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2021 synod convention preparations

The 66th biennial synod convention will be held at Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, Wis., July 26-28. The theme of the convention is “Here We Stand,” echoing Martin Luther’s bold stand on the Word of God at the Diet of Worms in 1521.

The location of the convention was changed from Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, Mich., to Luther Prep because of the uncertainties of gathering restrictions in Michigan.

Another change that was made due to those same uncertainties was to hold a “mini-convention.” Instead of the usual 400 delegates, only about 75 delegates will attend the convention in person. Those delegates will include floor committee chairmen and secretaries, along with two lay delegates from each floor committee. (Floor committees are each assigned an area of the synod’s work to discuss and to bring reports and resolutions to the convention for consideration.) The remaining delegates will participate electronically in elections and floor committee work in advance of the convention. The convention will also be livestreamed to enable all virtual delegates to observe.

Important items of business to be considered by the convention will be the approval of the Ministry Financial Plan (budget) for the next two years; the proposal to change the current pension plan for WELS workers to a defined contribution plan (similar to a 401(k) plan); and the elections for various synodical positions, including the First Vice President and synod secretary. The convention will also consider a number of “memorials,” which are requests for the synod to take specific actions.

The convention website, which will house all convention information and documents, including election information and memorials, is now live at wels.net/2021synodconvention.

All delegates have received, or will soon be receiving, convention information and registration instructions via U.S. mail.

Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder

 

 

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60 years of blessings and progress

The WELS Central Africa Medical Mission (CAMM) is marking 60 years of service to people in Malawi and Zambia. The first clinic began operating in Zambia in 1961; in 1970, CAMM started a clinic in Malawi as well. By meeting the physical needs of the people they serve, the door opens to share the good news of Jesus.

Over the past 60 years, God has given CAMM the opportunity to provide people with physical care in the name of Jesus approximately three million times. The CAMM clinics in Malawi and Zambia serve all the medical needs short of hospitalization for close to 50,000 people, including:

  • Routine child health and nutrition services
  • Delivery of babies in Zambia (mandated by the government)
  • Pre- and post-delivery care
  • Comprehensive HIV/AIDS health services
  • Outpatient medical services
  • Chronic disease monitoring
  • Making sure villages have safe water supplies and adequate sanitation
  • Teaching on topics such as general health and how to plant and care for nutrition gardens
  • Integrating COVID-19 management strategies to both provide care for and minimize possible infection transmission

Shelly Sievert, chair of the CAMM stateside committee, says, “As we approach our 60th anniversary in Zambia, we reflect on God’s continued grace to our clinic and our staff, which includes ten nationals in Zambia. Our Zambia clinic has been operating with little oversight from the stateside committee for close to 15 years and thrives!”

Now, the Malawi clinic will also shift to operate with a fully national staff. “Although 2020 was a tough year for the world, it gave us time and the opportunity to look at our clinic procedures in Malawi, which have been operational for over 50 years. We currently employ 11 nationals, 1 of whom is a registered nurse,” says Sievert. “After 50 years, our CAMM stateside committee, with guidance from the Administration Committee for Africa, and with prayerful consideration, has decided that the time is right. God has provided us the right staff, the right expatriates to train the staff, and the right support to do this.”

Sievert says, “We thank God for the opportunity he allows every day for our clinics to operate, for the staff to care for the patients, for the chances our staff is given to share their faith, and for his continued generosity.”

To learn more about the work of CAMM and find out how you can help, visit wels.net/camm.

 

 

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New virtual academy offers opportunities

The Association of Lutheran High Schools Online (ALHS Online) has a new name and an expanded mission.

For the past ten years, ALHS Online has been offering high-quality online courses to supplement the class offerings of WELS high schools and elementary schools. Beginning this next school year (2021–22), it now also will offer a fully online curriculum—starting with ninth grade and adding a grade level every year—that can lead to a high school diploma.

To highlight this expansion, the school has been renamed Amazing Grace Virtual Academy. “We have been truly blessed over the last ten years and have really seen God’s amazing grace in all that he has done to allow us to expand and be of service to WELS schools,” says Dr. James Grunwald, superintendent of the academy.

Grunwald says that over the last few years the organization has been receiving more inquiries about expanding its offerings from WELS and Evangelical Lutheran Synod families who don’t have the opportunity to send their children to one of WELS’ 26 Lutheran high schools. Several grants and gifts plus recent accreditation as an online learning service provider by the Middle States Association helped push this decision forward.

Amazing Grace Virtual Academy will continue to provide courses for part-time students as well. During the 2020–21 school year, about 320 students took courses each semester. It also offers a four-year high school religion curriculum and foreign language and mathematics courses for seventh and eighth graders.

Learn more at amazinggraceva.org.

 

 

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Taste of Missions—an online Missions experience

Join the WELS Missions office for Taste of Missions, an online missions experience, from July 11-17, 2021. Get to know our synod’s home and world missionaries and get a closer look at their mission work through short video updates, activities and recipes for the entire family, daily devotions, and multiple live events where WELS members can come together online and interact with missionaries. Tune in LIVE at the following times throughout the event:

  • Sunday, July 11, 1 p.m. CT: Welcome and introduction from Home Missions administrator, Rev. Keith Free, and World Missions administrator, Rev. Larry Schlomer
  • Tuesday, July 13, 7 p.m. CT: World Missions Q&A panel
  • Thursday, July 15, 7 p.m. CT: Home Missions Q&A panel
  • Saturday, July 17, 6 p.m. CT: Closing worship service where, God willing, new missionaries will be commissioned

All WELS grade school teachers are invited to participate in the new Taste of Missions School Challenge before the school year ends. Each class can be entered to win a Taste of Missions party—complete with lunch from an ethnic restaurant in their area, t-shirts, and a Zoom call or in-person visit with a missionary of their choosing (and more!)—by completing provided activities found at tasteofmissions.com/schools by Friday, April 23.

Learn more and register for this free event at tasteofmissions.com. Each day’s recommended videos and live events will be promoted on the event website, in e-mails to registered attendees, and on the WELS Missions Facebook page. This annual online event will be paired with an in-person celebration at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wis., in future years to provide all WELS members an opportunity to connect with brothers and sisters in Christ from around the globe and be a part of the important gospel outreach occurring through our synod. Register today!

 

 

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