Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Requiescat in pace:
+William H. Lazareth, STS

The initial announcement on Monday morning was brief:
Dean Rodney Eberhardt of the Metro New York Chapter has informed me that the Most Rev. William H. Lazareth, STS, departed this earthly life at 12:10 PM on Saturday February 23, 2008. A private funeral will be held in Bar Harbor, Maine for the family. The current plans are to hold a memorial sevice (date to be determined) in Eastertide to be held at St Matthew's Lutheran Church, White Plains, NY. When the date and further information is available, the information will be given to Bishop Lazareth's fellow members in the Society.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord + Yea, for they rest from their labors.

Frank C. Senn, STS,
We have lost a giant in the Faith.

You can read a the obituaries from Carthage College and the ELCA News Service. They refer to much of his career as a seminary professor at Mt. Airy, author, parish pastor, world-renowned theologian (particularly for his work with the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, the first Bishop of the ELCA's Metropolitan New York Synod, and still a teacher in "retirement."

None of the obituaries have yet mentioned that Bishop Lazareth was one of the early subscribers to the Rule of the Society of the Holy Trinity, one of two retired ELCA Bishops (now both departed from this life) to do so. He participated as he was able in the STS Metro New York and Wisconsin Chapters and by occasionally representing the Society while addressing theological conferences.

I first knew of Dr. Lazareth some 30 years ago (ouch!) when I was a young layman in the Lutheran Church of America, while he headed theDepartment for Church in Society, Division for Mission in North America, and you'll find some of his work in my library, both books and LCA studies. I was privileged to meet him a couple of times, in 1993 when he was one of the Hein-Fry lecturers and in 2004 when he was one of the STS speakers at a Colloquium on the Ministry sponsored by the Society and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne entitled “The Lutheran Ministry in Light of the Great Tradition.”

Bishop William H. Lazareth, STS, churchman (1928-2008). There are few like him left in the ELCA. Much to our loss.

    In paradisum deducant te angeli:
    in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres
    et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
    Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,
    et cum Lazaro quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.


Pastor Zip said...

For more remembrances of Bishop Lazareth see here and here on ALPB online.

Anonymous said...

He was, indeed, a great man -- a dedicated servant of the Church. I was privileged to see him in action only once, and that was at a youth gathering in Chicago. I was sceptical that this scholar and bureaucrat had what it took to hold the attention of young people who were on a wild weekend in the Big Windy. But he held them transfixed, speaking without manuscript in terms that cut right to their hearts. Amazing.

He later had that effect on me with some of his writings -- clearly written, well organized, and I thought almost undeniable (including his work on the "parenetic function of the Gospel").

May his memory be forever.