One renowned Lutheran pastor described in a Christmas sermon the marvel of the incarnation of our Lord this way: “An unspeakably great, unexplorable divine mystery is at the bottom of all this… [God] determined from eternity that, what we could not do, He would do Himself, and He would do it in such a way that His divine, wonderful, incomprehensible, and infinite love would be made known to all creatures, to His eternal praise and glory!” (C.F.W. Walther). May each of us see that what happened at Bethlehem was the very way our Heavenly Father had all of our sins placed upon His Son, and that the Son’s coming in the flesh is the pure love and mercy for our eternal redemption. Have a joyful Christmas celebration, everyone!
CELC Asia-Oceania Conference
Our congregation in Seoul, South Korea, had the privilege of hosting a regional gathering of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference on October 28-31, 2015. The main topic of study for the conference was the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Seoul Lutheran Church, served by the Rev. Young Ha Kim, also celebrated its 10th anniversary. The ELS president preached for the occasion and brought greetings from the synod.
Inauguration at BLC
Dr. Gene Pfeifer was inaugurated as president of Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota, on November 13, 2015. Dr. Pfeifer is the tenth president of Bethany.
Doctrinal Discussions Continue between the CLC, the ELS, and WELS
Representatives from the Church of the Lutheran Confession, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod met in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on November 13 to continue formal doctrinal discussions. The group made final edits on a joint statement on the biblical doctrine of fellowship. This statement had been adopted by the group as a draft in an earlier meeting and had been shared with the doctrinal committees of all three synods. Comments from those committees were considered in the writing of the latest draft. The revised statement will be shared again with the doctrinal committees for additional input.
The group also spent a portion of the meeting addressing how the biblical doctrine of fellowship is applied in various situations. One significant area of discussion is how the biblical fellowship principles impact participation in various organizations that may have religious elements in their governing documents or in how the organizations function. Another subject for discussion was the biblical doctrine of the role of men and women in the church, in marriage, and in society. Discussion of these matters will continue at the next meeting, planned for early in 2016.
The talks have been and constructive and positive, with all involved fully committed to a faithful understanding and application of God’s Word.
World Outreach Update: Peru
- 1500 members, 50 congregations and preaching stations
- 3 elementary schools, 1 high school
- 13 national clergy, 1 US missionary
- 12 seminary and pre-seminary students – now taught by national pastors
- Nationals as jungle evangelists visit a circuit of 10 rainforest villages
- 2014 convention of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference was hosted by the Peruvian Church
- National church continues toward increased management of its own finances and ministry
Groundbreaking at Hope Lutheran
On Sunday, November 22, our synod’s mission congregation of Hope Lutheran in Farmington, Minnesota, broke ground for a new sanctuary. Pastor Dan Oberer serves the congregation which began in the year of 2007. We pray for the Lord’s blessings on the congregation and on this project.
The forty-eighth annual Bjarne Wollan Teigen Reformation Lectures were held at the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, Mankato, Minnesota, on October 29-30, 2015. These lectures are sponsored jointly by Bethany Lutheran College and Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. The theme of the lectures was “Lutheranism and the Arts.” The lectures were a study of Lutheranism’s relationship to the arts and explained the influence of Lutheranism on the visual arts, history, and literature. The lecturers were Prof. William Bukowski, Dr. Robert Rosin, and Prof. Brian Dose (pictured with faculty of Bethany Lutheran College and Seminary).
A colloquy (Part 1) has been scheduled for the Rev. Robert Lawson, Jr. of Escondido, California. Pastor Lawson is a former pastor of our synod seeking restoration of fellowship. Any correspondence pertaining to the colloquy should be addressed to the synod president (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Through the month of October, congregation contributions have totaled $584,800. This is $16,600 ahead of last year at this time. The adopted congregational contribution portion of our 2015 synod budget is $760,000. As we give thanks to God for the gifts received, we wish to remind our churches that – by convention resolution – every dollar given to synod above $725,000 goes directly to missions. The overage dollars are not divided to support other ministries but go 100% for the use of home missions. May our Lord move our hearts to give generously.
Upcoming Events: http://www.els.org/about/calendar/
December 1-2 – WELS/ELS holding informal meetings with the LCMS, Jacksonville, FL
December 7-8 – Doctrine Committee
December 8 – Ottesen Museum Christmas Open House
December 16 – Synod Review Committee
January 19 – Planning & Coordinating Committee
January 20-21 – Board for Youth Outreach
January 20 – Committee on Nominations
January 28-29 – Board for Home Outreach
Click here to view current vacancies and calls in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
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