Stained Glass Fit for a Revolving Door

I have shared a picture of this stained glass window before, but I thought it deserved a more thorough look:

IMG_0937

IMG_0938

IMG_0936

IMG_0939

This window is on display at the LC-MS International Center. It used to be located above the revolving glass door at their former location closer to downtown St. Louis. I love the unique shape and the “O Antiphons” from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!”

The International Center

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:

IMG_9841

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!

What’s Happening to Lutheran Schools?

Just over a week ago, I found out that the Lutheran (Missouri Synod) Day School I attended for the first 10 years of my educational life had closed. While the school had been having problems for the last few years, I never really believed it would come to this. Somehow, I figured the school, supported by the parents, would overcome the obstacles, and make it work. Afterall, this is a school that had over 300 students in the not terribly distant past; a school that offered many extra curricular activities including music and various sports; a school that had a very challenging curriculum, particularly in the area of science, that more than prepared me for high school, and in some respects, even college.

So, I was surprised to find that the school closed, and closed rather abruptly. But I don’t think I should have been, because this seems to be a trend among Lutheran schools (and maybe other private religious schools, too, I don’t know). I know that the school my mother-in-law used to teach at basically exists on a year-to-year basis. And I’ve heard countless stories of Lutheran schools, of varying sizes, that are closing down, downsizing, or in danger of being disbanded. It makes me wonder if the LC-MS school system that we know today will be around in another 20 years. Maybe quality Lutheran education is no longer a priority to parents.

This trend makes me sad. The 10 years I spent at my school, from pre-K up to eighth grade graduation, shaped me, made me who I am today. I knew from my middle elementary years that I would go to a Lutheran college (after I “did my time” at the public high school), and was even pretty sure which Lutheran College I would go to. I also developed my passion for education at that institution, and while I may not be teaching in a traditional classroom, I *am* a teacher, and I regularly use things I remember from my own Lutheran school days in our homeschool.

I have the highest respect for our Lutheran Day Schools throughout the Synod. It is something that truly sets us apart from most other Christian denominations. If we had a high quality Lutheran school in our area that was within a decent driving distance, and we could afford tuition for four, I probably wouldn’t be homeschooling right now. I am sad to think that this tradition of Lutheran education is dwindling, and may eventually become the exception, and not the norm in Lutheran circles.