Lutheran Witness: May 2013

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From the editor

Please look fondly and gratefully at the gentleman pictured here. He is a loyal Lutheran, a wonderful churchman, a crack editor, a smooth writer and much more. And he’s going to be missed.

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James H. Heine, director of News and Information for LCMS Communications since 2010, retired May 1.

There isn’t room in this column for the full story of Jim’s distinguished career. Suffice to say he has worked invaluably for the Synod, whether at Concordia Publishing House or at the International Center, for some 30 years. If you would like to read the details of his professional life, please see the online story at blogs.lcms.org/2013/Heine-retiring.

One major duty of Jim’s that bears mentioning was his executive editorship of the Synod’s official periodicals, The Lutheran Witness and Reporter. Under his watch, as described in the April Reporter, those publications won a dozen national awards from religious press associations.

But that figure needs updating. We just learned that the Witness and Reporter won eight more prizes at the recent Associated Church Press convention in Indianapolis (one of those awards for a story Jim himself wrote), so the final tally under his stewardship will stand at 20. Not bad.

“I have been wonderfully blessed in my career,” Heine, 62, says. “I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my colleagues, both at Concordia Publishing House and here in the LCMS Communications department.”

Besides his superb editorial skills, Jim will be remembered by his co-workers as a kind, witty, hard-working leader who happened to be one of the best-dressed men in the building. He was given to three-piece suits and bowties (you needn’t ask whether they were the kind he tied himself), and peering out from below his perfectly creased trousers were always the western boots, Nocona or Lucchese, shiny as mirrors.

“I remember my mother going to church wearing a hat and gloves,” he says. “We weren’t rich, but my parents always taught me if you were neat and clean, if you made a good appearance and watched your manners, you could hold your own with anyone.”

If you’re looking for Jim in retirement, you might find him bicycling or otherwise traveling with his lovely wife, Rose, a retired public-school vocal-music teacher.

Or you might find him alongside a course or road at a race or rally (Jim, an expert on motor sports and an accomplished photographer, will be writing and taking pictures for several leading automotive magazines). You may even see his free-lance byline from time to time in various LCMS publications.

In the event you do meet up with Jim and are fortunate enough to get to know him and become his friend, you will count yourself blessed.

We do.

David L. Strand, executive director

LCMS Communications

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