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Summers installed as Our Savior's pastor June 3

Scott Summers, pastor at Our Saviour
Scott Summers, pastor at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Arlington, looks forward to taking advantage of the area trails and other outdoor opportunities in his new hometown.
— image credit: Courtesy photo.

ARLINGTON — By the time he's officially installed at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Arlington on Sunday, June 3, Scott Summers will have already served as its pastor for a month.

But before Summers' arrival, the 119-year-old church had spent the past five years without a permanent pastor at all, by relying on interim pastors and guest speakers to step up to the pulpit while church secretary Camille McDugald coordinated the congregation's business.

McDugald and Dianne Engelsen, a member of the church for 20 years, welcomed the arrival of Summers, who delivered his first sermon at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church during its 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday, May 6.

Engelsen acknowledged that the interim period prior to Summers' arrival was longer than usual for the church, but she deemed Summers a pastor worth waiting for.

Although the 55-year-old Summers is new to western Washington, he has a lifelong history with the Pacific Northwest, from growing up riding horses on his family's wheat and cattle ranch in Walla Walla to majoring in agricultural economics at Washington State University, where his interests turned to the ministry instead of his prior plans of becoming a rancher.

"Studying the teachings of Jesus and being part of a Christian community exposed me to a whole new way of looking at the world and at my life, and filled a spiritual hunger I had felt," said Summers, who began attending a Lutheran church in Walla Walla after "being introduced to Christ" at WSU. "Out of that experience, I began to have a sense of calling to pastoral ministry, which took my life in a whole different direction. It was transformational."

After graduating from the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., in 1990, Summers served at churches in the eastern Oregon towns of Ontario and Vail for seven years. During this time, he met and married his future wife, Susan, with whom he had son Joshua and daughter Rachel before moving on to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Woodburn, Ore., in 1997. He served the next 15 years in Woodburn, south of Portland.

Scott and Susan are buying a home in Arlington, while 16-year-old Rachel gets ready to attend Arlington High School in the fall, but in the meantime, "Pastor Scott," as he's already known by his parishioners, is looking forward to his 4 p.m. installation ceremony at the church on Sunday, June 3, under the direction of Northwest Lutheran Synod Bishop, the Rev. William Chris Boerger. Our Saviour's Lutheran Church is part of the Northwest Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Engelsen touted Summers' love of athletics and outdoor activities as interests that make him a good fit for the local community. Just as Engelsen believes that he brings a creative approach to his ministry, so has Summers himself placed priorities on bringing the church's message to young people and connecting with the community through service, the latter of which he praised parishioners for already taking the lead on.

"I'm enthused by the positive energy of Our Saviour's congregation," said Summers of the church, which already provides a community preschool, a cold-weather shelter for the homeless, sack lunches for the Arlington Community Food Bank and volunteer support for Lutheran World Relief projects.

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church is located at 615 E. Highland Dr. in Arlington and conducts regular Sunday services at 10:30 a.m.

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