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Friday, October 16, 2009

 

New Call

Here is a copy of the letter mailed to all members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, October 14, 2009:

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October, 2009

Dear friends in Christ:

On October 13, 2009, I submitted my resignation as Trinity’s Senior Pastor, effective December 31, 2009. I have received and accepted the position of Senior Vice President for Philanthropy and Faith Community Relations at Odyssey Networks in New York City effective January 1, 2010. Odyssey Networks (http://www.odysseynetworks.org/) is the nation’s largest coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith groups dedicated to achieving interfaith understanding and promoting peace and social justice through media. I have long been both interested in the intersection of faith and media and committed to an interfaith approach to peace and justice in our world. This new position gives me the opportunity to work full time in these areas and also brings Kris and me closer to retirement at our Martha’s Vineyard home. My last worship services as your Senior Pastor will be Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The nearly four years I have served as your Senior Pastor have been both challenging and rewarding. We began our ministry together in 2006 with a focus on congregational leadership and discipleship. I am justifiably proud of the progress we have made in these important areas. There are many examples of our success in worship and music, service, education and outreach over these years. These include but certainly are not limited to:
* Saturday evening worship
* Wednesday evening FEAST activities, part of our increased commitment to serving both our own children and families and the poor in Lansdale
* Opening our facilities to more community groups, including regular worship services for the Calling Mission Evangelical (Korean) Church
* Increases in adult education opportunities including Wednesday evening classes, almost daily Bible studies, and our weekly e-mail Bible study
* New choirs for children and adults
* Holy Communion at all weekend worship services
* The Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal and a more user-friendly bulletin
* A successful 125th anniversary celebration
* Increased outreach activities from as close as the Patterson School in Philadelphia to as far as the Lutheran schools in Palestine
* Improved financial stewardship response
* The addition of lay worship assistants
* Major increases in the number of lay eucharistic ministers
* Global mission growth (guests and new missionaries in Jerusalem)
* New ministry with young adults
* Renewed student ministry and communication.

There is, of course, still much to be done, but so much to celebrate and for which we can be thankful. It has been a real pleasure to minister here with such a fine staff and dedicated lay leaders. You will all remain in our thoughts and hearts forever.

Sincerely,

The Rev. Eric C. Shafer
Senior Pastor

**********************

And, here is a copy of the news release that will be sent out by Odyssey Networks next week:

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Odyssey Networks appoints The Rev. Eric C. Shafer as Senior Vice President of Odyssey Networks

Odyssey Networks, the nation’s largest coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith groups dedicated to building bridges of understanding among people of faith through media, has appointed The Rev. Eric C. Shafer to the post of Senior Vice President. Shafer is expected to start his newly created position on January 1, 2010. As Odyssey’s Senior Vice President, Shafer will be responsible for fundraising activities and relationships with US faith groups.

Shafer has recently resigned as the Senior Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania effective December 31, 2009. In his letter to the congregation announcing this new call, Shafer notes that he has “long been both interested in the intersection of faith and media and committed to an interfaith approach to peace and justice in our world. This new position gives me the opportunity to work full time in these areas.”

Before coming to Trinity in March of 2006, Shafer served nearly 14 years as Director of Communication for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) at its churchwide offices in Chicago. While at the ELCA, Shafer was responsible for a successful national advertising campaign and the return of the children’s stop-motion animation program Davey and Goliath to television. Shafer has also served as an assistant to the Bishop in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Lutheran Synod and as pastor of Holy Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania.

Shafer presently serves on Odyssey Networks Board of Trustees representing the ELCA. He is also vice chair of the board of the Good Shepherd Home and Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown and member of the Muhlenberg College Board of Observers. He serves as chair of the Religion Communicators Council's Wilbur Awards which recognize excellence in communicating religious issues, values and themes in the public media. He has previously served as an advisor to the Lutheran World Federation Council, on the board of directors and executive committee of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and on the Muhlenberg College Board of Trustees.

"Working together with religious communities to create change is more crucial to this world's future than ever, and so to have on board someone with as much experience and energy and enthusiasm for this as Eric, makes this one of the most important signings Odyssey Networks has made," said Nick Stuart, President & CEO of Odyssey Networks. "It shows Odyssey's commitment to working with the faith communities of America through media to really make a difference, and to have someone spearheading this who is as widely respected and admired as Eric Shafer really opens up the horizons for what we can achieve together."

About Odyssey Networks

Odyssey Networks is the nation’s largest coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith groups dedicated to producing and distributing media that promotes peace and tolerance and addresses issues of social justice. Established in 1987, Odyssey Networks is a service of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition, Inc. For more information visit http://www.odysseynetworks.org/

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