Chaplain (Major) Matthew Franke will be the guest speaker at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar on Sunday, March 22 at 9:00 am as the congregation continues the 150th anniversary of its founding. Franke serves as a staff chaplain for the Air Force Chief of Chaplains, Bolling Air Force Base, District of Columbia. In this capacity, he supports worldwide Air Force Chaplain Corps ministry requirements for over 2,000 personnel at over 100 locations.
An electrical engineering graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Chaplain Franke was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1987. Completing training at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS, he served four years as a Space Systems Officer at Peterson AFB, CO until separating from the Air Force in 1992 to attend Concordia Seminary in St Louis, MO. Ordained in 1996, he served three years as pastor of St John's Lutheran Church in Rushmore, MN before returning to the Air Force as a chaplain in 1999.
Prior to his current assignment, Chaplain Franke has served as a chaplain at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, NV; with the 16th Expeditionary Operations Group in Istres, France; at Lajes Field in the Azores Islands of Portugal; at FE Warren AFB in Cheyenne, WY; with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Base in Iraq, and as an Air Force Legislative Fellow in the office of U.S. Representative Bob Inglis in Washington, DC.
Chaplain Franke is the son of George and Luella (Koenig) Franke of Uniontown and the grandson of the late Alfred and Augusta Koenig of Farrar. He and his wife, Martha, have three sons, Micah, Joshua and Jacob, and a daughter, Rachel. Franke is the great-great- great-grandson of Friedrich Koenig, who was one of the eleven founding members of Salem Congregation in 1859. Friedrich Koenig immigrated to the Uniontown (then Paitzdorf) area in 1853 before purchasing land and settling in the Farrar area in 1857.
The congregation will continue to commemerate its founding with special services throughout the year. Its major celebration will be held on Pentecost Sunday, May 31, with the Rev. Richard Resch of Concordia Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the guest preacher.