An “I See In You” story is when someone identifies a ministry giftof quality in a person and speaks encouragingly to him or herabout it. These “I See In You” stories are from people in the NOWDistrict who have been invited into leadership throughconversations with others who saw that gift in them. They are allpart of theNOW Leadership Initiative (NOW L.I.), which is aunified effort to identify and prepare God’s people to be laborersfor his harvest. Do you have a story to share? Consider posting it or email@example.com for assistance.
Dr. Linda Borecki
Mission Training Center Instructor
NOW Board of Directors Lay Member
A bit of a brouhaha erupted after our graduation from ConcordiaCollege, Portland in 1980 when a female faculty member gave theInvocation at graduation ceremonies. Some in authority objected,and for a while the next year there was a new rule that womencould not lead in worship. My organ teacher told me, “Not lead! Ifan organist is not leading in worship, then they are not doing theirjob!” And she deferred playing for chapel until there was furtherconversation and enlarged understanding of the nuances and thecalling of women “leading” in worship.
There was a lesson in leadership there – thinking holistically abouta subject, challenging assumptions, helping people in one’s tribesee a thing from another’s perspective.
That organ teacher was and is Nancy LeRoi-Nickel, still residingin Portland, recently retired from her long career as a churchmusician, still playing concerts with her talented husband, Tim.
Articulate, artistic, resolute, and simultaneously pastoral, caringfor us ‘common folk’ as Luther might say – those are adjectives ofleaders I’d apply to Nancy and to other faculty members atConcordia I came to know and admire.
Hans Spalteholz, John Scheck, Art Wahlers, Dwaine Brandt, FredKramer, Sid Johnson, Dale and Lynette Fisk – Concordia facultyand staff members from ‘the Golden Age.’ You can find interviewswith them from 2014 by typing in their name and “ConcordiaUniversity, Portland” into the YouTube search bar. Thoseadjectives above – articulate, artistic, resolute, pastoral – you willsee evidenced in their conversations. They led and inspired with asense of community, care for the Body of Christ, compassion andlong-suffering toward one another, trail-blazing character, andmagnanimity… greatness of heart.
Was there an “I See In You” statement from Nancy Nickel? Yes!She saw me as the future music reviewer for the Oregoniannewspaper. Alas, I did not follow the advice, instead my vocationhas been a similar calling into church music — ahem, worshipleading through music ministry.
There were two of us in the Sacred Music program that firstbaccalaureate class: myself and my dear friend Mary Carlson. Mary recently moved back to Portland and on a walkabout throughNorthwest Portland together we stopped impulsively at theNickels’. Nancy was home, and we spent an hour reminiscing andbrainstorming new trail-blazing ideas. Below is a photo of thethree of us from the afternoon, and also of the first graduatingclass from the four-year college of Concordia, Portland. You mayrecognize Mary, me, Paul and Cindy Linnemann, and other futureleaders in Christ’s service. Further conversations with greatleaders, enlarged understanding, and resolute, trail-blazinggreatness of heart to you.