Douglas Libby • Reporter
The 2012 CLC Teachers’ Conference convened Wednesday through Friday, October 17-19, in Hales Corners, Wis., enjoying the hospitality of Messiah Lutheran Church and School. Masterpieces of Christ was the conference theme (based on Ephesians 2:10): “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Conference chairman Matthew Thurow called the opening session to order at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Throughout his devotions, Chaplain Kyle Ochsner, teacher at Immanuel Lutheran High School, Mankato, Minn., called upon his science background and training for illustrations from the natural world to underscore how God has graciously and miraculously called, gathered, and enlightened His people—and how He has equipped His believers to serve as salt and lights in the world as they reflect God’s love for mankind through Christ Jesus.
An invitation was received from Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Winter Haven, Florida, to host the 2013 (October 16-18) CLC Teachers’ Conference. The invitation was accepted.
An essay, Speaking the Truth in Love: Giving and Receiving Criticism, was presented by Immanuel Lutheran College and Seminary Professor emeritus David Lau. The speaker reminded us that giving and receiving criticism is at times necessary, but it is an art that can be practiced properly only when it is motivated by Christian love.
“Title 5” presentations—in theory, five ideas in five minutes—closed out the morning sessions.
The Importance of Art in Children’s Lives was presented Wednesday afternoon by Mr. Matthew Schaser, Messiah congregation member and artist/designer. Mr. Schaser provoked insight that God’s evident design in the created world might inspire students to use the tools (gifts) God has given them to design and create. In a very real sense, he observed, we are all artists/designers.
The remainder of Wednesday afternoon was devoted to break-out sessions considering Art Appreciation and Ideas as well as book review break-out opportunities (Teach Like A Champion and Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive).
Host Pastor, Michael Eichstadt conducted the conference communion service on Wednesday evening.
Thursday morning, Pastor Paul Nolting of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Mankato, presented an essay entitled Professionalism in the Ministry. The following definition was given with the attendees in mind: “The ability to prayerfully approach our work in Christ-centered faith with the skills necessary to teach in an organized environment the academic disciplines entrusted to our care; to do so in love, with self-control and due humility to the glory of God and the temporal and eternal welfare of our students.”
The late Thursday morning and early afternoon time slots were devoted to an enjoyable cruise on the Milwaukee River from downtown Milwaukee into the Lake Michigan harbor area. The vessel was well-captained, and the “seas” were agreeable! Lunch was served on board.
Professor John Reim of Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire, was given the floor on Thursday afternoon to present his essay The Benefits of the Study of Music. In view of the universality of music and its language—as well as its importance in the context of Scripture and our religious heritage—the essayist encouraged that music education be considered a priority among us. Break-out sessions related to Music Appreciation and Ideas followed the essay.
On Thursday evening pastors of area CLC congregations led a panel discussion on the topic of Contemporary Christian Music. Discussion by attendees ranged from expressions of concern from certain standpoints to appreciation for the proper use of music representing this genre.
On Friday morning, Mr. Norman Mackensen, a member of Messiah, Hales Corners, Wis., presented a Study on the Decline of Christian Day Schools in the CLC. Enrollment statistics from 1990-2011 and related trends were discussed. The essayist observed that declining Christian Day School enrollments and Christian Day School closings are realities which will require ongoing discussion in an effort to reverse these trends. For this purpose the study included a number of strategies as well as a suggested pilot program which would improve communication and promote collaboration among teachers and other key participants.
Following the morning break a curriculum review presentation was made featuring Easy Grammar.
A continuation of the conference business meeting included motions passed to accept the invitation of Peace Thru Christ Lutheran Church, to host the October (15-17) 2014 CLC Teachers’ Conference, and to thank the faculty and congregation of Messiah, Hales Corners, to thank Messiah congregation for hosting the 2012 conference.
Chaplain Ochsner closed the Friday session and the conference with a reading of Colossians 1:28 and prayer. The assembly then sang hymn #748 (Worship Supplement 2000).