The Episcopal Church of Our Savior navigated ministry without a pastor for a little more than two years.
The search came all the way back home, as the Rev. Steve Meysing was already in North Platte. He took over the lead role and is looking forward to working together with the local congregation.
“This is a great place, these are amazing people,” Meysing said. “I can’t believe God said, Meysing, it’s right under your nose, you don’t have to move.”
Meysing is from Chicago, but his mom is from Wild Horse Valley northwest of Gothenburg.
“The vast majority of my relatives are from there to Broken Bow to North Platte,” Meysing said. “I have known this area all my life.”
He said he came back to faith as an adult in his senior year of college.
“I went to a concert the night before my Swedish language final to hear a guy from Sweden do a concert,” Meysing said. “I got to hear the Gospel as never before. Just good old-timey hymns and singalongs and what not. That’s when everything got launched again.”
Music that can move people is important to him.
“Then the year after college I found my way into a church that really did practice astoundingly unconditional love and welcome and just passionate service in Jesus’s name,” Meysing said.
During that time, Meysing spent two summers rehabbing apartments in the Cabrini-Green housing projects in Chicago. The purpose was to get homeless people off the streets.
“They just opened a world to me,” Meysing said. “We met God so many different times in the people of Cabrini-Green and all these other folks we were out serving and trying to love on.”
He said educational ministries — faith formation for all ages — are a passion for him.
“Womb to tomb, let’s figure out where people are and help them grow,” Meysing said.
Meysing has been living in North Platte for nine years and working as an assistant to the bishop for the Nebraska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America from an office at First Evangelical Lutheran Church.
“I facilitated the search process for bringing in pastors, did conflict mediation, rural ministry, and then I ran our large program for training and supporting lay pastors,” Meysing said. “We’ve got about 70 of them spread out.”
An invitation came from M.L. Martin, an Our Savior church member, to worship with the folks at the Episcopal church two years before he moved to North Platte. Meysing said he fell in love with the people and found it was nice to worship there when he was in town.
“They are the most hospitable, welcoming church I have ever run into,” Meysing said. “They are passionate disciples here. The depth of faith and love for the Lord, Bible study and prayer here just rocked my world.”
While attending services from time to time, he learned the church was looking for a pastor.
“People here encouraged me, and I pushed it off for a year,” Meysing said. “Then I finally said, OK, God’s doing something here, I better find out what it is.”
He said he enjoys that the church is well focused.
“They do a smaller number of things and they do them really, really well,” Meysing said. “Right now it’s just a matter of reinvigorating the things that were already great.”
Meysing was ordained in 1996 in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He is still an ELCA pastor and is able to serve the Episcopal Church because of the full-communion agreement between the two denominations.
He has previously served as assistant to the bishop for Nebraska Synod ELCA; St. John’s ELCA in Alliance; Holy Family Lutheran in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada; St. John’s Lutheran, Dubuque, Iowa; St. Paul’s Lutheran, Wheaton, Illinois; Walcott and Gil Lutheran churches in southeastern North Dakota.
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