Dr. Joel D. Lehenbauer of Union, Mo., has accepted the call to become executive director of the Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR), effective July 1.
Lehenbauer — who has been associate executive director of the CTCR since 2004 — succeeds Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger as executive director. On July 1, Nafzger will become director of church relations-assistant to the president — a new position which he accepted last fall.
The CTCR’s voted unanimously at its May 12-14 meeting in St. Louis to issue the call to Lehenbauer.
Lehenbauer, 49, is a 1984 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, from which he also received S.T.M. and Ph.D. degrees in 1991 and 2004, respectively. He joined the CTCR staff in 1991 as assistant executive director, after serving five years as pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hillsdale, Mich.
Also at its meeting last month, the CTCR adopted “a special expression of thanksgiving to God” for the ministry of Nafzger, who has been its executive director since 1975 — two years after he joined that staff.
Noting that his time on that staff has spanned the terms of five Synod presidents, the CTCR’s “expression of thanksgiving” points out some 10 areas in which Nafzger “has served with distinction, providing leadership, guidance, and direction for the work of the commission.”
Among other business, the CTCR made plans for the fourth and final consultation on the scriptural relationship of men and women, set for Sept. 29-30 in St. Louis.
For that final consultation, a group of eight men and eight women that has served as a resource for the process will review a second draft of the 110-page “Man and Woman — The Creator’s Tapestry” — a document prepared by two CTCR members and four consultants on that scriptural relationship. After the consultation’s review, the document will go to the CTCR for final action.
The report is the CTCR’s response to a 1995 Synod convention resolution asking for a comprehensive study of the scriptural relationship of man and woman.
Also during its most recent meeting, the CTCR heard a presentation by Dr. Charles Arand on “environmental issues in theological perspective.” Arand is a CTCR member and chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
Nafzger explained that based on Arand’s presentation, the CTCR will prepare an initial draft to help carry out a 2007 Synod convention resolution asking it “to develop a biblical and confessional report on responsible Christian stewardship of the environment for use by Synod entities including our schools and churches as they develop resources for the church at-large.”
To help identify issues that the report will address and to suggest ways of presenting those issues, the CTCR plans to hold a consultation next February involving interested individuals and experts in Christian stewardship of the environment from within the Synod and elsewhere.
Posted May 29, 2008