Dear Fellow Workers:
Our churches are beginning their fall schedules. We pray God gives each of you extra strength through the power of His Word. There is much work to do. At times the schedule may seem like a burden. But what a privilege it is to have a role in bringing the greatest news the world can ever hear! Spurring on his readers with the power of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Restructuring for Engage Others With Jesus
At our synod convention in June we adopted a proposal to make some changes in how we carry out the administration for our church body. Two key meetings occurred in August to assist us in making these changes. These changes will help us fulfill aspects of our strategic plan to engage lost souls with the message of salvation by faith in Christ.
Board for Evangelism/Home Missions Update
At its August 8-9 meeting, the newly-combined Board for Home Missions and Evangelism made an important decision to focus primarily on two things:
1) to equip members of the synod to be evangelists so that every congregation views itself as a “mission” congregation, and
2) to establish home missions.
In addition, the board is making plans to develop an educational package for congregations to use in equipping members for evangelism, to develop innovative methods of outreach, and to function as a clearinghouse for ideas and methods of outreach, evangelism, and missions that seem to be working at the congregational level. At its next meeting the board will concentrate on creating specific plans of action to carry out its goals. Rev. Michael Smith serves as the newly elected chairman of the combined board.
Committee for Communication
An initial session of individuals convened on August 17 for the purpose of gleaning ideas on how to improve our communication system in the synod – both internally and externally. We expect to have a permanent committee in place later this fall. With the availability of a grant, we are acquiring bids from outside agencies to assist us in disseminating our synod’s information. Under study at the moment is what to recommend in connection with a full-time Director of Communication. Temporary appointment Rev. Paul Fries has been appointed to serve as a temporary Communication Coordinator for our synod. This limited-time appointment will help us with some immediate needs.
ELS is now on YouTube
Please take note that our synod now has its own YouTube channel. We will plan to make use of this for a number of video releases. At present we have on the site “In the Dark About Jesus” and soon will also be putting out the new video by the Board for Evangelism called “In the Dark About the Bible.”
We urge you to let all of your people know about this site. Whatever you can do to further the cause, we pray the use of this avenue helps us in our efforts to engage others with Jesus.
Ordinations and Installation
Mark Faugstad was ordained and installed at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (rural Bagley) on Sunday August 7. He is now serving the dual parish of Our Savior’s and St. Paul (Lengby). Prof. Dennis Marzolf preached the sermon based on Ruth 2:4. Pastor Jeff Merseth served as liturgist and lector. Pastor David Thompson performed the rites of ordination and installation. Other pastors participating were Pastor Nile Merseth of East Grand Forks and Pastor Aaron Nitz (WELS) of Bemidji. The church was packed full with members from both congregations and several dozen relatives of Pastor Faugstad. A dinner was served afterwards by the ladies from both congregations.
Candidate of Theology David Locklair was ordained and installed as pastor of Richland Lutheran, Thornton, Iowa, on August 14, 2011. The Rev. Gaylin Schmeling preached the ordination sermon based on 2 Timothy 3:15-17 with the theme “Service in the Public Ministry that is God-Pleasing.” The Rev. James Kassera served as liturgist and the Rev. Wayne Halvorson performed the rites of ordination and installation. Mrs. Janet Christensen served as organist. After the service the ladies of the congregation served an excellent dinner to the many members and guests that attended the service.
On Sunday, August 14, 2011, Rev. Timothy Hartwig was installed as pastor of Peace Lutheran, North Mankato, MN. Circuit Visitor Rev. Erwin Ekhoff served as liturgist and performed the rite of installation. Rev. Craig Ferkenstad preached the sermon, based on Isaiah 55:10–11. Pastors participating in the laying on of hands were: Rev. Larry Wentzlaff, Rev. Piet Van Kampen, Rev. John Petersen, Rev. Matthew Brooks, Rev. Kincaid Smith, Rev. Samuel Schmeling, Rev. Daniel Basel, and Pres. Moldstad.
Heritage Building Dedication
As some of you remember, Heritage Lutheran Church, Apple Valley, Minnesota, had a building collapse this past winter. We are happy to report the congregation is ready to dedicate its new facility. The dedication day is September 11, 2011, beginning at 9:00 a.m. (the schedule is on their webpage: http://heritagelutheran.org/sections/CurrentEvents.html)
Anniversary at Audubon
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Audubon, MN, celebrated its 125th anniversary August 21. 141 past and present members and guests attended the anniversary service, with most of them staying for the dinner and program that followed. Pastor Wayne Halvorson (1966-1970) preached the sermon, Pastor Ernest Geistfeld (1999-2005) served as the lector, and Pastor David Thompson (2006-present) conducted the liturgy. Pastor Halvorson’s sermon theme was, “Jesus Christ – the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever!” based on the text of Hebrews 13:8. One of the many artifacts on display was the altar and pulpit from the old church from which Pastor Halvorson actually led services and preached when he served here in the 1960’s (he could not resist standing in the pulpit again – see picture). The new church was built in 1969. During the program members and pastors spoke of past memories, accompanied by a slide show. Letters of greeting were also read from President John Moldstad, Pastor Charles Keeler (1982-1986), and Pastor Tosten Skaaland (Immanuel was his home church). A booklet was also produced for the occasion giving a brief history of Immanuel. “God has been with us” (Immanuel) in Christ faithfully for 125 years. Immanuel Lutheran (Audubon, MN)
Making the Most of What We’re Given
Our Lord encourages us to take our Christian stewardship seriously. In Luke 12 he states, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48b). Motivated by the Gospel and the love our Savior has revealed for us, we faithfully want to plan to support the Gospel ministry. May we glorify our Lord through our gifts and support of the Gospel ministry both now and when we are with our Lord. Let’s work together to make a plan that works for you, for the sake of the Gospel and your family. Please don’t hesitate to call 507-344-7311 or write Pastor Basel at 6 Browns Ct, Mankato MN 56001 to request planning giving materials. –Pr. Dan Basel, Giving Counselor
Report on Synod Congregational Giving
Through the month of July $390,646 has been received from our church toward the congregational contribution portion of our 2011 budget ($725,000). This means we are currently about $3,000 behind last year’s contributions at this point in time.
As of August 14, Rev. Erik Gernander has resigned his call to Peace Lutheran Church in Jefferson City, Missouri. Erik, Emily, and family will plan to continue residing in Jefferson City. We thank Erik for his years of service at Peace.
Rev. Micah Ernst has been appointed as Circuit Visitor of Circuit 10. Micah serves parishes in Columbia, Missouri, and at the Lake of the Ozarks.
The exploratory mission in Cedar Park/Leander, TX, is served by Pastor Brad Kerkow. Brad is developing materials for an initial canvassing effort and publicity of the new mission. Holy Word Lutheran (WELS) in Austin will host Brad‘s formal commissioning service on Sept. 11. Please keep our newest missionary (& family) and mission efforts in your prayers!
Melvina Aaberg, 85, dear friend and worker of our synod for many years, died suddenly in a car accident in Nicollet, MN, on August 22. She served faithfully as office secretary for our seminary and synod over the years. We ask God to comfort the Aaberg family with the knowledge that, through faith in the Savior Jesus, she now enjoys life eternal!
Please keep in your prayers the family of Matthew Harmon, from our Lengby, Minnesota, church. Matthew, 29 years old, was killed in Afghanistan while serving our country. He leaves behind a wife, Nicole, and three young children. We thank God for his faithful service to our country and ask the Lord to watch over his family.
September 9 – Synod Review Committee
September 11 – Commissioning service for Rev. Kerkow to the Austin, TX, area
September 15-16 – Circuit Visitors’ Conference in Bloomington, MN
September 20 – Mission Advancement Project
September 20 – Board for Christian Service
September 23 – Doctrine Committee meets with WELS CICR, Milwaukee, WI
September 25 – preaching at Trinity, West Bend, WI
October 4 – Board for Parish Education & Youth
October 5-7 – ELS General Pastoral Conference, Ramada – Mall of America
In Christ, our blessed Redeemer,
John A. Moldstad