Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
Once again, we bring you a monthly update on some events throughout our synod. We encourage all to remain prayerfully and financially supporting the ongoing work of your local congregation, as well as the entire work we do together in our Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The reminder especially is needed as we work our way through the many challenges of this year. “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
John A. Moldstad
Messiah Lutheran Honors Community Officers
Members of Messiah in Omro, Wisconsin, decided to show appreciation for the dedicated service of their local police department. With partial assistance from a Thrivent grant, the congregation purchased gift bags of summer sausage and cheese and also gave gift cards to the eight full-time and four part-time officers in the city. Officers Joe and Josh (pictured) expressed sincere gratitude on behalf of the Omro police department, and one of the moms whose son is on the force wrote a heartfelt note of thanks to the people at Messiah Lutheran.
Bethany Seminary Anniversary
The first opening service for Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary was conducted on September 24, 1946. During the current school year, our seminary is preparing to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2021. Please keep our seminary in your prayers as we continue to train pastors under the Good Shepherd. (Pictured: Dean Norman Madson and the first seminary students in 1946)
Opening of New Academic Year at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary
Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary began the new academic year on August 24, 2020 with the opening service at Good Shepherd Chapel. The seminary enrollment this year numbers seventeen. There are five vicars, five seniors, three middlers, three juniors, and one special student. The vicars are Adam Brasich at Resurrection Lutheran Church (Winter Haven, Florida) and Our Savior Lutheran Church (Lakeland, Florida), David Choi at Reformation Lutheran Church (San Diego, California), Roger Emmons at Grace Lutheran Church (Redmond, Oregon), Samuel Johnson at Our Saviour Lutheran Church (Lake Havasu City, Arizona), and Sean Scheele at Pilgrim Lutheran Church (Waterloo, Iowa) and Faith Lutheran Church (Parkersburg, Iowa).
Bethany Lutheran College
Bethany Lutheran College opened at the end of August, taking into consideration all of the regulations pertaining to health concerns over COVID. The college is using a HyFlex approach. What this means is that only large-spaced rooms will be used for classes ranging from nine to twenty-eight students. A synchronous approach is used for international students where they can simultaneously link in through computer connections to live sessions. In spite of the challenges it seems as if the anticipated enrollment is healthy at this time. We urge all of the members in our synod to especially keep our college and seminary in their daily prayers. These institutions of higher learning are essential for the work that we are doing together as a synod. Keep in mind that through the college in particular we have opportunity to reach many students who do not yet know the saving Gospel of Christ.
Reformation Lectures Postponement
We regret to inform you that the current conditions caused by the global pandemic compel us to cancel the 2020 Bjarne Wollan Teigen Reformation Lectures. The topic and lecturers have been retained for next year. Please join us again for the 2021 Reformation Lectures, entitled “We Confess Jesus Christ,” to be held on the campus of Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary and College on October 28–29, 2021.
Board for Home Outreach news
Rev. Peter Heyn writes: “My family and I have been here for a little over a year and the Lord has been most generous in pouring out his blessings. Living Water Lutheran has been blessed with 16 (21 if you count my family) new regular attendees in our first year via transfer, profession of faith, and adult confirmation, in addition to two military families that have joined our church family. One of the military families found us through our online outreach while our in-person services were suspended. In July, I had the privilege of baptizing the serviceman’s wife and infant son in a private ceremony. We thank the Lord for the privilege of serving his kingdom in San Angelo, and we praise him for these blessings! We thank the synod for its support, and we pray that these blessings continue! … I have included a picture from the private baptism of the serviceman’s wife and son, as well as a picture from a March Sunday in which we received four new members into our congregation.”
Board for World Outreach news
We are thankful that the special appeal to the synod for emergency salary support of teachers due to the covid outbreak in Lima produced good results. Over $20,000 was collected from the congregations in the ELS to assist with this vital need brought to us by the BWO. Please pray for Pastor Solomon from the LMSI (India). Pastor Solomon was hospitalized in Hyderabad for the virus. At the present time we hear that he has been released, but we pray that God’s blessing will continue for him and his family.
Recently we heard that the registration for the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of Kenya (formerly known as the Nyamira Diocese) has received official certification from the Kenyan government. We are pleased to hear of this, and we pray that God will bless our brothers and sisters in Kenya as we move toward the possibility of declaring full doctrinal fellowship at our next convention. The Doctrine Committee of our synod recommended this at its March 16-17, 2020, sessions.
Apologetics center news
Dr. Ryan MacPherson of our Bethany Lutheran College has been designated as the director of the apologetics center. His accepting these duties is made possible by the college administration’s willingness to free him up from certain teaching credits. We are pleased to report that financing for the apologetics center is moving forward: the first match of a two-year commitment by a donor couple has now been met ($10,000 per year). We thank those who have made gifts toward this project, enabling us to reach the first match.
People have been asking about the recovery efforts from the flood damage at Holy Scripture, Midland, Michigan. These efforts are continuing and we are happy to report that over $30,000 has been sent from donations throughout the synod to the congregation and Pastor Schneider. Furthermore, we are thankful to WELS Relief for sending assistance of $97,917 to Holy Scripture. (Pictured: Worship service on folding chairs inside the church in late July.)
Rev. Dale Jaech is retiring from serving as pastor at Our Savior, Bishop, California, this coming September. Also, Rev. Ron Pederson has announced his retirement from King of Grace, Waukon, Iowa, on January 1, 2021. We again wish to express our appreciation for their faithful service.
Resignation and Appointment
Committee for Communication resignation: Rev. Dan Hartwig. Appointed by the president as a new member to the committee: Rev. Aaron Ferkenstad.
September 15 – Committee for Archives and History
September 16 – Catechism Explanation Review Committee (online)
September 17 – Circuit Visitors Conference (online)
October 5–6 – Board for Lutheran Schools (online)
October 19–20 – Evangelical Lutheran Confessional Forum in Mankato
October 27–28 – Board for World Outreach