Local Lutheran church part of something bigger than itself

  • Pastor William Ringer has led the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in New Ipswich, along with one of its sister congregations in Troy, for the past five years. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/25/2019 1:32:06 PM

When you’re part of something bigger than yourself, you can make a real difference.

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in New Ipswich has a congregation of about 60 people, but they are part of a larger network that helps them to minister on a much larger scale, Pastor William Ringer said in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript.

Ringer began at Our Redeemer, five years ago. He also doubles as the pastor at the Christ Lutheran Church in Troy, performing Sunday morning service there before driving to New Ipswich for a second service.

He attended Thiel College, where he got a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy, and then attended the Concordia Theological Seminary in Maine to complete his Master of Divinity degree.

The congregation is part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which has 6,000 congregations worldwide, making it the second largest Lutheran body in the United States.

The two churches are the first Ringer has led as a pastor, he said. Lutheran pastors don’t choose the churches they minister to. They are part of a roster at the Synod, which places them at member churches.

“It’s the will of God where we end up,” Ringer said. “It just happened this congregation and Troy is where I was placed.”

Ringer, who is originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, is a life-long Lutheran and said he knew from the time he was a teenager he wanted to be a Lutheran minister.

“Family was very influential in that decision for me. Faith was a core component of our home,” he said. “I love the word of God. For me, the most important thing is the salvation of Jesus Christ, and every week, I get to teach that. I can’t think of a better job.”

Though he didn’t know where he would be placed, he said, he could take comfort in the fact that whatever church he led, the nature of the church and the beliefs would be the same as the ones he grew up with.

“You’re not walking into something unknown,” he said. “The worship is familiar, and the beliefs are solidified.”

It’s one of the benefits of being part of a larger organization, he said.

“We don’t exist merely as a congregation,” Ringer said. “We have sister congregations across the world.”

What that means, Ringer said, is when the church comes together to assist on an issue, they know they are only one of the thousands of congregations doing so. The Synod has come together to help to raise funds for communities to rebuild after natural disasters or after events like the Newtown shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

“Independent congregations coming together can make a huge impact,” Ringer said. “For things like that, having a big network comes in handy.”

But the church also has outreach into its own local community, Ringer said. Each year, they have an angel tree for the church member to buy Christmas presents for children in need, carol and collect gifts for Friendship Manor in New Ipswich, and support the Pregnancy Resource Center in Keene.

The church also hosts a long-running pre-school program for 3 to 5-year-olds, which includes children both from the church and non-church members from the local community. The program was originally a kindergarten program, but has been running in some form for more than three decades, Ringer said.

“We’re a close-knit community, and people take care of each other,” Ringer said.

For more information, a listing of services for Easter services or to listen to recent sermons, visit www.ourredeemernh.org/.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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