Messiah News

A fitting farewell to Pastors Peter and Kathy Braafladt

"Ok God, what now?"

That question defined the past 28-years at Messiah Lutheran Church under the stewardship of Pastors Peter and Kathy Braafladt. As the congregation and Pastors said their goodbyes during a sending and celebration Sunday morning at Messiah's Hazel Dell campus, that same question popped up again and again-not out of concern or worry, but as an expression of hope and joy over all the Braafladt's have accomplished.

Through laughter, some tears and many, many memories, the legacy and impact that the husband-and-wife pastoral team leaves at Messiah was shared by friends, family and members of the congregation.

Farewell festivities began August 23 with a final Brewed Theology and Trivia night at the intern house. Dozens gathered to socialize and guess trivia covering the nearly three decades of the Braafladt's time at Messiah.

On August 28, the Braafladts stepped into the sanctuary as the pastors of Messiah and delivered one final sermon together. At the close of the service, the pastors handed back to the congregation symbols reflecting their call to serve the congregation, ending with their stoles.

Following the service, friends and family, including Bishop Richard Jaech, Doug and Lisa Rueker, Ed and Lynn Valenter, Dave Radke, Janice Harding Harris, Janet Borst, seminary classmate and good friend Rev. Dr. Andrew Taylor, Cathy and Rob Ramer, and their two sons Jacob and Lucas, all spoke of the impact have had on them and the Messiah Community. The Messiah Choir presented them with a special song covering from when they met through their retirement called "Wait and see" set to the music of the music while the "Material girls" knitting group presented them with handmade stoles.

In their final sermon, a tag -teamed effort, the Braafladts made it clear that what Messiah represents will continue to go on because of the people who make up the community.

"You have kept the main thing, the main thing," Pr. Kathy said. You have heard and believed the promises of God that through the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ everything that you need has been taken care of. Our lord Jesus Christ has given himself fully to each and everyone of you and continues to do so through the forgiveness of sins so that you can live in grace and generosity and be people that respond to the needs of those around you. You have kept the main thing, the main thing and that means that when challenges and opportunities have come your way, I have always heard you say: 'Ok God, what now."

"We could imagine no better congregation to live in or do our calls," said Pr. Peter. "You watched us grow as pastors and people and you supported us as parents and partners. You tolerated our foibles and laughed at our mistakes and forgave our transgressions. It has been a priviledge to serve as our pastors, and now it is our honor to commend whoever follows us to you, for you are 'Ok God, what now' kind of people. You are the people who have been encountered by Jesus, who makes his visits at the seashore or in the sanctuary. You are "Ok God, what now' kind of people who, having been raised from the dead, cannot help but be propelled into the long arc of God's salvation for the whole world in the precious name of Jesus the Messiah."

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