As a TEEM candidate, Conklin had been serving the congregation in the capacity of “interim” pastor since Oct. 1, when former Pastor Don Taylor’s retirement became effective. Conklin grew up in Corpus Christi and currently lives there with his wife, Gracie, and their two youngest children, Gene and Gabbi.
Council President Jim Stevenson said, “We are thrilled to have Gary as our new permanent pastor at Faith. He has done an outstanding job in the past nine months serving as our interim pastor, while he also completed his studies and finished up his seminary obligations.”
Stevenson added, “Gary brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with him that you would not normally expect from a recent seminary graduate.” Conklin worked for about 20 years as a probation officer before entering the seminary.
Conklin has already become familiar to many area residents, as he is serving on the Beeville Vineyard board; he is also the church’s representative to the Chamber of Commerce, and he is active in the Ministerial Alliance. In addition, he was selected to be one of the speakers this past year for the St. Philip’s Lenten Luncheon Series. He also attended his first Emmaus Walk in April and is active in the local Emmaus Windmill Community.
Conklin graduated from Lutheran Seminary Program of the Southwest in May, and the Faith Lutheran Congregation voted to extend the letter of call to him on Sunday, June 10. However, Conklin has a couple of ceremonies to complete before he will be the “official new pastor” at Faith. The first ceremony will be this Sunday, June 24, when Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s Southwest Synod Bishop, Ray Tiemann, ordains Conklin at 3 p.m. at Saint John, Conklin’s home church, in Robstown.
Stevenson said, “Since this is our year to host Vacation Bible School, we needed to make a slight change to the schedule this year. Faith Lutheran has joint Vacation Bible School with First Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and First United Methodist Church. Originally, Vacation Bible School was going to begin on Sunday. However, it is a rare opportunity for a congregation to attend the ordination of their new pastor, and many members of our congregation plan to go to Robstown for Gary’s ordination. Therefore, the joint Vacation Bible School will begin on Monday, June 25, and run through Friday, June 29, so that all of our members have the opportunity to attend his ordination.”
On Sunday, July 1, there will be a special worship service held at Faith Lutheran Church when Pastor Don Taylor, Coastal Bend Conference dean and former pastor of Faith, will install Conklin as the new pastor.
Stevenson said, “Conklin’s installation will be at 3 p.m., giving area clergy and other people in the community a chance to attend his installation.”
There will be a reception in the church fellowship hall immediately following the service. Everyone is invited to attend the installation and help welcome Conklin and his family to the community.