Posted in Grace, Life, Ministry

Call Day (part 4:back home)









After an eleven-hour travel day, we are back home. We were blessed with a much less eventful day for our return. Now, a little time to reflect upon Adam and Sarah’s Call Service at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. 

The worship program was available online earlier this week, and I was amazed to see two of my favorite hymns being sung, “Awake My Heart with Gladness” and “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds.” Set those hymns in a chapel full of Lutherans with a great organ, choir and brass ensemble, and you feel like the worship of heaven has touched that spot on earth for just a moment, reminding you of the eternal praises being sung around the throne of God.

It’s nice being near the beginning of the alphabet, for Adam’s name was soon announced, followed by “Associate pastor, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Dallas, TX.” Just where they thought and hoped they would be assigned.

Pastor. A title never associated with my son Adam’s name before, but one which would always speak to God’s grace, direction and blessing in his life. With humility, amazing communication skills, musical talent, a great sense of humor and a willingness to serve, he will be a blessing to many as he serves the church. He and Sarah embody great hope for the church as they begin their ministry together. I am so very proud and blessed.

You know, we didn’t used to be a family of pastors. But the faithfulness of my mom and dad and my wife’s parents became an avenue for God to lead me, my son, my brother Jim, and my brother-in-law Jeff into the pastoral ministry. On Sarah’s side, her dad and two brothers are pastors, and she is now a deaconess. Our family is now replete with full-time church workers.

Pretty cool.

Posted in Life, Ministry

Call Day (part 3: the call)

Olivia is at the base of the arch.











Finally, Call Day has arrived. But the call service isn’t until 7:00 pm. How do we spend a day in St. Louis?

First, we did the Gateway Arch. Beautiful spring day, very light crowds, and we went right up to the top. Great view, of course, including some flooded roads right by the river.

Next, we drove over to the Anheiser-Busch brewery. We had lunch at Frazer’s, a nearby eatery, then took the tour, saw the Clydesdales, and of course, sampled some product.









We ate supper at Seamus McDaniel’s, and then headed over to the Chapel of Saints Timothy and Titus for the call service. Adam received his call to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Dallas, TX where he will serve as associate pastor. He and Sarah had met and talked with the senior pastor there, and are very excited about their assignment and upcoming move.

Lots of excitement, great time with family and friends. Heading home tomorrow.

Posted in Life

Call Day (part 2: travel)

Today was a long travel day to St. Louis. We left our house at 7:15, picked up my in-laws and headed for Orlando International Airport. Easy drive (we do I-95 and the Beachline 528. But then it was a mob scene at security. We got through but then only got to our gate as the final boarding announcement (they called our names) was made.

After running to make the flight, we sat in the plane for an hour while they fixed a rear thruster. We finally got into the air, but I was certain we'd miss our connection in Miami. Yes, you read that right: Miami. Pretty quick flight, but rain and fog kept the pilot from seeing the runway, so we had to make another attempt. Finally landed safely, and were told they were holding our connecting flight for us. Only had to get from gate 4 to 40, and made that flight, too. But, because of rain and lightning, we didn't takeoff for another hour.

For both flights, we were in boarding group #1. We never get in group 1. But it really didn't matter. We were the last ones on the plane both times.

Got to St. Louis about 4 pm, got our bags, and they, along with some of the contents, were drenched. Got our rental car and then followed Siri's directions to our hotel. She led us to an abandoned building, but it was in sight of our real hotel.

We met Adam and Sarah at Square One Brewery and Distillery for supper. I had a very nice Irish Stout and a burger. A little dessert at their apartment, and then time to turn in.

Tomorrow, the Arch, Anheiser Busch, and the Call Service.


Posted in Life, Ministry

Call Day (part 1: memories)

Call Day 1986

As our family gets ready to travel to St. Louis for Call Day at Concordia Seminary, we are all excited to learn where my son Adam and his wife Sarah will be placed as their complete their studies. In this post I will reminisce about my Call Day in 1986 (exactly 27 years ago) at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN. It’s been a few years, so my recollection may be a bit fuzzy.

Lisa and I had been married for nearly two years and Adam was only three months old as Call Day approached. Our fourth year at the seminary included making Chex mix for Kroger Supermarkets, me working at Subway and Lisa doing some tutoring. The food bank helped us make ends meet with 5 lb. blocks of cheese. We were really glad when Spring arrived, since the little house we rented wasn’t very well heated. Thank goodness for that kerosene heater and a couple of labs to keep us warm.

The week before the call service, we were told that we didn’t have a placement yet. There weren’t enough calls for the graduating class, so we might have to wait until the summer before we found out where we would be going. But the day before the call service, we were told we indeed had a call. The placement process is very confidential, so we had no idea where we would be going.

On Call Day, Lisa’s family came up from Columbus. They had a doubly-vested interest that day since their son Jeff was also graduating. My family decided to take the train from Philadelphia and barely arrived in time for the service. I was singing with the Kantorei and playing trumpet in the balcony (one of the most amazing organs to play with), so when it was time for my call to be announced, I slipped into line and quickly learned we’d be going to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Coventry, Connecticut. Where the heck is that? Break out the Rand-McNally atlas. (No Google maps — this was 1986, folks). Ah-ha, just a little east of Hartford, in a beautiful rural area of the state.

As the evening progressed and called were announced, I remember one in particular. The professor announcing this one call said, “Peru…” <everyone gasped> “…Indiana” <everyone exhales>. What a great moment. The other great moment is when a certain call was announced and a very clear “Oh, s***!” was spoken. I guess that’s not where they expected to go.

I got to meet the New England District President that night, David Mulder. He was just the right man to welcome me to the district, and let me know I was not stepping into an easy situation. The last pastor at that congregation had not only been asked to resign, but had been defrocked (he was no longer able to be a pastor). Hmm, this was going to be interesting. But hey, the call came with a house! An enormous parsonage. Cool.

And just like that, we were thrust into the real world of parish ministry. (And yes, for those of you with inquiring minds, the document below was created with a typewriter!)

Call Day 1986 B