Who is new to the Atlantic District?

Who is new to the Atlantic District?

Recently, Carol Mittelstaedt sat down with Rev. Nils Niemeier, pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Setauket, Long Island, to find out what makes him tick.

Interesting and Fun Facts:

  • Rev. Nils Niemeier is 30 years old and hails from Northern Virginia. This is his first call. He was ordained and installed at Messiah in August 2020.
  • Nils is a self-confessed “liturgy nerd” and is trained in the Classics, particularly Greek, Latin, and classical archaeology.
  • He plays multiple musical instruments and was, for a time, a fiddler and mandolinist in a bluegrass band in Northern Virginia. He has written a hymn to be published by Concordia Seminary, and used by the church at large, called, “This is Christ, the Son of Man.”
  • He loves Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin novels and has read them all, a couple of them twice. “Nothing prepares you for a year of quarantines like reading about two hundred men stuck on a 129-foot sailing vessel for months on end!”
  • He also enjoys biology and environmental studies, being influenced by his mother, a biology professor, and his father’s work for the National Marine Fisheries Service.

What or who first led you to be interested in the Ministry?

“As a child of 12 and 13 I had a ‘dark night of the soul,’ where I wondered if God truly loved me and truly forgave me. This led me to read the Catechism and Paul’s letter to the Romans, which gave me great comfort and got me interested in theology. When I started confirmation classes, I was excited by what I was learning and I really enjoyed doing my confirmation homework. One day after church, a friend’s father clapped me on the shoulder and told me that he thought that I would make a great pastor. This planted a seed, and I began to think seriously about the ministry.”

For a time, this idea took a backseat to an interest in classical languages and environmental studies. While at Cornell for graduate school, Nils found himself looking forward to Sunday mornings at church as the highlight of the week, and found he was happiest serving with the congregation. His pastors in college and graduate school, along with his pastors while growing up, gave him great role models in ministry, and their example influenced him finally to go to seminary.

What aspect of Ministry makes you jump out of bed in the morning?

“I greatly enjoy teaching. I get great satisfaction opening up the Bible to both adults and kids. I am really looking forward to using the new CPH catechism curriculum with our older kids this coming fall.

I also love campus ministry because of how it influenced my spiritual journey. I want to pursue getting on campus at Stony Brook University and interacting with the students there. At some point in the future, I would also like to invite students in the music department there to use our sanctuary as a performance space. Perhaps some will even join us on Sundays!”

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