Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Memories

I received word the other day that one of the congregations I served in my first parish is closing its doors after a final service on August 17th. Zion Lutheran Church of Hoskins, Nebraska. The locals call it "Zion East".

I have mixed feelings about it. I loved that church and most every single member. Clem and Lorena Weich, who were the perennial youth group leaders, Herman Koepke (and his bride, Dorothy, and their children), The Andersons, and, well, too many people to name, and too long ago to be sure that I would not misspell their names or forget someone who is, in memory, precious to me. I have personal stories about most of them, and they delight me when I think about them.

I only served as pastor there for two years. These were the people who had the first shot at teaching me how to be a pastor, and they did it with great patience and love.

I don't feel badly that the congregation must close. Every congregation has a life - it is born, it lives for a time, and it "dies". When I was there almost thirty years ago, I told them that if they could not support their congregation, they should close. At that time, they stepped it up a notch, and the congregation continued. As a small farm congregation, many of whose members drove past several other Lutheran congregations to get to "their" church, slow death by attrition was almost inevitable.

I just wanted to say, "Thank God for Zion East". It sheltered the saints of God for generations, and trained more than one pastor in how to be a pastor. I buried a number of the saints in their cemetery, and baptized a few children. It was my joy and honor to serve them, and serve the Lord among them. May God bless and keep the members who still live among us, and gather us in heaven, when the time is right, to sing that song of glory before the throne!

1 comment:

Robbie F. said...

This news takes my breath away. The sadness I feel is like losing an old friend. What a hard decision it must have been to make. I remember it as a very beautiful church with lots of history under its belt.