Finding Hope, Even in the Waiting: New St. John’s Lutheran Pastor Strives to Stay Ahead of the Curve
, 2022-06-06 18:18:00,
By Carrina Stanton / For The Chronicle
There may be no better description of the era in which Rev. Jim Odden came to St. John’s Lutheran, nor his attitude toward it, than what is inked directly onto his skin.
Pastor Jim, as he prefers to be called, has a tattoo on his knuckles spelling out the Hebrew word Yakhal. Simply put, it means hope. In a larger sense, it is the type of hope that urges us to both wait for and to look for the object of our hope.
“It’s hoping for the best, waiting for it to come and, also, we’re going to get a few calluses working toward it,” Odden said of the meaning of the inscription.
Odden took over pastoral duties at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Chehalis about six months ago. Prior to coming to Chehalis, he pastored the Mountain View Ministry parish in rural North Dakota for four years. Prior to that, he worked as a chaplain at St. Cloud Veterans Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota. An avid outdoorsman, Odden said he had his sights on finding a church in the Pacific Northwest for a while before coming to Chehalis.
“Between mountains, trees or water I say if I have two of the three, I’m happy,” Odden said.
When he was young, Odden’s parents moved their family frequently to follow available work opportunities. His religious upbringing was ecumenical: his father was Lutheran, his mother was Catholic and his stepfather was Baptist. Pastor was not a career goal for Odden when he was very young. He began working in carpentry with his dad and brother as a teenager and continued in that line of work off and on for about 25 years. As an adult, he began to feel called to ministry and, as he tells it, “Ignored the tap on my shoulder for far too long.”
Eventually, he attended…
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