Some of you may remember this cover, as well as the title "Dear Partners," especially those of you who were rostered leaders in the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in the late 1970s. First published in February 1979, Partners
(also known as LCA Partners
beginning with the February 1980 issue) began a publishing ministry which ran for 31 years.
In the first issue, Lloyd Sheneman, executive director for the Division for Professional Leadership of the LCA, wrote that because of the discontinuance of the Ministers Information Service in 1971, the church had no way to address LCA rostered leaders' "commitments and needs, including the need to share with each other and with the church's elected officials, the joys and possibilities experienced in ministry today" ("Introducing Partners," Partners
, February 1979, p. 4).
The first words of its first editor, Richard Koenig, pointed out that the word translated "partnership" in Philippians 1:5 (RSV) comes from the Greek word, koinonia: "‘Partnership' is an inviting term that conveys Saint Paul's thought beautifully. As church leaders, we clergy and lay professionals are partners first because we share in the partnership of the Gospel" (p. 5).
took on many forms of editorial content and design over the years, both in print and eventually online, all written by and for pastors and rostered lay ministers — first within the LCA, then as partners with the American Lutheran Church and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (1985), and then in the ELCA.
"Dear Partners," the title of a column written by the LCA president, James R. Crumley Jr. beginning with the February 1980 issue, provided a place for the president, and later, bishops, to share their thoughts and concerns. It continued throughout the years, ending just prior to the beginning of the ELCA. (ELCA Archives)
This article appeared in the March/April 2010 issue of Lutheran Partners (vol. 26, no. 2).