Introducing Pastor Jim Graeser and his wife Nicole!
October 12, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church,
God is good all the time! All the time, God is good! Over the past 35 years we have said this chant hundreds of times as a congregation when we have experienced or witnessed the goodness of God in our midst. Once again, we have good reason to proclaim our praises to God. Pastor James Graeser has shared with us that he is accepting the call to be the Lead Pastor of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Juno Beach, FL.
On Sunday, October 4, the HSLC Church Council presented Pastor James Graeser to the congregation, gathered at a Special Congregation Meeting, as a candidate to be the next Lead Pastor of HSLC. The congregation met to vote whether to call him or not. 184 people were in attendance, 85% voted yes to call him. The ELCA constitution requires a 66.66% yes vote to call. Therefore, the call was issued to Pastor James Graeser on October 4. We were contacted by Pastor Jim this past week and he told us that he is accepting the call. The exact arrival dates have not been set yet, but we are expecting Pastor Jim to lead worship on Sunday, November 15.
You probably have many good questions now that are too early to answer. But over the next few weeks many of them will be addressed, answered and publicized. In the meantime, let us rejoice in the goodness of God that our three-year journey of discernment and searching has come to an end. God has provided us with a gifted Lead Pastor who will come alongside of us and lead us into the future.
In the meantime, I invite you to rejoice with me, give thanks to God and let us pray for a smooth transition for Pastor Jim and his wife Nicole as they move from Texas to south Florida. Also pray for the people of our congregation as we warmly welcome and receive Pastor Jim and Nicole into our church family.
Peter Randolph, Church Council President
Scroll down to view a few of Pastor Jim's Sermons
Pastor James E. Graeser, Jr. is being recommended to you by Holy Spirit Lutheran Church’s congregational council. Since October 2017,Pastor Jim has served as Lead Pastor for King of Glory Lutheran Church in Dallas, Texas. All of his previous calls were in the Florida-Bahamas Synod.
Pastor Jim earned a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, in 1995. After being ordained in July 1995, his first call was to Advent Lutheran Church in Orange Park (Jacksonville), Florida, as Associate Pastor for Youth and Family Ministries. This was a homecoming of sorts, as Advent hosted his internship while in seminary. In 1998, Advent Lutheran Church partnered with ELCA Churchwide to plant a new congregation in nearby Fleming Island, Florida. Pastor Jim accepted a new call to be this church start’s Pastor-Developer.
This new church start, Cross+Road Lutheran Church in Fleming Island, Florida, organized as an official congregation of the ELCA in 2001. Pastor Jim served there for fifteen years and guided Cross+Road through two building programs, while growing membership to 625 baptized souls.
Pastor Jim was then called to serve as Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission for the Florida-Bahamas Synod in 2013, with responsibilities for congregations in the north half of the synod. When then-Bishop Schaefer chose to conclude his term early, Pastor Jim saw this as an opportunity to return to parish ministry which he missed deeply. King of Glory Lutheran Church called him, and he moved to Dallas.
Soon after moving, Pastor Jim met his wife Nicole; they were married during Sunday morning worship in March 2019. Nicole has lived her entire life in Dallas. She is a cyber security manager for one of the major health systems in Texas. Nicole and Jim have four daughters from previous marriages: Amber (34) lives in Charleston, South Carolina; Ashley (33) is married (Andy), and lives in Washington, DC, with their three children; Makinsey (23) lives in Houston, Texas; and Alex (22) lives in Monroeville, Alabama.
Nicole and Pastor Jim share many common interests. They are avid motorcyclists; both enjoy travel in all its forms. Nicole and Jim love to cook, do home improvement projects, and play board games. They enjoy movies, fine dining, and live music. Both love to be active and look forward to taking advantage of the beautiful setting Palm Beach County offers.
Pastor Jim grew up in Northwest Ohio, where his dad (now deceased) was also a Lutheran pastor. Pastor Jim did not set out to follow in his father’s footsteps. He attended Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where he started off as a computer science major; after his first week of calculus, he determined that his career path led elsewhere. By the end of his sophomore year, he discerned his call to public ministry.
Nicole and Jim are both the babies of their families of origin—their parents could finally rest at perfection J. Pastor Jim’s mom and two sisters remain in Ohio, and Nicole’s mom and majority of her three sisters and four brothers remain in the Dallas area.