Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Saturday, February 6, 2016
During Black History Month, we celebrate the life and work of pivotal leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. However, few may know that before Rosa Parks, there was Rosa Young.
I recently attended a showing of The First Rosa: Teacher, Confessor, Church Planter. Produced by LCMS Communications in conjunction with LCMS Black Ministry, this 42-minute documentary gives a historical look into the life and work of Rosa Young, a strong, compassionate, determined leader who loved the Lord and valued His children.
The film depicts Young's life of service to the glory of God and her ability to enable others to have the same. Among her many accomplishments, Young taught more than 2,000 students quality, Christian education during a time when education for children of sharecroppers in the South was limited. Many of these students went on to enter professional church work as pastors and teachers because of Young's influence. Read more about her life and accomplishments here.
Young is a leader of our church body whom I deeply admire. As I watched The First Rosa and read about her story, four key leadership principles on leaving a lasting impact stand out to me.
Here's what I've learned from Rosa Young:
1. You don't have to be a pastor to make a lasting impact in the church. In fact, you don't even have to be born and raised a Lutheran! Young was born the daughter of a Methodist minister and wasn't connected to the LCMS until Booker T. Washington advised her to write the LCMS Mission Board when she was in need of financial assistance because the cotton boll weevil had brought economic hardship among the families of her students. Young wrote the board, and a partnership was born.
Furthermore, Young was an African American woman in an economically poor area of the South during the early 1900s. The odds were not exactly in her favor to create an educational powerhouse for Lutheran education. Yet, that is exactly what she did. I admire Rosa's boldness and courage to faithfully pursue the good work God had prepared in advance for her to do despite the hard realities she faced.
2. Think and live outside the box. Sometimes help and new partnerships come from unexpected places. I wonder what Young thought as she wrote the LCMS Mission Board for financial assistance. She had no ties to the LCMS or anything to give her sway. How easy would it have been for the Mission Board to blow off her letter, a letter from a non-LCMS woman down in Alabama requesting financial assistance? And yet the Mission Board took her request seriously, went down to meet Young and toured her school. They saw the work taking place and the vision Young had. As a result, they agreed to fund the school, pay Young's salary and allow her to expand her vision by opening up additional schools. All while, they took the time to train Rosa and teach her the Lutheran faith.
This is a challenge and encouragement to me to seriously consider the requests of people in need and of people with whom I have no connection. It also makes me evaluate my current network of colleagues and consider what new partnerships may be beyond my current reach just waiting to be formed.
3. Value Christian education. Young recognized the value of Christian education. Her mission from day one was to provide quality Christian education to those for whom none was available. Something I celebrate among our church body is its ongoing investment in Lutheran education. As a product of a Lutheran grade school and university, I have seen firsthand the benefits of attending Lutheran institutions and its impact on my life as a follower of Christ.
I wonder where today there are youth with limited access to quality Christian education. How can we individually and collectively help make Lutheran education a viable option for these students? How can we continue to value and invest in our existing Lutheran grade schools, high schools, universities and seminaries?
4. Value young people. Young recognized the value of young people. The film included interviews with some of her students. Now fully grown and graying themselves, many of them shared a similar story of Young seeing something inside of them they hadn't yet recognized in themselves. She inspired boys and girls almost willing them to continue their schooling and become pastors and teachers and leaders in the church.
We can learn from Young's life that the way to leave a lasting legacy is by investing in the next generation. As parents, teachers, pastors, youth workers, coaches, etc., we have the opportunity to greatly influence the next generation of youth inspiring them to grow in becoming the men and women God has created them to be. We have the opportunity to greatly influence the next generation of youth inspiring them to pursue careers in professional church work. We have the opportunity to invest in the next Rosa Youngs.
For more information on Rosa Young and the film, The First Rosa, visit https://www.lcms.org/thefirstrosa.
Monday, January 25, 2016
CODY, WY — Funeral services for Reverend William Warner “Bill” Stratman, 64, will be held at 10a.m. on, Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Torrington, Wyoming with Reverend Dr. Ron Garwood, Reverend Tim Schnare, and Reverend Scott Firminhac officiating. Burial will follow in the Valley View Cemetery. Bill died, after a courageous battle with cancer, on January 21, 2016 in the Special Touch at Torrington Community Hospital with his family by his side.
Visitation hours will be held at the Colyer Funeral Home Chapel on Monday, January 25 from 3pm to 5pm. The casket will be closed at the church. The family would appreciate memorials directed to either Our Savior Lutheran Church in Torrington, Wyoming or Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cody, Wyoming. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Colyer Funeral Home and friends are invited to send condolences to the family at www.colyerfuneralhome.com
Bill was born on March 6, 1951 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska the son of W.W. “Buck” and Velma (Williams) Stratman. Bill grew up and received his education at Lingle, Wyoming; graduating Lingle High School in 1969.
Bill then worked as a farm hand and implement mechanic in the Goshen County area. He married Kathy Lacy Prucha on July 19, 1972 in Lingle, Wyoming and the couple had three children. The family moved to Cody, Wyoming where Bill fulfilled his ranch dream and worked as ranch foreman on the South Fork at the Flying H. In January 1986 his wife, Kathy, was tragically killed. Bill worked to get his life up-right again and in July of 1988 he married Joan Evans and to this union a son was born. It was at this time that Bill found his calling in the religious life and entered the Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana where he graduated on May 30, 2000 and was ordained on June 25, 2000 at St. John’s in Rushmore, Minnesota. He then served as Pastor in various Lutheran Churches including Minnesota, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming.
Bill never lost his love for ranching and over-the-road long haul semi trucking to Alaska; but in September 2014 he was diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia) and life took on yet another meaning and new journey.
Bill loved the mountains, fishing, and hunting. He was a Big Game hunting guide in the Big Horn Mountains and he enjoyed camping trips with his family. Throughout his life, Bill continued to love ranching and pastoring. He especially loved his little dog, Phoebe, who was always by his side.
Bill is survived by his wife, Joan of Cody; his 2 sons, Terry (Stacy) Stratman of Reynoldsburg, Ohio; and Samuel Stratman of OFFUTT , AFB, Omaha, Nebraska; his 2 daughters, Rebecca (Mark)Ellis of Miles City, MT and Darcie (Cody) Rosenthal of Ord, Nebraska; 4 grandsons, Hayden and Avery Stratman and Cord and Cleve Ellis; 3 granddaughters, Faith Kelly Ellis and Katie and Gracie Mae Rosenthal; his mother, Velma Stratman of Torrington; 2 sisters, Connie (Dick) Ziller of Iowa and Charm (John) Friedlan of Torrington; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, his father, his first wife, Kathy, and a son-in-law, Tuck Seeley.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Monday, September 14, 2015
welcomed home the Rev. James Moshier
as guest preacher at Matins and Bible Class leader.