Posts

Live parenting webcast

Forward in Christ’s new parenting column, Heart to heart: Parent conversations, is hosting its first live webcast on Tues., March 10, at 8 p.m. (central). Get to know three of the column’s authors and ask them questions.

Laura Schaefer, a mother of three young children, has been following the Heart to heart articles since their debut in the January issue and has joined the conversation online at the column’s blog. She says, “I’m connected online with many friends and relatives that are parents, and we share stories, ask for advice, and support each other. I find the Heart to heart group valuable—in addition to my own network—because the range of topics being discussed is more broad and the pool of parents leaving comments is new to me. The authors come from different walks of life and are at different points on the path of parenthood. Getting to know them through their bios, their writing, and this webcast is a privilege and an encouragement to me.”

The conversation of the March webcast will focus on the topic of March’s column: “How do we talk about Jesus with our children?” Sometimes we as parents struggle to talk about Jesus in natural ways with our children. It’s easy to read them a Bible story about Jesus, but it’s harder to apply that story as a situation unfolds. See how authors Wendy Heyn, Dan Nommensen, and Ann Jahns deal with this topic with their children and share ways that you talk about Jesus with your children.

Does your congregation have a mom’s group? This would be a great get-together. The group can participate in the broadcast and then have its own discussion after the broadcast is over. Or consider making a date with your spouse to tune in after you put the kids to bed.

To view the webcast, go to www.wels.net/forwardinchrist. You can also participate in the discussion via the chat feature.

> WATCH LIVE on March 10 at 8:00 p.m. (central)

 

Malawi flood relief update

Relief efforts have been ongoing in the flood-damaged areas of Malawi. WELS missionaries in Malawi, leaders from the Lutheran Church of Central Africa – Malawi (LCCA), WELS Christian Aid and Relief, and WELS Kingdom Workers have been collaborating to meet the needs of affected LCCA members. So far, Christian Aid and Relief has designated $50,000 to relief efforts, but initial assessments indicate that needs are extensive and ongoing.

In January, Malawi experienced damaging floods that destroyed or damaged the homes of an estimated 3,200 LCCA families and nearly 20 LCCA church buildings. The floods also washed away crops, depleting the local food supplies, and increased the threat of diseases such as malaria and cholera.

So far, WELS Kingdom Workers volunteers and LCCA leaders, working with Christian Aid and Relief, have been distributing supply buckets with sheet plastic, nails, and blankets to provide temporary housing to affected families, but traveling the flood-damaged roads can be difficult. To help expedite the travel and delivery process, Christian Aid and Relief is funding two more Kingdom Workers volunteers to rent additional trucks in Malawi and get supplies to members more quickly.

WELS Christian Aid and Relief Director of Operations Mr. Mark Vance is planning a trip to Malawi in March to assess the damage and determine ongoing relief needs, particularly food and medical needs in addition to the structural damage to homes and churches.

The LCCA is WELS’ sister synod in Malawi. To help support relief efforts, you can donate online or send checks to WELS, Re: Christian Aid and Relief, flood disaster relief fund, N16W23377 Stone Ridge Drive, Waukesha, WI 53188-1108

Congregation Mission Offering subscriptions for 2015

Ninety-seven percent of all WELS congregations submitted Congregation Mission Offering (CMO) subscriptions for 2015. This is the highest percentage of congregations to submit subscriptions in several years. We are grateful for the prayerful commitments made by our congregations to support the work of the synod in the coming year and are confident that those congregations that did not submit subscriptions will also share in supporting our common mission, as they have in the past.

The total dollar amount of subscriptions, however, showed a 1.8% decline from actual offerings received in 2014. Total CMO subscriptions for 2015 are $20,617,656 compared to $21,264,681 in actual gifts received in 2014. Subscriptions from more than half of the congregations were higher or the same as their actual gifts in 2014, but a significant number of subscriptions were lower than the previous year’s totals.

Later this month, the Synodical Council (SC) will be putting the finishing touches on the Ministry Financial Plan (budget) it will present to the synod convention this summer. As the SC carries out that task, it will need to consider the challenges posed by this decline in CMO subscriptions and how it will affect the overall mission and ministry of the synod.

Last year, in response to lower-than-planned CMO commitments in 2014, the SC made reductions in the Ministry Financial Plan totaling $825,000 through program cuts, underspending, or other cost savings. This action, along with the “CMO revisit” and the resulting actual offerings in 2014 that slightly exceeded the new commitments, should help to lessen the impact of lower 2015 CMO subscriptions. In addition, World Missions, Ministerial Education schools, and other areas of ministry have benefited from significant gifts from individuals and bequests.

It’s anticipated that the Synodical Council will present a Ministry Financial Plan to the convention that features no increase in planned synodical support for both years of the biennium. If offerings do exceed what is anticipated (and we pray that is the case), the SC will recommend a list of unfunded priorities that could be implemented when funding becomes available.

God continues to bless our synod with the generous support of our congregations. Since he continues to place many opportunities to spread the gospel, we pray that he would continue to move our people to generous and joyful giving, motivated by the good news of what Christ has done for us and for a world of sinners.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder