by The Rev. Rich Heinz
The need was even more apparent for the FOR YOU conferences: something was needed to give an ecclesial sense – a churchly feel – to the concert hall in Minneapolis and the facility in Asheville. Something was necessary to transform the space. The ideal of Higher Things conferences is to have sacred space set aside, not used for plenaries, announcements, and the business of the conference. Something was desired that would proclaim: “Work and play take place in other settings; this space is for worship.”
What could possibly accomplish this task? What could transform these rooms (and others at future conferences?) What simply by its placement would declare that this is a Lutheran space, where we gather around the Lord in Prayer Offices and Divine Services? A large crucifix!
The Rev. Kantor Richard Resch related that the internet was used for studying options, but nothing seemed quite right. Then another option surfaced. The Rev. Mark Mumme has a large workshop for his talent and hobby of woodworking. Pastor Mumme, who makes many of his own furniture items, made a processional crucifix for Kramer Chapel at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.
Kantor Resch emailed Pastor Mumme, asking for his ideas. Pastor Mumme immediately responded: “I want to do this!”
Although a fine craftsman, Pastor Mumme does not carve figures such as a corpus for a crucifix. This meant a non-budgeted expense. However, when the choral workshop for FOR YOU was canceled, the original donors from Saint Paul congregation in Fort Wayne graciously gave their consent for the funds to purchase it.
A corpus from Oberammergau, Germany was ordered. Although such international orders can sometimes be delayed, worries subsided when arrangements were made for faster shipping, and the Christ figure swiftly arrived.
The figure of the body of Jesus was ready, now they needed a cross. The youth of Zion Lutheran in Hardwick, Minnesota (Pastor Mumme’s parish) raised the funds needed for the lightweight, yet sturdy wood.
As it was finished, Pastor Mumme suggested to Kantor Resch, “I could make a processional cross that matches it.” And so he did. They were completed and delivered the Monday before the conference in Minneapolis.
HT Retreat Executive Landon Reed is building boxes for both crucifixes, to transport them easily. Each corpus needs to be handled and transported carefully, as the figures, especially the fingers of Christ, are very delicate.
Higher Things thanks Pastor Mark Mumme, who donated all of his labor, sharing his talent in these two works of art.
Just as the processional crucifix in Kramer Chapel has become a focal point of great beauty, directing our thoughts toward our Savior, so do the new Higher Things hanging crucifix and processional crucifix. With the aid of these crucifixes, we witness with our eyes the Gospel that we hear as we Dare to be Lutheran and gather for the Feast, given For You, and gladly respond: Amen