Faith Driven - Future Focused
Since, May 15th, 2011, the English District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has been celebrating its Centennial Year. The extended Anniversary Year will culminate at the English District Convention, June 27th-30th in St. Louis, Missouri. Why St. Louis? Because on May 15th, 1911, the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, after meeting in Convention at Our Redeemer Church, made the trek over to Holy Cross Church and was formally and joyfully received into the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States as the English District. We humbly pray that the Lord, our God, the God of all grace and mercy, will continue to bless the English District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as we meet in Convention under the theme, “Faith Driven – Future Focused.”
The theme was chosen by our District’s 100th Anniversary ad hoc committee. The group consisted of seven people who met with Bishop/President David Stechholz 21 times over the course of two years, and not once in a face-to-face meeting! This very dedicated committee included: Eva Fronk (Wisconsin), John Krueger (Arizona), Rev. Tim Halboth (Michigan), Ernie Seaman (California), Rev. Dr. Bob Scudieri (Florida), Neil Sanders (Wisconsin), and Pat Gilde (New Jersey, with Pat also serving as Chair of the Anniversary Cookbook sub-committee).
During 2011-2012, the 100th Anniversary has witnessed the following:
- A District Centennial kick-off at the May, 2011 Professional Church Workers Conference, complete with presentations, gifts to attendees (100th Anniversary mugs and coasters, Centennial pins and seals/stickers), and displays;
- May 15th, 2011, Divine Services (hosted in the St. Louis area District birthplace by Chapel of the Cross Lutheran, St. Peters, Missouri, and a 100th Anniversary Commemorative “Walk” in St. Louis, with special assistance by Chapel of the Cross, St. Louis North County, and the Missouri District’s Holy Cross Congregation, St. Louis);
- 55+ showings of the 100th Anniversary PowerPoint presentation or abbreviated version (available on the website: englishdistrict.org under 100th Anniversary);
- A Centennial Anniversary banner by Kay Ardner of Calvary Church, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, which has circulated across the District in the Fall Regional Conferences and at numerous churches;
- The Great Potluck Across the English District, the English District 100th Anniversary cookbook, has been sold to over 800 homes. Over 350 recipes were submitted from across the English District. Some have used a recipe as more than an opportunity for enjoying good food, for the recipe has provided the occasion for prayer to the Lord God for the one who submitted the recipe and his or her home congregation;
- A 100th Anniversary presentation at the English District LWML Convention in Tucson, Arizona in April, 2012;
- Several articles appearing in the District’s English Channels, Moving in Mission, Servant-to-Servant, The Lutheran Witness (which was a gift of the old English Missouri Synod to the German Missouri Synod), and on the website and in other communiqués;
- An Anniversary (366 days) Prayer List;
- A District families camping weekend and “Summerfest” at Camp Pioneer, Angola, New York, on the shores of Lake Erie, July, 2011;
- A 100th Anniversary Christmas ornament for the District office Christmas tree;
- List of over 100 ideas for local church mission projects and a list of 50 school mission projects were provided to our congregations and schools in Canada and the USA;
- Many churches & schools celebrated with anniversary and birthday cakes and cookies; local and international mission projects, such as intentionally reaching 100 unchurched or dechurched people with a Gospel witness (Faith Church, Naples, Florida), a children’s & youth balloon witness (Risen Christ Church, Plymouth, Michigan), a “soles for souls” project (Martin Luther Chapel & School, Pennsauken, New Jersey), an anniversary year seniors’ tea along with a year’s worth of monthly activities (St. Mark Church, Mississauga, Ontario); special visits including preaching by the Bishop/President and/or some of the staff; congregational combinations with District Centennial with their own special anniversary observances (such as St. John’s Church, Pembroke, Ontario – 120th anniversary year, and Concordia Church, Akron, Ohio – Confirmation reunion & anniversary);
- A 100th Anniversary hymn by Rev. Robert & Sandy Voelker of Gethsemane, Windsor, Ontario has been used at some of our congregations and will be used at the Convention;
- A District Anniversary logo and anniversary scripture theme verse from I Corinthians 15:58, “always abounding in the work of the Lord”;
- A 100th Anniversary District Mission Thank Offering brochure and envelope (with a major gift from Redeemer Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, of $12,800, a tithe of a memorial gift);
- An All-District Day of Prayer (November 15th, 2011) and various prayer vigils; and
- A District office display with historical memorabilia.
Upcoming in early June will be an article entitled “Faith Driven-Future Focused: The English District Celebrates 100 Years” in the Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, and in honor of the Rev. Dr. Roger Pittelko and the Rev. Dr. David Ritt, Bishop Emeriti of the English District-LCMS.
Preceding the English District Convention, there will be optional St. Louis area historical tours and sight-seeing opportunities for delegates and guests to the Convention.
At the District Convention, there will be the gift of another Centennial Year coaster & binoculars (future focused, compliments of LCEF), and the District 100th Anniversary Mission Thank Offering will be received. This offering has been earmarked for a new mission start out of Christ the Shepherd Lutheran Church & Open Arms Child Development Center of Alpharetta, Georgia. Contributions (suggest at least $2 per baptized member in the English District), with a goal of over $100,000, can be given to the English District and earmarked for this special project. There will also be a 100th Anniversary display table with memorabilia on display.
The English District has a rich history. We are a district of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, where we continue to serve as a mission catalyst, safety net, and strong collaborative partner in ministry. However, as indicated by the words of the Scripture verse – “always abounding in the work of the Lord” – the Committee’s goal was not a mere recitation of history and a “feel good about our past” mindset. The goal was and is to focus on the future as Christ’s Church on earth for spreading the Word of God and, by the Holy Spirit’s power, igniting Christ’s Church in mission. The goal was to challenge and help congregations to find new avenues under the Cross of Jesus Christ for serving in their communities and regions in Canada, the United States and the world. To that end, we say, Soli Deo Gloria!
CLICK HERE to download the 100th Anniversary Presentation