HOUSTON—Among presentations at the 64th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, taking place here July 10-17 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, are a series of brief videos that feature 36 LCMS district and national executives sharing personal stories of forgiveness.
Each minute-and-a-half video features one man, sitting in a red leather chair, who relates an experience, ending with the phrase “I am one man, forgiven.”
In one, Nebraska District President Rev. Russell Sommerfeld recalls losing his temper as a young pastor with a congregation leader. Days later, the congregation’s elders appeared at his office door to resolve the incident they said had “really harmed the relationships that you have.”
Sommerfeld admits he was “very embarrassed” and “even angry, but after giving it some thought—and the fact that these men had approached me in such a caring manner—we worked out a plan of how the leader and I could apologize to one another, how I could apologize to the church council, and how I could also speak with the entire congregation about what had happened.”
Sommerfeld says he’ll “always be thankful to those three men who left their jobs to come there that morning and to care for me and to teach me what it means to know how to confess and to receive the marvelous gift of forgiveness.”
The videos relate to the convention’s theme of “ONE People—Forgiven,” and were produced as “a way to see the humanity and the heart and the actual ministry of the Synod,” according to Frank Hart, who produced the vignettes along with Rob Camper. Hart is music director at CrossPoint Community Church in Katy, Texas, and Camper is the congregation’s creative director.
The red chair symbolizes our redemption, as Christians, in the blood of Christ, Hart said.
Myron Werkmeister, a lay delegate from Waxahachie, Texas, said he liked the videos. “Some of them hit home,” he said, and “were emotional.”
Carl McCollum, a lay delegate from Mankato, Minn., said the videos are “a reminder that we all are in need of forgiveness” and “help in bringing that to a personal level.”
Among the approximately 3,000 participants at the convention are some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.
Posted July 15, 2010