The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


For these pastors a name is (usually) a good fit

A surgeon named Dr. Allgood. A clumsy girl named Grace. A dentist named Dr. Chu. Clearly, some names fit more than others. 

After corresponding with Lori Hope, pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, S.D., The Lutheran set out to discover what other fitting names are on the ELCAclergy roster. Pastor Hope was just a start, and comes with her own story.

“My husband and I both changed our names to show equality — to show we were both changing,” Hope said. “He has studied and worked with Native Americans and I with Chinese language and people. We wanted to choose something with meaning. ... I wanted the name to sound good with ‘pastor.’ ”

Readers responded with appropriate names — mostly. Jennifer Klema Cuthbertson, Vancouver, B.C., said she was confirmed by Rev. Grimm, which was how she sometimes viewed confirmation class.

Kary Daniels wrote: “Our Pastor Linda Easterling (Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Lebanon, Ore.) preaches the good news of Easter every Sunday.”

Pam Schaefer, a pastor of Cross and Crown Lutheran Church and School in Rohnert Park, Calif., wrote that she and her father, now retired, are really “Shepherd Shepherd” since “pastor means shepherd, and Schaefer is German for shepherd.”  

David R. Cordaro, First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mesa, Ariz., said it’s probably better to be Shepherd than Wolf, but remembers the late C. Umhau Wolf, Toledo, Ohio, was a beloved pastor. Pastors named Wolf, of various spellings, outnumber those named Shepherd 23 to two in the ELCA Yearbook.

Jeffie Rusel Wesley, St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, Springfield, Pa., said he knew a Pastor Parson. “Redundant?” he joked. 

Matt Crownover tires of the reaction to his name. As a hospital chaplain he leans toward a “less royal view of pastoral care.” So he nominated John Schelter, pastor ofOur Savior Lutheran Church, Mesquite, Texas, to the name list.

“Don’t let the ‘c’ fool you,” Crownover said. “John pronounces his name ‘shelter’ and the fit could not be truer. As we have images from Scripture about a mother hen guarding her chicks, so does Pastor Schelter [serve] as a loving reminder of God’s presence amidst [our] turbulent times and world.”

Donna Bjorkquist asked, “Does your church have a heart? Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Ridgway, Pa., does: Pastor Erik Hart. Of course, the heart of the church is the people, but our Pastor Hart keeps the heart of the church beating. … In his kindness and words of compassion, he shows his good heart. We hope we never have to have a heart transplant.” 

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February issue


Embracing diversity