Despite my good intentions to blog regularly "on the road," it appears that my plans to do so may not materialize. Why? I'm finding that Internet connections are very spotty, and the schedule is grueling--rewarding, yes, but very full days!
In fact, even now, I'm literally falling asleep at the keyboard while blogging from the lobby at the DasPalla Hotel in Vizig, India. So rather than offering more extended reflections, I'll simply share some brief updates from the last two days....
SUNDAY, we headed out early in the rmorning for worship at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Chennai, a congregation affiliated with the Indian Evangelical Lutheran Church (connected to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod). The very small group of English-speaking Lutherans who gathered together, used The Lutheran Hymnal of 1941-the worship book I grew up with. I preached from a pulpit that was dedicated years ago by then-president of the Missouri Synod, J.A. O Preus.
Next we went to Resurrection Lutheran Church, a Telegu-speaking congregation of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, also in Chennai. Very warm, welcoming folks....and our first introduction to the beautiful, almost haunting chant-style worship for which the Telegu people are known.
Following lunch with some folks from Resurrection, we went back to the hotel for a very helpful briefing by two leaders of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church. In the early evening I preached at the chapel service at Gurukul Lutheran Theological College (GLTC)....before ending the day with a late-evening dinner with the director (president) of GLTC and one of the school's professors of missiology.
MONDAY was a travel day, as we flew out of Chennai for Vizig. It was wonderful being greeting by Suneel and Grace Bhanu Busi--Suneel is the newly-elected bishop of the AELC. Following some rest time in the afternoon, we feted Grace on her birthday, with a grand supper.
TODAY--Tuesday (Nov. 10) was very full, with the AELC's annual Pastors Day Celebration at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Vizig. I preached at the morning worship service and an evening ordination service (two sermons), and it was profoundly moving to participate in the laying-on-of-hands for 70 new pastors in the AELC.
I'm including a photo of our arrival in Vizig (that's me, Joy and Hank)--all decked out in garlands and bouquets of fresh-cut flowers, "India style." Tomorrow (Wednesday) we travel into the rural areas of the AELC, and I may not be able to do any more blogging until the weekend. We are all doing well, finding it hard to get the exercise and rest that we need, but we also don't want to miss any of this great adventure. More later, when time and Internet connections permit.
Lawrence Robert Wohlrabe was born in Mankato, MN. He graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Luther Seminary, St. Paul. Luther Seminary awarded him a Doctor of Ministry degree with distinction.
Ordained in 1981, he served parishes in Willmar, MN; St. James, MN; and Moorhead, MN. He was also on the staff of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, and the SW MN Synod ELCA, Redwood Falls, MN. Larry was elected bishop of the Northwestern Minnesota Synod on June 10, 2007. He was re-elected bishop of the synod, to a second 6-year term on June 7, 2013.
Larry's wife, Joy, has worked many years as a hospital and hospice social worker. They have two young adult children, Erik and Kristen (married to Aaron) and two grandchildren, Olivia and Micah. Note: the views expressed here are Bishop Wohlrabe's views--not those of the NW MN Synod.