I have been excited to write our very first hello to you all. The whole Cranmer Crew and I have been waiting to meet everyone in person and start the process of adopting each other as a church family. In case you haven’t heard, my name is Colin Cranmer and I am set to be the new Synodically Authorized Minister (I’ll explain in a minute what the title means) at St. Mark’s Church. I have been a Youth and Family Pastor for twelve years and spent the decade before that as a social worker in Elgin where I directed an after-school center for middle and high school to reduce gang recruitment of that age group. Having felt God’s call to shift directions towards whole church leadership, I started seminary three years ago at Garrett-Theological Evangelical Seminary and recently graduated with my Masters in Divinity. I am so grateful that you all have shown up as the beautiful end to that journey and the start of the next. We cannot wait to meet all of you!
As Pr. Dennis explained in an earlier newsletter, a Synodically Authorized Minister means that the Chicago Synod has endorsed me to begin working as a minister while I am still in the process of ordination. The main portion of ordination is completed (degree, chaplaincy, the Lutheran year of courses) and only time spent leading a church is left. The synod is allowing us to pioneer a new form of internship together, which allows a candidate to lead a church that has the potential to extend the call later—or as my mentor, Mark says—I’m a rent-to-own minister!
You might be able to tell by my profession, but I love theology, learning more about God and our relationship with the Divine, helping a community find its identity, and equipping it to explore being a spiritual and ethical group of people, together. I also love terrible jokes, (I am excited to have a new audience to use them on, I hope you’re ready) I started as a jazz saxophone music major, and am a huge foodie. I love to cook and was taught by my great- grandma Marie who was a chef at the Polish Embassy in Chicago during the Great Depression. I have heard rumors about your pasties and your chili and I am thrilled to find my people and cook together.
Along with me comes my beautiful, awesome little family. My best friend and wife Shay is a gifted musician and writer. She is also a great listener and a wise companion to have on the journey. She is a private vocal instructor and wrote children’s educational curriculum for many years, and is now transitioning into being a historical fiction author and we are supporting her as her first book enters the publication world. Shay and I have been married for twelve years and are parents to two fun kids. Ena (rhymes with Emma) is our oldest at eleven. She is an accomplished artist and painter, loves Minecraft, and has a soft heart for babies and children. She wants to be an art therapist when she grows up. Dessa is our red-headed seven year old and has never met a person she didn’t want to have a full conversation with.
She is spirited, hilarious, and the ambassador of friendliness. She wants to be a Crazy Cat Lady when she grows up. She also has some special needs and sensory issues, so we ask for everybody’s patience if Dessa and Shay are hanging out in the glassed-off area during services sometimes.
I’m sure you will get to know all of us over the next many months and vice-versa. All prayers for us in the transition are welcome, as we are praying for you. So excited for the blessings that God has for us all!
In Christ, Colin