Category Archives: News

The Gottedienst Conference: Art, Beauty, and Confession

Redeemer Lutheran Church, Ft. Wayne, IN  May 6-8, 2024 A+D

Registration: $45 until April 15, after that $75. Register Online by following links at Gottesdienst Online or by using the PayPal button below.

Gottesdienst will host a conference May 6-8, 2024 at Redeemer in Fort Wayne featuring keynote addresses by David Scaer, Ed Riojas, and John Hrehov on art and beauty as theological concepts and needs for the Church’s confession. David Scaer is well known among us. Register with the early bird discount by April 15 for only $45 and save $30. April 16-May 7 registrations are $75. The schedule is given below along with information regarding Riojas and Hrehov. The conference includes two dinners and Gemütlichkeits and one lunch.

The Gemütlchkeits are sponsored by LCEF. LCEF offers a number of financial products, but their current rates for rostered church worker mortgages are very competitive. They are also offering great rates on fixed rate investments and liquid accounts. If you’re in the market, look here

Redeemer Lutheran Church is located at 202 W Rudisill, Ft. Wayne, IN 46807.

Edward Riojas received a BFA degree from Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, graduating summa cum laude with a major in drawing and a minor in printmaking. He spent nearly 31 years in the newspaper industry. Riojas has since returned to his fine art roots and works as a full-time artist, creating sacred art for commissions and collaborations with various Lutheran entities. His work can be found in sanctuaries, institutions, private collections, and markets throughout the U.S. and across the globe.

For more information:

John Hrehov holds an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art. He is a Professor in the Department of Art and Design, at Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW). Hrehov has had numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the country, including Gallery Victor Armendariz, Chicago, IL; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN; and Denise Bibro Fine Art, NYC.

Awards include the 2021 Recharge New Surrealist Prize, created for painters living in the U.S. and U.S. Territories who are working in the New Surrealist Style, Gladys Emerson Cook Prize in the Area of Prints, Drawings, and Pastel, the 167th Annual Exhibition National Academy of Design, NYC, and the Eastman- Bolton Memorial Award, Cleveland Institute of Art. His work has been featured and reviewed in various publications including Art in America, American Artist Magazine, Louisville Courier-Journal, and The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, IN. He is represented by Denise Bibro Fine Arts, Inc. in New York, NY, and Gallery Victor Armendariz, Chicago, IL. For more information:

Monday, 6 May 2024
1:30 p.m. Divine Service
2:30 p.m. Conference welcome
2:45 p.m. Session 1 – David Scaer “Beauty as a Theological Category”
4:15 p.m. Break
4:30 p.m. Vespers
5:00-8:00 p.m. Gemütlichkeit and and supper provided

Tuesday, 7 May 2024
8:30 a.m. Matins
9:00 a.m. Coffee and Donuts (undercroft)
9:15 a.m. Session 2 – Edward Riojas “Art, Beauty, and Confession”
10:45 a.m. Session 3 – John Hrehov “Art, Beauty, and Confession – another perspective”
12:15 p.m. Lunch provided
1:00 p.m. Session 4  – Panel Discussion with Riojas and Hrehov
2:15 p.m. Session 5 – Singing Lesson with Jonathan Busarow
3:45 p.m. Vespers
4:30-8:00 p.m. Gemütlichkeit and Supper provided 

Wednesday, 8 May 2024
8:30 a.m. Divine Service
9:00 a.m. Coffee and Donuts
9:15 a.m. Session 6 -Nathaniel Pullmann “The Centrality of Art in Classical Education”
10:30 a.m. Panel Discussion

11:30 a.m. Lunch on your own

Relationship Seminar November 4

Our next relationship seminar is Saturday, November 4. Matins will be at 8:30 with the seminar beginning at 9:30. Lunch and babysitting will be provided, so please RSVP to by October 29.

Who is the relationship seminar for? All adults. Babysitting is provided. The idea is that communication is the heart of all our relationships, not just our relationship to God and to spouses, but in every relationship and that we can all get better at it and be more deliberate about it.

What will be taught? Biblical theology about the centrality of words and speech for faith and for life. Communication techniques from popular books will also be reviewed and considered.

Our semi-annual relationship or marriage seminars are a direct response to the research shown in the book Endgame by John Van Epp and J.P. Degance. You can find out more about it here at They claim that churches that hold these sorts of seminars have a significantly lower divorce rate than churches that just teach that the Bible says divorce is wrong.

Divorce itself, and the causes of divorce, are tragic. It is one of the worst traumas that a person can suffer and is particularly devastating to children despite the oft repeated lie that “children are resilient.” Can the Gospel heal the survivors? Of course. The Gospel can also heal those that are tortured in POW camps for years or are abused by their parents, but there will be scars. We want to preach the Gospel to survivors and help them. This seminar will help with that also. But if we can spare them the trauma, why wouldn’t we? This seminar will help not only those who are already married to avoid divorce, it will also help singles who might marry in the future, whether they have been married before or not, avoid divorce.

Holy Week at Redeemer

During Holy Week we have Divine Service at 8:30 Monday-Wednesday.

Stations of the Cross is Wednesday night at 7:00.

There is a Matins service Thursday morning. The Maundy Thursday Divine Service is at 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday Tre Ore Service is at noon, divided as follows:

12:00 p.m.    Liturgy of the Catechumens
1:15 p.m.    Liturgy of the Holy Communion
2:15 p.m.    Vespers

Holy Saturday Matins is at 10:30 a.m., and the Easter Vigil is at 8:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday there will be one service at 10:30 a.m. The Easter breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m., and the Sunday School Easter Egg Hunt is at 9:15.

March 2023 Newsletter

From Pastor Petersen:
Pastor Frese’s New Position with Synod, Release from Redeemer
Pastor Frese has served Redeemer as a called, part-time pastor since 2012. For most of that time, he always worked as a chaplain for the Indiana National Guard and found other ways to supplement his income. This past spring he received and accepted a call to work full time for the Missouri Synod as the Deputy Director of Church Relations. The position allows him to work from Ft. Wayne two weeks a month, but also requires him to be in St. Louis two weeks a month. He also needs to travel to other parts of the country and out of the country from time to time. On top of this, he is still a chaplain in the Indiana Air National Guard.
Because of all this, with both my and the elders’ consent he took a break from his duties at Redeemer this fall. It was a long shot, but the goal was to see if he could work out a way that he might continue at Redeemer in some modified, but still part-time role. All involved knew it was unlikely, but we all wanted it to work. Unfortunately, it did not. It simply isn’t possible for him to do this in a way that is good for him or his family. The demands of his duties as Deputy Director and the needs of his family are too great for him to be able to continue to serve us, on a regular basis, as a called pastor while also serving the Synod full time and being a military chaplain.
For these reasons, he requested that Redeemer release him from his call. This was to free his conscience and allow him to serve the Synod. The council voted on Sunday, January 8, 2023 to do so. He and his family remain active members of Redeemer. He will continue to serve at our altar and in our pulpit as do our other clergy members.
Installation of the Reverend Deacons Wietfeldt and Boyle
After six months without Pastor Frese, the elders and I took a motion to the council to obtain some regular part-time pastoral assistance. We haven’t issued a call but we may do so eventually. For now, as we work out the kinks, it is a contractual arrangement wherein both Rev. Matt Weitfeldt and Rev. Dr. Geoff Boyle will provide pastoral support and care to our congregation, particularly in the form of leading services on weekdays, helping with preaching and teaching, and doing some visitation.
The work they will be doing is precisely what the New Testament knows as diaconal work and for that reason we will refer to them as our deacons. This is a distinct use of the term from liturgical deacons, a role that is often filled among us by students, and also from the use of the term for laymen who fill various congregational roles. In the New Testament this is a pastoral office. It is filled by ordained men who work under a parish pastor. The Reverend Deacons will be installed on Sunday, March 12 at both services.

Acolyte Vestments needed
Our acolyte corps has grown both in terms of numbers of young men involved and in lbs. per height. We made a significant investment five years ago in vestments and those are still in great shape, but to deploy as many of our current acolytes as possible, we need more vestments. To bring us to a full set of vestments for all and so that we have a good stock to take us into the future we need 12 cottas or surplices (the white part) and eight cassocks (the black part) at a cost of $2000. To fully equip a single acolyte costs $245. If you would like to support this effort financially, please earmark funds for the acolytes.

Marriage and Singles Seminar: The Power of Words for Good and for Ill Saturday March 18, 2023
We will put on a Marriage and Singles seminar on Saturday March 18, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. entitled “The Power of Words for Good and for Ill.” The Seminar will begin with Holy Communion at 9:00 am. At 10:15 there will be a session targeted toward married couples or those engaged to be married in the undercroft and a simultaneous session targeted toward those who either have never been married or are currently not married. Both sessions will give Biblical and Theological advice and counsel toward relationship skills with an eye toward better understanding our various vocations. The undercroft session will be taught by Pastor Petersen and the singles session by Deacon Boyle. Anyone, regardless of marital status, is welcome to attend either.
Study after study has shown that participation in such sessions has drastically lowered the statistical likelihood of divorce and other family trauma. Which is to say: this is worth a few hours of your time. To aid your attendance, childcare will be offered free of charge. Please help us plan for this by RSVPing by March 12, 2023 at or by phone (260) 744-2585 or by leaving a note on Jane’s desk in the office. Please do not tell Jane that you will be coming while standing in the narthex or undercroft and expect her to remember. We need to have an accurate count for childcare.

Workday: Saturday, April 1, 2023 9:00 a.m.: Saturday, April 1, the day before Palm Sunday we will have a workday to prepare the Church for Holy Week and Easter. There is lots of deep cleaning and polishing to be done and we could use your help. We will start at 9:00am. We will stop at 11:00 for Matins, then enjoy pizza together in the undercroft before calling it a day.

Easter Service and Photo: We will only have one service, at 10:30 am, on Easter Sunday, preceded by the Easter Breakfast from 8:30 am until 10:00 am. Immediately following the service, Steve Blakey will take a picture of everyone that we can get to stay in the pews for just a few extra minutes. We have a beautiful black and white photo that was taken of the congregation probably in the 1940s that is currently on display near the elevator. We want to reproduce this shot and would like your help.

Don’t forget to check the calendar on the bulletin board in the hall for upcoming social events!

The Spring Voters’ Meeting will be Sunday, April 23 at noon. This is the annual budget meeting.

There is a group meeting every Monday morning at 6:30 to study the Book of Concord.

The first Saturday of each month at 4:30 p.m. there is a family game time in the undercroft, followed by a potluck. All are welcome to either or both!

Books & Beer next meeting will be Sunday March 12th at 7:00 p.m. This month’s book is Reverence, by Paul Woodruff. As always, the event is open to all the men of our parish of drinking age or friends that you think would fit in.

Easter is coming! The hat library will set up in the coat room off the narthex in the next couple of weeks.

Advent & Christmas Schedule

Holy Communion will be offered daily during Advent: Every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. & 10:30 a.m., weekdays at 8:30 a.m., Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. The Thursday evening services will be preceded by a supper from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Following the Thursday Advent service on 12/22 we will decorate the church for Christmas and enjoy some cookies.

The Christmas Eve Divine Service is at 7:00 p.m. On Christmas Day, which is Sunday, there will be only one service at 10:30 a.m.

We will have daily communion throughout the twelve days of Christmas with the service at 8:30 a.m. on Monday 12/26, Tuesday 12/27, and Wednesday 12/28, and Friday 12/30 and at 7:00 p.m. Thursday 12/29. The service on Saturday, 12/31 will be at 10:30 am.

On Christmas Day, we will be having a dinner again, starting at about 3:00 with appetizers. Dinner begins at 4:00.  There will certainly be a couple of turkeys; beyond that the menu depends on what everyone brings.  In addition to food, you will need to bring whatever beverages you would like beyond coffee or water, and table service for your family. (There will be beer available for a suggested donation.) If you would like to join us or would like more information email Bethany Meyer at or text or call her at xxxxxxxxxxx.

Church Picnic

The church picnic is tomorrow, Sunday, August 7, at 5:00 p.m. at Foster Park. We have rented the large pavilion, so we will picnic rain or shine!

We are providing fried chicken and bottled water. Please bring a side dish or dessert.

Newsletter message from Pastor Petersen

From Pastor Petersen:
Starting on Wednesday, May 25 and lasting until August 31, funded by the Lily Endowment fund and with no financial cost to the congregation, I will be taking a Sabbatical. I am not retiring. It is a long break, but not that long. It is shorter than the school’s summer vacation. In many ways, it is a kind of big vacation; but it is distinct in that it is not only longer than a vacation, but in that it is purposeful and is funded. The idea is that I will step away from the daily grind and pressure of pastoral work to rest, travel, recreate, and work on healthy coping strategies and techniques, spiritual and otherwise, for dealing with stress and anxiety. All of this is meant to help me return to Redeemer with renewed energy. It is not product-oriented. I am not trying to finish a degree or write a book. But with God’s help and by His grace, I hope to stay healthy, to avoid burnout, and to develop skills that will enable another 22 years at Redeemer.
We received a grant from the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis for $48,840 to help us realize these goals. The plan, goals, and application were designed by an ad hoc Sabbatical Committee consisting of Jonathan Busarow, Jane Casey, Maggie Casey, Jody Lent, and Gifford Grobien. The money from the grant will be used in two ways. First it will be used to fund interim pastoral care while I am away. That effort will be led and administered by Pastor Frese. He will be helped, of course, by the elders. The money will also be used to fund my renewal activities, for some supplies for the youth darts program at Redeemer, and for a culminating event in September after I return. Any equipment purchased for the programs will belong to the congregation at the end. Any funds not expended according to the approved budget must be returned to the Endowment. The grant is meant to alleviate any financial burden or stress on the congregation associated with this program but not to be financially profitable or to fund other ministries and missions.
My side of the program will have three intertwined components revolving around darts: time, travel, and training. The time, 98 days in total, is meant to enable me to disconnect from the Ministry. I will travel 43 days with Jacqui to reconnect with her, to see darts at the highest level and receive some coaching, to visit my ancestral home and develop new horizons. Those 43 days include travel to New York City to attend the North American Darts Championship at Madison Square Garden. That weekend will be spent with former field worker, Rev. Evan Scamman, and his family. We are also going on a two week bus tour of Ireland and Scotland. After there there will be a long weekend in London to include some dart coaching and then five days on the Isle of Man. In London and on the Isle we will be joined by Jacqui’s best friend and her husband and get some motorcycle time in. It won’t be funded by the grant, but Jacqui and I are also hoping to get in at least a couple of weekends visiting her father in Northern Michigan.
I will also do some solo travel. I will spend one week at a wellness retreat in the Smoky Mountains. There I will receive mental training and engage in new and healthy experiences. This might be painful, but I am looking forward to it. I will also do some solo travel not funded by the grant. I will attend the English District convention in June and a pastors’ conference in Wisconsin in July. In August I will teach a continuing education course for the Seminary in Minnesota. I also agreed to write an article for a Festschrift for a friend that has to be completed this Summer. While I won’t be preaching, teaching Catechism or Bible classes, seeing shut-ins or making calls, or attending meetings, I will still be engaged theologically and with the Church at large.
Along the way, I will have a few weeks at home with no scheduled activities. There I hope to have uninterrupted and unhurried practice time on the dartboard. Already in January, I began in-person training sessions with a sports psychologist. Those will also continue and wrap us this Summer. This is a course of study and discipline to help with performance anxiety. It is centered on darts but its applications are legion.

The congregation’s side is less focused on darts. It is mainly time with Pastor Frese and other ministers for Biblical study. Some of that, particularly with Pastor Frese, will take up spiritual and practical aspects of dealing with anxiety and stress, focusing on the peace that passes all understanding and the comfort that comes from recognizing and knowing our place in this life as God’s redeemed children. During this time, I ask that you do not contact me about pastoral care. The program expects real benefit to come from a limited but extended break. While I am away, please make use of Pastor Frese.
I will return to full-time work on September 1. On Saturday, September 17, we will host a seminar in the morning on what Pastor Petersen has learned about dealing with stress and anxiety and spiritual applications. We will then enjoy a catered lunch followed by a dart tournament. Baby sitting will be provided. The tournament will not be competitive. It will place an emphasis on fun and involvement and include prizes and contests for everyone. The whole community will be invited and the grant will pay for all of it.
Thank you for your prayers and support over the years and for your support of this program. It is a great gift for me and for Jacqui. Retirement is likely at least 15 – 20 years away and maybe not even then. I am not looking for an out. I love the people we serve here. I love the work I’ve been called to do. I am excited about our future together and I thank God for you and this place daily. Jacqui feels the same way.

Volunteers needed Saturday, June 11

We could still use a few volunteers to welcome people to our building this Saturday, June 11 when the church is part of the Historic Harrison Hill Home Tour. Jane has created a Signup Genius with two hour time slots. If you volunteer for two hours you get a free ticket for the tour. If you can volunteer but can’t do a whole two hours, let her know. All that is required is to be in the building to direct people to the bathrooms or to the nave and to answer their questions to the best of your ability. Thanks in advance!

Easter at Redeemer

There will be one service on Easter Sunday at 10:30. Get here early, because parking will be tight!

The Easter breakfast will be at 9:00 and is a potluck this year. We have received a grant from Thrivent in support of it as a fundraiser for missions in China.