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LHM Staff Joined the CELEBRATION

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he St. Louis staff of Lutheran Hour Ministries joined to praise God during a special Oct. 31st chapel celebration marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation’s launch. The service was online (vimeo.com/240738033) to allow the celebration to be shared in every region of the globe where Lutheran Hour Ministries is active. Rev. Dr. Tony Cook, director of United States Ministries for LHM (photo, on left), spoke about the meaning of the Reformation on his life and how the Gospel message has gained his appreciation more and more with each passing year. His words emphasized the growing aspect of faith as believers have their faith deepened by the grace of God. Special harp music was presented by Elizabeth Stearns on staff (photo, top right). Jeff Craig-Meyer, vice president of Constituencies (photo, center), sang a solo on Luther’s hymn, Out of the Depths I Cry to You. Organ accompaniment was by Jim Thielker, well known as a St. Louis-area organist. Six readings from Luther’s writing covered a range of topics that

were mainstream to the Reformation. All the hymns for the service had been written or composed by Luther. Offering insights on the anniversary, Dr. Gerald Perschbacher, editor of The Lutheran Layman and LLL/ LHM historian (photo, bottom right), asked if the Reformation was an ongoing event, fresh and alive today. “Look around at the impact made during the Reformation,” he said, “and Photos by Elizabeth Miller you will realize how Martin Luther made his mark, even to the present.” The Reformation advanced freedoms for Western civilization. “The role of citizens increased; education for the wider public became attainable, mass communication matured thanks to maximum use of printing presses; the speed of communication

increased rapidly from town to town, country to country, and eventually from continent to continent.” Also mentioned were the rise of freedom of speech, the integrity of individuals, better laws, a deeper appreciation of the laity, the roles of parents, the importance of music and hymnody, and the realization of God’s daily presence. n

Connection through Prayer and Work at State Fairs “A Lutheran Laymen’s League member staffing the recent booth at the New York State Fair was asked for prayer support of a specific situation. The man was assured of our prayers. That was the experience of one of the 138 volunteers from 15 churches who were witnessing at the LLL Booth,” reports Fred Neebe, long-time booth organizer. The assurance of special prayers and the sharing of Gospel material have strengthened countless people who stopped by the booth this past

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year—and over many past years. This remains an active way of Bringing Christ to the Nations—and the Nations to the Church through the compassionate activity of motivated laity. Local and regional LLL booths and exhibits, organized by LLL members in support of Lutheran Hour Ministries, have been a Godsend for decades. Some areas, such as the state of New York, still reap spiritual blessings through the distribution of LHM material centered on the grace of God through Christ Jesus. “We continue to distribute New Testaments … and LLL material such as the Project Connect Booklets,” adds Neebe. The LLL booth also distributes the local production of Children’s Scripture Books. Neebe reports that attendance at the 13-day fair was over a million visitors. “This takes a lot of volunteer support witnessing their Faith from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. We are thankful to our Lord Jesus Christ that we are able to continue this witness of the Good News of our Savior.” For further details, email Fred Neebe at fneebe@stny.it.com. At the 2017 Kansas State Fair, the LLL/LHM booth was coordinated by

The Lutheran Layman January - February 2018

volunteers from several congregations. Donated funds made it possible. Distributed items included Bibles, Portals of Prayer, materials for Sunday schools, and various religious items. One official noted, “Praise and thanks to our Lord and Savior for providing these opportunities to share our faith.”

We are thankful to our Lord Jesus Christ that we are able to continue this witness of the Good News of our Savior. Fair booth outreach also is popular in western Iowa, where regional LLL President Mark Astleford encourages volunteers to experience the joy of sharing God’s Word via the state fair. Mark, who has been active in the LLL and its Lutheran Hour Ministries since he was a young adult, reported that amid the difficulties of life including natural disasters and the excitement of seasonal sporting events, the memory of the booth experience lingers as a joyously high moment of Christian experience. “One thing we are thankful for is the success of our district LHM Iowa State Fair Booth.” He added that a

By Gerald Perschbacher

new attendance record was set with more than a million people of all ages attending. “During the 10 days, we distributed 1,545 Project Connect booklets, which offer Biblical guides covering a variety of issues of concern for readers, while offering them hope and spiritual guidance.” Also, 44 Spanish versions of the booklets were handed out. “We distributed 2,700 booklets for children, which were mainly Christian coloring books and activity books containing Christian themes and messages,” he noted. Other items distributed at the booth included 109 English Bibles, 25 Spanish Bibles, and 2,800 “Jesus bracelets” made by several groups of adult volunteers plus children who attended vacation Bible schools in the previous summer. Since fair inspectors watch for unmanned booths and “dis-invite” such displays, the LLL volunteers of Iowa West District make sure they greet the public throughout each three-hour shift. John Tews, a former LLL regional governor in the district, coordinates volunteers for the next state fair. n Dr. Gerald Perschbacher serves as editor of The Lutheran Layman and manages the LHM Research Center Archives.

The Lutheran Layman  

January - February 2018

The Lutheran Layman  

January - February 2018