Graduates preparing to serve

There are about 80 vacancies for pastor-trained workers throughout WELS. About 65 of those vacancies are for parish pastors. Forty-one pastoral candidates will be available for assignment in May upon graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. There are also about 95 vacancies for teacher-trained workers, but it is still too early to determine how many vacancies there will be at assignment time, since this number will likely change significantly during the next three weeks. Approximately 36 men and 51 women will be available for assignment, after graduating from Martin Luther College, WELS’ ministry training college.

Conference of Presidents (COP)
The COP is concluding its yearlong effort to update and expand a document entitled, “Marriage, Divorce, and Re-Marriage.” The document was originally authored by Prof. Armin Schuetze and was first published in 1989. The revision is intended to address issues and questions that have become more prominent in recent years, particularly questions regarding how current temptations such as Internet pornography can affect the marriage bond. The final document is planned for publication later this spring.

The COP is working with the Ministry of Christian Giving (MCG) to plan the One in Christ synodwide debt retirement offering, which will be launched at the synod convention in July. The COP is also developing a communications plan for next fall to encourage Congregation Mission Offerings.

The COP will undertake an in-depth review of the Ministry of Christian Giving. This review is not to address any problems, but simply to identify areas in which the work of the MCG can be utilized most effectively and efficiently. The review will begin next January.

Synodical Council
The Synodical Council (SC) will be meeting later this week. After spending a shortened time addressing normal business, the SC will begin to develop the next Long Range Plan for the synod. The current In Christ Alone plan runs through 2017.

The Book of Reports and Memorials, which contains the reports and recommendations that will be addressed by the synod convention in July, will be distributed during the second week of May. An online version will be available about a week before the published version is shipped.

Discussions with the Church of the Lutheran Confession
Representatives of WELS, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), and the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC) conducted a second round of doctrinal discussions on Fri., April 17. Discussion centered on a document that summarizes the biblical doctrine of church fellowship. The meeting was cordial and productive. A third meeting is planned for August. [Note: the CLC was formed in the 1950’s by individuals and congregations that left WELS and the ELS out of concern that WELS and the ELS were not breaking fellowship with the Missouri Synod. The CLC has not been in fellowship with WELS and the ELS since that time. The CLC is comprised of about 70 congregations and operates its own seminary, college, and high school in Eau Claire, Wis. The CLC also works in several foreign mission fields.]

Prayers requested for the Ukrainian Lutheran Church
The Ukrainian Lutheran Church (ULC), our partner synod in Ukraine, is facing new challenges as a result of the conflict with Russian separatists. Even though the government has exempted Orthodox and Greek Catholic priests from the military draft, no such exemption has been made for Lutheran pastors. Already two pastors serving multiple congregations have been drafted into the Ukrainian military, leaving their congregations without shepherds. We are contacting the ULC to ask what we might do to help. In the meantime, our fervent prayers will be much appreciated by our Lutheran brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder