from our fall pastoral conference. Once again, the planning committee is to be commended. The worship was reverent, joyful, and beautiful - and the warp and woof of the conference.
We began with Matins (chanted three Psalms, besides Venite!) at which Pr. Clayton served as liturgist and Pr. Hemmer preached a fine homily. Pr. Baue accompanied the Psalms on guitar in his usual classical way. The reading was the assigned reading from Treasury. The service took a long time, and it felt wonderful to be immersed in Psalm, hymnody, and prayer.
During the day we heard Dr. David Menton. His expertise as a doctor and professor brought some fascinating insights into the creationist/evolution debate. He totally nailed the unnaturally of the primacy of death. He lost me on a bit of the biological stuff - that was never my strong suit - but I really thought over all he did some outstanding work. Picked up one of his DVD's on "Lucy" and am eager for Bekah to view it. She's been wrestling some with these issues.
We enjoyed two extended periods of Gemuetlichkeit - one in the afternoon; one at the close of the day. Kettner was present and in rare form. Need we say more on that? Made the whole conference!
The day concluded officially with Evening Prayer. Pr. Frtische served that peaceful and beautiful liturgy and let Luther do some preaching to us. The singing of the great Litany with the harmonies all around and no accompaniment - it is the very taste of peace itself. We laid everything in the hands of Him who loves us and who gives to us everything good, and so closed the day in peace.
Today began with the Divine Service. We used the Second Setting - that is the first of the settings in the old LBW that I learned as a teen many years ago. It will always have a soft-spot in my heart. The pastors - as usual - sang it with gusto and vigor, but it was also wonderful to have many of the wives present, our faithful deaconess, and scads of little ones (including one of my godchildren, Nathaniel). President Scharr showed himself a true bishop once again as he delivered both the hammer blows of the Law and the joys of the Gospel. "With all patience" - the manner we are to serve being but the image and reflection of the way in which our heavenly Father continues to deal with us. Shockingly so! Good stuff. Pr. Laufer (dear friend and old classmate) was celebrant.
Dr. Menton again, then some District Business, and finally lunch. The deaconess and I headed out at that point - I'd come down with a head cold and was tired of walking outside every five minutes to blow the old schnoz. Thus, we missed Itinerarium, with which the conference closed.
In sum, reverent and joyful liturgy; ample time for visiting and enjoying each others company and companionship; and outstanding speaker. Thanks be to God for such a wonderful retreat in the Southern Illinois District - it makes you be a shining light among our pastoral conferences.