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June 2022 President’s Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:

It has often surprised me when people ask or make the assumption that my father was a pastor. He was a major appliance repair man for a department store. He even moonlighted for a small local appliance store. The entire family would go along and wait for Dad in the car for those evening calls. Mom told us it was an “outing” and she would make it fun. But we found out later the real reason: she did not want Dad to be out alone after dark. The image of Dad carrying his heavy tool box in his right hand with his left arm outstretched to help counterbalance its weight as he walked up to the door is a fond memory especially as I approach the first Father’s Day after his death. His work ethic, faithfulness in regularly taking us to divine services, and many pious examples, e.g., never hearing him curse or use profanity, are blessed memories as well.

Jesus used our earthly fathers as a picture of the heavenly Father (Lk. 11), pointing out they, even though they are sinners, only want good things for their children. And Paul (Rom. 8) writes how God did not spare His own Son but sacrificed Him for us all. So just as our earthly fathers want to give us all good things, God our righteous heavenly Father graciously desires to benefit us with good things for all eternity. Here is a prayer you may wish to use on Father’s Day:

Heavenly Father, who provides all good things to Your children, we give You thanks for our earthly fathers who have served You by providing for us. Uphold and strengthen them in their vocations. Give them courage and faith to guide their families boldly and faithfully. Mercifully restore them where they fail and fall short. Grant us to receive their care with thankfulness even in their memory; in Jesus’ name. Amen.

In Jesus’ name,

Glenn R. Obenberger

Convention 2022

The 2022 Synod Convention will be held on June 26–30. The theme will be “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word.” The convention schedule and a digital copy of the Book of Reports and Memorials are available at Packets of the Book of Reports and Memorials also have been mailed to the pastor’s address and include copies for both pastor and delegates. Limited additional copies will be available at the credentials desk.

ELS Historical Society Program

The program “When the Christian Is Called to Arms” will be presented by the ELS Historical Society on Synod Sunday, June 26, at 7:00 pm at Bethany Lutheran College. The program will tell the stories from five different eras in which ELS members served in the military service and provide a brief history of how the ELS has prepared and supported her members in the military. Everyone interested is welcome and encouraged to attend.

BLC Commencement

Our Bethany Lutheran College held its spring commencement on Friday, May 13, in a full Ron Younge Gymnasium. The Bethany Concert Band and Concert Choir contributed beautiful music selections to the joyful ceremony. Celebrating with the 115 graduating students were many family members and friends of the new Bethany alumni.

The commencement address was given by Bethany alumnus Chad Janzen (’94). Janzen encouraged the 2022 graduates, upon leaving college, to be “humble, courageous, and assertive” in whatever vocation God leads them to.

Dr. Daniel Schaefer (’71), an expert and leader in meat and animal sciences, was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Bethany graduates and alumni joined the Concert Choir to close out the ceremony by singing the beloved Bethany hymn, “On My Heart Imprint Thine Image.”

Campus Construction Update

While the construction of the Bethany Activity and Wellness Center continues to make steady progress, another significant campus remodeling project in one of the college’s oldest buildings is about to begin. That project will take place in the former academic space called Luther Hall. The project will include an improved health services office, a new career services office, writing and academic resource spaces, an international student center, as well as a conference room.

This remodeling creates the opportunity to repurpose Luther Hall for these important student services, while allowing these department’s former locations to be reallocated for other purposes including the expansion of the Education Department in the lower level of the Memorial Library.

BLTS Commencement

The Commencement Service for Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary, which included the assignment of calls, occurred on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The Rev. Daniel Faugstad served as preacher, Pres. Gaylin Schmeling served as liturgist, and Mr. John Baumann was the organist. Graduates from the seminary with a Master of Divinity degree were Colin Anderson, Peter Bockoven, Abraham Faugstad, and Nicholas Lilienthal. Colin Anderson was assigned as pastor of First Lutheran Church (Suttons Bay, Michigan); Peter Bockoven was assigned as pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church (Mt. Vernon, Washington); Abraham Faugstad was assigned as pastor of King of Grace Lutheran Church (Waukon, Iowa) and Trinity Lutheran Church (Calmar, Iowa); and Nicholas Lilienthal was assigned as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church (Sutherlin, Oregon) and Resurrection Lutheran Church (North Bend, Oregon). Cody Anderson was assigned as vicar of Saude, Jerico, and Redeemer Lutheran Churches (Lawler and New Hampton, Iowa); Caleb Helmen was assigned as vicar of Our Savior Lutheran Church (Naples, Florida); and Max Kerr was assigned as vicar of King of Grace Lutheran Church (Golden Valley, Minnesota).


Left to right: Glenn Obenberger, John Smith, Greg Haugen, Kurt Kluge, Tosten Skaaland, Piet Van Kampen

The Rev. Greg Haugen was installed as pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Iola, Wisconsin, on May 15, 2022. President Obenberger preached on the Gospel for the day, Easter 5, John 16:5–15, under the theme: “The Message of Christ Is the Spirit’s Guiding Truth.” Circuit Visitor, the Rev. S. Piet Van Kampen, performed the Rite of Installation.

Military Monument Update

Work on the ELS Military Monument continues. The concrete pads that serve as base for the monument and pillars should be poured within a few weeks. The granite shipment has been delayed and is not scheduled to arrive until after convention. Jason Jaspersen, the artist for the two sculptures, is making progress. The target date for completion is sometime in the fall. We are thankful to the Lord and to so many generous donors for making it possible for us to remember people who have served or are serving in the military.

Challenge: We have a larger budget this year, increased by $30,000. Not only that, but the only way we presently have of giving more to our Bethany Lutheran College is by exceeding the $820,000 budget. May the Lord bless our efforts to support Gospel ministry in accord with his will and his generosity to us.

Upcoming Events

June 26–30 – Synod Convention

July 21–22 – Board for Home Outreach

July 28–31 – LYA Convention