I know that pastors are installed around the Synod each and every week but I wanted to highlight one particular installation that is noteworthy.
Rev. Martin Noland will be installed as the Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Evansville, Indiana, on August 9. Trinity was founded in 1841, joining the LCMS in 1848 or so. It is the “mother congregation” of the LCMS churches in the area.
Lutherans in the area would be well served to attend. Lutherans outside the area might as well. The annual Evansville Volkfest celebrating German culture will be held that weekend. I can almost smell the brats from here.
Pastor Noland was the director of Concordia Historical Institute from February 2002 to May 2008. During that period of time, CHI streamlined its operations, upgraded its computer facilities, eliminated its annual operating deficit, began to pay-back funds into its endowment, sponsored the Luther Exhibit from Wittenberg, sponsored several exhibits in its exhibit halls, doubled its shelving space for its archives, planned and began work on a new museum on LCMS history at the synod’s corporate headquarters, and raised $1.3 million for the new archives and new museum. The new museum will have a special opening soon, July 26th, by special invitation only. The museum will be open to the general public starting on July 27th, during the regular hours of the International Center of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Now, there has been a bit of confusion about why Pastor Noland left the Institute — much of that confusion due to the official announcement given by Synod, Inc., in the pages of the LCMS Reporter. The Nolands included some clarifying information in a recent announcement:
Martin’s departure was an involuntary resignation. This means the Institute’s board asked him to resign and gave him no cause; and if he didn’t resign, he would be fired without severance. After 14 months, we still don’t know their reasoning or cause, although we do know that their decision was not unanimous.
Since this sort of termination always raises questions, and most people are too polite to ask, we need to at least answers those questions in the negative. Martin was not guilty, in any way, shape, or form, of immoral, unethical, or illegal behavior. His performance was most recently rated by the board in Spring 2007 as “A -” on an “A to F” grade scale. Martin was not in conflict with any board or staff member, or with anyone in synodical leadership. An official letter from a member of the board only six weeks before Martin’s termination began with this affirmation of his abilities: “Your ability to lead, motivate, and inspire others in the body of Christ toward greater commitment to the work of the Lord has been recognized by the staff and Board of Governors at the Concordia Historical Institute of our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.” There was nothing that happened in the subsequent six weeks to change this assessment. Since the board made their decision in a closed “executive session,” nobody will ever know why he was asked to resign, except for some future historian.
In spite of what happened to Martin, he is still highly supportive of the work of the Institute. It is the only agency in the Lutheran church that is doing what it does to preserve the history of the American Lutheran church and educate people in that history, so it needs your continued support.
It does boggle the mind, but the fact is that Trinity is getting a wonderful pastor and we can rejoice with them that God has provided them a faithful shepherd!