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May 2023 President’s Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:

Greetings in the name of our crucified, risen and ascended Lord Jesus!

With all the activity around Christmas, Lent, Easter, and the coming festival of Pentecost, it is quite tempting to dismiss celebrating Ascension Day (May 18 this year). We confess it in in all three of our ecumenical creeds—Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian—where we confess that Jesus ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. Therefore, this is not merely a historical event we recognize, but, as we do in all of these creeds, we are acknowledging it as one of the many things God has done and continues to do for us in regard to our salvation.

Jesus, our divine brother in the flesh, ascended to intercede for us and to send the Spirit through the Gospel in Word and Sacrament to the Church here on earth. His promise that He is with us to the very end of the age happens through His ascension. Even if your congregation does not offer a divine service on that day, mark your calendar to remind you to pause to reflect on this gracious act by your Savior for your eternal benefit. Rejoice in this blessed act on your behalf which is still being carried out for your eternal benefit by the only Mediator between God and man for us sinners.

In Jesus’ name,
Glenn Obenberger

Planning & Coordinating Committee Ad Hoc Task Force Committee

A committee was established in the fall of 2022 for the purpose of reviewing the work of the Planning & Coordinating Committee under the guidance of Lyle Fahning, so that we become more strategic in our planning as we go about recommending synodical budgets in the future. Committee members: Craig Ferkenstad, Dave Ewert, Dan Basel, Brad Kerkow, Michael Smith, Myrna Meunier, and Mark Perlwitz. Its assessment, including the identification of gaps in the current P&CC planning process and recommendations for improvement were placed before the P&CC at its February meeting. The Planning & Coordinating Committee resolved that the president appoint an ad-hoc task force committee for three years. This committee will be advisory to the Planning & Coordinating Committee and is created to conduct strategic planning that can be adjusted on a regular basis. Serving currently on this committee in addition to the president are: Rev. Brad Kerkow (chairman), Mark Perlwitz (secretary), Lyle Fahning, with an additional two or three added within the year.

Lutheran Youth Association Convention

The ELS Board for Youth Outreach is excited to announce that the LYA Youth Convention will be held at Bethany Lutheran College from Thursday, July 27–Sunday, July 30, 2023. Co-directors for the convention are Pastor Kyle Madson and Mr. Benjamin Faugstad. This annual event brings together youth from across the country. The convention theme is “Created” (Genesis 1:27) and will feature keynote speaker Seminary President Timothy Hartwig. Cost is $250 if you register prior to June 1 at

Honor Choir

Youth Honor Choir is back! Prof. Dennis Marzolf created the camp in 1986 and served as director from 1986–2019. We are thrilled to announce that he will be conducting camp in 2023! Prof. Mark DeGarmeaux is serving as accompanist and the Honor Choir youth will be collaborating with both current and alumni members of the Concert Choir. This five day camp, June 17-21, is an immersive study and performance in our rich Lutheran Musical Heritage. Plans are in place for the choir to perform throughout the ELS Synod Convention, along with many fun activities. Don’t miss this opportunity to study great music and learn from the best! Cost is $225 with registration open until June 1 at

Convention 2023

The 2023 Synod Convention will be held on June 18–22. The theme will be “We Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.” If pastors or delegates are not registered yet, there’s still time. Register online at The Book of Reports and Memorials (BORAM) will soon be in the mail. Packets are mailed to the pastor’s address and include copies for both pastor and delegates. A digital copy of the BORAM will be available at the website above in mid-May.

Great Lakes Pastoral Conference

Pastors from Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois gathered in Hillman, Michigan in April for the annual Great Lakes Pastoral Conference.

Back Row (l to r): Pastors Colin Anderson, David Thompson, Daniel Hartwig, Christian Eisenbeis, Thomas Heyn, Robert Otto, S. Piet Van Kampen, Kurt Kluge. Front Row (l to r): Paul Lange, William Grimm, Dan Basel, Paul Schneider, Jeffery Luplow, Jacob Kempfert, Jeffrey Hendrix, Glenn Obenberger.

West Coast Pastoral Conference

Pastors from Washington, Oregon and California gathered during the last week of April at Bethany Lutheran Church in Port Orchard, Washington for the West Coast Pastoral Conference.

(L to r): Pastors Andrew Burmeister, Peter Bockhoven, Jesse Jacobsen, Samuel Gullixson, Roger Emmons, Bradley Kerkow, Peter Faugstad, Glenn Obenberger, Nicholas Lilienthal, Timothy Bartels, Steven Sparley, Robert Lawson, Jr., Tony Pittenger, Joseph Burkhardt, Steven Brockdorf.

Upcoming Events

May 2–3 – Board for World Outreach
May 7–8 – Board of Regents
May 10 – Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary Commencement
May 11 – Board of Trustees
May 12 – Bethany Lutheran College Commencement
June 6–8 – Triennial Convention of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference
June 18–22 – Synod Convention

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