On September 11, St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlboro, will welcome Pastor Greg Mileski, who will serve as the church’s “regular supply pastor” until a new full-time pastor is called. St. Stephen is in a transitional time between pastors. In the Lutheran tradition, an interim pastor is assigned while the New England Synod looks for a new pastor to match the needs and goals of the congregation.
Pr. Joseph Graumann, who served St. Stephen from 2016 until the last Sunday in June of this year, accepted a new call to a church in his home state of New Jersey. Over the summer, parishioners have had the opportunity to meet and hear a variety of preachers.
Greg Mileski grew up in the Pittsburgh area and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Religious Studies. “In college I enjoyed classes in biology and chemistry,” he said, “but really gravitated toward my classes in religion and literature.” After college and before seminary, he spent three years as a first grade teacher in Henderson, NC, through the service organization, Teach for America, that sends college graduates to places that have difficulty attracting teachers,
Although he attended Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, another seminary he visited, in South Carolina, was significant because it was there that he met his wife, Jenny, who was the admissions director. They married after seminary and moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for his first call, where “ I enjoyed four years of parish ministry at United Lutheran Church in L’Anse, Michigan,” Pr. Mileski said. During this time, the Mileskis’ two children, Leo, now 9, and Lena, 8, were born.
More religious studies were to be next in his journey. “During these parish years,” he said, “ I realized that my love of studying religious traditions wasn’t going away and I came to wonder if I might be of best service to the Church by teaching about the traditions other children of God enjoy and helping us to think about how Christianity is related to them, how a world of multiple religions might be exactly what God has intended all along.”
The Mileskis moved to Boulder, Colorado, where Greg studied Buddhism at the University of Colorado and Naropa University, one of the very few Buddhist-affiliated universities in the country. Interested in pursuing a doctorate, he was drawn to Boston College, as one of the world’s leading institutions in Comparative Theology. Pr. Mileski notes this field asks: “If we deeply study another religious tradition, how does our understanding of Christianity change and become enriched by that study?” He hopes to earn his doctorate sometime in 2023, with a topic generally defined as “How Can We Be More Christ-like?”
Today the family lives in Brighton where they like to spend time with friends and occasionally go hiking. Greg and Jenny enjoy cooking vegetarian together.
“I am very excited to spend some time walking with St. Stephen Lutheran Church,” Pr. Mileski said, “helping all of us to grow our roots more deeply in this tradition that is centered around this truth: God Loves Us, and because of that we are free to love one another, exactly as much as we’ve always deep-down wanted to!”