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Former East District president called to glory

July 7, 2011 One Comment

Rev. Dr. Albin Stanfel

KITCHENER, Ont. – The Lord called home former East District president Rev. Dr. Albin J. Stanfel, Thursday, July 7, 2011. Dr. Stanfel, who lived in Kitchener, was surrounded at the time of his death by his children Julie, Marty, and William. He served as president of the East District (formerly LCMS Ontario District) from 1970-1991. Dr. Stanfel was 82 years old.

“President Stanfel was a father to me and to so many others who leaned on him for courage and direction. He shepherded Ontario congregations through the trying years of the Scripture controversy,” reflected LCC President Robert Bugbee. “He poured his life’s energies into the welfare of God’s people. Even though he spent decades in leadership, he was always approachable and plain-spoken. Above all, he knew himself to be God’s child, purchased and won by the Christ who bled and died for him. Our hearts are sore at losing him, but we’re glad to commend Him to the Lord’s safe-keeping.” 

Born in Laurium, Michigan, Dr. Stanfel was baptized, confirmed and eventually married in the same church—St. Paul’sLutheranChurch, in Laurium, Michigan.

Following graduation from Belleville High School in Belleville, Michigan, “Al” enrolled at the Henry Ford Trade School(Auto Body Design) in Dearborn, Michigan—then attended the Eastern Michigan University School of Engineering in Ypsilanti, Michigan, before answering the call to prepare for the Holy Ministry. He received his pre-seminary training at Concordia College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri in 1955. He was ordained into the Holy Ministry of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod on August 7, 1955.

That same year, the LCMS Ontario District’s Department of Missions applied for a seminary candidate to organize a new mission in northwest Toronto. Rev. Stanfel accepted this placement and, under God’s blessing, established Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Thistletown, (now Etobicoke) where he served from 1955 to 1964. Then came another call from the district’s Department of Missions to develop a mission church in Kitchener where he became the first pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, 1964 to 1968.

In 1968, he accepted the appointment by the Ontario District Board of Directors to become the district’s first Associate Executive Secretary and thus began his ministry on a district level. In 1970 he was elected District President, which became a full-time position in 1972, and in which he served until 1991.

Some of PastorStanfel’s activities in the church-at-large included serving as Circuit Counsellor for the Toronto circuit; Pastoral Advisor for the district’s Walther League, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and Lutheran Laymen’s League; chairman of the District Pastoral Conference; member of the District Stewardship Department, the Joint Commission of Inter-Lutheran Relations, the Toronto Inter-Church Regional Planning Association, and the National Committee for Lutheran/Roman Catholic Dialogue. He also served as Religious Director of the Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada. Pastor Stanfel also served as Pastoral Advisor for Lutheran Braille Workers-Canada from 1999 until 2008 when he had to resign due to illness.

In The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, he served on the Pastoral Placement Committee, the Council of Presidents’ Executive Committee, was chairman of Convention Floor Committees and vice-chairman of the Convention Nominations Committee.

Rev. Stanfel also served on the Board of Regents of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines as chairman, secretary, and member. Canada-wide, he played a prominent role in the establishment of Lutheran Church–Canada as an autonomous church body by serving on LCC’s Board of Directors and as vice-president and secretary of the new Canadian synod.

In 1984,Concordia College, Edmonton, (now Concordia University College of Alberta) awarded Dr. Stanfel its “Christo et Ecclesiae Medallion” recognizing his exemplary commitment to Christ and to the Church. In 1976, Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Illinois, conferred upon him the Doctor of Divinity degree, and in the same year, his name was listed in the first edition of Marquis “Who’s Who of Religion.”

Dr. Stanfel was predeceased by his wife Dorothy and son Jonathan.

UPDATE:

The funeral service for Rev. Dr. Albin Stanfel will be held at Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kitchener, Ontario on Saturday, July 16 at 2 p.m.  

Since cremation will have taken place, there will be no public visitation. A guest book will be available. Interment will take place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at a later date.

The Stanfel family is thankful for your prayers and support through Dr. Stanfel’s illness. We rejoice with them that he is now safe in His Saviour’s arms in paradise.

  • Carolyn Yaylor

    Through the years as an LWML member I came to know Rev. Stanfel. He was a very intelligent, soft spoken pastor with very down to earth Christian advice. Several times we had opportunuty to spend some time chatting with him when he was filling in at Grace, Loxley. Rev Stanfel will be dearly missed. Rest in His loving arms.