First Lutheran Church receives new minister
Sundays at First Lutheran Church are looking a little different, with Rev. Elaine Sveet joining the pastoral team there. Rev. Sveet joined First Lutheran on June 1st, beginning to lead services on her own the second Sunday after her start.
Sveet has been an ordained minister for 14 years and has served three different denominations, Lutheran being her third.
Growing up in Oshawa, Ontario, Sveet was a member of the United Church of Canada and can remember feeling called to ministry at a very young age. Her grandfather, Rev. John King, encouraged her to follow her calling after telling him that she thought ministry was for her.
Sveet debated on pursuing teaching, marriage and family counseling, and public relations before answering her call to ministry. “What I wanted to talk about was Godthe only thing I wanted to promote was God and the church,” she said.
Rev. Sveet looked at seminaries before looking at colleges, but kept her decision to herself for a while. Once she finally told her family about her decision, they were supportive yet worried that she wouldn’t be able to find a husband or get by financially, but Sveet says that she loves being a minister and couldn’t imagine doing otherwise.
“In middle school, they did those career aptitude tests and mine came out with a two-fold suggestion, which was clergy or actress,” she said. Interestingly, she chose both: ministry professionally and also acting throughout her life.
Sveet keeps her life balanced between her work as a minister and other activities, such as acting, scrapbooking, running and writing. “The more I can experience life as an everyday person, the more I can help integrate life and faith together,” she said, wanting to help those she pastors to realize that the presence of God does not have to be a separate part of life’s milestones, but another step in their everyday lives. “I love preaching and trying to help us connect our everyday living with our faith,” she said. “I think that’s very important.”
As for joining the Rugby-Leeds United Lutheran Parish, Sveet is extremely excited to be here and to be working in team ministry once again. Rugby’s First Lutheran is a part of a joint parish with the Lutheran church in Leeds, which Sveet would like to integrate more. “I’m excited for these congregations to have a third pastor on staff because we’re able to do more,” she said. Sveet has plans to open more worship opportunities to her congregations, including using technology as outreach in online spaces such as weekly emails, Facebook interaction and perhaps even a Parish website.
Sveet recognizes that every congregation is different, and while wanting to add some things during her pastoring at First Lutheran, she also wants to be the pastor that the congregation needs her to be. This means being willing to adapt her own pastoring techniques in order to better relate to the people. “There are some things that are different that I’m getting used to,” she said. “In ministry, you become very adaptable. Your job is to serve God and to meet the needs of the people where you’re planted.”
Sveet decided to move to Rugby and become part of First Lutheran after being asked to take the position. “I wasn’t looking, but they contacted me and the opportunity to come and be as a family, all together, was wonderful,” she said. Sveet’s husband has been a high school principal in Towner for the past two years, and the commute was hard on the couple and their three children, Ethan, Oliver and Ava, while Sveet was pastoring in Moorhead, Minnesota. “We are looking forward to putting down long roots here,” Sveet said, adding that her children are excited to be “little Rugby panthers.”
With a welcoming atmosphere of such support and encouragement, Sveet has enjoyed being a part of the Rugby-Leeds community and is thrilled to build a life here, both in the church and in the community itself.
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