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St. Stephen Lutheran Church Chooses New Pastor
Parishioners at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlborough, voted unanimously on Sunday, June 19 to call Joseph Graumann as their pastor. The resounding positive vote, done by written ballot, followed a church service in which Graumann preached and the Rev. Sara J. Anderson, associate to the bishop, presided.
Graumann is pleased with the results, but notes it “wasn’t really a surprise. It was clear from the onset, from when I first heard about St. Stephen, that this was a really good fit,” he said. He noted that the Call Committee, led by Sarah Maston of Hudson, “did a fantastic job, making sure that I met a lot of people, and it was a pleasure all the time.” As a pastoral candidate, he met with the church council, the music director, the confirmation class, and the Senior Friends group, for example. To make sure everyone had a chance to meet the candidate before the vote, the church held a meet-and-greet with a potluck supper on Saturday.
St. Stephen, he said, “is an extremely welcoming and vibrant place. It is clear that people really know and care about each other.” His goal will be to “build upon work we have already done, encourage continued outreach, and keep up the feeling of joy.”
In April, the elected Call Committee of six parishioners reviewed the candidate on paper and in person and unanimously recommended him to the church council, who met with the candidate and returned a unanimous vote in favor of calling Graumann, a first-call pastor who graduated in May from Gettysburg Seminary with honors in Theology.
At Gettysburg, he was a two-term president of the student association and led a student movement to become a “Reconciling in Christ” seminary, welcoming people of all genders and sexualities. As a seminary student, he completed Clinical Pastoral Education at Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth, VA. He served his internship with the Lutheran Church in Great Britain and the International Lutheran Student Centre in London, England.
Graumann holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he was an active member in its Justice and Diversity in Action Living and Learning Community. Joe was planning on attending law school after his graduation, but a bone cancer diagnosis and its subsequent treatment gave Joe the time to discern a call to seminary.
He will be ordained on July 23 in his home state of New Jersey, and intends to begin his ministry at St. Stephen soon after that. This will be just in time to participate in St. Stephen’s popular Vacation Bible Camp, August 1-5. Pastor Joe will preside over Sunday Service on August 7th.
The new pastor’s priority now is to find housing, and he is focused on Marlborough. “I am really excited to join the community of Marlborough,” he said. “After moving around so long, it will be great to put down roots.”
Joseph Graumann Jr. and Rev. Sara J. Anderson
Sacred Citrus / an orange on the Lord's Table/
Recalling Jesus’ practice of open table fellowship, we place an orange on the Lord's Table in the hope that one day every community of faith will welcome people of every race, economic status, gender and sexual orientation, and special ability.
This practice is inspired by Rabbi Susannah Heschel who, in the early 80's began the tradition of putting an orange on her Passover Seder plate to represent the fullness of Judaism when LGBTQ persons were truly welcome in the community of God’s people.
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537 Bolton Street
Marlborough, MA 01752
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