The Lenten season comes a upon us once again. Extra opportunities are here for us to peer into the great love of our Savior for each of us. I always am amazed at the way Peter in his first epistle describes how the prophetic writers of the Old Testament inquired and searched as to what they predicted concerning the suffering and death of the coming Messiah, the Christ. In fact, even the angels long to look into (1 Peter 1:12) these deep truths! One of our synodical forefathers, Dr. Sigurd Ylvisaker, in a message on 1 Peter 1, has captured well the impact for all of us today: “Centuries ago these [prophets] have, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declared the mystery of Christ, His sufferings, death and resurrection, they themselves searching and inquiring diligently the timing and meaning of it all. That is the great concern of this whole universe of ours, and the angels gaze in wonder at its glorious and mysterious unfolding. Thus we, each time we assemble about the Word of God, are privileged to tread the holy mountains of God where he spreads before our wondering gaze the panorama of His grace” (S. C. Ylvisaker 1884-1959, edited by P. T. Harstad, p. 172). May we rejoice over the unmeasurable extent to which God’s Son has gone for our eternal salvation!
Blessings in the name of our dear Redeemer,
John A. Moldstad
The Rev. Jonathan Madson was installed on January 14, 2018, at New Life Lutheran in Sebring, Florida. The Rev. Charles Keeler was the preacher, and the Rev. Alex Ring served as liturgist. Pastors pictured from the left are: Andy Burmeister, Steve Petersen, Matt Luttman, Kurtis Freimuth, Jon Madson, Chuck Keeler, Herb Huhnerkoch, Larry Wenzlaff, Alexander Ring, Mike Dale, Mark Faugstad.
On January 1, 2018 the ELS pastors serving in Texas gathered at Hope Lutheran in Leander to celebrate the New Year. The gathering was hosted by Katie and Pastor Dan Ruiz who cooked up a delicious assortment of Cuban food. This picture is taken in Hope Lutheran’s beautiful (and nearly completed) new church. The view is from the narthex looking into the sanctuary. Couples pictured left to right are Pastor James and Jenny Kassera, Pastor Dan and Katie Ruiz, Pastor Bradley and Rachel Kerkow, Pastor David and Jenna Thompson. Please keep our Texas missions and churches in your prayers.
Our synod’s Business Administrator reports: Our 2017 congregational offerings to the total synod budget not only surpassed the $760,000 budget but 2016’s total giving as well. Congregational offerings were $8,000 above the budget and $5,000 above last year’s total offerings. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!
The Board for Education promotes Christian education by providing grants, organizing conferences, visiting schools, researching changes in educational funding and philosophy, and supporting families that have chosen to homeschool. The 2018 synod budget includes a challenge to the synod. Once congregation contributions total $740,000, every additional dollar congregations contribute to the synod budget will fund this work.
It is time to begin planning for the 2018 Centennial Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The convention will be held June 17-21. As you make travel plans, remember that last year the convention resolved that the 2018 synod convention is to end at noon on Thursday (Synod Report 2017, page 165). You may also make note of these special centennial events:
- A special Synod Sunday/Choral Union service is being planned for 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 17. Note that the service time is later than usual to allow practice time for the Choral Union.
- On Tuesday, June 19, an anniversary program will take place in Trinity Chapel at 5:00 p.m.
- Also be aware that the ELS Historical Society will be holding their program and annual meeting on Saturday, June 16, which is the day before the convention. The gathering will begin at Albert Lea, Minnesota at 3:30 p.m. and conclude with a brief service at Lime Creek Lutheran Church where the synod was reorganized one hundred years ago. All convention delegates and pastors are invited to this event. Possibly congregations will make arrangements to allow their pastor to arrive one day early so they can attend this significant event without needing to use a vacation Sunday.
The deadline for items for publication in the 2018 Book of Reports and Memorials is April 1. Completed reports are to be mailed to the synod’s secretary. Requests for presentation time during the synod convention program must be directed to the president of the synod prior to April 15. Statistical Reporting for 2017 is due February 15. If you have not already reported, you can complete the statistical reporting form online: http://www.els.org/statistics. Board and committee secretaries also are reminded that any corrections or additions to the “Addresses of Board and Committee Members” which is printed in the Synod Report also should be submitted at this time.
What a wonderful outpouring this past December as we saw the most generous month since the rollout of offering. In the month of December over $39,000 was contributed. Thank you for your generosity! While we have set a very high goal for this offering, it is truly in line with our mission needs. Most importantly, our Lord is blessing the work that is being supported. Please refer to Prof. Michael Smith’s article in this last edition of the Lutheran Sentinel (January/February) for details and a glimpse at some future needs. Most of all do give generously. Would you like help? Give Pastor Dan Basel, our Giving Counselor, a call to make even bolder plans to support Gospel ministry through home missions or other Gospel ministry. Call him at 507-469-9656.
At its January 16 meeting the Planning and Coordinating Committee devoted time to analyzing church trends and in particular considering issues facing rural and small-town ministries. For its next annual session, this largest standing committee for the synod has decided to set aside two days in February 2019 with a refreshed focus on strategic planning. At this year’s convention, the P&C is recommending a 2019 congregational contribution budget of $780,000, with the understanding that any contributions exceeding $740,000 be allocated to Bethany Lutheran College to be designated toward calling an additional professor in the religious studies division.
Pursuant to the guidelines of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod for calling a professor to the seminary (cf.Guidelines for Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary II.A.2), the Board of Regents of Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary, Mankato, Minnesota, herewith issues to the congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod a call for nominations to a professorship.
The nominees must be ordained clergymen of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod or of its fellowship.
Nominees are to be qualified primarily to teach New Testament, which requires the necessary expertise or aptitude in the Greek language and a willingness to pursue further study in the area of exegesis. The nominees also need to be able and willing to teach other courses in the curriculum as needed.
The individual called will serve as the Dean of Students and lead the seminary’s field education program. He will begin teaching fall 2018.
Nominations are to reach the undersigned by March 1, 2018.
Rev. Edward Bryant
Secretary, ELS Board of Regents
527 N Main St
Lombard IL 60148
February 3 – Historical Society
February 5-6 – Board for Youth Outreach
February 6 – Board of Trustees
February 7 – Synod Review Committee
February 12-13 – ELS Board of Regents
February 13 – Board for Christian Service
February 26 – Committee on Nominations
March 12 – Centennial Committee
March 19-20 – Doctrine Committee