A church feels blessed when they welcome a new pastor. A church knows they are blessed when the commission a deaconess for service and ministry. What about the church that receives both in the same day?
For Comunidad de Gracia, a LINC mission congregation near Denver Harbor in Houston, they were able to celebrate the ordination of their new shepherd Rev. Nelson Rodriguez _and_ commission his wife, the newly commissioned Deaconess Perla Gil de Rodriguez.
While the couple has been serving the church and community for six years now they just recently completed their studies through Concordia Seminary St. Louis, earning their privilege to be ordained and commissioned as servants of the Gospel with Comunidad de Gracia.
Together in study and in marriage and parenthood, the couple is now together in ministry as well.
"One of the most significant things is the fact that we did this together," said Pastor Nelson, "Perla and I began this ministry together and we were commissioned, ordained and installed together as well."
Perla echoed her husband and ministry partner and said, "I could not ask for a better partner to share this journey together. I am glad we shared this big moment together."
In attendance to welcome Pastor Nelson and Deaconess Perla into ministry were LINC leaders, local Lutheran Church overseers, LINC mission pastors, LINC deaconesses, members of the LINC board and Rev. Leopoldo Sánchez, the director of the Center for Hispanic Studies at Concordia Seminary.
All those in attendance were honored to be part of such a special event and took part in commissioning the ministry pair for service with, and in, their community.
Pastor Nelson appreciated the support of so many and said, "Through the years we have had up and downs but we have seen the Glory of God, His Love, Mercy and Compassion pour over us and many people in our ministry."
"It is going to continue to be challenging and battles will continue to develop but I know that in the end it will be ok together."
Jerry Lohr, LINC board member, agreed with Pastor Nelson and thinks the ministry of a married couple will prove valuable for the mission of Christ in Houston. He said, "The joint pastor/deaconess model developing at LINC has impressed me greatly. The approach is exciting to consider."
"The witness that the mission churches will see by living and working with a covenanted and equally yoked husband and wife pastoral teams will be powerful."