Dear Fellow Workers in Christ’s Kingdom:
A mark of a confessional Lutheran church is the proper distinction and the proper presentation of the Bible’s two chief teachings, Law and Gospel. Our sincere prayer is that, above all else in setting forth “the full counsel of God,” our synod’s pastors, teachers, congregations and our educational institutions clearly lay before precious souls the Law in all its sternness and the Gospel in all its sweetness. Dr. C.F.W. Walther put it this way, “You may correctly state what the Law and what the Gospel says. But when you frame your statement so as to commingle both, you produce poison for souls. Remember: Law and Gospel are God’s Word, but different kinds of doctrine.” May we continually ask our Lord to have us watch the manner in which the delivery of both his Law and Gospel are offered. The Holy Spirit uses our presentations for his purposes. And no higher purpose can we have than to have people know the full confidence and delight of forgiveness and salvation coming only and always through the merits of Jesus Christ!
Blessings to all in our loving Redeemer,
John A. Moldstad
School Progress in Florida
In the month of February both groundbreaking and excavating began for the new school building at Christ Lutheran in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Pictured with the advertising vehicle (above, right) are Teacher Marcie Lowry, Rev. Chris Dale, and Pastor Mike Dale, with our synod president. We pray all goes well for occupancy this fall.
Information Reporting by our Churches
Congregation statistics and address information for 2014 already should have been submitted by this time. If you have not done so, the form can be completed online at www.els.org/statistics. The information needs to be completed in full for each congregation. Your cooperation is appreciated.
New BLC President
On February 25, 2015, Dr. Gene R. Pfeifer of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, accepted the call to serve as the tenth president of our synod’s Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota. Dr. Dan Bruss, BLC’s current president, is retiring effective June 30 after holding the office for twelve years. Pfeifer holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Minnesota and has served as president of St. Croix Lutheran High School, West St. Paul, Minnesota, since 2007. Prior to his service at St. Croix, he was principal of schools in Niles, Illinois, and in Menominee, Wisconsin. From 1999-2007 he was Professor of Education and Director of Clinical Experiences at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minnesota. Gene and his wife, Carrie, who also holds a Ph.D. in Education, have three adult children (two sons and one daughter) and are the proud grandparents of one granddaughter.
Installation at Yelm, Washington
The Rev Trent Saari was installed as pastor of Our Redeemer, Yelm, Washington, and Lakewood Lutheran, Lakewood, Washington, on Sunday, February 15 at 4 pm at Our Redeemer in Yelm. The installation service was conducted by the Rev. David Locklair from Bethany, Port Orchard, Washington, and the sermon was given by Rev. Alexander Ring of Parkland Lutheran, who also performed the rite of installation. Pictured are: Rev. David Locklair, Rev. Alexander Ring, Rev. Peter Faugstad, Rev. Trent Saari, Rev. Glenn Obenberger, Rev. Tim Bartels, Rev. Tony Pittenger, Rev. Joel Nitz (WELS), and Rev. Joel Hoff (WELS).
Our Church in Seoul, Korea
Pastor Young Ha Kim and our ELS Board for World Outreach are arranging for pastoral study classes (Seoul Theological Institute) to resume again in April at Seoul Lutheran Church (formerly, East Seoul Canaan). Sung Gyu Choi, a graduate of our Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary, is planning to return to Korea soon to assist with pastoral duties as he completes his Ph.D. study in the United States.
Note from our Giving Counselor
“Have your congregations implemented a planned giving program? No need to form a committee, a board or have a lot of extra meetings. Just be sure to place regular reminders of various options to your members each and every month in your newsletter or bulletin. Have your stewardship boards or committees talk about it regularly and do so directly with members and supporters of your church. Remind your members that stewardship is a part of one’s Christian vocation and is something we all want to carefully plan and zealously commit to as we support the Gospel on all levels. Please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 507-469-9656. I’ll get you a draft of a plan and a list of suggestions for the next twelve months’ newsletter/bulletin blurbs. May the Lord bless your efforts to engage others with Jesus through planned giving.” – D. Basel
Reports to Convention
Please remember that all reports and items for the Book of Reports and Memorials are due by April 1. Reports are to be submitted to the synod’s secretary, the Rev. Craig Ferkenstad.
Circuit 8 Youth Retreat
The Presidents’ Day Youth Retreat for our northern Minnesota parishes was held at the Lutheran Island Camp, Battle Lake, Minnesota. The retreat focused on themes of Rev. Jonathan Fisk’s book, Broken: Seven “Christian” Rules Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible. Youth came from Gatzke, Lengby, Fosston, Gully, Trail, Oklee, and Audubon, Minnesota. Pastors John Merseth, Mark Faugstad, and Joseph Abrahamson wish to thank the volunteer chaperones: Mitch Hextell, Tami Sparby and Wade Burrack.
Dr. Johannes Ylvisaker’s The Gospels, is now available as an ebook. This is a commentary on the accounts recorded in Holy Scripture. We thank Elsa and Aaron Ferkenstad for their work on this project. It is available on Amazon, iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble.
Phoenix, Arizona, Meeting
Rev. Robert Lawson, Jr., and Rev. Steven Brockdorf, former pastors of our synod, presently serving in the Association of Confessional Lutheran Churches (ACLC), met informally with Pres. Moldstad and ELS Pastor David Jay Webber on February 26, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona. This meeting, occurring with the knowledge and approval of all five pastors in the ACLC, was an initial attempt to explore possible efforts toward peaceful resolution of issues that led to their departure from the ELS in 2006. At this initial session, Pastors Lawson and Brockdorf emphasized that their filing of a “state of confession” in 2006 was never intended as a rejection of the “Public Ministry of the Word,” adopted by the synod in 2005. We pray future meetings will provide opportunities to address in a God-pleasing manner items of concern, knowing how confessional unity in doctrine is necessary for restored relationships (1 Corinthians 1:10).
The Rev. Darryl Bakke is retiring on March 10, 2015. He has served in an assisting pastoral role for many years at Our Savior Lutheran, Albert Lea, Minnesota.
March 13 – Synod Review Committee
March 23-24 – Doctrine Committee
April 1 – Reports Due for BORAM
April 5 – Easter Sunday
April 14 – Colloquy Committee (Part II)
April 17 – CLC meeting, Eau Claire, WI
April 21-22 – Great Lakes Pastoral Conference
April 21-22 – West Coast Conference
April 28-29 – Board for World Outreach
April 30-May 1 – Board for Home Outreach
Click here to view current vacancies and calls in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
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