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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Symposia Update and International Dignitaries

Snow Covered Kramer Chapel
Although the 27th annual Exegetical Symposium and the 35th annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions (17 - 20 January 2012) began with unusually mild weather on Monday, by Thursday, winter arrived in full force with blustery winds and snow coating the ground.

The theme for the 27th annual Exegetical Theology Symposium, January 17-18, is In Search of Jesus: Why History Matters. Main speakers include Richard Bauckham of Cambridge, England; Daniel Johansson of Gothenburg, Sweden; as well as Dr. David Scaer, Dr. Charles Gieschen and other CTS professors.

The 35th annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions has chosen Justification in a Contemporary Context as its theme and will take place January 18-20, under the sponsorship of the Department of Systematic Theology. Speakers scheduled to participate include Dr. Jack Kilcrease, Adjunct Professor of Theology and Humanities at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Dr. Erik M. Heen, John H.P. Reumann Chair in Biblical Studies, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia; along with Prof. Roland Ziegler and other members of the CTS faculty.

Kantorei in Kramer Chapel Balcony
One of the highlights of the Symposia Series at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne is the chapel services, in particular the celebration of the commemoration of the faithfully departed. This year the commemoration of the faithfully departed was held on the Confession of Saint Peter, 18 January 2012. Rev. Jon Vieker, Senior Assistant to the LCMS President preached.

Rev. Jon Vieker, Preaching at Commemoration of the Faithfully Departed
Rev. Vieker preached on the LSB Hymn 395, "O Morning Star How Fair and Bright," Stanza 5 and Revelation 21:1 - 7.  The service closed with LSB Hymn 676, "Behold A Host Arrayed in White," (Listen to it below).

The service bulletin from the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed is provided below.
Commemoration of Faithful Departed 18 Jan 2012

Another highlight of the Symposia is the opportunity to meet with church leaders from around the world. This year Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne invited 25 International dignitaries to attend the Symposia. Dignitaries from Russia, Latvia, Germany, Finland, Norway, Tanzania, Nigeria, Haiti, and Indonesia attended.

President Lawrence Rast of Concordia Theological Seminary Welcomes
International Dignitaries and Introduces President Harrison to them.
The International Guests reported that they found the theological lectures and the fellowship at the Symposia Series very encouraging.

Rev. Emmanuel Makala (Tanzania) and Dr. Timothy  Quill
Rev. Emmanuel Makala is the assistant to Bishop Andrew Gulle of the East Lake Diocese in Tanzania. He is a new doctorate student at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.

Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin and Adrian Dorr
Adrian Dorr interviews Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin from the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC).

Rev. Charles Wokoma, Archbishop Christian Ekong, Rev. Dr. Albert Collver
This was Archbishop Christian Ekong from the Lutheran Church of Nigeria's (LCN) first visit to Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne. The Lutheran Church of Nigeria has been a partner of the LCMS for 75 years,  one of the LCMS' oldest partners. Archbishop Ekong stated that the number one way that the LCMS could help the Lutheran Church of Nigeria was through theological education. Archbishop Ekong stated that Nigeria is the third largest English speaking nation in the world.

Adrian Dorr with International Deaconesses
A little update from wintry Fort Wayne.

CTS Campus in Winter
A view from the new CTS Library.

-- Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations
Posted 19 January 2012.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lutheran Village Dedication in Jacmal Haiti

People Gathered for Lutheran Village Dedication

Yesterday, Sunday, 15 January 2012, the Lutheran Village in Jacmal, Haiti, was dedicated. The Lutheran Village was conceived by Rev. Glenn Merritt, working with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH), after the devastating earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010. The Lutheran Village consists of cinder-block homes constructed around a Lutheran congregation. Hundreds of people attended the dedication on Sunday, including the mayor of Jacmal and two senators.

Rev. Marky Kessa, President of the ELCH, awards home to applicant

Senator Joseph Lambert was a government dignitary who attended the dedication of the Lutheran Village.   Senator Lambert, himself, was personally trapped under concrete rubble after the earthquake of 12 January 2010. Thirty-nine others were trapped with him, only four, including him, survived. He recounted  that when the earthquake struck, he was rendered unconscious almost immediately. Around 11 PM, some six hours after the earthquake, he awoke and thought that life was very short. The sounds of people crying for help brought him to consciousness. He heard people crying, "Senator, please help me,  pull the board out that went through my stomach"; "Senator, help me, pull the concrete off my legs." The Senator said he would spare those gathered from the other horrible sounds he heard as people died. His arm was broken behind his back and concrete pressed on his skull. He said with his good arm he reached back and grabbed hold of a board.  Around 2 AM, he heard the voice of his younger brother calling his name. The rescuers pulled the Senator out of the rubble by the "board" he clung to. Once out of the rubble, the Senator saw what he thought was a board was in fact a crucifix. He said that he gives thanks to Jesus every day for delivering him from the earthquake. He thanked the work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for its work to help the people of Haiti. He also thanked Glenn Merritt in particular for traveling to Haiti more than 20 times to make the dream of a Lutheran Village a reality.

A Home in the Lutheran Village
A distinguishing feature of the homes in the Lutheran Village from the homes constructed by some of the other relief agencies is the cinder block construction. The mayor of Jacmal contrasted the sheet rock and cardboard homes constructed nearby to the "real homes" constructed from concrete in the Lutheran Village. The quality of the homes in the Lutheran Village were greatly appreciated by Haitian government officials.

A Lutheran Congregation forms the heart of the Lutheran Village
Another distinguishing feature of the Lutheran Village is a Lutheran Congregation, which will serve the community with the Gospel of Jesus and serve as a gathering place, as it did for this dedication.

Sanctuary of the Lutheran Congregation
The people who received homes at the dedication service were very grateful to receive a home.

After the dedication people gathered for refreshments and discussion. It was the conclusion of a fine day.

People from the ELCH
After the dedication service, people rode home on the back of trucks.

A Common Mode of Transportation in Haiti
Below are pictured Dignitaries from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH), The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the Haitian Government.

Dignitaries at the Dedication
It was truly a blessing to see the completion of the Lutheran Village. 

-- Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations,
Posted 16 January 2012 in Miami, Florida.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Morning Worship in Haiti

Today, 15 January 2012, we worshiped at a local Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH) congregation in Jacmal near the airport.

People singing at worship. The worship at the Lutheran Congregation followed a liturgical outline: Invocation, confession / absolution, Old Testament, Epistle, Gospel readings, Creed, Lord's Prayer, Holy Communion, and Benediction. The music ranged from hymns to Haitian songs.

Drs. Collver and Just assisted in the distribution of Holy Communion. The elders admitted who could or could not attend Holy Communion-- this is the way the ELCH practices close(d) communion. About 350 people attended the service and 200 communioned.

A group of collage aged young adults from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They will be assisting in the construction of homes for Haitians.

What a small world... In the group from Milwaukee was Benjamin Wieting from Luther Memorial Chapel in Shorewood. Both Drs. Collver and Grimenstein vicared under Ben's father, Dr. Kenneth Wieting.

After the service we went to the dedication of the Lutheran Village.

-- Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations, posted in Jacmal, Haiti.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Dedication of Concordia Theological Seminary of Haiti in Leogane

Haitian and LCMS Delegates at Seminary Delegation
In Leogane, Haiti, the Concordia Theological Seminary of Haiti was dedicated on Saturday, 14 January 2012. Present were leaders from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH), a partner of the LCMS, and delegates from The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Pictured (left to right): President Marky Kessa, Pastor Marckenson, Pastor Isaac Jacquet, Pastor Eliona Bernard, Dr. Collver, Darrel Howanitz, Rev. Glenn Merritt, Carlos Hernandez, Pastor Daniel Paul, Dr. Edward Grimenstein, Pastor Thomas Bernard, Pastor Walter Ries, Jr., Pastor Ted Krey, Rev. Dr. Willy Gaspar, Dr. Author Just.

Rev. Glenn Merritt, Dr. Author Just, Dr. Albert Collver, Rev. Dr. Willy Gaspar
Rev. Glenn Merritt, Director of LCMS Disaster Response, represents the Office of International Mission and worked diligently on the Lutheran Villages in Haiti as well as the development of the seminary building. Dr. Arthur Just, Professor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, traveled to Haiti along with Dr. Timothy Quill after the earthquake to help revise the Haitian seminary curriculum. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations, represented the President's Office at the dedication. Rev. Dr. Willy Gaspar, served as project manager for the work done in Haiti.

A short video for the dedication of the seminary.

* The internet connection is very slow... will post more when possible.

-- Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations
Posted from Jacmal, Haiti, on 15 January 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Driving Through Port-au-Prince

The Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince Haiti. The Presidential Palace does not look much different than it did two years ago.

Tent city in front of the Presidential Palace.

People along the street.

A passenger van in Port-au-Prince.

-- Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations, Posted from Port-au-Prince 14 January 2012

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Delegation Arrives in Haiti

A delegation from The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, yesterday on 13 January 2012.

Rev. Glenn Merritt meets with security team who will escort the delegation in Haiti.

The delegation assembled at the airport to travel to the hotel for the evening.

The delegation started the trip in Port-au-Prince. On Saturday, the delegation will travel to Leogane for the dedication of a seminary building, a Lutheran guest house, and several homes constructed by the Building Homes and Hope in Haiti project of the LCMS. Approximately 100 dwellings (70 homes and two apartment complexes) have been build thus far.

Rev. Ted Krey, LCMS Regional Director for Latin America, and Rev. Glenn Merritt, LCMS Director of Disaster Response, discuss the work in Haiti.

-- Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations, Posted on 14 January 2012.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pastoral Care for iPhone – Review

Pastoral Care in iTunes Store
After greatly appreciating Concordia Publishing House's Pray Now App for iOS devices, I was eager to try PastoralCare App. The Pastoral Care App is a $19.95 purchase from the iTunes store. There also is an app for Android devices that was not tested.

Starting the PastoralCare App
The PastoralCare App is started like every other application for iOS by tapping the icon. Unlike most iOS applications, PastoralCare does not display a splash screen while starting, giving the application a somewhat unfinished feel.

PastoralCare App after starting
Once started the PastoralCare app presents the user with the Rites found in the Pastoral Care Companion. At the bottom of the screen, icons help the user navigate to other resources in the app. 

Communion of the Sick and Homebound
Once a particular rite is selected, the content from the Pastoral Care Companion is displayed.

Another very handy feature of the PastoralCare App is the complete Pericopes for both the Three-year series and the One-year series. A handy feature of the application is that it figures out the calendar for you. If you can't remember if it is the First Sunday after Christmas or another feast, the application figures it for you. Clicking on the readings gives you the full text from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible.

A Selection of Hymns
The PastoralCare App also contains the text of 171 hymns from Lutheran Service Book. This is a very helpful feature.

Bookmarking Feature

The application also offers a bookmarking feature.

Final Thoughts

The PastoralCare app is a good addition to Concordia Publishing House's digital resources. The app lacks some of the polish of other iOS apps but the the content is impecable. One advertised feature of the PastoralCare app, the playing of the Psalm tones did not work on my devices. Either I could not figure out how to make it work, or there is a compatibility issue with iOS 5. I suspect this will be corrected in a future update. Potential customers should be aware that this is not a universal application. It is designed for the iPhone in particular and not the iPad. While it does run on the iPad, it does not run at native resolution resulting in blocky text and graphics.

Screen Shot from iPad
Despite a couple of rough edges, the PastoralCare App is worth the purchase if you are in need of the resources in the Pastoral Care Companion. For someone who travels frequently and who is looking to reduce the number of books packed in my bag, this application is invaluable. It also would be very helpful for the pastor as he makes calls. Although not the target audience, the application has value for the lay person who wants a handy book of prayer and Scripture readings for a variety of life events. 

With the expansion of Concordia Publishing House's electronic resources, one can only hope that an electronic version of the Lutheran Service Book is in the wings. Of course, the development of additional electronic resources depends upon sales of existing product. If you own an iOS device and either are a pastor or an interested layperson, I highly encourage you to consider purchasing the PastoralCare app. Concordia Publishing House – keep the resources coming!

-- Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Liberia Last Day -- St Peter's Massacre

St. Peter's Lutheran Church (LCL)

Before we left Monrovia for the airport, we stopped at St. Peter's Lutheran Church of the Lutheran Church of Liberia (LCL), a partner with the ELCA. There are good relations between the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia (the group affiliated with the LCMS) and the Lutheran Church of Liberia (LCL).

The sanctuary of St. Peter Lutheran Church. Although not seen in this photograph, the pulpit is clear and made of glass. This is fairly common in the Liberian Lutheran churches.

St. Peter Lutheran Church was the site of a horrible massacre during the Liberian Civil War. Approximately, 600 to 700 people (mostly women and children) were slaughtered in the sanctuary of St. Peter Lutheran Church by rebel forces. The pastor said after the massacre, the bodies were piled up in the sanctuary.

The cross on the altar is made from an artillery shell. Other reminders of the massacre remain at the church.

In this photograph, on the right hand, middle, a bullet hole can be seen. The congregation intentionally left several bullet holes in the building to serve as a reminder to the terrible civil war fought in Liberia.

This white star marks the mass grave, where the 600 to 700 people who were massacred were buried.

This marker stone overlooks the white star. It begins by quoting Romans 8:35 - 39, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ... For your sake, we are killed... For I am sure that neither death nor life ... Shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Below the Scripture verse the monument reads, "...Those who lost their loves during the civil Crisis and especially the Lutheran Church massacre on July 29, 1990..."

Amazingly, the Liberian Civil War was hardly a blip on the Western world.

When we arrived at St. Peter Lutheran Church women were kneeling before the altar in prayer.

Today St. Peter Lutheran Church has a school of approximately 700 children. The zebra above dedicated to a new era of peace (dedicated in 2005, 2 years after the civil war ended in 2003), was a gift from the students to the church and school. The congregation worships about 674 people a week.

While in Liberia, we stayed at the Lutheran Guest House Compound that is affiliated with St. Peter Lutheran Church. As we travel to the airport, we bid Liberia farewell and the Lord's blessings.

- Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations
Posted 4 January 2012 in Monrovia, Liberia

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:13th St,Monrovia,Liberia