Sunday morning brought out parishioners of to welcome their new pastor.
"This is my first day here, and I am so excited to be the pastor of a congregation again," Ronald Gothberg said to a round of applause.
Pastor Gothberg comes from LUHI, Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School, where he was the chaplain for the past 18 years.
For Gothberg's first official day, he preached about the common human difficulty of loneliness. He related it to the day's gospel about Jesus walking on water.
"Did you ever have a sinking feeling of loneliness, of loss, of separation ... a fear of not making a difference, that we don't matter," Gothberg asked, adding, "Jesus is reaching out to you just as he did to Peter in that boat...Loneliness is basically a fear of rejection, of not being able to handle what life throws at us....but Jesus cares for us in our loneliness, He shows us how to minister to others in loneliness."
Gothberg talked about many people who fill their lives with constant noise, clutter, TV, iPods, computers, et cetera.
"Don't be too busy that you don't have any solitude at all," Gothberg said. "We sometimes have a fear of silence, of facing ourselves. We can use moments of solitude to commune with God."
He ended his speech by saying, "I want you to know that I am here for you in any way and in every way I possibly can."
A coffee hour was held following the service, where the congregation greeted and chatted with their new pastor.
"We're glad we can be here to welcome him," said Gertrude Airone. "And we're grateful that he'll be here for some time now."
Anna Marie Gieschen noted, "My first impression of him is that I like him very much."
Kurt Langjahr added, "I think he's just what we need."