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November 2022 President’s Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:

Recently, on the 22nd Sunday after Trinity, we heard Jesus’ parable of the unmerciful servant. The servant was in desperate need. He owed his master an exorbitant amount of money—at least twenty years-worth of wages. Because he did not have the money to pay back his master, he was to be sold along with his wife and children. In terror, he begged for mercy and then was granted complete forgiveness of his debt. Truly this is a picture of our eternal indebtedness to God, which in His Son, God forgives. But the story goes on. Obviously, the servant did not receive the forgiveness as an act of mercy as it first appeared, because he thought he deserved it. He in turn would not forgive a fellow servant who owed him a day’s worth of wages.

As we approach our National Day of Thanksgiving to God, may we repent of all such hypocritical calls for mercy when we intend not to be, and instead seek to show our gratitude for all His fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, given without any merit or worthiness in us, and for which we are duty bound to thank and praise, to serve and obey Him. Instead of renewing and nursing old grudges against family members this holiday season, may we respond with truly thankful hearts trusting in the full and free forgiveness from our Lord by forgiving all who have ever offended us.

In Jesus’ name,

Glenn R. Obenberger

Update on Ukraine Crisis Fund

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We give thanks to our Lord for your generous offerings to the Ukraine Crisis Fund that was set up by our Board for Christian Service and promoted and administered through our Board for World Outreach.

As of October 26, 2022, the fund received $281,211.85 and disbursed $119,000.00, leaving a balance of $158,915.88 yet to be distributed. At this time we can say that the campaign for the Ukraine Crisis Fund has been a success. We thank you for your offerings. We are ready to bring this campaign to a close.

If you wish to continue to support the ELS work in Ukraine, we suggest you direct your offerings to the Gift of Life program that continues to offer help to those in need. As the support for the Ukraine Crisis Fund increased, we saw a decrease in support for the Gift of Life program. So your gifts to the Gift of Life program will be especially helpful for the continuation of that humanitarian ministry.

Again, as we bring to a close the Ukraine Crisis Fund, we thank you for your offerings and welcome your support for the Gift of Life program in Ukraine.

– Rev. Thomas Heyn, Board for World Outreach Administrator

Evangelical Lutheran Confessional Forum

Representatives of the ELS and WELS met October 17–18, 2022 for the Evangelical Lutheran Confessional Forum. This forum is held every two years to update one another on the work of both church bodies throughout the world and discuss a variety of topics and issues relevant to the two church bodies. This year was the 35th meeting of the forum.

Mission Rallies

The Circuit 12 Women’s Mission Rally was held on at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Grants Pass, Oregon on September 23, 2022. The rally theme was “Divine Comfort in Affliction.” Rev. Brad Kerkow, ELS Evangelism and Missions Counselor, and Rev. Tom Heyn, ELS Board for World Outreach administrator, spoke about the synod’s mission work.

The ELS Circuit 9 Women’s Mission Rally was held on October 22 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Belview, Minnesota. Mrs. Carol Webber presented on her perspective while raising a family in the mission field in Ukraine from 1998–2005. A video update was viewed on work being done with humanitarian assistance in Ukraine from Nick and Kerry Laper. Updates on world outreach and home outreach were given by Rev. Tom Heyn and Rev. Brad Kerkow.

Congregational Gifts

Our congregational giving goal for 2022 is $820,000. As of today that goal is looking really attainable. Please plan a Sunday to encourage synodical giving in support of our missions and ministries here at home and around the world, including Bethany Lutheran College. Consider one or more of these three Sundays: November 27, December 4 or 11. Special envelopes should be at all of our churches. An email reminder will go out reminding pastors insert in your bulletins a “Yearend” envelope for your special Sunday event. Thank you. If there are any questions contact Pastor Dan Basel at or 507-469-9656, especially if you need more envelopes or information.

Teacher Anniversaries at Parkland

On Sunday, Oct. 9 Parkland Lutheran Church and School, Tacoma, Washington, celebrated Mrs. Connie Davis (left) and Mrs. Jolene McClung’s 40 years each in the public ministry as teachers. PLC&S have been blessed through their faithful service to the precious lambs of the congregation and surrounding community for several decades. May the fruit of their work be seen for generations to come in Jesus’ name.

Board for Lutheran Schools

Several of the schools in our Evangelical Lutheran Synod are blessed to have an early childhood program, elementary and middle school, and/or high school as part of their ministry. The schools in our synod aspire to assist families in bringing up their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Over the past few years, we have seen our schools grow in enrollment and with it the opportunity to reach more families with the Gospel. However, this is not without its challenges.

One of the biggest challenges, at this time, is an extreme teacher shortage both in our synod and in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. As a result, we are looking for members of our synod with a degree in education or related teaching experience who would be interested in exploring the possibility of being considered for a call in one of the schools of our synod.

If you are interested or even if you would just like to receive more information about this possibility, please contact Shu-Ting Lai, our synod’s Secretary for Schools, at or (360) 876-1300.

Upcoming Events

November 1–2 – Board for World Outreach

November 3–4 – Board for Home Outreach

November 10 – Board of Trustees

November 11 – Synod Review Committee

December 25 – Christmas Day

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