On September 20, 1838 - 182 years ago - FCD Wyneken arrived at our congregation for the very first time. The reason for his arrival was simple enough. Pr. Jesse Hoover who had chartered this parish on February 25 died suddenly on May 24 at the age of twenty-eight. Hoover’s pastorate lasted a brief four months. Wyneken was called to continue the work which Hoover had started.
While serving as pastor at Historic St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ft. Wayne, Hoover found this settlement of about sixty newly arrived German immigrants. With his guidance, this parish was formed as the brand; “Friedheim” translated as “the House of Peace” was bestowed upon us.
It is only natural for us to idolize the past. But, were the good old days really so good? Was it all sunshine and happiness? Not always. In most cases –NOT!
Many are nostalgic for the past. Yet, there are dangers of nostalgia. Every era has had serious struggles to overcome. But, I would like to think that these struggles have made us a better people; not unlike the challenges we face today.
The prospect of a better life is what drew many to come here. After 182 years what’s changed? What motivates you to do what you do? Isn’t that you want a better life now? And, if not for yourself, certainly for your family and the larger community.
What they found was hardly a paradise, rather thick forest and swamp. Have you ever wondered why you can see a steeple every three miles out here in the middle of nowhere? Well, back in the day, to get from here to there would take the better part of a day.
Life was dangerous and difficult. And if there were any dreams of a safer life a better life back home, well, that ship had already sailed. And it wasn’t going back anytime soon. Yet, despite such challenges the Lord remained faithful.
The story of Friedheim is a statement of God’s grace and forgiveness. Here Jesus is present. The Gospel of Christ has been proclaimed at this place. The Sacraments have been delivered to weary souls. And the word of Christ’s forgiveness has been spoken and received. Without these clear marks of forgiveness, life, salvation there would be no church. But the church is present here at this place because Jesus has chosen to make His presence here with and among us.
As of this writing our school has opened, we continue to conduct services in person and live through various forms of media. Construction on our new Family Life Center continues. We are making plans for our 2020-2021 program year with some modifications and adjustments.
Corona virus did not stop our farmers from planting and cultivating. As the growing season will come to a close we anticipate a healthy harvest as growers store and market their crops. Nor has this illness, this sickness stopped God’s people from caring for each other; especially the most vulnerable among us.
My encouragement to you is to continue. Continue in living your life as a redeemed child of God. Continue to support your neighbor. Always remember – Christ has given you a living hope in this life. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. -1 Peter 3:3-7
As followers of Jesus, as Christ’s ambassadors – commissioned by Him who has reconciled the world to Himself continue to be salt and light in this world. Continue to be a witness as you pray, “Lord, use me to be an instrument of Your peace.”
To that end continue to be a House of Peace, a harbor of hope and a safe haven for those who suffer the storms of life - looking to Jesus our Captain, Savior and Friend.