Due to failing health and the effects of advancing age, in June of this year (2013), the Rev. M. L. Natterer retired as pastor of the congregation he had served for over 60 years—St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lebanon, Oregon. In the same month (June of 2013), a divine call was issued by the Holy Ghost through the voters of St. John’s to the Rev. Paul E. Bloedel of St. Mark’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Sauk Village, Illinois; and this call was accepted. Pastor Bloedel and his family have since relocated to Lebanon, and he is already serving his new flock, even though the installation service is not planned until August 25th in consideration of the busy schedule of the Rev. Edward J. Worley, the pastor of St. Luke’s in Seattle, who has agreed to come down and conduct the installation.
Rev. Natterer graduated from Concordia Lutheran Seminary (Missouri Synod) in Springfield, Illinois in 1949. His first call was to a congregation in Fessenden, North Dakota; but shortly thereafter he accepted the call to serve as pastor in Lansing, Illinois. However, because he refused to stay silent about errors in doctrine and practice that were taking hold in the Missouri Synod, synodical officials invaded his congregation and caused him to be deposed on October 31st (Reformation Day) in 1951. Without a congregation to serve, but still needing to provide for his family (himself, his wife, and two young daughters), Rev. Natterer secured secular employment; and he and his wife joined the congregation in our fellowship that was closest to their location in Illinois—Peace, in Tinley Park (now Oak Forest).
In 1952 Pastor Natterer received and accepted a call to be the shepherd and spiritual overseer of a congregation in Lebanon, Oregon, where he would remain for the rest of his time serving in the Lord’s ministry. In Lebanon, God blessed Pastor and Mrs. Natterer with eight more children and a large number of grandchildren and great grandchildren; and what started out as a very little congregation has grown significantly during his ministry. In his retirement, he and his wife will continue living in town and will remain beloved members of St. John’s Lutheran Church. May God continue to bless in rich measure this faithful servant and the congregation that Rev. Natterer diligently served for so many years—all through the power of His Word proclaimed and taught in its full truth and purity!
— P. E. B.