On Sunday, August 24, 2014, Reverend Julie L. Parsell was installed as Pastor of Wauseon Trinity Lutheran Church. Pastor Parsell is a minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and has been ordained for 16 years. She is excited to be a part of the Wauseon community and is looking forward to what the future holds.
Reverend Parsell is passionate about her calling in ministry, but ministry is actually her second career. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business: Marketing/Advertising from Ferris State University in Michigan and began her professional career in advertising and broadcasting. Her personal time was devoted to family and directing her church choir.
She felt the vocational calling to ministry and completed her Mastor of Divinity at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio in 1998. For 14 years, she served as the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hillsdale, MI from 1998-2012. When she married Dr. Rod Parsell, a dentist in Napoleon, life necessitated a move to Ohio. From 2012-2014, she went under call from the Synod and was placed as the Intentional Interim Pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Deshler, OH for nearly 2 years.
When the opportunity became available at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Wauseon, she interviewed for the position. She has always enjoyed the community of Wauseon and was delighted to have the opportunity extended to her. “I see strong areas in this congregation that line up with my experience,” Rev. Parsell shares.
Within the Trinity Lutheran Church congregation, she sees a wealth of musical and artistic talent. She herself was once a church choir director, sings, and plays the harp. “Art can be used to proclaim the message in a meaningful way and can extend beyond the worship service.” Possibilities might include an art exhibit, drama, or a dinner theater.
Reverend Parsell is also passionate about mission work. While the Pastor at the Hillsdale Trinity Lutheran Church in Hillsdale, MI, she led the congregation in starting a large food pantry ministry called King’s Kupboard as well as a shelter for homeless women called Samaritan Place. “The food pantry exploeded to where we were serving 30,000 people a year with only a congregation of about 200.” In addition, she also helped the local ministerial association start an annual project called Loaves & Fishes in which area churches provide items such as school supplies and haircuts and food to families in need prior to the start of school. The Wauseon congregation is presently involved in various community missions such as the TLC Childcare Center, Thursday community dinners, FISH food pantry, and clothing closet, and she anticipates the presence of talent, gifts, and commitment of her new congregation will provide more opportunities to expand care and partnerships within the community. “While worship and study are central to congregations, we are designed to propel God’s love into the community,” Rev. Parsell believes.
Beyond locally based community mission work, Reverend Parsell has also been to the Philippines with the Jimmy Carter project, Africa three times, and the Holy Land last year. She has participated in medical mission trips, Habitat for Humanity, and orphanage mission work. She combines her love of travel with the passion for sharing God’s love in the community and beyond the community, globally, and expresses “Faith expands exponentially when we look beyond our community. We find a greater appreciation for the resources within our own communities.” She currently serves on the Global Mission Board of the Northwestern Ohio Synod and was recently elected to serve on the Northwestern Ohio Synod Council.
Vision and passion can spur great things, but growth is not without unique obstacles of its own. Churches in America, especially mainline denominiations, today face challenges as the world constantly changes. Rev. Parsell expresses, “As Lutheran pastors, our challenge is to not sell out to the culture, but to hold to the faith and honor tradition, but be open to new things.” She strongly values the importance of nurturing young people and understanding they are living in a different world, and the church has a role in helping them to grow.
“To honor the past while looking to the future…it’s a challenge and balancing act.” Reverend Parsell strongly feels that churches represent a strong sense of community, one that allows each generation to use its talents and grow with each other, if they are willing and open. An online sermon is not the same as being there with other Christians.
During the service Sunday, Pastor Parsell was installed during worship by the Rev. Marc Miller, Assistant to the Bishop of the Northwestern Ohio Synod of the ELCA with assistance from Rev. Jen Herrmann who has been a pastor at Trinity for the past 6 years. The congregation, as well as representatives from both of Parsell’s prior churches, participated in the installation service.
Trinity Lutheran Church offers worship on Sunday at 8am and 10:30am, as well as Saturday at 5pm. All are welcome! For more information, call the church office at 419-335-5651.
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