Pastor Sena Norton 

As your newly called and soon to be ordained pastor I wanted to take the time to introduce myself – so that you can begin to get to know me and how I came to be here serving both of our communities of faith.

I am a pioneer family Oregonian. The McDonald’s of the Scio area came out on the Oregon Trail, and we have been here ever since. However, my family hasmade the trek further west, and we considered the Aloha state of Hawaii to be our homestead as well. We returned from Oahu the summer of 2021 for me to finish my seminary required internships in a parish and as a chaplain in a hospital setting. The parish internship brought me to   Salem where I served CGS from August 2021– August 2022 and then I stayed on serving both CGS and HC in a pastoral capacity until you both called me in late May 2023.

I come from a long line of union activists and was raised as a military BRAT starting around the age of 8. The military moves your family around a lot – so I also enjoy seeing new places and experiencing new environments. I deeply believe this is why I adhere to the philosophy of “bloom where you are planted and make good with what you have.” I was also raised to be a strong, independent, capable woman who was told by her grandfather that there isn’t anything you can’t do when you put your mind to it. I grew up loving to read (and still do) and learning new things. I quickly mirrored the values of my family where you are in service to other people first and foremost, you are kind and open and loving and you love first and often. I learned the value of a team in my playing of various sports – my true love being softball – which I now coach and try to play as much as possible. I am very much a dog person and all of you will eventually meet Brulee, the newest edition to the family. He is a French Bulldog and has lots of love to give!

My daughter Mae came home to me through the loving choice of adoption in the Fall of 2015 – and were made official that following August. We haven’t looked back, and I am proud as a mother and as a woman for the young woman she is becoming! She will be a freshman at South Salem High in the Fall and is looking forward to volleyball, softball and all the other clubs and activities that a high school can offer.  I also credit her with spurring me on to finally answer the call of God to serve God’s people in ministry. Something clicked when I became a mother and the answers just fell out – or maybe I was able to better hear them for once! One of the first things I hope to do after I am ordained is to confirm her in her faith as she completed her confirmation class last spring and often serves as acolyte at CGS.

Prior to ministry I spent 18 years in the middle school classroom teaching various subjects and multiple grade levels of students. I kept working in the classroom right up until the summer before I started as the intern at Christ the Good Shepherd. It was difficult to leave the classroom and I miss my students daily, but I know that all that experience I bring with me into ministry and the students and staff I shared time with are with me all along the way. I also worked very hard at trying to avoid the call of the Lord into ministry and have earned a B.S. in Fish and Wildlife from Oregon State, a Master’s of Teaching and my initial Administrative Certificate from Concordia-Portland, a Master’s of Public Administration from Portland State, and finally my Master’s of Divinity from Luther Seminary. I am proud and thankful for all the training and experience I received through my work at the local, state and national levels of the education union organizations throughout my teaching career, as I served at all levels as an elected officer and volunteer advocate. Again, being in the service of others fills my soul and links me with God in the most powerful of ways!

I love to travel and enjoy a good road trip to somewhere new or a well-known place to visit again. There will always be football, basketball, baseball or any sport on the TV – especially when it comes down to the playoffs. I can appreciate a good American muscle car and wish I had a 1967-68 GTO in the garage right now. I would choose ice cream and cookies over pie and cake any day. Dogs are the best – especially French Bulldogs and Boxers. I love a good chicken wing, a plate of fresh tacos and anything that swims in the river or ocean suits me just fine. There is always money, time and space for another book and the only chocolate or coffee worth consuming is DARK!

I look forward to getting to know all of you deeply or if I know you already, to get to know you in new and lovely ways. We will laugh together, we will cry together, we will challenge each other, we will praise the Lord together AND most importantly, we will grow to be brothers and sisters in Christ together! And let the church say – AMEN!

With the peace of Christ,   Pastor Sena Norton