June 2022

June 2022

Farewell to Holy Cross

As you may have heard, back in March I received a divine call to serve the tri-point parish of Our Savior Bottineau, St. Paul Rugby, and Immanuel Willow Creek in North Dakota. After several weeks of deliberation, including many heartfelt conversations with members of Holy Cross and trusted friends and colleagues, as well as a beautiful visit to North Dakota in March, I accepted the call. On Sunday, June 12, I plan to lead my last service at Holy Cross. In the weeks following, we expect to prepare for our move to North Dakota and visit family in Indiana and Michigan before the transition is complete. My installation in North Dakota is planned for Saturday, July 23.

I am very excited to be heading to North Dakota. The area is beautiful, the schools are good, the communities are small and quiet, and most of all, the congregations are faithful and eager to hear the Word of God. I expect the transition to tri-point ministry to be less of a challenge to me than it might be to many others, since I am already accustomed to dividing my time and energy between Holy Cross and the Davenport Lutheran Home. That is not to say I expect it will be easy. It will be hard work serving such far-flung communities. The winters are harsh. Many of the businesses we are accustomed to will be nowhere to be found. But I believe the change will be good for me and my family, and I am of the conviction that this is what God would have me do.

Unfortunately, however, going there means leaving here. Once I made the public announcement that I had accepted the call, the reality set in that we are leaving our community here at Holy Cross, the Lutheran Home, Trinity Lutheran School, and all the friends we’ve made in Davenport and throughout the Quad Cities. I’m afraid that for the past several weeks my excitement at going to North Dakota has been outweighed by my sadness at leaving Holy Cross.

When I arrived here in August of 2011, I was fresh out of seminary. I still had so much to learn (and if I’m honest with myself, I still have much to learn). I remember one of the saints at Holy Cross of blessed memory telling me that she couldn’t see how a man so young could possibly provide pastoral care for this congregation. I made many mistakes, and sometimes I caused unnecessary offense. But the congregation was very patient with me, very understanding of my failures, and very gracious and respectful to me in the discharge of my office. You have helped me to grow into the pastor that you know today, and no matter what happens to us and our family in the years to come, Holy Cross will always be the first congregation of my ministry, the congregation where I learned to be a pastor, and the congregation where our children were baptized and started learning to go to church. Holy Cross has played an irreplaceable role in the life of my family, a role that will have eternal implications for us.

We are sad to be leaving Holy Cross, but a number of considerations make us feel better about it. One, I am so pleased that Pastor Steven Anderson is able to serve as Vacancy Pastor upon my departure. He served in that role faithfully before my arrival and was fondly remembered by the congregation, and he will serve in that role faithfully again. Second, I am confident that the same Lord of the Church who called me to North Dakota will also call a new pastor to Holy Cross in His good time, a man who will lead this congregation under the Word of God, teaching and preaching the Word in its truth and purity and administering the Sacraments according to Christ’s institution. I believe that Holy Cross will flourish under new leadership from a faithful pastor. Finally, I know that we will continue to be members together of the Holy Christian Church, and we will be eternally together in the kingdom of heaven, rejoicing in the presence of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Thank you all for your patience, your friendship, and your love in Christ Jesus. I assure you of my love for you in Him. As this season in our lives draws to a close, may the Lord Jesus keep us steadfast in His Word and faith, and finally bring us to Himself in His kingdom. Amen.

God's Blessings!

Pastor Neuendorf

 

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