Meet Our Pastoral Intern, Josh Menke
Josh Menke is a candidate for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and he will be serving as a pastoral intern in our congregation from September 2018 through August 2019. Here’s an introductory letter from Josh. Please join in welcoming him to Geneva and to our community!
To the community of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I am filled with joy and gratitude to have been called by you to learn and serve as a pastoral intern in your church this year and I am very excited to arrive! I write to offer a brief word of introduction as I wait for the final approval of my travel visa.
First, a little about myself: I grew up in the United States’ rural Midwest, primarily in the state of Minnesota, but my parents, younger sister, and I also lived for brief stints in the states of South Dakota and Iowa. I completed my bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Yale University and was active in music (trombone!), co-directing a prison tutoring program, and growing in faith through stimulating conversations and meals with my friends and neighbors.
Throughout college I frequently considered seminary as a possible next step, but in my last year I discerned that it was not the right time. Instead I joined an organization called Teach for America and moved to South Dakota to teach high school math to 9th-12th grade students at an Oglala Lakota tribal school on the Pine Ridge Reservation. In addition to my time in the classroom, one of my great joys during this period was working as a park ranger and facilitating an internship program for my students at Badlands National Park. As you may soon learn, I love spending time outdoors and exploring the natural gifts of God’s creation with others. Overall, my four years living and teaching on Pine Ridge Reservation were rich and formative in that they affirmed both my love of teaching and my earlier inclination to enter ministry.
In 2015 I began the process to become a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). I moved to Chicago, Illinois and enrolled at the University of Chicago Divinity School. This past spring I completed my Master of Divinity degree. I am excited to begin this internship with you as the last step in the process before I am hopefully ordained as a pastor in the ELCA.
I feel so tremendously grateful and honored to have been invited into your community this year. I am excited to get to know you and the ways God is working in your lives, in your church, and in Geneva! It will be a pleasure to explore new and exciting ways to be of service to you as I grow and learn throughout the year. I especially look forward to hearing your stories and to sharing my own with you. Please keep me in your prayers as I travel – I will see you soon!
Yours in Christ,