Church and School

The Jindra, Schmidt, Meineke, and Radej families are very devout Christians and educators. This section was developed to give histories of the various churches and schools that the family members were associated with. If you can add any other tidbits of information to this section, please let us know.

The following was written by Pastor Bill Zell per request for information on the subject, relative to a North Atlantic District paper assigned to Pastor Tom Zarling.
To: Tom Zarling
From: Uncle Bill [Zell]
Date: May 20, 2000
Subject: Info. for the paper: “Blessings of Lifelong Service in the WELS”

WHAT GRANDMA REALLY DID

George Jindra, Bohemian and Roman Catholic (1860-1948), and Mary Lenhardt, German Lutheran (1863-1942), were married in 1885. At that time it was a given that such a marriage be performed by a Roman priest in the Catholic church, and that all progeny thereof belong to the Catholic church. This was quite unacceptable to Mary Lenhardt. Hence the marriage was performed in her church, St. Peter’s Lutheran of Mishicot, WI by the Rev. Joh. P. Koehler, then pastor of St. John’s congregation of Two Rivers and St. Peter’s of Mishicot and subsequently seminary professor at Wauwatosa. Following that marriage all nine children of the union were baptized, raised and confirmed WELS Lutheran. Seven of the children and their spouses, several of them who joined the WELS at the time of their marriages, remained in the WELS until their deaths. Two spent portions of their lives in the WELS and the remainder in the LCMS.

One may correctly conclude that Mary Lenhardt Jindra was and remained a woman with strong convictions. Husband George from the time of his exclusion from the church of his birth faithfully attended St. Peter’s Lutheran, but because of a deathbed promise to his mother did not at that time join the congregation nor receive the Lord’s Supper in its fellowship.

In 1912, Alice, the second of the Jindra daughters and the organist at St. Peter’s, married the pastor of St. Peter’s, who at that time was one year out of the Wauwatosa seminary, and who was destined to serve St. Peter’s throughout his entire ministry of 47 years. Consequently George and Mary Jindra now had a son-in-law in the WELS ministry. It was his son-in-law who served George as his pastor for 36 years, and who ultimately provided him with the necessary instructions for membership in St. Peter’s congregation and reception of Holy Communion, this only a short time before George’s death.

As a note of interest, George and Mary, now grandparents each somehow managed to squirrel away a small nest egg. This was probably in the mid-twenties. Each of them put their money to work. Grandpa’s went into the bank. Grandma’s became a loan to St. Peter’s for the building of a new church. Grandpa’s went down the drain in the bank failures of ‘29. Grandma’s, after some time to be sure, was repaid by her congregation. You may be certain that Grandma took the trouble to remind Grandma more than once that he had made a mistake big-time.A review of the history of this couple and their family as it pertains to their church, and an appreciation of the effect of the decision of this wife and mother who placed her family and eventually her husband as well into the fellowship of the WELS, begins in the first generation after their marriage with the inclusion into their family of one WELS pastor.

The second generation added two grandsons who also became pastors, and one granddaughter who married a pastor and served as a teacher in a WELS elementary school.

The third generation included seven great-grandsons who became pastors (plus one who now teaches at the ELS college), four great granddaughters who became WELS elementary school teachers, and seven great-grandchildren whose spouses are either WELS pastors or teachers.

And the fourth generation? Who knows, other than the Lord, which of the great-great-grandchildren from the family of George and Mary Jindra will one day be ready to say, “Here am I. Send me.” We do know that at present there are a number from this family at WELS schools preparing for ministry in the WELS. We do know that on the very day of this writing one of them is graduating from MLC, subject to the call to teach in our Lutheran elementary schools, and about to marry a second-year student at our Mequon seminary. We marvel and give thanks to the Church’s Lord who patiently and quietly moves these and other young persons to look to the goal of serving as pastors and teachers in his flock. We pray that they and all such remain constant in their purpose of bringing the Savior’s Word to so many who so desperately need it.Meanwhile we also marvel at the reality of how many lives have already been touched by the Gospel through the ministry of those who from this one marriage have through these several generations served as called workers in the WELS. We certainly say, “To God be the glory, great things he has done!” In this case he used the steadfastness of one strong-willed 22 year old farm girl 115 years ago to do great things. Is this truly “marvelous in our eyes” or what!

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