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Letter from Elizabeth Lienesch

By May 20, 2022July 7th, 2022No Comments

May 20, 2022

Dear people of St. John’s, 

After being with you all for two years, last Sunday was my last day as an intern in this community. It was lovely to see and celebrate with so many of you last week – thank you for the blessings and send-off you gave to my whole family. (Our toddler particularly appreciated the cake!) Since I know I won’t be able to say a personal thank you to everyone, I’d like to just reiterate my gratitude here. 

I’d like to thank the staff at St. John’s for incorporating me into the daily work of the church, for getting me up to speed on all the inner-workings of the church, and for allowing me to try new things, test new ideas, and be engaged in so many different parts of St. John’s. They did this in a loving and supportive way, always thinking about my own growth and formation during my time here and being patient as I navigated what was new for me. 

I’d like to thank my internship committee – Peter Stebinger, Rie Gilsdorf, Leah Guy, Rex McKee, Susan Swann, and Sue Everson-Rose – who met with me diligently each month to check-in on my work, to help me think through thorny issues, and who grappled with the bureaucracies of this process as they submitted reflections and evaluations to the diocese. This was no small task and it was wonderful to have them all “in my corner” during this process. 

And I’d like to thank all of you – in so many various ways – for being so loving, supportive, and welcoming to me and my family. I have loved the surprisingly rich conversations in a breakout room over Zoom or during coffee hour. I have so appreciated the thoughts and feedback shared about a sermon I preached. I’ve loved getting to see your kids get bigger and bigger and take on more and more responsibilities during services. I am so grateful for your kindness with our daughter and your concern for how I was balancing family, school, and church. You have modeled for me what it looks like to be part of a community that knows how to show love and how to support each other. 

Many of you have asked what is next. The short answer is “I don’t know.” The longer answer is that I will graduate in just a few weeks from Luther Seminary. Then, we have a baby coming around the 4th of July, so our life will be full of baby preparation and settling into life as a family of four (or five if you count the dog). After we take some time with the new little one, I will continue in my formation – taking workshops, finishing a few “lingering” courses, and will serve at church somewhere in Minnesota as I move towards my possible ordination to the priesthood in June of 2023. I also know that we will plan to come back for a visit and to introduce all of you to the new baby at some point, and I trust that in some way, shape, or form, our paths will cross again in the future. 

Although I may be slower to respond, my Luther Seminary email is still a good way to reach me: Lisa, Rex, and other staff can also help you get in touch with me as needed. 

I am so grateful for the time I have had at St. John’s in this role. This is a wonderful place, and it has been a joy to be here, with you, as you do the work to bring God’s love into the world. 

Thank you,