The affection the Mink family has for Monte Stevens, pastor of North Riverdale Lutheran Church, Dayton, Ohio, is obvious. With both humor and deep honestly, they even describe him as “part Mink.”
And indeed his extended family status stretched his pastoral care duties. When they weren’t sure whether trauma to their parents’ bodies would make closed caskets necessary, they asked him to view the bodies for them. And when they’d cleaned up their parents’ home so it could be rented, they called on Stevens to re-enter it with them and offer a cleansing ritual.
“They wanted to make sure that it would be remembered in a loving way,” he says. “That we would rid it of the darkness, evil and nastiness and replace that with light, hope and love. They wanted to reclaim the apartment. They were thinking of the next people to live there.”
It has been the kind of intense pastoral care the pastor never anticipated. “All along I said, ‘Use me as your instrument, God,’ ” Stevens says.
It was Maundy Thursday. An unusually large crowd sat quietly in the sanctuary of North Riverdale Lutheran Church, Dayton, Ohio. Many of them knew the Mink family.They knew the family’s story only too well—it had been in the papers and on TV for five years. But they’d heard little since last July when Scott was executed for killing his parents. And they’d never heard his older brother Bill’s version: "Good evening. I want to tell you a story, a story about God’s grace in action."
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