ser·en·dip·i·ty/ˌserənˈdipitē/ Noun: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: “a fortunate stroke of serendipity”.
It was pure serendipity that on All Saints Sunday, forty-three continuous years of ministry at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu were represented by the presence of Pastors Donald K. Johnson (1969-2000), Fritz Fritschel (1990s), David J. Barber (2000-2006), Steven Jensen (2007), Jeff Lilley (2008-present), and Angela Freeman (2012-present) — all who were at the 10:30 am service. Nobody planned it — it just happened!
Here’s the how and why of the circumstance of seven, count ’em, Lutheran pastors in the congregation on November 4th: the week before, Pastor Barber was in Kona at Holy Trinity, where he preached at their 30th anniversary celebration. He and wife Karen decided to spend a few days on Oahu before returning to their home in Colorado. Meanwhile, Pastors Johnson, Fritschel and Jensen are all retired and have returned to LCH as their spiritual home. Pastor Phyllis (Fifi) Hormann, a daughter of the congregation and granddaughter of the Rev. Arthur Hörmann, pastor of LCH from 1916-1946, is now the chaplain at the Hawaii State Hospital but regularly attends LCH. And of course, our present pastors are Jeff Lilley and Angela Freeman.
Yes, I have worked with all of them.
True Confessions: Some of us didn’t realize what a momentous and serendipitous occasion this was, and we didn’t ask the pastors ahead of time to stay around for a photograph. Try corraling seven Lutheran pastors after a service — like “herding cats,” someone said! By the time we were ready to take the picture, apparently Pastor Johnson had already gone home. But he came back in the evening to serve as an acolyte at the All Saints Vespers, so that’s when his photo was “pasted” in. I do swear, though, that all seven were at the 10:30 service!