Two announcements from WELS Benefit Plans

WELS Shepherd Plan
Administrative costs for the WELS Shepherd Plan, the retirement savings program for WELS called workers and employees, have decreased by 9.8 percent, effective Oct. 1, 2023. The new annualized administrative cost will be 37 basis points (37/100ths of one percent) per year. Administrative costs are charged to the participant’s Shepherd Plan account on a quarterly basis.

This is the fifth cost reduction since Oct. 1, 2017, resulting in a cumulative 47.1 percent decrease during that time period. The continued growth of the Shepherd Plan has made these recent cost reductions possible.

WELS VEBA
The WELS VEBA Commission is offering a limited open enrollment for the WELS VEBA Group Health Care Plan for the 2024 plan year. The limited open enrollment is available to eligible workers at sponsoring organizations with at least one active worker enrolled in medical benefits under the WELS VEBA health plan. Enrollment opened Nov. 1, 2023, and will run through Nov. 30, 2023.

Eligible participants can enroll in WELS VEBA or change current WELS VEBA coverage by going to the WELS Benefits Service Center website at www.wels.bswift.com or by calling 1-800-487-8322 (option 1) during the open enrollment period.

The WELS VEBA Commission has also announced that the 2024 premium rates for WELS VEBA medical benefits will increase by 11 percent. This increase is necessary to ensure that the plan maintains adequate long-term reserves, particularly given inflation-related increases in the cost of health care. WELS VEBA health plan rates for 2024 are available on the Benefit Plans website.

Information regarding the 2024 limited open enrollment and WELS VEBA benefits is available in the 2024 WELS VEBA Benefits Guide.

 

 

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Together Video Update – October 24, 2023

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s 2023-24 school year is underway. Hear from two first-year students about their journey to the seminary and what life is like as they train to be pastors.

 

 

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Conference of Presidents’ fall 2023 meeting

The Conference of Presidents (COP) held its fall meeting on October 3–5. Here is a summary of the matters discussed and decided:

  • The COP has begun to carry out a resolution of the synod convention asking for a pastoral brief on the subject of critical theories and justice, issues that are confronting pastors and members in our society today. A pastoral brief is a statement that will provide information and guidance on a specific subject. It is “pastoral” not because it is intended only for pastors, but because the guidance it provides is biblical, evangelical, and pastoral.
  • The COP was informed that a task force to address the called worker shortage will be appointed in the coming weeks, as directed by the synod convention. The task force will craft recommendations for a synodwide effort to increase the number of candidates for the public ministry.
  • The COP approved a proposal to extend and encourage WELS teaching ministry certification for all early childhood teachers, whether called or hired. The COP also approved a proposal that makes a distinction between synodwide early childhood teacher certification (meaning that such certified teachers are able to be called anywhere) and local teacher certification, which certifies early childhood teachers for service in their own local congregation only.
  • The COP is asking the Synodical Council’s Compensation Review Committee to propose an appropriate manner of compensating directors and teachers for increased time commitments and responsibilities involved in early childhood education.
  • The Early Childhood Ministry Support Task Force is producing a document as a resource for early childhood education (ECE) leaders, boards, district coordinators, and district presidents to build awareness and give strategies on how to efficiently operate an ECE program while meeting the needs of ECE staff, parents, and children.
  • The COP continues to look at ways to improve the guidelines and procedures dealing with the call system.
  • The COP extended a call to Rev. Michael Hatzung to serve as a Christian giving counselor in a half-time retirement call. In view of the pastoral shortage, the COP also considered filling a full-time vacant Christian giving counselor position and determined that this call, if possible, should be extended to a qualified layman rather than to a pastor. A notice for nominations for this position was issued last week.
  • The COP received reports from the Ministry of Christian Giving, the Commission on Congregational Services, and Communication Services, and was updated on the processes for gathering congregational statistics and Congregation Mission Offering subscriptions.
  • The COP is continuing its work on finalizing the restatement of the synod’s doctrinal position on male-female roles and relationships.

 

Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder

 

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Mission work approved in Senegal

The Board for World Missions has approved a plan to send two missionaries to Senegal to learn the culture and language in preparation for sharing the gospel and gathering a congregation.

The country of Senegal has a population of almost 17 million people. The Wolof tribe makes up about 40 to 45 percent of the total population and is less than 0.01 percent Christian. Even though Senegal is an overwhelmingly Muslim country, the constitution staunchly defends freedom of religion and is a relatively peaceful and stable place. “This would be extremely ‘raw’ mission work, where we’ll be starting gospel outreach from scratch,” says Rev. Larry Schlomer, World Missions administrator. “While we do not have an invitation to be in Senegal, we are going because we know these people do not have the gospel.”

Schlomer and Mr. Stefan Felgenhauer, director of World Missions Operations, made an exploratory trip to Dakar in September. They met people from the business community, local charitable organizations, and an international school to determine how easy it is for Americans to live and work in the country. They also connected with a well-respected, cross-cultural learning consultant agency. This agency will serve as a valuable resource moving forward as it’ll be able to connect future WELS missionaries with an immersion opportunity to live with a Muslim Wolof family. This opportunity will allow the missionaries to settle into the culture and community, learn the language, meet the people, and seek opportunities to share the gospel.

“This will be a new attempt by WELS to reach into the Muslim world,” says Schlomer. “The opportunity for learning, outreach, and immersion in this culture will help us grow in our understanding of Muslim influence. We pray this becomes not only a blessing to the Wolof people but also a resource for future Muslim outreach around the world.”

In 2021, world missionaries were tasked with researching where WELS might have the opportunity to plant new world mission fields, with the goal of bringing the gospel to some of the 7,000+ unreached people groups around the world. The Wolof tribe in Senegal was identified as a potential mission field opportunity. Other areas identified include Bangladesh, Dubai, New Zealand, and other U.S. Native American tribes.

Learn more about these locations for future mission work at wels.net/newworldmissionfields.

 

Senegal

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Together Video Update – October 10, 2023

The Commission on Lutheran Schools recently installed Mrs. Melanie Giddings as the curriculum coordinator. She will be organizing the work of the theology curriculum task force as it creates a framework for the next theology curriculum for WELS schools. Giddings talks about the process and insights being considered for the new program.

 

 

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Your generous offerings at work

One of the blessings of belonging to a synod is the opportunity to work together with fellow Christians throughout the country in carrying out the mission that God has given us to do: taking the gospel to as many people as possible. Working together with more than 1,200 other WELS congregations enables you and your congregation to accomplish many things that would be difficult or impossible to do alone. Together we train future pastors, teachers, and staff ministers. Together we plant new mission congregations in the United States and Canada. And together we carry out and support mission efforts in 45 countries around the world.

You and your congregation support that work with your fervent prayers. You also support that work through your generous offerings.

Sometimes those offerings come from individuals who want to support the synod’s work in general or who have a particular area of that work that they want to support.

The synod receives the majority of its financial support from Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO). WELS congregations typically designate an annual amount that they forward to the synod for our joint efforts. Your congregation is likely already discussing your CMO commitment and will soon inform the synod of what the amount for 2024 is expected to be.

To help you know exactly how your mission offerings are used, a special WELS Connection video has been prepared that will give you an informative glimpse into the many opportunities that God is giving us to proclaim his saving Word and to let you know how God is using your generous gifts. The video will likely be shown in your congregation before or after worship, but if you would like to see it now, you can view it online.

Thank you for your generous gifts of faith and love!

Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder

 

View video

 

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Together Video Update – September 26, 2023

The Foundation is a suite of resources developed by WELS Congregational Services that builds on the importance of public worship both on Sunday morning and throughout the week. Learn more about some of the outreach components of these resources from Rev. Eric Roecker, director of WELS Evangelism.

View The Foundation resources.

 

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Board for Home Missions approves tenth new mission start for 2023

Last week the Board for Home Missions met for its fall meetings and approved one new start and four enhancement requests. This brings the total new mission starts this year to 10 (not to mention the approved enhancements), which is on pace with our synod’s goal of starting 100 new mission churches and enhancing 75 existing ministries from 2023-2033.

  • Buffalo, Wyo. (new start): A group of 27 WELS members living in the Buffalo area have been worshiping weekly in the local civic center since March 2020, led by the pastor from Lord of Lords in Casper, Wyo.
  • Mount Calvary, Redding/Anderson, Calif. (enhancement): Home Missions is providing financial support for Mount Calvary, a multi-site ministry, to call a staff minister to assist with evangelism and youth/family ministry at the Anderson site.
  • Christ the King, Palm Coast, Fla. (enhancement): Christ the King will receive short-term Home Missions support to call a campus pastor to reach out to the 125 students with no church home at their growing Christ the King Academy.
  • Hope, Deerfield, Wis. (unsubsidized): Hope in Deerfield began outreach and worship in fall 2021. Unsubsidized mission status gives them access to grants from Home Missions and WELS Church Extension Fund (WELS CEF) as well as support from their district mission board and mission counselor.
  • Cross of Christ, Las Cruces, N.M. (unsubsidized): Cross of Christ started in a member’s home 11 years ago. The congregation has 73 members and owns land along a major access road where most of the city’s new development is taking place and where hundreds of young families are moving.

As district mission boards and mission counselors are looking for new places to start churches and enhance ministries, WELS members have responded to help support this gospel outreach goal with their offerings. Since starting this initiative, more than 1,500 members have contributed more than $1.7 million to help launch new home missions. Thanks be to God! Thank you to all those who have contributed toward this effort of boldly taking the gospel to people in new locations throughout the country.

Learn more about these new starts and enhancements and read updates from home missions that were approved in spring at wels100in10.net.

Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder

 

 

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Using The Foundation to reach the unchurched

The Foundation, a free worship planning resource developed and offered by WELS Congregational Services, is designed to assist congregations with outreach in their communities.

By using the pre-planned worship resources, busy pastors will have more time to spend visiting prospective members and interacting with their communities.

The worship plans have also been carefully constructed to be accessible to first-time guests. The orders of service and hymns, while feeding the faithful, will also bless those new to Lutheran worship.

“Perhaps most importantly, it is hoped The Foundation resources will encourage members to invite their unchurched friends, neighbors, and co-workers to join them for worship. The use of themes for worship series might mean a member brings someone who is struggling with a particular issue in their life or who may have expressed interest in a topic that will be discussed in an upcoming series,” says Rev. Eric Roecker, administrator for WELS Commission on Evangelism, part of WELS Congregational Services.

To assist with this outreach, a promotional video is produced for each series. The videos are specifically produced with the unchurched in mind, using language, images, music, etc., that unchurched people could understand and relate to. Roecker suggests some ways the videos might be used:

  • Show the video for an upcoming series after worship for two to three weeks prior to the start of the series. Not only will it prepare your people, but it might also make them think of someone they could invite to join them.
  • In certain settings, the video could be shown as an introduction to the sermon each week. This repetition would help tie the series together in the minds of worshipers.
  • Post the videos on all of your congregation’s social media pages. You never know who might see it and be intrigued enough to join you.
  • Share the videos with your members in the weeks leading up to each series so they can share them with unchurched acquaintances. It’s an easy way for them to make the invite.

View the latest outreach video:

Access all The Foundation resources at welscongregationalservices.net/foundation-yr-a.

Also, don’t forget to get Christmas outreach materials! Christmas outreach postcards and other materials are available from Echt Printing to help congregations reach their neighbors, inviting them to Christmas worship. The materials feature The Foundation Christmas theme for 2023. The deadline to order is Oct. 24.

Praise and Proclaim is also offering assistance to congregations with digital evangelism efforts. The deadline to sign up is Oct. 27.

 

 

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Together Video Update – September 12, 2023

Rev. Tom Welch, campus pastor in Houghton, Mich., shares what campus ministry looks like in his university town—the Bible studies, activities, and outreach that happen among the college students. WELS Campus Ministry invites all college students to connect with a campus ministry or pastor where they are. Sign up at wels.net/college to receive spiritual support materials for this chapter in your life and connect to a ministry or pastor near your school.

 

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Welcome visitors from Uganda

One of the highlights of the recent synod convention was the declaration of fellowship between WELS and Obadiah Lutheran Synod of Uganda. The president of Obadiah Lutheran Synod, Rev. Makisimu Musa, had planned to attend the convention in person, but he was unable to receive a visa in time. Instead, he was encouraged to visit as soon as he was able to obtain a visa as a way for him to become personally familiar with our synod.

Those plans became a reality last week when Pastor Musa, along with his wife, Mary, and infant son Nathanael, arrived in the United States for a visit. Pastor Musa and his family were able to visit the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry (CMM) in Waukesha, Wis. While there he was able to meet with various WELS leaders and also had the opportunity to make a presentation about Obadiah Lutheran Synod to the workers at the CMM.

While in the United States, Pastor Musa will preach at several congregations in the Midwest and at two of our Apache mission congregations. He will also visit Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn., and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis.

Obadiah Lutheran Synod was established in 2008. From a single congregation, it has grown to a church body of 28 congregations and a membership of more than 5,000 souls. Those congregations are served by seven pastors and six evangelists. It also carries out mission work among South Sudanese refugees in the Kiryandango refugee camp.

WELS first had contact with Obadiah Lutheran Synod in December 2017. Soon after that, WELS missionaries Rev. John Hartmann and Rev. John Holtz, along with Rev. Bright Pembeleka from the Lutheran Church of Central Africa–Malawi Synod, traveled to Uganda to meet with Pastor Musa. After several years of doctrinal discussions, it was determined that WELS and Obadiah Lutheran Synod were united in doctrine, resulting in the declaration of fellowship at the convention this summer.

We are grateful for the way in which God has enabled this new Lutheran church body to thrive and grow and for the fellowship that he has enabled us to celebrate. Please keep our brothers and sisters in Uganda in your prayers.

Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder

Learn more about Pastor Musa and Obadiah Lutheran Synod at forwardinchrist.net.

 

 

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Two new chaplains for WELS Military Services

WELS Military Services commissioned two new chaplains this summer to serve WELS members in the military and their families. Rev. Robert Weiss was commissioned Aug. 6 as the new European civilian chaplain, replacing Rev. John Hartwig, who retired. Rev. Paul Horn was commissioned Aug. 19 as the new WELS national civilian chaplain, replacing Rev. Paul Ziemer, who also retired.

Weiss and his wife, Rachel, will be moving this week to Germany, where the European civilian chaplain is based. From this central location, he will be able to serve members of the military, their families, and other ex-pats living abroad with God’s Word. He was commissioned at St. Peter, Chilton, Wis., where he has served as pastor since 2014. Prior to serving at St. Peter, he served at King of Kings, Little Rock, Ark., where he was assigned in 2004 after graduating Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis. While in Arkansas, Weiss served as a military contact pastor to nearby military installations. And, it’s where he studied German at the University of Arkansas. Weiss also has a little experience as the European chaplain, as he filled in for a couple months when his predecessor was on furlough.

“The number one thing I’m looking forward to is being able to focus very intensely on a specific area of ministry. Military ministry is a specific demographic of people within the synod who are in a specific situation that’s not normal,” says Weiss. “Being able to serve WELS members in the military and have that be my complete focus—I’m very much looking forward to that.”

Rev. Joel Gaertner, director of WELS Special Ministries which oversees WELS Military Services, presided over the commissioning service. Gaertner says, “Rob Weiss is ideally suited for serving as our next European civilian chaplain. With his German-speaking skills and experience in serving our military members with the gospel, he is perfectly suited to take on this role. We pray for God’s richest blessings for Chaplain Weiss and his wife, Rachel, as they move to Germany.”

Horn was commissioned at Grace, Milwaukee, Wis. Horn has been involved with military ministry for 19 years, beginning with his first assignment after graduation to Faith in Radcliff, Ky., where he served as a military contact pastor. He has served on the WELS Military Services Committee since 2013. Horn and his wife, Rebecca, are in the process of moving from Lafayette, Ind., where he served as pastor at Lamb of God, to San Diego, Calif. He expects to begin his call as national civilian chaplain in San Diego in September, where he will not only serve as the liaison to the military, but also orient, train, and mentor WELS military contact pastors around the country.

Horn’s call is a change for WELS Military Services. It is the first time the call will be full time and the first time it will be based in San Diego, home to nearly all the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and in close proximity to the Pacific fleet. “The pivot to a full-time national chaplain is necessary because ministry to our military is too important to do part time,” says Horn. “The military mindset and culture is often misunderstood by civilians and because of that we often miss opportunities for meaningful outreach and gospel ministry and we miss opportunities to engage military families in meaningful service in our congregations.”

If you, or someone you know, is in the military, Weiss and Horn want to know who you are and serve you with the Word and sacrament. Visit wels.net/refer to sign up with WELS Military Services to get connected with them or a military contact pastor.

 

Watch Rev. Horn’s installation service

 

 

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WELS endowments help support tuition assistance

Thanks to the generosity of God’s people, WELS Foundation distributed $1.3 million to gospel ministry in July through the WELS endowment funds. These funds were established by delegates at the 2005 synod convention to provide ongoing, dependable support for the Lord’s work in WELS Ministerial Education and WELS Home, World, and Joint Missions.

In addition to the WELS endowments, WELS Foundation also manages endowments that are set up by individuals, congregations, and other WELS-affiliated ministries. In total, WELS Foundation distributed $4.1 million from more than 375 endowments this year, providing ongoing financial support for Christ’s gospel work throughout WELS.

Several of the endowments managed by WELS Foundation benefit Martin Luther College (MLC), New Ulm, Minn., providing tuition assistance to students training to become teachers.

Katie Rosenau, a member at St. Mark, Leesburg, Fla., is entering her second year at MLC in the Elementary Education and Communication Arts and Literature program. Katie feels blessed to have received crucial financial support through endowments. “The academic scholarships I have received through the endowment funds have certainly been a blessing,” she says. “More traditional tuition assistance was not available to me, making the academic scholarships all the more important. It is a gift that my efforts in studying and focusing on classes are being rewarded.”

To Rosenau, the support she has received is more than just a financial blessing: “In working hard to achieve academic excellence, I often end up spending more time in God’s Word. Being blessed through my studies allows me to dedicate even more time to growing spiritually in my faith.”

Rosenau extends her thanks to those who have generously supported her through their financial gifts. “Knowing there is support for my academic achievements helps encourage me to strive for my very best,” she says. “I am grateful for all the people behind the gifts who are helping those who might not qualify for other types of assistance. Your gifts are received with appreciation!”

“Providing tuition assistance for those wanting to serve in the teaching ministry is a goal everyone can support,” says Mr. Jim Holm, executive director of WELS Foundation. “An endowment fund can provide a source of stable financial support for these young men and women.”

There are a variety of ways to give to an endowment: cash or appreciated assets, or through a will, trust, beneficiary designation on a retirement account, or insurance proceeds. To learn more about adding to an existing endowment or establishing a new endowment for a ministry that you love, contact your local WELS Christian giving counselor at wels.net/giving-counselors or call 800-827-5482.

 

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Together Video Update – August 15, 2023

More than 400 WELS called workers and laymembers met at Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich., July 31-Aug. 3, for the WELS 67th Biennial Synod Convention. Hear from attendees as they share what made an impact on them.

Get all the synod convention news, watch the archived livestream of the proceedings, and more at welsconvention.net.

 

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Floor committees report to the convention

Three hundred forty-eight convention delegates met in 19 floor committees to consider the synod’s work. Floor committees studied reports from the synod’s ministries, met with synod administrators and board members, and then formed reports and resolutions that were presented to the delegates at large on Wednesday and Thursday.

Many floor committees’ reports summarized the ministry that was assigned to them and offered encouragement for those serving. Resolutions that called for action included the following:

Floor Committee #1, which dealt with the President’s Report, called for “the synod president to appoint a pastoral ministry shortage task force to study the challenges related to the present pastoral shortage and spiritual support for pastors from all angles to provide concrete recommendations to the synod president to address this matter.” Delegates approved the resolution.

Floor Committee #1 also called for “the synod president to appoint a Recruitment Task Force to study and address the challenges to recruitment for our ministerial education schools.” Delegates approved the resolution.

Floor Committee #10: Ministerial Education also offered a resolution to help address called worker vacancies. The resolution asked delegates of the 2023 synod convention to “encourage WELS members with degrees in other fields to consider training for the ministry of the gospel.” Delegates approved the resolution.

Floor Committee #2, which discussed the work of the Conference of Presidents, presented a resolution asking the Conference of Presidents to “prepare a pastoral brief on critical theories in light of Scripture.” This resolution generated much discussion, which resulted in an amendment to “prepare a pastoral brief emphasizing the importance of justice and analyzing critical theories in light of Scripture.” Delegates passed the amended motion.

Floor Committee #3: Commission on Inter-Church Relations resolved that “the synod in convention continue to support the ongoing informal conversations between WELS, the [Evangelical Lutheran Synod], and the [Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod]” and that the Conference of Presidents and the Commission on Inter-Church Relations “continue to update the members of the synod as to developments in these conversations.” Delegates approved the resolution, which did note that “the [Commission on Inter-Church Relations] does not believe we are in a position to initiate ‘formal doctrinal discussions,’ which would mean ‘there is reason to believe there may be doctrinal agreement.’ ”

Floor Committee #7 analyzed the proposed ministry financial plan (budget) for the 2023–25 biennium. The floor committee then resolved to adopt the proposed plan and encouraged “every WELS congregation and their members to support the gospel ministry entrusted to our synod” and to “ask the Holy Spirit to continue to inspire his people to give as they have been given, in support of our synod’s task to hold before the world the good news of Jesus.” Delegates approved the resolution.

To read other reports and resolutions, visit welsconvention.net.

 

 

 

 

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Delegates approve balanced ministry financial plan

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Kyle Egan, WELS’ chief financial officer and treasurer, shared an overview of WELS financial results with synod convention delegates. He explained key elements of the proposed ministry financial plan for the upcoming biennium covering fiscal years 2023–24 and 2024–25.

Egan noted the continued strength of Congregation Mission Offerings, individual gifts and grants, as well as strong reserve levels. “Overall the synod is in a very strong financial position heading into the biennium,” said Egan. “We have continued to see strong levels of unrestricted support through gifts, grants, and bequests, which allows for the continued expansion of mission and ministry. We ask for God to provide us with the wisdom and leadership to carry out these plans for the next biennium.”

On Thursday morning, delegates approved the ministry financial plan. Rev. Matthew Brown, a delegate from the South Central District, served as chairman of the convention floor committee that dealt with the ministry financial plan. “It is with joyful thanks for the blessings of our gracious God that we note that WELS is financially strong,” he said. “We ask the Holy Spirit to continue to inspire his people to give as they have been given, in support of our synod’s task to hold before the world the good news of Jesus.”

The ministry financial plan includes support for WELS ministerial education, home and world missions, congregation and district ministry, and general ministry. For plan details, see Egan’s full presentation, which is available at welsconvention.net.

 

 

 

 

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Reaching one soul at a time

On Wednesday morning, Rev. Mark Gabb, chairman of the WELS Board for Home Missions, gave an update on the 100 missions in 10 years initiative, which was passed at the 2021 synod convention. The initiative, which began this year, involves planting 100 home mission churches and enhancing 75 ministries over the next 10 years.

In March 2023, the Board for Home Missions approved the first set of 15 new home mission starts and enhancements. Gabb shared updates about each during his presentation.

Gabb also addressed a common question about the initiative. “One of the biggest questions I’ve heard is, ‘How can we do this with so many [pastoral] vacancies?’ That’s a fair question,” he said. He then spoke about the Great Commission that Christ has given us to go and make disciples, while faithfully and wisely using the resources he has given us for both outreach and nurture. “It comes down to reaching the lost,” Gabb continued. “It’s still about one Savior, one mission, one synod, one soul at a time.”

Gabb pointed delegates to wels100in10.net for updates and encouraged them to pray, get involved, and continue to support the work with their offerings. He concluded, “Trust God’s promises. . . . God will bless us immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.”

In its report, the Home Missions floor committee noted: “Our committee would like to underscore our support of the 100 missions in 10 years initiative adopted at the last convention in pursuit of the Great Commission. . . . This initiative gives us the opportunity to establish more footholds of gospel proclamation where the harvest is increasingly plentiful.”

On Wednesday evening, delegates heard ministry updates from three WELS home missionaries.

  • Paul Biedenbender is pastor at Christ, a bilingual congregation reaching out to its culturally diverse neighborhood in the middle of Denver, Colo. Christ serves and meets people from all over the world. Biedenbender showed a photo of a hallway at Christ, which displays the flags of the 12 nations represented in its congregation. In cooperation with local nonprofits providing for the community’s physical needs, the church has established itself in the neighborhood as a place people can go for their spiritual needs. Biedenbender shared multiple stories of God’s hand at work at Christ as entire families have come to be baptized into God’s family.
  • David Koelpin, Foundation, Folsom, Calif., shared photos of Foundation’s unique approach to worship. Because Foundation began worshiping during the pandemic in 2019, members worshiped outdoors at community parks due to necessity. They soon found that their flexible, creative, and welcoming approach has made them known in the community as “the church that worships in the park.” They have continued to worship outside, providing a natural community awareness. Foundation members are also challenged to make new friends so they can invite those new friends to church—tapping into the strength of one-on-one evangelism.
  • Timothy Spiegelberg, pastor at Carbon Valley, Firestone, Colo., reported that the congregation is in an area of extreme population growth. Since members knew that they wanted to be proactively in the path of that growth, they purchased and repurposed an existing building into a versatile ministry center that could serve the community, with the goal of having people in their building at all times. Carbon Valley’s motto of “Connecting Christ . . . Connecting Community” places a heavy emphasis on building personal relationships as a way to reach out with the gospel.

Mr. Joseph Purcell, a lay delegate from St. Paul’s, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, was inspired by the success stories being shared by WELS home missionaries in new locations. “Consistently all of them are considering what their community needs and asking how they can best serve them,” he said. “I think if we can keep following that model, doing 100 mission congregations in 10 years is realistic.”

Learn more about WELS Home Missions.

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday afternoon presentation overview

Delegates at the WELS 67th Biennial Synod Convention had the opportunity to learn about multiple ministries Wednesday afternoon. Following the Congregational Services presentation (view article), Mr. Jeremy Angle, president of Northwestern Publishing House (NPH), spoke about the mission and vision of the synod’s official publisher.

Angle said, “The vision of Northwestern Publishing House is to be the first choice people go to for digital and printed resources that share Christ’s truths worldwide.” He explained that by saying “people,” he doesn’t mean just WELS people, but anyone looking for biblically and doctrinally sound books and resources with a pure gospel message.

Speaking to delegates, Angle said, “Today more than ever, those both weak and strong in your care need your guiding hand, as they’re surrounded by a sea of false doctrine washing against them as Christian truths. So, whether you’re a pastor, a teacher, a staff minister, or a lay leader, you may very well be the only person in the life of a church member, a friend, a neighbor, whom they can trust to guide them to Christian resources that strengthen their faith—or bring them to faith. You get to shepherd them toward truth-filled, Christ-centered, doctrinally sound books and materials, and NPH is here to support you with a broad variety of resources for every generation to encourage them to seek God’s will, lead God-pleasing lives, and learn more about God’s love for us.”

Check out the 22 new titles NPH published in the last biennium and its entire catalog of Bible-focused books and resources at nph.net. You can see Angle’s entire presentation on the Wednesday afternoon livestream archive, beginning at 1:22.

Next at the podium was Rev. Dan Sims, director of WELS Christian Aid and Relief. He began his presentation with a video highlighting the work of Christian Aid and Relief across its three main areas of focus—disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and personal relief grants.

In fiscal year 2022-23, Christian Aid and Relief utilized more than $600,000 for disaster relief, including assistance in Haiti after the earthquake; clean-up following Hurricanes Ida and Ian; and relief to people in Ukraine by way of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church providing basic necessities like food, clothing, and medicine to members and the community. Sims directed delegates to welsdisasterrelief.org, where members can sign up to volunteer for disaster relief efforts.

Christian Aid and Relief works with Home Missions and World Missions to implement humanitarian aid. In fiscal year 2022-23, Christian Aid and Relief granted nearly $400,000 for aid projects, ranging from boreholes for fresh water, assistance for medical care, and vocational training. In addition, more than $400,000 was utilized for personal relief grants, to assist individual members in times of personal crisis.

“We do a lot of charitable work, but WELS Christian Aid and Relief is not just a charity,” says Sims. “We look at it as a means of grace ministry. In all that we do, we strive to let the light of Christ shine, connect people with God’s Word, and share the good news of his saving love with people who are in crisis.”

Learn more at wels.net/relief. You can see Sims’ entire presentation on the Wednesday afternoon livestream archive, beginning at 1:36.

Rev. Kurt Lueneburg, director of the Ministry of Christian Giving (MCG), provided an update on the generous gifts of God’s people to WELS ministry. Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO), the main source of support for WELS ministry, were $23.33 million for 2022, 2.9 percent more than 2021 CMO and 3.9 percent higher than projected. This is the third consecutive year in which WELS congregations offered a record total of CMO and the first year in which CMO has surpassed $23 million. So far, 2023 CMO receipts are exceeding projections as well.

See the entire MCG presentation and learn the different ways MCG can help members and congregations make gifts for the Lord’s work on the Wednesday afternoon livestream archive, beginning at 2:12.

 

 

 

 

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Equipping congregations for ministry

On Wednesday afternoon, Rev. Jonathan Hein, coordinator, WELS Congregational Services, shared with the convention the vast and varied work of WELS Congregational Services. Congregational Services comprises several areas all focused on encouraging and equipping congregations for faithful and fruitful gospel ministry.

These areas include the Commissions on Congregational Counseling, Lutheran Schools, Evangelism, Worship, Discipleship, and Special Ministries. Hein provided an overview of the many resources created by these areas of ministry to support congregations including evangelism training, elder training, child abuse awareness training, prison ministry programs, Bible studies and ministry programs for teens and millennials, worship planning, stewardship programs, resources for women’s ministries, and marriage resources. Resources, Bible studies, and programs are on the Congregational Services website, welscongregationalservices.net.

The Foundation provides churches with weekly worship plans, a preacher podcast for each week, thematic graphics, school devotions, and promotional text. In its first year, The Foundation had 83,000 engagements on its web pages.

New from the Commission on Discipleship is the launch of the Stewardship Legacy series, which will focus on five Ts of stewardship: time, talent, treasure, temple, and truth. Four weeks of worship, sermons, and Bibles studies are available on welscongregationalservices.net for the first installment on “time”—”A time to prioritize,” “A time for perspective,” “A time to plan,” and “A time to pause.” In the coming biennium, resources will be developed for talent, treasure, temple, and truth.

Hein introduced two upcoming evangelism programs—Come & See, to encourage and equip Christians for invitation evangelism, and Local, designed to help regional churches establish a local presence.

Following Hein’s overview of the many congregational resources, Mr. Jim Rademan, director of the Commission of Lutheran Schools (CLS), provided an overview of the resources and programs provided by CLS as well as enrollment trends of WELS schools around the country. Rademan reported that 156 WELS educational ministries, including all of the WELS area Lutheran high schools, are currently accredited, either through the WELS School Accreditation program or another accreditation agency.

Rademan also noted an uptick in WELS schools’ enrollment post-COVID. Notably, schools are seeing an increase in non-WELS families enrolling. These non-WELS families are bringing the mission field to schools. Telling the Next Generation is CLS’ program to help WELS schools and early childhood ministries maximize the opportunities to share God’s Word with all children and families they serve.

Rev. Joel Gaertner (pictured), director of WELS Commission on Special Ministries, shared a snapshot of the different areas that Special Ministries serves, including Prison Ministry, Military Services, Ministry to the Visually Impaired, and Mission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Gaertner was commissioned as the director in June, following the retirement of Rev. Jim Behringer, who had served in the role for 11 years. Learn more about Special Ministries at wels.net/special-ministries.

To see the entire presentation, watch the archived livestream. The Congregational Services presentation begins about 29 minutes into the video.

 

 

 

 

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For all, to all, by all

“The Word for all, to all, by all.”

Presentations and new fellowship opportunities highlighted this WELS World Missions’ mantra during the 2023 synod convention.

To kick off the convention, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society’s flag presentation provided an overview of WELS’ mission partners from 45 countries and prospective mission fields in 18 countries.

On Tuesday evening, three world missionaries shared more about gospel opportunities in Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

  • Missionary Matthew Behmer, who lives in Quito, Ecuador, reported on the work being done in Latin America through Academia Cristo. This multi-faceted program works to share the message of God’s grace with as many people as possible, to identify and train potential leaders, and to encourage these leaders to make more disciples who plant churches. Currently 25 church planter groups and 50 student-leaders are working through the program, which concludes with a confessional process to become a church that joins in fellowship with Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional, WELS’ sister synod in Latin America with which WELS reaffirmed fellowship at this convention.
  • Missionary Luke Wolfgramm, who lives in Leipzig, Germany, highlighted ministry in Europe. Wolfgramm shared that in a place that declares “anything but Jesus,” new opportunities are emerging. Immigrants are pouring into London, one of the newest WELS mission fields where two missionaries work with a dedicated core group. As WELS Europe Team leader, Wolfgramm offers support and encouragement to a dozen sister church bodies as well as works closely with the seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church in Germany to offer courses for students and continuing education for experienced pastors.
  • Missionary Guy Marquardt related the amazing opportunities to share the love of Jesus in a continent that contains 4.6 billion people, 60 percent of the world’s population. Work is concentrated on exploring new outreach opportunities, training future workers, and supporting partner churches.

On Wednesday morning, WELS expanded its family of believers by declaring fellowship with Obadiah Lutheran Synod of Uganda. Obadiah Lutheran Synod first came into contact with WELS in late 2017, with ensuing visits from missionaries and Malawian national pastors for training and fellowship discussions. It currently has 28 congregations, 9 preaching stations, and 1 mission field of South Sudanese refugees. Seven pastors, 6 evangelists, and 24 lay leaders serve more than 5,000 baptized members. Rev. Makisimu Musa, leader of that synod, joined the convention via Zoom to extend thanks and greetings to the convention delegates. “The Obadiah Lutheran Synod is grateful to God for the generous support from the WELS in both manpower and finance. This support has uplifted and strengthened the preaching of the gospel in Obadiah Lutheran Synod and the communities around,” he says. “To all of you, I express thanks on behalf of my church body. May the Lord of the Church Jesus Christ graciously bless this new fellowship to be fruitful for church ministry in Uganda and the world over.”

Convention delegates also affirmed fellowship with Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional, a new synod that was formed in 2021 through the partnership of WELS sister churches across five countries throughout Latin America. Rev. Tonny Quintero, pastor at Most Holy Trinity in Medellín, Colombia, was at the convention representing Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional. He became Lutheran more than 40 years ago after meeting a WELS missionary. “The Word they brought has grown,” says Quintero about the work of WELS missionaries in Latin and South America. “We thank them and all of you who sent them.”

Finally, delegates heard from Rev. Larry Schlomer, administrator of WELS World Missions, about how WELS helps, supports, and trains 500-plus national pastors who serve more than 1,000 churches and preaching stations around the world. He reported that with growing opportunities in Kenya, Vietnam, and Tanzania as well as the Academia Cristo/TELL online ministry, by 2035 WELS’ worldwide fellowship could number more than 750,000 people.

“The Word for all, to all, by all.”

Read more about WELS World Missions.

Learn more about Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional in this Forward in Christ article.

 

 

 

 

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Training future church workers

“Pray for more workers.” That was a repeated request during the WELS Ministerial Education report in Tuesday morning’s session.

Rev. Paul Prange, administrator of the Board for Ministerial Education, spoke of the rare blessing WELS has in its four ministerial education schools: preparatory high schools Michigan Lutheran Seminary (MLS), Saginaw, Mich., and Luther Preparatory School (LPS), Watertown, Wis.; college of ministry Martin Luther College (MLC), New Ulm, Minn.; and seminary Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS), Mequon, Wis.

Rev. Mark Luetzow, MLS president, described how students receive a taste of ministry experience to help them see better how they might serve the Lord with their lives. For students who enroll at Martin Luther College, endowment scholarships are available. MLS is working on a new strategic plan titled “Chosen people, special purpose” (1 Peter 2:9). The plan addresses communication and facilities, among other items.

Rev. Matthew Crass, LPS president, reminded delegates that when parents from a distance enroll their children at LPS, they do not send their children away from home, but they are sending their children to something—a place that is all about the Lord’s kingdom work.

Rev. Richard Gurgel, MLC president, shared a video that encouraged prayer for more workers in the public ministry. Mr. Ted Klug, vice president of enrollment management at MLC, joined Gurgel in encouraging prayers for more workers in the harvest field: “Mold us and move us to be good examples for our youth” (from “Prayer of the Church” in Christian Worship, p. 198).

Rev. Earle Treptow, WLS president, reported a record amount of scholarship assistance available to students this past year. The seminary is pursuing accreditation through the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. The process to accreditation will benefit the seminary by means of a self-study, and achieving accreditation will benefit WELS’ sister synods throughout the world who utilize WLS in the training of their pastors. Accreditation will not impact the mission of the seminary. Treptow also noted the seminary’s tentative building plans of adding an education center and renovating several existing classrooms into faculty offices.

Prange concluded the report with another request for prayers for more workers in the Lord’s harvest field.

 

 

 

 

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Now is the time

Rev. Jonathan Hein, coordinator of WELS Congregational Services, offered convention delegates a picture of the current state of WELS and opportunities for the future. The basis for his presentation was the 2022 WELS Statistical Summary and Analysis.

Each year, WELS collects data from all congregations and schools. That data is compiled in a statistical report. WELS Congregational Services then publishes an annual Statistical Summary and Analysis to help congregations and the synod plan how to best steward the resources God provides. Hein shared the 2022 findings and analysis with delegates.

In his presentation, Hein used graphs and charts to address some common concerns heard from WELS members:

  • “Our congregations are aging.”
  • “We have record pastoral vacancies.”
  • “We don’t have the people to open new churches.”

Although some statistics are sobering, Hein feels confident in the future of WELS. He notes, “This is not a time for us to cower or shake over the number of losses. It’s a time to stand up and ask God to give us courage and strength and to love our community rather than lambast our community for becoming post-Christian. Let’s love our community and bring Christ to them. Now is the time for us to do it.”

Read the full WELS 2022 Statistical Summary and Analysis at welscongregationalservices.net/stat-summary-2022.

 

 

 

 

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Hirsch presents convention essay

Embrace the Cross—Anticipate the Crown. This is the theme of the WELS 67th Biennial Synod Convention and the topic Rev. Philip Hirsch explored in the convention essay. Hirsch is the Nebraska District president, a role he’s held since 2015, and a pastor at Hope, Manhattan, Kan., where he has served since 1998. He and his wife, Kristi, have seven children and three grandchildren (with two on the way).

In his essay, Hirsch says, “In the faithful church, we need to ground ‘cross’ speech—with all of its notions of suffering and even dying—cleanly and clearly and faithfully. Or it will quickly go the way of curved-in-on-ourselves theology and make the cross all about us and our suffering. And then we will arrive at ‘crown’ speech—with all of its notions of ruling and reigning, especially eschatologically—faithfully and clearly and cleanly. We need to put cross and crown terminology together faithfully for the good of any who will be listening.”

When approached to write this year’s convention essay, Hirsch said the first thing he thought about was how the idea of “cross and crown” is so easy to get confused. “It seemed wise to not confuse cross and crown in a false way that can turn the gospel into a hard piece of work for the ‘pious’ Christian to struggle through. And, if he struggles through it well enough, he wins the crown.”

Hirsch explains, “So much of what calls itself Christendom mixes cross and crown into a brew that means the human has to keep working at getting saved; it’s kind of like the confusion of law and gospel that can sound so, so close to truth and yet is so, so devilish where the rubber meets the road, particularly in a human heart that is tempted to be pulled away from what’s preached in Christ crucified and risen.”

In the essay, Hirsch walked all the way back to when God hid his glory from Moses, emphasizing and illustrating the idea of “God hidden.” “In short, it means that we live by faith in the promises of God and NOT by sight—not by the way we want God to look or operate. Gospel in Word and sacrament? That looks foolish, wimpy, and worthless. But it saves. The promise of God says.”

He hopes listeners walked away liberated, knowing that the wonderful message of Christ crucified is the only thing that frees a sinful human from any “silly” ideas about God or gods.

“In the freedom of the gospel, we are NOT to let ourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery again, but should embrace the cross of Christ and embrace whatever comes our way from the hand of our heavenly Father, confident that we have an eternal crown because of Christ and sure that, even now, all things serve us for good,” concludes Hirsch. “My prayer is this: that listeners and readers of the essay go forth liberated from their false theologies of glory, which each of us is so liable to invent, and to sing the ‘Te Deum Laudamus’ with all the saints with a gusto that a child of God knows, because all the work is Christ’s and we get to be his people.”

Download and read the entire “Embrace the Cross—Anticipate the Crown” essay.

 

 

 

 

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Celebrating WELS’ rich history

As delegates discussed what WELS ministry will look like in the next biennium and beyond, Rev. Joel Otto, professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., reminded delegates on Tuesday morning about the importance of remembering the past.

As chairman of the WELS 175th Anniversary Planning Committee, Otto highlighted the plans being made to celebrate WELS’ 175th anniversary in 2025 under the theme “Christ Through Us”—a theme that dovetails with the upcoming synodical ten-year plan. Anniversary celebration plans include printed and digital publications as well as resources to help congregations not only commemorate WELS’ upcoming anniversary but also celebrate their own churches’ rich histories.

Planned resources include:

  • A pictorial history of the Wisconsin Synod (1850–2025) along with accompanying documentary-styled videos.
  • An update of The Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, a book recording the history of the Wisconsin Synod.
  • An online interactive timeline of the synod’s history.
  • Worship resources for anniversary services.
  • Multiple articles in synod publications like Forward in Christ, Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, and the WELS Historical Institute Journal.

Otto concluded, “May the Lord continue to bless us as he has in the past, equipping and strengthening us to carry his message to future generations.”

Learn more about the synod’s rich history at welshistoricalinstitute.org. Learn more about WELS’ 175th anniversary through this Together video.

 

 

 

 

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Delegates re-elect Rev. Mark Schroeder as synod president

Delegates re-elected Rev. Mark Schroeder as synod president Tuesday morning.

Schroeder was first elected as synod president in 2007. “It’s been a joy and a privilege to serve you and our Lord in this position,” he said. “Through the years I can say that you as God’s people have been nothing but encouraging and supportive and faithful in doing the work God has given you to do.”

Schroeder accepted the call to serve in this role for his fifth four-year term. “I humbly accept your call as synod president, and I do so with the prayer that God will continue to work in you as members of our synod through his powerful Word, working a stronger faith and continuing to work in you the zeal to carry the message of the gospel around the world.”

He continued, “I want to thank you for this undeserved privilege, and I want to ask God that he continue to keep us strong. . . . I am only a clay jar. Thankfully it’s God who does the work.”

Rev. Joel Voss, pastor at Resurrection, Centerville, Ohio, was also re-elected as the synod’s second vice president. He already has served in this position for three-and-a-half terms, elected first in 2009.

View full election results for other various WELS boards and commissions.

 

 

 

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President’s Report offers a hope-filled message

WELS President Mark Schroeder addressed delegates with his report on Tuesday morning.

He began by summarizing the synod’s blessings and challenges. Of the blessings, he noted, “By his grace, God has helped us to remain focused on our mission to share the gospel with more and more people. Our world mission efforts have focused not only on strengthening the confessional stance of our partner churches and mission churches around the world. We have also been committed to looking for new opportunities to expand the reach of the gospel in places where we have not been. . . . By his grace, in our own country, we have embarked on an effort to plant 100 new home missions in ten years. . . . And, on a congregational level, we see a renewed commitment to finding ways to connect with communities and with people, all in an effort to share the gospel on a person-to-person basis with as many people as possible.”

He concluded his summary of challenges by highlighting the synod’s shortage of called workers and asking, “Could now be the time for us to commit ourselves to a concerted and wide-ranging synodwide effort to encourage more people to serve in the public ministry and to provide as much assistance as possible to make that choice more affordable? . . . Should we fervently ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest field and then do all we can to be his instruments in bringing that about? I believe that the answer to those questions is, ‘Yes, now is the time.’ ”

In keeping with the convention theme “Embrace the Cross—Anticipate the Crown,” Schroeder used the seven churches described in Revelation to draw parallels for us today. “Embracing the cross and anticipating the crown, we do well to remember again the message of the book of Revelation: Yes, the world we live in has been terribly damaged by sin. Yes, Christians living in this sin-damaged world will experience the effects of sin in their own lives and in the culture around them. Yes, Christians will be persecuted and suffer for their faith. Yes, as long as this world stands, Satan will be attacking God’s people and God’s church. Yes, at times it will look to us like Satan and his forces are winning that war and that the church is losing it. But then comes the beautiful truth and the message of incredible comfort: Yes, all of that may be true now, but don’t be afraid, don’t be discouraged, don’t despair, don’t give up. Because Jesus is coming. And in the end, he wins. And so do we.”

Read the full report at welconvention.net/convention-resources.

 

 

 

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Delegates gather for opening worship

“It’s all about Jesus, and that’s a message to celebrate and communicate.” WELS First Vice President Rev. James Huebner used those words in the opening service of the 67th biennial convention to encourage delegates in their convention work and their everyday lives.

With the convention taking place at Michigan Lutheran Seminary (MLS) in Saginaw, Mich., St. Paul, Saginaw, hosted the opening service on Monday evening with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. WELS President Rev. Mark Schroeder served as the presiding minister, and the MLS Concert Choir provided special music.

The sermon from the opening service, based on Revelation 1:4-8, paved the way for five convention devotions and closing worship that treated other sections of the book of Revelation. The sermon and devotions provided the spiritual backdrop for the theme of the convention: “Embrace the Cross—Anticipate the Crown.”

Mr. Justin Slominsky from Mount Olive, Appleton, Wis., had a front row seat for the opening worship service. While sitting in the front pew, he says, “I thought the Communion distribution would never end! To me, that was like a glimpse of heaven—people coming and coming and coming into God’s heavenly kingdom to praise the Lord.”

Mr. Peter Yee from Apostles, San Jose, Calif., was attending his second opening service at a WELS convention. “It was a beautiful service. The singing and sermon were uplifting,” he says. “When you’re all one in faith and worshiping together, it’s very powerful. The service energized me.”

When the service participants recessed with the cross of Christ held high by the crucifer, the full-throated strains of praise continued in the sanctuary: “Yea, amen, let all adore thee high on thine eternal throne; Savior, take the pow’r and glory, claim the kingdom as thine own. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Thou shalt reign, and thou alone!” (Christian Worship 487:4). Even as the echoes of the hymn faded away, it was still all about Jesus.

Watch the full service online.

 

View photos from the opening worship.

Opening Worship - 2023 Synod Convention

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Together Video Update – August 1, 2023

With the convention taking place at Michigan Lutheran Seminary (MLS) in Saginaw, Mich., St. Paul, Saginaw, hosted the opening service on Monday evening with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. WELS President Rev. Mark Schroeder served as the presiding minister, and the MLS Concert Choir provided special music.

Watch the full service online.

Get all the synod convention news, watch the livestream of the proceedings, and more at welsconvention.net.

 

 

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A look at the WELS 67th Biennial Synod Convention

The WELS 67th Biennial Synod Convention is being held this week, July 31-Aug. 3, at Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich., under the theme “Embrace the Cross—Anticipate the Crown.”

Every other year a contingency of delegates from WELS congregations and schools, both called workers and lay members, convene to learn about the mission and ministry work of WELS and determine the course of that work for the following years. The convention delegates form 20 different committees that will present reports and resolutions on WELS’ ministry and the administration of that work.

The convention begins tonight with an opening worship service at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) at St. Paul, Saginaw, Mich. WELS President Rev. Mark Schroeder will preside, and WELS First Vice President Rev. James Huebner will preach. The following three days will be filled with updates from WELS areas of ministry as well as a declaration of fellowship with the Obadiah Lutheran Synod of Uganda and a public affirmation of fellowship with Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional, a newly formed synod in Latin America comprised of a merger of national churches that have already been in fellowship in WELS.

Rev. Philip Hirsch, Nebraska District president, will present the convention essay based on the convention’s theme. Elections will be held for synod president and second vice president as well as other committee and commission positions.

Michigan Lutheran Seminary is one of two ministerial education high schools, serving grades 9-12. Initially a pastoral seminary for the old Michigan Synod, Michigan Lutheran Seminary (MLS) has served as a ministry preparatory high school of WELS since 1910. Over the past 113 years, more than 5,000 graduates have been given a Christian education that is focused on encouraging and equipping students for the public ministry. The 2022-23 enrollment was 194, comprising students from seven different states and 10 international students.

MLS President Rev. Mark Luetzow says, “Michigan Lutheran Seminary is truly honored to host WELS delegates and advisors for the 67th biennial WELS convention this week. We consider it a privilege and opportunity to showcase our campus and our ministry to the entire Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Planning really began two years ago but has been in high gear over the past six months so that delegates will feel welcome and proud of the campus that WELS members support to train high school students for the public ministry of the gospel.”

The convention proceedings will be livestreamed for the public to view at welsconvention.net. In addition, news stories will be posted daily highlighting the biggest news and events from the convention. The convention website also includes the convention agenda, the complete Book of Reports and Memorials, election results, resolutions and reports, and more. Get it all at welsconvention.net.

 

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Together Video Update – July 25, 2023

WELS President Rev. Mark Schroeder previews the WELS’ 67th Biennial Synod Convention, which will take place July 31-Aug. 3, 2023, at Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich. He shares what the delegates will be discussing and doing to plan for the next two years of WELS’ mission and ministry work.

Get all the synod convention news, watch the livestream of the proceedings, and more at welsconvention.net.

 

 

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