Monday, May 20, 2013


Pentecost is a three day weekend here in Hungary.

On Saturday we went out to a small village called Mende.  The Lutheran congregation there is of Slovak descent and has maintained an old Slovak tradition.  On the Saturday before Pentecost, the young men of the congregation cut 8 poplar trees and bring them into the church.  The women of the congregation then decorate the trees with needlework and with lace.

They invited us to a marvelous congregational dinner after the service -- very much like a congregational dinner in one of our rural Iowa congregations, except for all the toasts with apricot brandy.  :-)

On Pentecost Sunday, we worshiped with a small Anglican congregation in Budapest.  It was amazing to see how the light reflected in this small, half-underground space.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Random things

Almost three weeks into the trip, Krista finally discovers a wine she doesn't mind:

Jamie and Jacque head off for a swim at the spa:

Dr. Kleinhans and her husband Pastor Alan Schulz play role reversal with Martin and Katie Luther cut-outs:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

St. Elizabeth of Hungary - St. Elizabeth of Thueringia - St. Elizabeth of May Term

As of today, we have visited all four of the three places where St. Elizabeth lived.  Yes, you read that right.

We've followed Elizabeth's life backwards.  Elizabeth stop #1 was Marburg, where St. E died and is buried.  Elizabeth stop #2 was Eisenach and the Wartburg Castle, where St. E lived most of her life and developed her reputation for charity work, feeding the hungry and building a hospital to tend to the sick.  Elizabeth stops #3 and #4 were Bratislava (yesterday) and Sarospatak (today), where St. E was born (depending on whether you believe the Slovaks or the Hungarians - so take your pick).

I love this statue of St. Elizabeth near the castle in Bratislava.  One of the best known legends associated with Elizabeth is "the miracle of the roses."  According to legend, Elizabeth was taking bread from the castle kitchen to distribute to the poor and, when confronted about what she had in her basket, she said, "Roses," and when she uncovered her basket, God had turned the bread into roses.  St. Elizabeth is often depicted with an armful or a basketful for roses.  What's so cool about this statue, though, is that you can see those miraculous roses in her arm and you can also see a small loaf of bread in her right hand as she offers it to the poor, hungry man lying at her feet.  Both/and!  I love the fact that the roses don't replace the real gift of bread.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Wartburg May Term Class "Reformation Then & Now" has been joined by a group from the Northeastern Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In the ELCA, each Synod has one or more "companion synods" so that our synodical expressions can relate more closely to the global Lutheran community. For example, the Northeastern Iowa Synod is "companions" with the Lutheran denominations in Namibia and with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary. Already, a Bishop from Hungary has come to visit us in Iowa and a young adult has come to spend the summer to work at Ewalu Camp and Retreat Center in Strawberry Point. If our relationship is to grow any deeper, it is time for some of us to visit.

Our group is being led by Bishop Steven L. Ullestad '75. He is accompanied by Ruth Ullestad '75, myself, and my wife Beverly. Pr. Harold McMillan '72 serves Saint John Lutheran Church in Luanna where the congregation has already voted to be in a church-to-church relationship, so he is participating seeking to establish that kind of tie. Pr. Phil Olson serving Calmar Lutheran Church is also with us. Tanner C. Howard, a third year seminarian from Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, is attending after being sponsored by his congregation, First Lutheran Church in Dows, and some extremely generous friends of the synod.

When we get to Hungary, we will meet with church and government officials to discuss ways we can work together over the next several years. We will also be getting to know our Hungarian companions better by touring a school, college, social ministry sites and, of course, many congregations. On Pentecost Monday, Bishop Ullestad will be offering the sermon at a local congregation.

We are excited by all the opportunities this trip offers both our Synod and the Hungarian Lutheran Church. We are grateful to be able to spend time with these exceptional young people from Wartburg College. They are a joy to be around and excellent representatives of their college.

Pastor Mark A. Anderson, Assistant to the Bishop

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Wartburg College was founded by missionaries sent from this small town in Bavaria in 1852. Yesterday we were given a tour of the local museum by Dr. Horst Becker, retired head of the mission society here in Neuendettelsau.


Later in the day, archivist Matthias Honold showed us some of the treasured documents and realia he works with.  Graduating history major Krista Sellers got to look at one of Wilhelm Loehe's journals!

We ended the day with an evening Service of Blessing at St. Laurentius Church, where the Wartburg Choir plans to sing in 2014.  It will be the 160th anniversary of the founding of the deaconess community, and they are very excited about having the Choir help them celebrate.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Another point of view

Pastor Alan Schulz isn't blogging here, but he's sending daily updates back to his congregation.  You can read his take on the May Term adventures on the webpage of St. John Lutheran Church, Nashua, Iowa at

Monday, May 6, 2013

1/3 of the way already

Hard to believe, but exactly one week ago we were in Detroit waiting for our flight to Frankfurt.  Since then we've visited Worms, Marburg (where St Elizabeth is buried), our sister city Eisenach, Erfurt (where Luther became a monk), Eisleben (where Luther was born and died), and now Wittenberg.  We've visited churches, museums, and a concentration camp, and we've heard from local pastors and scholars.

We picked up an extra traveler in Eisenach, Hendrikje Doebert, who guided us through the Wartburg Castle one day and joined us on the bus the next, visiting Erfurt, Eisleben, and Wittenberg with us before heading back home on the train this afternoon.

Here's a picture of Frau Doebert, Katharina von Bora Luther, and Dr. Kleinhans, three rockin' women.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

This post is a day late.  Sorry.

Yesterday we visited Erfurt and Buchenwald.  Erfurt has a long history of trading, and it is where Martin Luther attended college and began his life as a monk.

Buchenwald was different from what I had always thought of with the concentration camps.  It was not built as an extermination camp, although it was responsible for the deaths of more than 56,000 people.  It was called a "protective custody camp," and used as a work force.  Many of the inmates had to build guns for the Nazis, and others had to build a railway which took the guns out and brought new prisoners in.  When the Allied forces liberated the camp built for 8,000 people, they found 21,000, including 900 children under 18.
While there, we saw the cell of the prison within the prison where the well known pastor Paul Schneider was held for fifteen months, the longest any prisoner stayed in this prison area.  The memorial, heated to the temperature of the human body, in the old canteen was especially eerie for me.  It made it very easy to imagine the people commemorated as being there as we learned about them.  We will remember.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hello from Germany!

I'm Jacqueline Schutte from Wartburg College.  We visited the Wartburg Castle today!  One of the most exciting things about the visit to Wartburg was that myself and two other students rode up to the castle on donkeys.  Mine's name was Moni and one other's name was Leisel.

Being at the castle was very exciting too.  Some students and I went to the top of the castle tower and looked around from the top of the mountain.  It was a very beautiful view.

I also enjoyed seeing the room where Luther translated the New Testament into German.  The room was very small and crude compared to how ornate and extravagant the rest of the castle was.  His room was in the far corner of the castle past where the donkey drivers lived.  Dr. Kleinhas pointed out the footrest that was Martin Luther's (which was the only authentic piece of furniture in the room) was a whale vertebra.

St. Elizabeth also lived in the Wartburg Castle.  Her room was decorated with a beautiful sparkling glass mosaic which was made with 4 million pieces of glass.

Another highlight of the trip for all of us has been the food, it is all so very tasty here!  We are all trying new things and everything has been delicious.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

There we stood

A group of weary Wartburgers arrived in Frankfurt Tuesday morning, then boarded a bus immediately for Worms.  Worms was a Roman settlement already in the first few centuries, but its significance for Lutherans is Martin Luther's appearance before Emperor Charles V at the imperial diet held there in 1521.  It's where Luther made his famous speech that he would not recant his teachings unless convinced of his errors by the Scriptures or clear reason.  He may or may not have said "Here I stand," but he DID stand in Worms before empire and church -- and yesterday we stood there, too.