[This is a copy of the letter I sent to my congregation last night. -TAP]
Â The Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
July 22, 2021
Dear Friends in Christ,
â€œNow on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, â€œThey have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.â€ Then the disciples went back to their homes.â€
It is with both joy and sadness that I am announcing I have accepted the call to teach at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I am deeply grateful and joyful for the opportunity to help shape the pastors of the next generation of The Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod. This is something I have hoped for a long time. My love for pastoral formation, mentoring, and teaching pastors has been evident for many years. That has included teaching at CTSFW on an adjunct basis for about ten years, but it has also included my service on the Board of Regents at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, for the past six years.
But even as I write these words, I am also sad at the thought of leaving Holy Cross Lutheran Church, and of leaving parish ministry for the foreseeable future. I have been a parish pastor nearly my entire adult life. Holy Cross has shaped me in that way, just as Messiah Lutheran Church in Kenosha did before we were here. I love being a pastor. I love preaching, teaching, celebrating the Sacraments, and being steeped in the lives of Godâ€™s people in this place. While I look forward to the next realm of service, my first love will always be altar, pulpit, and font. This is my home.
As I indicated in my letter on Monday, because of the timetable for schools in Fort Wayne, we are having to move much quicker than would be normal. Kathryn and I believe it is important that we get Richard and Beata settled in their schools in Fort Wayne at the beginning of the school year, rather than spend extra weeks here and have them start late. Richardâ€™s high school orientation is on August 9. Because of this, our last Sunday at Holy Cross will be on August 8.
We will be here for the next three Sundays (July 25, August 1, and August 8). Things are going to be crazy with packing and everything else in the next couple of weeks, but we will do everything we can to spend time visiting as much as we are able.
You can expect to hear from Walt Wismar and Rick Fielitz in the next few days about the next steps for Holy Cross. Please keep us and Holy Cross in your prayers. This will be a big change for all of us, but God is good, and He will guide us all in His peace.
â€œBut Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, â€œWoman, why are you weeping?â€ She said to them, â€œThey have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.â€ Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, â€œWoman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?â€ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, â€œSir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.â€ Jesus said > to her, â€œMary.â€ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, â€œRabboni!â€ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, â€œDo not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, â€˜I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.â€™â€ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, â€œI have seen the Lordâ€â€”and that he had said these things to her.â€
With much affection in Christ,
Todd A. Peperkorn, STM, DMIN
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
CC: Rev. Michael Lange, CNH District President
Rev. Duane Bamsch, Circuit Visitor
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast, Jr., CTSFW President