“I See In You” Story: Dr. Linda Borecki

An “I See In You” story is when someone identifies a ministry gift of quality in a person and speaks encouragingly to him or her about it. These “I See In You” stories are from people in the NOW District who have been invited into leadership through conversations with others who saw that gift in them. They are all part of theNOW Leadership Initiative (NOW L.I.), which is a unified effort to identify and prepare God’s people to be laborers for his harvest. Do you have a story to share? Consider posting it or email elenas@nowlcms.org 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 Concordia College, Portland in 1980 when a female faculty member gave the Invocation at graduation ceremonies. Some in authority objected, and for a while the next year there was a new rule that women could not lead in worship. My organ teacher told me, “Not lead! If an organist is not leading in worship, then they are not doing their job!” And she deferred playing for chapel until there was further conversation and enlarged understanding of the nuances and the calling of women “leading” in worship.

There was a lesson in leadership there – thinking holistically about a subject, challenging assumptions, helping people in one’s tribe see a thing from another’s perspective.

That organ teacher was and is Nancy LeRoi-Nickel, still residing in Portland, recently retired from her long career as a church musician, still playing concerts with her talented husband, Tim. three ladies smiling

Articulate, artistic, resolute, and simultaneously pastoral, caring for us ‘common folk’ as Luther might say – those are adjectives of leaders I’d apply to Nancy and to other faculty members at Concordia I came to know and admire.

Hans Spalteholz, John Scheck, Art Wahlers, Dwaine Brandt, Fred Kramer, Sid Johnson, Dale and Lynette Fisk – Concordia faculty and staff members from ‘the Golden Age.’ You can find interviews with them from 2014 by typing in their name and “Concordia University, Portland” into the YouTube search bar. Those adjectives above – articulate, artistic, resolute, pastoral – you will see evidenced in their conversations. They led and inspired with a sense of community, care for the Body of Christ, compassion and long-suffering toward one another, trail-blazing character, and magnanimity… 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 Oregonian newspaper. Alas, I did not follow the advice, instead my vocation has been a similar calling into church music — ahem, worshipleading through music ministry.

There were two of us in the Sacred Music program that first baccalaureate class: myself and my dear friend Mary Carlson. Mary recently moved back to Portland and on a walkabout through Northwest Portland together we stopped impulsively at the Nickels’. Nancy was home, and we spent an hour reminiscing and brainstorming new trail-blazing ideas. Above is a photo of the three of us from the afternoon, and below is of the first graduating class from the four-year college of Concordia, Portland. You may recognize Mary, me, Paul and Cindy Linnemann, and other future leaders in Christ’s service. Further conversations with great leaders, enlarged understanding, and resolute, trail-blazing greatness of heart to you.

youth together


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