It’s funny…even though I used to work at the LC-MS International Center, and have visited the Concordia Historical Institute Museum there, and even been in the KFUO studios as a guest on Faith ‘N’ Family, I’ve never actually toured the building, and haven’t seen much outside the main entrance, the chapel, museum, and of course, the cubicle in which I worked. So when I found out our church was going to take a field trip to the center, of course I decided we should all go…Moose even got to take the day off school to go with us!
Our tour started in the chapel, one of the few places in the building with which I was already familiar. Before the service, we had a chance to look around, and I learned quite a bit about the history of the building. And, as a special treat, the pastor that preached the day’s sermon also happened to be a member of our congregation!
We then got to visit the office of synod president, Matthew Harrison. Unfortunately, he was traveling, so we didn’t get to greet him, but we did get to see his very impressive collection of books (some of which are very old!) and crucifixes, and his famous banjo. I think this was my very favorite part of the tour…such an amazing personal library!
We then visited the Walther Room, where the Council of Presidents meets with the synod Board of Directors. The size of the tables in that room is unbelievable. There were also some gorgeous relief castings on the wall from the exterior of the old administrative building on North Broadway in downtown St. Louis.
After admiring the Walther Room, we then went back downstairs to the KFUO studios. We again ran into a member of our congregation, who also works for the radio station, and he explained a lot about how the studios are set up, and who is listening to the broadcasts around the world.
There’s quite a bit of stained glass throughout the building, including a large, curved piece depicting the verses of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” that stood over the revolving door at the old Broadway building, and panels of the four evangelists which used to be located in the president’s office in the former administrative building.
In addition to the stained glass, there’s a great deal of art throughout the building, including my favorite, a wooden depiction of The Great Commission, which is made up of almost 1,600 pieces of wood.
Our last stop was the Concordia Historical Institute Museum. Before going in, we stopped to admire the solemn beauty of the Walther Bible:
We were then free to look through the museum at our own pace. It begins with, as you might expect, Martin Luther and the Reformation, and continues through the Saxon immigration, the early days of the LC-MS, the various mission fields of the church, and the modern LC-MS. Although it’s a relatively small museum, it’s very well put together, and I highly recommend making time to go through it if you’re in the area.
It’s interesting to compare the gavel on display in the museum (which is used only for synodical conventions every three years), with the one on the table in the Walter Room (which is used for the more regular meetings):
The only thing we didn’t get to see that I was hoping to show the children is the cafeteria. Not for the food, but for the flags adorning it which show all of the countries with which the LC-MS has a relationship. Other than that, we saw everything I love about the International Center, as well as everything I’ve always wanted to see!