farthest flung corners of the earth. We have no reason to stall or dither or delay because we are God’s people, moving forward into the promise of a certain and excellent future being the people we are created to be. It is the most challenging task we face. It means that we must learn and change; it means that we must move forward; it means that we must come to understand and live the mission God has in mind for each of us; but that is also where the fun is.
Thank you for the opportunity to live and work among you for a time. I wish you all God’s peace and will continue to pray God’s grace be made known through this remarkable place.
On Sunday, July 20, Pastor Steve will preach his final sermon at Zion.
The congregation will have a chance to greet Pastor Steve and enjoy coffee, cake, and ice cream in the Fellowship Hall after each service.