The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Two-point parish

In hard times, these congregations look to a pastor who's had a hard life

He's got tattoos head to toe, wears a Harley thrill-ride T-shirt and any smile he can muster is a deep grimace at best.

A rare sight for a pastor, Randy Haas, 61, has taken on an even rarer, two-point urban ministry at Salishan Eastside Lutheran Mission and Hope Lutheran Church, where he appears to fit in. Financial woes have brought the two churches together.

"What this is is rural ministry in the inner city," Haas said during a visit in his modest rental where his Harley Street Glide is parked outside.

Randy Haas makes sandwiches at his
Randy Haas makes sandwiches at his home in Tacoma, Wash. He has taken on a two-point urban ministry brought together by hard times but filled with potential.

But with a twist.

In rural two-point ministries, he explained, you deal with long distances and established churches with strong self-identities. Salishan and Hope, both in the heart of Tacoma, Wash., are redefining themselves.

Salishan, just 25 years old, is in a poor, crime-infested section of the city where some members show up for worship already high and others are burdened with criminal pasts, joblessness and poverty. "We have this core of broken people who come to this church," Haas said, "but honestly, we're all broken sinners."

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