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11/09/2022 09:36 AM

Nathan Clements: Called to Serve

Rev. Nathan Clements has taken up the pulpit at Old Saybrook’s St. Paul Lutheran Church. Along with his wife Emily and son Jonathan, the family now calls Deep River home. Photo courtesy of Rev. Nathan Clements

“Growing up as a pastor’s kid I never thought I’d also be a pastor,” Reverend Nathan Clements says. Well, not only did Nathan become a pastor, he’s now officially the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Old Saybrook.

Nathan started in his role in August, but on Oct. 30 the church held an installation service to welcome him.

“It was a beautiful service. We had clergy from around the area, not just Lutherans, come join. It was really nice,” Nathan says.

Prior to starting in Old Saybrook, Nathan was working at church in Iowa but Nathan says he felt a calling to move to a different church.

“It’s a matter of discernment when you can move from call to call. It seemed like a fantastic fit for my gifts and for my skills in ministry,” says Nathan.

Before Iowa, Nathan worked in leadership positions at bible camps in North Dakota and Montana.

“It’s a beautiful part of the country and my family and I are excited for the next adventure,” Nathan says of moving to Connecticut. Nathan says he first began seriously inquiring about the move in the spring and then moved about five months later to start. “One thing I want people to know is that the church is here, and we are a dynamic worship community that is welcome to all,” Nathan says.

One upcoming event Nathan is eager to oversee is the 10th annual Christmas fair scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon.

“It’s something we’ve done for several years and people really like,” says Nathan. The fair includes a silent auction, a white elephant sale, a raffle, baked goods, and more. All funds from the fair go to staffing the after-school mentoring program at the church.

When Nathan was considering coming to Old Saybrook in the back of his mind, he felt a pull toward an area he had long been fascinated by.

“I’ve always had a love for New England but I never pictured living there,” Nathan says. His interest in New England started when he was growing up in Illinois and became a Boy Scout.

During that time, Nathan and the scouts were taken on a trip to Maine where they kayaked and island hopped for four days and also spent time traveling through Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

“It was just extraordinary to me. The people, the places, the history, it was just a beautiful place,” recalls Nathan.

Despite his father also being a Lutheran pastor, Nathan’s journey to becoming a pastor was not a straight shot. Initially, he chose to major in biology, but an introductory religion course made him think differently.

“It just dawned on me that the academic study of religion was really intriguing to me,” Nathan recalls. Nathan soon switched majors and at the same time was working as a counselor at a bible camp. “It really compelled me to consider a career in religion.”

For Nathan, the best part of being a pastor is the interactions with other people.

“For me it’s the building of relationships. With members of the congregation and outside as well as building real meaningful relationships,” Nathan says. “Even if it’s just with someone you talk to for ten minutes then never see again.”

Of course, having moved around a lot, Nathan says that can be hard, too.

“Saying goodbye is always difficult. Having served in several different but still beautiful in their own way parts of the country saying goodbye is hard. But every goodbye is followed by a new hello soon after,” says Nathan.

Nathan grew up originally in Illinois, but now calls nearby Deep River home.

“We moved in shortly before I started at the church at the end of August,” says Nathan. In his spare time Nathan can be found spending time with his family, fishing, and spending time outside.

“One thing I like about Old Saybrook so far is the people. The welcome that my family and I received her has been so awesome,” says Nathan.