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* HAVE YOU OPENED YOUR CATECHISM LATELY? — Is it sitting on the shelf collecting dust much like your Bible? How sad it is if this is the case! Someone once said, “I must still read and study daily, and yet I cannot master it as I wish, but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am glad so to remain.” The very writer of the Catechism himself, Martin Luther, said this. Each of us needs to examine and review the instruction we received from it. All the short, pithy statements demonstrate how clearly and simply Luther described the essence of the Biblical doctrine which is essential for our learning. If you haven’t done so for a long time, open your Catechism and daily spend a few minutes in it. Our catechism isn’t intended only for the children. It is for ALL of us. A world of Christian understanding will open before your very eyes. (Bulletin, Our Redeemer’s, Red Wing, Minn. John Hein is pastor)

* RE: ILC VOLUNTEERS — The October 1997 Immanuel Lutheran College Newsletter had an article titled ‘Volunteers, Thank You.’ Here is some of what was said: “This summer, we were thankful to see many volunteers come to ILC. There is much more work on this campus than can be managed by the staff that we have. Every volunteer lightens the load and makes an impossible task almost possible. . . . There is no way to properly thank everyone that helped this summer. We regard each of them as a blessing from the Lord. . . .”

We made reference to these ILC volunteers in our December 1997 SMORGASBORD and suggested that a future ILC Newsletter would acknowledge their contributions. We are blushing, for it is we who missed an acknowledgment of appreciation. Our apologies.

* ‘REFORMED JUNKIE TELLS ALL’ — This was a headline in the October 23, 1997 Sleepy Eye (Minn.) Herald Dispatch as a reporter told of the appearance of Russell Simon at the local high school. Many CLC folk will recognize Simon’s name and message as in recent years he has taken that message–intended mostly to reach the younger generation–to many of our area congregations as well as to public high schools. In the last three years Russ says he has “shared his life experiences about the deadly powers of drugs and alcohol addiction” to large and small groups in over 20 states.

Here is a bit more from the Sleepy Eye newspaper report:

“Reformed drug user and drunk turned author and public speaker Russell Simon Jr., told students at Sleepy Eye Public school Tuesday morning that having fun isn’t supposed to kill them.

“‘Celebrate the right way, not by getting drunk or high. . . . Try faith, hope and love, the greatest of which is love,’ he told students and faculty,’ in the high school gym.

“Simon spoke eloquently for a recovered and admitted ‘dope fiend and drunk’ who grew up in the Minnesota communities of New Prague, Princeton, and Elk River.

“‘It’s my hope that none of you will ever, ever wind up on the same path I chose. If you are (on that path), I hope you stop, take a couple steps back and re-evaluate some of the choices and decisions you make in your life. That’s what it’s all about. Choices, decisions, and consequences,’ he said.”

Simon, an ex-con who has become a member of our CLC church in Fridley, Minn., realizes that he can’t tell his whole story in a public school setting. Specifically, he is limited in what he can say about the Lord God and His Holy Spirit helping him turn his life around.

For that reason Russ announced to the Sleepy Eye public school audience that he planned to return a week later to tell “the rest of the story.” Some eighty people, half of them non-members including the entire confirmation class from the local ELCA church, came back to this return engagement at Grace church in Sleepy Eye. Again Russ kept everyone’s attention for around 90 minutes. And this time Bible passages and Gospel truths were sprinkled through his inspiring talk.

Simon has already written one autobiographical book titled “Inside The Walls — Drugs, Prison, Gangs, And Recovery.” He is working on another which will detail more of the spiritual side of his life’s story. Assisting Russ in the second book is his pastor, Daniel Fleischer, who is quoted as saying: “Russell’s message is a powerful indictment of a life without Christ. He is living testimony to the truth: ‘The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.'”

To contact Russell J. Simon Jr. write to: Inside the Walls, P.O. Box 131684, Roseville, MN 55113-0015, or phone (612) 407-8355.


Members of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Mankato, Minn. honored Pastor and Mrs. L. D. Redlin on Sunday, October 26, 1997. Pastor and Mrs. (Hope) Redlin retired after serving Immanuel congregation for 18 years.

Several members made presentations recognizing the service given by the Redlins. Gayle Stelter served as Master of Ceremonies and introduced Gene Schreyer, Martha Backhaus, Herb Geiger, Mark Redlin, President Daniel Fleischer, Immanuel Grade School Choir, and the Church Choir.

Congregation President Ted Schreyer and School Principal Kevin Hulke presented gifts from the Church Council and the School Faculty. A lunch followed in the church parlors. (Gayle Stelter, Reporter)