My wife, Gladys and I, were sitting in Beaners on the westside of Lansing today talking about our trip to Aspen for a special retreat for teachers in Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) Schools.
Without notes, we ticked off the different speakers and their main points, at least those we could remember. Considering that it was held in Aspen and on the side of Buttermilk Mountain, you could have a retreat where the phonebook is read and probably still have a positive experience. But:
- What did we learn that can benefit Lutheran school teachers, their spouses and their congregations?
- Was it worth it?
- What can we give back or how can we pay the benefit forward?
There are several hundred Lutheran schools from pre-kindergarten through high school. The LCMS and other Lutheran bodies have placed a high emphasis dating back to the 1800's on Christian education for their kids. They have had a proud history and have been integral for many communities.
With cultural changes that affect families from just about every direction, teachers have been under the gun. Their role has changed, like it has for public school teachers, from being educators to social workers and family problem-solvers. All this change has taken a toll on Lutheran schools and their teachers.
To help keep teachers from burning out and to help them deal with the demands of job and family, Dr. John Eckrich, M.D., a St. Louis physician started these retreats, first for pastors and spouses and now for Lutheran school teachers. His organization, Grace Place, is breaking new ground in helping church and school workers get attitude and relational overhauls.
These are held in high-end resort areas like Aspen where ours was conducted.
Dr. Eckrich is driven by a vision to help church workers and their families. He feels a call from God to do this and he is responding to that call.
I'm sure that there's some Lutheran school that's saved from closing or discord because of his efforts. And, I'm sure that some teacher's family is saved from marital division and ultimate divorce because of him.
In a series of posts, I hope to share my impressions and highlights of the trip as the non-church worker spouse in our family duo.
I will devote one or more posts to Dr. David Ludwig, a clinical psychologist, LCMS pastor and professor at Lenoir-Rhyne College. I will try to do this in several short posts that the material and links will be helpful to readers.