“Our Pastor” by Sam Claussen is a sorrowful yet powerful story of a decaying church, led by a strong, tired pastor. Through the insights of the narrator and from the pastor, we get to know the small, withering congregation almost entirely made up of elders, except for one little girl. Her name is Beth and she seems to be the last bit of youthful hope in the pastor’s eyes.
Claussen’s choice of language perfectly fits the tone of the piece. With sentences starting with “Our Pastor” throughout the story, as a reader you are immersed into this congregation, clearly in need of faith. The setting is bleak. You can feel that the church itself has withered down. The space feels gloomy and that fits with the rest of the piece very well.
About halfway through the piece, it is time for “joys and concerns.” This part of the story reveals so much more about the people of the church. We learn about the sorrows through harsh words that depict real scenarios. As a reader, I felt like I knew the people of the church. I could so easily see the church and its aging congregation. In this part of the story, the sadness is so clear as there are no joys. One after the other, the people share concerns. The pastor shares his desperate thoughts of needing joy with the reader.
This piece of writing is real. As someone who grew up in the church, the son of a pastor, I could so vividly see the space and people described. This piece is a beautiful dedication to Sam Claussen’s father, Reverend John Claussen, who passed away earlier this year, and I am proud to have been able to help publish this phenomenal piece of work.
Jonah Weber, Editor-in-Chief
Want to read “Our Pastor?” Order Issue 4 of Levitate by going to https://checkout.square.site/buy/IAATCFSNPIPABFYMREIW3L5T.