I don’t now how old Fondow is, I just know he is younger than me.
I found out today that this is the 40th anniversary of Don Fondow’s ordination. That means that for 146,000 days, 350,400 hours, 21,024,000 minutes, Rev. Fondow has been a Pastor. Normally that would mean that for a single parish Pastor Fondow will have preached about 2100 sermons. Fondow was a parish Pastor for about 20 years but now he serves as the President of the Minnesota North District of The LCMS. I don’t know if that cuts down on the preaching or adds to the total but I know that Fondow loves to preach and is quite effective. Following graduation from seminary in 1979, Rev. Fondow served at St. John in Park Rapids, MN, and in 2000, joined the Minnesota North District as Mission and Ministry Facilitator (Division of Missions and Congregational Outreach). Rev. Fondow is the Recipient of the 1998 John E. Herrmann Memorial Stewardship Award presented by the District Stewardship Executives of The LCMS and in 2006 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn. He also serves on the Council of Presidents Program Committee and in 2013 served on the Synodical Convention Resolution 5-14A Task Force.
Fondow is a theologian and a confessional champion. He has a deep and abiding care for missions and mercy work and the need for support. He is involved with Project 24 and many other efforts at Gospel proclamation coupled with works of mercy. Fondow seems to know just about everyone in the LCMS and he is greatly respected and appreciated. Service on the Council of Presidents keeps him involved and knowledgeable about the myriad aspects of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and it’s work around the world. Fondow has a unique perspective on the nature of Synod and it’s relationship to churches. He as a District President gets the questions about why “Synod does this or Synod does that” and he reminds folks that Synod is all the congregations of the church walking together. National Synod reacts to what the congregations decide in Convention and District offices represent Synod in that place.
Fondow has many talents. He is a gastronome. He is encyclopedic in his knowledge of restaurants in Minnesota and Wisconsin and that knowledge extends to other parts of the country. His recommendations for eating places on a road trip should be followed. Fondow also has a infallible intuition on which vehicle to scramble into on hot dusty road trips in hot dusty places like Africa. He invariably knows which vehicle has air conditioning that actually works and he shows a sprinters speed and a hurdlers lift to get ahead of less talented travelers.
Fondow has been, and continues to be, a special servant of Christ and a staunch ally and friend in time of need. He sees through the silliness that masquerades as debate and concern for progress in these grey and latter days. He has one over arching question he asks when tensions rise and other questions are asked; how does our response or lack of same advance the Gospel of Christ and bring hope to the world.
Congratulations Rev. Fondow and blessings for the future. Keep looking for that cool spot.