At Sunday's special Congregation Meeting, the congregation overwhelmingly supported the motion to approve extending a call to Pastor Brian Julin-McCleary as our new Senior Pastor. We are so excited to be looking to the future and joyfully taking God's love into the world with Pastor Brian and his family. The below is a letter Pastor Brian prepared, expressing his excitement and giving a little bit of additional information on himself and his family.
Greetings Folks of St. John Lutheran Cedar Falls!
My name is Brian Julin-McCleary and I am grateful to be a Pastor in the ELCA. More than that I'm grateful to be pursued foolishly by God and given an identity as beloved child of God. My spouse of 17 years, Natalie, and I have adventured from Seattle (her hometown and my college town) to St. Paul, MN and Texas (Seminary days), back to Washington State to serve at Holden Village for two years and then to Nebraska where we've served for going on 8 years (her as a domestic violence advocate in a local social service agency and me in an ELCA congregation). Our daughter, Sophie, is a 12 year old with a gift for working with little kids, loves her dance competition team, and volleyball. Our son, Toby, is a 14 year old musician, basketball/baseball player, and focused student with an eye toward a career in veterinary medicine. They both astound me in their excellent academic work and positive contributions to the school atmosphere (whereas I took longer than many to adjust to doing other than getting attention!). All four of us are dedicated musical theater fans and participants. Natalie has directed the last several productions at our local high school and been involved in community theater productions throughout her life. Seeing "Hamilton" in Omaha this past fall was a highlight of the year for each of us and if you ever need a complete rendition, check in with Sophie.
I am a proud graduate of Cedar Falls High School (class of '98), after which I majored in "life experience" for a few years, serving in different ministry ways including a year as a Young Adults in Global Mission (a great ELCA program) volunteer in Liverpool, U.K. Natalie's family lives in Seattle though her Father has recently begun talks with us to move to our location while continuing to live independently. My parents live in Cedar Rapids now, as does my older sister and her family. We have loved life and ministry in our current context but have been recently open to new challenges and an opportunity to be in closer proximity to family.
I am a grateful recovering alcoholic, sober for eight and a half years. Through the grace of God, the AA program and the gift of rigorous honesty I have been given the daily opportunity for fuller life and more empathetic ministry. Besides Scripture, lots of coffee, and rich conversation about faith and life, I enjoy being outdoors hiking and biking (having spent many hours and days at George Wyth); I am an Iowa Hawkeyes fan and a devoted follower of Liverpool Football Club (currently having an insanely good year...now's the time to get on the wagon if you've not yet got a European team to support).
I look forward to the opportunity to share in your life and faith, pointing together to Jesus and bearing our wounds for the sake of the world God so desperately loves and desires to see made new (on both a grand scale and in the minutiae of our individual lives).
In resurrection hope,