The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Finally a Lutheran

Take it from Dorothy: You're never too old for confirmation

Dorothy Prindle put confirmation on hold for some 80 years. But in October 2004, on Reformation Sunday, she confirmed her faith before her pastor and peers—some of them using wheelchairs or walkers to steady themselves.

 Dorothy Prindle
"Lutheranism just suits my disposition," says Dorothy Prindle, who confirmed her faith at age 93. "It's simple and truthful." Her teacher, Becky Ebb-Speese, recalls: "On Ash Wednesday when I put ashes on her forehead, Dorothy looked up at me and said, 'Oh, it's wonderful to have them as a Lutheran.'"

With that rite of confirmation, Prindle became Lutheran—something she’d had a taste of during her teenage years in New York City.

Prindle confirmed her faith at Luther Village, Grand Rapids, Mich., after six months on the confirmation fast track with Becky Ebb-Speese, an ELCA pastor and Luther Community chaplain.     

“Dorothy wasn’t an average confirmation student,” says Ebb-Speese, the new patron saint of understatements. “She wanted to know everything about Martin Luther’s life, and even wanted to read all of the 95 Theses.”

And so they did. They used James Nestingen’s Martin Luther: A Life (Augsburg Fortress, 2003), and then launched into Luther’s theses (and catechism). Because Prindle’s eyesight is failing, Ebb-Speese read each one aloud and discussion followed. Creative, cutting-edge confirmation programs be gone. Luther would have been proud. Prindle was full of observations and “What does this mean?” questions.

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