Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
Greetings in the name of our Good Shepherd who promises not to leave us shepherd-less!
We just completed the 104th Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. In order to complete our work for two years we needed to meet all the way through Thursday (6/24) mid-morning. We appreciate the willingness of a surprisingly large contingent of pastors and lay delegates who were able to remain until the close of business. Our main focus throughout the week was the 75th anniversary of our Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary under the theme: “The Good Shepherd Sends Shepherds.” All ELS shepherds (pastors) coming through that institution are very familiar with these words from Dr. C.F.W. Walther about a graduate’s first call out of seminary: “That place ought to be to him the dearest, most beautiful, and most precious spot on earth. He should be unwilling to exchange it for a kingdom. Whether it is in a metropolis or in a small town, on a bleak prairie or in a clearing in the forest, in a flourishing settlement or in a dessert, to him it should be a miniature paradise” (The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, p. 207). Why should our seminary graduates think this way? The Father in heaven has called them to minister to those who are heirs of eternal salvation and lead still others, also their fellow sinners, to salvation as well, all in Jesus’ name. Our Lord has truly blessed us through BLTS. Continue to support and pray for her that she remains a proper instrument through which the Good Shepherd leads us all the days of our lives to the end that we will dwell in His house forever.
We pray that God, our heavenly Father will bless the work we have now committed ourselves to do in this coming year and beyond to His glory and the welfare of His kingdom on earth.
In Jesus’ name,
Glenn R. Obenberger
The annual convention of our synod met June 19–23. The theme of the convention was “The Good Shepherd Sends Shepherds” as the synod observed the 75th anniversary of Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. The convention essays were presented Dr. Timothy Schmeling, Pres. Gaylin Schmeling, and Dr. Brian Klebig.
The Synod Sunday Service celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. Pres. Gaylin Schmeling (BLTS) served as the liturgist, and Pres. Glenn Obenberger (ELS) preached for the service. The chaplain for the convention was the Rev. Peter Heyn (San Angelo, Texas), and devotions also were led by Kyle Madson (St. Peter, Minnesota) and Paul Webber (West Jordan, Utah). The anniversaries of ordination for eighteen pastors were observed. The synod also remembered the deaths of twelves pastors and pastors’ wives at the Communion/Memorial Service during which Synod Secretary Craig Ferkenstad preached and Rev. Thomas Rank served as liturgist.
- Five pastors and one congregation (San Angelo, Texas) were received into membership.
- The Rev. Timothy Hartwig was elected as vice president and the Rev. Craig Ferkenstad was reelected as secretary.
- Video greetings were brought from all of the foreign mission fields.
- A presentation was made about the work taking place in Kenya.
- A five-year strategic plan entitled “Tell of Jesus and His Love” was adopted.
- Much time was devoted to discussion of a four-stage process to establish fellowship with other church bodies.
- A unified budget of $3,031,493, which includes congregation contributions of $820,000, was adopted for the 2022 calendar year.
- A special 75th seminary anniversary book was written by President Gaylin Schmeling and presented to the synod; copies of this 193 page hardbound book are available for purchase through the Bethany Lutheran College bookstore.
- The 2022 convention will be held June 26–30, 2022.
Installation and Ordinations
Paul Lange was installed as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Okauchee, Wisconsin, on June 13. He is pictured with his family.
Roger Emmons was ordained and installed as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Redmond, Oregon, on June 12, 2021.
Pictured: Back: Tim Hartwig, Glenn Smith, Steve Brockdorf
Front: Rob Lawson, Roger Emmons, Ed Bryant
Sean Scheele was ordained and installed as pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Waterloo and Faith Lutheran Church in Parkersburg, Iowa, on June 27, 2021.
Pictured: Back: Theodore Gullixson, Christian Walz, Peter Faugstad, Martin Hoesch
Front: Robert Harting, David Webber, Sean Scheele, Luke Ulrich, Joshua Skogen
Our Bethany Lutheran College
Each year many incoming freshmen arrive on the Bethany campus who have had little or no background in Christianity. Some of them come from foreign countries, others from our own United States. Bethany’s Religious Studies department has developed a class called “Essentials of Christianity” that introduces these students to the foundational teachings of the Christian faith.
Each class day these students are asked to use Bibles and a textbook. It is helpful to be able to have everyone look up passages by providing them with a page number, since most of are unfamiliar with the order of Biblical books.
We would like to provide each one of these students with a new Bible (EHV) and the Essentials of Christianity textbook which are required for the course. If you are interested in contributing toward this purchase you can send your gift to Bethany Lutheran College, and note “Bibles for Freshmen” on the check.
— Chaplain Don Moldstad
On May 25, the ELS was awarded a Bronze Telly Award for a web video made by Paul Fries about our India mission.
July 15–16 – Board for Home Outreach
July 18 – 25th Anniversary of Abiding Word (Bowling Green, Ohio)
August 6 – ELS/WELS meeting with CLC
August 8 – 100th Anniversary of Our Savior’s (Princeton, Minnesota)
August 9–10 – ELS Board of Regents
August 12 – Board of Trustees
August 16–17 – Doctrine Committee