June 2017 CONFERENCE REPORT

June 16 & 17, 2017

by Paul Hinz

Summer sessions were held at St. James Lutheran Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The opening devotion began with the hymn “To Us, Creator Spirit, Come” (Pastor Robert Christman’s new translation of “Veni Creator Spiritus”), continued with Psalm 18 read by Pastor Christman, and closed with “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

The Winter Conference minutes were read and accepted.

The Presentations available were:

1. An update on the Te Laudamus hymnal companion project and a packet of 24 hymns to sing through and edit – Daniel Reuning

2. “Messianic Necessity: An Exegetical Study of Acts & Luke” – Michael Albrecht

3. An update on the translation of the “Kirchen-geschichte” – Carl Springer

4. Paul Hensel’s “The Hardening of Israel,” a section of 10 or 12 pages – Robert W. Christman

5. “Healey Willan’s ‘Gloria in Excelsis’ – A Report” – Robert W. Christman

6. Leviticus 1–3 – Timothy Chang

7. Leviticus 1–3 for the children – Floyd Brand

8. Discussion of the Location Committee regarding the meeting locale for upcoming Conferences

Timothy Chang presented his study on the first three chapters of Leviticus, including three of the first five types of offering prescribed by God. How does one approach God acceptably? Not even Moses could do this on his own merits. Moses’ and the people’s access to God is made possible with an offering, specifically with God-prescribed offerings. Leviticus prescribes the offerings whereby man gains access to God, but only and alone through prescribed sacrifices.

Admittedly, Leviticus is repetitious. But repetition has great value, as it is the mother of all learning. Liturgy is repetition, worship is repetition, life is filled with repetition. Repetition and ritual are the building blocks of one’s character and heart. Yet one must beware of vain repetition, which robs the essential element of its prescribed function, as the example of the New Testament Pharisees elucidates. This discussion of repetition as an important liturgical essential continued until the noon hour.

After lunch, the children rehearsed their hymn for Sunday morning, and Pastor Brand reviewed Leviticus 1-3 for them.

The first presentation of the afternoon was Carl Springer’s update on the English translation of J. P. Koehler’s Kirchengeshichte (Church History). Publishing means “to make public.” How then is this monumental work to be brought before the world? One option would be self-publishing by the Conference, having the volumes bound by the Grimm Book Bindery in Madison for example. In that case the Conference would be responsible for the daunting task of storing, promoting, and selling the volumes. The second option would be to contact various publishing companies to enlist their aid. The motion was adopted that Carl Springer and Michael Albrecht first contact Northwestern Publishing House to ascertain if they would be willing to publish the work. If this is not feasible, they are to then contact Concordia Publishing House, and then if necessary an independent publisher such as Michael Frese at Emmanuel Press in Ft. Wayne. The Conference will await their report.

The second offering for the afternoon was Pastor Robert W. Christman’s presentation of Healey Willan’s “Gloria in Excelsis,” which would then be used in the Sunday worship service. Chanting is proclaiming the message of the Gospel to the heart, and there is an art to chanting correctly.

Following the afternoon break, Floyd Brand gave a brief update on the status of Faith-Life. There is enough material for the next couple of issues. There have just been simultaneous road-blocks which have delayed the process. We were encouraged by the chairman to remember this essential publication process in our daily prayers. God does bless when we ask with “white-knuckle” praying.

Daniel Reuning then walked the assembly through his packet of twenty-four hymns, most of them by Paul Gerhardt, and then led in the singing of some of them. Martin Franzmann’s “Weary of All Trumpeting,” with a melody by Hugh Distler, was a new hymn from a familiar author. The table prayer before supper recess was “Feed Thy Children, God Most Holy” and the chanting of Ps. 145:15-21.

After supper, the Faith-Life editors met in a downstairs classroom, while a small group of singers sang and edited the rest of the twenty-four hymns, Daniel Reuning accompanying at the grand piano.

On Sunday morning, Avery Springer led the Sunday School class through Nehemiah 3 and 4, which record the task of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem despite outside opposition.

Robert W. Christman was liturgist for divine worship, with Carl Springer delivering the sermon, Erin Hanke at the organ, and Daniel Reuning as choir director. The opening hymn was “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, The King of Creation,” A New Song (ANS)155. After the confession and absolution, Dr. Springer chanted the Introit, then the congregation sang the Kyrie and Healey Willan’s “Gloria in Excelsis.” After the Salutation and Collect, the lessons were read by John Hensel from the lectern. The Old Testament lesson was Deuteronomy 6:4-13, followed by an intervening stanza sung by the congregation. The Epistle lesson was I Timothy 6:6–19, followed by the Gradual hymn: “From God Shall Naught Divide Me,” ANS 164. The Gospel lesson was Luke 12:13–21, followed by the Nicene Creed. The hymn preceding the sermon was “Alas, My God, My Sins, Are Great,” ANS 280. Dr. Springer preached on the Gospel Lesson, laying out the importance of “being rich toward God.” After the offertory and prayer, we continued with the communion liturgy. The distribution hymns were “I Will Sing My Maker’s Praises,” ANS 150, and “My Soul, Now Bless Thy Maker,” ANS 143. The closing hymn was “Lord Jesus Christ, with Us Abide,” ANS 233. The organist brought the service to a close with a rousing J.S. Bach toccata.

The first offering for the afternoon was Michael Albrecht’s paper entitled, “Messianic Necessity: An Exegetical Study of Acts 3:21 and Luke 24:26.” Pastor Albrecht had delivered this paper at Luther Conferences in Prague and in Latvia in May. Martin Franzmann taught, “In order to understand the Scriptures, we must first stand under them. Scripture stands over us. We must put ourselves into them.” With this principle, Pastor Albrecht launched into his study of Luke’s portrayal of God’s characteristic “Messianic Necessity” in the Gospel of Luke and the first portion of Acts.

Jesus bound Himself to God’s Word and promises. From his exclamation to his parents when he was twelve years old, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” to His rebuke of the two travelers on Easter afternoon, “Didn’t you know that the Messiah must suffer and die and then enter into glory?” Jesus bound Himself to “Messianic Necessity” as he carried out His Father’s will in his life among men. Pastor Albrecht concluded, “Jesus was the only one who could pay sin’s wages, and that is Messianic Necessity. Jesus had to redeem us because we could never pay the price ourselves.” Discussion of the paper filled the remainder of the afternoon.

The Location Committee gave a progress report, and possible locations for the Fall Conference were discussed.

Summer Sessions concluded on the wings of Luther’s “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord,” ANS 115.