In the middle of a pandemic, it’s a blessing when you can celebrate an uplifting moment.
For Good Samaritan Society, a ritual reaching new notes is the installation of new Director of Mission Integration and Senior Pastor Christy Hallenbeck Ask.
“It’s part of a whole new season and a new chapter for Good Sam,” Christy says.
Reinforcing faith-based values
The 36-year-old Sioux Falls, South Dakota, native is taking over for Pastor Greg Wilcox, who recently retired after 32 years at the Society.
“She will be the key person to make sure the company’s faith-based values, that go back nearly 100 years now, are always upheld. They are always reinforced. I think it’s what sets the Good Samaritan Society apart,” says Randy Bury, Society president and CEO.
Christy, an Augustana graduate who studied journalism and music, is joining a Christian organization with some 50 pastors serving roughly 30,000 residents and employees.
“Really humbling and a huge blessing for me to get to give everyone an excuse to hear some music and to think about the future in a way that isn’t all fear and devastating numbers about COVID. Just to look to a brighter future together,” Christy says.
A servant heart
Her past includes serving refugees and the hungry at nonprofit organizations. After going to Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, she most recently was an associate pastor at Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls.
“I grew up here in Sioux Falls and so I’ve known about Good Sam my whole life. Good Sam and rootedness in faith and the Gospel and the love of Christ – those are all so synonymous that you can’t even separate those identities,” Christy says.
When it comes to her own identity, Christy is a mother to Anja and a wife to fellow pastor Jon Hallenbeck Ask.
“I’m excited first for Christy in this position. Yeah, you’re excited too,” Jon says as he gestures to Anja.
Jon is on parental leave from call and fully enjoying his time as a stay-at-home dad with their smiley baby girl.
He says one thing everyone should know about Christy is she’s accident prone. Right before he proposed years ago, Christy wiped out on some gravel during a special bike ride.
“I just thought to myself in that moment, if I wait for a time when Christy does not have a scraped knee, this just might not happen,” Jon says. “I’m very grateful that she’ll be working in close proximity to many trained medical professionals. That’s very important."
Bringing faith to life
A benefit of her new job for sure are those health care heroes. They and Society residents will also be blessed with Pastor Christy’s spiritual guidance through devotions and more.
Christy hopes “that every day they would be aware that God is in their midst, especially in these trying times. I cannot fathom the year that our residents and employees have had."
They'll be in her daily prayers.
“I pray that the words of the Psalms, the words of lament, are words that our community can take hold of and can find resonance with. So that they might see that God is at work even in their laments, even in their cries for help. As we pray that this pandemic is taking a turn for the better, that they might also see that God is at work stirring hope among them,” Christy says.
Bringing faith to life by sharing the word of God and taking care of others like Good Samaritan Society has been doing for nearly 100 years.
“It’s deeply exciting to walk into that tradition and to also dream and wonder and ponder about how we can express that identity in new and exciting ways,” Christy says.