Rev. John R. Schmidtke will address graduates at Concordia University, St. Paul’s 2013 Adult Undergraduate Programs Commencement Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. in the Gangelhoff Center. In addition, Pastor Schmidtke is receiving an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Concordia.
Pastor Schmidtke has served the Lord as Pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Mo., since 1989. An urban congregation, Bethlehem Lutheran aggressively reaches into the Hyde Park neighborhood of inner-city North St. Louis through an extensive effort of youth programs, music ministries, athletic teams and programs that strengthen families.
Pastor Schmidtke has been instrumental in leading Bethlehem in two unique urban ministry directions. In 2000 Bethlehem introduced a new not-for-profit housing ministry called Better Living Communities that has already built 56 new homes with an additional 40 presently under construction. The ministry has served as the catalyst for an additional 125 units of new housing through partner housing developers. A second pioneering project consists of coupling a public charter school to educate children during the formal school day with a “Christian after school academy.”
A graduate of Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisc.) in 1983, Pastor Schmidtke received his Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary (St. Louis) in 1987. He has been married for 30 years to his wife and ministry partner, Sharon, and is blessed with four children.