Today Hope, St. Louis was honored to have Rev. Joseph Samuel, President of the Indian Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC), join us for the Divine Service. President Samuel (right) came to St. Louis for the dedication of some new furnishings for the LCMS International Center chapel on the 25th anniversary of the "purple palace's" dedication. The new furnishings--granite altar, pulpit (ambo), and Baptismal font--were made in India, as was the original granite work in the building. Deaconess Grace Rao (left), a member of Hope and in the employ of LCMS World Relief and Human Care, served as Pres. Samuel's escort. Pres. Samuel surprised me with the gift of this beautiful Indian wool shawl. I'm told that it's Indian custom to give such gifts to pastors, and I was very honored (and humbled) to receive it, especially just for doing what I do every Sunday morning. Deaconess Grace even said, "If you ever go to India, you can expect to receive several of these."
After the Divine Service the three of us went to Olympia restaurant, where we dined on, no, not Indian food, but good Greek food. :-) (I was told that Pres. Samuel had already had plenty of American food and that some rice would be more to his liking, so Olympia seemed the perfect place for some fare closer to what the president is used to.)
Thank you, President Samuel! It was my honor to meet you and to have you join us here at Hope!