ShareThis Page
News

Spiritual journey lands pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wexford

| Thursday, June 30, 2016, 8:55 p.m.
Cutline: The Rev. Jennifer Fuhr was officially installed as past of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wexford in April.
Cutline: The Rev. Jennifer Fuhr was officially installed as past of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wexford in April.

The Rev. Jennifer Fuhr's spiritual journey has included stops in Nebraska, Tanzania and Texas.

It has now brought her to the North Hills of Pittsburgh, and the new Cranberry resident could not be more excited about the challenges and experiences that await her.

Fuhr, 42, was officially installed as new pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church on Brandt School Road in Wexford at a ceremony in April. She was chosen by a unanimous vote of the congregation following a sermon she delivered the month before.

“That was quite a wonderful day,” Fuhr said of the installation ceremony. “It was truly the grace of God that brought me here, and being able to share that spirit with the congregation was intoxicating, really.”

The sermon and vote capped a call process that spanned several months and included interviews via telephone and Skype, and, eventually, Fuhr's first visit to western Pennsylvania last November.

She comes to Trinity after serving as associate pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in The Woodlands, Texas, and was struck by the difference in terrain.

“It's so beautiful here with the hills and rivers, and everything is so green,” Fuhr said. “In Texas, things tend to be pretty brown.”

Fuhr said one of her main goals is to expand the reach of the church far beyond the walls of the building.

“I have a strong desire to connect with people outside the church campus,” Fuhr said. “We all have a story to share, and one of our biggest challenges is to show that all those stories matter to God and should matter to each other.”

Church member Jane Hein, who led the call committee that brought Fuhr to the church, said that attitude is one of the main reasons she was chosen.

“In the past we have been a lot more traditional,” Hein said. “But (Fuhr) has shown us that it is OK to open our hearts to the community at large and reach out to all denominations.”

Fuhr was born in Leigh, Neb., an agricultural community of about 400 people, and graduated with bachelor's degree in education from Wayne State University. Before embarking on her teaching career, she joined what was supposed to be a month-long mission trip to Kyomu, Tanzania. The trip ended up lasting three months.

“That was a life-changing experience. My call to ministry really started there, on a hilltop in Tanzania,” Fuhr said. “I guess I might have known it before, but that is when it really became clear.”

Upon returning to the United States, she taught elementary school in her hometown for two years and two more years in Bartley, Neb. But eventually, she chose to answer her call, earning a master of divinity degree at Luther Seminary in Minnesota.

While at Lord of Life and two other churches in Texas, Fuhr put her education training to use, working with high school students, a ministry she calls “a partnering with youth on their journey of faith.”

It is a partnership she hopes to continue at Trinity.

“I think with her background as a teacher, she will be able to work well with children and families, and that is exciting as well,” Hein said.

Fuhr said she is not sure what God has planned for her new congregation, but she can't wait to find out.

“I just know this church has something special to offer to the community,” Fuhr said. “And together we are going to figure out what that is.”

Vince Townley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6364 or vtownley@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me