PASTOR STEVE MAHAFFEY
Pictures from Pastor's Installation
Monthly Reports to Executive Council
'Weekly Message' Below
September 8, 2022 Weekly Message
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
I’ve never been much of a worrier. I realized a long time ago that most things are out of our control, accepted that as fact, and decided not to waste my emotional energy on “worrisome” matters. But I have to make a confession … I’ve recently been a little anxious about my upcoming vacation. That’s right, you heard (read) me correctly. I’m a little anxious about my two-week vacation. Let me explain.
The last 7 to 8 months have been a time of transition for me. The first half of this time I was “readying” myself for the move to Medina: packing and purging things in my house; actively saying farewell to the good people of St. Luke’s in Marietta; ensuring the house sale would go through by making necessary improvements and upgrades; making certain everything was “in place” at the church for when I left and they would be without a pastor; and involved with all things pertaining to planning a move. It was exhausting! The second half of this time was adjusting and learning all things pertaining to St. Matthew and my new life here in Medina: unpacking and settling in at the new home and in my new office; actively saying hello to the good people of St. Matthew through visits, evening meals, meetings and activities; learning names, new worship settings, new staff members, and basically all things pertaining to the life and mission the our church. It was what I’d call a “deep-dive,” something that I knew I needed to do in order to begin to understand and feel the “heartbeat and rhythm” of the congregation. And as you can imagine, it too was exhausting!
Enter plans for my upcoming two-week vacation. For about a year-and-a-half now I’ve had plans to travel out west to do a 12-day bicycle ride with 5 others (a friend from Marietta, and 4 others from the Bend, Oregon area that I met while riding across the US in 2019). It’s something I’ve anticipated and eagerly awaited. My friend and I put in many miles prior to the last 7-8 months on our bicycles, talking and dreaming about what this adventure will look like. It’s been on the radar for a long time. But the last 7-8 months haven’t allowed me the time that I’d hoped for in order to prepare for this 600-mile adventure in the Canadian Rockies. In fact, I’ve logged very few miles in preparation for what I think will be required of me to be able to enjoy myself. And that’s the part that makes me anxious. In my mind, I know I can do it. I know my body is capable, and after a few days will likely “snap” right into the daily routine. I know this because I’ve been through it before. I know there’s no reason to feel anxious, because it will be what it will be. And yet, there’s a part of me that also knows the level of exertion I’m about to make, how deeply I will push my body, and what that feels like both mentally and physically. THAT’S what makes me feel anxious.
I know we all experience this at points in our life, the feeling of anxiety about one thing or another. So I’m sure you can relate in some way. And I’m certain Jesus knew this as well about us … which is why he often encourages us to “not worry,” or “be afraid,” to “live life one day at a time,” and “to trust.” It’s sometimes easier said than done, but when we attempt to live our lives this way, taking each day (and sometimes each moment) as it comes, it certainly “frees” us from this urge to worry.
So, I’m going to try my best to not feel anxious, and just enjoy the ride and celebrate the fact that each day I ride my bicycle on this trip I’ll be surrounded by good friends, God’s beautiful creation, and praise God for the opportunity, the time, and the ability to ride!
Oh, and if you’re interested in following along, my plan will be to write a short daily post and include some pictures from each day (as long as I have cell service) on Facebook. Search The Ponderings of a Pedaling Pastor on Facebook, “follow” and “like” it, and travel along with me each day. And if you’re interested, while you’re at it you can read all about my 3-month experience bicycling across the USA while on sabbatical in 2019.
In Christ, with Christ, for Christ!
Reverend Steven Mahaffey (Pastor Steve) is originally from North Canton, Ohio. After graduating from GlenOak High School in 1990, he attended and graduated from Capital University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. Upon graduation, he worked as a substitute teacher in Columbus and the surrounding areas, as well as worked as a downtown bicycle messenger. After a year of substitute teaching, he was hired to teach the 5 th grade in Euless, Texas, located between Dallas and Fort Worth. During the last of his three years of teaching in Euless he discerned God’s call to become a minister. The first year and a half of his seminary training he attended Brite Divinity School, located on the campus of Texas Christian University. He transferred to Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Bexley, Ohio to complete his Master of Divinity. Following his classroom time and internship at All Shepherds in Lewis Center, Ohio, he accepted the call to serve St. Luke’s Lutheran in Marietta, Ohio, where he has served these past 18 years.
While serving St. Luke’s, in addition to the normal role a pastor plays within the life of a
congregation (planning and leading worship, committee meetings, oversight of staff, weddings, funerals, catechism, regular home and hospital visits), he remained committed to teaching, instructing the adults in over two-thirds of the Bible line by line, verse by verse. He enjoys music, participating in the vocal choir, singing solos, and ringing bells in the bell choir. He helped to lead the congregation in the updating of its constitution/bylaws/mission statement and core values/job descriptions/and helped create a sabbatical policy. He was active within the ministerial association in the conference of churches, as well as actively participated with the Synod: served for a period as a member of the Southern Ohio Synod Council; helped to develop the Thrive Campaign that’s still ongoing; served as a member of the call committee on calling an assistant to the bishop; as well as helped to cast the vision for the Synod at the transition of the Bishops. He was active in the community, serving as the President of the Harmar Rowing Club for 2 years while his children participated in High School crew, as well as helped to organize, prepare, and manage the racecourse for the Midwest and National Scholastic Rowing Championships. He enjoyed attending sporting events and cultural events in support of the local teams and youth of the congregation.
Pastor Steve believes a person can be “real and down-to-earth” and still possess a deep faith. This belief is reflected in who he is as well as how he approaches ministry and leadership. He believes the healthiest way to approach one another is with open, honest, and direct communication. That said, he shepherded his congregation through the discussions of some sensitive social and justice issues, leading them toward a response grounded in their faith, abiding with hope, and expressed in love. His door is always open and encourages people to come to speak and pray with him if there are questions, concerns, or hurts that need to be addressed. He enjoys working with teams of people, and actively encourages people to become involved in the life of the congregation by using their spiritual gifts. Pastor Steve was married for just shy of 8 years. He raised 3 children: Erin (24), a graduate from the University of Cincinnati with a Business degree in Market Research, she now resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she works at the corporate office for the Milwaukee Power Tool Company; Jacob (22), a graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies, Communications Rhetoric, and a minor in English Literature, he now resides in Pittsburgh where he works for Aldi while seeking employment as a production specialist in the film and tv industries; and Jacob’s twin Jon (22), who will graduate with a Bachelor in Business and a Master’s Degree in Accounting this coming May from the University of Arkansas. Jon plans to remain in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area to work for an accounting firm that’s already hired him!
Pastor Steve enjoys movies, reading (sci-fi/fantasy and theology), cooking, and sampling new
craft beers. His passion is bicycling. He was blessed in 2019 by St. Luke’s with a 3-month
sabbatical in which to renew and recharge for ministry. Working with the congregation, he
planned a self-supported journey by bicycle across the United States. Adamant that he wanted
to share this journey with the congregation, family, and others, as well as demonstrate that
there are more decent and caring people in the world than what many believe, he wrote a daily
post with pictures on Facebook. You can still find this journey on Facebook (The Ponderings of a Pedalling Pastor). And yes, that’s the British spelling of “pedaling!”