Dear Friends, 
            It could be the slowest time of the year here in the middle of August but many newsworthy stories have been ripening all spring and summer.  I am delighted to share the good news that Alissa Oelson was elected last Sunday to serve as pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in North Quincy.  The congregation will be greatly blessed to have her and it is especially poignant for me as I was the pastor there for ten years before coming here.  Alissa is the first intern I've had to get a call before she completed her year here.  We will continue to cheer her on.
            She will be ordained with two new pastors on Saturday, September 17 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Manchester, CT, about an hour and a half away, just east of Hartford.  It's a beautiful church setting and just happens to be the congregation where former vicar Douglas Barklay has been serving this past year.  I hope many from Saint Paul will be able to be a part of this moment in Alissa's life, almost eight years in the making, or as she would say, "since my baptism!"  She is a firm believer in the priesthood of all believers. 
            In other news, the search for a new director of children, family and youth ministry has gone slowly with no good candidates identified.  We are fortunate that new member Crystal Rowe came to St. Paul having been in full time ministry at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Marietta, Georgia before moving here with her family last December.  We have called upon Crystal to provide direction and leadership to this important ministry, especially as the new program year begins soon.  She has already begun and is being supported by a newly formed Christian education team.  Please welcome her into this interim position and support her work as we have been blessed by a record number of children and youth at St. Paul.  Rally Day is on September 11 when we move to the fall schedule of two worship services at 8:30 and 10:30 with the learning hour at 9:30. 
            We also welcome to the staff Cher Koor, our new parish administrator.  Cher worked in a similar role at the Friends Meeting at Cambridge, the Quaker congregation in Harvard Square.   She not only brings her organizational skills, but also a knack for writing and an entrepreneurial spirit as she began an aromatherapy education company in 2002.  She will prepare the bulletins and e-news each week as well as maintain our website, facilitating many important forms of communication.   We are grateful to Helen Schmidt, life-long member of St. Paul, for serving in the role since June.  She returns to college in Texas soon. 
            August 21 will be Vicar Alissa's last Sunday with us.  I know how grateful she is for this year with a congregation that has had an almost famous ministry nurturing and forming new leaders for the church.  Please come to bid her farewell and Godspeed, knowing that our good work together for the sake of the gospel will continue to grow and multiply.
Faithfully,  Ross