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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mission Emphasis for January 2015

 The Christmas and Epiphany seasons in the church year are excellent times to remember the Synod's efforts to share the Incarnation, Nativity, Epiphany, Baptism, Death, Resurrection, Ascension of Jesus (see "The Litany" from LSB  pg. 288) with the entire world.  The 140 Synod International Missionaries (career and GEO missionaries) share the Gospel with those who haven't heard it before and work to strengthen Lutheran churches where they serve. Please remember them in your prayers.

January 2015 marks the Synod's Mission Emphasis. The link to the Synod's emphasis on International Mission includes link to bulletin inserts and other resources (including prayer cards for LCMS missionaries)  that can be used by Districts or congregations to increase awareness of international mission work and to support the Synod's missionaries and mission efforts around the world. The LCMS Reporter Insert for the month of January also features international mission work, as does the upcoming January Engage magazine.

With the Lord's help, the coming year looks very exciting for International Mission. Pray that the Lord of the Harvest send labors into his field.

 Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D.
 Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Christmas Song -- John Collver 1828

The Collver (Colver / Culver) family who came over with the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th century always had a religious streak. The first Collvers came over with the Puritans but either always were or quickly became Quaker like when they joined the Rogerenes. First settling Groton / Mystic Connecticut and later moving to Schooley's Mountain in New Jersey due to religious persecution by the Puritans, a group of the Collvers became "late loyalists" moving to Simcoe, Canada, to live under the rule of the British Crown. In Canada, the Collvers left behind their Quaker / Rogerene religiosity in favor of Presbyterianism. 

John Collver (b. 1768 - b. 1834), my 5th great grand uncle, wrote a hymnbook, which contains the "Christmas Song," featured in the video. The video features stanzas: 1, 2, 3, and 5. "A Christmas Song" was sung to an 18th century fuguing tune, "Lenox" by Lewis Edson.

A Christmas Song by John Collver, circa 1828.
(Stanzas sung in the Youtube video)
1. This is the glorious day,
When Jesus came on earth
To take our sins away;
Come, view his humble birth:
He's of an humble virgin born,
Made in the lowly human form.

2. Come, view the infant God,
With all his holy charms,
In union with our blood,
In the fond virgin's arms:
He is th' eternal darling son;
By him creation was begun.

3. Give glory to his name, 
To him all pow'r was given;
Made in the human from,
Th' eternal heir of heaven:
To him your christmas offerings bring,
He is the universal King.

5. Come, all ye saints above,
And angels round the King,
Send down your notes of love,
And help his praise to sing:
Join in the joyful jubilee,
His love remains for ever free.

Short biographic information about John Collver from The Long Point Settlers, "THE DOUBLE CULVER QUARTETTE."

"John Culver, third brother in the quartette, was born in New Jersey, in 1768, and was twenty-six years old when he built his log-cabin in the Townsend wilderness. He came a little in advance of his father and brothers, and was the first Culver to effect a settlement in Norfolk. They left New Jersey in early 1793,[11] but the season was spent somewhere about the Grand River, and they did not reach Norfolk before February or March, 1794. The ground was covered with snow, and after crossing the Grand River they had to chop their way through the brush entangled forest. When they reached a certain spot on which is now Lot 1, 11th concession, Townsend, they pitched their tent. The snow was cleared away from the prostate trunk of a huge tree, and a temporary shelter constructed with pine boughs and cow-hides. What a mighty transformation has been effected in Norfolk since Miriam Culver and her three babies cuddled together on a bed of pine boughs by the side of that log a hundred and three years ago! And what were the thoughts of the brave young pioneer as he guarded that rudely constructed couch all through the "silly watches" of that first night? In our imagination we can see the leaping flames and the radiating shadows. It is midnight, and stretching away in every direction is a vast, unbroken and densely wooded forest. Old Townsend's first permanent settler stands with his back to the crackling flames, and, with folded arms, peers into the outlying darkness.[12] Hark! What demonical, blood-curdling sound was that? He listens. It grows louder. On a bed of pine-boughs, by the side of a fallen tree, lies old Townsend's first pioneer mother. She has had a hard day's tramp through the forest, and has fallen into a deep sleep with her babies nestled snuggly in her arms. She is oblivious to her surroundings, and hears not the discordant howls of the blood-thirsty wolves. She is dreaming of her happy, far-away New Jersey home and the dear friends left behind. But the vigilant sentry disturbs not her slumbers. He heaps on more wood and sends the sparkling flames still higher, for well he knows that this is a certain means of warding off attacks of wild beasts.

John Culver was truely a pioneer of pioneers. He was a preacher, but never assumed the duties of the regular pastor. He was a poet, and in 1828 he wrote a volume of hymns which was published as the “Upper Canada Hymn Book.” He was somewhat eccentric in character, and towards the close of his life he became enamored with the doctrines of Universalism. He had five sons—Michael, Gabriel, Darius, John Mark and Hiram; and seven daughters—Rhoda, Sarah, Mary, Elizabeth, Miriam, Dorcas and Susanna. He died in 1834 in his 67th year, and his wife died in 1852, in her 80th year."

Collver, John. The Upper Canada Hymn Book, for All Christian Denominations With Other Pious Poems, on Various Subjects. St. Catharines [Ont.]: Printed at the Journal Office, for the author, 1828.

-- Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D., 27 December 2014.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

CPH Missionary Gift Registry

IMG_3152 2     Concordia Publishing House (CPH) in cooperation with the Office of International Mission (OIM) has launched a Missionary Gift Registry to benefit the work of sharing the Gospel overseas. In a joint meeting between the LCMS Regional Directors and Dr. Bruce Kintz of CPH, the Regional Directors asked if CPH could find a way to help missionaries get CPH materials onto the mission field, where emerging churches could make use of the material. CPH created a webpage that contains a list of materials LCMS missionaries would like to sue on the mission field with partner churches, emerging churches, and converts to the Christian faith. The web address is   Each quarter the regional directors will update the list and provide CPH with a list of needed resources. CPH also is working with LCMS missionaries to identify resources to translate into other languages. Please take a look at the CPH site created to help our LCMS missionaries.   IMG_3153 2 The CPH website helpfully shows the regions of the world where the LCMS works and provides the name of the regional director. IMG_3154 2 This is part of the Latin America list of needed resources. As the image shows, a number of resources have been identified with the quantity required and the amount fulfilled. IMG_3155 2 Eurasia is looking to get LSB hymnals for the Old Latin School in Wittenberg.   Thanks CPH for working with the Office of International Mission on this. It is a great way to collaborate.   -- Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D, Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations

Friday, December 19, 2014

Visit to the Silesian Lutherans (Bohemia)

On Sunday, December 14th, a group from the Missouri Synod arrived in Prague for a week long conference with the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SECAC). In 2010, the LCMS and the SECAC, who are not in altar and pulpit fellowship, signed a working agreement describing how the two churches will work in the area of human care (particularly in the area of people with disabilities through Slezská diakonie) and in the realm of theological education and conferences. (Read more about that at

The Slezská diakonie requested that the Missouri Synod present on the topic of the theology of mercy, so that the church can remain closely connected to human care work. Dr. Collver presented on the Biblical view of mercy, both to the Slezská diakonie and to a pastors' conference at the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SECAC).

Approximately, One hundred of the 600 staff members attended the conference. Deaconess Grace Rao and Deaconess Dorothy Krans also presented to the staff of the Slezská diakonie.

Pastor James Krikava, Eurasia missionary to Czech Republic and associate Eurasia regional director, presented to the pastors' conference at the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SECAC) in Czech. His paper addressed the topic of mercy in pastoral care through confession and absolution.

Above is a short video (15 seconds) of Rev. James Krikava presenting at the SECAC pastors' conference in Czech. The LCMS believes it is very important for her missionaries to know the local language. Rev. Krikava, born and raised in the United States, learned Czech at home from his parents and attained fluency during his 15 years of experience as a missionary to the Czech Republic. 

Rev. Peter Lang, 1st Vice-President of the Kansas District and Pastor at St. John's in Topeka, KS, was part of the LCMS delegation to Silesia. Pastor Lang's congregation has supported the international mission work of the LCMS for the past 15 years, primarily through the Network Supported Missionary (NSM) model. In the video below, Pastor Lang describes how his congregation provides support for Rev. James Krikava in the Czech Republic.

If there is interest to support the work of Rev. James Krikava in the Czech republic please visit:

Kay Kreklau, President of from the Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML), came to the Czech Republic and Poland as part of the LCMS delegation. Kay Kreklau was particularly interested in how the LWML can work more closely with the Office of International Mission (OIM) to better support LCMS missionaries and their work.

The future work of the Eurasia team under Rev. Tony Booker, Regional Director for Eurasia, is looking bright with many opportunities for strengthening Lutheran identity in Central Europe. Rev. Tony Booker also serves as the pastor of St. Michael's English Congregation in Prague.

-- Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D., Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Krikava Doing Mission Work in Czech Republic

Pastor James Krikava, associate Eurasia Regional Director, speaks about doing mission work in the Czech Republic. He and Rev. Tony Book, Eurasia Regional Director, are based out of Prague working to strengthen Lutheran identity through out Central Europe, as well as working with established and emerging LCMS partners throughout Europe.

Pastor Peter Lange, 1st VP of the Kansas District and pastor at St. John's Topeka, KS, speaks about his congregation's partnership with the Office of International Mission for the past 15 years and most recently through its support of Pastor James Krikava as a Network Supported Missionary (NSM) in the Czech Republic.

To support Rev. James Krikava's work in the Czech Republic (as Pastor Lange and St John's have) please visit

Part of the video was shot in the Jesus Church (Kościół Jezusowy) in Polsky Tesin. The Jesus Church holds between 6,000 and 7,000 people. The church was constructed between 1709-1750. It is the largest Lutheran church in the region.

Altar area of the Jesus Church

Looking toward the nave of the Jesus Church.

Entrance to the Jesus Church