The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


He's my father

It was during the prayer of the church. He prayed, “And, Lord, today is our annual picnic. If it be thy will, we would like the rain to stop.” And the noise of the driving rain just quit. I peeked over at the window, and the sun began to break through the clouds. The rain quit and the sun came out. The picnic was a great success.

I asked him later if he was surprised, too, that the rain quit. He said he just tells God what he’s thinking, and then he accepts what God gives us to work with. I think he’s trusted God so completely for so long that God now trusts him. He’s my father, B. Paul Huddle.

Dad was ordained July 28, 1940, at Lutheran Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C. He met Martha Bame at Massanutten, Va., later that summer. Three days later he asked her to marry him and accompany him to Japan as a missionary. She said, "Yes."

Dad has lived, as best he could, as Jesus would want him to. He’s given his life to serving Christ as a missionary (to Japan and India); as a teacher (of history in our Lutheran college and seminary near Tokyo and also as president of Luther College [Teaneck, N.J.], now Lutheran Bible Ministries, Inc.); as a soldier (he retired as a full colonel from the Army where he served as a chaplain); as a pastor (in Japan, Europe, and Shelbyville, Tenn.); as a husband; and as a father to five children.

He retired a few years ago and settled in Roanoke, Va., to update and rewrite our family’s history (our immigrant ancestor, Johannes Hottel, came to Pennsylvania in 1732). But it was just like him to want to continue actively serving the church, so he volunteered as a fill-in preacher. Besides working on the fourth volume of the Hottel history, ministering to my mother in her prolonged illness, and singing in a choir, he also preaches three out of four Sundays, traveling as far away as Washington, D.C.

Maybe it’s because of his example that all five of his children have made helping others their lifework. Ben is a chemistry professor at Roanoke College, Salem, Va. Pat just retired after a long career as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines. I retired from the Army as a soldier. Jim teaches nuclear physics at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. And Ed helps others start their own businesses. Could it be that since none of us thought we could live up to his example that none of us became a minister?

Dad once said this life should be practice for how we’ll live once we go home to Jesus. He’s practiced well.

This week's front page features:

Our 50 Father's Days: A son looks back on a lifetime with his dad. (Photo at right.)

Sixteen candles: Congregation’s prayers ‘burn’ for its young people.

And the envelope goes to … The Lutheran picks 13 winners in church Web site contest.

The challenge of humility: Can we create a community of equals?

Also: Share your ideas.

Also: ELCA, LCMS leaders discuss military chaplaincy.

Also: Florida-Bahamas Synod encounters insurance difficulties.

This week on our blog:

Elizabeth Hunter (right) writes about how we communicate who we are as Lutherans. She also shares a lesson about "bringing" from a Columbus, Nebraska, congregation.

Amber Leberman blogs about technology and asks readers whether it connects or isolates them.

Kathleen Kastilahn writes about those "car" fish that swim the highways.

Daniel Lehmann writes about "splendid isolation." (It's not a good thing.)

Julie Sevig, in a shout-out to her friend Heidi, reveals some little-known facts about the accordion.

Check out our blog (and leave a comment) > > >

This week in our discussion forums:

Every month we give you, our most dedicated readers, the opportunity to respond to what you read in The Lutheran and on our Web site. We currently have open discussion forums available for the June and July issues and invite you to tell your fellow readers (and the staff of The Lutheran) what you thought about recent issues.

The Lutheran welcomes guest host Jo Buth next week, who will discuss her congregation's writing group. Talk with Buth and your fellow readers about the practice of writing as both an individual exercise and one that can bring people together in a congregation. The discussion starts June 20, but feel free to post comments and questions at any time.

Check out our discussion forums > > >

Tell us! The big goodbye.

For a future story in The Lutheran, share your opinion(s) of today’s funeral/memorial service trends:

1. What’s most important to you for your funeral? (200 words)

2. What’s the oddest, or most meaningful, thing you’ve experienced at a funeral? (100-200 words)

Send your responses to either or both questions to Julie Sevig or The Lutheran, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631, by Aug. 1. Be sure to include your name, congregation, city and state.

Or respond on-line > > >

Your comments are welcome!

We'd love to hear what kinds of articles you like to read in this e-newsletter. Do you prefer reflections on the coming Sunday's Scripture readings, stories about current issues, first-person accounts or light and humorous pieces?

Is there someone we should ask to write a guest e-newsletter or a ministry we should feature?

Let us know. Send any comments about or suggestions for this e-newsletter to Amber Leberman.

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February issue


Embracing diversity