History of Seeds of Faith
The Seeds of Faith Story
Seeds of Faith is a “new start” congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Planted in the communities of Lisbon & Mt Vernon, we are rooted in our Mission of:
“Growing in Grace...
Gathering for Worship...
Scattering to Witness And Serve!”
The Early Days
Seeds of Faith was planted officially on April 29, 2001 when it was recognized as an ELCA member congregation. However, the Seeds of Faith community was growing long before then. Starting with the desire to see an ELCA Lutheran congregation in the Lisbon/Mt. Vernon area and building on an inviting door knocking campaign, Seeds of Faith began strengthening its roots.
Worship services began in the Lisbon Community School Cafeteria but moved quickly through the area parks, churches, the old Mount Vernon High School (currently the "new" middle school), and even the famous Christmas eve in a barn service due to the quick growth of this community of faith. In January 2007, we moved our offices and worship space into the second floor and auditorium, respectively, of the former Mount Vernon Middle School. This was the first time in our history that we had our business office and worship space in the same building, not to mention that we also for the first time had our Lenten Services in the same location as we had our regular Sunday worship services. We were also relieved that we no longer had to set up and break down our worship space every week, as we were allowed to keep our altar set up, unless there was another function in the auditorium.
Building on Our Foundations
During the summer of 2007 we had an astonishingly successful fundraising campaign, and raised enough money to purchase five acres of land just east of the Lisbon city limits. We closed the deal in the fall of 2007. With the purchase of the land, we undertook a capital campaign, also in the fall of 2007, and began raising funds to build a permanent home for Seeds of Faith on the five acres. With the success of the capital campaign, we broke ground in the fall of 2008, and began construction of the future home of Seeds of Faith Lutheran Church. Due to a limited budget, though, we realized that this was not going to be a normal building project, this was going to very much need to be a DIY construction project, and our members pitched in and had a hand in virtually every aspect of construction. The people of Seeds of Faith moved massive amounts of dirt, built and set concrete forms, framed the exterior and interior walls, hung insulation, removed several large ice formations, installed windows and doors, laid ceramic tile, planted trees, installed cabinets and fixtures, built a system of movable partitions to create several flexible meeting and classroom spaces, and many other jobs.
This was a project that brought great meaning to the 2009 Southeastern Iowa Synod mission statement to our members. That mission statement: God's Work. Our Hands. Together.
We also cannot thank the many other people who pitched in and helped us with the work of building our church home. We received a lot of help from other Lutheran churches in the area, including the custom-milled door and window casings and baseboards.
Our New Church Home
During the weekend of August 28-30, 2009 we moved out of the space we had been renting since January 2007, and moved into our current building! We worshipped for the first time in the new building on August 30, 2009.
On October 18, 2009, Bishop Michael Burk, of the Southeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA, joined us in a service dedicating our new building to the work of God and Jesus Christ, here in the community.
On October 17, 2010, the weekend of the first anniversary of the dedication, we sealed the time capsule in the cornerstone on the front of the building. The 2009 date recognizes the completion of construction and the dedication of the building in that year.
Seeds of Faith Today and Tomorrow
At the end of June 2011, we bid farewell to our pastor of five years, Pastor John Rosenberg, as he moved into retirement from his second career.
In July 2011, we hosted a different variety of worship services, utilizing the talents of those among our congregation, along with a couple of visiting pastors, while we prepared for an interim pastor to come our way.
In August 2011, Ms. Stephanie Wherry, a pastoral candidate assigned to the Southeastern Iowa Synod, was appointed to serve in the role of interim minister to the congregation of Seeds of Faith. She lead her first service with us on August 7, 2011. While not yet an ordained member of the clergy, Ms. Wherry was granted special dispensation from Bishop Michael Burk to preside over baptisms and Holy Communion while serving as the interim minister at Seeds of Faith.
A call committee was formed, and was presented with Ms. Wherry's name again as a candidate for first-call ministry. The Call Committee spent many hours working together reviewing the needs of the congregation, as determined by completing the Ministry Site Profile and soliciting input from the congregation. After reviewing all the documentation presented to them, and conducting interviews with Ms. Wherry, the Call Committee recommended to the Congregation Council that Ms. Wherry's name be presented to the congregation to be called as Seeds of Faith's new, full-time pastor. The Congregation Council concurred, and by an overwhelming majority vote at the congregation's annual meeting on January 22, 2012, the congregation offered Ms. Wherry her first call as a Pastor in the ELCA. Preparations were made for a celebration of ordination and installation, to take place on March 25, 2012, at 2:30 PM. At the conclusion of this service, we were finally able to formally call Ms. Wherry by the title of "Pastor," which we had been using informally since August, when she first graced us with her presence.
On October 29, 2015, Seeds of Faith experienced another change in our pastoral ministry, when Pastor Stephanie Wherry married her fiancé and became Pastor Stephanie Malin. Our congregation had long since welcomed Justin Malin into the family before the wedding, and were immensely pleased to call Justin by his title of "Mr. Pastor."
At the end of May 2018 Pastor Stephanie made the difficult decision to leave Seeds of Faith, and we were saddened to see her go.
Pastor Rhea Evanson joined us on an interim basis in September 2018, as our Call Committee guided our congregation on the journey through finding and calling a new pastor to serve Seeds of Faith.
In July 2019, we called Pastor Paris White to serve as Seeds of Faith's new pastor. She started with us on July 10th, 2019 and was ordained on July 25th, 2019 by Bishop Burk at her home congregation, Grace Lutheran Church in Muscatine Iowa.