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Welcome Vicar Bryce Bommersbach

Wait, what is a vicar?

In the past we have used the title “Intern Pastor” here at Oak Knoll. But there is another term that has been historically used by Lutherans for pastoral interns and that title is “vicar.” At Oak Knoll, we will use that title instead of “intern pastor,” going forward.

The title “vicar” is helpful when a seminarian is leading a funeral or serving the church in a public function. And though vicars carry out many of the same duties as those already ordained, they aren’t mini-pastors. Also, vicar is shorter to say than intern pastor. These are reasons for the change.

In case you ever wondered, vicars don’t preside at the sacraments (Holy Communion and Baptism) or conduct pastoral acts such as marriages. But over the course of their year of ministry in a church, a vicar will engage in the full range of congregational ministry—preaching and leading worship, teaching, providing pastoral care, and gaining experience in parish leadership and administration.

The following is from the ELCA publication Living Lutheran:

“Beginning in the 1960s, Lutherans adopted a unique way of equipping people for ministry, as Christian leadership formation. A year serving a congregation as an intern, also known as a vicar, soon became a requirement for all pastoral candidates. This affords seminarians the opportunity for real-life ministerial experience alongside a veteran minister, with coaching by mature lay leaders as well.”

—Understanding the Seminary Internship Year by Michael Cooper-White, December 27, 2022

Please welcome Vicar Bryce to our Oak Knoll community!


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