A teaching congregation. A far-reaching ministry.
By Anne Jernberg Scalfaro.
Whatever reason you give for why Wilshire is your church, I suspect there is a story behind that reason. The teacher that impacted your child, the minister who visited you in the hospital, the sermon that challenged you, the member that made you feel welcome, the anthem that lifted your spirits, the mission project that sparked your passion. Our whys are usually related to our story — how we are impacted. But these stories have deeper roots. Your story, your why, exists because of a seed someone else planted, and many others nurtured along the way. Indeed, the crop of whys that make up Wilshire today is a harvest that began years ago, and the crop of whys that will make up Wilshire years from now will be a harvest that begins with the seeds you plant today. As Paul writes, “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then … let us work for the good of all.” (Galatians 6:9–10a).
I am part of your family of faith. I was dedicated, baptized and raised in the faith by Wilshire, mentored and nurtured through the Pathways Pastoral Residency Program, and ordained and blessed by you as I was called to pastor in Denver. My story is testimony to the truth that Wilshire is a teaching congregation — from the seeds of faith you plant in children to the roots of ministry you strengthen in residents. This nurturing is an act of faith; we residents go off to produce a harvest that you seldom get to see or celebrate. But celebrate this: Your harvest reaches to Denver and has been growing here for 13 years. You have not grown weary in working for the good of all — in Dallas and Denver and all the cities where former pastoral residents serve. Through the power of the Spirit, these cities and churches hold the abundant fields of your harvest, Wilshire.
Pastoral ministry is full of challenges and blessings. Pastors cannot do this work on our own; if we try, we will grow weary and give up. Through your teaching spirit and financial support, you form and fashion pastors, giving us strong roots that can flourish in our new contexts and withstand the storms of our callings. Do you know another church with a pastoral ministry reach as far as yours? Wilshire’s ministry is unique and vital. When you give to Pathways, you ensure the harvest of God’s good news continues.
The story of your why exists because of the seeds planted before you. And through giving generously to Wilshire, your why becomes a harvest of whys for generations to come. Keep working for the good of all, Wilshire. Your whys make the whys of my congregation possible. And for that, I give great thanks, and I think God does too.
■ Anne Jernberg Scalfaro grew up at Wilshire and was a pastoral resident from 2006 to 2008. She has served on the pastoral staff at Calvary Baptist Church in Denver since 2008 and has been senior pastor since 2013.