Tina Melusky started thinking about becoming a pastor when she was 12. At her home church, her shining examples were a married couple – the most phenomenal pastors she’d ever seen.
Having never met a female pastor, she had never thought of ministry as an option. But Pastor Angela completely changed her life. Pastor Tina recalled her as “funny, compassionate, and the best preacher I’ve ever heard still to this day.” Tina was recruited from her confirmation class to do the sermon for their youth Sunday service. From then on, she couldn’t get the idea out of her mind.
“Preaching was something I loved right off the bat,” said Pastor Tina. A few religion courses in college cemented her decision, and led her to the seminary.
Her Path Leading to Grace Lutheran
Pastor Tina grew up in Dundee, Michigan, a small farming community located directly between Toledo, Ohio and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Most of her family still lives there. Her husband, Ben, grew up in Dover, so they’re happy to be living close to his family.
She is the youngest child of three girls, but comes from a much larger family, with more than 40 first cousins. Her oldest sister still lives in Michigan, and her other sister lives near Frederick, MD with her family. “We’re all very close so you’ll be seeing them around as often as they’re able to visit,” she said.
Pastor Tina and her husband celebrated their first wedding anniversary in May, but have just marked nine years of being together at the end of August. They have a one-year-old puppy named Scully (after the X-files character), who she described as full of energy and love. She’s a Beagle/English Pointer mix. As for family plans, Pastor Tina said, “We definitely want kids, but for now the puppy is plenty of kid for us to handle!”
A self-proclaimed sports nut, baseball is where her heart is. Her sports fanaticism started in childhood. “My family lives and breathes Michigan sports,” said Pastor Tina. “There is some debate between my dad and I about which is better: Michigan State or Michigan (the answer is Michigan!).”
But her fondest memories are of family trips “Up North” (Upper Peninsula or near the top of the Lower Peninsula in Michigan), a tradition her family still tries to continue every summer. The trips consist of camping, going to Lake Huron, and sometimes to Mackinaw Island.
Reading, movies, and training for a 10K are other hobbies that Pastor Tina enjoys. She and Ben also travel to restaurants featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. “It’s a fun passion we both have,” she said. “We love trying new food and going new places.”
Pastor Tina graduated from Gettysburg College in 2008 with a degree in psychology, and from Gettysburg Seminary in May 2012. During her four years of seminary, she served congregations in Mechanicsburg, Dillsburg, and lastly, Ephrata – where she interned.
For the last year, she lived in Pittsburgh with her husband while he completed his education. While there, she served as an associate pastor at a suburban church, spending most of her time working with their youth and developing small group ministries. She also worked as an advancement associate for Gettysburg Seminary, out of the Southwest Pennsylvania Synod office.
“It was through these experiences that I truly realized how much I love living in Central Pennsylvania, and have come to feel like it is home to me,” Pastor Tina wrote in a letter to church members. “I was raised with the idea that your church is your family, and it is there that you develop relationships that are lasting and will bring you through whatever difficulties you might face. It is this love of congregational life that I have experienced over and again throughout my ministries in Pennsylvania.”
A New Chapter
Pastor Tina preached at Grace Lutheran for the first time on July 14, 2013. Well over 200 people came to meet her and hear her preach that first weekend. Following a vote, the congregation decided by overwhelming majority to call Pastor Tina to lead their church.
Both the council and congregation responded positively to Pastor Tina’s first interactions with the church. Council members were immediately impressed with her composure and maturity. Some church members commented that they loved her energy and her focus on social ministry.
“She did an excellent job of coming into the congregation cold and running two completely different worship services during the call process,” said Council President Scott Hildebrand. She preached for both the Spirit Cellar – a very contemporary service – and a traditional Lutheran Worship service.
On August 1, Pastor Tina became the full-time pastor at Grace Lutheran Church. She was ordained on August 2 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in York.
She sees so many options and so much potential in Grace. Her passion lies in Bible study and theological discussion. She has ideas for new and diverse Bible studies, as well as a couple other “more casual, small groups” where people can talk about everyday concerns or a topic that important to everyone. She’s also excited to explore new ideas on stewardship, as that committee gets up and running.
“I really want to explore new ways that we can all be together, to find new fellowship events or activities where we can share a meal and learn about who’s worshiping a few rows behind you,” said Pastor Tina. “Whether it’s a monthly potluck together or movie nights out on the lawn, I think there are a lot of ways that we can come together and simply be.”
Youth group was a “vital and vibrant” part of Pastor Tina’s church life as a child, and it’s something she wants to extend to the kids of Grace.
“For them to have a place where they can just be themselves and have fun together is really important to me,” she explained. While they’re having fun, she sees them serving together in meaningful ways.
“The youth are the future of any church,” stated Pastor Tina. “We have to nurture them and their faith so that we might build a stronger foundation.”