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Herb Brokering, Lutheran Hymn Writer, Author, Poet, Dies
ELCA News Service ^ | 12 November AD 2009 | Staff

Posted on 11/12/2009 1:19:27 PM PST by lightman

Herb Brokering, Lutheran Hymn Writer, Author, Poet, Dies

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Herbert F. Brokering, pastor, author, lyricist, speaker and hymn writer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), died Nov. 7 of congestive heart failure at his apartment in Bloomington, Minn., according to his son, Mark.

A memorial service is planned for Nov. 21 at Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis. Brokering, 83, was a member of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Bloomington.

"Herb Brokering's legacy includes carefully crafted words on the lips of believers gathered around the means of grace. He has helped us bring our faith to rich expression," said the Rev. Michael L. Burk, bishop, ELCA Southeastern Iowa Synod, Iowa City. While ELCA director for worship, Burk oversaw the churchwide "Renewing Worship" project, which developed the ELCA's new series of "Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW)" resources.

"'Thine the glory, thine the story, then the welcome to the least. Then the wonder all increasing at thy feast, at thy feast,'" he said, quoting one of Brokering's best-known hymns, "Thine the Amen." (ELW 826) He wrote other popular Lutheran hymns such as "Earth and All Stars!" "Praise, Praise! You Are My Rock" and "Alleluia! Jesus is Risen!"

Born May 21, 1926, in Beatrice, Neb., Brokering graduated from Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, in 1945. He earned a master's degree in child psychology from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, in 1947 and a bachelor of divinity degree in 1950 from the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary (now Trinity Lutheran Seminary), Columbus, Ohio. Wartburg is one of 28 colleges and universities of the ELCA, and Trinity is one of the ELCA's eight seminaries.

Brokering pursued graduate studies at the University of Kiel and the University of Erlangen in Germany, and at the University of Pittsburgh. Warburg College, Trinity Seminary and Concordia College, Austin, Texas, presented Brokering honorary doctorates. Wartburg and Trinity also recognized him as a distinguished alumnus.

While in Germany after World War II he worked with the Lutheran World Federation services to refugees.

He served as pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh; Incarnation Lutheran Church, Cedarhurst, Long Island, N.Y., and St. John Lutheran Church, San Antonio, Texas.

Brokering was director for confirmation education with the former American Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, 1960 to 1970. He became a free lance educator, writer and consultant working in the United States, Europe and Japan. Brokering co-directed the film, "Where Luther Walked" in 1981. He also taught at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., for several years.

Brokering was a promoter of healing, justice and peace, leading more than 100 pilgrimages in his lifetime to places in Europe, the Middle East, China and India. The East German Ministry of Culture presented him with a peacemaking award.

He authored more than 30 books for Augsburg Fortress, the publishing ministry of the ELCA, and more than 100 lyrics for almost 60 composers.

"Herb was a gifted poet, author, speaker and composer. He was also a delight -- a man who cared deeply about his God, his family, his many friends and this publishing ministry," said Beth A. Lewis, Augsburg Fortress president and chief executive officer.

"Herb was the youngest octogenarian I've ever known. Even as his body aged, his mind was young, and his curiosity and joy in living each day fully was reflected in his sparkling eyes. He will be missed by all of us at Augsburg Fortress who were privileged to work with him," Lewis added.

In his retirement Brokering served 11 years as a staff associate for Wheat Ridge Ministries, an independent Lutheran charitable organization based in Itasca, Ill., that awards "seed" grants to health ministries. He was an ambassador for Wheat Ridge, promoting and encouraging the seeding of new ministries of health and hope around the world. After leaving that role in 2007, he continued to write devotions for Wheat Ridge, sharing many of his hymns, poems, prayers and stories. Wheat Ridge recognized him as "Poet Laureate of the Lutheran Church."

In 2004 the Luther Institute, Washington, D.C., presented Brokering with its Wittenberg Award for his outstanding contribution to church and society.

Brokering married Lois Redelfs in 1950. She preceded him in death in 2004. They are survived by their children -- Mark, Beth, Jon and Christopher.

Shortly before his death, Brokering established the Herbert and Lois Brokering Healing Arts Endowment Fund at Wartburg College to support activities promoting the healing arts.

For information contact: John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or ELCA News Blog:

TOPICS: Current Events; Mainline Protestant; Worship
KEYWORDS: brokering; elca; hymnnody; hymnody; hymns; lutheran; obituary; pastor
Thine the amen thine the praise, alleluias angels raise
Thine the everlasting head, thine the breaking of the bread
Thine the glory thine the story, thine the harvest then the cup
Thine the vineyard then the cup is lifted up lifted up.

May he rest in peace and enjoy the everlasting feast of our Good Shepherd!

1 posted on 11/12/2009 1:19:28 PM PST by lightman
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To: aberaussie; Aeronaut; aliquando; AlternateViewpoint; AnalogReigns; Archie Bunker on steroids; ...

Lutheran Ping!
2 posted on 11/12/2009 1:20:11 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: lightman; Cletus.D.Yokel; bcsco; Nosterrex; redgolum; kittymyrib
We have four hymns by Herb Brokering in our hymnal, Lutheran Service Book:

474 Alleluia! Jesus Is Risen
680 Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise
817 Earth and All Stars
879 Stay with Us

The hymn Brokering is most known for, unfortunately, is "Earth and All Stars," which is "overly poetic" in a dated Sixties style, to the point that it sounds almost comical now.

I do like the poetry of "Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise" (I know some people don't), and the Carl Schalk tune serves it well.

3 posted on 11/12/2009 2:11:26 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: Charles Henrickson; bcsco

Gads, both hymns (680, 817) illicit the same response from me, “Blech!”.

4 posted on 11/12/2009 2:15:13 PM PST by Cletus.D.Yokel (FreepMail me if you want on the Bourbon ping list!)
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To: lightman

God bless him! (”Herb Brokering” sounds like an unusual form of commodities trading.)

5 posted on 11/12/2009 2:22:23 PM PST by Tax-chick (My taxes pay Anoreth's salary or Dad's pension.)
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel

817: The melody is fun.

6 posted on 11/12/2009 2:39:42 PM PST by stayathomemom (Beware of cat attacks while typing!)
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To: Charles Henrickson

LSB # 474, Alleluia! Jesus is Risen! is a wonderful Eastertide hymn. The verses are excellent summations of the themes of each successive Sunday: “Jesus the Vine” for 5 Easter B; “City of God, Easter forever” for Easter 6 & 7.

The use of the same tune as “Earth and all stars” redeems the melody by placing it with a very Christocentric text.

7 posted on 11/12/2009 2:46:38 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: Charles Henrickson

Hey, I like Earth and All Stars!

You can like one or two bad hymns.

8 posted on 11/12/2009 5:52:20 PM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Charles Henrickson; redgolum; lightman
I like a lot of stuff that others don't, but I cannot get wrapped around Earth and All Stars.
9 posted on 11/12/2009 6:19:03 PM PST by SmithL (The Golden State demands all of your gold)
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To: redgolum
I'm with you. I like Earth and All Stars! I like the thought that all of creation (even loud boiling test tubes!)can praise the Lord!

I've had the good fortune to meet Herb a couple of times since he is a friend of my mentor in youth ministry. I also had the opportunity to take a class from him at Youth Ministry University many years ago. It was fun to watch the folks from more legalistic type backgrounds try to figure out how to take notes in his class.

He will be missed.

10 posted on 11/12/2009 6:26:26 PM PST by aberaussie
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To: aberaussie; lightman; Cletus.D.Yokel; bcsco; Nosterrex; redgolum; kittymyrib; SmithL
Since I've admitted to liking "Thine the Amen," I think that gives me a little slack to poke light-hearted fun at "Earth and All Stars." Here's a parody I wrote a couple years ago:

Tune: "Earth and All Stars"

Test tubes in space!
Loud clashing symbols!
Sing like we're stuck in the Sixties once more!
Turtle-necked profs!
Loud boiling classrooms!
Sing like we're stuck in the Sixties once more!
This is such mar-gi-nal stuff.
Why are we singing such an odd song?

11 posted on 11/12/2009 6:36:37 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Today you will be with me in parodies.)
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To: lightman


12 posted on 11/12/2009 7:19:40 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: Charles Henrickson


I’m thinking up a couple more verses to skewer the leftist agenda coming from Higgins Road (ELCA HQ).

13 posted on 11/12/2009 7:44:52 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: lightman; Charles Henrickson

I met Herb Brokering several times, and mainly know him in the context of Lutheran involvement in the anticommunist movements of the 1980s, which were an important factor in bringing down the Berlin Wall. It was confessional, orthodox Lutherans who made that happen, while US Lutheran feminazis and revisionists bashed Eastern European Lutherans as supposed communist dupes.

Here is a remembrance (tinged with “peacenik” ideology), which mentions Herb in a note at the end:

Yes, I endured that “Earth and All Stars” hymn with patience, because it was always the kids’ favorite. But I mainly remember Herb in connection with Eastern Europe.

Back in 1989, I was a very proud Lutheran, celebrating the role of confessional Lutherans in several Eastern European countries in bringing down communism and establishing freedom. Communism seemed dead as a dodo, except in China (which was and is also capitalist), Cuba, Vietnam, etc. I called Lutheranism a “rising culture”.

Now Lutheranism is in decline, both in its European homeland and in the US. (Perhaps it will become an African church body like Anglicanism.) I am an Orthodox Christian. And communism is in control of our very own US government. Kyrie eleison!!!!

14 posted on 11/13/2009 7:47:53 AM PST by Honorary Serb (Kosovo is Serbia! Free Srpska! Abolish ICTY!)
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