St. Olaf New York City Pilgrimage
Jonathan, Emily, Nate, Samantha and Jeffrey at Lincoln Center
The group at Trinity Lower East Side with Pastor Phil Trzyncka
Nate, Vern, Jonathan and Jeffrey walking to Salaam Arabic Lutheran in Brooklyn
The group going for a meeting at Union Seminary
David and Ms. Debra Simmons, the director of the after school program at Transfiguration
Emily Moen working at the after school program at Trinity 100th St.
NYC Student Assignments
Courtesy of Vern Faillataz
The three weeks included about half time in each parish, and some common program, and getting to feel at home in NYC.
Each student was assigned to a different pastor mentor and parish.
David Thews worked with the after school program and shadowed Paul Block, Transfiguration in the Bronx. A community of Lutherans from Puerto Rico started this parish in the 19th century. It still has a Puerto Rican core, so Paul Block uses both Spanish and English. Heidi Neumark described this congregation in her book BREATHING SPACE, the core reading for the interim. David accompanied Paul to a workshop sponsored by the Industrial Areas Foundation on community organizing.
Emily Moen worked with Heidi Neumark at Trinity, Manhattan. She also became deeply involved in an after school program, which was short on funding, so had no other regular staff. She helped students with their homework, often those whose parents did not speak English, and then took them out to play.
Jonathan Holtemeier worked with Scott Kershner at St. Stephen's Lutheran. This parish has largely Caribbean members. It has a parochial school, K-8, and an unusual steel head drum band. The Sunday we attended they played prelude, postlude and accompanied hymns. Jonathan shadowed Scott, did visitation. In his spare time he helped Emily with the after school program at Trinity.
Nate Preisinger, with a long time sense of vocation for ministry worked at Salaam Lutheran in Brooklyn. Salaam, originally a Danish Lutheran parish, Salem, now has an Arabic speaking congregation. Khader el-Yateem ministers to a broad Arabic speaking constituency from various countries. He himself is Palestinian. Nate had a little problem understanding the sermons; he did a children's sermon and worked with the youth and Sunday school.
Samantha Gruner worked with Brenda Smith at New Hope. This parish brought together three earlier congregations and has a largely black congregation in Jamaica Plains. Brenda herself had a first career teaching pediatric nursing at Capital University, took her divinity studies at Hamma Divinity School in Ohio. Samantha accompanied Brenda on parish visits, a recognition dinner, a special rap Sunday school program.
Jeffery Hyman had the opportunity to experience several communities, including Our Lady of Refuge parish in Brooklyn with Father Michael Perry, a good friend and mentor of Scott Kershner's. He also had conferences with Pastor Bob Rimbo at Holy Trinity in Manhattan. He did visitation including a firehouse visit and a group of sisters living in the community. This parish had a Spanish speaking core.