the makings of an autobiography
- Name: Rev. Geoffrey A. Wagner
- Occupation: Pastor [LCMS]
- Location: Elizabeth, CO
- Quote: I always recall one from C. S. Lewis: ...[It] is not the remembered but the forgotten past that enslaves us.
I may have only lived for over 45 years, but I seem to have a long history (to me, anyway). I can't recount everything, but there are some major moments in my life, things that have helped me to develop into who am I, and things that will continue to help me develop. It can be said that I am a complicated person; I guess I choose to be. My life is, by no means, ordinary; though it is a story I share with countless other people—Americans born abroad, dependent of a military parent, mulit-national heritage, and developing many interests.
What follows is something of an itemized history. I am sparing you the details...sparing myself, as well. I can't remember everything, and I assuredly won't remember everything, but as I do recall stuff, I'll add it.
:: This would be the day that I took my first breath of air. It happened at the US Army Hospital in Augsburg, Germany. I would not be the only Wagner child born in Germany.
:: The Washing of Regeneration. I was born first to my eartly parents; on this day, my Father in Heaven adopted me as His child in Christ. Does this practice confuse you? Read from the Augsburg Confession (a confessional document of the Lutheran Church, presented to His Imperial Majest Charles V on 25 June 1530):
It is taught among us that Baptism is necessary and that grace is offered through it. Children, too, should be baptized, for in Baptism they are committed to God and become acceptable to Him. On this account the Anabaptists who teach that infant Baptism is not right are rejected.
:: Sometime this year, we moved again. Once more things (and me again) were packed up, and we headed back to Germany. It was good; it kept me in touch with my German heritage and German relatives. This time, we lived in a little town outside Frankfurt called Treysa.
:: Christmas came early in the Wagner home; we were blessed with a new little bundle of joy. All the time mom was pregnant, I knew I was going to have a little sister. Sure enough, I was right.
:: Sometime this year, we moved yet another time. Can you sense a pattern here? All things were packed, and we had Georgia on the mind, specifically Augusta.
:: "Thought I was gonna say orange, didn't you?" Dad was given what is called TDY. It (somehow) stands for Temporary Tour of Duty. He had done this kind of thing before, but not for as long as it would be this time; he would be given orders to be in Korea for one year. It was traumatic on our family; mom was thrust into being a single parent of two children for a whole year. Surprisingly, he did not spend the entire year in Korea. He came home early to go to school to become a Warrant Officer
:: Now, the pattern repeats, moved again. We moved the the Lone Star Republic, as far west in the state of Texas as you can get, more-or-less...El Paso.
:: Another Wagner joins the family. The third and last Wagner child, and the only one born in the United States, took his first breath of air. Just as I knew I was getting a sister back in '79, I knew this time I was getting a brother.
:: Sometime this year, the Army told us to move once more. Things got packed this time my brother was small enough to get packed as well) and we moved back across the Atlantic to Kitzingen, Germany. This would be our last tour in Germany; our last time to visit with our German relatives.
:: We had, perhaps, the grandest family vacation I can remember. Not everyone in my immediate family went, but my American grandparents and one aunt flew over and my uncle and and his son who were stationed in Germany at the time (in the next town over, no less) and the 3 of us (since mom and my brother did not go) went to southern Germany: Berchtesgaden! Anyone who knows about the 101st Airborne in Germany knows about Berchtesgaden (especially if you've watched Band of Brothers
); yes, we went to the Eagle's Nest! We even went into the Salzburg mines, and Salzburg, Austria...saw the cathedral where the Sound of Music
wedding took place. We even saw Neuschwanstein, Ludwig's "fairyland castle" that Disney emulated in Disney World.
:: Confirmation. The faith given to me in the waters of Holy Baptism was confirmed in me this day. This very same evening, I was invited to eat of Jesus' body and drink His blood for the first time; strengthening that faith.
:: My immediate family concluded the vacation that was started last year. We went to the other southern Germany tourist hot-spot: Garmisch. On the way back home, we stopped by the Chiemsee and visited one of Ludwig's other castles on the island in the middle of the lake.
:: Our last move as an entire family. Dad was to be stationed at Ft. Gordon, GA once more. So, we flew from Frankfurt to Charleston, South Carolina. For those that remember, Hurricane Hugo had just gone through the Charleston area, and the area was still littered with trees and other debris from the storm.
:: High School. I couldn't believe I had made it so far. I was enrolled at a magnet high school that specialized in Health Sciences and Engineering; I was in the engineering tract. You could say I was on the right track for a great career. All this, and I was only 14...
:: Senior Year. ...then I turned 17, and it was my senior year. Everyone remembers their senior year in high school. We were a bunch of 17 year-olds (generally speaking) who thought we knew it all. Graduation at the end doesn't help matters any.
:: Graduation. Many would like to say, "look out world, here I come." On this day, I agreed with them.
:: University. If I thought I knew everything for my senior year in high school, I found out I was sorely mistaken when I entered the University of Florida. I entered as a Chemical Engineering major, but I would not graduate as one.
:: Major Change. Yeah, I changed my major; you saw this coming with what I wrote of under 1994. The previous semester I took a Calculus III course with an instructor who was from India; I could never understand him, and didn't do so well in the course. So, I changed my major to Religion and announced that I was going to seek enrollment in seminary to prepare to become a pastor.
:: The Greatest Day in Gator Football History. All I need to say is 52-20. The opponent was the rival and hated Florida State Seminoles. The place was the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. The event was the 1997 Sugar Bowl, the site of the 1996 Collegiate Championship game, thanks to key victories by other teams.
:: Major Change. I changed my major once again. This time, it was to Classical Studies. I had to take a foreign language since I changed my major from engineering to a liberal art; I enrolled in Ancient Greek. I was invited to join ΗΣΦ, the Classics Honor Society, and at the induction I was invited to change my major. Having become disillusion
ed with Religion (as a major), I accepted the invitation and changed my major. I fell in love with archaeology, and I haven't looked back since.
:: Graduation II. After five years (after all, I changed my major twice), I finally graduated with a BA in Classical Studies (Greek Civilization and Archaeology).
:: St. Louis. Dad and I drove to St. Louis to visit the seminary and the area. It was at this time that I was introduced to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard...delicious! The evening we arrived I heard I was accepted to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
:: Seminary. It was the first day of another school. I joined the Chorus and began what I had hoped would be a great career in St. Louis.
. I was entering the second half of my seminary career. I had a an adventure getting there, not the least of which was spending the 4th of July at Yellowstone National Park. Check out the Photo Albums
for a collection of pictures from the park. Anyway, I was assigned to Redeemer Lutheran Church in Richland, Washington.
:: Genevieve. I met the love of my life. Sure, it was via internet, but that can't be all bad because you have to be reading the internet now if you're looking at this. We soon would talk about marriage and looked at Summer 2003 as the earliest opportunity.
:: Back in St. Louis. Finally, a Fourth-Year! What would normally be labeled Senior Year is called Fourth-Year. Graduation was just around the corner.
:: Genevieve Moves. So that we could be closer, my girlfriend, Genevieve, moved to St. Louis. It looks like it was going to be a great year.
:: From Bad to Worse. The academic year took a horrible turn when the higher ups at the seminary field education office thought it best that I be ripped from my field work congregation and placed in a larger, more liberal congregation. In addition to that, what was only supposed to last a short while was, for me, turned into an extended stay at the new place. Thankfully, I didn't have to do anything at the new place; I learned more about what not to do and be than anything beneficial.
:: No More Girlfriend. It wasn't but a few seconds after midnight, and I no longer had a girlfriend. Instead, I had a fiancée.
:: First Call. I received my first call into the Holy Ministry. Although I was not able to officially accept it, I was more than happy and willing to acknowledge the receipt and proclaim to Bethesda Lutheran Church and First English Lutheran Church in Marion and Parker, SD that I will, when I can officially accept the call, do so! I couldn't wait to get out there.
:: Graduation III. Yup, this time for good. I am now a graduate of the Master of Divinity Program of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
:: No More Fiancée. We had our wedding day set for the day after I graduated. All my family was already going to be in town for the graduation, so why not? Needless to say, it was a busy couple of days (heck, it was a busy week)!
:: Ordination. On this day, those four years of studying seemed to come to a culmination. That's not to say that the work of those four years finally had its fruition, but it was the beginning of what I had been preparing for during that time. With the laying on of hands, I joined the Ministerium, joining a long line of men that stretch back to Jesus and His apostles.
:: Installation. What a momentus day. What began a month and a half ago was completed this day. Finally, I'm part of the workforce and not just wage labor. More importantly, I am the answer to the prayers of people who earnestly wanted a pastor to call their own, not just someone who filled in. I couldn't be more happy to oblige!
:: Wags on the way! I'm not going to give "the birds and the bees." Suffice it to say, we found out today that we were pregnant!
:: Wags is here! At 9:50pm, after nearly 18 hours of labor, Robert Josef Valentine Wagner took his first breath of air. What a momentous day...I got to hold my first child for the first time! He is such a cutey. Check out the Photo Albums
to see pictures of him.
:: Baby #2 (Zy) is born. Mikaela Gabrielle Eleanor Wagner was born at 8:47am.
:: Officially announced that I had received a call to serve as pastor of St. Peter the Fisherman Lutheran Church. I don't recall exactly when I received the documents, but I do remember that I had received a telephone call on a Sunday from the call committee to let me know that I had been elected.
:: Officially announced that I had accepted the call to St. Peter the Fisherman
:: We begin the move to Lincoln City and arrive on the 15th.
:: Installed as pastor of St. Peter the Fisherman Lutheran Church.
:: Resigned my call to St. Peter the Fisherman. Short story: I wanted to remain Lutheran and faithful to my ordination vows; they wanted to be generic Christian with a hint of Lutheranism and didn't want me to be faithful to my vows. (Of course, they'll tell you otherwise.) This began over a year of being unemployed.
:: We begin the move to Elizabeth, Colorado. I don't recall when I received the call documents, but I had been called and accepted the call to pastor Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church (a real LUTHERAN church) in Elizabeth. We arrived on the 16th.
:: Installed as pastor of Christ Our Savior.