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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Papua New Guinea Mission Society Meeting

Worship Folder for PNG Mission Society
Yesterday and today, the Papua New Guinea Mission Society met at Timothy Lutheran Church in Saint Louis, MO. Gathered together were about 75 to 100 people, most of whom were LCMS missionaries who served in the Enga Province in Papua New Guinea between 1948 and the early 1990s. The special guests at the PNG Mission Society Meeting arrived from PNG last evening, including Peter Ipatas, the Governor of the Enga Province for the past 14 years.

Governor Ipatas Address The Group
In his address, Governor Ipatas rehearsed the LCMS' role in Papua New Guinea, particularly in the Enga Provence, over the past 63 years (since 1948 when the first LCMS missionaries arrived). He noted in particular the contributions that the LCMS made to Papua New Guinea particularly in the areas of theological education, general education, and health care, as the LCMS placed literally hundreds of missionaries between 1950 and 1970 in the Enga Provence. He also with some sadness noted the vacuum left in PNG when the LCMS pulled out the majority of her missionaries in the early 1970s. This corresponds to the massive decline of LCMS career missionaries described by Rev. Dave Birner in the May 2011 issue of The Lutheran Witness, when the LCMS had about 350 missionaries around the world, a good portion of them being located in Papua new Guinea. As Rev. Birner noted in the Lutheran Witness, a variety of reasons led to the decline of LCMS missionaries worldwide, including a change in LCMS mission philosophy and policy. These changes left LCMS partners such as Papua New Guinea wondering why the LCMS left. Currently, the LCMS has three career missionaries in Papua New Guinea according to the LCMS website. Governor Ipatas challenged the LCMS to return to Papua New Guinea with 20 missionaries next year, a fraction of the hundreds of missionaries the LCMS formerly sent. He noted that theological educators who could train pastors and general educators as well as medical teams were in particular need. He pledged to assist in any way he could. Among the former LCMS missionaries to Papua New Guinea, his speech was met with a standing ovation.

LCMS Career Missionaries from 1970 to 2010
Image taken from May 2011 Lutheran Witness
The first LCMS missionaries, Rev. Otto Hintze and Rev. Bill Burce, arrived in Papua New Guinea in 1948 at the invitation of a Wauni tribal leader in Yaramanda, Enga Province. Rev. Hintze and his wife were able to attend the Mission Society Meeting at Timothy Lutheran Church. While Rev. Dr. Willard (Bill) Burce was not able to attend.

Rev. Jerry Burce Preaching on
compassion [σπλάγχνα (splanchna)]
 His son, Rev. Jerry Burce was there and led the morning service, preaching on Matthew 9:27 - 10:1; 20:29 - 31. He preached on how Jesus had compassion [σπλάγχνα (splanchna)] on the blind men in the Gospel reading, on all of us, and on the people in Papua New Guinea.

First Page of Saturday Morning Worship

Second and Third Pages of Saturday Morning Worship
The Enga Provence is unique in Papua New Guinea for being in the highlands (Enga people are referred to as mountain men) and for being predominately the same ethnic / tribal group. The predominate religion in Enga is Lutheran (due to LCMS missionaries, about 1/2 of the population of the provence) and Roman Catholic. In 1960, the LCMS via the work of Dr. Willard Burce founded Timothy Seminary in the Enga provence. This seminary is the primary education for pastors of Gutnius Lutheran Church. Martin Luther Seminary (MLS) is another seminary located in Lae.

Flag of Enga Provence

Enga Provence Shaded in Red

Governor Ipatas brought greetings to the LCMS, particularly to President Harrison and LCMS Mission personnel. His administrator Ezekiel Peter gifted LCMS personnel with a hat and a bilum. A bilum is a string bag handmade in PNG.

A Papua New Guinea Hat and Bilum
Although I was not able to attend the entire event at Timothy Lutheran Church, the time I spent with former LCMS missionary and the delegation from Papua New Guinea was very enlightening and provided me with much foder for thought, particularly how the LCMS might be able to answer the challenge Governor Ipatas presented to send more missionaries to PNG.

-- Rev. Dr. Albert Collver

Friday, July 29, 2011

Meramec Greenway -- Arnold's Grove Trailhead

Today, I had a chance to walk a portion of the Meramec Greenway in the near 100 degree heat of Saint Louis, MO, with my two dogs -- Coco and Smokey. The trail is 3.5 miles long from Arnold's Grove Trailhead to Greentree Park. The dogs and I only walked a portion of it today due to the heat. In 1909 Harry Arnold owned the site of the Arnold's Grove Trailhead where he rented 250 canoes. The park opened a century later in 2009 (Read about the opening of the park here.) 

From Arnold’s Grove Trail Head, the 3 miles of asphalt trail follows the river eastward, passing beneath Highway 141 and the Burlington Northern Railroad to a boat access at Meramec Landing Park, continue on the trail east to Simpson County Park. Here it connects to an existing trail that continues east to Kirkwood’s Greentree Park.

Below is a map of the park and some photos. At the very bottom is a copy of the Meramec Greenway Newsletter which describes Arnold's Grove Trailhead.
VP Kirkwood Map

Railroad Bridge

Water Fountain and Dog Watering Station

View of Meramec River

Paved Trail
Arnold's Grove Park News52_Sum09

Friday, July 22, 2011

WELS Conference on Worship at Martin Luther College

We are providing this information to help LCMS readers become more acquainted with WELS and their facilities. For us who traveled to the WELS Conference on Worship, the experience has been rather educational. 

Martin Luther College
On Thursday, the worship conference had a change of venue from Gustavus Adolphus College (ELCA Campus) to Martin Luther College, a Wisconsin Synod campus in New Ulm, Minnesota. WELS like the LCMS facing financial challenges regarding the upkeep and maintenance of their colleges, merged their teacher college and their seminary into one campus. The student population of the campus is around 1,000. The crown jewel of the campus is the new Chapel of Christ, recently completed. Martin Luther College (formerly known as Doctor Martin Luther College when it was a teachers college) did not have a chapel for 30 or 40 years... think of a parallel situation at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, being without a chapel since it located in Clayton until 1992 with the completion of the Chapel of Saints Timothy and Titus.

Chapel of Christ
A goal of worship conferences is to "model" worship for congregations. On Thursday, the theme of the conference was Easter with the opening service modeling Easter Sunday. Here the LCMS folk attending ran into a slight cultural difference. When the WELS pastor said, "He is Risen." The congregation responded, "He is risen indeed!" However, the LCMS folk added (rather loudly) "Alleluia!" This apparently is not part of the WELS Easter custom and we stood out. Nonetheless, our faux pas was quietly ignored and we were treated graciously. Of course, as is in the case of all worship conferences, the "models" often shows what can be done, not necessarily what every congregation can do. Yet this is not bad. The experience is similar to what many people find attending the worship at the Symposium at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, or at the installation of a Synod President, or the opening of the academic year at one of the seminaries. An uplifting experience and a learning experience for the participants.

The inside of the chapel is spacious and holds about 1,000 people. For the musicians, the organ was built by the Schantz Organ Company (Orrville, Ohio, 1873) has 57 pipe ranks, more than 3,000 pipes, and two 16' pipes. I was told that with the three digital voices the organ can emulate a 32' pipe -- a very low note. This is a worship space done very well.

For me, the altar was the best part of the chapel. "The Altar of Revelation," is patterned after Revelation 5, and seeks to present the Evangelists' vision of the Holy Trinity. The Father is depicted as a hand holding a scroll, the Son, as the Lion of Judah, and the Spirit as seven eyes and seven hours. In the vision of Saint John in Revelation 5, the Lion of Judah becomes the Lamb that was Slain.
The Lamb Who Was Slain from Revelation 5
"Behold, the Lamb of God"
In Greek and German

We also had opportunity to stop by and see the Evangelical Lutheran Synod's Bethany College in Mankato, MN. A few photos below.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WELS National Conference on Worship, Music & the Arts -- Gustavus Adulphus College

WELS Worship Conference Book
(Over 200 Pages Long)
Yesterday, a group of LCMS representatives arrived at Saint Peter, Minnesota, on the campus of Gustavus Adulphus College for the Wisconsin Synod's National Conference on Worship. The Wisconsin Synod has been holding worship conferences since 1996, and this is their sixth conference. As of the end of June 2011, nearly 900 people registered for this worship conference. The plenary speaker stated that the WELS Conference on Worship is the largest worship conference in the Western Hemisphere. A significant percentage of WELS church workers (pastors and church musicians) attend the conference. This is remarkable considering the size of WELS (around 400,000 members) in comparison to the ELCA and the LCMS, not to mention other Protestant groups in North America. This shows in part WELS commitment to Lutheran Worship.

Plenary Session "Passing the Torch"
A recurring theme at the WELS Conference on Worship is "authentic Lutheran Worship." Yesterday, I heard a presentation by Jonathan Schroeder about a WELS mission start in Atlanta (Faith, Sharpsburg, GA) in 2001. The pastor was confronted with starting a church in a strange land to Lutherans -- the Deep South, where the predominate religious affiliation is Baptist and other Evangelical groups. He explained the recognition that he did not make a good baptist, nor could his fledging congregation compete with the musical groups or styles of the mega churches. His conclusion, the only option is to be authentically Lutheran. He had many good suggestions for being a "missional" church while remaining authentically Lutheran. Approximately 100 people attended Jonathan Schroeder's session on "Teaching Worship." This is a session that would have been good for me to hear starting out as a pastor.

Faith, Sharpsburg, GA (A WELS Congregation)
By way of observation and not comment ... Another interesting theme or motif that recurs among WELS people is the Synodical Conference. While I suspect many LCMS folk give little to no thought to the Synodical Conference that broke up in the late 1950s. Yet for many in WELS the Synodical Conference or rather the breakup of the Synodical Conference is a defining moment. In a sense, the break of the Synodical Conference is the sad story about the dissolution of a family -- three sisters who could no longer have a Life Together. In any case, I cannot remember the last time I heard the Synodical Conference mentioned at an official LCMS event.

Phillip Magness, Secretary of the LCMS Board for International Mission
Presents on the Psalms as the Hymn Book of the Bible
The Conference Book is literally a book of over 200 pages. The conference is rather impressive and well done. Below are some photos of the Gustavus Adulphus Campus. Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to visit the Wisconsin Synod's Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota. 
2011 Worship Conf Brochure Web

Representatives from the LCMS include: Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Rev. Herb Mueller, Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, Rev. Jon Vieker, Rev. Larry Vogel, and Rev. John Willie, District President of South Wisconsin. As few people know us, we are able to go about the conference more or less incognito. Thus far the conference is not only impressive but rather edifying.

Gustavus Adolphus College
Gustavus Adolphus College is affiliated with the ELCA and is rooted in a Swedish and Lutheran heritage. The college is 150 years old. The campus is rather impressive.
Gustavus Adolphus
King of Sweden (1611-1632)
Gustavus Adolphus was the King of Sweden from 1611 to 1632. He fought for the Protestant cause during the 30 years war, and made Sweden the third largest nation in Europe after Russia and Spain. He was known as the "Father of Modern Warfare." He restored a number of territories to the Lutheran faith, but his early death resulted in the loss of several territories to the Roman Catholic forces. He is honored as a hero in many Lutheran lands for his efforts during the 30 years war.
Alfred Nobel Building
Gustavus Adolphus College hosts the Nobel Conference each year since 1963, where top scientists, philosophers, and Nobel Prize winners lecture on a variety of topics. The Nobel Conference for 2011 is the 47th and is on the topic of The Brain and Being Human.

Nobel Conference 47 Poster
The jewel and figurative if not the literal center of the campus is Christ Chapel.

Christ Chapel

Crucifix Outside of Chapel

Monday, July 18, 2011

Czech Village -- Cedar Rapids, IA

Today, Jon Vieker and I left Saint Louis for Minnesota to attend the Wisconsin Synod's (WELS) Worship Conference. Along the way driving past Rapid City, Iowa, we saw a sign for the Czech Museum. Considering that the LCMS recently has had more activity in the Czech Republic, we decided to stop along the way to see the Czech Museum.

The Czech Museum ( was closed, but is located located in the Czech Village.

The Czech Village is sort of like a Czech version of Frankenmuth located in Iowa instead of Michigan.

I am sure that there is more history about the Czech Village but as we were just passing through ... This is about all we know about it. See a few more pictures below.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Polk,United States

Papillon, Smokey -- New Dog

Smokey, a Papillon
Over the weekend, we expanded our "pack" to include a Papillon, named Smokey. For the record, it is Kaitlyn's dog... He is about 6 months old and we got him from a dog rescued.

Papillon's are among the oldest of dog breeds. Papillon is French for "butterfly," a name supposedly given to the Continental Toy Spaniel by Marie Antoinette, who supposedly carried her "Little Butterfly" with her to the guillotine. According to the legend, her dog was spared her fate and lived the rest of his life in the Papillon Building in Paris.

Several famous paintings from the 16th century have papillon's in them. As a breed the dog is among the most intelligent. Coco, our English Cocker, already has been bested by Smokey who steals the tennis balls and hides them from Coco.

Coco did try to burry Smokey when she dug her hole.

Coco and Smokey playing
Here is a little video about the Papillon from Dogs101.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weedon -- Sacrament of the Altar, Missionary Orientation

There have been several posts on the Internet and on Facebook requesting that Pastor Weedon (Check out Pastor Weedon's Blog here) put print outs or downloads of the Small Catechism studies that he has been using for the LCMS Missionary Orientation. Earlier in the week, we posted a short 5 minute segment by Pastor Weedon. Yesterday (Saturday), Pastor Weedon presented on the Sacrament of the Altar from the Small Catechism for the outgoing missionaries. I was able to record this 20 some minute presentation with my iPhone. As in the previous sessions, Pastor Weedon did an excellent job. His teaching the Small Catechism has been one of the highlights of missionary orientation. Enjoy his presentation of the Sacrament of the Altar.

(Pastor Weedon, if you see this, thank you for the kind words about the Witness, Mercy, Life Together Bible Study on your blog.)

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Role of Theological Education in Missions

Dr. Timothy Quill Discusses Global Theological Education
In the short video clip below, Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill speaks on the role of theological education in global missions at the LCMS Missionary Orientation held in July 2011. He notes the key role that theological education plays in the goal of Lutheran Mission leading to Lutheran Congregations, and its reverse, Lutheran Congregations do Lutheran Mission. As Dr. Quill notes, since Dr. Luther taught at Wittenberg University, Lutherans have been known for theological education.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Missionary Orientation -- Week 1

LCMS Outgoing Missionaries for 2011 -- 32 Total
On 5 July 2011, thirty individuals gathered at the LCMS International Center in Saint Louis for missionary orientation. In total 23 GEO Missionaries (Globally Engaged Outreach), who typically serve 1 to 2 years sharing the Gospel in their vocation of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in partner and non-partner churches as well as serving in other deaconal projects, 7 career missionaries and 2 international educators, who serve in LCMS operated international schools, who had either been called or solemnly appointed by the Board for International Mission (BIM) between September 2010 and June 2011, attended the orientation. The LCMS missionaries were called to serve in eleven different countries (13 if Macau and Hong Kong are considered separately from China). Among the called career missionaries were two seminary graduates, one from each seminary.

LCMS Missionaries Called and Appointed to
Serve in 11 Countries (India and Singapore not shown on map)
Missionary orientation follows on the heels of the LCMS Global Impact Meeting and provides a good opportunity to reflect on the best use of church resources with the new missionaries. In addition to the the new LCMS missionaries, the LCMS Regional Directors (Africa: Dr. Mike Rodewald, East Asia: Rev. John Mehl, South Asia: Darin Storkson, Eurasia: Rev. Dr. Brent Smith, Latin America: Rev. Ted Krey) attended to meet the new LCMS missionaries and to discuss how Witness, Mercy, Life Together can be integrated on the mission field. In addition to the new missionaries, the LCMS International Center welcomes Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, on-loan from Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, as the Director of Theological Education. Over the past fifteen years, Dr. Quill has been instrumental in the Russia Project and has served as the Dean of International Studies at CTSFW.

Regional Directors Meeting

The orientation which lasts from the evening of July 5th until the evening of July 13th, has a 10 page schedule that begins at 7:30 AM and ends around 7 PM each evening. The orientation begins each morning with devotions led by Concordia Publishing House's Rev. Scot Kinnamen, editor of Treasury of Daily Prayer. His goal is to help foster a daily devotional practice among missionaries using a variety of tools. Worship is a major component of missionary orientation with devotions, chapel in the morning, and evening prayer at the close of day.

Matins at Missionary Orientation
Preaching Rev. Dr. Doug Rutt from Lutheran Hour Ministries
During the debriefing session, worship, particularly the creative use of instruments was noted as one of the most memorable experiences of the day.

The Musical Ensemble Leading Matins in Chapel

A new part of LCMS missionary orientation (new at least as far as we can determine) is a refresher seminar on Martin Luther's Small Catechism led by Rev. William Weedon. Pastor Weedon's teaching of the catechism also was noted as among the most memorable of the day's events. In fact, of all the presenters, Pastor Weedon was the only presenter to receive applause at the end of his seminar.

Pastor Weedon teaching on the Small Catechism

In this short video, Pastor Weedon summarizes the Close of the Commandments with the new LCMS missionaries. 

LCMS Missionaries Gathered in Walther Room
The LCMS Missionary Orientation is off to a good start. In future posts, we will feature short interviews with some of the new missionaries headed into the field. Despite the economic challenges the country, the LCMS, Districts, Congregations, and individuals have faced over the past year, the Lord has heard the prayer of his church to send laborers into the harvest. May he grant an even greater return and sending in the future. Remember the LCMS staff and new missionaries in prayer as they continue with orientation this week.

-- ABC3+