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Reporter - Nebraska District LCMS


									                                         Nebraska Lutheran

 Information of Interest for Lutherans in the Nebraska District of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
                           PO Box 407, 152 South Columbia, Seward NE 68434                                  December 2007
               Phone: 1-888-643-2961 Fax 1-402-643-2990 Website:

NEBRASKA DISTRICT TEACHERS                        FROM THE PRESIDENT . . . “The shepherds returned, glorifying and
RECOGNIZED . . . Several Nebraska                 praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as
District teachers were recognized at the All      they had been told.” Luke 2:20
Professional Conference on October 24 in
                                                                         How many Christmas cards will you send this
Lincoln for their outstanding service.
                                                                         year? How many Christmas cards will you receive?
     Robert Saeger, principal/teacher at
                                                                         More than two billion Christmas cards are
Immanuel Lutheran School, Polk, was
                                                                         exchanged annually, just within the United States.
awarded the 2007 Outstanding Lutheran
                                                                         What will all of this exchange of Christmas
Educator Award. Mr. Saeger has been in the
                                                                         greetings mean for you and those with whom you
teaching ministry for 33 years and at
Immanuel, Polk, for 18 years.
     Cathi Niemeyer and Elizabeth Schultz,        The first Christmas card designed for sale was by London artist John
co-directors of Touching Hearts Child             Calcott Horsley. A respected illustrator of the day, Horsley was
Development Center at Faith, Lincoln, were        commissioned by Sir Henry Cole, a wealthy British businessman,
also honored. They were selected as the co-       who wanted a card he could proudly send to friends and professional
recipients of the 2007 Lutheran Education         acquaintances to wish them a "Merry Christmas." The first Christmas
Association (LEA) Distinguished Lutheran          card read: "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you."
Early Childhood Administrator Award               "Merry" was then a spiritual word meaning "blessed."
earlier this year.                                Undoubtedly, you will select with care the Christmas cards you send.
                                                  Six years ago, a Christian woman offered me an idea that I want to
DISTRICT PASTOR RECOGNIZED                        offer to you. She suggested that I think of people I knew who would
FOR SERVICE TO MILITARY                           be unlikely to receive a Christmas card, and write them a special
PERSONNEL . . . Rev. Douglas Irmer,               greeting with a personalized message about Jesus, the Savior of the
pastor at St. Paul, Beatrice, was                 world. She further suggested that these personalized Christmas cards
presented the St. Martin of                       be hand-delivered to those close enough to do so. What a blessing her
Tours Award on October 27                         idea has been. You may wish to consider it.
at the Nebraska Air National
                                                  Your Nebraska District staff sends you their Advent and Christmas
Guard Base in Lincoln for his
                                                  Greeting from the Lord’s Word:
extensive pastoral service to
military personnel. District                       But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of
President Russ Sommerfeld and                      a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we
Chaplain Rod Armon, Joint Force                    might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God
Headquarters chaplain for the Nebraska             sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls
National Guard and pastor of St. Paul,             out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but a son;
Doniphan, made the presentation at the             and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
base. Rev. Irmer has served as an Air              Galatians 4:4-7
National Guard chaplain for 20 years, with
numerous tours of duty overseas.
CALLED TO GLORY . . . Rev. Victor
Jordening, pastor emeritus, Elwood,
departed this life on October 16. He served
as pastor in these Nebraska congregations:
Immanuel, Litchfield and Trinity, Hazard;
Trinity, Jansen; Centennial, Superior; Zion,
Red Cloud; and Trinity, Lexington; as well
as numerous vacancies.
  The mission of the Nebraska District is to resource congregations, leaders, and related organizations in their
              mission of discipling the saved and proclaiming Christ to a lost and changing world.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the                                                NEBRASKA DISTRICT
                                                                                                  152 South Columbia
Lord Jesus Christ!
                                                                                                  PO Box 407
As 6,152 congregations of the Synod and 245                                                       Seward, Nebraska 68434-0407
congregations of the Nebraska District, we combine our                                            Phone 402 643-2961
                                                                                                  Fax 402 643-2990
faithfulness to the Lord’s Word and commitment to the
Lutheran Confessions to be a mission team proclaiming                                   
Christ in our communities, Nebraska, and into the world.
As you follow the Lord’s leading in utilizing the gifts He moves congregational members to provide for
mission and ministry, please prayerfully consider your congregational commitment to the common
mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and your Nebraska District of the Synod.
               Please consider a generous commitment to the Nebraska District in 2008. In 2007, $1.5
               million of your congregational commitments to the Nebraska District will be passed on for
               the common work we do as The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. The remaining dollars
               will be used to do mission work and provide ministry resources in the mission fields of the
               Nebraska District. Gifts given in 2008 will follow a similar method of distribution.
               Additional funds of approximately $1 million are annually passed along through the
               generous donations of individual members and congregations of the Nebraska District to
               LCMS World Mission through the mission awareness efforts of Gary Thies and Mission
Through our committed gifts to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod we work together to provide:
• National and world-wide mission outreach, disaster relief, and mercy ministry.
• Theological and academic education through ten universities and colleges and two seminaries.
• Publishing of Lutheran Christian educational resources.
• Church-wide insurance, disability, and retirement programs for LCMS church workers.
• Consultation services for congregations, schools, and missions.
As member congregations of the Nebraska District our gifts together offer:
• Mission assistance to help form and sustain new and existing missions and schools among life-long
    Nebraskans, as well as Hispanic, African, Asian, Native American, and other Nebraskans.
•   Campus ministries at four Nebraska colleges.
•   Superintendent services for all Lutheran schools in the District.
•   Pastoral care, ecclesiastical supervision, and guidance and assistance for calling
    processes for pastors, teachers, DCEs, and others.
•   Assistance in congregational financial planning, communications, foundation
    development, conflict reconciliation, constitutional revisions, and scholarships.
•   Various events, seminars, and workshops to equip congregational members,
    officers, and professional church workers for the mission and ministry entrusted to them.
The Nebraska District is also in a partnership with the congregations of the emerging Evangelical
Lutheran Church in Sudan as it becomes a strong confessional Lutheran presence in Sudan, Africa.
                  Congregations of the Nebraska District are helping each other in ministry by sharing their
                  mission and ministry dollars to be used to support and resource sister congregations, as
                  well as providing needed resources back to their own congregations. Prayerfully consider
                  how God would use you and your congregation in the partnership we have in the mission
                  fields of Nebraska. For more information on how your gifts are used or how to contribute
                  directly to the ministry of the Nebraska District, contact Paul Pettit, District Treasurer, at
         or 888-643-2961.
In Christ,

Rev. Russ Sommerfeld
Nebraska District President
News items and ministry stories for the Reporter are always welcome. The deadline for submission for the January 2008 Reporter is
            Monday, December 3. Please submit items to or PO Box 407, Seward, NE 68434.
                                    CALLS IN THE DISTRICT
       COMMISSIONED MINISTERS                                              ORDAINED MINISTERS
 CALLS ACCEPTED                                       CALLS ACCEPTED
 Allison Dolak (S’02), admissions counselor,          Rev. Wesley Baumeister (StL’98), chaplain, Concordia University,
     Concordia University, Seward, to teacher,           Seward, to senior, Trinity, Ironwood, Mich.
     Immanuel, Wentzville, Mo.                        Rev. Christopher Hazzard (StL’01), associate, Grace, Norfolk, to
 Steven Eric Dunn (S’07), DCE, Immanuel,                 St. John, Westfield, Mass.
     Tilden, to DCE, St. Peter, East Peoria, Ill.     CALLS DECLINED
 Tonya Isaac (S’96), candidate, Nebraska              Rev. Brad Birtell (StL’92), St. John, Columbus, to First, Bozeman,
     District, to preschool director, Little Lamb        Mont., and Trinity, Freistatt, Mo.
     Lutheran Preschool (Divine Shepherd),            Rev. Cory Burma (StL’04), associate, St. Paul, Janesville, Wis., to
     Omaha.                                              St. Peter, Deshler.
 Micah Parker (S’91), candidate, Nebraska             Rev. Keith Grimm (StL’91), senior, Beautiful Savior, Omaha, to senior,
     District, to headmaster, Lutheran South             Messiah, Lakeville, Minn.
     Academy, Houston, Texas.                         Rev. Steve Hulke (StL’87), associate, Redeemer, Marquette, Mich., to
 OTHER TRANSACTIONS                                      Peace, Hastings.
 Julie Fahr (S’89), candidate, Nebraska District,     Rev. John Sproul (StC’88), candidate, to LCMS World Mission (Safe
     to teacher, Zion, Pierce.                           Harbour, Grand Cayman).
 Robert Fiala (S’60), teacher, Concordia              STATUS CHANGE
     University, Seward, to emeritus status.          Rev. Stuart Burt (FtW’06), Trinity, Hebron, and Zion, Shickley, to
 Jane Fryar (S’72), teacher, Concordia                   candidate status, effective Sept. 30.
     University, Seward, to non-candidate status.
 Deanna Jalas (S’96), programmer/analyst,             ORDINATIONS AND INSTALLATIONS
     Concordia University, Seward, to non-            Rev. Scott Bruick (StL’95) as senior pastor, St. John, Seward, Oct. 7.
     candidate status.                                Rev. Richard “Kip” Smith (StL’81), as intentional interim pastor,
 Sharon Johnson (S’64), teacher, St. Paul,               Peace, Grand Island, Nov. 4.
     Omaha, to emeritus status.
 Priscilla Lawin (S’63), teacher, Concordia
     University, Seward, to emeritus status.
 Roberta Nelson (RF’63), teacher, Concordia
     University, Seward, to emeritus status.
 William Preuss (S’60), teacher, Concordia
     University, Seward, to emeritus status.
 Thomas Schwehn (S’00), teacher, Heartland,
     Grand Island, to candidate status.
 Todd Voss (S’93), teacher, Concordia
     University, Seward, to non-candidate status.
 John Weinhold (S’57), teacher, Concordia
     University, Seward, to emeritus status.
 Richard Wiegmann (S’62), teacher, Concordia
     University, Seward, to emeritus status.

Women’s Retreat..............................February 2
St. John, Seward
Spring Pastors’ Conference ...........April 7-8
Midtown Holiday Inn, Grand Island
Church Reconciler Training .............April 13-19
The Leadership Center, Aurora
Principals’ Conference .....................April 17-18
The Leadership Center, Aurora
Prairie Fire ’08..................................August 2
Concordia University, Seward
District Youth Gathering..................November 21-23
Holiday Inn Convention Center, Omaha
                   The Nebraska District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod celebrated 125 years
                   of mission in 2007. The District’s 125th Anniversary was celebrated with Mission Zeal!
                   The following is the last in a series of historical mission articles that demonstrated
                   Gospel partnership through God’s mission work in the District.

Come this Christmas, many of us will gather together with            had heard no more of her bawling. Our mother, in her desperation,
family for gift exchanges and make our way to church for             decided to get to that cow, dead or alive. She twisted a rope out of
worship services. As we take time to consider                                       bed linens and tied a stick to one end to let me
the wonder of our Savior’s birth, we will do so                                     down into the dugout. We managed to climb out of
amid beautifully decorated homes and                                                the hut.
sanctuaries. We will travel in our climate-                                         The sun was shining brightly. The snow drifts were
controlled vehicles to destinations near and far                                    solid enough so we could walk towards the shed.
along roads that are paved and plowed. We will                                      With an ash shovel she dug a hole towards the
feast on sumptuous foods in seemingly endless                                       entrance and let me down in the stall. That animal
abundance.                                                                          was still alive.
While we may think of Christmas as being a                                          My problem now was to get out of the pit. My
timeless holiday wrapped in long-lived traditions,                                  mother called down the hole and told me to put my
the experience of our Lutheran pioneers in the                                      feet close together on the stick and hold fast to the
early days of our District’s existence reveals that the daily        rope on which she tried to pull me up. But my hands were so
struggle to survive also affected the holidays.                      numb that I could not hold on to it. I fell into a faint in the snow
It was Christmas 1888. George Hilmer, who would later                which had fallen into the pit.
become a prominent Lutheran pastor, was an eight-year-old            How I was rescued I was told after I regained consciousness, lying
boy looking forward to his fourth Christmas in America. He           beside the box stove. An Irish neighbor…happened to be close
had come from Germany in 1885 with his parents to join               by. He was carrying a shovel. When he saw smoke rising from the
some relatives who had immigrated earlier and settled in             stove-pipe of our house, he got an urge to come over to the place.
Nebraska.                                                            He shoveled a trench towards the entrance of the stall, and also
George’s parents operated a farm near Columbus, but life             the house, and I was carried in and warmed up. Then he went to
was hard. Everyone knew there was going to be no Christmas           the neighbors and got help. The neighbors brought us food and
tree in the house that year. Despite the meager prospects for        sent for a doctor. [After a few days] we had nothing to eat…
the holiday, the young boy got an idea. There was a cornstalk        except corn stalks. I remember chewing on them to keep alive.
leaning against the corner of the room. He propped it up with        What a relief when the neighbors brought us bread and butter and
a few pieces of wood and hung some colored paper on the              other good things to fill the empty stomachs! Mother took her old
leaves. He split a piece of pine to make candles, which                       German hymnbook, and we prayed and together sang
he then stuck in the sand and lit. The family sang a few                       that great hymn:
Christmas songs and went to bed, but little did they                                      Now thank we all our God
realize that this would be a Christmas to remember                                        With heart and hands and voices,
– and not just for the cornstalk Christmas tree                                           Who wondrous things hath done,
in the corner. No, a blizzard was beginning to                                            In whom the world rejoices.
rage outside.                                                                           [Taken from A Brief Story of the Life and
When we awoke late in the morning the snow was                                      Activities of the Rev. George Henry Hilmer]
up to the small side windows. The second day the storm was still     As we gather to rejoice this Christmas in the gift of the Child
raging. The third day we were enwrapped in total darkness.           of Bethlehem, let us be reminded of the many blessings that
We were suffocating for want of fresh air. My father and second-     have come to us as the Lord has sustained the generations of
oldest brother became violently ill. Unfortunately we could not      believers that have come before us. For in their story we see
make an opening through the door because it opened to the            how to give thanks in every circumstance and rejoice in the
outside. Having a rickety ladder, mother managed to cut an           “wondrous things [God] hath done.”
opening through the roof, which was covered with heavy snow. We      During this Advent season as we prepare our hearts for the
still had some fuel to keep us warm, but we soon ran out of food.    coming of the Christ-child and look forward to the
We had a little corn in the shock standing in the corner. This was   celebration of His birth at Christmas, the elected and
pounded into mush, cooked, and eaten with relish. When this was      appointed officers of the Nebraska District, as well as the staff
eaten up, mother found a bag of beans. She cooked them and           at the District Office, extend to all members of the District
rationed them a tablespoon to a meal.                                warmest wishes for a holiday season filled with the joy and
Within a few days we were entirely without food. But there was [a]   peace of Christ Jesus.
cow in the dugout. We assumed that she was dead, because we                              (Submitted by Rev. David Palomaki, District Archivist)

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