A Home Away from Home

When Hannah Norem arrived in Winston-Salem to begin her studies in the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, she was settling in a city that she knew little about.

As a hopeful future leader in the ELCA, she knew that being a member of a church community would be an integral part of her time in graduate school. She was looking for a place away from the Wake Forest campus where she could be spiritually and socially grounded and have a home away from home for the next five years.

Thankfully, Kristen Zeller, an alumna of her university, reached out to her and told her about how great a place Augsburg is. Hannah first sensed that Augsburg would be the church home for her shortly after meeting with Pastor Paul and Pastor Lori. They asked if she wanted to be a part of the youth program and invited her to a retreat at Lutherock. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and she was traveling to the mountains with a lively group of young people and their advisers whom she had just met. Hannah felt incredibly welcomed by everyone and knew this was the community that God was calling her to join.

Hannah appreciates how multifaceted Augsburg is. “There is truly a place for everyone here, no matter what your interests or your gifts are. If at first you don’t particularly feel that there is a place for you, just wait. Augsburg’s members are constantly developing new ministries and projects to make the world God created a better place.” Even though the role that the church plays in people’s lives is changing, Augsburg has managed to stay relevant to its members and expand its role in the greater Winston-Salem community. It has done so while remaining true to its history and its traditional form of worship.

Hannah chooses to support Augsburg with her financial gifts as an act of gratitude for all that God has given her. She has been blessed by growing up in a family that prioritizes giving generous financial support to ministries in their own church and community. Even though as a graduate student she doesn’t have lots of money, Hannah thinks of her financial contributions to Augsburg as being very important. They are one small way of giving thanks for what God has given her—the opportunity to further her education with the support of family and friends and the joy of being part of an Augsburg community that has contributed tremendously to her personal and spiritual growth.

Hannah’s hope and prayer for Augsburg moving forward is that it continues to be a center of worship and of community action in Winston-Salem. Augsburg members have many talents and are determined not to bury them in the ground but use them for the greater good of all. This must continue to be Augsburg’s mission, and she prays that it will empower the next generation.

Hannah Norem is a fourth-year JD/Master of Divinity student at Wake Forest University from Houston, TX. After graduating from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD in 2018, she came to Winston-Salem the first chance she got. She now serves Augsburg as its Communications Assistant, which means you can catch her behind the camera taping worship most Sunday mornings.