Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
The excellent pictorial history of our ELS, Proclaim His Wonders (by Rev. C. Ferkenstad, 2017), contains an interesting little piece of information. Before our Bethany Lutheran College was purchased by the synod in 1927 for the price of $90,000, the school was known as Bethany Ladies’ College. The school, run by an association of members from the old Synodical Conference, came on economically hard times. So much so, that Bethany was not able to open the 1918-1919 school year. Now, here is the interesting note. While the old main building at Bethany remained vacant, the city of Mankato decided to lease the structure for use as a hospital during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic (p. 219). Today, our Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota, has a wonderful nursing program that is graduating health professionals who are assisting with our current pandemic. But the real healing cure for any pandemic or any cause of death or any troubled conscience over sin is found only in the One who provided the sisters at the original Bethany with the One Thing Needful. Our risen Lord Jesus, through His holy Word, provides us with the true and lasting security and cure. In that Word we hear these comforting words: “In Him we have redemption though His blood, the forgiveness of sins, that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding,” Ephesians 1:7, 8.
John A. Moldstad
2020 Synod Convention
On Monday, April 13, 2020, the Board of Trustees passed the following motion: “BE IT RESOLVED, That the 2020 annual convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the 2020 annual meeting of Bethany Lutheran College, Inc., and the 2020 annual meeting of the Lutheran Schools of America, Inc. be canceled.”
Along with this motion to cancel the June convention, a number of other motions needed to be entertained and passed. These are as follows:
- BE IT RESOLVED, That all elected/appointed board and committee members will have one year added-on to their existing terms. (This means terms expiring in 2020 will expire in 2021, terms expiring in 2021 will expire in 2022, and terms expiring in 2022 will expire in 2023.)
- BE IT RESOLVED, That the office of the secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Bethany Lutheran College, Inc., and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod Foundation be elected for a three-year term at the 2021 convention.
- BE IT RESOLVED, That the ratification of all membership requests be held in abeyance until the 2021 convention.
- BE IT RESOLVED, That the adopted 2020 budget of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod serve as the budget for the calendar year 2021 or until the convention adopts a different budget.
- BE IT RESOLVED, That the 2021 convention/meetings be held Sunday-Thursday, June 20-24, 2021.
Parking Lot Worship Services – Easter, April 12, 2020
It was an Easter no one will forget. There were the restrictions on gatherings in large groups due to the coronavirus. Then there was some rain. Then, there was some snow—-six inches of it in the Mankato area.
Pastor Tim Buelow of Faith Lutheran, Carthage, Missouri, writes: “The weather was a bit stormy, not working in our favor, but I managed to finish the sermon before I had to tuck my head under the canvas. I wondered if typically shy Lutherans would toot their horns for Alleluia. I needn’t have feared. The cars called our joyously, and reports are that everyone smiled or laughed while doing so. In my opinion, this truly was holy laughter.”
At Peace Lutheran in North Mankato, Minnesota, worship services were offered from a make-shift chancel atop a hay wagon. Pastor Hartwig is shown here delivering his Easter sermon, while the winds and snow were picking up.
Easter Crafts for the Community
Abiding Shepherd in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, purchased and put together Easter crafts for the community. These crafts included information about online Easter worship and were distributed for FREE at the local Piggly Wiggly. Nearly 300 crafts, celebrating the resurrection, were distributed!
During the week of April 20–24, a check-in phone contact was initiated with all of our ELS pastors who actively are serving the 132 congregations of our synod. We thank Rev. Glenn Obenberger, Rev. Craig Ferkenstad, and Rev. Larry Wentzlaff for assisting your synod president in making these encouragement calls. One of our pastors summed up the attitude being expressed among so many: “It is evident that people are hungry for spiritual fellowship!” May we continue to remember and pray for, not only the medical personnel and so many others who are on the front-lines in combating the viral pandemic, but also the front-line spiritual leaders—our dedicated pastors and teachers of God’s Word!
Seminary Commencement will take place on Wednesday, May 6, at 10:30 a.m. (CDT) in Good Shepherd Chapel with Prof. Gaylin Schmeling as speaker. The seminary seniors receiving vicar calls are Adam Brasich, David Choi, Roger Emmons, Samuel Johnson, and Sean Scheele. The graduates are Jacob Kempfert, Ethan Urtel, and Karim Yaghleji. The service will be lived streamed at els.org/streaming. Only those graduating or receiving calls will be able to be in the chapel. (Students pictured in August 2019.)
Teacher Assigned to Florida School
A live-streamed online-only call assignment service was held for Daniel Nusbaum on April 8, 2020, broadcast from the BLC Trinity Chapel. Rev. Donald Moldstad preached for the occasion; Dr. Gene Pfeifer, Bethany’s president, brought greetings; and the assignment presentation was made by the synod president. Daniel graduated in the fall of 2019 from our Bethany Lutheran College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadfield Social Studies, having Secondary Licensure and completing the ELS Teacher Certification program. He was assigned to teach upper grades at Peace Lutheran Church and School, Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Installation in Florida
On March 26, 2020, Rev. Lee Kuhns (pictured on left) was installed as pastor of Peace Lutheran in Kissimmee, Florida. Pastor Herb Huhnerkoch preached the sermon and performed the “online installation.”
Arabic Outreach Project
God has provided a candidate from our seminary with Arabic language skills, Karim Yaghleji. The Board for Home Outreach has been subsidizing a vicarage with the goal of eventually issuing a full-time pastoral call to establish an Arabic Outreach Ministry. Karim will be graduating from our seminary on May 6. If you are interested in financially contributing to this project, we urge gifts be sent to: ELS Arabic Outreach, 6 Browns Court, Mankato MN 56001.
If you would like to read about Covid-19 impact on our world outreach, please visit: https://bit.ly/3eTT6Iv.
The Rev. Matthew Brooks, who serves Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Iowa, and Faith Lutheran Church in Parkersburg, Iowa, has announced his resignation from his call for personal reasons. The resignation will be in effect as of Sunday, May 4. Matt’s plan for his family is to make a move to Jefferson City, Missouri, area.
Note from our Giving Counselor
“The global pandemic of COVID-19 and the “shelter-in-place” orders have certainly changed the day to day life of many of our families and certainly the day-to-day life of our children attending school. As families adjust to having children at home as well as many parents working from home, the time for an emphasis on Christian Education couldn’t be better. Parents are able to more closely monitor what their children are being taught and many of those parents are learning the importance of a Christ-centered education and its many benefits.
With that being the case, our church body has a very key opportunity this year to further Christian education. The one that stands out for our synod as we work together is the fact that all congregational offerings to the ELS over $760,000 are earmarked for Lutheran schools. Synod-wide our congregations gave $822,000 last year. What a wonderful boost for our Lutheran schools that would be! Let’s prayerfully seek to retain that level of congregational giving, all to the glory of God our Father!” – Rev. D. Basel
May 4-5 – ELS Board of Regents
May 5 – Board of Trustees
May 19-20 – Explanation Review Committee
May 20 – Great Plains Conference
June 21-24 – Synod Convention CANCELED, next convention June 20-24, 2021