Pastor Peperkorn Accepts Call to CTSFW

[This is a copy of the letter I sent to my congregation last night. -TAP]

 The Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

July 22, 2021

Dear Friends in Christ,

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then the disciples went back to their homes.”

It is with both joy and sadness that I am announcing I have accepted the call to teach at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

I am deeply grateful and joyful for the opportunity to help shape the pastors of the next generation of The Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod. This is something I have hoped for a long time. My love for pastoral formation, mentoring, and teaching pastors has been evident for many years. That has included teaching at CTSFW on an adjunct basis for about ten years, but it has also included my service on the Board of Regents at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, for the past six years.

But even as I write these words, I am also sad at the thought of leaving Holy Cross Lutheran Church, and of leaving parish ministry for the foreseeable future. I have been a parish pastor nearly my entire adult life. Holy Cross has shaped me in that way, just as Messiah Lutheran Church in Kenosha did before we were here. I love being a pastor. I love preaching, teaching, celebrating the Sacraments, and being steeped in the lives of God’s people in this place. While I look forward to the next realm of service, my first love will always be altar, pulpit, and font. This is my home.

As I indicated in my letter on Monday, because of the timetable for schools in Fort Wayne, we are having to move much quicker than would be normal. Kathryn and I believe it is important that we get Richard and Beata settled in their schools in Fort Wayne at the beginning of the school year, rather than spend extra weeks here and have them start late. Richard’s high school orientation is on August 9. Because of this, our last Sunday at Holy Cross will be on August 8.

We will be here for the next three Sundays (July 25, August 1, and August 8). Things are going to be crazy with packing and everything else in the next couple of weeks, but we will do everything we can to spend time visiting as much as we are able.

You can expect to hear from Walt Wismar and Rick Fielitz in the next few days about the next steps for Holy Cross. Please keep us and Holy Cross in your prayers. This will be a big change for all of us, but God is good, and He will guide us all in His peace.

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said > to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.”

With much affection in Christ,

Todd A. Peperkorn, STM, DMIN

Senior Pastor

Holy Cross Lutheran Church

 

CC: Rev. Michael Lange, CNH District President

Rev. Duane Bamsch, Circuit Visitor

Dr. Lawrence R. Rast, Jr., CTSFW President

 

Pastor Receives Call to CTSFW

Below you will find a link to the letter I wrote to my congregation yesterday, July 19. -TAP

July 19, 2021

Friends,

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”” (Isaiah 52:7 ESV)

I am writing you today to inform you that I have received a divine call from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to serve as an Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions. I would be teaching homiletics (preaching), pastoral care and counseling, and other pastoral theology classes. A part of this call would include serving as the director of the vicarage (internship) program and the second-year field education program.

To say that this came as a surprise to me is a profound understatement. Many of you have heard me say for years that the only thing that would pry me away from Holy Cross would be to teach at one of our church’s seminaries. I believed that because of my position as the chairman of the board of regents at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, that the possibility of me getting a call to either seminary was at least five years away. I was wrong.

This is what happened as best as I am able to understand it. In mid-June, a professor at CTS in Fort Wayne received and accepted a call to a congregation. This professor (named Dr. Gary Zieroth) had as one of his duties the director of vicarage. CTSFW did not have any intention of calling someone this summer, but with his fairly sudden departure, it put them in a position where they needed to call someone rather quickly. My own education and skill set lines up almost perfectly with what the seminary was looking for, so here we are. I found out about this as a real possibility while we were on vacation.

The process of a Seminary calling a professor is a little different from when a congregation calls a pastor. For a seminary, they first determine if the person is interested, and I was. I then had to go through what is called the Prior Approval Panel. This is an approval process facilitated by the Synod’s Office of Pastoral Education. Finally, I had to be interviewed by the board of regents, which was today, and then they issued the call. Between the first step and this last step, I could not tell anyone about the possibility. In this way, it was probably just as well we were on vacation because although this is an opportunity I look forward to, I can’t imagine leaving my beloved Holy Cross. Not telling you would have been nearly impossible.

When my family and I moved to Rocklin almost exactly ten years ago, it was with the intention of staying here until we retired. I did not start my doctoral degree program at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in order to leave Holy Cross but in order to strengthen my own preaching for my congregation. I suppose that this sort of call was a possibility with the completion of this degree, but I did not believe the call would happen so quickly, if at all.

I cannot even describe how much we love Holy Cross. It nearly brings me to tears at even the thought of leaving. You have been far more kind and generous to me and my family than I could ever possibly deserve, and it was fully my intention to dedicate the rest of my professional life to serving here. But it now seems that God may have been preparing me for something else.

The real challenge and complication with the call right now is the beginning of the school year for Richard and Beata. As far as we have been able to figure out, the Lutheran high school starts in Fort Wayne on August 9, and the elementary school would start on August 19. That’s not very long from now. It means we have to make a decision on this quickly, and certainly faster than I would normally allow.

It is hard for me to say, but in reality, I have all but made my decision about this call. If you have any counsel for me about this call, though, I would love to hear it. I want to hear from you. Your voice is very important to me and to my family. Holy Cross is our home, we love you all so much, and the thought of leaving weighs hard upon us all.

Christ is Lord of the Church. He is the one who calls us together. He is the one who keeps us in Him. Regardless of whether I continue to serve at Holy Cross, or serve at the seminary, God will care for us all by His Holy Word and Spirit.

In Christ and with much affection,

Todd A. Peperkorn, STM, DMIN

Senior Pastor

Holy Cross Lutheran Church

LCMS Books on Preaching

Many of you probably know that I am pursuing a doctorate in preaching from The Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. I am now in the thesis project stage, where I am writing on developing a Lutheran sacramental imagination.

One part of this project is surveying how preaching/homiletics has been taught in the LCMS over the past one hundred years or so. In my research with this project, I have backed into developing a bibliography of all of the books on preaching written in the LCMS in English. This of course will largely include CPH works, but not exclusively. 

Here’s my request. Below you will find my bibliography as it sits right now. What am I missing? I should also observe that I am not including works that are really lectionary helps, exegetical studies, and the like. Those have been produced in many ways on a pretty regular basis since the 1950s. What I am looking for are books on the theory and practice of preaching.

Here is the list:

Aho, Gerhard. The Lively Skeleton: Thematic Approaches and Outlines. The Preacher’s Workshop Series. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

Feasting in a Famine of the Word. Edited by Mark W. Birkholz, Jacob Corzine, and Jonathon Mumme. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016.

Bosch, Paul. The Sermon as Part of the Liturgy. The Preacher’s Workshop Series. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

Caemmerer, Richard R. Preaching for the Church. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959.

Deffner, Donald L. The Real Word for the Real World: Applying the Word to the Needs of People. The Preacher’s Workshop Series. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

Deffner, Donald L. Compassionate Preaching: A Primer for Homiletics. Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 1991.

Eggold, Henry J. Preaching is Dialogue. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980.

Erdahl, Lowell O. Better Preaching: Evaluating the Sermon. The Preacher’s Workshop Series. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

Fritz, John Henry Charles. The Preacher’s Manual: A Study in Homiletics, With the Addition of a Brief History of Preaching, Sermon Material, Texts From Various Occasions, and Perieopic Systems. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941.

Graebner, Theodore. The Expository Preacher: A System of Inductive Homiletics. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1920.

Grime, Paul J., and Dean W. Nadasdy, eds. Preaching is Worship: The Sermon in Context. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011.

Grimenstein, Edward O. A Lutheran Primer for Preaching: A Theological Approach to Sermon Writing. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2015.

Harms, Paul. Power From the Pulpit. The Preacher’s Workshop Series. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

Knoche, H Gerhard. The Creative Task: Writing the Sermon. The Preacher’s Workshop Series. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

Mulder, David P. Narrative Preaching. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1996.

Poovey, William A. Letting the Word Come Alive: Choosing and Studying the Text. The Preacher’s Workshop Series. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

Rossow, Francis C. Preaching the Creative Gospel Creatively. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing. House, 1983.

———. Gospel Patterns in Literature. Kirk House Pub, 2008.

———. The Means of Grace. Vol. Insight series of Saint Louis: 2008.

———. Gospel Handles. 2014.

Wedel, Alton F. The Mighty Word: Power and Purpose of Preaching. The Preacher’s Workshop Series. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

Weisheit, Eldon. A Sermon is More Than Words. The Preacher’s Workshop Series. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977.

If you know of anything I should add, please either email me or put a note on it in the comments below. Thank you!

-Todd Peperkorn