Vicar Joseph Farewell

Mary Martin   -  

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ of Immanuel, Wow… it’s been a year already?!? I cannot believe that! It still feels like I have been here for a month or two. It is a bittersweet thing to be wrapping up vicarage. Sweet because I am one further step down the path that God has called me to walk in preparation for service in His Church as a pastor, yet bitter because that means that I will soon be leaving you all and returning to St. Louis for my final year of seminary. As excited as I am to continue walking down this path that God has called me down, it will be with a heavy heart that I take up our roots and leave vicarage behind me. You have made it easy to build relationships and set down roots. You are a blessing!

While I didn’t get the winter that I was hoping for, I received something so much better here in Wisconsin Rapids. I had the privilege of growing in faith and knowledge for a year in one of the most loving congregations I have ever gotten to know. It has been an honor and a privilege—in the deepest, fullest sense—to have served this last year alongside you as your vicar. You, Saints of the Lord, are the greatest treasure a vicar could ever ask for! From the very outset, Dreama, Eleanor, Lydia and I felt the overwhelming care that you extended to us through your service, food, welcome, hugs, support, compliments, experiences, and your shared stories. You have shaped, molded, and helped me grow to better fulfill my future ministry and call. Your kind words (even after a really long sermon!), your compliments, your willingness to jump into a task… there are too many examples to name to showcase the extent of the love and care shown to us while we called Wisconsin Rapids home. God is truly at work through your hands, Immanuel! Keep it up!

For the support and care of my family this past year, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. For introducing us to brandy old-fashions, fish-fry Fridays, rhubarb, and cheese curds, I want to thank you. For the love and care that you have shown to my girls, expressed through clothes, food, high-fives, hugs, and even a baby shower, I want to thank you. For the questions, engagement, volunteer hours, support, sermon-material, patience and bolstering encouragement, I want to thank you. For everything… THANK YOU!!!! You have been more than a, “cloud of witnesses”—you all have been the rolled-up-sleeves and the hands of a God who serves His creation through servant-hearts. With the calling of Pastor Bryce, Immanuel will be putting a pause on the vicarage program for a while—but I would encourage you, saints of the Lord, to not keep it on pause for long. From my experience, Immanuel has been a wonderful place to serve and grow. You are a gift not only to your neighbors here in central Wisconsin, but you have been a gift to the Church at large through your support and formation of future pastors. I know that my future congregation will be better served for having me be here at Immanuel. I would be hard pressed to find a more loving, caring, rich-with-experience and suitable congregation for a vicar to grow and serve at. I might be a tad biased, but I think that I have had the best vicarage of my entire class!

I am excited to see how the Holy Spirit will continue to work through your lives and hands even after I am gone—Dreama and I will definitely keep tabs on Immanuel, and we are excited (along with all of you!) to see exactly how the Spirit’s growth of the Kingdom of God in your midst will manifest as the days and years march on. I now have an excuse to get back up to the Northwoods and check in on some people that I love! Whenever I do that, I hope to find you just the same as I am leaving you: focused on Christ, as you share the love of Jesus first shown to you on the cross, continuously growing in faith closer to Him, and serving your neighbor as you have first been served by God. Blessings to you all, and I will see you again—whether in this life, or when Christ calls us all from the grave into everlasting life with Him!

Blessings to you in Christ Jesus, who conquered death!

Your Vicar,

Joseph Eggerman