On the 31st of March Andreas Albers started his second and final examination for the office of the holy ministry.
During the first eight weeks of his exam, he wrote a paper in which he examined the pros and cons of having Sunday School either during, before, or after the church service.
After giving a brief and fascinating overview of the development of Sunday School in church history, he asked: Who belongs to the church? According to the Lutheran understanding of Baptism, all who are baptized belong to the church, infants as well. And as we confess in the Apostles’ Creed that church is the communion of saints, children also belong in the church service. Sunday School should therefore not replace but supplement the church service.
Albers also made some practical suggestions:
- Acquiring books for children which explain the order and meaning of the church service.
- Adults should give children the opportunity to grow into the church service. This will require – at times – lots of patience.
- If Sunday School takes place during the church service, it should only be during the sermon, so that all of God’s people worship him together as far as possible.
- Parents should take their children with when they go to the altar for Holy Communion so that they are blessed by the Pastor. From an early age, children should learn that Jesus has died for their salvation too.
After finishing this paper, Albers prepared a sermon and catechesis which he held in the Fairland congregation, where he did his vicarage. The catechesis was on the topic of “prayer.” In a practical way, he taught the confirmands what prayer is, how God answers prayer, whom to pray for, and what forms of prayers one can use.
His sermon was on Genesis 50:15-21. This passage is about Joseph and his brothers. Joseph’s brothers had done evil to him when they sold him as a slave to Egypt. But God used the situation to do good. In the same way, when we do evil and sin, God changes the situation by forgiving us our sins because of Jesus. And because Jesus forgives us, we forgive others – like Joseph had forgiven his brothers.
The oral examination of Albers took place on the 16th of July in Vryheid. The examiners were Dr Heinz Hiestermann (Old Testament), Bishop Dr Dieter Reinstorf (New Testament), Pastor Rüdiger Gevers (Confessions), Pastor Kurt Schnackenberg (Constitution of the FELSISA), and Dr Karl Böhmer (History of the FELSISA). The exams went very well, and we wish Andreas God’s blessings in serving the Lord!
Dr Heinz Hiestermann, Greytown (Chairman of the Examinations Board)