The Memorial service was conducted principally in the interest of the many young children in our pre-school (the majority of whom are not members), children in our congregation, and community, to help them understand what happened to Pastor -- who they knew from frequent contact with him. Pastor Joel Luetke was asked to preside this service, not only because of his relationship with Pastor, but also because he leads a District program called "Jesus Cares" -- a Gospel ministry to the mentally disabled -- and has quite a bit of experience reducing what can be complex for children to very simple words. An unofficial attendance estimate for this service is on the order of 325.
The Funeral service was presided by Paster Mark Schwertfeger (first half of the service) and Pastor Wayne Hilgendorf (second half of the service). Both are pastors from our District, and classmates of Pastor. Pastor Charles Degner, District President, served as preacher. All musicians were from our congregation, except the choir, which was a group of pastors from our District, and one of the trumpeters, who is a son of our congregation but is now an active member at another congregation along with his new wife and child. A more official count of attendance for this service is on the order of 575.
At most, our nave only seats 200 comfortably. To effectively serve all of the attendees with the Gospel, and provide a means for their participation in the services, four large television screens were placed in adjoining fellowship and banquet halls, in front of several hundred chairs which were set up in rows. Real time video was piped to the screens so that those seated in the chairs could participate in the services along with those in the nave.
Pastor Paul Schmeling died today when he fell from a tree while pruning some branches. His son-in-law saw him land on his head. He still had a pulse but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Click here for a touching series of photos of Paul Schmeling and his family. The service will also be available on this link later on May 30th.
Paul was the pastor at Faith Lutheran, River Falls, Wisconsin.
My wife and I knew his family from our days in Ohio. Paul knew about the dangers of the Church Growth Movement in the 1980s.
The funeral is tentatively scheduled for Saturday; his youngest daughter was going to have her wedding shower that day.
I once talked to Paul's father, another pastor, about a distant situation. His father took care of it in the best possible way, leading to great happiness as a result. Paul was a pastor like his father, caring about people and sound doctrine.
My wife and I are very sad about Paul's death, what this means for his widow and his children. I will post more information as it comes in.
I heard this anecdote from the area. Paul's children were listed in the dedication of Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure, published by Northwestern Publishing House. Paul had that underlined when he gave a copy of the book for someone to read. Liberalism will soon be published again via Lulu.com.
Bruce Church has left a new comment on your post "Memorial Day Loss - Pastor Paul Schmeling, WELS":
Video of Pastor Paul M. Schmeling giving sermons from his website:
Here are the Visitation and Funeral details:
Visitation and Funeral Schedule
Friday, May 29, 2009
Short Memorial Service: 7:00pm
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Meal to follow in banquet hall
Michael Schottey has left a new comment on your post "Memorial Day Loss - Pastor Paul Schmeling, WELS":
I went to school and am friends with both his daughter, her fiance, and his niece.
They are a beautiful family and he was, by all accounts, a wonderful pastor.
Pastor Paul M.Schmeling 5/25/2009
Paul Michael Schmeling was born on July 5th, 1952 in Springfield, Illinois, the son of Arlyn L. and Evelyn H. (nee Heldt) Schmeling. He was baptized into the Kingdom of God and made an heir of eternal life through the cleansing of Holy Baptism on July 13th, 1952, in Springfield. He attended elementary school at St. John Ev. Lutheran School in Two Rivers, WI. On Palm Sunday, April 3, 1966, he publicly confessed his Christian faith and promised to remain faithful until death to his Savior Jesus Christ.
He attended Manitowoc Lutheran High School for three years until joining the graduating class of 1970 at Northwestern Preparatory School in Watertown, WI to begin preparation for the ministry. Following his graduation from Northwestern College of Watertown in 1974 he enrolled at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI. After spending his vicar year (1976-77) at St. John, Baraboo, WI, he returned to the seminary campus and graduated with the WLS class of 1978. He was assigned to serve Ascension, Roseville, MI and Zoar, Detroit, MI and was ordained and installed as pastor on July 9, 1978. His service to those congregations ended on January 31, 1981. He served Hope Ev. Lutheran Church of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, from 1981-1990 and Bethany Lutheran of Granite Falls, MN from 1990-1992. Pastor Schmeling has served at Faith Lutheran in River Falls, WI since June 1st, 1992. He preached for the last time and conducted his final service here on Sunday, May 24th, 2009. He served the church at large in many capacities, most recently as Coordinator of the MN District Parish Services and currently as Chairman of the MN District Nominating and the WELS Nominating Committees. On December 28th, 1975, he married Beth (nee Berger) at Salem Ev. Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, WI. The Lord blessed this union with two sons, Andrew and Pastor Benjamin Schmeling and two daughters, Amy (Scmeling) Bryant and Caralyn Schmeling. In addition to his love for the ministry and spending time with his wife, family members and friends, he enjoyed a wide variety of activities and games, golf, swimming, lawn and garden work, music, computers, traveling. The Lord Jesus in his infinite wisdom and love called to himself in heaven the soul of Pastor Paul Schmeling while at home with his family in River Falls, WI on Monday, May 25th, 2009 at the age of 56 years 10 months and 20 days. He is survived by wife, Beth; children, Andrew (Andrea nee Berg) and children, Luke, Jack and Samuel of Wilsonville, OR; Rev. Benjamin (Ann Marie nee Uecker) and children, Noah and Owen of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; daughter Amy (Ethan Bryant) and children, Cole and Landon of Woodbury, MN; and daughter Caralyn and fiancée Brian Wrobel; parents, Rev. Arlyn L. and Evelyn H. Schmeling of Sun City, AZ; Mother-in-law, Marie L. Berger of Milwaukee, WI; siblings, Angela (Darvin) Klatt, LaCrosse, WI; Rebecca (David) Klatt, Buffalo, MN; Marian (Gaius) Wiechmann, Elk River, MN, Rev. James (Martha) Schmeling of Monroe, MI; and Rev. Steven (Paula) Schmeling, Menomonie, WI, along with Beth’s five siblings and spouses, numerous nieces and nephews, many other relatives, friends and beloved members of Faith Ev. Lutheran Church. He was preceded in death by his father-in-law Gerald Berger and sister, Ruth Ann, who died in infancy. The Christian funeral service for Pastor Paul Schmeling is being held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at Faith Ev. Lutheran Church, River Falls, WI. Visitation will be on Friday, May 29, 2009 from 3-7 pm at the church with a Memorial Service at 7 pm designed for preschool families, the community and families with small children and on Saturday from 9-11 am before the service. A private committal service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be directed to Faith Ev. Lutheran Church or St. Croix Lutheran High School. Funeral arrangements are with the Bakken-Young Funeral Home of River Falls. Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:21 might best summarize his life of service to his Savior: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Then I heard a voice in heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” (Rev. 14:13)
Send condolences from this link.
Cynthia Clement has left a new comment on your post "Memorial Day Loss - Pastor Paul Schmeling, WELS":
A friend gave me a Bible which planted the seed, another new friend asked me to join her one Sunday at Faith Ev. Lutheran Church; which brought me to the garden of Pastor Paul Schmeling's Church, with his teaching my faith in Jesus has grown spreading vines through out my family. My mentor and friend will be missed,he was such a wonderful teacher of the word, his legacy will last forever.