Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
Sadly, we are hearing reports within and without the ELS that on account of the pandemic some Christian congregations in our land are experiencing divisions among their membership. In some places Satan is having a field day dividing believers between those whose consciences are requiring them to comply with governmental restrictions and those for the same reason who refuse to comply. Our Lord has graciously allowed us in the U.S. to gather together with various levels of restrictions in subjection to the governing authorities. When we are not commanded by those authorities to disobey our Lord, we need humbly to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Rom. 13 and Eph. 5:21). Brothers and sisters in Christ, I commend you for humbling yourselves for the sake of each other without strife and discord. You are then walking “in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Therefore, continue to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:2–3 & 32). May our gracious Lord continue to bless us all with the wisdom and strength to live in peaceful harmony with one another, so that the devil’s schemes may be thwarted among us.
Gracious Lord, You have promised to be with us always, and that we can cast all our anxieties and burdens on You. We ask You to be with our pastors as they serve Your people. Help them to be faithful with Your Word and Sacraments even while they are patient with their flocks’ many opinions. Through Your Word bring unity to our congregations and fill Your people with a renewed zeal for Your houses of worship. We pray this in Christ our Redeemer’s holy name. Amen. (prayer based on one supplied by an ELS Circuit Visitor)
Glenn R. Obenberger
2021 Synod Convention
The 2021 Synod Convention will convene June 20–24, 2021 on the campus of Bethany Lutheran College. The mandatory mask mandate for the state of Minnesota was lifted on May 14, 2021. If you are vaccinated you are not required to wear a mask or social distance; if not vaccinated a mask is recommended. We will continue to follow the protocol established by BLC. Plans may need to be adjusted as we approach and begin convention business.
- The Synod Sunday Festival Seminary Anniversary Service will be conducted on June 20 at 4:00 p.m. in Trinity Chapel with livestreaming available in a lower classroom of the chapel building for those who wish more social distancing (preacher, Glenn Obenberger; liturgist, Gaylin Schmeling).
- A meal will be served at the BLC cafeteria following the service.
- On Sunday evening 6:00–8:00 p.m. an open house will be held at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. The museum and archives will also be open.
- The opening devotion of the convention will be at 9:00 Monday morning in the south gymnasium (chaplain, Peter Heyn).
- It appears at this time all will be seated in the south gymnasium as usual: voting pastors and delegates, advisory members and guests.
- Three essays under the theme “The Good Shepherd Sends Shepherds” will be presented: Monday 10:30 (“Pastoral Care through the Ages,” Timothy Schmeling), Tuesday 2:00 (“The Pastor and Pastoral Care Today,” Gaylin Schmeling), and Wednesday 2:00 (“The Pastor And Pastoral Care Looking to the Future,” Brian Klebig).
- The Communion/Memorial Service will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday in Trinity Chapel (preacher, Craig Ferkenstad; liturgist, Thomas Rank). Note the time and location. Livestreaming will be available for those participating in this service who wish more social distancing in a lower classroom of the chapel building and a distribution site under the direction of the ushers will be available in the narthex during Communion.
- Elections for vice president and secretary will occur on Tuesday morning.
- Anniversaries of ordination will be observed Monday at 1:00. Deaths of pastors or their wives during the past two years will be noted at the communion service.
Note: Because the 2020 convention needed to be canceled, we will very possibly need to still conduct business on Thursday morning, June 24; delegates and pastors should prepare accordingly.
The convention live stream will be available at els.org/convention/.
At our convention this month, we will observe the seventy-fifth anniversary of our Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. The anniversary service will be held in Trinity Chapel on Sunday, June 20, at 4:00 p.m. An open house will be held that same evening at the seminary, 6:00–8:00 p.m. Three essays will be presented at the convention under the theme “The Good Shepherd Sends Shepherds.” An anniversary book, Sent by the Shepherd, will be presented to the convention. We celebrate this anniversary in thanks and praise to God for his blessings.
ELS Historical Society
“The Ministry Marches On” will be presented at the 2021 meeting of the ELS Historical Society on Sunday, June 20, at 2:30 pm in the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center at Bethany Lutheran College. An interview panel of three pastors will represent three time frames of early, mid-century, and today while answering questions about various aspects of the pastoral ministry. This subject is chosen to complement the 75th anniversary of Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. All are invited to attend this free presentation.
Heritage of Hymns
Monday, June 21, 2021, at 6:00 pm in Trinity Chapel: This year’s Heritage of Hymns will feature some of the earliest Lutheran hymns and composers from the 1500s and 1600s. Johann Walter was a musician and a colleague of Martin Luther. He published the influential Babst hymnbook, for which Martin Luther wrote an important preface. We will hear musical settings by Johann Walter, Johann Hermann Schein, Michael Praetorius, Johann Christoph Bach, and Johann Pachelbel. A few hymns and tunes will be familiar, but many will be new to us and give us a glimpse into our early Lutheran heritage. The music will have a Renaissance and early Baroque sound. Please join us!
“Why Does Moses Matter to Christians?” The Center for Apologetics and Worldviews is sponsoring the third annual ELS Apologetics Seminar on June 23 (evening) and June 24 (all day, following the synod convention). Admission is free to attend in person at Bethany Lutheran College or worldwide via livestream video. Archaeologist-linguist Dr. Douglas Petrovich will serve as the keynote speaker. The conference also will include an Apologetics Writers’ Workshop, highlighting practical applications for evangelism. For more information (including bulletin inserts for promoting in your congregations): www.blc.edu/event/2021-apologetics-conference.
2021 Book of Reports and Memorials Available
The 2021 Book of Reports and Memorials for this month’s synod convention is now available online on the synod’s website, els.org/convention. Printed copies of the Book of Reports and Memorials for the pastors and delegates have been mailed to each congregation in the synod.
Seminary Anniversary History Book
A pictorial history book, Sent by the Shepherd, has been written by President Gaylin Schmeling for the seminary’s seventy-fifth anniversary. This history begins with an overview of the seminary of the Norwegian Synod and continues with the details of our own Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. The 200-page book serves as a companion to the 2017 synodical history, Proclaim His Wonders. Following the convention, copies can be ordered through the Bethany Lutheran College Bookstore for $18 plus shipping (700 Luther Drive, Mankato, MN 56001 or 800-944-1722).
Our Bethany Lutheran College
Two May 2021 graduates from our Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota, received calls to teach in Christian schools. Miss Jamie Chambers received and accepted a call to Christ Lutheran School in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and Miss Laura Strom received a call and accepted a call to teach art at Shoreland Lutheran High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We pray God’s richest blessings upon Jamie and Laura in their new calls.
The West Coast Pastoral Conference was held April 28–29 at Hope Lutheran in West Jordan, Utah. The conference includes circuits 11 and 12, which cover the states of Arizona, California, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Pastors at the conference include: (back) Pres. Glenn Obenberger, Timothy Bartels, Robert Lawson, Tony Pittenger, Edward Bryant, Samuel Gullixson, Andrew Burmeister; (front) Paul Webber, Joseph Burkhardt, David Jay Webber, Steven Brockdorf, Jesse Jacobsen; (present only virtually, not pictured) Glenn Smith, Phil Lepak.
The Great Plains Conference was held on May 19 at Bethany Lutheran College. The conference includes circuits 7–9 (Iowa and Minnesota).
Death of Pastor Jerry Dalke
Our dear friend and brother, Jerry Dalke, died on May 10. Jerry had served St. Luke Lutheran Church, Mt. Vernon, Washington, for 38 years. He had been bi-vocational much of that time working as a building contractor. Last year he announced that his body could no longer take that kind of strenuous work and was pursuing getting his real estate license to supplement his income. He, Paula (his wife), and their family have quietly sacrificed much for the kingdom of our Lord without complaint.
Jerry and I have served together in the northwest for the past thirty-three years. Jerry has shown himself to be a humble servant of the Lord contributing much throughout the years at area winkels and circuit conferences. As a trusted and faithful brother, he will be missed, but we rejoice his soul is home safely in heaven. In many a social hour after those conferences I got to offer a familiar toast with Jerry: “Let the devil be damned, see you in heaven!” The accursed lie: “You will surely not die” has been overcome by the Resurrection and Life for we who believe in Him will never die! Our brother lives and will rise again.
Congratulations on a Well-Deserved Honor
On Friday, May 21, Professor Emeritus Erling Teigen of our Bethany Lutheran College and Seminary received a Doctor of Divinity Degree, Honoris Causa (“For the sake of honor”) in a ceremony at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. Doctor Teigen has long served Christ’s Church through his work both within the ELS and for the Church at large. He joins three other members of our Evangelical Lutheran Synod in receiving this degree from this institution: the late Reverend President/Dean Norman A. Madson, the late Reverend President Bjarne W. Teigen and the late Reverend President Wilhelm W. Peterson.
These words were read along with his CV: “We in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod are pleased to have one of her favorite sons receive this well-deserved honor from Concordia Theological Seminary. By having conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, Erling is being recognized for what so many of his students and colleagues have long appreciated. His contributions to our theological discussions have not only guided us through some difficult conflicts with stalwart confessional integrity, but his willingness to serve our Lord as a humble theologian of the cross professionally as well as in his personal life has been an inspiration to us all.”
The day before, Dr. Teigen was also presented a copy of a Festschrift published for this occasion. “My Savior’s Guest: A Festschrift in Honor of Erling Trygve Teigen,” edited by some of Dr. Teigen’s former students, will be available soon at our Bethany Bookstore as well as online. It consists of 20 essays penned by colleagues and former students centering on the theme of salvation distributed and received. We offer our congratulations to Dr. Teigen in receiving these well-deserved honors.
(Pictured: Erling with fellow Doctorate recipient: Mollie Hemingway and Erling with former students on May 20)
May 25–June 10 – Triennial Convention of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (online)
June 20–24 – Synod Convention
July 15–16 – Board for Home Outreach
July 18 – 25th Anniversary of Abiding Word (Bowling Green, Ohio)