Surely every pastor in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod would agree that we are called to be faithful. No
one has ever lauded a faithless pastor. But can we agree on anything beyond the call to fidelity we have heard from God and the church? To what are we called to be faithful? That’s where the disagreement can begin.
Perhaps part of our confusion can be attributed to our status as a confessional church: a book of confessions 450 years old requires interpretation and reinterpretation. Who’s to guide us? Maybe some of the difficulty lies in our status with respect to the ecumenical movement. How strongly does that movement move us? And who should our partners be?
Focusing more locally: in our own ministries, where is the faithful balance between ministry within the
community of faith and the ministry of public outreach beyond the walls of the parish church?
Each year, on Friday of the first week of Easter, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke graciously
hosts the Festival of the Resurrection, a day of splendid liturgy, delicious food and, not least, flinty theology that may be a stumbling block to some but will be a touchstone of fidelity to others.
As we Christians, both lay and ordained, go about responding to God’s call to mission, how do we know whether we are being faithful? What are the foundation stones upon which faithful ministries are built? As Lutheran Christians, what are the rocks from which our fidelity has been hewn?
The papers from this year’s Festival of the Resurrection compose most of the contents of this issue. They examine our understandings of fidelity from four quite distinct points of view. Larry Yoder, sts, Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for Theology, Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, North Carolina, addresses the issue of Fidelity to Calling, offering an open letter from a pastor of thirty-six years to a son awaiting his
first call. Cathy Ammlung sts, Associate Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Fulton, Maryland, speaks to fidelity in ministry under the rubric of Fidelity to the Holy Trinity.
John Pless, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions, and Director of Field Education, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, examines the riches of Luther’s Small Catechism for formation in the faith once delivered to the saints and suggest some approaches to Fidelity to the Catechism. Keith Forni sts, Pastor of Iglesia Luterana Santa Cruz, Joliet, Illinois, will guide us through the rocky terrain on either side of the ravine dividing sanctuary and society. Fidelity in Ministry: In Parish and in Public asks how these two venues for ministry can be kept in lively and faithful balance.
In addition, we are pleased to present a prize-winning paper on ecumenism from Benjamin Dueholm, a Lutheran student at the University of Chicago Divinity School, serving now as Intern at Wicker Park Lutheran Church. Dueholm’s essay won a contest sponsored by the ELCA’s department of Ecumenical Affairs and the Lutheran Ecumenical Representatives’ Network. And we present another “As I See It” column from Frank Senn, sts. By the way, that sts stands for Societas Trinitatis Sanctae, the Society of the Holy Trinity. Again this year, the Northern Illinois and Wisconsin chapters of the Society, a Lutheran oratory and ministerium, have been pleased to be in partnership with the Church of St. Luke in presenting the Festival of the Resurrection, and hope that you will consider attending the 2006 Festival.
Let’s Talk is pleased to present this issue to elucidate your reflections on faithfulness. Fidelity in ministry and mission has never been an easy task. The Editorial Council hopes that the reflections offered here will stimulate your responses to our ongoing invitation: “Let’s Talk”!