The Rev. Donald Costlow came to the church on May Post Office Rd. last April as an interim pastor.
Thanks to a change in the Lutheran Synod's rules, he was also eligible to become the congregation's long-term pastor.
The Rev. Costlow took over on January 1 and was officially installed on Sunday, January 31.
The congregation has been welcoming.
"It's refreshing to have members come up to me and say they feel a change in the atmosphere," he said. "They are wonderful people who reach out into the community and beyond southern Lancaster County." To do that, the congregation chooses outreach programs. Members are now participating in God's Barnyard, a program that provides livestock to impoverished communities.
"After Easter, we will choose another project," he said.
His position is half-time, the Rev. Costlow said.
"That requires a lot of time management," he said last week. "If there's a hospital visit to make or a funeral to hold, I can't just say 'I'm out of time for this week'."
Part-time positions are becoming more common across the United States as congregations shrink.
"It's happening in all denominations," he said. "Churches can't afford a full-time pastor.
“They either team up [with another church], see if they can find a half-time pastor, or close the doors."
Another option is to appoint a lay leader to hold the services.
That wasn't something Mt. Eden's congregation wanted to do.
"We like to have communion every Sunday and you can't do that without a minister," he said.
The church now holds Sunday services at 9:30 a.m., followed by a Bible lesson and time of fellowship and refreshments.
The congregation also works with St. Michael's Lutheran Church, Strasburg, and Ascension Lutheran in Willow Street to hold combined mid-week events at Ascension. They hold a supper and fellowship at 6:30 Wednesday evenings, followed by a 7:30 p.m. service.
"It's a wonderful way that we can all get together," he said.
The pastor worked for a number of years before being called to the ministry.
"I did maintenance work for six years. Then I went to electrical school and did that work in a factory for a year. Then there was layoff," he said. He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the Lutheran seminary in Gettysburg.
Ordained in 2000, he served rural churches in northwestern Pennsylvania before moving to Lancaster County.
"My first call was to Huntingdon County, where I served two small churches. I was there three years. Then my wife [the Rev. Beth J. Castlow] graduated from Seminary and she and I had calls to northwestern Pennsylvania. That lasted 10 years," he said.
In 2013, his wife was called to St. John's Lutheran Church, Columbia, and the couple moved to Lancaster County. That's where the couple and their 10-year-old son, Jason, live.
He enjoys music. "I come from a family of 10 children and my mother taught all of us piano. Then I took up the trumpet, the electric bass, and the regular guitar. I like to pick up an instrument and tinker around with it," he said.
Next fall, the congregation will decide if it will continue to have him as a half-time pastor or increase the number of hours he serves a week.