Weedon goes to Saint Louis: Hamel’s loss is YOUR gain by Rev. Charles Lehmann

Then Vicar Lehmann with Pastor Weedon

Every time the Verba are spoken by one of the Lord’s pastors over the bread and wine, heaven comes down to earth.  Angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven sing before the Lamb who was slain but is alive forevermore.  The saints in heaven and on earth join together in song and praise their Savior for His glorious condescension.

This reality is the same whether it’s happening at a small rural congregation with a dozen of the faithful who are there to receive the gifts or if it’s at a large cathedral in Europe that was built over the course of centuries and has all of its pews filled.  The reality is the same.  Heaven on earth.

Sometimes we are given an extra gift.  It doesn’t make the reality more real.  It doesn’t make the forgiveness of sins more certain than it would be somewhere else.  But it is a significant gift.  Sometimes you enter a place where because of many years of faithful teaching, the people know what’s going on.  They’re certain of it.  You can see it in their eyes when they sing.  You can recognize it in their posture when they kneel so that you can pour life down their throats.

That’s why Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hamel, Illinois is a little slice of heaven.  Over the past nineteen years, Pastor William Weedon has faithfully taught them the reality of what is going on each time they gather together.  He has preached it forcefully. You haven’t really dived into the Scriptures until you’ve done it while sitting at his feet.

I was one of a small group of men who were blessed to sit at his feet as a vicar.  My year was from 2005-2006.  It was a wonderful and difficult year.  Everything I know about being a pastor I learned from Pastor Weedon and from Saint Paul’s.  I learned what it is for a congregation to love their pastor and for a pastor to love their congregation.  I learned what can happen when a Pastor relentlessly and forcefully delivers Jesus to his people for thirteen years.  I owe Pastor Weedon a debt I will never be able to repay, and I suspect his other vicars would write similar words.

Sixteen days ago, Pastor Weedon announced to Saint Paul’s that he had been called by the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to be her director of worship and chaplain of the International Center.  I suspected he would take it.  I knew it was going to be a devastating blow to him, his family, and all my many loved ones at Saint Paul’s.

For two weeks, like many people, I was of two minds on Pastor Weedon’s decision.  I wanted him to take the call.  I wanted him to introduce thousands of congregations throughout the Synod to the appreciation of the Lord’s gifts he has cultivated at Saint Paul’s for almost twenty years.  I also just wanted him to stay put and keep doing it there.  Most importantly, I knew that he was free to choose the call he wanted to serve.

Two days ago, on Invocabit Sunday, Pastor Weedon announced that he had accepted the call.  There were lots of tears.  I’ve chatted with several of my friends at Saint Paul’s and they are united in their grief.  They love their pastor and they’re going to miss him.  I would too.  I’m still getting used to the idea of a universe where Pastor Weedon is not the pastor of Saint Paul’s.  Sometimes, I still don’t like that universe very much.

Pastor Weedon

But God has called my friend to serve the Synod at large.  Jesus is in charge, just as He has always been.  It was Jesus and not Pastor Weedon who accomplished all that he did over those nineteen years at Saint Paul’s.  Pastor Weedon was the Lord’s instrument.  He was a wise and faithful instrument who knew to stay out of the way, but he was an instrument.

Pastor Weedon now has an opportunity to serve the whole Synod in the same humble and selfless way.  In a way God is saying, “I’d like to introduce you to my friend William.  For awhile he belonged to My flock in Hamel.  Now I want to give him to all of you.”

God is giving the Synod a great gift.  No, Pastor Weedon isn’t Jesus, and one of the best things about him is that he knows that.  Pastor Weedon’s first words to me as a vicar still ring true today.  “A pastor who does not pray for his people is completely useless.”  Now Pastor Weedon is serving the whole Synod, and because of that, you can be sure that he’s praying for you.  He’s probably doing it right now.

My plea is simple.  Pray for him.  Express your love for him.  Thank him for the enormous sacrifice he is making.  Thank his congregation for loving and supporting him all these years and making him into the man he is.  Thank Jesus for sharing him with all of us.

There are some who have attacked, criticized, or made jokes about Pastor Weedon’s new call.  To them I say, “Repent.  God has done this, and He will work wonders through it.”  Not all of us will benefit from Pastor Weedon’s new position in the same way.  Some of you might be in congregations that appreciate the gifts that Christ won on the cross in a way very similar to what you’d find in Hamel.  You and your pastor will be encouraged in that!  For those of you who are not in such a congregation, I am sure that Pastor Weedon will seek to share with you what he shared with Saint Paul’s.

And, finally, to my beloved friend and mentor, William:  Fear not.  You’ve always known that “it’s a dangerous business going out your front door.”

Pastor Lehmann


Rev. Charles Lehmann

Vicar, Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel, IL  (August 2005-July 2006)



Associate Editor’s Note: Pastor Weedon has done great things for our Synod and it looks like he will continue to do so.  We at BJS are thankful to God for him and wish him blessings at his new position and also ask our readers to keep him, his family, his former congregation, and those whom he will serve at the IC in your prayers.  A special thank you to Pastor Lehmann for writing this article to be posted here.



Weedon goes to Saint Louis: Hamel’s loss is YOUR gain by Rev. Charles Lehmann — 28 Comments

  1. Well said, Rev. Lehmann. Just one thought: what will your seminary professors say when they read that everything you learned about being a pastor came from Rev. Weedon? 🙂

  2. Pastor Lehman, very well said. I didn’t know you were a vicar at Pastor Weedon’s feet, but I probably should have. What a blessing that must have been to you, and you are right that it shall now be a blessing for the entire LCMS.

  3. What bothers me about this is that we seem to think these two jobs must be mutually exclusive. Heck, even the President of the Synod has a parish call. Why can’t Weedon?

  4. Pastor Weedon was my PALS (Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support) facilitator for three years after graduation and ordination. There was no better PALS leader in the Missouri Synod than him. Why? He was brutally honest with my group about the Ministry. He was also brutally honest about his love for the Means of Grace and for the people he served. Every time we talked about personal matters, he mentioned how much he loved his family and his congregation. “They treat me better than I deserve” was the usual quote.

    Enough about Pastor Weedon. Thanks be to God for this servant of the Word. The Lord has used this man’s talents in the parish for over 25 years. Now our beloved Synod will see how the Lord uses Pastor Weedon’s talents to catechize all of us about the Means of Grace, the purest concentrated Gospel, the Gifts Jesus Christ gives to His beloved Bride, the Church.

    The Lord knows the name of the next pastor at St. Paul, Hamel, IL. Let us pray for that man, whomever he is, that He continues in the path trod by those who have served there through the years, faithfully dispensing the Means of Grace to God’s people in that congregation.

  5. Amidst all of the warm wishes and prayers for Pr Weedon, let us not forget that he is probably walking in to some what of a hornets nest. I am sure there are many who are not happy that he has accepted this call. They surely did not want some one who has such an “orthodox” view of the Liturgy. There will be push back. He and his family need our prayers for the assaults that are sure to come.

  6. As a member of St. Paul’s, Hamel, I beg you all to pray for us as well as for dear Pastor Weedon and his fine family, and dear Pastor Gleason and his fine family.

    Thank you.

    Robert C. Baker

  7. @Dan at Necessary Roughness #5: “What bothers me about this is that we seem to think these two jobs must be mutually exclusive. Heck, even the President of the Synod has a parish call. Why can’t Weedon?”

    Rev. Weedon will have two jobs at the International Center – Director of Worship and IC chaplain. According to the Reporter job description, as Director of Worship, Rev. Weedon will be accountable to the Executive Director of the Office of National Mission (ONM), and, as IC Chaplain, he will be accountable to the the Office of the LCMS President. Neither of these positions, which constitute a full-time employee position at the International Center, can rightly be considered a Divine Call to a pastoral office (in the AC.XIV sense) and with the synod’s official understanding of C.F.W. Walther’s Kirche und Amt.

    To advocate an additional, non-compensated, limited-duty Divine Call to some local congregation in the St. Louis area, something not specified in the Reporter job notice, may give the appearance (regardless of the sincerity of the advocator) that the Divine Call is simply a “signing bonus,” a “prestige call,” or like a traditional honorary doctoral degree given to top synodical executives.

  8. Does this mean that he will be “in charge” of the Commission on Worship or does that commission still exist under the new organization? That would be interesting.

  9. re #12 Wallenstein

    I have been following the Rick Warren story with interest. I see he has tried to say that there were inaccuracies in the article which you linked to, and that the author is standing by the story as printed. The story is further backed up by this article printed on the Islamic Center of S. California blog.


    They seem to think that Warren worships the same god as they do. They just believe, I’m sure, that they have won him over. Not the other h-document/way around.

  10. Any religious discussion with a muslim is a mission project… for the muslim. And if you say “We both believe in one God” the muslim will assume “Allah”. There is no other, in his lexicon.

    Christians worship the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit who is denied by both the muslims and the Jews. Rick Warren cannot “agree” with Islam without denying his Triune God.

    I have a colleague here who is trying to find “truth” in the Quran. [He claims to be a methodist.] To relate it to our business, I said, “If someone handed you a dissertation, composed of large chunks of material from two uncredited sources plus some personal theories, you would (or should) call it plagiarism. You wouldn’t look for the “truth” of the originals in that distillation.”

    No dent so far; the novelty of mid East and Asian writings is too appealing.

  11. I’ve often thought that Weedon is pretty much the only liturgical guy who isn’t a total weirdo. If anyone can help the synod with her worship problem, I think he is the guy.

  12. What wonderful news for our Synod’s International Center! We must all pray for Pastor Weedon and his family as they begin this new work.

  13. @Mietzner #18
    I’ve often thought that Weedon is pretty much the only liturgical guy
    who isn’t a total weirdo.

    Wow, Mietzner! Where do you hang out?
    I’d say most of my clerical friends are “liturgical guys”, some a little more formal than others. I don’t consider any of them “weird”! [I was brought up on Lutheran liturgy. I have managed to progress without pain from “black gown and spoken service” to chasauble, chanting and even to understanding that “Mass” (from a Lutheran) is a shorthand reference to the Supper.]

    Pr. Weedon has incense in his chancel now and then, I understand. So far, we haven’t tried that. Maybe some midweek Evening Prayer… 🙂

    If anyone can help the synod with her worship problem, I think he is the guy.
    Let’s pray for that!

  14. @Carl Vehse #13
    …a traditional honorary doctoral degree given to top synodical executives.

    Is it “tradition” now!? And I was thinking that it was only ego that demanded the “tin star”.

    Except in rare instances, (Kurt E. Marquart), where the man has no ego
    (and does not use the “honorary” either).

  15. Historically, honorary doctorates been traditional among Missouri Synod Presidents:

    Carl F.W. Walther (1847-1850, 1864-1878): honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, 1878.
    Friedrich C.D. Wyneken (1850-1864): no honorary doctorate award found.
    Heinrich C. Schwan (1878-1899): honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Luther Seminary from the Norwegian Lutheran Church, 1893.
    Franz A.O. Pieper (1899-1911): honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin, and an honorary Th.D. from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, 1903.
    Friedrich Pfotenhauer (1911-1935): honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, 1920.
    John W. Behnken (1935-1962): honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, 1934, and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Valparaiso University, 1953.
    Oliver R. Harms (1962-1969): honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, 1953.
    Jacob A.O. Preus II (1969-1981): Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, 1951.
    Ralph A. Bohlmann (1981-1992): Ph.D. from Yale University, 1968 and honorary Doctor of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, 1982.
    Alvin L. Barry (1992-2001): honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, 1986.
    Robert T. Kuhn (March-August 2001): honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, 1988.
    Gerald B. Kieschnick (2001- 2010): honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Concordia University, Austin, 1996.
    Matthew C. Harrison (2010 – present): honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Concordia University-Ann Arbor, 2011; and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, 2011.

  16. @Ted Crandall #26: How many of these called themselves “Doctor” with only an honorary doctorate?

    One can go back with the Wayback Machine, select the year and a date, and view LCMS webpage snapshots to see the titles used by the three synodical presidents before President Harrison.

    For the titles used by earlier synodical presidents with only an honorary doctorate, one will have to search the internet for old books or articles by them, or, perhaps, look through At Home in the House of My Fathers.

  17. @Carl Vehse #27

    Wayback Machine? “Mr. Wizard!”

    (Thanks for the lead on a handy internet tool – and the walk down memory lane.)

    It strikes me as pretentious to use the title officially when it is only honorary…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.