Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn
May 28, 2011
To the members of Messiah Lutheran Church and Holy Cross Lutheran Church,
It is with both joy and sadness that I announce that the Lord has led me to accept the call to serve as Senior Pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California.
This decision fills me with joy because of so many wonderful members that my family and I have of Messiah Lutheran Church and her many members. All of our children have been born in Kenosha. I have gone through disability and more. In everything, Messiah has stood by us, put up with my foibles and worse, and in many respects have really taught me what it means to be a pastor. It would take me a long time to recount all of the blessings we have received together about following Christ and hearing the Gospel.
Quite honestly, one of the reasons that led me to accept this call is that I want another pastor to have the opportunity to serve the saints in Kenosha. I think it would be selfish on my part to keep such a great place to myself. I have learned to be a pastor here, and I believe that another pastor can as well.
It is these exact things that also fill me with sadness. I love Messiah. We love Kenosha. We have so many friends at church, at the Academy, at Lamb of God, and in the community. I feel like by leaving we will be deserting a part of ourselves. I weep even to think of it. I would not be the person I am without all of these dear friends and sheep whom I love with all my heart.
The reason I am able to accept this call to Holy Cross is because I believe that God will bless our lives and work in California just as He has blessed us in Kenosha. Holy Cross is a haven and refuge of the Gospel for broken sinners in a desert of fake spirituality and strangeness. I could see that just in our few days of visiting. I look at Holy Cross and see sinners who need a pastor, and I see a community that needs Holy Cross to be actively engaged in the life of the people in that city.
I also see in Holy Cross a lot of what I would call “Lutheran refugees.” What I mean by that is people who come from other churches or church bodies who feel that their churches have left them high and dry, stuck in the Law and left to find for themselves in their need. I feel a great yearning to help and heal and reach out to these people, and give them what only Christ Himself can give.
I also see Holy Cross School (pre-k through kindergarten) as a great potential for growth. If Holy Cross as a church can connect with Holy Cross as a school, there is great possibility to serve the families in Rocklin, not simply with child-care, but with the precious balm of the Gospel. I have learned a lot about this process in my twelve years at Messiah with both Little Lambs Learning Center and Christ Lutheran Academy.
Messiah is in a place where a new pastor will be able to come in and help to lead the church in new directions, and move them past and through the challenges that come ahead. Messiah’s leadership is good, Lutheran and faithful. I have every confidence that Messiah will be able to call a new pastor soon, and that they will be deeply blessed by him, and that he will be blessed by Messiah.
One of my chief concerns about leaving is Christ Lutheran Academy. I love CLA with all my heart, and I have given more hours than I can count into its starting and continuing. I thank God every day for all of the students and teachers that I have been privileged to teach and learn from over the last ten years. But I believe we have come to the point where CLA needs to change in order to thrive and continue. I don’t believe that I can lead or even be much help with that kind of change. I have too many memories, and I now have too many strong opinions about how things should be done. I would call it “founder’s syndrome.” I think at this point I would be a hinderance to the growth of CLA rather than a help. Christ Lutheran Academy is not about me or any one person. It is about the children. It is about the Gospel taught every day. It is not about me.
We have not finalized any plans as of yet in terms of timing, etc. What I would say is that my wife, Kathryn, runs a summer opera program that goes until the end of July. We are exploring it, but at this point it is unlikely that she will be able to get out of that commitment. We will certainly inform everyone involved as our plans continue to solidify.
I have many more things to say, but I cannot bear to tell them now. Please keep all of the flock at Holy Cross and at Messiah in yours prayers. Please keep us in your prayers as we make this transition. I remain
Yours in Christ,
Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
CC: Rev. John Wille, South Wisconsin District President
Rev. Dr. Robert Newton, California-Nevada-Hawaii District
Rev. James Keuch, circuit counselor
Rev. Mark Haas, circuit counselor