A homecoming for three faithful servants
Paul Manz, Herb Brokering, and Norm Kretzmann complete lives filled with faith, hope, and charity
Eulogizing Fred Schiotz in the pages of Metro Lutheran in 1998, the Rev. Norman Kretzmann quoted from Genesis: “There were giants in earth at that time … mighty men of old … men of renown.” He concluded the obituary by praying that, as men like Schiotz died, God would provide “us in our time new giants.”
The Twin Cities Lutheran community — and the worldwide Lutheran movement —lost three such giants in recent weeks, including Kretzmann, who passed away on November 13. Paul O. Manz died on October 28 while in hospice care in St. Paul. Herbert F. Brokering completed his life’s journey while with his daughter in his apartment on November 7.
In the chaotic environment that is the Lutheran community currently, many people are longing for the guidance these three Lutheran leaders have offered in various ways for many years.
Paul Manz, servant
Paul Manz’s long career includes instruction at Winnebago Lutheran Academy and organist at St. Peter Lutheran Church, both in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; organist-choirmaster (and principal) at Emanuel Lutheran Church and School, St. Paul; Minister of Music and Christian Education at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Minneapolis (for 37 years, during the last eight of which he was cantor);
instructor, Macalester College; instructor, University of Minnesota; professor of music, Concordia College (now University), St. Paul; professor of church music, Christ Seminary and artist-in-residence, Lutheran School of Theology, both in Chicago; and cantor, Lutheran Church of St. Luke, Chicago.
Well-known for his creative hymn improvisations, Manz is perhaps best known for his restoration of the hymn festival tradition, a practice which was popular among Lutherans in 16th century Germany. Other organists concentrated on the recital circuit, but Manz intentionally focused his performances on the church and its rich musical heritage.
The Rev. Martin E. Marty, Chicago, retired ELCA pastor and church historian, told the ELCA News Service that at a gathering of some 200 church musicians some years ago, at which Manz spoke, “Manz had them repeat after himself three times: ‘You can never know the hymns too well.’”
Michael Sherer, then-editor of Metro Lutheran, said of Manz in 2005 on the occasion of his winning Metro Lutheran’s Gold Pen Award, “This year’s award winner gives new credibility to the suggestion that religion communicators speak effectively through keyboards.”
Paul Manz, 90, was a member of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
Herbert Brokering, servant
Herbert Brokering is best known as a celebrated lyricist, author, and poet. To all these endeavors he brought his theological training as a Lutheran pastor and teacher.
Raised as a pastor’s kid in parsonages across Nebraska, Brokering developed a love of the church that carried him to Evangelical Lutheran Theological (now Trinity Lutheran) Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, after he had completed a master’s degree in child psychology from the University of Iowa. With those credentials he eventually became director of confirmation for the American Lutheran Church, headquartered in Minneapolis.
Always interested in Reformation studies, in the 1980s Brokering began to build relationships throughout Eastern Europe, with special concern for the church there. While hosting representatives from the Evangelical Augsburg Church (the Lutheran Church in Poland) in 2007, Brokering told Metro Lutheran “It occurred to me that a whole new experience might be awaiting U.S. Lutherans in Poland, where our church is small yet resilient.”
Brokering authored a number of hymns found in Lutheran hymnals, including “Earth and All Stars,” “Alleluia! Jesus is Risen!,” and “Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise.” Bishop Michael Burk, Southeastern Iowa Synod, ELCA, said, “Herb Brokering’s legacy included carefully crafted words on the lips of believers gathered around the means of grace. He has helped us bring our faith to rich expression.” He was awarded Metro Lutheran’s Gold Pen Award in 2000.
Herbert Brokering, 83, was a member of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Bloomington, Minnesota.
Norman Kretzmann, servant
Norman Kretzmann served as clergyman to two congregations in his long pastoral career. He was the second minister at Clifton Lutheran Church in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He served there from 1943 to 1964. That congregation was a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) church while he was there, but subsequently became a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
In 1964 Kretzmann moved to Minneapolis to become pastor of Christ Church Lutheran, an LCMS congregation renowned for its worship space designed by Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen. Kretzmann was pastor there until 1981. Christ Church is also now an ELCA congregation.
“I came from a Lutheran ministry in New England,” Kretzmann explained. “In that part of the country Lutherans are three percent of the population. Hardly anybody knows what a Lutheran is,” he added.
“Here I found Lutherans in the near-majority numbers. They had the luxury of drawing distinctions between the kinds of Lutherans.”
After his retirement in 1981, Kretzmann dedicated his vocational life to bringing those “kinds of Lutherans” back into discussion. As volunteer church relations director for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, he developed deep relationships with many Lutheran leaders.
In 1984 he began leveraging those relationships around the idea of an independent, pan-Lutheran newspaper, what has become the Metro Lutheran.
“Norm really invented Metro Lutheran,” mentioned Sherer. “The stories he told me about the early days of the paper and its struggle for survival convince me that the project came into being against great odds. That’s a tribute to his optimism and persistence.”
“God truly used him to be a blessing to others in many different ways,” said the Rev. Richard Stadler, Metro Lutheran board chair. “I am grateful to have been one of the recipients.”
Kretzmann, 91, was a member at Christ Church Lutheran, Minneapolis. Among his survivors is his wife of 65 years, Jeannette.