2017-03-23 / Faith
Longtime associate pastor receives vote of confidence
Congregation chooses Delkeskamp to lead Ascension
Newbury Park resident Timm Sinclair sat in a Woodland Hills hospital room with his 78-year-old mother, Diana, as she suffered from pneumonia and complications from Parkinson’s disease. During that painful visit, as the woman clung to life, Sinclair was surprised to see a friendly face enter the room: It was Tim Delkeskamp, associate pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church, where Diana faithfully attended services.
The pastor had dropped by on his own to visit and offer the dying woman communion. Before Sinclair and Delkeskamp left the room together, the pastor gave Diana Sinclair some parting words of comfort.
Timm Sinclair said he’ll always be grateful to Delkeskamp for the care he showed to his mother that day.
“It was a beautiful moment,” said Sinclair, an employee of the Acorn Newspapers. “I had no idea that would be the last time I was able to talk with her.”
His mother died two days later. In the weeks that followed, the minister met with Sinclair to help him through the grief.
Stories like this are often repeated about Delkeskamp, who is now the new senior pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks.
The 47-year-old was chosen by the congregation in February after a nationwide search by the 1,686-member congregation.
The father of three was installed by Bishop Guy Erwin in a March 19 ceremony at the chapel on E. Hillcrest Drive.
One thing drives his ministry, Delkeskamp said.
“It’s people. I love working with people.”
Road to Ascension
When Delkeskamp decided to double major in religion and business at California Lutheran University in 1988, his choice was met with skepticism.
“Some people thought I aspired to be a televangelist,” he said.
The Brea, Calif., native had completed half of his degree requirements when he became bored with business and came to a realization.
“This doesn’t give me life,” he said.
He started taking more religion classes, which pointed him in the direction of thinking about his own faith.
So after graduation, the 22-year-old took a temporary job at a church to earn money to backpack around the world. As he traveled the Middle East, Europe and Africa, he spent time in daily prayer and contemplation seeking God’s call in his life.
His prayers were answered. When he returned home after one year, he enrolled in Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., where he earned his master of divinity degree.
After a five-year stint at a church in Mission Viejo, Delkeskamp took the job as associate pastor at Ascension in 2003.
Church is a family affair for Delkeskamp. His wife, Chamie, teaches religious curriculum at Ascension’s private school, which includes transitional kindergarten through eighth grade.
Husband and wife both work at Ascension, but denominationally, the Delkeskamps are a house divided. While the Rev. Delkeskamp is a dyed-in-the-wool Lutheran, his wife is Methodist.
“We have some great theological discussions,” the pastor said “The more I try to persuade her to be Lutheran, the more Methodist she becomes.”
Church secretary Myra Chandler said the vote to confirm Delkeskamp was easy after 13 years of seeing him perform as associate pastor.
“The whole congregation is very, very happy he’s our senior pastor,” she said.
Delkeskamp said he looks forward to expanding the church’s outreach locally and globally.
“We feel God has put us in this community for a reason,” he said. “To help us serve our community, to help us introduce Jesus to others and to create opportunities for all people to become devoted followers of Christ.”