That was the theme of this past Sunday’s observation of the 50th ordination anniversaries of three retired or semi-retired men who are also active members of Zion Lutheran Church in Walburg, Texas. That’s the rural congregation of which Terry and I are active members. We’re blessed to have Rev. John Davenport as senior pastor, his wonderful wife Lynn at his side.
The three men and their wives are:
- Bob and Jean Greene
- Wilbern and Betty Michalk
- Glenn and Sandra O’Shoney
These three men, accompanied and supported by their dear spouses, have served the Lord and his church faithfully in numerous capacities:
- Bob Greene: parish pastor; President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the South; Chairman, LCMS Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance
- Wilbern Michalk: parish pastor; mission developer; numerous circuit and district roles and responsibilities
- Glenn O’Shoney: parish pastor; mission developer; President, Texas District LCMS; Chairman, LCMS Council of Presidents; Executive Director, LCMS World Mission
All three are graduates of Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Ill., now in Fort Wayne, Ind. Bob and Wilbern graduated in 1963, Glenn in 1962. As one can tell, their 50th anniversary celebration, clearly appreciated by all, was a bit tardy. Better late than never!
Festivities of the day included a sermon focused on:
- Thanksgiving to God for his blessings in the lives of these six men and women;
- Biblical qualifications for the office of overseer/pastor and the difficulty/impossibility faced by every pastor in endeavoring to fulfill them completely;
- The calling of God for all men and women who have been reconciled to God through Christ to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world.
The services were followed by a congregational lunch, including a touch of humor in a round of “The Not-So-Newly-Wed Game.” The game allowed these couples to share with the crowd some basic information about their lives, backgrounds, marriage, children and ministry. It was a fun way to help the congregation learn about these wonderfully dedicated and committed couples!
The idea was initially suggested by my dear friend, Dr. Will Sohns. The Board of Elders did most of the planning. I just preached and presided at the NSNWG. Not surprisingly, my dear wife Terry expressed words of appreciation to Jean, Betty and Sandra, and presented each of them a long stemmed rose to match their husbands’ boutonnieres.
You may want to consider something similar for your pastor, including retired men who may not have actually served your congregation officially but are dedicated and committed members. The honorees will be appreciative, your congregation will be blessed and God will be praised!