Archive for January 2013

LCMS Sponsors Hymnwriting Conference: “The Sung Confession”


The Rev. Stephen Starke, whose hymns have been published most recently in Lutheran Service Book, presents at the LCMS hymnwriters’ conference, currently taking place in Colombia, Ill.

Long called “the singing church,” The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) rejoices in confessing Jesus Christ through song. Delving more deeply into this, roughly 40 LCMS hymn writers are tucked away at the Toddhall Retreat Center, Columbia, Ill, learning how to join  text and tune robustly for the benefit of the church-at-large. The conference, “The Sung Confession: Lutheran Hymnwriting in the 21st Century,” which began Sunday, Jan. 27, is a venue for education and encouragement for LCMS hymnwriters as they develop poetically sound and evangelically rich hymns for use in our churches.


The hymnwriters’ time together is framed according to the Church’s orders for daily prayer (Martins, Responsive Prayer, Evening Prayer, Compline) with time for reflection, study, visiting and singing. Dr. Joseph Herl, associate professor of music at Concordia University Nebraska, presented on “What Works and What Doesn’t: Lessons from the Hymnal.” With several hymns published in Lutheran Service Book, the Rev. Stephen Starke offered thoughts on “One Perspective on the Craft of Writing a Hymn Text.” Others will discuss the topics of “Nuts and Bolts of Hymn Construction,” “The Art and Science of Translation,” and more.


Conference attendee Mrs. Rebekah Curtis (Worden, Ill.) hopes the conference will become a regular part of the LCMS’ Life Together. “The Church is a living thing,” she noted, “and hymnody is something that naturally springs from the people of God.”


Up-and-coming hymnwriters will also have time to consult with published writers, collaborating on faithful hymnody that points to Christ. “What is more important to remember is that hymns are the sung confession of the church, teachers of God’s people, the book of doctrine for the laity,” noted Starke.


Stay tuned to and the printer Reporter for more information on the conference.






PNG Looking Back and to the Future

Papua New Guinea even today is one of the most remote places on earth… Not to mention back in 1948 when the Missouri Synod arrived.

The Enga Provence is located in the highlands between 7,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level.

From the International Airport at Port Moresby, no roads exist to reach the Enga Highlands. Light aircraft and by foot are the primary ways to reach the remote regions.

Where there are roads, travel can be treacherous with frequent wash outs, giant potholes, and other hazards. If this is true today, how much more so in 1948?

Yet by the mid-1960s an elaborate system of mission stations had been established, complete with electrical generation facilities, repair shops, even a wood shop for furniture so both the missionaries and the Good News Lutheran Church could have tables and chairs for classrooms and for the missionary homes. Hospitals and schools were established… The missionary task operated along the lines of Witness, Mercy, Life Together — body and soul care.

The largest and strongest partner churches of the Missouri Synod are the ones where we had the largest and longest presence. Walking along side someone over the long term is much more effective than short term endeavors.

A map from the 1960s of the Lutheran Mission Stations.

A text description of the mission stations.

Still much potential and much work in PNG. For instance, the GLC-PNG hymnal in Tok Pisin and Enga has been out of print for 25 years. The entire Book of Concord has never been translated into either of these languages. Yet the congregations are taught the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Small Catechism.

A picture of the Third Commandment with meaning in a GLC-PNG school.

Governor Ipatas requested that the LCMS send teachers to teach in the schools, and for missionaries to return to help shore up the institutions established by the LCMS 40-50 years ago. Many people in PNG government and business were the products of Lutheran schools originally established by the Missouri Synod.

While we visited The Good News Lutheran Church, time and again people said the children are the future. We need to teach them to be the leaders of the church.

The GLC-PNG is a product of the LCMS mission endeavors. The people of the GLC-PNG clearly see that The Lord sent the Missouri Synod to bring them the Gospel. Let us remember how The Lord used us and look to the future on how he may continue to use us.

– Posted in Tokyo, Japan, by Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Enga Governor Ipatas

After traveling from the Enga Highlands to Mt. Hagen, then flying to Port Moresby on the coast, we had the opportunity to meet with the Governor Ipatas of the Enga Provence. He was in Port Moresby to meet with Parliament. The governor was pleased with the LCMS’ recent visit and asked us to consider sending more missionaries and teachers to Papua New Guinea.

Currently, Governor Ipatas is overseeing the construction of the Enga Teachers College. The governor was educated in LCMS mission schools and has been a strong proponent of education connected to the church ever sense.

It was a privilege and honor that the the governor took time to meet with us.

– posted 22 January 2013 by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver in Hong Kong.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone