tampabay.com

Church, new pastor heed same call

By JEAN JOHNSON
Published May 26, 2007


SPRING HILL - The Rev. Timothy Orrell has quickly fallen in love with Spring Hill.

Orrell recently took over as pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church after the retirement of the church's previous pastor two years ago.

"I love living in Spring Hill, " Orrell said. "I've lived in Orlando, Melbourne and other places in Florida. My wife grew up in Miami. So Florida is like home, but we never lived on the west coast. We always lived in the center of the state. It's nice and interesting to be on this side."

Although Orrell has been living in Spring Hill for about four months, he is excited about picking up his family in Virginia next week, and he says they're excited, too.

Orrell said his new church "has so much of what the church needs today because it has different services that reflect different worship styles, " but it has not lost its Lutheran identity.

"It's a neat blending, but still one family and one church community. That's really what drew me to this congregation. It's busy and energizing.

"I let them know they were not hiring a ministry, but calling a pastor. We don't go for the financial aspect, but for the call, and when you look at it that way, a whole different world opens up. You see so much potential because it becomes a partnership, a family partnership, as opposed to being an employee as when I was a psychologist."

Born and raised in Winston-Salem, N.C., Orrell has come to Spring Hill from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

After graduating from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in 2002, the 48-year-old father of a teenage boy and girl received his doctorate in psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

Why did Orrell become a minister?

As a clinical psychologist, he said, he worked with people who had strokes and injuries and helped them as part of a rehabilitation team. But "I found that although I loved that kind of work, God was calling me to do more than what I was doing there. He wanted me to do something further than that, " Orrell said.

"Back in 1997, I had a pastor all summer who talked with me at length about this and said I might want to think about seminary, and I thought it made sense. I love to teach and preach and enjoy all aspects of what it means to minister to a congregation."

Norma Karpiscak has been a member of Holy Cross Lutheran for 20 years. As chairwoman of the call committee, she said she found Orrell to be laid back and easy to get along with.

"He definitely involves the congregation in his sermons, and they participate, " she said. "He relates so well to the young folks, and that's important."

"He is the pastor in a very pastoral way. He tries to teach people the relationship they should have with God and does an excellent job. He's willing to take all kinds of advice and has strong, good ideas to make the church grow by involving the congregation and getting them to do things instead of just sitting there and having a Sunday idea of going to church and that's that, " Karpiscak said.

"I've known people in the church for years who have never said a peep, but now they're responding. When we leave church, they say, 'Gosh, wasn't that wonderful?' "

Orrell said his wife and two children will be involved in the church.

"They re active in many ways. Not out of a sense of responsibility; they enjoy it. This is family call. I started seminary when my son was in second grade and my daughter in kindergarten, so they've gone through the seminary process and the church in the Shenandoah Valley and here."

Daughter Melia is part of the women's sewing group, and son Logan is on the worship and music team and helps play the drums.

Orrell said his children are "free agents" when it comes to the church, "although we encourage it."

"They're both avid musicians and enjoy track and cross-country skiing, " he said. "My daughter plays volleyball, and they are both actors and hope to find their way to a community theater because that's what they want to do. They're the kind of kids every family wants to be proud of."

Orrell, who pastored Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Woodstock, Va., for five years, said he's "very blessed to be a pastor. It's hard work - harder than I ever would have imagined in seminary - but also work that I feel continually to be called to do. ... I couldn't see myself doing anything else."

If you go

Official ceremony

The official installation ceremony for the Rev. Timothy Orrell will be at 5 p.m. June 30 at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The church is at 6193 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill. Call 683-9016.