Dear Fellow Workers and Friends:
In a small town in Germany there is an interesting custom that occurs in the Christmas season. What is regarded as the world’s largest non-wax candle is put on display. A red cloth is draped over an old stone tower that was built in the 14th century. An electric flame is placed on top, and the “candle” can be easily viewed by many in the surrounding area. This occurrence can serve as a great reminder for all of us as fellow Christians. The message of the Christ-child and his work of redeeming the world of sinners by pouring out his blood at Calvary (the red covering) is now to be shown forth to the world. May we all let our light so shine that the only true Light brings joy and gladness to a sin-darkened world.
Commissioning in Washington
Pictured in this photo are all members of our ELS congregation in Port Orchard, Washington. From left to right are: Lieutenant David Elkins, Senior Chief Scott Shields, Lieutenant Commander Michael Overfield, Lieutenant Matthew Hoeffler, Master Sergeant Chad Miller, Ensign Nathan Carlson, and Pastor Tony Pittenger. The U.S. Navy commissioning for Nathan Carlson took place on December 3, 2011. Pastor Pittenger says, “Nathan and I have been through a lot together. I married him and his first wife, Brianna; then, after a battle with cancer, Brianna died in 2003. In 2006 I was privileged to marry Nathan and Emilie and since then they have been blessed with three children.”
Lutheran Sentinel Survey
Please use the following link to take a brief survey about our ELS periodical. Your answers will be recorded electronically. Thanks for helping us receive input on this. http://www.evangelicallutheransynod.org/synod-office/news/general/online-sentinel-survey
Due to the resignation of Rev. James Braun as the Circuit 12 Visitor, Rev. Steven Sparley has been assigned to serve as the visitor until convention. Rev. Alex Ring continues to serve as the alternate.
Free Conference on Free Conferencing
Once again, a free conference, the Emmaus Conference 2012, is featuring three synod presidents. The topic is “The History and Prospects of Free Conferences.” Pres. Matthew Harrison of the LCMS will serve as the presenter, with Pres. Mark Schroder of the WELS and Pres. J. Moldstad of the ELS as reactors. For information on this two-day session at Parkland Lutheran, Tacoma, Washington, please see www.emmausconference.com
Benefit at Scarville
Friends and family of Jim Faugstad gathered for a Christmas benefit concert at Scarville Synod Lutheran Church in Scarville, Iowa, December 16, 2011. Jim and Emily are grateful for the prayers and support of so many as he continues in his battle with cancer, first diagnosed in 2006. All those pictured above were performers at the benefit.
Engaging Others With Jesus
The Board for Evangelism and Home Missions is working on a presentation for a retreat that it hopes to make available regionally throughout our synod, beginning in 2012. The board has purchased access so far for 20 Ministry Area Profiles (MAP) from a demographics firm, Percept. While our home missions use this, the idea is to allow non-subsidizing ELS congregations to make use of the system for the cost of $50 per profile. Interested congregations should contact the board chairman, Prof. M. Smith, for details (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2012 Grant Received
We are grateful to the Marvin M. Schwan Charitable Foundation for extending a grant of $675,000 for program funding in the year of 2012 and also setting aside $75,000 to be applied for as project grant funds through the Board of Trustees.
Mission Advancement Project, Inc. (MAP), an entity created by the Board of Trustees in 1999 that provides support for “the organizations and entities that promote the core charitable, educational, and religious objectives of the synod” (e.g., Thoughts of Faith, Inc., and LMSI), has received an approved grant request of $920,000 for the year of 2012. The grantor is the Marvin M. Schwan Charitable Foundation. We pray that our Lord has us use these funds for advancing the cause of his gospel kingdom.
Gearing up for Outreach at Easter
Our sister synod, WELS, has a special program that helps congregations focus on using Easter Sunday of 2012 (E12) as a great opportunity to share the risen Savior with people living in the respective communities. The program is offered by the WELS Commission for Congregational Counseling (CCC). The resources for E12 will be rolled out weekly, beginning mid-January. They will be sent electronically to the appropriate members of your congregation. The vast majority of the resources are free. You will need to provide five different email addresses. ELS congregations have been invited to participate. To register your congregation (at no cost for participating), please go to the following site: www.easter12.com
Pictured here is a classroom at Truth and Life Lutheran School, Rajahmundry. If you would like to make a donation to the mission work at the churches, schools and orphanages of the LMSI, you may send your offering to: LMSI Mission, Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 6 Browns Court, Mankato MN 56001. (Photo by Paul Fries).
Home Mission News
Rev. Brad Kerkow indicates that our mission in the Austin, Texas, area, Hope Lutheran Church (www.hopeautin.com) is anticipating an opening service on Easter (April 8). Canvassing is continuing right now in the Leander and Cedar Park regions. The mission manned a game booth at the community’s Tree Lighting ceremony in early December, and contacts were made with many new people.
Doctrine Committee Recommendation
Many congregations of the ELS currently use the NIV (1984) Bible for worship and Christian education. This edition of the NIV will no longer be available for purchase at the end of 2011. It has been replaced with the NIV (2011) which makes significant changes to the text of the NIV (1984). These changes have diminished the accuracy of the NIV. Therefore, based on preliminary study of the NIV (2011), the Doctrine Committee recommends against the use of the NIV (2011).
The Doctrine Committee recommends for use in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod translations such as: New King James Version (NKJV), English Standard Version (ESV), An American Translation (Beck, AAT), and the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB95). These translations are accurate and understandable. If a new Lutheran translation is prepared in the future this also could be an option for use in the ELS.
The following essay from the WELS website is suggested for further study on this matter. (Other essays at that site are also of benefit.) http://www.wels.net/sites/wels/files/Essay%20-%20Keller.pdf
WELS Translation Feasibility Committee
President Moldstad has appointed Prof. Michael Smith and Rev. Steven Sparley to be ELS representatives to this committee, at the invitation of WELS.
Congratulations on Twins!
On Friday, December 16, Leah Ingrid Jacobsen and Lucy Marie Jacobsen were born to Rev. Jesse and Erica Jacobsen. These additions now make five children in the Jacobsen family, The Dalles, Oregon. We thank God for his wondrous gifts of life, and pray for his continued blessings.
Rev. Ron Pederson’s father, Arthur, passed away on Sunday, December 4, following a car accident earlier this fall. The funeral was at Synod Lutheran Church, Scarville, Iowa, on December 9. Please keep Ron’s mother, Esther, in your prayer and the entire Pederson family. We think of the words of Simeon in Luke 2: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation…”
January 9 – 10 – Board of Regents
January 10 – Board of Trustees
January 12 – Committee for Communication (Skype conf.)
January 17 – 18 – Planning and Coordinating Committee
January 22 – preach at Our Savior, Naples, FL
January 23 – Circuit #1 Winkel at Sebring, FL
January 24 – Board for Home Missions and Evangelism
January 26 – Synod Review Committee
February 8 – West Coast Pastoral Conference
February 9-10 – Emmaus Conference, Tacoma, WA
In Christ, our King of kings and Lord of lords,
John A. Moldstad