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Month: October 2013

Dean Hartley RIP

We started this blog to show the connections that we have up here in the North Country and how are paths “cross” under the “Cross”.  Dean Hartley first got the inclination to be a Pastor when he was in Willmar Minnesota.  Willmar is no stranger to these pages either.  We covered the tornado and the recovery.  Dean passed away unexpectedly and the shock will be around awhile.  As in all things we are always under the Cross and we live in the promises of Christ.  Dean preached the payment that Christ made for sins and the new life that we have in his name every Sunday.  He lived that new life and he died as one who wanted that life for all. Funeral Services will be held 10:00 A.M. Saturday, November 2nd at the Underwood School Gymnasium with Rev. Dr. James A. Baneck officiating.  Interment will take place in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Edgeley, ND. Visitation will be from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM Friday at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Underwood. ND. A prayer service will be held at 7:00 PM Friday at the church. Visitation will continue one hour before services Saturday at the school. Dean was born April 12, 1957 in Gackle, ND to Harold & Liane (Elhard) Hartley.  He graduated from Jud High School in 1975.  In October 1975, Dean entered the U.S. Air Force...

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Carol and All Saints

I wrote a couple of days ago about Carol Voecks and her impact on my life.  Her Pastor was Pastor Chepulis and he is a very good preacher.  This is a portion of the sermon that he delivered for Carol and for all of us.  All Saints Sunday is an important day in our church.  It is a day of remembrance and bitter sweet for many.  Here is a portion of Pastors message.   In a couple of days the Church will celebrate All Saints’ Day.  Carol is what a saint of God looks like.  They’re not great or mighty people.  They don’t do flashy miracles.  They don’t buy their way into heaven.  In the eyes of some, they’re weak and unassuming, suffering and hurting.  But blessed are the poor, the meek, the lowly for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  They live by faith and their reward isn’t on earth.  God’s saints are counted holy, innocent, and righteous for Jesus’ sake where it counts: in the eyes of God.  They receive all Christ’s benefits, are made His brothers and sisters, through faith in Jesus’ work of salvation in His cross and empty tomb. We will see Carol again.  For just as the Jesus was raised from the dead, so will He come and raise Carol’s body from her sleep.  Her soul, now, is with the Lord in Paradise,...

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Measuring Mission Returns.

  What are appropriate questions to ask about Mission Projects?  I can imagine some over officious lout out there asking if we are doing good work in Africa why are the children at a Project 24 Center flashing gang signs? This from an article written in 1998.  Much of it could have been written today.  It raised the question to me that we have been asking for a few years now since LCMS World Mission was changed to the Office of International Mission.  How do we measure success?  What is a failure and why?  The author of this article says it well, “however intangible (or sometimes inappropriate) it might be to attempt to measure missions returns, the giver today wants to see what he stands behind”. The congregant today views himself as something akin to an investor as well. As such, he is less likely to be content by giving liberally to a national headquarters with no discretion as to how the money will be spent. More relevant to the investor analogy, he has no way to measure his “return” on the investment. However intangible (or sometimes inappropriate) it might be to attempt to measure missions returns, the giver today wants to see what he stands behind. Whether it is an individual, a family, a project or a team, all provide more assessable results than national headquarters. Yet we...

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Carol Voecks RIP

Carol Voecks was one of those people that slips into your life so quietly that when they slip out again you barely notice. At least for a while.  Their unassuming nature makes a statement in your life that is permanent. I met her at an LWML function what seems like a hundred years ago and she  was interested in Biomedical Ethics and a presentation that I had made.  This was probably in the 80’s.  I had started writing and talking about Bioethics and the handicapped after a presentation I attended in San Francisco that was sponsored by U.C. Berkeley.  Much of it was theoretical at that time but many of the things that we talked about in fertility issues, death panels, using the human genome for birth control and the vulnerability of the handicapped and the aged to governments and politicians that want to provide everyone with “health care” are coming frightening true or have already happened.  This led to my doing presentations at St. Francis hospital in Hawaii which at that time was pioneering work in pastoral care and bioethics across cultural lines.  Carol would phase in an out of my life as I wrote articles for the ND District supplement of the Lutheran Witness on bioethics and as she worked for caring for her husband who had been diagnosed with MS.  Although I an still interested in medical ethics...

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What’s In a Name? The Church makes decisions about mercy.

It started out as a the “State Institution for the Feebleminded”.  We can barely imagine a name like that in our politically correct day and age.  Then it became The Grafton State School for the Mentally Handicapped and after awhile it was just called the Grafton State School.  For awhile we called it the “State Developmental Center” and now we call it the “Life Skills and Transition Center”.  That has a nicer ring to it. In the picture above you can see the All Faith Chapel which was a gift from the people of North Dakota and dedicated in the 1970’s. It didn’t take long before Zion English Lutheran in Grafton began an intentional visitation ministry to the Center not long after being established as a congregation.  We know that Rev. Al Thiem was doing work there in 1951 and the work continued until the District in Convention decided as a churchly function that it should be a ministry supported by the entire District. So what is in a name?  Imagine if we said that this ministry was the ministry of Zion Church in Grafton.  That is wonderful and pleasing to God.  But when we say that it is a ministry of the District that means that 90 some congregations take it as “their” ministry too.  That has a nicer ring to it. Share this on:...

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