Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
This year marks the 490th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession. For Lutherans this defining confession of faith is best known for its clear description on the doctrine of justification by grace through faith in Christ as set forth in its Article IV. However, another key section of the AC which especially is pertinent for today’s social climate and also in consideration of July 4th is Article XVI, “Civil Government.” We share this important section: “The Gospel does not overthrow civil authority, the state, and marriage but requires that all these be kept as true orders of God and that everyone, each according to his own calling, manifest Christian love and genuine good works in his station in life. Accordingly, Christians are obliged to be subject to civil authority and obey its commands and laws in all that can be done without sin. But when commands of the civil authority cannot be obeyed without sin, we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).” May God bless our country, and may civic peace prevail so that the Gospel of Christ may be proclaimed freely to all.
John A. Moldstad
Coronavirus strikes a pastor’s family in Santiago, Chile
On June 9, our BWO Administrator Thomas Heyn reported, “I just spoke with Mario Gálvez, our pastor in Santiago, Chile. He is recovering from Covid, still not feeling the best but he is improving. Sad news, his father-in-law is likely dying from the coronavirus. The doctors have given him a few days to live. No one can visit him in the hospital, not even his wife and daughter (Milly). Mario says his father-in-law was his right hand, helping him often at church, reading sermons when Mario would travel to Linares to conduct worship. Please keep this family in your prayers. We rejoice in the promise and hope of the resurrection.” Since that time, another worker in Chile, Victor Henriquez, contracted the virus. Both Mario and Victor have recovered, but Mario’s father-in-law succumbed to the virus and was taken to heaven on June 9.
Synod Sunday Service
We hope you were able to view the special Synod Sunday Service live-streamed by your president with the assistance of local pastors. The recording is available at els.org/convention if you would like to view it again.
Reports to the Synod
Because there was no convention, there will be no printed Synod Report in 2020. However, the synod’s boards and committees have prepared reports. These unofficial “Reports to the Synod” tell about the work of your synod during this past year. They can be accessed at els.org/convention. Please remember these reports are for information only, and no action is intended or will be taken on any items in these reports.
The next convention will be held Sunday-Thursday, June 20-24, 2021.
Invitation to Connect Online for Karim’s Ordination
St. Timothy Lutheran in Lombard, Illinois, is partnering with our Board for Home Outreach to establish an Arabic Outreach Ministry. Candidate of Theology Karim Yaghleji, who grew up in Aleppo, Syria, will be ordained and installed at a special 4:00 p.m. (CDT) worship service on Sunday, July 19, 2020. Members of the synod are encouraged to link in at http://www.sainttimothy.org/ for the special occasion. Please keep this unique opportunity for our synod in your daily prayers. Also if any wish to contribute toward this Chicagoland mission project, we urge you to send your donations to: ELS Arabic Outreach, 6 Browns Court, Mankato MN 56001.
Update on Midland Cleanup
Many have contributed for cleanup and rebuilding at our Holy Scripture Lutheran Church in Midland, Michigan, and all of this assistance is greatly appreciated. Little of the damage is covered by insurance. They ask for your continued prayers.
Pastor Schneider recently provided an update: “It’s been 3 weeks since we were flooded. Work continues with clean up and we are finding more demolition needed of shelving, bookcases, bulletin boards, kitchen cabinets, etc., due to mold, in spite of hiring a professional clean up service to do the initial cleaning. Parsonage basement is gutted to the studs and the main floor down to the original plywood. It is now drying with fans and dehumidifiers. We spent 2 weeks with Andy and Sarah and have now been in our 5th wheel in the parsonage driveway for a week. The Trustees met [on June 10] and they ‘guestimate’ the damage to exceed a million dollars. And that will not even bring us back to normal. Everything except the actual building structure needs to be repaired or replaced, including the entire heating system and electrical wiring. The 2017 flood only destroyed the basement boiler system. This time every classroom will need the wall units replaced and city code demands replacing all wiring, which was under water. All floor tiles need to be removed and will need to be done by a professional company due to asbestos. … Simply put, it’s overwhelming! May God provide the faith and strength to move forward.”
Bethany Seminary Anniversary
During the coming 2020–21 school year, our Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary will prepare to celebrate its 75th anniversary. You, your Sunday school, your Bible study group, your LYA, and your congregation are invited to join in this celebration. We hope to see you at our open house during synod convention in 2021. Might you consider also a project for the coming school year to raise $75 or even $750 for our seminary’s 75th anniversary?
National Teachers’ Conference
Our secretary for schools reports: “I’m letting you know that the Board for Lutheran Schools voted to postpone the National Teachers’ Conference that was scheduled for July of 2021. We felt that it would be difficult for schools to commit to the conference under the current conditions and we were planning to use this year’s convention to promote the event. Under the circumstances, it seemed better to wait. Tentatively, we’re looking at 2023.”
Prayers Needed for Bethany
We urge all of our members to keep our Bethany Lutheran College in their prayers as the college is preparing to open this fall on August 25. The administration is working on scenarios that will accommodate necessary restrictions because of Covid.
ELS Military Monument
In our world today our veterans are receiving the honor, help, and recognition they deserve; much like our WWII veterans received when they returned home to the United States. We in the ELS highly value those members and neighbors who have served and are still serving us valiantly in their willingness to protect our lives and freedoms. As we again celebrate the birth of our nation this Fourth of July, we are presented with the opportunity to remember how our nation won its freedom and reflect on those who fought to earn it. It is also an opportunity to show our appreciation by supporting the ELS Military Monument to be constructed on our Bethany Lutheran College campus. As you prepare to celebrate Independence Day 2020, we urge you to support this important mission of our church body by donating to the ELS Military Monument project. For details of this project and ways to donate please visit our ELS website (www.els.org, go to the “About” heading and click on Military Monument). Thank you.
July 5 – Ordination of Jacob Kempfert in Saginaw MI
July 16–17 – Board for Home Outreach
July 19 – Ordination of Karim Yaghleji in Lombard IL
July 24-26 – LYA Convention – CANCELLED
August 4 – Board of Trustees
August 4–5 – Board of Regents
August 7 – meeting of the CLC – ELS/WELS
August 17–18 – Doctrine Committee