День Архангела Михаила и всех Ангелов
Manfred Brockmann turned 80 on August 20
There was a large celebration on this day at St. Paul’s Church with 70 people in attendance. It made Manfred happy that all of the congregations of the deanery sent birthday wishes. It was very moving for Manfred that several people from the outlying congregations came quite a distance to be there in person. Manfred’s daughter and two of her children came all the way from Germany.
Manfred would like to share some of the greetings that he received.
1) Harmut Lobomierski of Hamburg, Germany and who has been the chairman of the “Friends of Vladivostok” group wrote the following:
We are sending you greetings from far away Eimsbuettel, although we are emotionally close. We wish you the happiest birthday as you celebrate this milestone birthday. You can now look back on a successful, blessed and prosperous life that is going be one that leaves a deep legacy. Your life is an adventure lead by God. You have completed an amazing accomplishment that will live on beyond yourself. You have been granted a life that is far reaching, self-determined and fulfilling and one that extends far into the richness and realm of spiritual life and passes it on. We also wish you the grace to experience the later years of your life in good fashion.
Best wishes from your friends Harmut and Helga
2) From the Bishop of the Orthodox Church in Vladivostok and Metropolitan of Primorye, Veniyamin
I wish to extend my most hearty birthday wishes to you and also to send greetings on your anniversary! In the course of many years we have come to know you as a highly educated and wise leader, who through due diligence in Primorye and the Far East, has brought about the rebirth of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the German tradition. Your fervent service has consisted of hard work in supporting the diaspora as well as constantly stressing the value of Christianity in society. I hope that there will be continued success among those whom you have given a positive experience through your pastoral leadership so that they will continue to validate the interconfessional dialog we have had and will continue it. This will lead to peace and understanding between people. From the depth of my heart, I wish good health, inexhaustible energy and fruitful work as you continue your responsible position as dean and spiritual leader of the Lutherans of the Far East.
3) From Charles Maas, Bishop emeritus of the Central States Synod, with which the Deanery has had a 25 years partnership. He is a part of the beginning of my “career” in Russia. He along with Professor Gerhard Krodel of Gettysburg Seminary elected me in May 1992 in Omsk to his “Russian Commission.» He wrote to me in German.
Happy 80th birthday!
You should continue to love your life; counting by tens your seventies are behind you now,
Before you think about it, after ten years you will be past your eighties With good health it would please us that after another ten years you would reach your nineties. And if you should reach 100 that would be fantastic and you would be free of counting by tens. You are still young! I wish you good luck and many more sets of ten years..
Best wishes and God’s Blessings
Charlie, Bishop Emeritus
4.) From the headquarters of Church Administration for the ELCUSFE in Omsk
I greet you with the words from today’s watchword from the Book of Judges 5:31: But may they who love you be like the sun, when it rises in its strength.”
This passage describes precisely and convincingly your service to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East. The Deanery of the Far East is the eastern most region of our church and here the “the sun rises in all its strength.” You have given this region 25 years of your life, your servanthood and your heart.
In these years, you were the light to many who were searching for the source of life. Through the Taize liturgy which you often have quoted, people sing: We are starting on a journey in order to find the fountain that will satisfy our thirst for light.” You have become such a light for many through your preaching and pastoral conversations, your instruction and your good words.
In like manner you have become a light for many through your yearly seminars that you facilitated for the Far East Deanery, where the faithful from all the congregations of your region could learn something new, be strengthened in their faith, find answers to their questions and to simply meet with their brothers and sisters in this immeasurable region.
Another important aspect of your light is your musical ministry. Without exaggerating, one can say that you are the person who has made the greatest contribution to furthering the education concerning Lutheran music in Russia on the threshold of 20th to the 21st century. It is through the collection of hymns from the congregations of the Far East, the organ concerts, your work not only with the hymnals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church but by also contributing a large number of your own hymns.
And a person can not forget to mention your service which was honored with a medal. This was for the preparation, organization and execution of the German Cultural Days in your region. Not only did this serve to lead to the furthering of culture and the strengthening of friendly relations between Russia and Germany but these events without a doubt also contributed to the wellbeing of the church. These events served the church by bringing new members to the church and brought people to the light of the truth, and lead them to the light of the Lord.
On this day my wish for you is that your light continue to shine on, that you continue to explain to people, enlighten people and show them the right path. May the Lord bless you in all your endeavors, that he strengthens your faith and protects all of your ways.
Tatjana Muramzewa and all the colleagues from the Church Administration office in Omsk
5.) From the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Ruediger Freiherr von Fritsch September 1, 2017
Dear Pastor Brockmann!
The most important and biggest Anniversary for you has gotten lost in the hurly-burly of summer events and absences, even though you and I talked about it in our last conversation.. I ask for your forgiveness from the bottom of my heart.
So from the bottom of my heart I send you my belated good wishes for your 80th birthday. I wish you the best well-being, satisfaction and God’s richest blessings for the very important work that you do. For many years you have dedicated yourself with all of the strength your personality to the well-being of the St. Paul’s congregation in Vladivostok and also to all of the members of the far flung congregations. You have been very successful and you have reached so many people with your good example, not only in the churchly realm but also in the realm of German-Russian relationships You rightly have been honored for your service by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany with the Federal Order of Merit.
We cannot be successful with everything we try and not everything we do has longevity. But as a man of the cloth, you know that everything we do does not add up in the end. What counts is that every person feels called by name, that we have done good to the least of these, and that every neighbor feels the nearness of God. All of these have been a rich river that has flowed from you.
I wish for you a good continuing path and I look forward to meeting you again. With best wishes,
Rudiger von Fritsch
Archbishop Emeritus Edmund Ratz (1933-2017)
On August 31 after a long illness Archbishop Emeritus of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Russia and Other States (ELCROS), Dr. Edmund Ratz, passed away.
Edmund Ratz was born in the Bavarian city of Zeitlofs. He studied theology in Germany and the USA. He worked as a pastor in England and then as the secretary for inter-church cooperation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, the director of the Worldwide Lutheran Service, and the German National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation in Stuttgart. Edmund Ratz twice received an honorary doctorate – in Zagreb in 1987 and in the Gurukul Theological Institute in Madras (India) in 1994.
In 1999 Edmund Ratz moved to Odessa where he became the visitation bishop and then the bishop of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine. He remained in this post until his election as the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia and Other States (ELCROS) in 2005. From 2005 to 2009 Dr. Ratz served as Archbishop of ELCROS and lived in St. Petersburg; then until June 2010 he continued his service as the Archbishop's assistant. From 2007 to 2011 Edmund Ratz combined this ministry with the ministry of the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in European Russia, having been elected to this post at the ELCER synod assembly in 2007.
The ceremony of burial for Archbishop Emeritus Ratz took place on September 9 in Neuendettelsau (near Ansbach). We express our deep sympathies to his widow, Doris Ratz and to all his friends and relatives. Archbishop Ratz will remain in our memories a pastor and theologian, a person with a big heart, attentive to the needs of those around him, willing to help in any way he could.
May the graceful Father take him into his eternal dwellings. “Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” (Heb 13.7)
Family Camp in Crimea
From August 28 to September 1 in the village of Kurotnoe a family camp was held for the first time in our church in Crimea. The theme of the camp was “Who is this that the wind and the sea listen to him?” (Mk 4.41) It was held thanks to the initiative of the regional committee of Evangelical Lutheran congregations of Crimea. The organizer of the event was the “Liebe”congregation in Feodosiya with the assistance of the administration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia.
Parents with children from Crimea were participants of the camp; guests came from Kazan, Krasnodar and Ulyanovsk. The Provorov family led the Bible lessons. Pastor Vladimir explored a new theme every morning: Noah, the Exodus, Jonah, the promise of the large catch of fish. At the closing service with Holy Communion the theme was “What is to be done?” During discussions of each theme the pastor spoke about the significance and importance of our faith.
Parallel with Bible studies for adults there were also Bible studies for children; Alena Provorova lead such interesting lessons that not only our children took part, but those who were at the campgrounds for other reasons also really enjoyed participating. Some of the adults, too, were “accidently” late to the adult meetings because they were so caught up in the stories being told for children.
The Lord blessed these days with good weather, a warm and clean sea and wonderful fellowship. The church council of “Liebe” plans to continue holding these family camps annually.