September 8, 2017
Greetings to the people of God at Trinity Episcopal Church in Torrington.
I hope to briefly give a sense of who this “Deacon Nik” is, who will suddenly appear at the altar on Sunday mornings and may be found snooping around the church at various times during the week.
I grew up in Boise, ID, and stayed there until 2013 when I moved to Sewanee, TN to study in seminary. I was baptized in a Presbyterian church (PCUSA) close to home, and stayed a part of that community until I ventured off to explore other Christian traditions. I spent a few years in Nazarene church with a big youth program, and then joined a Lutheran parish where I first experienced the liturgies of Holy Week, the beginning of a tug toward what many call a more liturgical tradition. My introduction to the Episcopal Church came in 2008, when I was studying music at Boise State University. A nearby Episcopal church, St. Stephen's, was in such desperate need of an organist that they hired me as a pianist! Since then, St. Stephen's in Boise, ID has raised me up as a leader and sponsored me as a seminarian.
I met my wife Carrie in Sewanee when she rather conveniently moved in two doors down from mine, to begin her studies of a masters degree in Theology and Literature. Since Carrie grew up in Cheshire, CT, we got married at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Cheshire on January 2, 2016. Following her own call, Carrie now serves at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, where we live in the Curate house.
Following my calling to serve smaller congregations as a parish minister, I thought I would return to Idaho and serve as a priest in the rural southeast following seminary. Getting married changed that: Carrie's own discernment also leads to priestly ordination, and eastern Idaho would be a real challenge for a clergy couple.
Moving to Connecticut in June, I soon found an opportunity to exercise my ministry as Deacon with Fr. David McIntosh at St. Andrew's in Kent, while Fr. Roger White was on medical leave. With Fr. White on the mend, and my wife placed in Newtown, I answered a call to serve you – the people of Trinity Torrington. I have a strong sense that the Holy Spirit has been orchestrating events this summer, and I hope you find the same to be true as well.
I'm excited to learn what it looks like to be the community of Christ in Torrington today (I don't know yet!), and what that will look like as we pass into the ever changing future. Yes, God will still be God. Yes, the message and the power of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will feed us and nourish our ministry. And yes, the Holy Spirit will guide us to new places we didn't know we could go, just as she always has. But what that will look like to us, in the turning of each passing moment, will appear to change. And seeing God's hand at work is exciting!
Before I finish, here is a little extra background: I enjoy mountain biking, X/C and downhill skiing, and aviation (I have a private pilot’s license and a half dozen remote control model planes). I have a deep love of community and when people come together to be God's loving hands in the world.
I look forward to worshiping with you, working alongside you, and getting to know you all better.
The Reverend Nikolaus Combs, Deacon