Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
A blessed New Church Year to you and yours! It began on Sunday, November 28, the First Sunday in Advent. Consider these words from Bishop Nils Jakob Laache: “In this Church year you shall again experience with all the saints that Jesus is the same faithful and mighty Savior as He always was. He shall keep you in grace, strengthen your faith, increase your love, purify your soul in tribulations, and give you victory over the flesh, the world, and the devil. Beware of relying on your own strength! Beware of doubting His power! You are baptized into Christ, you hear His voice, eat His Body and Blood, live and breathe in His saving grace and love. He knows you and has you in His sight and in His hand day and night. He is gentle and bears with your weaknesses. He is just and destroys your sins.” (Book of Family Prayer, p. 20, adapted.) May this new year be a blessing to you as you once again review how your Lord Jesus effected reconciliation between you and the Father by His life, death and resurrection and by His merits alone regained for you your lost righteousness.
In Jesus’ name,
Glenn R. Obenberger
Western Koshkonong Anniversary
Western Koshkonong Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, observed her 130th anniversary on October 31, 2021. President Glenn Obenberger preached for the service.
Our Bethany Lutheran College: Ministry Mindset for Bethany Lutheran College Education Students
Bethany Professor of Education Dr. Carrie Pfeifer organized an event called Ministry Mindset in September 2021. Pfeifer, working together with ELS schools in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and Port Orchard, Washington, invited Bethany Education Department students to the online presentation where they heard about the joys of teaching in Christian Day Schools.
Participating in the hour-long event were the Rev. Christopher Dale, principal at Christ Lutheran in Port St. Lucie, Mr. Shu-Ting Lai principal at Port Orchard, and also recent Bethany Lutheran College education graduates Jayde Faugstad (teacher at Port Orchard) and Daniel Nusbaum (teacher at Port St. Lucie).
During the online presentation, the Bethany education students learned about our ELS schools and discovered firsthand what it is like to teach in Lutheran elementary schools, especially noting the blessings that are inherent with such teaching positions.
Groundbreaking at BLC
Groundbreaking at Bethany Lutheran College for a new on-campus Student Activity and Wellness Center took place at the construction site near the corner of Marsh and Division Streets on November 9, 2021, at 10:30 a.m., to coincide with the quarterly meeting of the Board of Regents. College Chaplain Don Moldstad, Vice President of Advancement Bruce Gratz, President Gene Pfeifer, Mankato Mayor Najwa Massad, North Mankato Mayor Mark Dehen, and Mr. Fred Lutz of the GMG Ambassadors spoke to the crowd of 125 people gathered for the historic event. The 83,000 square foot facility will be utilized by the entire Bethany campus population providing much needed spaces for students, athletes, and educational and community events alike. The activity center will include a six-lane track, jumping spaces for field events, an artificial turf infield, and drop-down netting to divide the space for multiple user groups and purposes at the same time. The wellness center will include new fitness and exercise spaces as well as lounge and gathering areas.
Criminal Justice Major
The Bethany Lutheran College (BLC) Board of Regents met on the BLC campus on November 9–10. Among the many items the regents discussed was a new major in criminal justice. The regents approved the new major, which will begin offering classes in the fall of 2022. Assistant Professor of Legal Studies Sara Edwards (J.D.) is the major coordinator.
Installation in Hobart, Indiana
The Rev. David Locklair was installed as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Hobart, Indiana, on November 14, 2021.
Pictured: (Back, left to right): President Glenn Obenberger, David Thompson, Adam Gawal (St. Andrew Lutheran, WELS, Chicago), and Lon Kuether (Zion Lutheran, WELS, Crete, IL); (Front): Frederic Lams, Sam Jeske (Our Shepherd, WELS, Crown Point, IN), David Locklair, Trent Saari
Nominations for Seminary President
The list of nominees for president of Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary can be found in the November–December 2021 issue of the Lutheran Sentinel (pages 16–17). Instructions for comment to the Board of Regents regarding those nominees also are included.
Our delegates and pastors at convention set a budget of $790,000 for gifts from congregations to support our ELS missions and ministries in 2019 for the 2020 budget. Since we were unable to have a convention in 2020, the Board of Trustees used our 2020 goal as the goal for this year, 2021. They also earmarked all gifts over $760,000 to help with our Bethany Lutheran College’s operating budget. Envelopes should have arrived at your parish’s designated delivery address for a special year-end offering to take place over the next few weeks. Be sure to participate in this special offering in support of ELS missions and ministries (e.g. Bethany Lutheran College) through our $790,000 congregational giving goal. Blessings as you give in accord with our Lord’s gifts to you in thankfulness for our Savior and the salvation he has won for us all.
A Sunday School Ad Hoc Committee
The 2021 convention resolved the president is to form a committee to identify the reasons for the decline in Sunday School attendance and seek solutions or alternatives. Pr. Jeffrey Hendrix has been appointed the chair and is currently organizing the committee. It will report to the 2022 convention.
Plans to begin construction of the military monument are being put into place, so that most, if not all, of the construction should be complete by June 2022. With a reduction in projected expenses, we remain about $24,000 short of the total goal. Please consider contributing to this project. Check out the synod website for more information: https://els.org/monument/
Position Opening – Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The Evangelical Lutheran Synod invites applications for the position of Business Administrator. Request job description from Keith Wiederhoeft, 6 Browns Court, Mankato MN 56001. Keithw@blc.edu. 507-344-7395. Please submit resume and references to President Glenn R. Obenberger at the same address by January 10. Salary is commensurate with education and experience. Minimum of Bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, or finance. Benefits include health, life insurance, and pension plan. Start date after March 1, 2022.
November 30–December 1 – Doctrine Committee
January 14 – Synod Review Committee