* A COACH IS HONORED (Our reporter, Pastor David Schierenbeck, Berea, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, who was captain of the first team coached by Prof. Roehl, also served as main speaker for this occasion of recognition.)
When Immanuel Lutheran College had its beginnings in 1960, the Lord supplied our school with a small faculty blessed with a wide diversity of gifts — spiritual, academic, and even extracurricular. One of these gifts was Professor Ronald Roehl who, in addition to teaching a number of classes, initiated a sports program for this fledgling school.
Yet it was hardly a stop-gap venture. For 37 years he continued to coach basketball and baseball on the high school and college levels. His teams included some state-ranked and state tournament squads. Ultimately he found himself coaching some second generation offspring of his earlier teams.
Retiring from coaching after last season (Roehl remains active on the faculty-Ed.), Coach Roehl was honored by his ILC family, past and present, in a special program held between games on February 21, 1998. Following words and mementos of appreciation, Coach Roehl expressed his appreciation to wife Eunice, players and fans, and to the substantial ILC support system.
It is the Lord who gives gifts to His Church. It is the Lord who gave Coach Roehl those special gifts of understanding, caring about, teaching, and influencing countless ILC students for good in his many years as coach and mentor. They have been a wonderful blessing to our school.
* A MISSIONARY IS COMMISSIONED (Pastor Michael Eichstadt, Holy Cross, Phoenix, reporting)
Sunday, February 8th, was a rare day in Arizona! For one thing, the Phoenix area enjoyed a soaking, all-day rain which seldom occurs.
But what made the day truly exceptional was the commissioning of Pastor Warren Fanning as the CLC’s second Exploratory Missionary and the first resident pastor of Gold Canyon Lutheran Church. An enthusiastic group of 70 worshipers gathered in the local elementary school cafeteria for the afternoon service. President Daniel Fleischer reminded all present that “the power is in the Word.”
Also on hand were members of the CLC Board of Missions, as well as visitors from Holy Cross congregation in Phoenix.
Please keep this fledgling group of believers and their new pastor in your prayers, that the Word may work powerfully among them to the Lord’s glory.
* AN ANNIVERSARY IS CELEBRATED (Pastor Delwyn Maas reporting)
Victor Tiefel graduated in 1937 from the WELS seminary in Thiensville, Wis. There he was taught by such professors as August Pieper and Erwin Kowalke. In 1938 he received a divine call to Platteville, Colo. where he was installed on March 6. Under the auspices of the mission board he also started congregations in Pueblo, Mancos, Lyons, Greeley, and Cheyenne. In 1945 he accepted the call to St. Luke’s in Denver. In 1948 he was elected chairman of the WELS mission board. He held the office of chairman until 1961 when he resigned from the WELS and later joined the CLC.
In 1978 Victor and his congregation withdrew from the CLC over doctrinal concerns. He supervised the formation of Colorado Lutheran Seminary and there taught with two other pastors. Several students attended with one graduating. St. Luke’s merged with St. James Ev. Lutheran Church in Golden in 1993 to form St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church. In 1996 the Holy Spirit led the CLC and St. Paul’s to a resolution of their doctrinal differences (Te Deum Laudamus!). Victor continues to serve as associate pastor at St. Paul’s.
* AN ANNIVERSARY AND A RETIREMENT
A number of special anniversaries and/or retirements have been mentioned lately on these pages. We lately discovered that we were remiss in reporting another — that of Pastor Paul F. Nolting.
On June 29, 1997 a service was held in Rochester, N.Y. celebrating the Lord’s grace in granting 50 years of service in the public ministry to Brother Nolting. Son Pastor Paul D. Nolting conducted the service with Psalm 100 as sermon text. Daughter Ruth Ahrens was at the organ. Son-in-law Mark Kranz and two grandchildren supplied extra music with trumpets and flute. Choirs of the Nolting/Oster grandchildren and adults added music. “It was the most beautiful and meaningful service in my lifetime,” writes the celebrant.
Pastor Nolting retired from the ministry Dec. 31, 1997. He served as vacancy pastor until another pastor was called and arrived in Rochester. District Visitor, Pastor Paul Tiefel, installed Pastor David Schmidt on February 1. Paul and Betty Nolting retired to Eau Claire, where they are active members of Messiah congregation.
A “founding father” of the CLC, Pastor Nolting served his Savior in congregations in Sleepy Eye, Minn. and West Columbia, S.C. before being commissioned as a CLC Missionary-at-Large. In that capacity, before coming to Rochester, he served congregations in Ketchikan, Alaska, Austin and Dallas, Tex., Fairfax, Va., and Loveland, Colo. On the synodical level he served as secretary of the CLC from the synod’s beginning until last convention. Nolting has long served, and continues to serve, on the Board of Doctrine.
God keep the Noltings and all of us in the confident faith expressed by one of the anniversary choir numbers: “Surely, it is God who saves me; I will trust in Him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, And He has become my Savior.”
* OUR EARTHLY BLESSINGS (from Vol. 1, No. 2 of the Messiah Messenger, newsletter of Messiah Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, Wisconsin; staff member Paul R. Koch is editor)
Perhaps you saw the “exclusive poll of the best places to raise a family” article in the April ’97 Readers Digest. The poll conducted by the editors reflected ratings of the “experts, parents themselves,” in thirteen areas which parents value as affecting family life.
On average, the parents rated low crime rate as of highest value, closely followed by low drug/alcohol problems and good public schools. In fourth through seventh positions came the values of health care, environment, cost of living, and economic growth. Ranked eighth through tenth were concerns for extra-curricular school activities and access to colleges; eleventh–less than one hours’ drive to a major city–ranked above “many private schools” and “warm and sunny weather.”
Did you notice the one glaring omission? Neither the pollsters nor the parents seem to consider access to the church of your choice as a worthwhile consideration in raising a family. Or is religion simply a given, since one can find a Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish congregation almost everywhere?
Those of us who value our Christian Bible-based Lutheran congregation and pastor would have placed this criterion very close to–if not at–the top of our list of “where’s the best place to raise my family?” When we or our children must move to a new job, we want to know how easy/difficult it will be to get to our CLC church services, to one of our parochial schools, to Bible Class and Sunday School, to choir rehearsals, PTO meetings, VBS sessions, congregational meetings, VBS sessions, congregational get-togethers, voters’ meetings, etc. Being uprooted from a job is daunting enough to our emotional resources, but to be deprived of Christian fellowship robs our family of a most precious set of blessings–blessings that go beyond good health care, low crime rate, and extracurricular school activities. Those of our family of brothers and sisters in Christ who are in the Diaspora (the name given to those in the CLC who live at a distance from a CLC congregation) know from first-hand experience how severely such a trial weighs on them and their families. Lord, have mercy!
If some of your loved ones have the distinction of living in one of these “best” locales, it is even more amazing that so many of them also have access to a CLC congregation. Which cities that you are familiar with rank among the top fifty? At the top of the list is Sheboygan, Wis. (50 min. from Fond du Lac); second is Kenosha, Wis. (50 min. from Hales Corners); third is Fort Collins/Loveland, Colo. (Prince of Peace is IN Loveland, and D enver is close too); then comes Bremerton, Wash. (just across Puget Sound from Seattle. Isn’t that amazing?).
A little further down the list, in seventh position, comes Charlottesville, Va. (about an hour from Fairfax, Va.); eighth is Spokane, Wash. (with two CLC congregations!); eleventh is St. Cloud, Minn. Later on come LaCrosse, Wis. (our Brice Prairie group is holding services in a home) in 30th position; 33rd is Rochester, N.Y. (Indian Landing); 37th is the Appleton-Oshkosh-Neenah complex (30 to 60 min. from Fondy); in 46th spot comes Battle Creek-Kalamazoo, Mich. (50 min. to Coloma and Sister Lakes); and in 47th position comes Green Bay, Wis. (about one hour to Fondy).
Earthly distinctions glitter even closer to home. Chippewa Falls has been selected by Time magazine (Dec. 8, ’97, p. 64-65) as one of ten communities that exemplify the American renaissance of the small town, thanks to the National Main Street project. Cray Research, Leinenkugel’s, and the Mason shoe factory get favorable mention–besides Packermania.
And if that is not enough to fill our heads with home-town pride, other humble claims to fame for our home stamping grounds are dropping like apples all around us.
National statistics as presented in the Dec. 4 Leader-Telegram (data that reflect a Harvard study) point out that Steams, Minn., Brookings, S.D., Jackson, Minn., Nicollet, Minn., and Carver, Minn. rank 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in the nation as having the best life expectancy for females of all races (mostly Norwegian?), while Fairfax, Va. and Ozaukee, Wis. rank fourth and fifth for longevity of males of all races.
What does it mean that we in the CLC have been blessed– * with church homes in some of the most desirable places for raising our families; * that small towns such as Chippewa Falls are desirable to emigres from metropolitan America, and * that longevity soars in rural Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Virginia?
It certainly means that our LORD has piled layers of earthly blessings on top of the strata of our heavenly blessings. And in turn, we must ask what that means.
As we mull it over, we remember that we were taught by our parents that with privilege goes responsibility, just as it does with freedom. What doors of opportunity are awaiting the impact of our knuckles in our home-town communities, some of the best places in America to raise our families, and the locales of the ministries of God’s messengers?