In the Foreword to Lutheran Education, Dr. Gene Veith writes directly, “Lutheran schools have always accompanied Lutheran churches.” But he continues, “Today the connections between church and school — theology and pedagogy, spiritual formation and practical education — are not as clear as they used to be.”
Last week my business took me to Houston, Texas. While there I was privileged to attend an evening Divine Service at Memorial Lutheran Church on Ascension Day. (As an aside, both pastors of MLC, Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray and Rev. Charles St-Onge, are fellow Canadians. It was also nice to see Cantor Janet Muth, whom I first met at the Institute on Liturgy, Preaching, and Church Music in 2008.) Besides being richly blessed through Word and Sacrament, what struck me was how strongly the congregation supports the connected Lutheran school. I haven’t seen such a high level of support for Lutheran education among any of our churches in Ontario. What gives?
Simple answers don’t suffice. I’d be tempted to suggest that Texans are just more independent-minded and do things differently (and bigger) than anyone else, if I didn’t also know that there are schools attached to Lutheran churches all over the USA. What do the members of MLC know that we don’t know here? Why do they value a distinctly Lutheran and classical education for their children?