by Marcia Martinek
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church now has a pastor of its own, following several years when vicars handled most church duties.
The Rev. Gary Brown was installed as pastor on Nov. 11.
Previously the Rev Christian Rasmussen had oversight for the church and its vicars, but he also serves as the pastor of a church in Breckenridge. With Brown at the helm of the church, Rasmussen no longer has to make that drive.
Brown received his baccalaureate degree from Concordia University in Irvine, Calif., and his masters of divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
He then spent 15 years at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Franklin, N.C., and then took a disability leave and went to Arizona to help care for his father. In Arizona he served as an interim pastor for Immanuel Lutheran Church in Sierra Vista, which was in the process of looking for a permanent pastor.
Rasmussen knew of Brown and contacted him about the Leadville vacancy. Brown, his wife Kim and their two dogs arrived in November.
Although Good Shepherd has a very small congregation, Brown thinks it has the potential for growth.
“I want to get on a solid footing and fill the pews,” he said.
Part of his plan is to become more visible. The church will be joining the chamber after the first of the year, and Brown himself is looking into joining the Leadville Lions Club.
For the holiday season the church will be holding midweek Advent services on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. beginning with a soup supper.
Brown is looking forward to the challenge of forming a viable congregation. Currently there are 15 to 20 people in church each Sunday, and Brown would like to double that by the end of the year. Good Shepherd is a member of the Missouri Synod of the church; Brown describes this as “having a belief in the truth of the scriptures as God’s word.”
People who attend his church will be able to find God through the process of the words and sacraments, bringing peace to people’s lives, he said.
“God has answers,” Brown added.
Brown’s position is a part-time one, generally three days a week, which will always include Sundays and Wednesdays, he said. He is receiving a vicar’s salary and will likely get another part-time job.
In his spare time, Brown said he enjoys fishing and looks forward to doing so in Lake County.
He doesn’t have much experience with another local wintertime activity – shoveling snow.
“I’ve never shoveled snow,” Brown said, uncertain whether that was in the job description.