Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Will DeMarco
Gazette Reporter 

Pastor Phil Misner and family say farewell


August 30, 2018 | View PDF

The Misner family

The Misner family, clockwise, Phil, Jamie, Anders, John and Kaylynn pose with the goodbye cake given to them by the Trinity Lutheran congregation at their farewell reception Aug. 8 at the church.

Local pastor Phil Misner said his goodbyes this month after announcing his upcoming departure to serve as assistant to the bishop in Spokane.

Phil has led Sunday services at both Peace Lutheran in Colfax and Trinity Lutheran in Endicott since 2012. In addition, he and his wife, Jamie, have been deeply involved in the local community outside of church since making the move from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Phil has coached soccer and baseball, served as president of the board of the Colfax Community Fund and as spokesman for the Colfax Rotary Club. Jamie, a substitute teacher in the St. John/Endicott school district, has coached baseball and swim team and served on the SJE School Foundation.

To send off the Misners, Trinity and Peace Lutheran held a joint worship service Sunday, which included a service of leave-taking and a farewell and godspeed reception for the whole family. A community open house was held Aug. 7 for friends of the Misners who are not part of either church to say their goodbyes as well.

"I know both congregations are in good, healthy places," Phil said.

Scot Cocking, Louise Owen, Bishop Kristen Kuempel and Pastor Phil Misner.

Members from both congregations gather for the Litigy for Departure at Peace Lutheran Aug. 26. From left to right: Scot Cocking for Peace Lutheran, Louise Owen for Trinity Lutheran, Bishop Kristen Kuempel, Pastor Phil Misner.

The Misners will be living in Post Falls, Idaho, as Phil serves as assistant to the bishop of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod. As part of the synod, which includes more than 90 ministry sites covering eastern Washington, all of Idaho and two sites in Wyoming, Phil's work will largely entail working with congregations undergoing management transitions, helping pastors find congregations and vice-versa.

According to Phil, Trinity and Peace Lutheran have established "immediate, medium and long-term" plans to deal with his departure. The immediate solution, Phil said, will be hiring supply pastors, which he compared to substitute teachers, but for churches. Next, the two congregations will hire interim pastors "to lead through the path to finding a full-time pastor," which Phil said typically takes anywhere from eight to 15 months to complete. Finally, Phil predicted Trinity and Peace will begin the process to hire long-term pastors by next spring.

"I love these two communities and congregations – all the friends we've made and the relationships we've developed," Phil said. "But even though it's hard, there's a goodness to it as well."


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