Lifetime Messiah Lutheran member named vicar

Sentinel photo by ERIN THOMPSON
Messiah Lutheran Church’s new vicar, Sam Leister, prepares for a service.

MIFFLINTOWN — A lifetime member of Messiah Lutheran Church is working toward becoming an ordained minister.

Sam Leister was recently selected to serve as the church’s vicar — a pastor in training — and will be presiding over the church’s services, funeral, baptisms and many other activities of the church.

Over the next three years, Leister will work to complete 14 courses and serve an internship. He is working under the direction of Bishop Barbara Collins and under the guidance of Pastor Chris Mathiason, of St. Stephen’s Evangelical Church in Licking Creek.

Leister is enrolled as a pastoral candidate and has completed his first course in the Theology Education for Emerging Ministry Program.

He was born into Messiah Lutheran Church, where he was baptized in 1953.

He first felt a calling to become a minister one August, 51 years ago, when he was teaching a Sunday school class. He was in ninth grade at the time. He said he has considered it off and on over the years. “I decided now is the time to take the step.”

As a lifetime member, he knows the congregation well, having grown up with many of its members.

He has served as president of the church council and on various committees and boards within the congregation. He has also served on the synod council for six years. In the last four years, he has served as an authorized lay worship leader and is authorized to administer holy communion and lead worship with other churches.

During his time as vicar, “I hope to learn more about the role of a pastor, sharing the good news of the Gospel and helping others to do their own sharing and teaching and practicing,” he said.

Messiah Lutheran Church, 3 S. 3rd St., Mifflintown, holds Sunday morning worship at 10:30 a.m. Its annual Thankoffering service will be held Sunday, with the Rev. Erin Bovendam serving as guest speaker.

Audio services are streamed on the church’s website, www.mlcmifflintown.org. More information about services can also be found on the church’s Facebook page.