Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
Greetings in the name of the Word made flesh, Jesus, the Christ! Our pastors have already prepared and announced the opportunities this fall to resume Bible classes for Sunday mornings and perhaps other times during the week. Attending divine services—hearing the Word and receiving the Sacrament—is the primary way we are strengthened in our faith on a weekly basis. However, there is usually little time to ask questions about what was heard in that context. Bible classes provide the opportunity for a salutary exchange between the speaker and the listeners. If you are finding the need to have your questions concerning God and His Word be answered, plan now to attend the classes offered in your parish. Having those questions answered to satisfy your own curiosity is a good thing, but you may find it helpful for others in your lives with whom you interact through your vocations who could also benefit. Our ELS pastors are well trained even in Bible class to make the Gospel of forgiveness in Christ the predominant feature for the spiritual benefit of all who participate.
In Jesus’ name,
Glenn R. Obenberger
Installation of Vice President
The Rev. Timothy Hartwig was installed as vice president of Evangelical Lutheran Synod on July 30, 2021.
On August 1, St. John’s in Frankenmuth, Michigan celebrated its 140th anniversary of founding with a festival service, catered meal, and program of speakers. “We are God’s house of living stones” was the theme of the anniversary. The congregation was founded in 1880, but this observance was postponed last year because of COVID-19. Jeffery Luplow read the lessons for the service, Patrick Ernst conducted the liturgy and preached, and both Patrick Ernst and Paul Schneider spoke for the program.
Pictured: Jeffery Luplow (former pastor), Paul Schneider (circuit visitor), Patrick Ernst (current pastor), Joel Ehlert (former pastor), Paul Nolte (former vicar), Aaron Ferkenstad (former vicar)
100 Years Celebrated at Our Savior’s, Princeton, Minnesota
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in rural Princeton, Minnesota, celebrated a centennial anniversary on August 8, 2021. The organizational meeting was held at a member’s home on July 7, 1920, under the guidance of Pastor O. M. Gullerud. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the congregation had to wait a year to hold the joyous event. Many members, former members, family, and friends came for the morning service, the catered meal, and festival program. Rev. Donald Moldstad, a grandson of the congregation, shared the message from Matthew 7:24, “Heaven’s Perspective on 100 Years of Our Savior’s.” Rev. Joshua Skogen and Rev. Andrew Soule, both sons of the congregation, led the worship that day. There were over 250 people were present to thank God for all the years of the Christ centered message preached and taught at Our Savior’s and to ask His continued blessings on the years to come.
We thank the Lord for our new members of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Audubon, Minnesota. Pictured are Jacob Erickson and Erik Moltzan, with their wives who are also sisters, Annie (Bachmann) Erickson and Ellie (Bachmann) Moltzan. To God be the glory!
Seminary Anniversary Fund
The inaugural service for the seminary was held seventy-five years ago on September 24, 1946. At the conclusion of the first school year, Norman A. Madson, Sr., the first dean of the seminary, wrote, “Our own seminary is no longer merely a child of our fond desires, but has become a living reality.” He continued, “We wish to thank our heavenly Father for having kept His guiding and protecting hand over our infant institution, so that the work could be carried forward with due dispatch and with satisfactory results.” Five students were enrolled during the first year. The current 2021–2022 school year opened with 12 men enrolled. We praise God for blessing our seminary over the past 75 years!
In preparation for the anniversary, the seminary gathered an offering for our anniversary fund. The fund total is $107,974.20. We thank God for your generosity and for His blessings showered upon our seminary!
COVID Conscience Matters
Christians in the U.S. are facing some big decisions: vaccine/no vaccine; mask/no mask. We want to exercise patience with one another as individuals reach such personal decisions. The ELS Doctrine Committee recently heard a brief article by Pastor Jay Webber. It is available on the synod website at https://els.org/wp-content/uploads/cd848889/administration/dc/Christian%20ethics%20and%20vaccines.pdf for pastors and laity to review, so that you might find some guidance in making those decisions. Please bear with one another in love for Jesus’ sake.
The Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC), our worldwide fellowship of church bodies, now has an email newsletter. You can sign up for the email updates at celc.info. The August news item reports: “At its online convention held May 25–June 10, representatives of the CELC heard and discussed four excellent essays, covering a variety of topics. It is hoped that these essays may continue to benefit others as they are read and discussed. The full texts in English and Spanish are available on the CELC website at www.celc.info, as well as video recordings of the convention presentations and discussion.”
The 2021 Bjarne Wollan Teigen Reformation Lectures will be held October 28–29, 2021. The theme will be “We Confess Jesus Christ”: 1. Early Church Christology—Dr. Joel Elowsky, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO; 2. Early Modern Lutheran Christology—Dr. Carl Beckwith, Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL; 3. Modern Lutheran Christology—Dr. Jack Kilcrease, Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI. For more information: blc.edu/reformation-lectures.
September 14 – Committee for Archives and History
September 16–17 – Circuit Visitors Conference
September 27 – Bethany National Auxiliary Day
October 6–8 – General Pastoral Conference
October 28–29 – Bjarne Wollan Teigen Reformation Lectures