Wednesday, July 27, 2011

International Loehe Conference III

At present I'm listening to an excellent and provocative paper by Dr. John Stephenson of Concordia Lutheran Seminary, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada, which he is delivering at the International Loehe Conference III. This is not a very good picture, but it gives you an idea of the dynamic group that has gathered to consider the work of Wilhelm Loehe and his impact on the Lutheran tradition.

Dr. John Stephenson delivering his paper, “Löhe as an Ecumenical Lutheran,” at the International Loehe Conference III, being help on the campus of Concordia Theological Seminary, July 27, 2011.

The conference is being held at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, and the schedule of presenters is simply excellent. We hope to see many of the papers published ultimately through the efforts of the International Loehe Society.

Here is the schedule:

International Löhe Theological Conference III
Concordia Theological Seminary
Fort Wayne, Indiana USA
26-30 July 2011

Tuesday, July 26

2:00 p.m. Registration opens in the lobby of Sihler Auditorium

3:00 p.m. Campus Tour with Prof. Robert Roethemeyer (meet in the lobby of Sihler)

5:00 p.m. Dinner is available in the Katherine Luther Dining Hall*

6:30 p.m. Opening of Conference and Greetings
All sessions will be held in Luther Hall.

7:00 p.m. Paper I: “Löhe, Wyneken, and the Fort Wayne Seminary” –
Dr. Lawrence Rast (Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana)

8:00 p.m. Evening Prayer

8:45 p.m. Seminary Reception on the Plaza

Wednesday, July 27

7:30 a. m. Continental Breakfast available in the Katherine Luther Dinning Hall

8:30 a.m. Paper II: “Löhe’s Correspondence with Wedemann 1849-1850 on Theory and Practice in Church and Ministry”- Dr. Wolfhart Schlichting (Editor, Confessio Augustana, Augsburg, Germany)

9:30 a.m. Morning Prayer/Coffee

10:30 a.m. Paper III: “Löhe as an Ecumenical Lutheran”- Dr. John Stephenson (Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saint Catherine’s, Ontario)

11:30 a.m. Paper IV: “Löhe’s Missiological Perspective”- Dr. Klaus Detlev Schulz (Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana)

12:30 p.m. Lunch available in the Katherine Luther Dinning Hall

Concordia Publishing House will host a book signing for authors Geiger, Naumann, and Schulz in the Commons from 1:00 to 2:00 pm.

2:00 p.m. Paper V: “Löhe and the Ministerium of Pennsylvania: Löhe’s Reception Among his Contemporaries in the Eastern United States” –Rev. Martin Lohrmann (Doctoral candidate, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and Pastor of Christ Ascension Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

3:00 p.m. Paper VI: “Confession as Mission-Retrieving Wilhelm Löhe ”
Dr. Paul Chung (Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota)

4:00 p.m. Paper VII: “Löhe as Religious Educator”- Dr. Thomas Kothmann (University of Regensburg, Germany)

5:00 p.m. Dinner available in the Katherine Luther Dinning Hall

6:30 p.m. We will carpool to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (1126 South Barr Street, Fort Wayne). Please meet at the flag pole in front of the Welcome Center.

7:00 p.m. Evening Prayer at St. Paul Lutheran Church with a tour of the church and refreshments after the Service.

Thursday, July 28

7:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast available at Katherine Luther Dinning Hall

8:30 a.m. Paper VIII: “Wilhelm Löhe in Deindoerfer’s History of the Iowa Synod ”- Dr. Craig Nessan (Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa)

9:30 a.m. Morning Prayer/Coffee

10:30 a.m. Paper X: “Löhe and Chiliasm in the Context of 19th Century Eschatology “ Mr. Jacob Corzine (Doctoral candidate, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany)

11:30 a.m. International Löhe Society Meeting

12:30 p.m. Lunch available at the Katherine Luther Dinning Hall

2:00 p.m. Paper XI: “Lutheran Deaconesses in North America: Assessing Löhe’s Influence” - Deaconess Cheryl Naumann (President, Concordia Deaconess Conference and Deaconess, Redeemer Lutheran Church and School, Oakmont, Pennsylvania)

3:00 p.m. Paper XII: “ Löhe’s 1844 Agenda”- Dr. Thomas Schattauer (Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa)

4:00 p.m. Paper XIII: “Löhe and Enlightenment Movements” – Dr. Dietrich Blaufuß (Co-President, International Löhe Society, Erlangen, Germany)

5:15 p.m. We will carpool to Trinity English Lutheran Church (405 West Wayne Street, Fort Wayne). Please meet at the flag pole in front of the Welcome Center.

7:00 p.m. Evening Prayer at Trinity English Lutheran Church

Friday, July 29

7:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast available at Katherine Luther Dinning Hall.

8:30 a.m. Depart for Frankenmuth. The carpool will depart from the flag pole in front of the Welcome Center.

12:00 noon Lunch in Frankenmuth; tour the town and visit the museum.

5:30 p.m. Outdoor Dinner hosted by St. Lorenz Lutheran Church

7:00 p.m. Hymnfest at St. Lorenz with Dr. Scott Hyslop and Pastor Stephen Starke

Saturday, July 30

8:00 a.m. Depart the Bavarian Inn for Frankentrost

8:30 a.m. Immanuel Lutheran Church, Frankentrost with presentation by Rev. Mark Loest and by Mr. Matthias Honold (Archivist, Diakonie Neuendettelsau) on archival research on the Löhe colonies.

11:30 a,m, Conclusion of Conference

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"If it ever gets done..." -- PRR K4s 1361

The Pennsylvania Railroad liked to call itself "The Standard Railroad of the World," and the standard passenger locomotive for the "Standard Railroad" was the K4s. For years retired K4s #1361 stood at the park at Horseshoe Curve, just outside Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Then, however, it was pulled off the Curve and restored to working condition in the 1980s. Here's a video of it at that time.

After mechanical problems surfaced, it was time for another overhaul. However, delays, moves, and other obstacles have kept the 1361 from completion. Indeed, there are some who doubt that it will ever be fully pieced back together.

That's why the article in the Altoona Mirror from July 3, 2011, is rather encouraging. You may read the full article at the following link:

The short version is that there is some hope and encouragement that the project is moving forward. I love steam, and the success of the Nickel Plate 765 and Pere Marquette 1225 Berkshires (, and the prospect of seeing 1361 under its own power again is exciting--and not just for me.

"I can't wait to ride in that puppy," Salone said. "But let's make sure it doesn't blow up."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Trapped in the Limbo of an Eternal Present...

Let me open with a rather obvious oberservation--As an historian, memory is rather important to me.  That, in part, is why I find amnesia so fascinating.
All of us forget stuff all the time, but forgetting has a deeper side.  This fact was vividly demonstrated to me in a remarkable article in the November 2007 National Geographic.  In it there is an article titled, “Why We Remember, Why We Forget.” This article warns of what happens when we forget.  A man who has lost his memory is described this way: “Without a memory, EP has fallen completely out of time.  He has no stream of consciousness, just droplets that immediately evaporate.  If you were to take the watch off his wrist—or, more cruelly, change the time—he’d be completely lost.  Trapped in this limbo of an eternal present, between a past he can’t remember and a future he can’t contemplate, he lives a sedentary life…” (37). 
Trapped in the limbo of an eternal present…between a past he can’t remember and a future he can’t contemplate.  Now think about that for a minute.  With no memory, become slaves of each and every minute—living only for the moment.  What a challenging way to live!
More recently I learned of the case of Henry Molaison.  Molaison underwent brain surgery at the age of 27 due to epilepsy.  The surgery made it impossible for him to form new memories.  The result was that he had an at least average recall of public events that occurred previous to his surgery.  However, while he could recall the general impressions of things he had experienced, he had lost concrete memory of the specific events, as well as the ability to form personal memories of his experiences.
As one who works in the realm of memories, this is a devastating prospect to me; while it is simultaneously fascinating.  And it is why thestory on Molaison, which aired on the BBC today, was utterly engaging to me.  You may find it at the following link:
The program is 30 minutes in length, and worth the time.  The following is the text that appears at that link.
"Without a few unusual people, human behaviour would have remained a mystery - ordinary people whose extraordinary circumstances provided researchers with the exceptions that proved behavioural rules. Claudia Hammond revisits the classic case studies that have advanced psychological research.
"When a 27 year old man known in the text books simply as HM underwent brain surgery for intractable epilepsy in 1953, no one could have known that the outcome would provide the key to unravelling one of the greatest mysteries of the human mind - how we form new memories.
"HM was unable to remember anything that happened after the operation, which was conducted by Dr William Scoville in Hartford, Connecticut, though his life before the surgery remained vivid. For 55 years, until he died in December 2008 at the age of 82, HM - or Henry Molaison, as he was identified on his death - was studied by nearly 100 psychologists and neuro-scientists; he provided data that enabled them to piece together the memory process. The research was first coordinated by Dr Brenda Milner of McGill University and then by Professor Suzanne Corkin at MIT. Both women got to know Henry well, but he never got to know them; for him each meeting with them was the first.
"His inability to form new memories meant that HM was unable to look after himself, but he remained cheerful, with a positive outlook on his condition. He was happy, he maintained, to provide information that could help others. And this he continues to do, even after death. His brain was dissected by Dr Jacopo Annese of the Brain Observatory at UCSD, and is the subject of an ongoing on-line collaborative study."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

450th Anniversary of Saint Basil's Cathedral

Anyone who has been to Red Square and has seen Saint Basil's Cathedral knows that it is truly an unforgettable and impressive building.

Adding to that impressiveness is its 450th anniversary, which is today, July 12, 2011. Even Google is getting into the act with a doodle recognizing the anniversary.

 Here is a brief report on the anniversary from the Associated Press.

Russia to celebrate anniversary of St. Basil's
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Basil's Cathedral by opening an exhibition dedicated to the so-called "holy fool" who gave his name to the soaring structure of bright-hued onion domes that is a quintessential image of Russia.
The eccentrically devout St. Basil wore no clothes even during the harsh Russian winters and was one of the very few Muscovites who dared to lambast tyrannical Czar Ivan the Terrible.
Ivan, whose gory purges claimed tens of thousands of lives, feared St. Basil as "a seer of people's hearts and minds," according to one chronicle. He personally carried St. Basil's coffin to a grave right outside the Kremlin. The cathedral, constructed to commemorate Ivan's victory over Mongol rulers, was built on the burial site.
Deputy Culture Minister Andrey Busygin said Friday that the exhibition is opening Tuesday as part of anniversary celebrations in the cathedral after a decade-long restoration that cost 390 million rubles ($14 million). The exhibition will display relics and icons of St. Basil and other religious eccentrics, who were known as "holy fools."
The exhibition will be part of massive celebrations of St. Basil's anniversary that will also include a service to be held by Russia Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and a late-night church bell concert.
"This cathedral is a shrine and a symbol of Russia," Busygin added. "It's a miracle it survived at all."
The building was severely shelled during the 1917 Bolshevik takeover of the Kremlin and was patched up during the subsequent civil war and famine. "Those gaping wounds were stuffed with whatever was at hand," said Andrey Batalov, deputy director of the State Kremlin Museums.
Early Communist leaders — who persecuted countless clerics of all faiths and destroyed tens of thousands of religious buildings — wanted St. Basil's dynamited as it blocked the way to military parades, and only the cathedral's conversion into a museum saved it.
A century earlier, Napoleon Bonaparte also ordered St. Basil's blown up during his army's hasty retreat from Moscow in 1812, but a heavy rain put down the burning fuses.
Originally named the Holy Trinity Cathedral, over the centuries it became known as the place where St. Basil is buried.
The design of its nine onion-shaped, multicolored domes combine the traditions of Russian wooden architecture with Byzantine and Islamic influences into a unique structure.
Batalov said the restoration focused on recreating the way the building looked by the late 17th century, when the nine domes were united by a wraparound floor.
By that time, St. Basil's became a symbolic New Jerusalem and the center of Palm Sunday walks, when the Moscow Patriarch approached it sitting on a donkey to recreate Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem.