Conference Report: October 17 & 18, 2015

by Floyd Brand

Sessions opened at FREEA, Appleton, Wisconsin, with the first four stanzas of “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” (ANS 209). Chairman Robert W. Christman read the seventeenth chapter of Jeremiah. The opening devotion continued with prayer and concluded with the remaining three stanzas of hymn 209.
Robert W. Christman chaired the sessions. For this session, Floyd Brand substituted for Paul Hinz as secretary. Minutes of Summer Conference by Paul Hinz were read by Floyd Brand, and accepted. Conference dates for 2016 are February 13 & 14, June 18 & 19, and October 15 &16. Announcements followed: 1) Virginia Hinz, Conference Treasurer, would be absent Saturday but present Sunday. 2) Meal costs are $7 per meal, with a family ceiling of $60. 3) Greetings from Harold Trott were extended. He was absent due to his second knee replacement surgery, but plans to attend in February. 4) Another section of the Marcus Albrecht library had been placed on bookshelves. Those present were again encouraged to make their selections. The entire 23-volume set of the St. Louis edition [German] of Luther’s works was also available, as well as the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religion.
The chairman read a letter from Lyn Allen of Alpine, California, explaining changes in the life of New Creation Lutheran Church, twenty-seven years after its founding. Due to low attendance at services, as well as family circumstances, the chapel on the Allen property has been remodeled into a residence for John and Lyn. The remodeling was done in such a way that services can still be held there. Collette and Tom Judd, the daughter and son-in-law of the Allen’s, and their three children will be moving into the large house. Meanwhile the Allen’s have come across a Lutheran congregation in El Cajon, where the music is Lutheran and the preaching is scriptural. (El Cajon is between Alpine and San Diego.)
Items available for presentation were: “An Introduction to James” by Michael Albrecht, and a paper on the theologian and late contemporary of Luther, Matthias Flacius (pronounced “flot-zee-oos,” not “flay-shus”), by Robert J. Christman. Dr. Christman had recently presented the paper at Flacius’s birthplace in Croatia. Floyd Brand brought two articles: “Dying Men and the Undying Word,” a sermon by the renowned Scottish Baptist preacher Alexander Maclaren, and “We Propose to Form a Society,” an article by Paul Hensel published in Faith-Life, Oct. 1, 1929.
As the study of Galatians chapter four by Paul Hinz would be postponed until February, the chairman suggested a free discussion of anything from Scripture which had caught the attention of anyone present, pastors especially. Following a request from the floor, Floyd Brand read the article by Paul Hensel. During the discussion, one speaker gave his recollection of major parts of the experience of Pastor Otto Gruendemann and his family, during the 1930’s especially. Another noted that this proposal formed the background for Karl Koehler’s “Policy and Purpose,” long printed on the cover of Faith-Life. But “Policy and Purpose” speaks to a wider audience than the article “We Propose.” The vital question is what the Conference has to say today.
The chairman opened the afternoon session with a second letter from Lyn Allen, this one addressed directly to Conference. Afterward, discussion of the 1929 proposal of Paul Hensel continued. After a break, Dr. Daniel Reuning of Fort Wayne, Indiana, read a report on progress of the companion hymnal entitled Te Laudamus (Thee We Praise). He then led the assembly in the chanting of a number of Psalms according to the psalm tones in use at the time of the Reformation, as well as the singing a few of the hymns slated to be included in Te Laudamus. The evening session continued with more of the same.
On Sunday morning Victoria Christman conducted the children’s lesson, on Daniel chapter two.
Timothy Chang conducted the Sunday Communion service. The choir, under the direction of Dr. Daniel Reuning, opened the service with John Chandler’s “Blest Spirit, One with God.” The congregation sang “To God, the Father of All Love” (ANS 141). The liturgy was the Healy Willan order of service. Following “Who Puts his Trust in God Most Just” (ANS 166), James Chang read Isaiah 55:1-9. Kevin Milner and the choir sang responsively the gradual, based on Psalm 48. Prof. Robert Christman read Ephesians 5:15-21. Timothy Chang read Matt. 22:1-14 as the Gospel. The sermon hymn was “The Son of God Goes Forth to War” (ANS 225), and sermon text Psalm 62. Distribution hymns were “Out of the Depths I Cry to Thee” (ANS 282), “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” (ANS 140), and “Lord Jesus, Thou art Truly Good” (ANS 291). The children’s hymn was “Blest He Who Stands in Fear of God” (ANS 296), the closing hymn “Had God Not Come, May Israel Say” (ANS 234).
At the beginning of the afternoon session, the chairman brought up two related issues. One was the direction Faith-Life should now take. The other was the naming of an editor for the periodical. Floyd Brand was elected editor, with Robert W. Christman and Michael Albrecht assistant editors. Conference then passed a resolution that the chairman appointed a committee of three, who should present to the next Conference session their vision of the policy and purpose of Faith-Life.
Melvin Koss read the next section of Karl Koehler’s “Our Master Mission,” the columns on “Reason and Faith.” Discussion followed. After a late break, sessions adjourned with the hymn “Christ, Everlasting Source of Light” (ANS 323).

Leave a Reply