NEWBERRY — Newberry College Pastor Ernie Worman celebrated 25 years of Lutheran Ordination on Jan. 15, along with students, staff, and faculty of the college.
He was ordained into the Lutheran Evangelical Church of America in 1989, at Hope Lutheran Church in Annandale, Va. Although Worman has been ordained for 25 years, he said it was a long road that took perseverance and faith.
Worman was born in Toledo, Ohio, the third of four children. His mother was a homemaker and his father was a car salesman who worked seven days a week, according to Worman.
Although his family did not attend church, Worman said a neighboring family would pick him up every Sunday and take him downtown to a Presbyterian church.
As a teen, he stopped attending church, but began to hang out after school at a Lutheran church down the street from his home. Worman said he did not know exactly what he wanted to do with his life, but decided to attend the University of Toledo after graduating from high school. Toledo was just across the street from his home.
Worman attended the university for a year, while he worked nights at a steel factory. At that point, he said he still did not have much direction and decided to drop out after that year to join the Navy.
While in the Navy, Worman was stationed in Key West, Fla., and reunited with a childhood friend he had known since the sixth grade. That friend became his wife. After being stationed in Key West for one year they got married and moved to Hawaii and joined a Lutheran Church.
The congregation was only 115 people and shortly after they arrived, the pastor resigned. Worman became the vice president and led the church for a year and a half while they searched for a new pastor.
It was then that Worman said he realized that he was passionate about ministry, but he could not go to seminary because he had no college degree. He enrolled in Chaminade University of Honolulu, and after graduating, went to seminary in Gettysburg, the oldest seminary in America.
From there, Worman received a Master Divinity Degree and was ordained in Ministry of Word and Sacrament. Although he has traveled to 40 states, lived in 12, and even lived in Japan and Italy, Worman said he has had many favorite places.
His favorite place is “wherever you are. Because wherever you are is where you’re supposed to be. All of life is good. Every adventure is worth the challenge,” Worman said.
Worman is now in his sixth year working at Newberry College. He saw an advertisement for the job, and with some encouragement from his family, decided to take it.
He said loves the people at Newberry College and enjoys seeing the students succeed, while getting to be a part of their lives.
The most rewarding thing for him about ministry is that people will share their joys, sorrows, and dreams.
“They will engage me in conversation and seek me out. They put a value on our relationship that we can hope together,” Worman said. “Life is about people. Everything else comes and goes. Buildings are built and torn down, but people and relationships are eternal.”
In the future, Worman hopes to become an author, keep traveling, and keep working. For now, he said he is perfectly happy with his Lutheran vocation, which, for him, is all about serving neighbors, figuring out who we live for, and to whom you belong.
Ernie Worman has used the abilities God has given him to minister these past 25 years, and he believes that if we’re all doing the very best at whatever God has called us to do, and we’re looking out for our neighbor, then it’s a great place to be.