Celebrating Fifty Years in the Pastoral Office
On June 25th this past summer, our dear brother, the Rev. David G. Redlin of Tucson, Arizona, marked his fiftieth anniversary in the Lord’s service as a Lutheran pastor. Since he had come into our Conference in 1991 by colloquy as the pastor of Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church, an independent congregation at the time, and had spent the first thirty years of his ministry in the Wisconsin Synod, the date of his ordination and installation into the pastoral office was not on our “radar,” so to speak, and had regrettably completely escaped our attention. We were all assembled in Oak Forest, Illinois, for the Sixtieth Annual Convention of the Conference, June 24-26, fully engrossed in our joint work together, when the day came and went without notice. And, fully in keeping with Brother Redlin’s humble spirit and unassuming nature, he “failed” to mention it to anyone; and his devoted and faithful wife, Susan, never let it slip. His congregation had been planning a surprise celebration with a special commemorative service in connection with the Festival of the Reformation at the end of October, when the pastors generally gather the week before for their Fall Pastoral Conference; and Good Shepherd intended to host that pastoral conference so that his brother pastors and our seminarians could all be present for the occasion and participate. Not realizing this, however, the convention canceled the fall conference this year as a cost-cutting measure; and the planned celebration was not mentioned — so as not to spoil the surprise.
When the congregation on October 5th announced its commemoration plans, it was too late for most everyone to arrange for travel on short notice; and the brethren in Tucson graciously postponed the “secret” event to November 20th. As it turned out, only the Conference President was able to attend; and the congregation asked him to preach for the occasion. It was a joyous celebration indeed, and the well-kept secret was divulged to Pastor Redlin only the week before.
For the well-attended service, Pastor Redlin served as liturgist; and President Mensing preached on Hebrew 13:7, taking as his theme: Let Us Remember Our Faithful Pastors — I. …because of their God-ordained office, II. …because of their God-ordained message, and III. …because of their God-ordained doctrine and faithful practice. A special choir, composed chiefly of the children of the congregation, sang Luther’s beloved hymn, “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word!”; and the service concluded with the reading of congratulatory messages from the pastors and congregations of our Conference. Thereafter a sumptuous dinner was served by the ladies of the congregation, and a special retrospective was presented during the afternoon tracing Pastor Redlin’s career as a Christian pastor and celebrating fifty years of the Lord’s gracious blessings. He was given a beautiful commemorative plaque and a special album filled with memorabilia. Throughout all of the tributes read from letters and delivered orally by members and guests, the aspect of Pastor Redlin’s ministry most often mentioned and notably stressed was his unflinching adherence to God’s Word, both in doctrine and in practice, many a time in the face of great difficulties and adversities, and his people’s sincere love and gratitude to him for holding them, by God’s grace and with His neverfailing help, to its precious truth. We all join them in grateful thanksgiving to the Lord of the Church for His abiding grace, help, strength and faithfulness to our dear brother and friend, Pastor David G. Redlin!
Pastor Redlin was born to Pastor Gerhard Redlin and Wilhelmina Loeffler on January 30, 1935 in Watertown, Wisconsin. His early childhood years were spent under his father’s watchful eyes at parochial schools in Crete, Illinois and Watertown, Wisconsin. He attended high school at Northwestern Preparatory School, also in Watertown; and in 1958, he graduated from Northwestern College at the same campus in Watertown. He then studied for the ministry at the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary in Mequon, graduating in 1961. He was ordained and installed on June 25, 1961, in Nebraska, where he initially served two congregations as pastor and the next year concurrently served as vacancy pastor at Zion in Garrison. Pastor Redlin had a God-given zeal for mission work and helped found several mission congregations over the course of his ministry. In 1963, he received and accepted a call to Bisbee, Arizona, and served also as vacancy pastor at Douglas. In 1967, he was called to a congregation in Phoenix, and while there also served as vacancy pastor in Tempe and in Casa Grande. In 1971, he was called to Good Shepherd Ev. Lutheran Church in Tucson, where by God’s grace he continues to serve as its faithful pastor and overseer. Together with the members of Good Shepherd, Pastor Redlin left the Wisconsin Synod in 1986 for doctrinal reasons and remained independent for six years, worshiping in the lower level of the parsonage on Melpomene Way from 1986-2002. Having undergone a colloquy by our Pastoral Conference, Pastor Redlin and the congregation joined our Concordia Lutheran Conference in 1991, where we have enjoyed one another’s fellowship now for over twenty years. In October 2002, Good Shepherd’s current church building was dedicated to the glory of God and with gratitude to the Lord for His gracious continued blessings.
Pastor Redlin and his dear wife, Susan, happily celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in July, 2010; and they, together with four of their five grown children and their families, continue to enjoy “the unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:3) in the fellowship of Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tucson and as cherished brethren in our Concordia Lutheran Conference. May the Lord of the Church continue to bless abundantly all of Brother Redlin’s faithful labors to the praise of His grace, to His glory alone, and for the welfare of His kingdom!
— D. T. M.