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Confessions of faith
A husband and wife share their separate journeys of faith and how their journey is continuing together.
Talking to Bob and Dune Clarke feels like chatting with good friends. They're warm, funny, gracious, and well grounded. They know what they have and where they're going.
And it's all because of the Lord.
Although their religious backgrounds differ, Bob and Dune are now active members at Abiding Peace, a WELS congregation in South Carolina. "The fellowship is awesome," says Bob. "It's a great place to worship and meet people who really care about you and who love you."
GETTING INVITED TO CHURCH
For Dune, religion didn't start with being baptized as a baby. "In my family we didn't have any religion," she says. Then in her 20s, she got involved in musical theater in New York City. She became friends with another dancer who was a WELS member.
"I guess it really was friendship evangelism that happened," Dune recalls. "I would ask her questions and she'd answer them, or she would say, ‘I really don't know, but you should come to church.' " So Dune went to the WELS mission in New York City.
Her first experience at church felt familiar. "The mission was in a dance studio building, and there was a very famous dancing rehearsal group upstairs," she says. "The church's rented room was on the floor under it, so you could hear the music and ballet shoes pounding—boom, boom—on the ceiling." The atmosphere helped put her at ease. Best of all, she got to hear God's Word.
Shortly after that first visit, Dune started taking Bible information classes. If she missed a session, one of the pastors would call her. "I'll never forget that," she says. "He knew what was at stake, and he wasn't going to let me not pay attention." When Dune finished the course, she was baptized and confirmed.
Getting to hear God's Word and have the Holy Spirit bring her to faith are events that Dune cherishes to this day. "You never lose that incredible thankfulness for something like that," she says. "I could have walked into any church in the whole world, and I walked into a WELS church."
SEARCHING FOR WHAT WAS MISSING
As the oldest of 11 children, Bob grew up in a Catholic home. "My mom and dad were practicing Catholics, and I went to Catholic grade school and a Catholic high school," he says. He attended church every Sunday. In school, he studied the Baltimore Catechism and learned about the Catholic doctrine.
Even with this training, Bob says, "I didn't feel like I was a particularly religious person. I went to church on Sunday because we had to go. It was a sin if you didn't."
When Bob turned 18, the war in Vietnam had just started. He joined the Air Force and drifted away from church. He stayed away for about 30 years.
Author: Rachel Hartman
Volume 97, Number 1
Issue: January 2010
Volume 97, Number 1
Issue: January 2010
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2009
Permission is granted for a single personal copy of an article. Additional copyright information is available at Northwestern Publishing House.
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Bible translation revision
Have you heard that the publishers of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible have updated the translation? A Translation Evaluation Committee has been established to study and examine this new translation, along with other English language translations. The committee has compiled essays, information, and studies on the topic.
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