The commute is finally over for Rev. John Ferrie who has been traveling to and from Buffalo since February. Congregants of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Manlius held an installation Sept. 16 to formally welcome Ferrie as their new pastor.
"This just feels like home to me," he said, of Central New York. "We're very happy."
He and his wife Gail moved here from Amherst, just outside of Buffalo, where Ferrie served as pastor at Trinity Old Lutheran Church since 2001 -- the year he was ordained.
The Lutheran synod had called the couple about two job openings in the Syracuse area -- one for him and one for his wife who is now the Lutheran campus pastor at SU.
"We lived in Ithaca for 10 years so we were acquainted with Syracuse," he said. "We got to know this area and we just love it."
Ferrie, who holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Yale University and The Catholic University, brings a solid religious background to the forefront at church.
"I always try to follow the Lutheran tradition -- we call it Law and Gospel," he said, explaining that law is anything that makes people aware of God. " It could be something we read, an encounter we had, it could be a tragedy that happens in our lives -- anything that makes us aware how much we need God."
Gospel provides assurance that God's grace is constant and "that God is just waiting for us to need him," Ferrie said. "That's what I'm striving for every Sunday. Sometimes I come closer than other times."
A Presbyterian pastor who spoke at the Cornell University Sage Chapel once made a deep impact on Ferrie.
"He preached in such a way that I felt totally in need of God's grace, and then totally assured that God loved me so much that he would extend that grace to me," he said. "That's when I realized what preaching could really be."
Ferrie plans to lead the church through a system of prayer and answer, and hopes to seek and find every opportunity for mission work, especially within the city of Syracuse.
"Here we are, basically one of the wealthiest areas of CNY, with the city of Syracuse basically one of the poorest areas of CNY," he said. "Certainly I believe, in the end, we'll be called into mission in the city. We have sister congregations in the city and so the possibility for partnerships is right there already."