|Bogda reflects on years of spiritual service in Taber|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by J.W. Schnarr|
|Wednesday, 29 January 2014 17:09|
The end of 2013 was also the end of an era for the Taber Lutheran Church, as Pastor Carl Bogda retired after 14 years of service.
Bogda officially retired on Dec. 31. His last sermon was held in the afternoon on Dec. 29, and was well attended by church members from both Duchess and Taber, family, and friends. In all, there were close to 100 people to take in the event, which wrapped up with a celebration dinner and some special retirement gifts.
Bogda started the Taber chapter of his career on Nov. 1, 1999. A pastor in the Lutheran Church for the past 20 years, he was ordained on May 19, 1993. In all, he served three congregations in his career. The first was in Thunder Bay, Ont., from 1993 to 1999. Taber was next, beginning in 1999, and then in 2001, he took over as a vacancy pastor in Duchess to serve members of the Lutheran church there. The two congregations came together and formed a parish in 2004, and Bogda stayed on as a called pastor.
“I’d felt the calling to ministry ever since high school,” he said. “But I tried to avoid it for many years. Finally, I finished the seminary course in 1993 at the age of 44 years old.” He admitted he always felt a level of fear that he wouldn’t be able to finish the required schooling.
“I tried and failed to enter the ministry twice,” he said. “The third time I was able to do it, overcoming some intellectual challenges. I either failed or dropped out of school twice before.”
“So the highlight is finishing, for me,” he added. He noted another aspect of his career he particularly enjoyed was teaching bible study. “Helping people to come to see the insights and truth the Bible has to offer is the best part.”
Bogda said he grew up as a very shy person, and found preaching difficult for much of his career. It wasn’t until he realized he was approaching his work from the wrong angle that he was finally able to overcome some of these issues.
“I always used to say, ‘Well, I can do it if the Lord helps me,’” he said. “When I came to writing papers I would ask the Lord to help me. Well, there didn’t seem to be much help there, so I thought I didn’t have enough faith. I finally realized I needed to tell myself the truth. It wasn’t that I should wait for faith, but that I should do it, believing that the faith and motivation will come as I do it. I took back the responsibility I was trying to give to God. As soon as I took responsibility for it, I was able to work through some of the issues and overcome them to succeed.”
“As long as I was waiting for God to do something, nothing happened.”
“Being a pastor of a church there’s nothing exciting that happens much,” he said. “But you have the whole range of human events from sudden death and tragedy to tremendous victory and celebration because of avoidance of such.” He went on to say being in a position to help people during those times of sorrow and joy was one of the aspects of his job he was grateful for.
Bogda said being able to minister to a congregation is a job that gets easier the longer a person does it. It can take time for people to learn to trust a new pastor, so over the years those bonds become more cemented. He felt, after 14 years, he had definitely made some connections with local residents.
“The longer you stay, the better you can minister,” he said.
He also mentioned what he thought was a particular challenge of gaining trust from some members of his congregation in Taber. He said the church was established by German immigrants after the Second World War.
“They have their own issues about trusting people,” he said. “And that just doesn’t go away because you want it to. You have to actually work through it.”
“After so many decades, they’re finally loosening up a bit,” he joked.
“I felt welcomed by the people here,” he added.
He primarily retired because of his wife’s failing health. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1988, and it has become increasingly difficult over the years to handle both his workload and help his wife with her struggle. He knows he is going to miss being the pastor in Taber, and said he wishes he had more time to do the job.
“I wish I could continue rather than retire,” he said. “I’d like to be able to continue.” He added her health wasn’t his only reason for retiring, however.
“It wasn’t just for her, but also for me.”
Bogda said he will be back to be involved with the church again after he and his wife do some travelling over the summer months. They have two daughters and seven grand-children, many of whom are now finding their own way as young adults. Part of his short term plans involve getting out to see them this year.
Bogda said being a pastor for 20 years has taught him to be more insightful when it comes to people, and changed the way he approached people in general. As a younger man, he would often try to anticipate and prepare for the things people did based on his knowledge and his views of them. He said he realized trying to anticipate how people might react to a situation didn’t work out very often, and as a result he began to learn how to react to the situations, a person’s words, and their actions more directly. He also found his relationship with God growing.
“Over the course of a lifetime, you learn to trust God better,” he said.
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