The Rev. Greg Harbaugh became the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Hollidaysburg in January.
Although he grew up in Johnstown, he said Hollidaysburg and Altoona are new areas for him and his wife, Lisa.
He previously served at a parish near Pine Grove Mills. He said the transition to Zion has been smooth, and things are back on track after an 1- year interim period between pastors.
(Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich) The Rev. Greg Harbaugh is pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, 500 Allegheny St., Hollidaysburg.
Harbaugh said he is enjoying his call to Zion.
"I love it. The people are great. They have been welcoming and hospitable," he said.
Harbaugh has introduced some services to the church. Evening vespers are held Tuesdays and prayers are held at 10 a.m. Thursday. A Communion service has been added at 12:10 p.m. Wednesdays.
Name: Greg Harbaugh
Family: Wife, Lisa, and son, Zack
Education: Bachelor of Arts at Gettysburg College; Master of Divinity, Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg and Master of Science in pastoral counseling at Loyola College.
Previous pulpits served: Lakeside, Harrisburg; Zion, Dauphin; Salt Lake City; Lutheran Campus Ministry at Penn State and Pine Hall, State College.
Years in ministry: 31
Harbaugh said he added the services "to encourage people to get together and pray ... to stop and pause and offer prayer. It's my own discipline to pray the Daily Offices [devotional time], so I am inviting people to come and join in."
He said he keeps the Communion service to 30 minutes so worshippers who work have an opportunity for lunch.
Harbaugh belongs to the Society of the Holy Trinity, a ministerium of Lutheran pastors dedicated to an evangelistic, catholic understanding of Christianity.
He said the ministers support each other and hold each other accountable.
The Mirror asked him the following questions about his work:
What inspired you
to become a spiritual leader?
I was grasped by the Lord in baptism as an infant, nurtured through God's Word and Sacraments, drawn to ordained ministry during my junior year of high school with the help of several mentors, including some unlikely ones.
While in seminary, I became convinced of the intellectual integrity of Christian doctrine. Then Lakeside called me, and the Lutheran church decided to go ahead and ordain me.
So, here I am, Lord!
What has been your biggest blessing?
Being saved through faith in Jesus Christ the risen Lord and through him sharing in the life of the Triune God-Father, Son and Holy Spirit. After that, my life with Lisa and Zack.
What are your talents & spiritual gifts?
Serving as a pastor, preaching, teaching, counseling; deep and abiding faith in Christ; desire to proclaim God's Word faithfully and, I hope, in ways that engage people; leading meaningful worship; visioning and planning; caring for those in need; contemplative prayer, conviction of Christ's living presence.
How can the church be more relevant in the 21st century?
By witnessing to the spiritual depth and strength that comes through faith in Jesus Christ as we live our live humbly, authentically and with integrity.
We work to reframe the church's message within contemporary ways of knowing, social structures and language usage while maintaining continuity with the ancient great tradition.
What could be more relevant in a fragmented society and fractured world than the community of faith that stretches through the millennia, across cultures and around the globe?
At the same time, our message of God's love in Jesus has to be matched more closely with our active caring for others and each other, especially those that differ greatly from us.
We Christians have often let our agendas get in the way of God's intentions of love, peace and blessing for all people.
Within the recognition that we are simultaneously working through being "sinners" and "saints," the church continues seek ways to live out God's will, word and way for us and all people even as the Holy Spirit gifts us with his presence and with differing gifts for the sake of God's mission.
Prayer, worship in community, devotional study of the Bible and church teaching, giving and serving others are among the important practices needed for deepening and strengthening authentic Christian faith as we move forward in the 21st century.
What are your interests?
Well, I enjoy home time with Lisa, kayaking, biking and hiking; reading and movies; hanging out with friends and congregation members (they're sometimes both); and drumming (hand drums, bodhran, skin drums).