The Rev. Joshua Burkholder ’02 and David Rojas Martinez’s paths first crossed because of a stained glass window, but it was a shared adoration of Lutheran liturgy that forged the friendship that would shape Martinez’s future.
“I really love church art,” said Martinez. “I had seen this church with a really beautiful stained glass window, and one day the door was open so I walked in. The pastor was there, and we started talking.”
Burkholder was that pastor, and after their meeting Martinez started attending the church — St. Paul Lutheran Church in Frankfort, Ind. Martinez was raised Roman Catholic but started feeling drawn toward Lutheran theology in high school. And Burkholder, who had become a Lutheran while studying at Valparaiso University, saw a bit of himself in Martinez’s search for truth.
“Valpo was my introduction to liturgy and Lutheran theology,” said Burkholder, who studied political science as an undergraduate. It was the professors in the theology department, though, who encouraged Burkholder to start thinking about his faith.
“Part of David’s and my relationship was that we both came out of non-Lutheran traditions where we had questions about our faith and struggled with certain theological ideas. We really found a theological home in Lutheranism,” said Burkholder.
As Martinez became more and more involved at St. Paul, Burkholder thought of another stained glass window Martinez might like to see — in Valparaiso University’s Chapel of the Resurrection.