“Take heed therefore unto…all the flock
over the which the Holy Ghost hath
made you [overseer].” —Acts 20:28
On Sunday, June 15, 2014, the members of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sauk Village, Illinois, gathered together in the sanctuary of God’s House for the ordination and installation of their new pastor, the Rev. David J. Mensing. It was a beautifully sunny day, and members and friends from their sister congregations — Peace, Oak Forest, and Trinity, Oak Park — joined them in a service of great rejoicing.
Pastor David T. Mensing of Oak Forest, who had been the congregation’s shepherd for almost a year, officiated in the service and preached the sermon. His text was Acts 20:26-28, focusing on The Pastorate of the Local Congregation — I. Its solemn charge, II. Its God-ordained office, III. Its primary duty, and IV. Its ultimate purpose. Pastor Robert J. Lietz of Oak Park, who had served the congregation as vacancy pastor from 1997 to 2003, read the selected Old Testament lesson (Isaiah 55:8-11), an Epistle selection (II Timothy 4:1-4), and an appropriate Gospel lesson (John 21:15-17). Following the offering, Pastor Mensing conducted the ordination and installation of the new pastor, concluding with a benediction from Hebrews 13:20-21; and Pastor Lietz added a fitting benediction from Isaiah 41:10 and 13. After the customary charge to the new pastor, a special intercession, and the Lord’s Prayer, the congregation sang Hymn 484 (“We bid thee welcome in the Name of Jesus”); and the new pastor concluded the service with the Collect for the Church and the Aaronic Benediction. The congregation then sang Hymn 53 (“Abide, O dearest Jesus”) in lieu of a silent prayer, and several letters of congratulation from sister congregations were read from the lectern before the organ postlude (“Now thank we all our God!”).
The assembly then moved to the church’s newly-decorated basement where all present were privileged to partake of a fellowship dinner together in reception of the new shepherd, Pastor David J. Mensing and his family: His wife, Melissa; daughters Bella (11), Hope (7) and Zoe (4); and twins —just short of two years of age— Shepherd and Joy. Their move from Oak Forest into the parsonage in Sauk Village has already begun and will be completed, God-willing, soon after the convention in Lebanon.
For several weeks before the service, the members of St. Mark’s, in a real demonstration of Christian fellowship and unity of purpose, had been gathering together weekdays during daytime hours and even into the night to get the infrastructure of the sanctuary in tip-top shape in anticipation of their new pastor’s arrival. Some siding had to be replaced, a new sign was erected, pipes were checked and the sewer was rodded, the electrical infrastructure was inspected and fixtures were replaced, and the painting of virtually everything from walls to baseboards to the iron railings outside was the order of the day! A similar renovation was undertaken at the parsonage with spackling, painting, electrical work, sewer rodding, and the really big job: The stripping of the ceramic tile in the kitchen so that the sunken floor could be leveled and new tile could be installed. While all of this was a tall order for the small congregation, everyone disowned it as a burden and cheerfully, enthusiastically, and energetically worked “as unto the Lord and not unto men,” gratefully “serv[ing] the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24) together with members of Peace, Oak Forest, who were happy to assist in much of this work as a service to their dear brethren (Galatians 6:2).
Let us all remember this new pastor and his beloved congregation in our prayers, that the Lord of the Church bless the ministration of His Word and Sacraments in their midst for their spiritual nutrition, edification, and preservation in the true faith unto salvation, and that He prosper their God-ordained relationship and their work together to His glory in the Kingdom of Grace!
—D. T. M.