North Immanuel Lutheran Church of rural Pelican Rapids was both full of people and full of the Holy Spirit on Sunday, June 12, 2016 for the Graduation, Ordination, and Installation service of Rev. Ethan Fearing, newly called to be North Immanuel’s pastor. Dr. Jonathan Sorum, Academic Dean, and Rev. Timothy J. Swenson, Dean of Student and Religious Life, represented the Institute of Lutheran Theology and conducted Ethan’s Graduation Ceremony. Pastor Fearing presided at the worship service. Pr. William F. Bakewicz of American Lutheran Church, Long Prairie, MN, preached the day’s sermon and officiated at the ordination and the installation.
Pr. Fearing completed his studies at the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) in May of this year. ILT prepared him for the position of parish pastor; he earned a Master of Divinity degree. Rev. Fearing served his internship at First-St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hastings, NE. Pastor Joel Reimers was his internship supervisor. Pr. Fearing was the twenty-third graduate of ILT to be prepared for parish ministry by either its graduate program or its certificate program
In conferring the Master of Divinity degree upon Pr. Fearing, Rev. Swenson announced “Ethan Fearing, you have successfully completed the requirements for the Master of Divinity degree. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Lutheran Theology, and upon the recommendation of its faculty, I hereby confer upon you this Master of Divinity degree and entitle you to all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities pertaining thereto.” Both Pr. Fearing and the congregation stated their witness to this conferring of rights, privileges, and responsibilities.
Pr. Bakewicz presided at the ordination service in which Ethan Fearing was set into the public Office of Word and Sacrament ministry. As one set into that public office and responsible to fulfill its duties, Pr. Fearing was required to make several vows, answering to each, “Yes, by the help of God.” One of those vows was to pledge fidelity to preach and teach in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and with the Lutheran Confessions. At the time of prayer and the laying on of hands, Pastors Sorum and Swenson, along with Deaconess Karen Bakewicz, participated in both the laying on of hands and the prayers.
For the installation service, the members of the North Immanuel church council came forward to certify Pr. Fearing’s call to be pastor of their congregation. Upon that certification, the office of pastor for the congregation of North Immanuel Lutheran Church was committed to Pr. Fearing. Vows were again made by Pr. Fearing and the congregation. He was then set into that particular office through prayer and the laying on of hands.
Immediately following this wonderful worship service, those who had gathered were well fed at a potluck dinner in the church fellowship hall.