Pastor Tom Inch BIO
I have been the pastor of Grace and Mercy Lutheran Church, a new wine congregation in the Oregon Synod since March 2015. In my time here, we have “moved in” with the local Methodist congregation to share their space and to explore common ministry avenues together. Our primary focus of ministry in the community has been our presence at Two Rivers Correctional Institute where we worship as members of one Lutheran expression each month. This past month we were witness to our first baptism.
I have served congregations in the NW Ohio, SoCal and EWA-ID synods of the ELCA, having had the primary responsibility in Youth and Education while serving in Ohio and my first call in Washington. Since serving in Spokane, I have served at Grace Lutheran Church, Santa Barbara, and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Ephrata. In the intervening years between Ephrata and Hermiston I served three congregations in an Interim capacity.
My educational career has been varied. I received my B.A. degree(s) from Wheaton College, Illinois, in Christian Education and Biblical Studies; a Master of Religious Education from Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA.; the M.Div. degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa; and a Master of Teaching in Childhood Education from Heritage University, Toppenish, WA. Much of my parish experience prior to Santa Barbara (1995-2003) has focused primarily on the issues of Youth and Education. I have been involved in taking various youth groups on mission trips to sites as diverse as the Rocky Boy reservation in Montana to the streets of Pasadena in California, seeking to grow a larger picture of the world that we live in and to see if we can spy the hand of God moving where we may not expect it.
I have been involved in various community activities that range from sports teams (soccer and swimming) to food banks, community transitional housing ministries overseen by local government agencies. I have also served on two synod Counsels (SoCal and EWA-ID synods), executive committee, and various synodical committees.
My wife Cindy and I have been married for 35 years. She works in the procurement department of the Grant County PUD and has been there for 10 years. We have two daughters, Kjarista (Kj) who works for SkyWest Airlines and is based out of Phoenix, and Kari, who just completed her Masters in Marine Biology from the University of Essex, Colchester, England and is currently in southern California.