Photo: Joyce O’Connell
Diane Eggemeyer, a cradle Lutheran from Baltimore, considers herself a bit of a fish out of water in hot, dry Texas.
But it’s the place God has called her to be.
Diane is pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Miles, Texas, in the heart of ranching country.
Her road to ordination was unexpected, to say the least. Diane traveled the world as a military spouse then, newly divorced, worked in sales for years. While teaching Sunday school, Diane felt the need for “more Bible.” That quest eventually led to her certification as an associate in ministry.
Then one day Kevin Kanouse, bishop of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, asked Diane to fill in for three congregations without a pastor, including Trinity.
It was a short-term arrangement, he told her.
But Diane quickly realized that she was only a quick fix for a long-term problem. While she was doing her best, her members needed her to do more.
She couldn’t baptize. She couldn’t marry or consecrate the sacrament. In a tiny rural town like Miles, calling a pastor was difficult, if not impossible.
Struck by her members’ desire for a full experience of congregational life, Diane received her call to ordained ministry.
But she couldn’t leave Trinity to attend seminary full time. So Kanouse nominated her as a candidate for Theological Education for Emerging Ministries, an alternate preparation process designed for leaders whose gifts have been named by their communities.
Diane says, “We’re very careful not to turn this into how we make pastors. For most congregations, the regular seminary route is the way to go. But for my little rural church, this was the only option. I was here. And I was eager to get going.”
She thanks her beloved members for their wholehearted support. And of the path she’s traveled to Miles, Texas, Diane says, “I stepped out in faith, and God just dragged me along . I feel so blessed.”