Though last Sunday had some snowy bad weather, we still held our specially-scheduled all-congregational meeting which began at 10:20 am, and ran for about twenty minutes. Vice-President Kate Miner invited the Call Committee Chairperson, Laura Oman, forward, and we also had the whole Call Committee stand to be recognized and thanked. They had begun this process back in April 2018, and with this March 10 meeting, they had now completed their work. Next Laura used pictures to introduce the candidate which the Call Committee had selected: Pastor Kimberly Buffie. After that, Laura and Kate invited some questions from the attendees, and finally a motion was made and passed to extend the Call to the Reverend Kimberly Swanson-Buffie (she goes by Pastor Kimberly) to serve as our new Associate Pastor.
In this Pondering, I wanted to share some of her background information in case you weren't able to be in attendance this past Sunday. Pastor Kimberly was ordained in 2012 having completed her seminary work at Luther in St. Paul. She entered into the ministry as a second career, as she had first worked as a Chiropractic Doctor. She has enjoyed balancing both career tracks, so still enjoys working at the Buffie Clinic which she runs with her husband, Perry, in Rockford, MN, where they make their home. A fun side fact is that she did her Pastoral Internship with me about 10 years ago when I was serving at Spirit of Joy in Buffalo. Her internship was also set up as half-time over the course of two years, and that way she continued to simultaneously work as a Chiropractor. Because of our past connections, she even has worshipped here at Family of Christ once, a few years ago, on a Palm Sunday, so she knew a little bit about us even before having her name presented to us by our Synod.
After her ordination, Kimberly served as an Interim Pastor at two locations, and then took a call as a Mission Developer (which is a Pastor who helps start a church from the ground up) at House of Grace Lutheran in Montrose, MN. She served there from 2014-2018, and helped direct a social outreach ministry center there too, called Grace Place. It was at Grace Place that she met three young children who began attending their after-school events. In mid-2018, Kimberly went on leave from Call, feeling the need for the next person to step in and continue the work in Montrose.
Kimberly and Perry raised three children who are all young adults now: oldest son Alex (married to Michelle), and daughters Hannah and Lydia (pictured here with boyfriend, Jake). Those three siblings who had come to Grace Place suddenly became in need of a foster home, so Kimberly and Perry took on that challenge. They are currently in the process of adopting all three who are ages 10-14: Tanner, Rosa, and Jesse.
Call Committee members will tell you that, in Kimberly's interviews, they enjoyed the high energy level that she exhibited, along with her interest in pastoral care, social justice, and helping design and create authentic worship. Kimberly has been a solo pastor these past four years, so she is eager to be able to serve on a team, and be part of a staff approach to ministry.
This past Wednesday we completed the filling out and signing of the official Call documents, and sent them to Bishop Ann of the Minneapolis Area Synod. Once she approves this process, then Kimberly will receive the papers, and have up to 30 days to respond to our invitation. We cannot say for sure yet when her start date would be, because first she needs to respond to our Call. But we'll all continue to offer our prayers that God will guide and inspire all of us throughout this process. Thanks again to the Council, the Staff, and the Call Committee for all the good and faithful work they have done in shepherding this whole task. We'll look to report to you Pastor Kimberly's response when that time arrives.
Until then, let's see each other in Church!