By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
ARLINGTON — The congregation of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church was without a pastor for nearly five years, the longest stretch without steady leadership in its 119-year-old history.
It wasn’t too bad a time. Interim pastors and speakers who filled the pulpit on Sundays made a big difference. The choir maintained a continuity of worship, and church secretary Camille McDugald kept the business of the congregation running smoothly.
“Me and the Lord,” McDugald said.
This month, however, the church is celebrating the arrival of the Rev. Scott Summers.
“Pastor Scott,” as he already is known, preached his first sermon May 6.
Dianne Engelsen, a 20-year member of Our Saviour’s, said the church, which includes members such as former Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson, is enthused to have Summers on board.
The church is a part of the Northwest Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which has a process through which a congregation must go to get a new minister.
“The interim period was longer than is typical, and there were times of discouragement as we waded through the search for a new pastor,” Engelsen said. “Now it’s as if we are coming out of a chrysalis.”
Summers, 55, grew up in Walla Walla, riding horses on his family’s cattle and wheat ranch. He was an agricultural economics major at Washington State University, but that’s where he became interested in ministry.
After graduating from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., he served two churches in Eastern Oregon, followed by 15 years at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Woodburn, Ore., south of Portland.
He and his wife Susan are buying a house in Arlington and their youngest child, Rachel, 16, plans to attend Arlington High School in the fall.
Summers said he was attracted to Our Saviour’s Lutheran in Arlington because of its strong lay leadership and involvement in the community.
The church runs a community preschool, offers a cold weather shelter to homeless people, is part of the Brown Bag Brigade that prepares sack lunches to distribute at the Arlington Community Food Bank and is involved in Lutheran World Relief projects.
“My goal is to find out how we can even better meet the needs of the community,” Summers said. “The focus of the ministry will be to reach out to attract young people to Our Saviour’s. I see lots of potential to connect.”
While honoring the Scandinavian history of the church, Summers said he hopes to proclaim what he calls “the ageless message of Christ” to bring a new generation into the congregation.
“Pastor Scott is a perfect fit for us,” Engelsen said. “He loves sports and the outdoors, and he brings with him a real creativity in his ministry.”
“He was worth waiting for,” she said.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The installation ceremony for the Rev. Scott Summers is set for 4 p.m. June 3 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Arlington, under the direction of Northwest Lutheran Synod Bishop, the Rev. William Chris Boerger.
Regular Sunday worship services are at 10:30 a.m. at the church, 615 E. Highland Drive, Arlington.
For more information, call 360-435-8921.