Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
On September 29, the Church has traditionally observed St. Michael and All Angels Day. A lesson for that day comes from Rev. 12, recounting Michael, the archangel, who battled with Satan, the great dragon—the ancient serpent, and drove him from the courts of heaven, so that no longer could he make the false accusations against God’s people, as he had done with Job. But this great deceiver was thrown down to the earth along with his many demons and this affects us today. Sadly, he can use us as his mouthpieces against our brothers and sisters repeating those accusations seeking to condemn.
When St. Michael threw Satan down from the courts of heaven, St. John heard a loud voice saying:
“Now the salvation and power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:10-11). Christ’s Church on earth gets to counteract those accusations against those who believe in Jesus. So, in the ELS our pastors and congregations get to testify boldly in the face of those false accusations: “Lift up your hearts, your sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake.”
Pray that our testimony remains faithful seeking to point to the blood of the Lamb shed for all sinners.
In Jesus’ name,
Glenn R. Obenberger
Hurricane Ian Update: We give thanks that no ELS churches in Florida were damaged by Hurricane Ian. Some churches reported downed trees, and several members reported repairable roof damage. However, several WELS churches had significant damage. You can learn more about the hurricane’s impact, the WELS response, and how you can help at: https://wels.net/wels-car-responds-to-hurricane-ian/
Our Savior Lutheran of Bishop, California, observed and celebrated her 50th anniversary as a congregation on September 18, 2022. Our Savior was incorporated in 1972 and by God’s grace has continued and remained true to God’s Word for fifty years. Current Pastor Andrew Burmeister preached on Psalm 106:1 “O Give thanks to the LORD…” Special anniversary worship was held and a lunch followed. A new sanctuary altar made of very old foxtail pine wood was dedicated for the occasion. Pictured: Our Savior, Bishop, attendees
2023 Synod Convention: Sun., June 18–Thurs., June 22. “We Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” (Ps. 139:14). We will focus on God’s creation of our bodies. The world around us today has often undermined the Christian’s view of this marvelous gift of God to us. All too often Christians lose sight of the beauty of their bodies and their glorious divine purposes. God made the world to support our bodies and we in turn, with our bodies manage God’s created world. Even after sin, God still gives us our bodies not to abuse but to use to His glory, even to the point of putting them to bed in the grave awaiting the great gettin’ up mornin’ when they will rise and be reunited with our souls for the full life secured by Jesus’ blood bought redemption through the sacrifice of His holy body. Pastor Aaron Hamilton will be our essayist.
Clergy Retirement Survey: Based on hearing it suggested by many “baby-boomer” ELS pastors that retirement is being planned in the next few years a survey was conducted. 107 respondents indicated that within 2022–27, twenty-eight are planning to retire; within 2028–33, sixteen are planning to retire. This means potentially a total of forty-four within the next 10 years. This would require 4–5 seminary graduates needed annually to replace those pastors who are planning to retire. As it stands now, we do not have that level of enrollment in our Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary to produce that many graduates in the near future. Our sister synod, the WELS, is also facing similar challenges. Please pray for President Timothy Hartwig as he addresses the emphasis on recruitment efforts among our young men in our congregations and schools, as well as second career men who might consider attending our seminary. Also, please encourage young men you know to consider preparing for the pastoral office among us.
Bethany Lutheran College Auxiliary: On Monday, September 26 the auxiliary met on the BLC campus for its annual meeting. We appreciate the interest and support for our college. While we desire to see many from our congregations attend, it is not feasible for some to make that trip. But it would still be good especially for our women’s organizations throughout our ELS congregations to make the auxiliary a regular recipient of contributions to support this important work we do together. One of the things the auxiliary supports is the All Steinway Fund, you can read about it at https://blc.edu/about/ways-to-give/all-steinway-fund/. All contributions can be sent to the treasurer, Becky DeGarmeaux at 6 Browns Ct, Mankato MN 56001. If you wish to learn about the various projects the auxiliary supports you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the chairperson, Diane Gullixson at email@example.com
Pastor Glenn Smith was installed at Forest and Zion Lutheran Churches in Forest City and Thompson, Iowa, on September 18, 2022.
Reformation Lectures: The 2022 Bjarne Wollan Teigen Reformation Lectures are being planned for October 27–28, 2022. The theme will be “Lutheran Care of Souls”: 1. Care of Souls in the Lutheran Reformation; 2. Care of Souls in Lutheran Orthodoxy; 3. Care of Souls in Modern Lutheranism. Registration is available online at blc.edu/reformation-lectures.
The annual Circuit Visitors Conference was held on September 15–16, 2022.
October 5–7 – General Pastoral Conference
October 12 – Planning & Coordinating Committee
October 17–18 – Evangelical Lutheran Confessional Forum
October 24–25 – Board of Regents
October 27–28 – Reformation Lectures
November 1–2 – Board for World Outreach
November 3–4 – Board for Home Outreach
November 10 – Board of Trustees