Pastor Jonathan Sachs, B.A., M.A., M.Div.
Pastor Sachs and his wife Laura came to Angelica at the beginning of 2014.
As Pastor Sachs tells it: I grew up in southwestern Ohio, and my first call was to southwestern Ontario. Most mornings I drive from our condo in the southwest corner of the 19th floor of our 25-story high-rise in downtown Windsor, first heading north into the United States then southwest to my office at Angelica, in the southwest corner of the church.
More interesting than the geographical coincidences is the story of how I became Lutheran. Despite having lots of Lutheran ancestors (notably in the patrilineal line all the way back to a baptism in Germany in 1499), I was raised in a very active and devoted Baptist family. The main benefit of being at church pretty much every time the doors were open (including Sunday night and Wednesday night) and attending Christian school K-7 was a thorough knowledge of the Bible. I graduated from the same Baptist liberal arts college in Ohio, with a B.A. in History, that my parents both graduated from. My favorite course was Reformation Europe.
Other factors that planted the seed for me were: knowing my 2nd cousins in Michigan who were Missouri Synod Lutheran, hearing about the LCMS pastor who confirmed my mom in Chicago, reading a book called Evangelical Is Not Enough (explaining the benefits of the liturgy, the lectionary, the church year), and reading through the Bible every year for about 7 years. On top of that, a summer study trip in Israel turned the places and events of the Bible and God’s dealing with mankind from isolated incidents that occurred “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” into a continuity of real people in a real place.
Then there was the pivotal moment while a student at the Baptist seminary in Grand Rapids, doing a research (exegetical) paper on I Corinthians 10-11, reading a commentary on Paul’s argument, audience, and cultural context in Corinth, and his statement (10:16), “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” and saying to myself (like a light coming on): ” I believe in the Real Presence; I think I’m Lutheran.” And that was before the bump on the head!
Next came some roads not taken, and some roads taken wholeheartedly. First, an invitation from the Department Chair at my undergrad college to begin teaching in the English faculty upon completion of a Master’s, with an eye toward a Ph.D. and a permanent position teaching literature and cultural history for the purpose of developing in the students a Christian world- and-life view and critical thinking. That meant a move to Columbus and Ohio State. In Columbus, the third church I visited (Zion LCMS, German Village) proved to be more “home” to me than any church ever had. On my first visit there, I knew my search was over! Christ-centered preaching, excellent liturgy and music, a young adults Bible study group, perfect architecture and stained glass, the finest “Bach organ” in Franklin County, the people’s sincere Christian devotion and love, I could go on and on. Following adult instruction, I was confirmed at Zion on August 2, 1987. While completing the M.A. in English Literature (Shakespeare, and 19th-Century British) at Ohio State, I enjoyed teaching Freshman Composition as a Graduate Teaching Associate.
I also got to take Ph.D.-level courses in Reformation History and ended up not accepting admission to the Ph.D. program in the English Reformation at McGill University in Montreal in order to go to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where I graduated in May 1994 and then was ordained that July. Laura and I were married May 9, 1998, and in 2000 I was able to add Canadian citizenship to my U.S. citizenship. Maybe my motto should be “the best of both worlds”.
And now, if there’s anything else you’d like to know about me, why don’t you come and meet me in person and let me share with you my passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ?