Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
Psalm 121 was highlighted for our synod this past week. Hearing an uplifting essay on the remarkable details and intricacies of our God’s marvelous creation, and listening to uplifting devotions and sermons drawing attention to the same, we can only burst forth in song, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” Yet, as speaker after speaker consistently pointed out, the greatest wonder of all is that our Lord and Maker would Himself enter our world in the Person of Jesus Christ in order to rescue us sinners and all of fallen mankind by His perfect life, His innocent suffering and death, and His glorious resurrection. What a great God we have! What a message to share with so many who do not yet know just exactly how far the love of God extends for every single soul on this planet!
John A. Moldstad
Young people from the special Honor Choir graced our convention with their voices of praise to God. A number of these individuals will be future enrollees at our Bethany Lutheran College.
The annual convention of our synod met June 23-26. The theme of the convention was “My Help Comes From the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” The convention essay was presented Dr. Doyle Holbird and is available to download at els.org/convention. The chaplain for the convention was the Rev. Ben Wiechmann (Golden Valley, Minnesota), and devotions also were led by Daniel Ruiz (Leander, Texas) and Paul Webber (West Jordan, Utah). The Synod Sunday worship service was led by the Rev. Kyle Madson (St. Peter, Minnesota) with the Rev. Rodney Flohr (Cold Spring, Minnesota) preaching the sermon. On Tuesday, the communion service was held with the Rev. Christian Eisenbeis (Marinette, Wisconsin) as preacher and the Rev. Daniel Hartwig (Oconomowoc, Wisconsin) serving as liturgist.
Also at this convention:
- One pastor was received into membership.
- On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of Thoughts of Faith, Nick and Kerry Laper, directors of Gift of Life in Ukraine, spoke to the convention about the work in that field.
- The synod president is to endeavor to establish a center for Christian apologetics.
- Congregations are asked to prayerfully consider including financial support for Bethany Lutheran College in their annual budgets.
- The Board for Home Outreach recognized the seven home missionaries by having them rise to receive applause.
- The Board for World Outreach was encouraged to explore the possibility of sending a missionary or missionaries to a suitable mission field.
- The first of a series of a Young Branches videos was shown to the convention. This video focused on the Liturgy of the Church.
- Congregations were encouraged to work toward designating 10% of their received offerings for synod purposes.
- A budget was set for the 2020 calendar year. The unified budget total is $3,057,915, which includes a congregational contribution of $790,000. Of the $790,000 to be contributed by congregations, any amount over $760,000 will be allocated to the Board for Lutheran Schools. The final tally for the “Proclaim the Wonders God Has Done” anniversary offering was reported as $804,762 at the end of 2018.
Following the adjournment of the convention, the synod’s Committee on Worship presented a program of “Heritage of Hymns 2019: Nordic Treasures,” which commemorated the 150th anniversary of Magnus B. Landstad’s Hymnbook (1869) and Ludvig Lindeman’s book of hymn-tunes (1874).
Groundbreaking for an ELS military moment, on the campus of Bethany Lutheran College, will take place on Veterans’ Day (November 11, 2019). The purpose of this monument is to honor those in the ELS who have served their fellow citizens through the God-pleasing vocation of military service so that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life and the gospel may have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of God’s holy people.
The 2020 convention will be held June 21-24, 2020.
Pastor Peter Heyn was installed as a home missionary pastor of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in San Angelo, Texas on Sunday, June 2. Please keep Pastor Heyn in your prayers as he begins his work! His father, Rev. Thomas Heyn, preached for the occasion. Circuit Visitor, the Rev. Micah Ernst, performed the rite of installation.
(Pictured L to R): Rev. Tim Hartwig, Rev. James Kassera, Rev. Nathan Biebert (WELS), Rev. Peter Heyn, Rev. Thomas Heyn, Rev. Micah Ernst, Rev. Don Patterson (WELS).
July 25-28 – LYA Convention at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato MN
August 5 – Explanation Review Committee
August 6 – Board of Trustees
August 12-13 – ELS Board of Regents
August 22-23 – Board for Home Outreach
August 23 – Synod Review Committee
August 26 – Board for World Outreach