By Mary Fox

In January, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Ellicottville welcomed Pastor Gerard LeFeber as interim pastor. Pastor LeFeber will be guiding and serving the congregation during this time of transition from Pastor Kay to a new full-time pastor. Pastor LeFeber is a familiar face to the congregation having filled in many times as supply minister.

Pastor LeFeber served St. John’s Lutheran Church in Allegany for 14 years. He recently retired and graciously agreed to serve St. Paul’s during its search for a new pastor.

“It is a challenging process for a congregation and the community to make a change from a minister of 23 years,” said LeFeber. “As interim pastor, I am assuming all responsibilities of continuing the ministry and programs of St. Paul’s and, while not being actually involved in the selection process, helping them in making the transition.”

Pastor LeFeber attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, graduating in 1972 with a Masters of Divinity degree. He received a Master of Arts degree from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Va.

Pastor LeFeber served several churches in the south including, Melbourne, Fla.; Brooksville, Fla.; New Orleans, La.; and Ft. Meyers, Fla., before being called to St. John’s in Allegany. Having lived in the South all his life and career, it was a welcome change and a fortunate move because this is where he met his wife, Nancy. Between them they have eight children and 16 grandchildren.

Finding a new full-time minister involves a great deal of work on the part of the congregation. First, several members of the congregation form a Call Committee to guide the congregation in a Self Study to determine the church’s weaknesses and strengths, interests, involvements and hopes for the future.

Once the Self Study is complete, the Call Committee will use this information in finding and interviewing candidates that are compatible with the congregation.

To help with this process, the local Circuit Counselor, Bob Morris, Pastor at Holy Trinity in Wellsville, will work with the Call Committee in all aspects of the search.

Pastor LeFeber has been well received by the congregation of St. Paul’s.

“His sermons are very interesting and understandable,” said Phyllis Venezia.

“My wife and I often refer to and discuss Pastor LeFeber’s sermons during the week,” said Eric Ploetz.

“I have enjoyed working with him on my ‘packages for the military mission,’” said Bonita Wulf.

In the end, it is the people that make a church, and St. Paul’s is blessed to have a very welcoming and caring group of people from all different backgrounds. A wide spectrum of individuals, from young families with children to the elderly, contributes to the vitality of St. Paul’s.

St. Paul’s facilities provide space for community activities. Monies raised by dinners and the Blessing Box give aid to individuals and families. Many missions are supported by its outreach and special worship services provide the inspiration to practice the faith.

“The future for St. Paul’s is promising,” said LeFeber. “This transition time is a small chapter in the life of St. Paul’s.”

Everyone is invited to visit St. Paul’s to meet the people and the pastor. All are welcome to worship on Saturday evening at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. If you have a special need, please call the church office at (716) 699 2265.