Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
Dear Friends in Christ,
Greetings to you! I am Pastor Mark Sundberg. I will be pilgriming with you for the next few months as your interim pastor, or if you will, your transitional pastor. (Please call me Mark or Pastor Mark.) St. James is in transition between called pastors. Pastor Holmer was your called pastor for twenty years. Soon St. James, with the help of the Holy Spirit, will call a new pastor who will be with you hopefully for many years. I will be with you during these next few months of transition.
A little bit about me: I am married to Jean Bishop, and we have a daughter Annika. Both Jean and Annika are classical musicians. Jean plays flute with the Elgin Symphony, and Annika is organist/music director at Lutheran Church of the Atonement in Barrington. Annika also plays viola and is in the Rockford Symphony. In June of 2019 I retired from Peace Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Lake Zurich after 20 years of ministry there. Since then, I was the interim pastor of St. Andrew ELCA in Mundelein for a year, and St. Stephen ELCA in Antioch for a little more than a year. Gardening is my summer-time passion.
The Bible passage above is quite startling. The Apostle Paul is writing to the contentious and divided Christian Community in Corinth, and he tells them they are the body of Christ! Paul does not even say here that they are the body, and Christ is the head (like in Ephesians.) No, the individual members of the church in Corinth are the body of Christ!
What does this mean for St. James? It means Christ resides in you and among you. It is not the pastor or clergy hierarchy that is the body of Christ, but every baptized Christian, along with their pastors, who make up the body of Christ.
This is certainly a blessing and a responsibility. St. James is to be a beacon in the community, as it has been for many years. Christ is present at St. James and, through the Spirit, leading you on to represent him in each age. Christ is here among us.
I will be beginning at St. James at the beginning of the year 2022. I look forward to meeting all of you!