Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rev. Paul Rydecki Receives Sabre of Boldness 2012

On Thursday night, January 19, 2012, Rev. Paul Rydecki, pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Las CrucesNew Mexico, was selected from among six nominees for the 2012 Sabre of Boldness.  The Sabre has been awarded by the editors of Gottesdienst for seventeen years. Originally slated to be held at La Quinta Hotel in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the ceremony was moved to the commons at Concordia Theological Seminary due to the threat of inclement weather.  As it turned out, this also made matters more convenient for attendees at the seminary's Symposium banquet the same night.  The Sabre ceremony was held shortly after the banquet's conclusion.

Rev. Rydecki is a founding member of Intrepid Lutherans, a blog ( which serves as an online forum to “promote, support, and where necessary, encourage a restoration of confessional Lutheranism within the Wisconsin Synod.” He was given the award for his steadfast willingness to publish the Intrepid Lutherans blog, in spite of the hardships that he has incurred because of it. 

The Sabre Ceremony was recorded, and the link to the audio is here.

There were five other nominees, all of whom the editors consider most worthy of the award, and whom we wish to honor as well.  They are listed here below.

1. Rev. David Kind is pastor of the Univ. Lutheran Chapel in Minneapolis.  The chapel is being sold by the district’s Board of Directors.  Fr. Kind has remained faithful in the face of hardship and opposition to this important campus mission.

2. Rev. Richard Gizynski is pastor of Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Chicago.  This church and its parsonage are in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, one of the most economically, depressed, crime, drug and gang ridden areas in Chicago. Today the church and parsonage are for sale because of the congregation’s poverty. He has not been paid in months, and faces potential homelessness, but he remains committed to serving his congregation faithfully, as he has done for years, for as long as he is able.

Due to this troubling situation, the editors deemed it proper to set up a fund for the purpose of providing Pastor Gizynski with aid.  In addition to funds collected the night of the ceremony, we have established the capability for donors to contribute online, at our regular Gottesdienst website under "Make a donation." Be sure to list Pastor Gizynski in the "Purpose" box.  The link is here.

3. Rev’d Jonathan L. Jenkins, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lebanon Pennsylvania, practices confessionally orthodox worship and has stood up for the faith in the face of secularization and revision of the faith in the ELCA. He has organized Lutherans Reform! in Central Pennsylvania and has been a strong voice for orthodox Lutheranism.

4. Rev. Donavon Riley, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Webster, Minnesota, is under extreme stress as his eldest son, Owen, age 9 has fluid on his brain which threatens to push the cerebellum into the spinal column and will most likely require brain surgery. At the same time, his wife is pregnant and has developed gestational diabetes. Yet he continues to post both to his own blog “The First Premise” ( and co-edit the blog Gnesio (, and carry out a full schedule of regular duties.  Meanwhile his church has suffered financial difficulty and he himself has faced criticism for his unwavering preaching of the Theology of the Cross and fidelity to the Gospel.

5. Provost Gert Kelter of the SELK (our German sister church), pastor of the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, is a powerful orthodox force among the leadership of the SELK as one of the four supervisory clerics under the bishop.  He has been severely criticized and threatened for a straightforward piece he has published in Logia regarding the Islamic surge in Europe.  He has consistently been the confessional voice in the SELK.

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