Herald JournalHerald Journal, Oct. 6, 2003

Vicar begins at St. John's of Hollywood

By Julie Yurek

Bob Rupprecht and the Lutheran Church go hand in hand.

The majority of his life he has served the church through missionary work, teaching, ministering, as an Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL) representative, and now as a vicar for St. John's Lutheran Church in New Germany.

The church had been without a pastor for about nine months, Rupprecht said. Substitute pastors from area churches, including Rev. Jeffery Harter, a New Germany resident, filled in until the Rupprechts arrived.

He and his wife, Ann, arrived in New Germany Sept. 7 from St. Louis, Mo.

Rupprecht will serve the parish for at least a year until he is ordained next September. The parish then has the option to keep him on as its pastor, he said.

More than two years ago he felt that he wanted to get back into the formal part of church again, he said.

In 2001 Rupprecht began attending Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. He participated in an "alternate route" program because of his many years of service in the church.

It was a two-year program of intensive studies, including Greek. His third year is vicarage for one year. After that, he is ordained.

There were only three other classmates of Rupprecht who were in their third career change like Bob, Ann said.

The district that St. John's is in put out a request to the seminary for a vicar, and Rupprecht responded.

He describes the members of the parish as "full of love," "truly wonderful people," and "excited."

He's very "impressed with them," he said.

He gave his first sermon Sept. 21, Ann said. "He loves to do sermons."

Besides sermons, Rupprecht has experience in nearly all duties as pastor, such as home visits, teaching confirmation classes as a substitute, and radio taped ministries, she said.

Future plans for the church include Bible studies, a women's Bible study and prayer group, which started Oct. 4, and continuing the youth program, which has been very active, Rupprecht said.

Church service is at 9:30 a.m. Sundays, with Bible studies for adults and Sunday school for children to follow at 10:45 a.m.

Rupprecht can conduct events such as weddings and confirmations. With weddings, however, an ordained pastor must sign the marriage license, which an area pastor will do, he said.

Ann is busy directing the choir. The first meeting was two weeks ago, and about 20 members attended, she said.

There hasn't been a choir in a while, but there are many soloists, which she is planning on continuing, she said.

If the parish wants them to stay on after their year is up, Ann will look to resume teaching full-time at an area school, she said. Until then she may substitute.

The Rupprechts will live in the parsonage house once the remodeling work is finished, which should be soon, Ann said.

The majority of the work is being done by members of the congregation, Rupprecht said. A new furnace will be installed, as well as carpet and linoleum.

Rupprecht roots

Rupprecht graduated from Concordia University, River Forest, Ill. with a bachelor's and master's degree in education in 1966 and 1967. He met Ann while attending college and married her in Portland, Ore. in 1967.

Throughout his 28-year teaching career, Rupprecht taught all subjects in various classrooms in grades five through eight, while Ann taught class levels ranging from preschool to sixth grade. She also taught choir and art.

Two days after their wedding, they were off to Hong Kong, not on their honeymoon, but instead to teach at the Hong Kong International School.

They were in Hong Kong from 1967 to 1973. All four of their children were born there.

The Rupprechts then moved to Grand Island, Neb. in 1973 where they continued to teach.

Rupprecht was in charge of the Trinity Lutheran Elementary School library, he assisted in coaching and officiating sports, led Bible classes, and developed and produced the school's weekly radio broadcast for 15 years. Rupprecht taught at Trinity for 21 years

Ann also taught at Trinity for four years. For the remainder of her years in Grand Island, she taught in the public school system until 1997.

Rupprecht left Trinity in 1994 to serve as an AAL district representative and financial advisor for seven years before entering the seminary. Ann joined Rupprecht as an AAL representative and estate planner in 1997.

After seven years with AAL, Rupprecht joined the seminary.

In the seminary Rupprecht was involved with the seminary chorus, the seminary touring chorus, and the Laudamus chorus. When he entered the seminary, Ann returned to teaching in the parochial school system.

The Rupprechts have four children, artist Christine Winberg of Nebraska, author David of Cape Town, South Africa, ESL instructor John of Korea, and Mark who is a computer programmer in Nebraska. They also have three grandchildren.

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