The President’s Column: Re. New elected Conference officers.
Our readers are asked to look back to the previous page which contains our masthead. For those of you who are regular readers, you will notice several changes. We have a new Editor of this periodical, and a new Vice-President, a new Treasurer, and a new President of our beloved Conference. Some of these changes are noteworthy. Permit me to highlight them briefly.
First, the office of Vice-president was actually vacated prior to our recent convention. The Lord in His wisdom saw fit to take from us the Rev. Paul R. Bloedel. (Please take the time to read “In Memoriam” following this column.) From this you will understand what a loss the departure of Pastor Bloedel is to our Conference. Our consolation is, however, a true and blessed consolation in that our departed Brother is at peace and rest with the Lord. Furthermore, he leaves behind an excellent example of what the Apostle Paul stated, namely, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.” (II Cor;. 12:15) Not only the members of his flock saw this in their departed Pastor, but also the other pastors and congregations saw the cheerful but untiring labors of one who truly was willing to spend and be spent for the Lord and His Word. Now he is at rest. Now he enjoys this fact of Scripture: “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.” (Rev. 14:13)
Secondly, we have a lay person whose name is now absent in the office of Treasurer. For some 17 or 18 years Mr. Victor K. Bloedel has been our very faithful Treasurer. This year he asked not to be nominated as he has personal concerns which deserve and warrant his loving attention. Vic would of course have been a “shoo-in” to serve again, but we all respect his most proper decision, and thank him for his diligent, longstanding service. And how very fitting and appropriate that his son, Robert G. Bloedel, is now the new Treasurer who will ably carry the torch forward.
Our new Vice-president is Pastor M. L Natterer. He had been President for three consecutive terms and was constitutionally not able to run for a fourth term. He served most faithfully as President, and will do the same as Vice-resident. We ought also to inform our readers that Pastor Natterer recently celebrated fifty years as Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran in Lebabon, Oregon. His grateful congregation provided a most lovely and edifying special anniversary service with all the pastors of the Conference able to be present to share in the celebration. Congratulations Pastor Natterer!
Our new Editor is Pastor David T. Mensing. Indeed, new blood was needed in this position as the outgoing editor, the undersigned, served much too long. With Pastor Mensing, our readers will no doubt enjoy a fresh, new infusion into our official periodical. May the Lord bless this.
Indeed, with all these changes, what should we conclude? First, in God’s kingdom of grace, the beloved children of the Lord all have their allotted time on earth (“My times are in thy hand” Psalm 31:15.) The Lord has told us that we are but strangers and pilgrims on the earth. What is more, even during the course of our earthly sojourn, the Lord makes changes, giving us varying tasks; this task for a season, that task for another season. Yet in the Lord’s wisdom these changes in tasks and positions are all in accord with what is best for the Kingdom. Even when a pastor is privileged to serve in the ministry his whole life, it is not always with the same flock. And it is not uncommon that a congregation may have had over its many years of existence several pastors! What is more, even in auxiliary offices, the incumbents are constantly subject to change. New church officers, new board members, new voters. Has it not ever been this way? Even in Old Testament times, God wrought changes in leadership. Moses was replaced by Joshua. David was replaced by Solomon. Elisha succeeded Elijah! Yet no matter what course and change the Lord lays out before us, we know that by His grace in Christ “all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (Psalm 25:10) This is why we should pray with the Psalmist David: “Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation.” (Psalm 25:4-5) Indeed, no matter what changes the Lord makes, they all work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Moreover, let us rejoice that undergirding all the changes which the Lord brings about in our lives and in His Church is the fact that we have a changeless God and Savior! “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” (Heb. 13:8) We as sinners are so fickle and vacillating, but our changeless and ever-faithful Savior is constantly with us in His mercy which is “everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children, to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.” (Psalm 103:17-18) As Jeremiah wrote: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23)
Therefore let us recognize with Luther how good it is that the Church is in Christ’s hands and not ours! In his sacristy prayer Luther prayed: “Thou seest how unfit I am to administer rightly this great and responsible Office; and had I been without Thy aid and counsel I would surely have ruined it all long ago. Therefore I invoke Thee.” Brethren, let us all humbly invoke our Lord Jesus Christ for the good of our Conference of congregations and for the good of our souls. Amen. —ERS