After serving All Saints Episcopal Church in Hershey for almost 20 years, Father Fred Miller decided it was time for a change.
"I wanted to do something different. I wanted a new challenge," said Miller, who is serving as a transitional pastor at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 806 13th St.
He found that his experience suited him for the role of interim pastor or a spiritual leader that helps parishes in need of a new settled priest.
(Mirror photo by Elizabeth Franks) The Rev. Fred Miller is priest-in-charge at St. Luke Episcopal Church, 806 13th St., where Holy Eucharist is celebrated at 8 and 10:15 a.m. (with hymns) Sundays. For more information about the parish, visit stlukesaltoona.org.
Earlier in his ministry, he served as one of six priests at one of the largest Episcopal churches in the United States, and he also served one of the smallest where only 15 people gathered at Christmas. Miller said when he left that church, it had grown to 70 people.
Now he is guiding the people at St. Luke's until a rector is named. He also has served in that role at churches in Somers Point, N.J., and Wichita, Kan.
Miller said the Episcopal church has found a growing need for interim pastors who pave the way for the new settled priest and work with the parish to solve problems.
The Miller file
Name: The Rev. Frederick "Fred" M. Miller
Family: Spouse, Kris; three adult children, Kimberley El-Amin in Virginia, Jason Miller of New York City and Katie Beth Spurr in Oklahoma.
Hometowns: Bloomfield and Cinnaminson, N.J.
Education: B.A. in history at Glassboro State, N.J.; Philadelphia Divinity School, Episcopal Divinity School at Cambridge, Mass.; Master of Divinity, Trinity Counseling Center at Family Systems, Princeton, N.J.; Seabury Western Seminary at Evanston, Ill., Congregational Development; Interim Ministry Network (Transitional Ministry certificate, Washington, D.C.)
Previous pulpits served: Seminary field work parishes (St. Andrew's and St. Monica's, Philadelphia, St. Stephen's, Philadelphia; and Epiphany, Walpole, Mass.;) St Paul's, Westfield, N.J., Trinity, Swedesboro, N.J., Grace, Pemberton, N.J., St. John's, Avalon, N.J., All Saints', Hershey, Pa., Christ, Somers Point, N.J., and St. James, Wichita, Kan.
Years in ministry: 36
He said without the interim step, the church found new priests had a lower success rate.
Miller said today's churches are more mission-minded than when he first answered the call in the 1970s and that St. Luke's is among the parishes reaching out to the community. Among its activities are helping food banks, providing books for prisoners and hosting The Beacon, an ecumenical youth group that meets at the church's parish hall.
The Mirror asked him the following questions about his work:
Who inspired you to become a minister?
My parents, my brother, my Sunday school teachers, my priests combined to show me that teaching others about this wonderful gift of life in the Spirit is the best possible thing I could do with my life.
What has been your biggest blessing?
My wife, who has been with me through it all.
What are your talents?
Preaching (prophecy or speaking the word of the Lord to God's people), discernment, which helps me in my counseling and administration.
What is your biggest challenge as a minister?
Getting people to trust one another so that God's work of
mission may move forward and be the focus of our attention.
What are your interests?
My family, morning walks, reading, golf and watching the World Cup as an old NCAA soccer veteran.