Pastor Randy Retires After 20 Years at SOTV

By Randy Brandt
Pastor, Connect

In February I wrote to the congregation, “When I was ordained as a Lutheran pastor 35 years ago, I had no inkling of the rewards and challenges, and the depth of God’s grace and love that I would experience through ordained ministry.” So now let me add some details for you of the rewards I’ve enjoyed as a pastor at SOTV.

August 18, 2002 – the first Sunday I participated in worship as one of the pastors in this big and busy place that had been our family’s church home since January 1995. What a gift of grace to be called to serve in the community of faith that already felt like home.

July 2005 – A summer mission trip to Pine Ridge Reservation. A powerful, cross-cultural experience in a stark, hot environment with high school students and adults ready to learn and serve. I led 29 summer mission trips with youth and college students, finding my faith challenged and inspired. Those trips were always an annual highlight to ministry at SOTV.

Christmas 2014 – Family Christmas Eve worship services featuring puppets and a full cast of the nativity characters. Helping write, recruit, and direct such worship experiences accessible for the youngest to oldest with the support of a talented staff was always a stress-filled, rewarding joy.

2010 & 2014 – Two trips with SOTV travelers to our partner congregations in Tanzania. How can words describe the depth of experiencing the embrace of Christian siblings in such a different cultural setting? Lives have been transformed, my faith has expanded, and Shepherd of the Valley is different because of the international scope of walking shoulder to shoulder with our beloved Tanzanian friends.

August 25, 2018 – Another baptism at SOTV, this time for my grandson, Declan. Sacraments are wonderfully mysterious touch points of God’s presence and grace. I have been fortunate to baptize the babies of adults who at one time I had taught in third grade! Along with serving communion, sharing prayers, walking through grief, and officiating at weddings, baptisms have been entry points into lives with the loving grace of Jesus Christ. Praise God.

June 27, 2022 – My first day of retirement. I will not sleep in, even though I might be exhausted from preaching the day prior and celebrating at an afternoon reception. Our family’s expectation is to continue membership at SOTV as our church home, but I will no longer be your pastor. I will no longer baptize, officiate at weddings, or funerals. In fact, I will appreciate simply being called “Randy Brandt” and not “Pastor Randy” when greeted. I will be returning to my role as a member of the church with clear boundaries and thus will honor the current called pastoral staff at SOTV. I will forever give praise to God and have deep gratitude for the entire congregation and staff for such a supportive partnership during 20 years of ministry as pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.