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October 2023 Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod,

Greetings in the name of Christ Jesus, who changed some of the disciples’ vocation from fishers of fish to fishers of men, and whose mission for His church reflects that same work to this day!

Sometimes as the numbers dwindle in our congregations we think of evangelism as merely a way to fill the pews with those who can help pay the bills.

“But the devil has made a rather silly error in his conniving. We aren’t lowering our nets to get fish for our own sake. We proclaim the Gospel to the fish for the fishes’ sake, to save them from the satanic Leviathan. Goodness devil, really? You think we’re going to float along saying, ‘We need people in order to survive’? As if we get people in the boat so that we can fillet them, bread them, and serve them with chips?

“Dear saints, mark this well: We don’t go fishing out of concern for our life. We go fishing out of concern for the life of the world. We don’t invite people to church so that we can survive. We invite people to church so that they will be saved. Our life isn’t in our numbers. Our life is in Christ. That doesn’t mean each little boat is going to make it to the farther shore, but there’s no reason you can’t. We sail in a fleet, and other boats are in sight. If our doors must close, then it will be like Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27. He said to the sailors, ‘Take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.’
“Whatever happens, nothing can sink the whole fleet, which is to say, nothing can sink the one ark of the Church.”1

In Jesus’ name,
Glenn Obenberger

1 Be at Leisure: A Lutheran Approach to Outreach, by Andrew Richard, Steadfast in the Parish p. 4.

(L to R) Paul Schneider, David Locklair, Steven Sparley, Daniel Hartwig, Michael Smith, Robert Otto, Glenn Obenberger, James Braun, Craig Ferkenstad, Aaron Ferkenstad, Micah Ernst, Michael Dale, John Merseth Sr., Peter Faugstad, Timothy Buelow

Our ELS Circuit Visitors met September 13–15 Eagan, Minnesota. Please keep these men in your prayers!

2024 Synod Convention

June 16–20, 2024: “Walk Circumspectly in the World God So Loves”; essayist: Rev. James Braun. We will consider the various hollow and deceptive philosophies that have troubled the Church of our Lord Jesus throughout its history, as well as more current ones that are influencing the Christian’s proper understanding of the Word of God today. While raising the awareness of these insidious encroachments upon the teachings and practices of the Church, we will also remember that Jesus came not to condemn, but to save the world. So too as His Church, while walking circumspectly, we need clearly to demonstrate our love and compassion for all, especially those neighbors who have been deluded by such common and error-laden approaches to spirituality. Two sections from Colossians are pertinent to this topic: 2:6–8; 4:5–6.

Bethany Lutheran College hosted Fall Festival – A Homecoming Weekend, September 15–17! We love seeing alumni and friends on campus. The weekend included an Alumni Choir Reunion Concert (pictured), Athletic Hall of Fame, Theatre Physics, and the Exceptional Service to Bethany Award!

Planning & Coordinating Committee

The Planning and Coordinating Committee met on February 15, 2023, and decided to allow the president to appoint a committee to help work on strategic planning between meetings the next three years. The committee may also recommend changes to the synod’s constitution and work in 2026, so that dynamic strategic planning occurs on a regular basis. The synod approved the work of such a committee and we are seeking to expand the number on the committee at this time in addition to B. Kerkow (chair), M. Perlwitz (secretary), Lyle Fahning, and the president.

Congregations at Critical Mass

Representatives, laymen, and pastors from 13 congregations in north-central Iowa and south-central Minnesota met to discuss future plans in receiving permanent pastoral care. A subcommittee has been organized to work with Rev. Ben Weichmann (chairman of the Board for Home Outreach) and Rev. Brad Kerkow (Evangelism and Missions Counselor) in keeping with the synod resolution that came from the report of the Commission on Congregations at Critical Mass.

Military Monument Dedication Service

Video of the ELS Military Monument Dedication Service is available at these two links:

2023 Bjarne W. Teigen Reformation Lectures

The 2023 Bjarne Wollan Teigen Reformation Lectures are being planned for October 26–27, 2023. The theme will be “Lutheran Ethics”: 1. Lutheran Bioethics–Dr. Scott Stiegemeyer, Concordia University Irvine, Irvine, CA; 2. Lutheran Social Ethics–Dr. Angus Menuge, Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, WI; 3. Lutheran Ecoethics–Dr. Doyle Holbird, Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, MN. Registration is available online at

Prayer for Missions

Almighty and gracious God, You want all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We pray that you would bless our home mission, Hope Lutheran Church in Farmington, Minnesota. Encourage, bless, and protect missionary Dan Oberer, his family, and his congregation as they proclaim the saving cross of Christ. Enable others in their community who are lost in spiritual falsehoods to hear the truth and to join us in our joyful celebration of Christ, His work for our salvation, and the certain hope of our heavenly home. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Upcoming Events

October 2–3 – Board for Lutheran Schools
October 3 – Board for Youth Outreach
October 3 – Committee on Worship
October 4–6 – General Pastoral Conference
October 13 – Synod Review Committee
October 22 – 50th Anniversary, Heritage Lutheran (Apple Valley MN)
November 2–3 – Board for Home Outreach
November 10 – Synod Review Committee
November 14–15 – Board for World Outreach
November 16 – Board of Trustees

View current vacancies and calls in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

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