Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
This past month of February marked the 110th anniversary of an event that would six years later give birth to our Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The joint Union Committee (Norwegian Synod and the United Norwegian Lutheran Church) that wrote Opgjør met February 14–22, 1912 in Madison, Wisconsin. Opgjør, also known as the Madison Settlement, was adopted by the joint committee on February 22. News that a settlement had been reached was announced by the simultaneous ringing of all the church bells in the two synods. Sadly, it provided a way to allow two contrary teachings regarding the election of God’s grace to stand side by side when eventually these two Norwegian Lutheran church bodies merged in 1917.
What appeared to many to be a slight and insignificant opening of the doctrinal integrity door would later swing wide open, losing the very Gospel itself. After a more recent merger which included that “united” Lutheran church body in 1988, there are now some of their theologians on record who deny even the bodily resurrection of Jesus. We point this out not to boast over against the history of those two church bodies, but to urge us soberly to consider our commitment to confess the truth of God’s Word. At our 105th annual ELS Convention, we will gather together from June 26–30 under the theme: “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word.” May our Lord continue to grant us His grace so that we confess His Truth which alone sets sinners like us free.
In Jesus’ name,
Glenn R. Obenberger
On February 24, Nicholas Laper, of our Gift of Life mission in Ukraine, reported: “Presently we are ‘holed up’ in Egypt [on a previously-scheduled vacation] for the next couple of days as Ukrainian airspace is closed. We expected to fly out to the States through Poland (most likely). … Gift of Life is closed. Many of the staff are in their villages. [Some live in the cities being attacked.] Please pray for Ukraine and its people, particularly the Gift of Life staff. God is our refuge and strength.”
Our World Outreach Administrator, the Rev. Thomas Heyn, adds this prayer: “Dear Lord, heavenly Father, we know that the events of this world are in your hands and that you are always working all things out for the good of your people. We pray that you would watch over and protect those who minister on your behalf. May you also especially watch over those who may be injured in this conflict, those who may be taken prisoner, and comfort the families of those who perish. Use these events for your glory and to move your people to prayer and acts of compassion. We ask this in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Amherst Junction Anniversary Observance
Our Savior’s Lutheran of Amherst Junction, Wisconsin, celebrated some major milestones the last couple of months. On November 7, 2021, the congregation recognized the hundredth anniversary of the date on which its founders wrote a letter terminating their membership at South New Hope Lutheran Church and desiring to form their own church. Pastor Greg Haugen preached the sermon on Philippians 3:12–21, “Press On Toward the Goal.” The anniversary celebration concluded on January 9, 2022, when the congregation observed the date on which it was officially organized. Pastor Greg Haugen preached the sermon on Psalm 77:7–15, “A Day of Joyful Remembrance.”
In addition to the anniversary celebration, a presentation was made for years of service to the congregation. On December 25, 2021, gifts of appreciation were made to Greg Roe and John Olson for faithfully serving as officers for 50 years, Linda Konkol as organist for 25 years, and Patricia Haugen as organist for over five years. Pictured are (L to R): Patricia Haugen, Linda Konkol, Greg Roe, John Olson, and Rev. G. Haugen.
Our Bethany Lutheran College
|architect’s drawing of the building under construction|
Bethany Lutheran College and Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS) in Mankato are announcing a partnership that will see MCHS providing support for the new Bethany Activity and Wellness Center. The 84,000 square foot facility is currently under construction at the corner of Marsh and Division Streets on the BLC campus in Mankato, just one block west of the MCHS in Mankato campus. The new building will consist of two facilities under one roof—a 68,000 square foot activity center with a 200 meter track and turf infield, and a 16,000 square foot wellness center with exercise and fitness rooms, locker facilities, and gathering spaces. The partnership with MCHS supports the smaller portion of the project, and as such, Bethany will recognize MCHS in and around the new Wellness Center with visible signage representing the partnership.
The ELS Military Monument has been planned for some time, and as of now the sculptors are busy and construction is underway. On top of all that, a matching pledge of $20,000 has been offered to help move us toward the finish line. This money will only be contributed to match new contributions. Your gift, whether an outright gift or a memorial paver, bench, column, or column face will be matched dollar for dollar. To make a gift, use an order form at the bottom of the page at els.org/monument or click “Donate” at the top of the page, and fill in the “Military Monument Project” box. For a specific memorial, contact Rev. Dan Basel at DanBasel@blc.edu or 507-344-7311. There are many “veterans memorials” around the country, as well there should be, but the ELS Military Monument recognizes the vocation of the warrior as a gift of God, along with all other proper vocations.
Now that’s dedication!
In February, Jeff and Jean Warnemuende, members of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth, Michigan, braved the frigid temperatures (-3°!) to pick up nearly 500 new hymnaries for their congregation from the Bethany Lutheran College Bookstore!
Southwest Women’s Mission Rally, February 19, 2022 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Scottsdale, Arizona
New Business Administrator
We welcome Myrna Meunier as the new business administrator of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Denise Luehmann, the financial assistant to Keith Wiederhoeft, is retiring this spring. Keith will be retiring sometime later in 2022 as the business administrator but will be working with Myrna for a period of time. Myrna is a Certified Public Accountant and has extensive experience in nonprofit accounting, auditing, and administration. She is a Bethany Lutheran College alum and with her family attends Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Mankato. We look forward to working with her and ask our Lord to be with her in this new endeavor. Keith has agreed to continue as treasurer of the synod for now. We thank our Lord for Keith and Denise’s faithful and diligent service to the synod, 25 years and 19 years, respectively, and pray that He grants them refreshment as they seek new opportunities in their well-deserved vocations of retirement.
March 14–15 – Doctrine Committee
April 1 – Reports due for the Book of Reports and Memorials