Archive for Saturday, August 3, 2002

Lawrence congregations welcome newcomers to leadership positions

August 3, 2002


Lawrence's faith community is welcoming some new arrivals.

The Rev. Jonathon Jensen has been chosen to serve as the new rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vt. He is coming to Trinity Episcopal from his position as canon pastor at Christ Church Cathedral in New Orleans.

Jensen is due to arrive in Lawrence in late August, and the first worship service he will lead is Sept. 1.

The Rev. Peter Oesterlin, who served as Trinity Episcopal's interim priest for the past two years, is going to Newton, where he will be a full-time rector.

Trinity Episcopal's search for a permanent priest began in January, according to Allen Wiechert, the church's senior warden.

The church's 12-member vestry, which is the congregation's governing body, appointed a search committee to evaluate candidates for the open position.

"The process went very quickly. We had a good, working search committee that really did an excellent job of doing what they had to do. Everybody that has met (Jensen) is very excited about his coming here." Wiechert said.

Jensen received his master's of divinity degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va.

Wiechert praised Oesterlin for the job he did of shepherding the church as it searched for a new rector.

"I think the success of finding Father Jensen is an example of the good work that Peter did here during his two years. He was very beloved by the congregation," he said.

Meanwhile, the vacancy created in June, when the Rev. Heather Hensarling left her position as the United Methodist Church's campus minister to Kansas University, has been filled.

Bishop Fritz Mutti, the United Methodist Church's spiritual leader for the Kansas region, has appointed the Rev. Phil Shull as the denomination's campus pastor. Shull will divide his time between two positions, also serving as pastor of the Linwood United Methodist Church.

Shull was formerly pastor of First United Methodist Church in Liberal. He also has worked in campus ministry at Fort Hays State University.

Hensarling left her position in June to be closer to family in Mississippi. She had served at KU for three years.

The Rev. Lee Johnson, who served for two years as pastor of congregational development at First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt., has been reassigned by Mutti to serve as pastor of United Methodist Church of the Servant in Overland Park.

To fill Johnson's position, First UMC has employed Barbara Clinger of Tonganoxie, a 12-year member of the church, as a ministry intern.

Clinger will be a full-time seminary student this fall at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo., where she will be seeking ordination.

"I see her being here for all of her time in seminary. I see this as a three- to four-year position," said First UMC's senior pastor, the Rev. Sharon Howell.

Sara Wentz is serving as the church's interim director of music ministries, filling in for Rob Reid, who was director of music ministries at First UMC for eight years. Reid left that position in December to move to Minnesota so he could be closer to family there.

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