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Hope Lutheran Church celebrated the installation of The Rev. Dr. Alexander Whitfield as senior pastor Sunday, Oct. 8.

The service, officiated by the Southeastern District President The Rev. Dr. John R. Denninger, also included a homily presented by The Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray, Jr, Director of Black & African Ministry, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) Office of National Mission.

“This installation marks the culmination of three years of searching, starting with the congregational profile, all while following the Lord’s guidance and staying steadfast in our faith,” said Steven Wacker, Hope’s council president. “While we might have to wait, we always felt that the Lord was going to direct us and find us the right pastor.”

To search and find a pastor, the call ultimately is made and accepted through the Holy Spirit, but there is a process that the congregation and the LCMS use to discern God’s will.

“The way that the district and synod are involved is that we in each of the 35 synod districts supervise the pastors in those districts and share a common database of all the pastors across the synod,” said Denninger. “When a congregation like Hope is calling a pastor, they write a profile about what is very important to them and what their priorities are; additionally, every pastor has written a similar parallel document called the self-evaluation tool. Then my job is to look at what a pastor’s gifts are, what the congregation is looking for, and then create a list. It’s really the Holy Spirit working through the people of Hope and through, in this case, Pastor Whitfield, to understand this is God’s design.”

The installation of pastor is a visible promise between the synod, fellow pastors, and the congregation to carry out God’s word and is a long-standing rite in the Lutheran Church and public profession of faith.

hope_whitfields (2)“The Office of the Holy Ministry has been instituted by Christ Himself as a gift to His Church (John 20:19–23; Ephesians 4:11–16). Through the Christian congregation, as the holder of all churchly authority, God calls qualified men to fill this divinely established office. Ordination is the solemn, public confirmation of that call (1 Timothy 4:14–16; Titus 1:5–9; Tractate 70; Apology XIII 11–13). The rites of ordination and installation are distinct. Ordination is the Church’s recognition that a man has been rightly called by God through the Church into the Office of the Holy Ministry, whereas Installation marks the beginning of a pastor’s work in a particular place.”

Pastor Whitfield was joined for the service by his family, which includes his wife Kristin, sons, Tristan and Sebastian, and daughter, Alexa. He said it didn’t take the family very long once receiving the call to know that this was God’s will for them and he is very grateful for the help and support from the congregation during the transition and move.

Following the service, Pastor Whitfield said:

“I’m very excited – this is a new chapter for Hope and for us. We’re excited about the ministry that we can do and all the things we can do to share God’s word and grow His church.”


Watch the installation service:

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Join us as God prepares our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Mid-Week Advent Worship
Holden Evening-sanctuary
Contemporary Advent-Loft
Wednesdays, Dec. 4, 11, 18, 6:15pm (more…)

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By: Pastor Nieting

Our president surprised me on Reformation with a “pastoral appreciation gift.” Thank you all for the beautiful new traveling communion set! My old one has served me for almost 30 years and my “even older one” actually belonged to my grandfather, Pastor Hugo Nieting, when he graduated from seminary in 1917.

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By: Steve Wacker

Improvements have been made to worship that can’t be seen, but can be heard. Or, should I say can’t be heard?  On Saturday, 13 July 2013 eight Knights of Hope* moved the audio amplifiers and rewired the sanctuary speakers.  Also added were two additional speakers in the alcoves allowing a clearer sound in the whole sanctuary. The biggest outcome was reducing the amplifier hum that has been present for some time.  The sound system amplifiers were moved from the sacristy to the Audio-Visual booth and were put on an isolated electrical circuit.

Thank you to the Knights who gave up their time and labor to improve our worship.

*Editor’s Note: This project was led and inspired by Steve Wacker.

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By: Martha West

Have you moved? Do you have a new phone number? New e-mail address? Birthday or anniversary date missing from the newsletter?

If any of this applies to you, please contact the church office with updated information so that our records can be corrected.

Church Office: 424-4848 or E-mail:

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By: Bette Schember

Thank you for contributing to the Diaz home in Honduras.  Great job!  Now let us go a step further and have a well built for a village. The cost is $205 for the water pump and $5,298, drilling and installing a well.  Our women’s Bible study already has enough money for the water pump and some towards the well.

Jesus cried out from His Cross “I THIRST.”  Christ hears the prayers and cries of families thirsting for clean water.  Villages desperately need this life saving resource because of the contaminated water that causes disease and even death among young children.  Together we can make a difference and we already have.  God bless each and every one of you.  Thank you!

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By: Martha West

Keeping the church member information up-to-date is a Daily Challenge due to our transient membership. Please keep the church office up-to-date on your address, phone number and e-mail changes. Also, we would like to recognize your birthday and wedding anniversary in the Highlights.

Please contact the church office with any changes you have.  It only takes a minute and it means so much. E-mail or call 424-4848 with your updates. Current copies of the directory are in the wooden racks in the narthex.

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By: Martha West

For many years I have heard of this Hope member who changes lightbulbs when needed in the church. No one ever sees him—he’s like the “Ninja” of lightbulb changers! However, if you see a burned out light, it will soon be glowing bright due to this man’s faithful service.  Thank you!

Another Hope member, who I do see in action, comes on a regularly basis just to spray the weeds outside. He’s been doing this for years, as well! Thank you for a job well done!

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By: Martha West

Recently, a Hope member planted two Purple Mexican Petunias in the large flower bed in front of the church. They were planted in memory of two former LWML ladies, Esther Koerber and Jeanette Brown. (Purple is the LWML color.)

Over the past several months, a preschool staff member has tended to the flower bed between pastor’s office and the school door ~ watering, weeding, digging and planting.

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By: Sara Morton

Pastor Nieting has now started his “Restoring Hope” Sabbatical. The Sabbatical Planning Committee would like to thank Chaplain Oswald for his amazing sermon on May 6 at the Sending service highlighting the need for a pastoral sabbatical.  His words were truly a blessing.  Additionally, we would like to thank the congregation in supporting the efforts in creating Pastor Nieting’s gift basket as well as the support for the Sabbatical fund. Thanks also to Ted Gray and his crew for their continued support with a wonderful coffee hour celebration. We can all keep up with Pastor Nieting’s travels during his sabbatical by following his blog at  There, we can all share his experiences and see the benefit of our love and care for him and Pam.

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