This holy season has us consider again the depths of God’s love for sinners. We are drawn to the tremendous miracle of “the Word made flesh.” You and I have a Savior who is God having come as a human being! This teaching is meant to dispel all doubts of our deliverance from the eternally devastating effects of our own sinfulness. How can we not be certain of having forgiveness and of obtaining heaven by faith in Jesus, for we are assured in God’s own scriptures that the Christ is both true God and true man? He lived the holy life we could not. He died the death of the damned in our place, and then conquered death for each of us. “By virtue of the personal union and communion of natures, Jesus was and is the perfect answer to God’s salvation plan. The God-man alone could and did live and die and rise again to rescue and save a lost and fallen world. Indeed, ‘the mystery of godliness is great; He appeared in a body…’ (1 Timothy 3:16). And in that body, for us and for our salvation, dwells the fullness of God” (H. Kuschel, People’s Bible Teachings, p. 49). Behold the face of God in the manger! May this be foremost among the many spectacular sights of Christmas that we are privileged to observe.
John A. Moldstad
A pastor from his home congregation, the Rev. Dan Basel, preached at the 50th anniversary of Faith Lutheran in Hillman, Michigan. The congregation marked its anniversary on October 14, while the synod also was giving thanks to God for one hundred years in our local communities. Pastor Thomas Smuda serves as the current shepherd of Faith. We thank God for His many years of grace!
The Rev. Joshua Skogen was installed at Center and Scarville Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Scarville, Iowa, on November 11, 2018. Seventeen pastors were on hand to bring blessings upon Pastor Skogen as he takes up his new charge of the two congregations and school. Pastor Skogen and wife Katie have been blessed with six children.
Our prayers go with the Rev. David Locklair and the members of Hope Lutheran in Portage, Indiana, as David was installed as its pastor on November 25. The Rev. Ken Mellon performed the rite of installation. Pictured are pastors from the area participating in the service: Ken Mellon, David Locklair, Ted Gullixson, and Fred Lams.
During the month of November, our ELS Archives was updated. All of the archives boxes were moved out in order to install movable shelving in half of the room. This shelving provides additional storage for books and other materials. If needed, additional movable shelves can be added in the future. Ted Gullixson currently serves as the archivist, and Craig Ferkenstad as assistant. Please remember to send a copy of any bulletins for ordinations/installations, dedications, anniversaries, etc. to the archives for their files.
The winter issue of Oak Leaves contains an article by Secretary Craig Ferkenstad commemorating the work of George Orvick in promoting the history of the ELS. You can subscribe to Oak Leaves, a quarterly newsletter containing articles of historical importance for our synod. The subscription fee which include ELS Historical Society membership, is $15. Send it to ELS Historical Society, 6 Browns Court, Mankato MN 56001.
Recently, the Board for World Outreach (BWO) began coordinating with Rev. Jay Webber, a member of the Doctrine Committee, to provide Lutheran instruction to a group of pastors in Kenya. These pastors are uncomfortable with false teachings and practices within their church body and desire to learn more about confessional Lutheranism. Pastor Webber is coordinating these efforts and arranges for pastors from our synod to participate in teaching this group. Classes are currently conducted through video conferences. As these efforts continue, it is important to understand that the ELS is not in a fellowship arrangement with these pastors or their churches. However, this instruction is being carried out with the hope that the ELS may one day find fellowship to be realized. Those interested in financially supporting this effort are encouraged to direct their inquiries to BWO Administrator Tom Heyn.
The “Synod Fund” supports various aspects of our work. The expenses of the Doctrine Committee, Committee on Worship, Board of Trustees, Planning and Coordinating Committee, Board of Appeals, Synod Review Committee, and Committee for Archives and History are all included in this fund, as well as any expenses that cannot be allocated to another fund. But this fund is no less important because of its ambiguity. Your congregation contributions to the budget continue to be the largest single source of receipts for the work of the synod.