Dear Fellow Workers and Friends:
This past week at our annual synod convention we enjoyed a thorough study of the doctrine of Person of Christ. The teaching of Christ’s two natures (divine and human) directly impacts the salvation for each of us sinners. Jesus had to be man to take our place fully as our substitute. Jesus had to be true God in order to have the full power to save us. Yet, while we seek to educate one another on the Person of Christ, a self-searching question must be asked: How are we doing at sharing the whole message of Jesus with others—even with those of other cultures? Are we truly interested in connecting people who are lost in sin and unbelief with the Name that alone saves? May the Savior’s love for each of us move us actively to be looking for opportunities to make contact with people still needing to hear of the God-Man’s wonderful, redeeming mercy!
Convention summary regarding the proposed Strategic Plan
1. Vision statement for the synod now will read: In the next five years we will learn to engage others more faithfully with Jesus.
2. The eight goals were adopted as proposed by the Planning and Coordinating Committee. [One of the key goals reads: “View each congregation in the synod as a ‘mission congregation.’”] (You can read the goals in the February newsletter.)
3. Communication restructuring was approved with these two amendments:
• “The Committee for Communication shall be equally composed of members elected by the synod at convention to staggered terms and members appointed by the president (with details to be worked out by the Synod Review Committee).”
• “The president shall appoint an ad hoc committee on communication to serve as an interim committee until the 2012 convention.”
4. By 155-29 (written ballot) the motion on restructuring was approved, meaning that the synod has now disbanded the Board for Publications and Committee for Integrating Technology, along with removing the parish portion responsibilities of the Board for Parish Education and Youth.
5. The ad hoc Committee on Communication, under the leadership of the president, takes under advisement the matter of a Communication Director for recommendation to the 2012 convention.
6. The Committee for Communication is advisory to the president. As such, the members of the soon-to-be-appointed committee shall interact with the permanent boards/committees of the synod.
7. Combine the Board for Evangelism and Board for Home Missions.
8. Duties of the Board for Stewardship have now been transferred to the ELS Giving Counselor position. This means the synod has now disbanded the Board for Stewardship.
Austin, Texas, Exploratory
On Wednesday, June 22, 2011, Rev. Brad Kerkow was commissioned as our synod’s new home missionary to the Austin, Texas, area. Pastor Kerkow, his wife Rachel and their four children, will be moving to that vicinity soon. Kerkow has served as pastor at Peace Lutheran (pictured) in North Mankato, Minnesota, since the year 2000. If you know of anyone in that region of Texas who may be interested in this outreach effort, please contact the chairman of our Board for Home Missions, Rev. Michael Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We are grateful for two grants ($20,000 and $32,500) that will assist us in establishing this mission. The grants have been received from the Marvin M. Schwan Charitable Foundation and from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, respectively.
CELC Worship Service at Bethany Lutheran College
On June 5, 2011, our Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, Minnesota), together with Martin Luther College (New Ulm, Minnesota), co-hosted the triennial meeting of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference.
If you wish to see other pictures (including the large group photo) of the CELC convention, please go to: http://gallery.mlc-wels.edu/home/main.php?g2_itemId=75146
Seven pastors from our Lutheran churches around the world participated in the CELC worship service at Bethany.
Baptisms in Haiti
Missionary Terry Schultz writes: “Enclosed are photo(s) from the baptisms last Thursday in Haiti. 61 babies, children, and youths were baptized! The children are from 4 orphanages in the Leogane area of Haiti where we have been working for several months. The second pastor you see in many of the photos is WELS-trained Pastor Rona Abraham. We ask that you join with us in thanking our glorious heavenly Father for such an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit on these wonderful children. We also ask for your prayers as there are so many babies, children, and adults yet to be saved!”
Dedication at Norwegian Grove
Norwegian Grove Lutheran Church (Gaylord, Minnesota) dedicated a enlarged narthex on Sunday, June 19 at a 10:00 am Service. This completed a year-long project which makes the church building fully handicapped accessible. The pastor of the congregation is Rev. Craig Ferkenstad.
Ordination of James R. Kassera
Candidate of Theology James Kassera was ordained and installed as pastor of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Albert Lea, Minnesota, on June 26, 2011. The Rev. Samuel Schmeling conducted the liturgy, and the Rev. Wayne Halvorson and Vicar Patrick Freese served as lectors. The Rev. Shawn Kauffeld preached the ordination sermon based on Joshua 1:1–9 with the theme “Be Strong and Courageous; Act Wisely.” Seminary President Gaylin Schmeling performed the rites of ordination and installation. Ms. Crystal Foslien served as organist. The women of Our Savior’s church served an excellent dinner to the many members and guests attending the service.
The ELS Historical Society offers a new book for sale!
This anthology reproduces classic statements concerning Christian education by pastors and laypersons of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Suitable for both personal reading and pastoral reference, this historical sourcebook of Christ-centered education includes forty-five documents spanning nearly a century. Dozens of photographs and other illustrations supplement the text. If you would like to order: The cost is $23.95 per copy, payable to ELS Historical Society, 6 Browns Court, Mankato, MN 56001. Shipping, handling, and (when applicable) sales tax will be paid by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod Historical Society.
Rev. Ed Bryant, pastor at St. Timothy in Lombard, IL, is recovering after receiving a stint for blocked arteries. We ask God’s healing hand to be upon him.
Andrea Schroeder, wife of WELS Pres. Mark Schroeder, will be undergoing a cardiac ablation procedure on July 1. Please keep her in your daily prayers.
July 13 – Synod Review Committee
July 24 – Preach for dedication at Messiah Lutheran, Omro, WI
July 25-27 – WELS Convention in Watertown, WI
July 29-31 – LYA Convention, Mankato, MN
August 8-9 – Board of Regents
August 8-9 – Board for Home Missions/Evangelism
August 10-11 – Doctrine Committee
August 16 – Board of Trustees
August 17 – Centennial Committee
August 17 – Committee for Communication (initial meeting)
August 18 – Lutheran Sentinel meeting
May God’s grace in the redeeming work of Christ go with you!
John A. Moldstad