And although he and his wife left behind the closeness of family, Lund said this week that he is excited about the type of people who have welcomed him to the Shorter Avenue church.
“The people at Westminster are just so warm and caring folks,” Lund said. “When I heard about Rome I sensed that they had a strong heart for mission and for prayer. That matters to me.”
Lund, who will lead his first service at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Sunday, had been the pastor at Oak Hills Presbyterian Church near Portland, Ore., since 1999 and grew up in Tacoma, Wash.
But his Pacific Northwest roots gave way to a time spent in Georgia as he went to Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur before becoming an associate pastor at a Presbyterian church in Dalton in 1995.
Lund, who received his Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., said that the pioneer mindset that was instilled in those who traveled across the country in wagons during the 1800s feeds the feeling of independence and individualism among the churches in the northwest.
“That has its strengths and its weaknesses, but in this part of the country there is more of a sense of continuity and family and tradition,” Lund said. “That does good things for a church too.”
He said one of the things he looks forward to doing in Rome is collaborating with other churches and helping to serve the community.
“The first step for a pastor is to find out what God has already been doing here. And you do that by meeting the people and noticing where the strengths are and where the areas are that need building,” Lund said.
“I’m excited about what God has built and will build here with these people because this is a talented group of people.”
An aspect of Westminster Presbyterian Church that appealed to Lund was the church’s Westminster Christian Academy, which cares for children of all backgrounds from infants to age 5.
“These kids are better prepared for elementary school by the time they get there, and the staff are all doing this as an expression of their faith in Christ,” Lund said. “It’s just a beautiful thing.”
Lund’s first sermon, titled “Totally Invested Faith,” will discuss how Jesus says to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength.
It will also present the story of Ruth from the Bible and tells how she left her life behind in order to start a brand new life with Naomi.
“Your people will be my people and your God my God,” Lund said, quoting the scripture. “In a way, that’s what we’re doing together, the congregation and us. We’ve got a future together now and we’re totally invested.”
Lund and his wife have two sons. Peter is married and lives in the Portland area, while Benjamin, 20, is studying to be an opera singer at The Julliard School in New York City.