Local church discovers its missing piece
After years of struggle and instability, the congregation at Truckee Presbyterian-Lutheran Church has welcomed its first permanent pastor in three years.
Ed Hilton, a 29-year-old California native, who obtained a master’s degree in divinity and his teaching certificate from Princeton, was ordained in July and began working with the church in August.
“He’s a real people person, and amazingly mature for his age,” said Edie Lott, chair of the church’s pastor nomination committee. “This church has been struggling, and Ed has filled in the missing piece. I don’t think our congregation could be more delighted.”
Since the departure of the last full-time pastor, the 14-year-old church has been led by different visiting pastors every weekend for the past few years. The congregation remained steady but small and without much growth.
Since Hilton’s arrival, attendance has grown from an average of 50 to an average of nearly 80 ” the highest attendance in 10 years, Lott said.
Hilton said he is eager to become a part of the community he is serving. And he will have that opportunity as a “tent maker,” with his jobs as both a pastor and educator in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. The term references the Old Testament and the Apostle Paul, who sold tents to supplement his income as a preacher.
Hilton has taken on the challenge of starting a youth group at the church, which had not been possible before.
“I am coming to serve a church, so my goals will be those of the congregation,” he said, noting his optimism for the church’s future. “We take seriously the idea that loving your neighbor means taking care of your community. There are a lot of needs in Truckee and there is a part of the community here that has some justice issues ” affordable housing, health care ” that need to be taken care of, and we have a passion to be a part of that.”
Other than his goals for the church and his eagerness to teach, Hilton said he is looking forward to learning to ski and to the arrival of his first child. He and his wife, Jenna, are due in May.
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