WELS and Northwestern Publishing House (NPH) are offering several resources for free to help you stay connected to your Lord, to your church, and to WELS during this time of unrest and change. Resources include hymn downloads, Sunday school materials, digital access to Forward in Christ magazine, and access to Kids Connection and WELS Connection videos.
Eighty hymns from Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal are now available to download for free from NPH. According to Mr. Jeremy Bakken, NPH director of worship and sacred music, these resources will help enable hymn singing for families at home, whether for their personal family worship or to participate with their church’s online worship.
Downloads for these hymns include digital options (PDF and TIFF) as well as audio files of piano and organ accompaniments (M4A). Taken from the Lent and Easter sections as well as the Redeemer, Trust, Faith, Prayer, and Nation sections, all available hymns are in the public domain or have been granted permission for their use.
“We don’t know how long the current crisis will last. With David, we ask ‘How long, LORD?’ (Psalm 13:1). But with him we also trust in God’s unfailing love and rejoice in his salvation,” says Bakken. “We pray these free resources will assist individuals and families with their devotional time, as well as help congregations holding services exclusively online for a time, to ‘sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me’ (Psalm 13:6).”
Individuals interested in having Christian Worship for at-home use can also purchase up to five copies of this hymnal at 50 percent off.
Sunday school materials
Parents can now download six weeks of Christ-Light lessons for free, compliments of Northwestern Publishing House, so they can offer Sunday school at home.
Bible stories offered follow the life of Jesus, including several of his miracles and the events of Holy Week and Easter. Besides the student lessons, parents can download coloring sheets and other activities as well as a teacher’s guide to help them share the lesson with their children. Different levels are available for children ranging in age from pre-kindergarten to grade six.
Forward in Christ (FIC), the synod’s official magazine, is offering free digital access to the March and April issues for both subscribers and non-subscribers. Both issues are available now.
“We have learned new concepts lately such as self-quarantine; social distancing; and one that might not be so new, financial upheaval,” says Rev. John Braun, FIC executive editor. “But in all the nuances, we remain in God’s care—connected to each other in faith—and look for strength from God’s Word. Our prayer is that Forward in Christ may help you as you face today’s challenges.”
The most recent editions of Kids Connection will also be available to view. Created to complement the WELS Connection monthly video news magazine, Kids Connection encourages children and their families to “stay connected to Jesus” through Christ-centered stories and segments presented by two teenage hosts. Parents can use the September 2019 through March 2020 monthly videos at home with their children as part of their daily devotional life.
WELS also offers many free devotional options, including a daily devotion that can be e-mailed directly to you.
WELS Communication Services is also releasing the March WELS Connection early for online viewing. Since many churches have suspended meeting in person for the next few weeks, congregations that haven’t had time to show the WELS Connection this month can direct their members to view it online. Pastors can also share this direct link to the video via e-mail to their members or download the video and add it to their church’s website.
“During this unprecedented time, Communication Services is working to provide you with resources that will assist you in staying connected to God’s Word,” says Mr. Lee Hitter, WELS’ director of communication. “Pastors, please let your members know that these resources are available to them. And everyone, please share these encouragements with your friends and family to help them during these trying times.”