The Installation of Rev. Dr. Alexander Whitfield

 

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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.”


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Watch the installation service:

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