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Fortieth Anniversary Historical Vignettes

vignette (vin-yet’), n. 1. short literary essay; sketch

vignettist (vin-yet’ist), n. a maker of vignettes, painter, photographer, or writer

Dateline: San Francisco, California


Oscar Erpenstein and (wife) Marie were major players in several ways. Anchor people in the initial effort to establish a CLC ministry in northern California, for one thing. Especially, however, for his role in the birth of the NCLC.

Oscar and Marie had been sending funds to people in Nigeria. When he retired and had little money to share, he offered study materials. This was welcomed, and chapters of his own personal dogmatics made their way to that first group of inquirers that included Patrick Udo. This contact ultimately led to the relationship of the CLC and the newly-formed Nigerian Church of the Lutheran Confession.

That personal dogmatics? Erpenstein’s way of securing his faith. Son of a skeptic Swedenborgian clergyman, he was on his own spiritually from an early age. He put his amazing intellect to work in the service of the gospel. When he could not find a publisher for his book in defense of biblical creation, he bought his own press, hand-set all the type and produced it himself.

More than anyone else I know of, Marie was the great persuader who encouraged Rev. Udo to undertake his work in Nigeria.