Some people believe we should not live in the past. However, sometimes it is interesting to revist those times when we were young. Growing up a Lutheran..meant that the Sunday after my confirmation, I would get to go to Walther League!! My grandkids look at me - shake their heads - and say Walther what? Then I have the opportunity to share about the great organization known as Walther League. It was so great...after all, that's where I met their Grandpa!! We had the opportunity to meet other Lutheran teens from neighboring congregations. For a lot of us, it was our social life. For some it was a time to do pranks...esp at summer camp.
Any other WLers out there? Have any interesting WL stories to share?
Me, too. I loved Walther League. Our big things were heyrides in the fall and square dancing in the church basement. Now any kind of dancing was frowned on, but they kind of looked the other way for the square dancing. And it was so much fun to attend meetings with other kids in other cities. Now days the kids go on a national convention every year with thousands. And I think they still have a good time, although they don't call it Walther League any longer. Anone know when the name went out of use?
Re: Walther League
Jun 12, 2005 7:36 PM
in response to: Shar M
Alas yet another thing I missed out on by growing up ELCA. I switched over to the LCMS around age 19. Ah well, such is life. I don't remember there being a single thing available in these parts back when I was confirmed back in '84 :oP Oh well
Oh, John, it wouldn't have made a difference in your life as you were too young when they dissolved and reformed.
If I remember correctly, there was a push (Board for Youth Ministry???) to make the youth organization more contemporary and relevant, and many teens didn't know Walther from Walmart back then. The name "Walther League" was too archaic, I guess. To say nothing of his mug being just too darn scary....
In order to be "new" and "contemporary" the entire organization structure was also changed.
Re: Walther League
Apr 12, 2007 11:47 PM
in response to: Harriet
Thanks for sharing the memories...we also had hayrides...snow parties(we almost lost our vicar and a group who went on a 7 man sled and into a tree, ooops). We had fun caroling, decorating the tree at christmas. Oh yes, we had those "dances" in the church...but SHAME we couldn't call them dances!! They weren't held in the church, but in the church basement. And we had party games like Wink'm...that was fun cause Bobby would wink at a girl and ooooo la la, Bobby winked at someone! Every Christmas Season, we would meet and prepare the Wheat Ridge Seal Envelopes for members of the congregation. That was "our project"...And the big highlight of the year was Walther League Camp for a week. Anyone out there ever hear of Camp Greyback? (Oregon) Boy could we tell you all some stories!! Growing up in the 50-60's was a good time. There are still good times to be had by our church youth. Our son went to Denver for youth gathering in 1980...and our Grandaughter will be going to Canada on a mission experience in July. They someday will reflect on good times with good friends in God's family!
[b]Walther League Song[/b]
W.G. Polack B. Schumacher
Walther Leaguers, Walther Leaguers, One and all are we;
Serving Jesus Christ, our Savior; Who has made us free!
Walther Leaguers, Walther Leaguers, Where so-e¿er we roam:
Praying and working for our Church and Home!
God the Father; son and Spirit, Holy Trinity
Grant us evermore Thy presence, Lead us graciously;
Bless our faith, increase our labors, Let Thy kingdom come,
As we are serving Thee in Church and Home!
Lord, direct us onward, upward, Battling for the right,
In the footsteps of the fathers, Now Thy saints in light!
Keep us faithful, firm, and watchful; Guide us ev¿ry one,
Till we shall meet before Thy heav¿nly throne!
From the Walther League Song Book
I¿m sorry, I don¿t know when it was published, the cover is gone. It either belonged to one of my parents (most likely), or my big brother who was a Caravaner (sp?) in the 60¿s.
I went to the Convention in 1968 at Purdue when they voted to dissolve it all. It was my first year in WL, and I still don¿t understand what went on. All I know is, it seemed like the vote was a forgone conclusion, because they had all the documents already printed up.
We had a great time though. There were 3 or 4 Greyhound buses of us from California, Nevada, and Hawaii, and I think we picked up some kids in Salt Lake City too. We visited all the Concordia colleges on the way and even went around Chicago during the Democrat convention when Mayor Daley posted 12,000 police officers on the streets, and called in the Illinois National Guard. We also stopped at VALPO.
Tilly, thanks for sharing the words to the WL song...I was going to look in my archives of books and see if I still had the words. And Carvaners...haven't heard that term for a long long time...I grew up in So. Oregon, and I remember a team coming to town. Couple of the kids stayed at our house for a couple of nights. We had about 25 kids in our church chapter. The Carvaners brought new insight and great ideas to share. And the opportunity to meet other youth from other parts of the US who shared our same belief. The Walther League I belonged to was a very close knit group. We prayed, laughed and cried together. We shared the joy when someone got their drivers license, or better yet, whose family got the first black and white TV (1956) Thanks again for sharing! Dorothy
Yeah! WL District Conventions meant going out of town...with the "gang".. I also attended Walther League Leadership Training at the Portland Concordia in 1954..only to return a few years later to attend Portland Concordia!! Then when I was home for the summer, I was asked to join the Walther Leaguers for a swimming party, the leaders had invited a guest, I almost didn't go...but I did. We will celebrate our 43 Wedding Anniversary in October!! I didn't return to Concordia!
However, I found another organization to join and be a part of church ministry---
Lutheran Womens Missionary League!!! Crossing paths with some who I had known in Walther League years before...As our children grew into their teen years, I went to work for a wonderful Fraternal Insurance Organization!!! Once again, crossing paths with people who I had met at WL, Concordia, LWML!!! Just can't get away from those Lutherans!!! What I have learned from this journey...Fellow believers in the body of Christ are special people! I try to share that with our children and grandkids..we are there for each other in the good times and the bad...
Re: Walther League
Jul 23, 2005 2:58 PM
in response to: Dorothy
I am ELCA (formerly ALC)
We did have a Luther League. Its motto was "With Christ For Christ"
One of their projects was the financing of the altar for our Martin Luther chapel. This altar was given in honor of the men and women of the congregation who had been and are in the service of our country.
The kids had Scouting ( boy and girl scouts
Held an ice cream social each summertime.
However, dancing was forbidden (and still is)
At one time some of the people wanted square dancing in the gymnasium, but Pastor said no. His logic was that while square dancing was okay, the kids would tire of square dancing and want other types of dancing.
In a previous message I mentioned Luther League...I was pretty sure that was the name of ALC youth group. In the town where I grew up...The LCMS church was on the "East Side" and the ALC church was on the "West Side"...The East Side was the "Walther Leaguers" territory the "East Side" was the "Luther Leaguers" territory!!
In todays language world we would have probably been called "Gangs"...
My Walther League days were in the mid to late 50's...a great time to grow up. Life was so full of enjoyment...esp. if surrounded by fellow believers..we didn't have to have the challenges that my grandkids have today growing up. My husband and I try not to live in the past...but we do listen to the "oldie" station...and try to capture the moment once again of the 50's...thru music! We have 6 grandchildren..ages 1-22...they all look at us with raised eyebrow!! Thats okay..we looked at them with squinted eyes when they are listening to their music!! (music ?)
Re: Walther League
Jul 24, 2005 2:13 AM
in response to: Dorothy
Well I too grew up ALC too. We had Luther League. It was, OK, but not great. Scouting was more fun. Something I learn now in my LCMS church that you couldn't do in LCMS in the old days. Back then you were WL or nothing.
Re: Walther League
Aug 2, 2005 9:50 PM
in response to: Grumpy
Dorothy, Thanks for the memories. I belonged during the late 40's and early 50's. We did a lot of roller skating parties for just the area Walther Leaguers. I too met my husband at skating. We also had a zone bowling league. It was great to be with all the area Lutherans. Thanks for the song. I still remember the melody. I went to a few of the district conventions which were fun. Had a great choir. Later in years when we attended LLL conventions, it was just like old home week with former Walther Leaguers and we had the same fun. In our area many remained members in the Walther League after they graduated from high school until they got married or joined other organizationsin the church. A few years ago our state had a Walther League reunion. I wasn't able to attend. Now I enjoy the LWML conventions. My kids were active in the LYF but I don't think they had as much interaction with other churches as we did. Our church has a LYF but too many outside interests interfere.
Re: Walther League
Jan 30, 2007 5:29 PM
in response to: Dorothy
I, too, have many fond memories of plays, statte-wide conferences, etc. So do my parents. I have panorama pictures of the International Walther League Convention in Detroit, 1937, and one from the 34th annual convention of the Kansas District in Pittsburg Kansas. If any wants either of the pictures, I'd be glad to sent it to them. Guess there aren't any national Walther League archives.
Our Walther League district--the old Utah-Idaho District--was instrumental in the formation of Camp Perkins in central Idaho. I was quite young when that camp started, but my parents were the counselors for our congregations Walther League so I got to go on many of its activities.
As I recall, our Magic Valley zone would have two semi annual rallies--a spring rally and a fall rally which brought in leaguers from all over the valley. In the winter we had a basketball league--my congregation won the last tournament ever played (I coached it). But we also did many other activities, some around camp, some around different seasons of the year. It was a very good way for young people to come together.
Why did it break up? For one thing: Walther League was actually intended for young adults in their late teens and 20s more than high schoolers. I think that as young adults got more interested in other forms of activities it sort of left a leadership vacuum for the younger set. The young adults provided role examples for the younger teens.
Then too, I hate to say this, but church polity came into play. There was a loud protest by some conservatives when the National Walther League body invited Pete Seeger to a national convention. That was more or less the last nail in the coffin. Many congregations started to withdraw from the national body because they wanted more control over what their kids were being exposed too. Walther League was eventually disbanded when Jack Preus became president of the LCMS.
I have always thought my kids missed out on a great experience that I had when I was a teen. A couple of my kids did get involved in a local "non denominational" group here in town. But we always had to remind them that there were differences in Lutheran teaching and what they were hearing at this group. My next to the youngest got very involved in the Scouting program--he spent three summers at Scout camp as a staff member. My youngest has been involved in a Servant Leadership program that was financed by Thrivent this past year--and has met a young woman from Alaska that he still talks with every night (Thank God for the new Long Distance packages--last month he talked with her a total of 20 hours on the phone las month alone). But he has come away with a much better appreciation of Lutheranism. He is now talking about ministry of some sort.
Instead of bemoaning the loss of Walther League or Luther League, though, I think the challenge is still there for us to support--and even develop---strong youth ministries where we are at. We have a great youth minister now. We are seeing more families with young people attending. Our youth committee has actually transformed itself into a Luther League type group now (I am ELCA now). The youth are even becoming more active in the congregational leadership. My son, Kevin (age 17) is on the church council now.
What can you do in your local congregation to strengthen your youth ministry?
Hi Dorothy, I enjoyed reading your fond memories about Walther League. I'm a bit too young to have been a part of it but my parents were both very involved.
I now work in the Office of Church Relations at Valparaiso University and we are trying to find folks who were Youth Caravaners. We have lists from 1956-1960 and the list for 1963 but are still looking for the youth lists of 1961 and 1962. All of their training took place at Valparaiso University and we are hoping to reconnect with some of them.
Do you, or any one else out there have some stories to share about the program?
I was a Walther Leaguer from 1961 until 1965 in Wisconsin. What an experience! We always tried to apply WERFS - Worship, Education, Recreation, Fellowship, and Service. Besides our rallies, our zone had monthly roller skating parties. Each society in our zone had their month to do the window in the local Christian bookstore. I was honored to have the privilege of attending the 1963 Walther League Convention in Washington, DC. It was great seeing thousands of LCMS youth from across the country all in one location, worshiping our Savior, studying the Scriptures, and singing His praises. The convention's theme was "We Praise Thee O God." It truly was a highlight of my youth. Several years ago at an LWML convention in Minnesota, someone passed out old unofficial Walter League songbooks. I was amazed that I, who had grown up in Wisconsin, knew each of the songs. It brought each of us back to our teenage years! I was truly blessed to have been a Walther Leaguer!
My League experience goes way, way back to preWW2 when I was a young teenager in Indiana. Back in the day, our congregation..others too, I presume...had two Leagues......Senior and Junior. I don't recall how one went from one to the other but those groups were the center of the social life of our church young people. My Sunday School teacher, still living,mid 90's now, was our Junior League leader...this would have been 1940-41. He had to join the service and leave us for a while....working and developing the postal system for military...he was based in England for most of the time. But I digress, but do have to mention that Henry, our leader purchased a new car..1940 Plymouth .. before leaving...that was the last of new cars until after the war. (My husband and I got one of the first ones available in our town...1946 Chevy, business coupe...cost 1200. approx). Henry's new car, in 1940 was like a Rolls Royce to us. I lived 7 mi. out in the country on a farm and it would take us forever to get to town...well, in Henry's car....it was like the snap of a finger, when he came and got me for Walther League meets.
Fast forward to recent times, well sort of recent. I used to belong to LWML and got to attend the 50th anniversary convention in Cleveland which was quite a treat, to be with those 8000 women in the big civic center of that time....we sang Fanny Cosby's To God Be The Glory...first time I had ever heard it....BTW at that time I lived in New Jersey but ended up retiring to Ohio..opposite side of state from Cleveland.....
Tnx for letting me reminisce....
My goodness this is an old post. Several of the posters, Gloria and Harriet, are no longer with us and much missed. I loved Walther League but was never able to attend a national convention. I had forgotten that there was a Jr and a Sr. League. I wonder if being confirmed passed you from one group to the other. I think at our church they both kind of blended together.
Anyway, Sandy, welcome to LOL and thank you for bringing up pleasant memories.
Our congregation did not have a Junior League, or a Senior League. It was too small. I think the difference was that Junior League was made up of mostly high school students. Senior League was made up of single young adults--it was a great matchmaking venue from what the old timers told me. It was especially strong in the early 50's just as servicemen were coming home. Helped to re integrate the veterans back into the church.
Shar.....yes it is an old post. The cool thing I just realized is that I can read Harriet's posts now without the emotional response I had a year or so ago. Sure I still miss her, but things get better with time.
Some people from some LCMS organization or other with the name Walther in it (Reclaiming Walther?) are the ones who helped me leave ELCA and helped me get to a good church once I had become so disenchanted with ELCA. They wanted me to become Missouri. I'm glad I didn't. I've been visiting an LCMS church recently in my neighborhood and I have found that the liturgy in the WELS is so much better than the LCMS. Why is that?
That varies from congregation and sometimes service to service. It depends on the quality of musicians at a congregation. It depends on how well the service is put together. It depends on the skill of the pastor. Do the hymns, choir anthems & sermon all support the texts of the day or are the hymns just the congregations favorites or a "pretty" choir anthem. Are the congregations parts always exactly the same words and the same times or do they vary with the sessions of the church and events in the church and in the world. I have seen "good" & not well thought out liturgy in all lutheran bodies I have attended as well as other denominations.
In our congregation we have 2 "traditional" organ services. 1 "traditional" piano service. 1 "contemporary" service with piano, song leaders, guitars, sax & drums. 1 service in Spanish with trumpet,key board, acoustics guitars & drums. 1 community service in Nepali with piano, drums & guitars. 1 daytime chapel service with piano. 1 night candle service all sung with piano, no sermon after various bible classes.
They are all well put together, I have my preference, but they all can be well done or not I depends on the work put in, as well as the skill of those planning.
7 pastors 1 who is a retired "part timer".
1 pastor is 1st language Spanish, another is ok in Spanish
1 of the pastors is executive director of our church camp
we have a full time Director of music plus a half time asst.
the Nepali service on Sat night is a community lay lead, many of the Bhutanese members attend our Sun 9am English service, which is translated real time into Nepali & Spanish (fm radio in sanctuary)
Chapel is staff lead pastors, program and a few support staff lead on a rotating basis, format can very a lot. You can either lead chapel or clean the breakroom on a rotating basis.
I also belonged to Walther League. Went to several International conventions. The last I attended was in D.C. in 63. There were about 66 of us from N.D. that traveled in 2 Grey hound buses and had wonderful 2 week trip. I still am in contact with a few people I met over 50 years ago.
In thinking back about that time, I think Appearance of Dick Gregory at convention caused a lot of unrest among the staunch LCMS members. I do remember that at the next convention-which I believe was in Squaw Valley, Ca. Pete Seeger, another controversial person and war protester of that time was to be guest speaker. I was out of W.L. at that time but do remember the fuss everyone made about it.
Everytime I see this one I want to say we didn't have a Walther League. We let everyone shoot whatever manufacturer they had. Walther is a pistol manufacturer. One of the more famous Walther Arms products is the PPK that Jame Bond used to carry.