Since being called to serve St. John’s as your Associate Pastor for Outreach in February 2023, my three-month focus has been on building relationships within the congregation and getting to know you all as faithful members and friends. As planned, June begins my transition from a congregational focus to an outreach focus. I will be moving from two weekends a month in worship to one weekend a month, the 2nd weekend as a rule of thumb, and shifting my time toward our outreach committee, ministries of welcome, and connecting with the community surrounding St. John’s.
During May we had our first Shower Ministry partnering with Cloud Covered Streets, benefiting 25 of our neighbor’s experiencing homelessness and will begin to take lessons from the experience to move forward with a streamlined process. We have begun our heat respite cooling center partnership with Faith Action Network and continue to serve hundreds through the West Valley Community Food Pantry. I am proud of the St. John’s community in seeing Jesus in the face of our neighbors in need.
All Pastors and Deacons who are serving their first congregation get to go to First Call Theological Education. I spent 3 days at Spirit in the Desert in Carefree,AZ with 8 other first call clergy learning about family systems and working with Bishop Deborah Hutterer and Pastor Jacqui Pagel to grow in leadership. To start the weekend we had to build a tower using only spaghetti, a marshmallow, string, and tape. My team with Pastor Amalia Vagts (Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Tucson) and Pastor Pam Reynolds (Lord of Life, Sun City West) won the challenge and earned the sheep Pez dispenser that now sits in my office. Come by for a Pez and good conversation.
In addition to my work at St. John’s, I continue to serve Bishop Deborahand the Grand Canyon Synod as the Director for Generosity and Strategic Development. On May 7th, the GCS Stewardship Team worshiped with St. Johns at the 11am services, then I joined them as we continued in worship with Vida Nueva at noon and Emmanuel Sudanese Lutheran at 1pm. It is a blessing to have so many expressions of what it means to be Lutheran here on the St. John’s campus. The GCS Stewardship Team was overwhelmed with hospitality. In addition, I have worshiped with Peace Lutheran Church in Peoria, Spirit of Grace Lutheran Church in Surprise, and attended the Ordination & Installation of Pastor Tim Perlick at Mount of Olives Lutheran Church in Phoenix. Thanks be to God!
Rev. Dan Potaznick
Associate Pastor for Outreach
St. John’s Lutheran Church