Lutherans in the Twin Cities

The 2010 Metro Lutheran Annual Dinner

More than 200 Lutherans, members of numerous different Lutheran church bodies, celebrated 25 years of presenting “Lutheran news and views” at the Metro Lutheran Annual Dinner on October 10. The annual event was held Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis.

Metro Lutheran Gold Pen winner and keynote speaker, the Rev. Walter Wangerin (left), catches up with seminary classmate Michael Scherschligt and his wife Suzanne after the meal. Metro Lutheran photo: Korla Masters

For the first time at an annual dinner, the recipient of the Gold Pen Award and the annual dinner keyote speaker were the same person: the Rev. Walter Wangerin, Jr. The Gold Pen is awarded to to recognize distinguished service to Christ and the church through public communication, to stimulate greater understanding of the relationship between secular and religious communication, and to foster inter-Lutheran communication.

The Gold Pen is awarded to to recognize distinguished service to Christ and the church through public communication.

Wangerin, Jr., saluted Metro Lutheran’s vocation as a newspaper in his presentation, saying “I believe that this newspaper also represents the best of these attributes.” As he described “good bias” and “bad bias,” he kept the audience spellbound with anecdotes from his youth, when he learned the power of telling stories.

For instance, when a classmate described attending a funeral, Wangerin told the story of approaching the coffin of his older sister to give her a final kiss. The next day, when he returned home from school, he noticed his teacher and principal visiting with his mother, expressing their condolences for her loss. His mother was very surprised … since he did not have an older sister. But he did learn the power of the story.

Wangerin also paid homage to his mentor, Clara Schreiber. A frail, 90-year-old woman, Schreiber saw a giftedness in Wangerin and offered him, in a very formal way, the opportunity to learn from her experiences. His touching stories of Schriber underscored his message of truthtelling, as she later showed up at his ordination, even though he himself had graduated from Seminex.

Wangerin was introduced by Metro Lutheran board member, and his daughter-in-law, Catherine Preus. She contrasted what most of us already know about him with what we would if we were in his family.

Jeanette Kretzmann, the widow of Metro Lutheran founder, the Rev. Norman Kretzmann, was also recognized for her contribution to the early days of the newspaper. Jean Johansson presented her with a commemorative note and an art piece.

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