Author Topic: Seminex in Print  (Read 5053 times)

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #45 on: December 18, 2021, 08:03:24 PM »
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #46 on: December 18, 2021, 08:59:49 PM »

LCUSA's archives probably include some oral histories of those times.


Where are LCUSA's archives? ELCA (Elk Grove Village, IL)?

Yes.

CHI is staffed with professional archivists who would not see themselves as representing "one side" in the controversy. (CPH may be another matter.) But in any event, history is never an objective discipline; it is always interpretation. We are perhaps approaching the time when a history of those events which is at least even-handed could be written by a historian with no ax to grind, but I suspect that will not happen for another 20 years or so when virtually everyone with personal memories is dead and gone. That's usually the way it works. The important task at present is to preserve the archival material so that that history can be written some day.

Distance brings greater objectivity, I agree, but there is also much to commend personal accounts of persons who endure the experience. This book looks like it is for getting to source material, messy and lopsided though those materials may be.
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Dave Benke

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #47 on: December 18, 2021, 09:09:17 PM »
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.

That's a great idea.  We undertook an enterprise like that in a special conference inviting those who were with Seminex and had gone to the ELCA as well as those who "colloquized" into the LCMS along with officials who were still alive, maybe in conjunction with the Atlantic District 100th Anniversary in 2006.  I wish we would have taped that event, because the stories told and sharing were both poignant and powerful, and could have been important "for the record."  It provided some closure for folks who had really never had an opportunity to present how that whole experience had affected their lives and ministries. 

That could be an ALPB undertaking.

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Jim Butler

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #48 on: December 19, 2021, 07:02:19 AM »
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.

That's a great idea.  We undertook an enterprise like that in a special conference inviting those who were with Seminex and had gone to the ELCA as well as those who "colloquized" into the LCMS along with officials who were still alive, maybe in conjunction with the Atlantic District 100th Anniversary in 2006.  I wish we would have taped that event, because the stories told and sharing were both poignant and powerful, and could have been important "for the record."  It provided some closure for folks who had really never had an opportunity to present how that whole experience had affected their lives and ministries. 

That could be an ALPB undertaking.

Dave Benke

If you were to contact CHI, they might give you some money to do a project like that. it would be very valuable for LCMS history. I know they want to get as many oral accounts of people who were on the scene as possible.
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Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #49 on: December 19, 2021, 08:15:42 AM »
one more extension... I have always thought that folks who sat in the middle, may have leaned one way a bit more than the other or who were ripped apart but remained locked in park gear...  why did they not move either way?  The stories of financial needs, multiple kinds of fears, family issues, non-religious loyalties to institutions and friendships, doctrinal positions that over rode doing this or that...  they were a majority, I would guess, and perhaps could have made a difference in the outcome or the size of the outcome.  The same is true of the the middlers in the sexuality fissure in the ELCA in more recent times.  In both cases the division was substantial but not as overwhelming as the majority may have feared or the minority hoped.   Or is this just based on some fact of human behavior that works in pandemic inoculations as well as theological breakdowns....
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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #50 on: December 19, 2021, 09:31:27 AM »
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.

That's a great idea.  We undertook an enterprise like that in a special conference inviting those who were with Seminex and had gone to the ELCA as well as those who "colloquized" into the LCMS along with officials who were still alive, maybe in conjunction with the Atlantic District 100th Anniversary in 2006.  I wish we would have taped that event, because the stories told and sharing were both poignant and powerful, and could have been important "for the record."  It provided some closure for folks who had really never had an opportunity to present how that whole experience had affected their lives and ministries. 

That could be an ALPB undertaking.

Dave Benke

If you were to contact CHI, they might give you some money to do a project like that. it would be very valuable for LCMS history. I know they want to get as many oral accounts of people who were on the scene as possible.

Will do.  In the early 1990s there was a circuit counselors' retreat late in the summer in Illinois, and it turned into an extended conversation about the fall-out and life changing nature of the experience in the mid-70s.  Lots of mourning and exploration spiritually.  Of course, we were all thirty years younger.  But since a lot of the involvees came from or went to the coastal areas, I think we could assist in a more complete oral history.

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John_Hannah

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #51 on: December 19, 2021, 11:07:31 AM »
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.

That's a great idea.  We undertook an enterprise like that in a special conference inviting those who were with Seminex and had gone to the ELCA as well as those who "colloquized" into the LCMS along with officials who were still alive, maybe in conjunction with the Atlantic District 100th Anniversary in 2006.  I wish we would have taped that event, because the stories told and sharing were both poignant and powerful, and could have been important "for the record."  It provided some closure for folks who had really never had an opportunity to present how that whole experience had affected their lives and ministries. 

That could be an ALPB undertaking.

Dave Benke

If you were to contact CHI, they might give you some money to do a project like that. it would be very valuable for LCMS history. I know they want to get as many oral accounts of people who were on the scene as possible.

Will do.  In the early 1990s there was a circuit counselors' retreat late in the summer in Illinois, and it turned into an extended conversation about the fall-out and life changing nature of the experience in the mid-70s.  Lots of mourning and exploration spiritually.  Of course, we were all thirty years younger.  But since a lot of the involvees came from or went to the coastal areas, I think we could assist in a more complete oral history.

Dave Benke

A huge project but it can be done I think.

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Jim Butler

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #52 on: December 19, 2021, 01:14:19 PM »
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.

That's a great idea.  We undertook an enterprise like that in a special conference inviting those who were with Seminex and had gone to the ELCA as well as those who "colloquized" into the LCMS along with officials who were still alive, maybe in conjunction with the Atlantic District 100th Anniversary in 2006.  I wish we would have taped that event, because the stories told and sharing were both poignant and powerful, and could have been important "for the record."  It provided some closure for folks who had really never had an opportunity to present how that whole experience had affected their lives and ministries. 

That could be an ALPB undertaking.

Dave Benke

If you were to contact CHI, they might give you some money to do a project like that. it would be very valuable for LCMS history. I know they want to get as many oral accounts of people who were on the scene as possible.

Will do.  In the early 1990s there was a circuit counselors' retreat late in the summer in Illinois, and it turned into an extended conversation about the fall-out and life changing nature of the experience in the mid-70s.  Lots of mourning and exploration spiritually.  Of course, we were all thirty years younger.  But since a lot of the involvees came from or went to the coastal areas, I think we could assist in a more complete oral history.

Dave Benke

When Ted Kober did his training of circuit counselors and District leaders across the country, he said that he had pastors coming to him at every training to talk about their experiences from that era. Many of them felt very guilty about things they had said and done. He was quite overwhelmed at all of these pastors coming to him, a layperson.

Now that we are approaching 50 years since this the Walkout, I'd like to think that some people have found some healing, but I don't know.
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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #53 on: December 19, 2021, 02:13:27 PM »
There are two positive endorsements from ELCA professors (Mark Mattes and Mark Granquist). Granquist calls it "a wonderful and much-needed book." He also notes that "the definitive historical work on this era has yet to be written, but with bibliography it is much morel likely that such a volume eventually will be produced." Without commentary, this bibliography offers a comprehensive listing of sources on both sides of the divide.

The definitive historical work that Granquist hopes will be written is probably at least a generation in the future. My guess is that it can only be written after all the partisans are dead and gone. The current works by Tietjen, Scaer, Zimmermann, and Danker reflect the particular biases of the authors.

I might add that CHI is also planning a volume of essays to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Seminex. That volume should be out in 2023.

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #54 on: December 19, 2021, 02:48:35 PM »
Also interesting would be historical profiles of certain congregations that left the LCMS during those years. I knew several, and was later interim pastor for two terms at one of them. It was one of the finest congregations I have ever served. It went to the ALC in 1976, had then came into the ELCA. Some founders of the congregation were still around and it had something of the "old Missouri" structure even well into the ELCA years. I liked it there - 2 years in one term, later almost 3 years in a second term, - and if you can imagine it - it seems the congregation liked me, although we did not always agree on things. I miss them, especially during holiday seasons.
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #55 on: December 19, 2021, 03:39:26 PM »
Is anyone working on a book about the formation and break up in the ELCA, which I suppose is still in process? Or has the departure of congregations stopped? Just wondering whether there is a similar effort to describe that significant history from which the Lutheran Church may learn in the future.
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Mike in Pennsylvania

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #56 on: December 19, 2021, 05:18:19 PM »
Is anyone working on a book about the formation and break up in the ELCA, which I suppose is still in process? Or has the departure of congregations stopped? Just wondering whether there is a similar effort to describe that significant history from which the Lutheran Church may learn in the future.
The "slow motion schism" is still in motion, at least into the NALC, and I would suspect the LCMC as well.  It's a couple of dozen churches a year, but it continues.
Don't think anybody's trying to write any sort of scholarly history yet, though Mark Granquist mentions it briefly in his history of American Lutheranism.
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Dave Benke

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #57 on: December 19, 2021, 08:48:36 PM »
Also interesting would be historical profiles of certain congregations that left the LCMS during those years. I knew several, and was later interim pastor for two terms at one of them. It was one of the finest congregations I have ever served. It went to the ALC in 1976, had then came into the ELCA. Some founders of the congregation were still around and it had something of the "old Missouri" structure even well into the ELCA years. I liked it there - 2 years in one term, later almost 3 years in a second term, - and if you can imagine it - it seems the congregation liked me, although we did not always agree on things. I miss them, especially during holiday seasons.

Remember that the title "Seminex" is about a seminary.  The results in the field had to do with the use of a specific bylaw or convention resolution that placed district presidents who placed and ordained graduates from Seminex under suspension.  When those eight (?) presidents went ahead, they were removed from office.  In various districts that produced the next step, which was leaving the Missouri Synod in support of their district presidents.  Two districts dramatically affected were New England and Atlantic.  Not five years prior, the Atlantic District had been divided into New England, Atlantic and New Jersey.  New England President Robert Riedel (a predecessor of mine at St. Peter's Brooklyn) and Atlantic District President Rudy Ressmeyer (grandson of Franz Pieper) were ousted, and 60-70 congregations left with them.  The seminex graduates ordained and placed in most cases left as well, although there was a way for the congregations and pastors who didn't leave to come through that situation, I believe with an interview of some kind.  My consiglieri for most of my time in the Atlantic District (ie First Vice President), Chip Froehlich, was a Seminex grad who stayed with the LCMS. 

Since our entire district Praesidium left the denomination, Jack Preus was left to find an interim District President somewhere else, and one of the district board pastors, Hank Koepchen, said yes.  Eventually we had a district convention and elected Ron Fink to serve.  The national denomination did basically nothing for us in that period - I had been elevated by circumstance to serve on the District board.  We were pretty much set adrift, with every subsidized congregation remaining and all of the top membership/donation congregations leaving.  Ron spent years doing triage among those of us who were left, and was a wonderful healer and consoler.

Anyway, I wonder whether what happened "on the ground" is considered part of the Seminex saga.  It certainly should be.

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Dave Likeness

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #58 on: December 19, 2021, 09:35:40 PM »
In the CTQ January/April 2010 issue, Dr Lawrence Rast Jr.wrote an article entitled:
J.A.O. Preus: Theologian, Churchman or Both?

He states that the 1975 Anaheim Synodical Convention gave LCMS President Preus
the authority to declare vacant the office of any district president who should ordain
a non-certified (Seminex) candidate. There were 8 DPs who ordained Seminex
candidates & President Preus only removed 4 of them.  This led to an outcry from some
conservatives who began efforts to find an replacement for President Preus.  In the
1977 convention Preus was returned to office. By the 1981 nomination cycle, Preus
surprised some and refused to allow his name to stand for re-election.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2021, 09:43:24 PM by Dave Likeness »

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #59 on: December 19, 2021, 09:46:51 PM »
Is anyone working on a book about the formation and break up in the ELCA, which I suppose is still in process? Or has the departure of congregations stopped? Just wondering whether there is a similar effort to describe that significant history from which the Lutheran Church may learn in the future.
The "slow motion schism" is still in motion, at least into the NALC, and I would suspect the LCMC as well.  It's a couple of dozen churches a year, but it continues.
Don't think anybody's trying to write any sort of scholarly history yet, though Mark Granquist mentions it briefly in his history of American Lutheranism.

Thanks for explaining, Mike. What's happening with the ELCA is truly recent and, as you note, ongoing. Historians don't have to hurry but glad that Granquist is watching.

We passed an ELCA church out in the country the other day. I found myself wondering whether this country church strongly identifies with the ELCA urban ethos. Any sense of which congregations are staying and which are leaving? Is there a noticeable divide in the demographics?
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