* A REUNION–AND MEMORIES
June 23-25, 2000 a reunion was held in Mankato, Minnesota for those who had experienced “The Early Years of ILC-Mankato (1959-1963).” As one of those who attended the reunion, teacher Marion Fitschen recorded the following thoughts–thoughts (and photos) which quite by accident found their way into the hands of the Spokesman editor. Herewith–and with Ms. Fitschen’s kind permission–we share them with you.
The memories of our school days in Mankato are precious. I consider it a privilege to have been one of the first students of ILC. I was a member of the first high school graduating class in 1960 and also a member of the first full-time college class in 1963.
The Lord led me into the teaching ministry. My first call was to serve Immanuel of Winter Haven (Florida) where I served from 1963-1972. In 1972 the Lord led me to accept the call to help found the school at Holy Trinity of West Columbia (South Carolina), where I am still teaching.
God has bestowed many blessings upon me in my teaching career. One of my greatest joys is to hear “my little ones” singing even while at play the hymns they have learned. One day this spring we were having some hail. While some of the students were waiting for their parents to pick them up, they were walking through the hallway singing “Everywhere I Go the Lord is With Me.” What a privilege it is to be an instrument in helping lead these lambs to know their Savior.
This past year one of the students from the first years of school at Holy Trinity who had been away from the fold for many years came back to Holy Trinity and enrolled his two sons in our school. What a joy to see the validity of the passage “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” A few weeks ago a tree fell down on our church property. A few days later several of us worked to clean up the debris and several men used the chainsaws to cut up the trunk. A little while later this young man came with a cross he had carved with his chainsaw from one of the pieces of the log. He presented this cross to me as a token of appreciation for things I had done for him and his sons. This cross is now a treasure of mine.
May the Lord continue to bless all of us in our endeavors of serving Him in His kingdom. /s/ Marion Fitschen
*”MARK . . . AVOID”–ORIGIN OF THE CLC
This is yet another–and the most compelling of all–“history” of the CLC.
To inaugurate the synod’s fortieth anniversary year, back in our January 2000 issue a capsule summary was given of at least four different essays on the history of the synod–essays which had been delivered over the years at synodical conferences and conventions. In our monthly feature “Historical Markings, Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?” pithy excerpts from these four essays have been shared with our readers.
Now we would (re)introduce you, dear reader, to yet another compelling historical account.
Let us seek to explain what lies behind our remark that “MARK . . . AVOID”–ORIGIN OF THE CLC is the most compelling history of all. While the other good writings touched on the doctrinal issues involved, they did not detail them. By contrast “MARK . . . AVOID” is weighted in the latter direction. The “origin” spoken of alludes to the biblical grounds which justified in 1960–and in our view continues to justify in 2000–the existence of the Church of the Lutheran Confession within the larger Lutheran community.
Pastor Paul F. Nolting (at the time pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, West Columbia, South Carolina and synod secretary) provided a special service when he wrote this 20-page pamphlet.
Standing as “text” at the head of the writing is the Scripture passage Romans 16:17-18. That is significant. As Nolting and others of us living in the days of the CLC’s birth were aware, charges were often heard to the effect that “you people are the Romans 16:17-18 church; it’s all you seem to know.” Such charges often came from those who took little time to investigate the doctrinal issues involved. In a straight-forward manner “MARK . . . AVOID” does not apologize for, but elaborates upon, the reasons why fellowship passages such as the stated one from Romans lay heavily on the consciences of many and eventually resulted in the birth of a new synod.
The jacket of “MARK . . . AVOID” reports that the writing (first printing October 1970) “has been authorized by the Coordinating Council of the Church of the Lutheran Confession” and “has been approved by the Praesidium and the Board of Doctrine of the CLC.”
Thus, while not to be considered an official synodical statement of doctrine, “MARK . . . AVOID” circulated for many years among those who wanted to get to the nub of the matter. The pamphlet was downloaded (may we say) from tract racks in our CLC churches by members who wanted to review the issues, as well as by “outsiders” who wondered why this smallish Lutheran synod came into existence. Most all appreciated the clarity and straight-forwardness with which serious doctrinal questions were addressed in this pamphlet.
This month’s “Historical Markings” quote contains the compelling opening and closing paragraphs of “MARK . . . AVOID”–ORIGIN OF THE CLC.