The Rev. Paul Egensteiner
Current Position: Pastor
Congregation Membership: Emanuel Lutheran Church
Date and Year of Birth: 8/8/57
Date and Year of Ordination: 6/1/84
Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Staten Island
Education and Earned Degrees (with institutions and years, most recent first):
Master of Divinity, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1984
Bachelor of Arts, Wagner College, Staten Island, 1979
List up to five (5) current or past synod or churchwide activities that would inform your service as bishop of this synod.
Small Group Facilitator, First Call Theological Education, ELCA
Dean, Tappan Zee Conference
Chair, Synod Candidacy Committee
Dean and Director, Pinecrest Lutheran Leadership School
List up to five (5) current or past community-related activities that would inform your service as bishop of this synod.
Chaplain, Pleasantville Volunteer Fire Department
Coordinator, Pleasantville Clergy Association
What gifts would you bring to the office of bishop of this synod? (1,000 characters maximum, with spaces)
My core identity is as a pastor. I find my joy and purpose in caring for God's people in all circumstances of their lives and faith journeys. The primary gift I would bring as bishop is a caring heart and attentive spirit to walk with the people of this synod to a place of joy, community and Christ-like love. I also am not afraid to work hard, to be creative in problem solving, to lift up the positive and celebrate accomplishments. My style is very collaborative so I would work closely with others (staff, pastors, deacons, congregations, Synod Council, etc.) to come to a place of greater trust in God and one another. I have a passion for ministry by and with youth and would strengthen this in our synod. I love my work with diakonia and would support and work to expand that opportunity.
What do you see as the principal challenge to this synod in the next six (6) years, and how would you address it? (1,000 characters maximum, with spaces)
The principal challenge to the Church is the urgent question of how to prepare and nurture disciples of Jesus to be the Body of Christ in the world. Has it ever been different? What is different are the contexts in which we find ourselves. Our synod encompasses many ministry settings. That is one of the beauties of our diversity! In each of those contexts, being a disciple looks a little different. The timeless nature of the Gospel of God’s love must be communicated creatively and urgently to the particulars of our situations.
I don't believe the Church will fail. The burden is on us to be faithful, to live out our calling so that we, too, can grow in grace. I do believe the Lutheran understanding of the Gospel is essential in our current cultural and values contexts. If we do not share this understanding of God’s free (to us) and liberating grace, other “gospels” will come in to fill the vacuum and they will not be life-giving! Can we recover the enthusiasm of those early disciples?
Describe your leadership style. (1,000 characters maximum, with spaces)
I treasure what is life- and identity-giving and discern in community with others a vision for healthy ways to build on these and innovative ways to bring the message of the Gospel to bear on the nature of the times and places in which we are planted.
My first call was a relationship of mutual learning and growth. I was new. There was a lot I needed to learn. The congregation was patient. We tried new things. We questioned things we had always done. We changed. We grew, both inwardly and numerically. But most importantly we worshiped together and cared for each other and the world around us. My pastoral style was to set that tone and model a spirit of welcome and inclusion in my relationship with parishioners and those we met and served.
I have learned that, as I have established a reputation for being trustworthy, thoughtful and loving, changes come more easily and with more acceptance. This style leads to the willingness of the community to take greater risks and be more innovative.