35 years of touching lives
As a child, Ron Sedo always told people he wanted to be a pastor when he grew up.
He did just that, and he recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of his ordination.
Sedo, who has been serving Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church since February 2009, was ordained Feb. 22, 1976, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Russell, Kan., the home church of his wife Marilyn.
He was retired and living in Kelowna when the bishop asked him to come back and serve part time at Shepherd of the Valley.
“It’s been an absolute delight,” he said of his time with the congregation, which worships at the Roman Catholic Heritage Church in Comox. “This congregation is small, but it is certainly committed to its mission and its ministry, not only as a local community church, but it is also very committed to the Lutheran Federation.
“They really see themselves not so much as a closed shop but an open door. Everyone is welcome here. Everyone is treated as equal in the sight of God. I think that’s our strength as a parish.”
For a congregation of 80 baptized members, attendance every Sunday is usually about half the congregation, and members are very much involved in the sacramental ministry of the church, explained Sedo.
“This is a small community of faith, but it is a community that has an identity and has a ministry, and we’re alive and well,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to serve this parish.
“Growing up in the church, I can testify to what’s in a loving community, and this really is a loving community.”
For Sedo, a highlight of his time at Shepherd of the Valley is seeing the congregation moving among, and ministering, to the community even though it is very small.
“They do a tremendous amount of outreach, and that’s a daily thing,” he said. “They have a very defined sense of community. For many of our members, especially the older ones, the congregation really is their family. You certainly can experience that spirit when you walk in here.”
Sedo was born Feb. 14, 1946, in Edmonton.
His father was serving as pastor at Rollyview, east of Leduc, Alta. The family moved to Manitoba, Chicago, then back to Edmonton.
Sedo’s father was elected bishop in 1958, and the family moved to Saskatoon.
In 1963, the family moved to Russell, Kan.
Sedo says the first person he met was Marilyn, and he determined then and there that he would make her his wife.
After school, Sedo moved to Ponoka, Alta., where he worked in the funeral business.
In 1968, he returned to Kansas and attended Bethany Lutheran College.
The Sedos were married in Salina, Kan., in 1970.
In 1972, Sedo attended Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, and he completed his internship in Denver, Colo. Sedo’s first parish was Faith Lutheran in Osbourne, Kan. From there, he went to Peace Lutheran in St. Francis, Kan.
Sedo returned to Canada in 1987 and served at Our Saviour in Prince George.
Sedo’s fourth parish was Faith Lutheran in Kelowna.
He did a one-year interim call at Christ Lutheran in Kelowna, and his penultimate stop was at Peace Lutheran in Vernon.
It’s the people who have really made a real impact on Sedo over the course of his career.
“My 35 years’ experience has been movement from one community to another, learning who they are and them learning who I am and in that context growing and learning about myself — that’s the excitement,” he said. “The excitement is to get to know new people and new experiences and being immersed in a lifestyle and the people you minister. That’s the greatest joy ... it’s the people. When you leave a congregation, you leave with a bag full of goodies from them — what I’ve learned from them — and they have a bag from me. In every situation, congregations touch the lives of pastors and pastors touch the lives of congregations, it cannot be denied.”
Sedo says growing up with a father who was a Pastor and Bishop definitely influenced the path he took.
“When I was a small child, people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I said pastor,” he said.