Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given …
the government shall be upon His shoulder …
of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end.”
The wisemen knew the star they followed to the west was the star of the newborn King of the Jews, who came not only for the Jews but for all people including them. This was the Prince of Peace who would be anointed the King of kings establishing His rule of grace and peace forever. Most kings in history have asked their subjects to fight and die for them to preserve their reign. But this King of kings came to do battle Himself against the enemies of His kingdom. He would be wounded and die on our behalf. Only He could be victorious as the Lord of Life.
As you once again begin a new year as citizens of His kingdom, live in the peace and safety He has secured for you which lasts into eternity. As difficult and dark as it may get for you, in the faith of the thief on the cross to the right of Jesus, know that what is seen does not necessarily reflect your faith in this blessed King. Although crowned with a crown of thorns this believer looking at Jesus could say: “Remember me when you come into Your kingdom.” So too your King will not forget you even if you are facing an imminent death. Your enemies of sin, death and hell have all been vanquished and everlasting life is yours through His blessed reign.
In the blessed name of the King of kings,
Glenn R. Obenberger
Pictures Worth a Thousand Words
In the process of moving and settling in, I have placed pictures right outside my office door at 6 Browns Court, which remind me of what we all are about doing through you in the offices we occupy. We serve the Good Shepherd and His many sheep and lambs throughout the ELS and their pastors. They include pictures from 100+ year anniversary celebratory gatherings at ELS congregations I have served: Jerico, Parkland and Saude.
“And I will give you shepherds after My own heart,
who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
Our Bethany Lutheran College
The Bethany Lutheran College Music Department presented Christmas at Bethany December 1–4, 2022, in Trinity Chapel on the Bethany campus. The choral and instrumental performances featured the Chamber Orchestra, Concert Band, Handbell Choir, and the Mary Martha Singers. Professor Dennis Marzolf, who has directed the Bethany Concert Choir for nearly 39 years, recently announced his retirement effective at the end of the 2022–23 academic year. A video recording of the 2022 Christmas at Bethany service is available on Bethany’s YouTube Channel (youtube.com/@bethanylutheran).
Keith Wiederhoeft will retire from the position of business administrator on December 31, 2022. We thank him for his many years of service in this position. Myrna Meunier serves as our new business administrator while Keith continues as the synod’s official treasurer on a volunteer basis.
Ukraine crisis fund update
As of November 30, 2022, $288,079 has been raised by congregations, other organizations, and especially individual donors. The amount sent to Ukraine totals $119,000. After some small administrative expenses, $165,760 is available for future distribution. At this time we are no longer seeking additional donations. We thank all the generous donors. Your gifts will continue to help provide for the many needs that still exist in Ukraine.
The following is a note sent by Gift of Life accountant Mariya and the rest of the Gift of Life staff:
“School representatives send lists of children who need medical and dental attention to the clinics. Lydmyla, the deaconess, keeps these children on a list to go to the clinics. Every time I visit the garage where the clinics are located, I see young families with kids. Under the circumstances we are doing our best. Missile alarm sirens are not so often now but electricity is intermittent.
“We all want to thank you, your country and your people for being a friend indeed for us here in Ukraine in these dark days. Your support and prayers give us hope to overcome all difficulties and keep faith in God. A great heartwarming thank you to everyone who donates to Gift of Life and Ukraine Crisis Fund from us Ukrainians!”
From Nick and Kerry Laper:
“The war has left millions of Ukrainians homeless. Your support of Gift of Life gives hope to people in need. Donations to Gift of Life help pay for expenses. Food and hygiene products are purchased from the Ukraine Crisis Fund and distributed to the displaced homeless.
“Gift of Life is now buying products that are available in Ukraine. We will continue to purchase products in Poland (which are not available in Ukraine) and ship them to Gift of Life in Ukraine. Your gifts are distributed through the clinics and life centers and come with the gospel message. Bible study attendance has increased, and our personnel continue to share the saving message of our risen Savior.
“Our wishes for a blessed Christmas in Him and prayers that God’s army of angels surround and protect our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.
“In Christ’s love, Nicholas and Kerry Laper”
The Rev. Christian Walz was installed at Faith Lutheran Church in Clara City, Minnesota on December 4, 2022.
(L to R) John Petersen, Ron Pederson, Michael Muehlenhardt, Andrew Soule, Christian Walz, Brad Kerkow, Andrew Palmquist, Luke Ulrich, Johann Caauwe (WELS).
January 5–6 – Doctrine Committee
January 6 – Epiphany
February 7 – Board for Christian Service
February 9 – Board of Trustees
February 10 – Synod Review Committee
February 13–14 – Board of Regents
February 15 – Planning & Coordinating Committee
February 16–17 – Board for Home Outreach
February 22 – Ash Wednesday