Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
Recently I reread portions of Luther’s Galatians commentary, and was revived in proper Gospel preaching. Especially on pp. 4–12, I once again realized the importance of emphasizing the Christian’s passive righteousness. That is the righteousness we receive from Christ’s holy life lived in our place and credited to us through faith. Among Christian denominations, Lutheranism virtually stands alone in emphasizing this part of the Gospel. While others join us in recognizing the sacrifice made by Jesus upon the cross for payment for our sins, it was Luther’s rediscovery of this aspect that we not only have all our sins paid for, but we receive Jesus’ holiness through faith. Because others fail to highlight or even understand this aspect of the Gospel, they are constantly seeking to add to Jesus’ work to make themselves acceptable before God in heaven. Luther writes: “If the doctrine of justification is lost, the whole of Christian doctrine is lost… between these two kinds of righteousness, the active righteousness of the Law and the passive righteousness of Christ, there is no middle ground. [He] who has strayed away from this Christian righteousness will necessarily relapse into the active righteousness; that is, when he has lost Christ, he must fall into a trust in his own works” (LW, Vol. 26, p. 9). May this Reformation-tide be a blessing to you and yours causing you to rejoice in ALL Jesus has done to save you, made abundantly clear in Dr. Martin Luther’s teaching found in his writings.
In Jesus’ name,
Glenn R. Obenberger
Dedication in Waukon, Iowa
In 2005 the West Paint Creek Synod Lutheran Church established King of Grace Lutheran Church in the city proper of Waukon, Iowa. For fourteen years they worshipped in a small building in downtown Waukon, Iowa before purchasing their current building almost two years ago. The members of King of Grace and contractors from the local community have done an incredible amount of work converting the Farm Service Agency building into a church. Although delayed due to COVID, on October 3, 2021, King of Grace Lutheran Church celebrated the dedication of their new building. President Obenberger, Pastor Ron Pederson (former pastor), Pastor Timothy Erickson (supervising pastor), and Vicar Abraham Faugstad all participated in the service. The congregation was also blessed to have members across the ELS as well as members from the community join them for this special occasion. God continues to bless His church!
Installation of Evangelism and Missions Counselor
The Rev. Brad Kerkow was installed as the synod’s new Evangelism and Missions Counselor on October 6, 2021, at the General Pastoral Conference (pictured left, with Pres. Obenberger). Rev. Kerkow, who is originally from Brisbane, Australia, previously served as missionary at Peace Lutheran in North Mankato, Minnesota, for eleven years and missionary at Hope Lutheran in Leander, Texas, for ten years. His wife Rachel is from Wisconsin and they have been blessed with four children.
As EMC, he will work with the seven home missions of our synod, offering counsel and guidance as they develop from exploratory sites into established congregations. In addition, he will also serve all of the synod’s congregations by assisting them with their outreach and evangelism programs. He is available to guide congregations through a flexible strategic planning process, enabling them to assess their current situations and set goals for the future as they carry out Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20). If your congregation is interested in help in these areas, please contact Rev. Kerkow at Brad.Kerkow@blc.edu, 512.418.6644 (cell), 507.344.7852 (office).
Sunday School Ad Hoc Committee
At the 2021 ELS Convention a resolution was passed (SR 2021, p. 166) that the president is to form a committee to identify the reasons for the decline in Sunday School attendance and seek solutions or alternatives. Pastor Jeffrey Hendrix has been appointed the chair and is currently organizing this committee, so that it might report to the 2022 Convention.
Half Price Hymnaries
With the new WELS hymnbook coming out this year, some congregations may be considering a hymnbook change—especially ones that have been using the old Christian Worship. From now until the end of 2021, we want to offer the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary at half price to any ELS congregation that does not currently use it. Regular price for a bulk order is $12/copy, so the price for congregations switching to the ELH (from CW, TLH, etc.) will be $6/copy plus shipping. Please contact Keith Wiederhoeft to make use of this offer.
Our Bethany Lutheran College
The Bethany Lutheran College Auxiliary met on Monday, September 27, on the BLC campus for their annual meeting. It was a special day as last year’s event was canceled amid the pandemic. The auxiliary consists of friends of the college from throughout the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The group’s purpose is twofold. First, they help students at Bethany by supporting college projects through fundraising efforts held at each ELS congregation. This year, the group funded several projects and contributed to a scholarship that provides support for ELS students attending Bethany. Among the projects the auxiliary is funding in 2021–22 is an effort to purchase new pianos for the campus. It was noted at the recent auxiliary meeting that one of the pianos still used at Bethany is a unit that dates to 1926—before the college was owned by the ELS! Gifts to the piano fund are currently being matched by a generous donation from the estate of Becky (Madson) Lussky. Becky is the daughter of retired ELS pastor Norman Madson and the sainted Amanda (Tjernagel) Madson. If you are interested in supporting the Bethany piano fund, please reach out to a Bethany Auxiliary member at your congregation, call the college’s Advancement Office at 800-944-3066, or visit the piano fund webpage at blc.edu/about/ways-to-give/all-steinway-fund/
The Bethany Lutheran College Women’s Auxiliary exists to support the college by providing funds for projects and materials that fall outside of the college’s regular budget. Items such as choir robes, furniture for residence hall lounges, and special book collections have been just a few of the items purchased by the auxiliary over the years. Right now, the organization is also supporting the campus’s piano replacement fund to help make Bethany an all-Steinway campus. Special focus is put on items that will directly impact the students both in and outside of the classroom. Along with these projects, the auxiliary maintains the Dorothy Theiste Scholarship, an endowed fund that provides monetary assistance especially for ELS students attending Bethany. Donations are accepted from auxiliary groups across the country as well as other church ladies’ groups and individuals. These funds are then allocated at the auxiliary’s annual meeting the fourth Monday in September. For more information about the Bethany Auxiliary or how you can donate to its fund, contact one of the Bethany Advancement Representatives: Christopher Kind – 507-344-7862 – Christopher.Kind@blc.edu or Jake Krier – 507-344-7519 – Jake.Krier@blc.edu.
November 4-5 – Board for Home Outreach
November 8–9 – ELS Board of Regents
November 10–11 – Board for World Outreach
November 16 – Board of Trustees
November 30–December 1 – Doctrine Committee