Beginning Ministry In a Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt lives, the traumas caused by loss of life, employment, and social norms have brought many to the breaking point. However, for some the pandemic has cultivated a call to serve even more.

Tammy Schacher works as the assistant to Jon Anderson, bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod where she helps run the day to day operations of the synod office. However, when her “day job ends,” he puts on her second hat as a volunteer EMT and ambulance director in rural Minnesota.

Like many other parts of the United States, rural Minnesota lacks hospitals and sufficient EMT personnel to optimally service communities sometimes more than 50 miles from their nearest hospital.  To compensate, healthcare providers and fire departments rely on volunteers to help service outlying areas.

After learning of the shortage of volunteers in her area, Schacher signed up.

“Ten years ago, I was really sick one night, and my husband was on the fire department, and I’d hear them calling over the radio,” she said. “They had to page twice for an ambulance because they didn’t have enough people. I knew there was a need, and I felt like I needed to help.”

Volunteering approximately 10 hours a week to her role as an ambulance director, Schacher fields calls and ensures staff is able to appropriately respond to emergencies while ensuring COVID safety protocols are observed.

Additionally, when the teams are overstretched, she steps in herself and answers EMT calls.

Feeling blessed to have the support of her supervisor, Schacher remarked, “Bishop Jon has always been very supportive. Last week we were in the middle of a Teams call, and the tones dropped and he said, ‘Go.’ Bishop Jon says I always run to the fire—that’s why I’m the synod assembly manager, and that’s why I do this.”

Noting the challenges she faces in her EMT role, Schacher is grateful for the opportunity to serve her community and protect them during this challenging time. She is one of the everyday heroes often overlooked, but should never to be forgotten.

Source: Living Lutheran