michigan SEPTEMBER 2013
A publication of the Michigan District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod The Lutheran Witness Michigan District, LCMS Supplement
May We Never Forget S
poken about 150 years ago, the following words by one of the most respected Presidents of the United States of America recognized and exposed a current problem that continues to plague our country. (His suggested remedy, appointing a National Fast Day, should also be given serious consideration.) “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power, as no other nation has ever grown. “But we have forgotten God. (Emphasis mine) We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us ... and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with the unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency
Official Periodical of the Michigan District of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod September 2013, Volume 12. No. 4 IN TOUCH ISSN: 1538-8115
Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier, President Debby Fall, Editorial Manager
Jenna Szpara, Art Director Seth Hinz, Web/Media Director
©2013 Michigan District, LCMS, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan In Touch is published monthly by the Michigan District and inserted into The Lutheran Witness and distributed to subscribers 11 times a year. It is also available online at www.michigandistrict.org/mit. Reproduction of articles is permissible with written permission of the Michigan District Communications Department and should give credit to Michigan In Touch. References to resources and websites for further information are included in Michigan In Touch for the potential use by individuals and congregations. Resources not associated with or published by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod or Concordia Publishing House® may contain helpful programmatic information but may vary in doctrine from The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Please use discretion or consult your pastor on doctrinal issues.
Michigan District, LCMS 3773 Geddes Rd Ann Arbor, MI 48105
888.225.2111 email@example.com www.michigandistrict.org
FROM THE PRESIDENT
by Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier
and forgiveness.” - Abraham L incoln’s proclamation appointing a National Fast Day, March 30, 1863.1 President Lincoln’s words are quite reminiscent of Moses’s words to the children of Israel before they enter the Promised Land in Deuteronomy 8:6-20. Although I would encourage you to read the citation fully, here are some selected verses: “10When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. 11Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God ... 17Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 18But you shall remember continued on page 3
Table of Contents 1 5 6 7 9 11 16 17 19 21 23 24
From the President Great Commission Ministry New Media Great Compassion Ministry Healthy Church Workers Annual Report Healthy Congregations Congregation News Special Recognition LWML and LLL Calls and Roster Update Calendar of Events
They’ve passed the torch.
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FROM THE PRESIDENT continued from page 1
the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth...” (NASB). These verses are a perfect passage to apply to our beloved US of A. God was telling Israel through Moses — and us today — NOT TO FORGET Him when they have entered the land and enjoyed its rich stores and bounty, and have had plenty to eat, and have experienced His protection and blessing. Please remember that until they entered the Promised Land, the Israelites depended on God to provide everything. He provided the food, the guidance, the leadership of Moses, and the moral code. God had made everything possible and He was warning the Israelites not to forget all that He had done and was still doing. But what happened? Abundant stores of food would lead to satisfaction. Satisfaction would lead to comfort. Comfort to security, seemingly a result of their hard work. Comfort, security, and satisfaction would lead to Israel forgetting God. Forgetting God meant no longer remembering Him in their daily thoughts and the daily affairs of life. Forgetting God would lead to a disregard of His Word and His commands. Having no regard for His Word and commandments has continually led to the disintegration of nations and societies. Does this at all sound familiar? Let me be more specific and at the same time share a warning that comes from clear lessons of history. Dr. J. D. Unwin (1895-1936), a British scholar, social anthropologist, and an expert on cultures, spent seven years of his life studying the birth and death of the 86 major societies and civilizations in the world throughout history. In his landmark book, Sex and Culture, published in 1934, he shares his discovery of the same pattern of prosperity and then disintegration consistently showing up in all of them. Each society or national power fell because of one thing — a breakdown of the family and morality. What’s interesting is that Unwin had no religious convictions and applied no moral judgments. Here is the general track that EACH of these civilizations followed: during the early days of each society, premarital and extramarital sexual relationships were strictly prohibited. Great creative energy was associated with the inhibition of sexual expression, causing the culture to prosper. Much later in the life of the society, its people began to rebel against the strict prohibitions, demanding the freedom to release their internal passions and do whatever they wanted. As the morals weakened, the social “energy” abated. This resulted in the eventual decay or destruction of the civilization. When a man is devoted to one woman and
one family, he is motivated to build, save, protect, plan, and prosper on their behalf. However, when his sexual interests are dispersed and generalized, his effort is invested in the gratification of sensual desires. Dr. Unwin concluded: “Any human society is free either to display great energy, or to enjoy sexual freedom; the evidence is that they cannot do both for more than one generation.” Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) wrote about one of the great civilizations in history – the Roman Empire. He listed five reasons for the fall of Rome in his book, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (published in 1776): 1. The decay of religion—faith fading to form and losing its power, resulting in moral collapse. 2. The rapid increase of divorce and breakdown of the family—which is the basis of human society. 3. The mad craze for pleasure—sports and fun became increasingly important and more and more exciting and brutal. 4. Higher and higher taxes—to compensate for higher spending. 5. The building of huge armaments—for protection from outside enemies…when the real enemy lies within. Dr. Bill Bright (1921-2003, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ) once stated, “The level of America’s sins today would have astounded even ancient Rome, whose own moral decay resulted in her self-destruction.” Psalms 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance” (NIV). Well, God was at one time very important to this nation. Yet, revisionist historians continually emphasize over and over again that the United States was not founded on Christian principles. That is totally untrue! It is a lie ... poppycock … baloney! That is revisionist history at its best (or worst) and it is being promulgated by our educational system and in the media. But, did you know that it has been proposed that the Bible directly contributed to nearly one-third of our founding fathers’ expressions and writings? Listen to some of their quotes: James Madison, the Chief Architect of the Constitution once said, “We have the future ... upon the capacity of each ... of us to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” Benjamin Franklin said, “Whoever shall introduce into public affairs the principles of ... Christianity will change the face of the world.” continued on page 4 michigandistrict.org/mit
John Adams said, “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book ... What a Utopia, what a paradise would this region be.” This quote from John Adams is highly instructive as we consider what is happening in the United States today, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” He also said, “The destiny of America is to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to all men, everywhere.” President George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” Many more quotes can be found in Oz Guinness’ book, A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future, InterVarsity Press, c.2012. Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), a Frenchmen that toured around the United States in 1831 to observe our institutions because of the great energy, creativity, and blessing that the world took note of as characteristics of the United States, shared this observation: “I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of the America in her harbors; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”2 We would do well to remember Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (NIV). The December 1991 edition of “Time Magazine” concluded with this commentary: “For God to be kept out of the classroom or out of America’s public debate by nervous school administrators or over-cautious politicians Michigan District, LCMS
Theological Conferences on
ChurCh, State & Culture
rld is The wo our lives , g in chang anging ... are ch
How will WE respond?
serves no one’s interest. That restriction prevents people from drawing on the country’s rich and diverse religious heritage for guidance, and it degrades the nation’s moral discourse by placing a whole realm of theological reasoning out of bounds. The price of that sort of quarantine, at a time of moral dislocation, is — and has been — far too high. The courts need to find a better balance between separation and accommodation, and Americans need to respect the new religious freedom they would gain as a result.” A few decades earlier, in 1949 I believe, the editors of “LIFE” magazine stated: “The worst enemy of western civilization faces in not communism! The worst enemy is within our civilization. The heart of it is secularism. A blunter word is Godlessness!” Godlessness is at the root of the disintegration of any people or nation. But, please note that Godlessness is not atheism! Godlessness is to live without regard for God, His will, and His plan. Godlessness is to not think about God in our daily thoughts and to marginalize Him in our everyday life. How guilty are we? Although 65 percent of Americans say they consider the Bible to be the Word of God, few have any sense of right and wrong. Jesus said: “You hypocrites! ... These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:7-8 NIV) and Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil ...” (NIV). We have the increase of senseless, violent murders and gang killings in urban areas. Life has been devalued, and I don’t doubt that this is, in some regard, the direct result of the millions of abortions that have taken place in the United States. Then, at the end of June of this year, the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, and legitimizes homosexual “marriage.” Couple that (no pun intended) with the ever increasing rate of divorce, which leads to the disintegration of the family continued on page 22 Bottom left to top left: ©iStockphoto.com/peterspiro/Veni/fotorvr/PEDRE/ nautilus_shell_studios/BrianAJackson
continued from page 3
2014 Theological Conferences on
Church, State, & CULTURE February 15 Faith, Troy February 22 Messiah, Midland March 1 Holy Cross, Jenison Guest Speakers: Rev. Dr. Korey Maas Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer
Register Online at www.michigandistrict.org or call 888.225.2111 ext 234.
GREAT COMMISSION MINISTRY
Praying to Make a Difference
by Nora Lèon
Such is Life
e did not even notice that I was watching. He was just one little boy doing an ordinary household chore in a Haitian-sort-of-way. I love when I can just observe without being intrusive on the event unfolding! The chore was to dispose of the family’s trash by the seashore. The two five-gallon buckets of gross, smelly gunk was more than any little boy should be expected to carry, but nonetheless, this was his job. “Necessity is the mother of invention” is a common saying, and, in Haiti, inventions of necessity abound. The boy had somehow come upon a tiny two-wheel bicycle. The seat was long gone, as well as the tire that once was on the front rim. The handle of each bucket was draped over one of the handlebars, while the bottom of the buckets just barely missed dragging on the ground. Over bumpy road and through uneven grass and areas of mud, he came ‘porting’ his load. At first glance, I thought the buckets were filled with charcoal and that the little boy was trying to sell his goods to make a few pennies. It was not until the heavy buckets up righted the bicycle that I saw him remove the buckets and carry them the last few feet to a “suitable” place Haitian children enjoying mango, one for dumping. He made of Haiti’s most important exports. sure each bucket was completely empty and then he found an old insole of a shoe to “clean” the outside of one of the buckets that had gotten too dirty. That chore being done, he returned to his one-tire bicycle, remounted the buckets onto the handlebars, and, with a joyful little sidekick in his step, he headed back for home. He never looked my way. He was just intent on doing what he had come to do. I am not sure why scenes like this intrigue me. Perhaps, it is just learning more about how poor Haitians live their everyday lives. Perhaps, it is because I marvel at what chores little ones in Haiti are required to do. Perhaps, it is because complaining is not part of the equation. There are so many sightings of God at work in Haiti … many that bring me great joy. I was in my car on the side of the road waiting for traffic to clear. I noticed three little royal blue, gingham plaid uniformed girls nearby. One of them broke out into a grin, waved and then shouted the word “Blan!” (white) when she caught sight of me. I greeted them with “Bon swa!” (Good afternoon)
Ongoing Mission Work
ora Lèon’s work in Haiti has inspired ongoing mission work of her home congregation, Holy Cross, Jenison. For over 15 years, Holy Cross has supported the First Lutheran Church and School in Les Cayes and the Children of Israel Orphanage. Lèon is the administrator of a scholarship fund that Holy Cross established in 1998 to support children attending the school. This program raises $10,000 annually to provide tuition, books, clothing, and whatever is needed by the children. She also makes arrangements for Holy Cross mission trips, which are held every two years. “Nora is an amazing blessing, not just to the people of Haiti, but to their friends in the US who desire to show love and care for people in great need,” says Pastor Bill Wangelin of Holy Cross. “Our congregation has been richly blessed by Nora’s witness, her example, and her testimony to God’s power and the faith of the Haitian people. We pray that God will continue to bring mutual blessings to everyone involved.” After the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010, which killed over 220,000 people, Lèon lived with several orphans in tents on a soccer field in the middle of Les Cayes until buildings were repaired. Although the mission team of 40 people from Holy Cross and surrounding churches had to cancel their trip, the funds that were sent in advance were converted into emergency relief aid, which Lèon helped distribute. She has since moved into a home and the orphans have moved into their new residence halls. More recently, Lèon and her husband have been involved in developing a school and orphanage on a small island off the coast of Les Cayes called Ile-laVache. In 2011, Holy Cross members Pat and Dave Myers opened a second hand store in Jenison called “Bless The Orphans” (www.blesstheorphans.org). This store has become a center for Haiti mission activity with proceeds going to the ongoing support of the orphans on Ile-la-Vache. michigandistrict.org/mit
and they came bolting towards me. Without hesitation, all three pairs of hands reached through my open car window and 30 little fingers ruffled with delight through my hair, which feels so very different from their own. They giggled with glee. Just as quickly, they continued on their way, leaving me with a happy heart! Other sightings touch the deep places of my soul like witnessing a tragic accident coupled with the loving response of “good Samaritans.” The livelihood of poor Haitians is so fragile. One accident like this could easily result in a family with no food to eat at the end of the day or worse. Those “first responders” know all too well that their help was not just a nice thing to do, but it was vital!
Ministry in Haiti
In 2003, three friends and I founded Caribbean Children’s Foundation. When traveling to Haiti, we fell in love with the children. To best serve them, I moved to Haiti in 2004. Our organization adopted the motto “Praying to make a difference … one child at a time!” Initially, we promoted orphan sponsorships, but it soon became clear that the needs in Haiti were many. We now have the following programs and projects that include: • Orphan sponsorships, • Tuition assistance programs and feeding programs for students, • Academic reward goat program, • Medical care for critically ill children, • Agriculture and fishing projects to promote selfsufficiency, and • Orphanage and school construction projects. Periodically, I am in various parts of the USA participating in fundraisers or making presentations. If you are interested in learning more about the mission field in Haiti, the Caribbean Children’s Foundation, or being part of a mission team, I’d be happy to visit your church, Bible class, Sunday school, VBS, organization, or place of employment. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nora Léon is a member of Holy Cross, Jenison. After working for 21 years with seniors, Léon answered God’s call to serve as a missionary in Haiti where she works full time with poor and orphaned children. Léon also serves as president of the Caribbean Children’s Foundation. She is married to Gerson, a Haitian, and together, they share the passion of helping children who would have no hope for the future if someone does not advocate for them. Check out Nora and the ministry on Facebook, search for Caribbean Children’s Foundation. For more stories, like the one above, follow Nora’s blog at http://norainhaiti.wordpress.com.
New Media Adjusting Sails in a Click to Share Culture
“Catamaran sail and sky” © 2007 Mary-Lynn, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.
Facebook alone has 1.11 billion monthly active users1. Over the course of the past two or three years, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest have increasingly become visual-driven networks, where pictures are the new headline — sometimes it’s all people see regarding a particular story. Newsfeeds stack up with photos and graphics all subtly committed to memory. Without positive, encouraging messages and imagery, imagine where the winds of secular society could guide our thoughts and potentially our actions. There is a great need for a strong Lutheran presence online. We have a God-given message to share, a voice in times of trouble. We must commit to producing positive messages of hope; encourage people to dig deeper, to get past the visual; and consistently share the Gospel message.
Commitment to this cause means dedicating person power. We need all hands on deck: managers, writers, photographers, programmers, and videographers adjusting the sails, pointing back to the arms of our loving, risen Christ.
Loving, Organized Guidance
An organized effort will produce a steady stream of uplifting content that floods into the social networks. Varied content from photos, written words, graphics, to videos will ensure that the message reaches people where they are and never becomes white noise. We are not aiming to control the wind, the constant pressures of secular society. We aim to adjust the sails, providing Christian context, encouragement, and guidance for godly living in a world captivated by sin. http://newsroom.fb.com/Key-Facts
GREAT COMPASSION MINISTRY
Wrapping Love Around the World 2013 Michigan District LWR Boxcar Loading
by Patricia Schuknecht
to position quilts and kits near disaster-prone areas for timely distribution following an emergency. Pre-stocking resources in a Philippines warehouse allowed for quick dispersal following more recent emergencies in Southeast Asia. LWR will be able to store materials in up to five additional UNHRD hubs located in Italy, Malaysia, Ghana, the United Arab Emirates, and Spain. LWR’s 2013 goal for quilts alone is to send 500,000 worldwide.
LWR Ingathering and Boxcar Loading
Andrea Salid received two LWR quilts and a personal care kit at a distribution for families affected by Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines.
Wrapped in Love
ndrea Salid, a 74-year-old mother of seven, found her home severely damaged when Typhoon Bopha swept through her village in the southern Philippines in December 2012. Fierce winds blew the roof completely off of her house and destroyed most of her belongings. “Salamat” (meaning thank you) was spoken again and again by Salid as she told Lutheran World Relief (LWR) worker Lauren Bauer that she would use her quilt to cover herself at night. More than 800 people, many with stories like Salid’s, gathered at the distribution center where Bauer was assisting to receive quilts, baby care kits, and personal care kits.1
This coming fall, members of Michigan District congregations, from all walks of life, will once again join forces for the annual ingathering of everyday items most of us take for granted. These individuals and groups have been busy fundraising, purchasing, gathering, sewing, and packaging quilts and care kits for the 2013 LWR Boxcar Loading that will take place on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at the Conrail Yard, 2975 Livernois, Detroit, Mich. Prior to the event, 14 collection locations throughout Michigan and Northern Ohio will pack boxes filled with quilts, new soap, and kits into vehicles and then transport them to the train yard. Once there, they will be loaded into railroad shipping containers, soon to make their way to Maryland before being shipped to distribution points worldwide. Patricia Schuknecht has coordinated the Michigan District LWR Ingathering and Boxcar Loading for 13 years and states, “It is a great privilege to be able to continue coordinating this wonderful task.” She currently serves as office manager at Heart of the Shepherd, Howell. She and her husband, Steve, have five children and seven grandchildren. 1 From the story, “Salamat,” (www.lwr.org) written by Lauren Bauer, Lutheran World Relief’s Creative Services Project Manager.
Labor of Love
This would not have been possible, in such short order, had hearts and hands that share the Good News of Christ through their labors of love been still. Last fall, 150 youth and adult volunteers from Michigan filled six railroad containers with 122.5 tons of items including 412,710 quilts, 539,898 kits, and 91,122 lbs. of soap which were distributed to more than 720,000 people in 23 countries. Through a new partnership with the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD), LWR plans
Visit www.michigandistrict.org/events/lwr-boxcar-loading-2013 for ingathering locations and information on what items are being collected. For more information on Michigan District efforts, please contact Pat Schuknecht at 517.552.7218 or email@example.com. Order LWR promotional materials for your congregation at www.lwr.org. michigandistrict.org/mit
Senior Adult Services Family Life Educator
y 85-year-old mother states that she does not want to move into a retirement home. She loves the old house that she has meticulously maintained, tending her beautiful gardens and pouring love into both for 60+ years. As a family, we see her point. Would she have a deck with awning that overlooks the woods in a retirement home? Would she be able to enjoy the out of doors and rake the gumballs from her driveway or swing in the breezeway in a retirement home? Would she have enough room to house all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren when they come to visit in a retirement home? Would she be able to take all her furniture to a retirement home? Would she have the strength and fortitude to move after all of these years? Why would she want to move? None of these questions are new. There have been a plethora of articles and research written and conducted on the subject of aging. But when the time comes and these questions arise in your family, you may be forced to take a good hard look at the options, memories, and needs, and search out assistance in making hard decisions.
An Aging Lutheran Community
The average age of members in The Lutheran Church– Missouri Synod is 68 years old according to an article published in The Lutheran Witness. According to Pew Research Center, there are 10,000 baby boomers reaching the age of 65 every day, and this rate will continue for the next 17 years. What is the church, as a Christian intergenerational organization, doing in the critical area of adulthood and aging?
A Proactive Family Life Program
What if the church did not have to rely on community agencies, or out-source all services for its aging population? Concordia University Ann Arbor’s (CUAA) Family Life program sees the need for workers in God’s kingdom to serve this population – within that Christian intergenerational organization and agencies. The Family Life team is very interested in adding a “major” to its Family Life program to assist the church and the community in this area and is being proactive! Last winter, 10 very influential, highly qualified professionals in the field of adulthood and aging gathered at CUAA to explore and discuss what the needs are for this population. Some of the questions explored included: • How could professionals with a career in Family Life as a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), 8
by Jennifer Freudenburg
Adulthood and Aging
with a concentration study in adulthood and aging, affect the church? • What does a Family Life graduate working as a CFLE need to know (in addition to the core curriculum) to be prepared for the responsibilities of working with Senior Adults and their families? • What skills does a graduate need prior to beginning their work in the church and community with senior adults and their families? • What critical contents for new classes would need to be offered in order to prepare Family Life students for working with the adulthood and aging population? New courses being considered include: Psychology of Aging; Science of Aging; Delivery Models of Services for the Aging; Cultural Competencies and Assessment Skills with Older Adults; and Supporting Families through Final Transitions. Would you welcome a CFLE from Concordia University to walk alongside you to help your family or congregation? The Family Life program at CUAA is following God’s lead to help assist the jewels of our generation! To God be the glory. Jennifer Freudenburg is the Project Manager for the Concordia Center for the Family. Within its distinctly Christian environment and its academic community dedicated to excellence, Concordia University Ann Arbor serves as a liberal arts university of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, preparing men and women for a life of service in the church and in the world. Visit them online at www.cuaa.edu.
HEALTHY CHURCH WORKERS
Standing on Guard
Three Truths to Help us Remain Vigilant in Spiritual Warfare by Daniel Ramthun
“Then comes the devil, who baits and badgers us on all sides, but especially exerts himself where the conscience and spiritual matters are concerned. His purpose is to make us scorn and despise both the Word and the works of God, to tear us away from faith, hope, and love, … these are snares and nets; indeed, they are the real ‘flaming darts’ that are venomously shot into our hearts, not by flesh and blood but by the devil.” (Luther’s Large Catechism, the Sixth Petition)
IT’S A BATTLE DOWN HERE!
he devil, the father of lies, is at work along with the sinful world and our own sinful flesh. He is deceiving in the way he operates. It is important to STAY AWAKE! We must daily realize that we are poor, miserable sinners who are not immune to the devil. We need to be on guard. It takes daily discipline to be vigilant, alert, and watchful to avoid danger. Our routines in life need to be prioritized so that God remains number one.
WE ARE EQUIPPED FOR THE BATTLE!
Ephesians 6 clearly shows how God has provided His children with the armor for this battle. We are robed in the blood of Christ the Lamb and together, as the communion of saints, can offer support and encouragement to one another. God provides us with the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit … THE WORD OF GOD! God has given us HIS WORD to meditate upon and to empower us to stand strong! In his book, Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today, Dr. John Kleinig tells of the “hearing heart” that we need to
2013 All Pastors’ Conference - October 6-9 This fall, pastors will gather in Boyne Falls, Mich. under the theme, “They Devoted themselves to ... ,” based on Acts 2:42. Dr. John Kleinig will be the keynote presenter and help pastors dive into Spiritual Disciplines.
More information at www.michigandistrict.org/ apc13
develop daily so as to receive God’s grace. He states, “In Luke 8:15, Jesus emphasizes the need for ongoing hearing. He connects fruitful hearing with meditation on the Word … the hearer should take hold of the Word and keep it in the heart.”1
GOD IS OUR GUIDE AND OUR GUARD
God is the guide and giver and we are the followers and the receivers of His grace. Creating and abiding by a regular routine of reading His Word will foster an environment for our hearts to be receptive to His Word and His guidance. By the power of the Holy Spirit working through His Word in our lives, we will be alert, watchful, and avoid danger! Consider your life. Is it time to eliminate some of the “stuff” that gets in the way of your devotional time? We all have different rhythms and routines that fit our personalities and lifestyles; so let’s determine to make use of God’s Word and grace in our words and actions as we pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Rev. Daniel W. Ramthun is the pastor at St. Stephen, Detroit and the pastoral associate at Guardian, Dearborn. He has been in the teaching and pastoral ministry for 30 years and has enjoyed seeing God’s grace at work in his life and the lives of those to whom he ministers. He has been married for 30 years to his college sweetheart, Linda, who is a second grade teacher at Guardian. They have been blessed with three children: Kelsey, Kyle, and Katey. 1 John W. Kleinig, Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2008) 113.
In Other News
50+ and Still Growing by John Brooks
A Life Adventure
graduated from the seminary when I was 28 years old. I was called to a wonderful congregation in a small town. My wife and our three children loaded up the vehicle shortly after the Call service and set out on the beginning of what was to become a life adventure! I can remember attending circuit meetings and District events, meeting many brother pastors much older than myself. And admittedly I thought they were, well, old. I wondered if congregations would be interested in calling older pastors. After all, their children were grown and married with families of their own. How long before some of them retire? I was under no delusion that I knew it all, being a recent seminary grad, but I did think at the time that I perhaps was a bit more up-to-date with things than some of these older men I met, a bit more savvy!
What I’ve Learned
And now, almost 30 years later, I am one of those older pastors! Interestingly, in the September 2012 issue of The Lutheran Witness, it was noted that over 50 percent of our active pastors are over age 50. As one of these “older pastors,” who, Lord willing, hopes to have many, many exciting and productive years ahead of me serving as an active pastor, I’ve learned a few things over the years along with my brothers in the ministry. • I’ve learned humility and dependence. I am weak, He is strong. My strength comes from the Lord. • I’ve learned the vital importance of having my daily devotions of Scripture reading and prayer. I need this private and personal time with the Lord every day. • I’ve learned to be a more effective self-starter each and every day. I strive to use my time wisely and efficiently and be faithful to the Lord and the people He has placed in my care. • I’ve learned compassion. Over my years in ministry I’ve come to know people in many difficult and heart-wrenching situations. It has been a privilege to be able to minister to them and be there for them. • I’ve learned to have fun and get along with people of all ages … from the children, youth, college students, and adults in all stages of this thing we call life to my oldest members who are in their sunset years. • I’ve learned to have a sense of humor about myself, about life, and about being a pastor! Life is way too short! • I’ve learned how technology can be used to enhance the spoken Word, the liturgy, and music in a worship service … even using multi-media and PowerPoint for sermons. 10
John Brooks enjoying the outdoors.
• I’ve learned about empowering laypeople to serve, to use their God-given gifts and talents, and not thinking I have to do it all. • I’ve learned about how to be faithful to God’s unchanging Word in a rapidly changing society, and the importance of meeting people wherever they are at in their faith walk. • I’ve learned how to develop and deliver a sermon that holds attention and relates to what my people are experiencing in life. • I’ve learned a few people skills over the years, some, at times, admittedly by mistake. I am by no means perfect. But, I pray I’ve learned from my mistakes, that people will forgive me for my mistakes, and that I will keep on learning from my mistakes! • I’ve learned about how to work with multiple staff in a congregation. We are a team. We are serving the Lord together, but as the pastor I am the one who is to be an encourager to them, to be their friend, to respect them, and to love them. • I’ve learned over the years that we are living in an increasingly godless and immoral society and world. I am called to be God’s spokesman to my people, to remind them of what God’s Word says over what the world says, and to encourage them to walk closely with the Lord and raise their children with a strong faith foundation. • I understand the value of continuing education and make an effort to either read interesting resources that relate to ministry or attend events that help me continue to learn.
I’m Still Learning
As an older pastor, I still have something to share with God’s people. I’ve learned a few things over the years. And I’m still learning! I’m still growing in my faith walk and in the skills the Lord is giving and empowering me! Rev. John W. Brooks is pastor at St. James, Montague. He is an avid wilderness canoeist and is also working toward his second degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo.
Michigan District, LCMS An accounting of the mission and ministry through the Michigan District, LCMS by its congregations. Fiscal year ending January 31, 2013
People of Hope ... Vigorously Making Known the Love of Christ
Michigan District Board of Directors (2012-2015)
President Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier 1st Vice President Rev. Mark D. Brandt 2nd Vice President Rev. Donald O. Neuendorf 3rd Vice President Rev. David A. Davis 4th Vice President Rev. John M. Duerr Secretary Rev. David H. Reed Treasurer Mr. William H. Young Metro East Region Rev. Norman A. Koy Ms. Natalie A. Haupt Mr. Stephen R. Boergert Mr. Williard C. Ducharme West Region Rev. Craig L. Bickel Mr. Richard C. Krueger Mrs. Ruth E. Martin Mr. John C. Raffel North & East Region Rev. Paul D. Theiss Mr. James C. Anderson Dr. Dale D. Gust Mr. Larry A. Bauermeister Metro West Region Rev. Paul M. Moldenhauer Dr. Harvey M. Schmit Mrs. Chris Chauvin Mr. Duane A. Renken
Dear Friends in Christ,
Last summer, at the end of June, delegates attending the Michigan District Convention gathered under the theme of IMAGINE … Living as God’s Forgiven and Forgiving Family – highlighting the third of our Synod’s three emphases: Witness, Mercy, and Life Together. Throughout the next three years, this theme will be a guiding influence over the mission and ministry that we as Michigan District congregations conduct in Life Together. What follows is REALLY a brief and unique accounting of the continuing grace of God at work in our midst … in the many conferences that were held … to the arrival of Rev. Chris Bodley to establish the A2E Urban Ministry Initiative in Detroit … and everything in between … like the resurgence of Concordia University Ann Arbor under the leadership of Concordia University Wisconsin. In support of this resurgence, the Michigan District gifted $1.2 million to Concordia, Ann Arbor. May God continue to lead, guide, and bless us! May we as God’s family in our Life Together continue to pray that God would not only bless what we are doing, but that He would lead us to do what He wants to bless. Sincerely,
Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier President Michigan District, LCMS
In grateful response to God’s grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of the Michigan District of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod is vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches (congregations), communities, and world.
Our congregations are filled to overflowing with people of HOPE! Our living hope, indeed our joyful and confidant life and witness to the world, comes from the transforming power of the Gospel and the resurrected Christ who has graced us with an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for ALL who believe in Him as Savior and Lord. (1 Peter 1:4). This living hope inspires our dependence on, devotion to, and commitment to the Word of God, worship, prayer, and each other and moves us to take the love of Christ to our family, friends, neighbors, community, and the world in word and deed. michigandistrict.org/mit
St ories of Hope!
Mission and Ministry of the Michigan District, LCMS
Inspiring speakers encouraged professional church workers and laity at convention and conferences. Themes and topics included: Imagine … Living as God’s Forgiven and Forgiving Family, Joy-filled Ministry in a Discouraged World, Go … Teach!, Tech in the Early Childhood Classroom, Digital Learning in the 21st Century, Holding up the Prophet’s Hand, Mission U, Grace Place Wellness, and Confirmation. In October, pastors prayed over one another at the All Pastors’ “First of All, Pray” conference (pictured left).
Apologet ics In late January through February 2012, the Michigan District welcomed over 1,200 people to the Theological Conferences on Apologetics. The Lord certainly blessed the participants with a greater assurance of their salvation, but also with the confidence, capacity, capability, and courage to defend what they believe. Through the use of God’s inspired Word, other historical evidence, and practical application, God graciously planted many seeds that we pray will bring forth a rich harvest of courageous, confessing Lutheran believers. Distinguished presenters included Rev. Dr. Paul L. Maier, Dr. Adam S. Francisco, and Dr.2013 Robert D. Newton. 12 Rev. September
Last year, 210 youth from all over Michigan gathered on Concordia University Ann Arbor’s campus for the Junior High Youth Gathering. The theme “In His Image” was a reminder to youth that they are free to live and love in His redeemed Image. On Saturday morning they lived out the image of God through servant events. Groups spread out to over a dozen locations across Washtenaw County to serve food, assist with clean-up projects, help the needy, assist in missions, and serve in other ways.
Acts 2 Enterprise (A2E), led by missionary-at-large Rev. Christopher Bodley, is a strategic and holistic urban outreach initiative. It is a catalyst for renewing the hearts, minds, and spirits of children and families in Detroit. Since February 2012, A2E Leadership Workshops have provided LCMS urban pastors, laity teams, and ministries an opportunity to come together to identify critical issues and expand their vision to partner with community agencies, faith-based ministries, non-profit organizations, and schools in addressing the needs and challenges of serving the community. Currently, 19 congregations will, with Christ, work towards revitalizing communities while continuing their mission in Word and Sacrament ministry.
The District Office hosts monthly free live webinars for professional church workers and lay leaders throughout the state and beyond. The hour-long presentations cover topics such as: school board membership, service as an elder, effective governance models, strategic planning, stewardship, missions, and more.
The District utilizes its Facebook page (facebook.com/ milcms) as a conduit for discussions on new media technology and communication strategies. Discussions are open to the general public and follow a weekly topic ranging from social media strategies to website design tactics and more. The live discussions are automatically archived to the Facebook page for further reading by conversation participants and interested parties.
“Studying to be a deacon has greatly impacted my life. I’m getting into God’s Word, understanding the history and what it means to me, and then able to teach that to other people.” Deacon Jack Mosher Zion, Petoskey Nineteen new students began their deacon training in 2012. Learn more at www.michigandistrict.org/deacons.
Through unrestricted gifts and The Future is Now campaign funds, the following Missions were supported in 2012: St. Thomas, Ann Arbor (Freedom Township Mission) St. Thomas, Eastpointe (Harper Woods multi-site) Christ The King, Flint (Flint Tri-Circuit Deaf Mission) Faith, Grand Blanc (North Oakland Satellite) Grass Lake, Grass Lake (Grass Lake Mission Start) Light of Christ, Marysville (Mission Subsidy) Cross & Resurrection, Ypsilanti (Dundee/Tecumseh Mission) Trinity, Utica (Journeys) St. Charles, Nativity (Chesaning Mission Start) Lutheran City Ministries, Detroit (Family of God Mission) St. Matthew, Holt (Rehoboth Lutheran Church) Trinity Sudanese, Lansing (Sudanese Ministry) Messiah, Midland (Restoration Fellowship and Coffee Shop Outreach) St. Paul, Pontiac (St. Paul, Pontiac) St. Michael, Richville (Hmong Ministry) Faith, Troy (Hamtramck Bengali & Arabic)
“I constantly thank God for the blessings He has given me through the support of the Michigan District, LCMS over the past four years at Concordia University Ann Arbor and years to come as I attend Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.” Aaron Mol Michigan District Student Aid Recipient
In classrooms across the Michigan District, teachers help children build a secure future by teaching them about a God who loves them unconditionally, created them to be His Children through Baptism, and offered a plan of restoration through Christ Jesus. Today, over 16,000 students are being equipped to pursue excellence in academics, use their spiritual gifts and talents, and apply their faith throughout their lives to spread the Gospel and enrich their communities. michigandistrict.org/mit
Michigan District of The Lutheran Churchâ€”Missouri Synod District Congregations (District and Synod) 69%
District Congregations (District use only) 3% upport
Other Gifts 8%
s in d e Ga an enu v Re
Investment Income 6% Program Fees and Other Income 14%
Ecclesiastical and Program Administration 17%
Synodical Budget 23%*
Support, Revenues, and Gains District Congregations (District and Synod)...... 4,703,723 District Congregations (District use only).......... 227,968 Other Gifts........................................................... 523,187 Investment Income............................................. 385,947 Program Fees and Other Income....................... 942,914 Total Support, Revenues, and Gains.................. 6,783,739 Expenses Synodical Budget*.............................................. 1,858,224 Program Services Missions..................................................... 1,503,264 Congregation Ministry Facilitators........... 423,340 Christian Care............................................ 137,377 Lutheran Schools...................................... 315,576 Youth Ministry............................................ 36,893 Loon Lake Lutheran Retreat Center......... 106,258 Other Congregation Program Services.... 188,934 Communications....................................... 301,028 Student Aid................................................ 1,420,820 Worker Care............................................... 412,323 Ecclesiastical and Program Administration Administration........................................... 749,989 Convention................................................ 175,444 Development....................................................... 208,859 District Properties and Depreciation....... 222,791 Total Expenses..................................................... 8,061,120 Change in Net Assets .................................. (1,277,381)
Summary of Financial Activities For the Year Ended January 31, 2013
r m Se
Student Aid 18% (including CUAA support)
Information is taken from the audited financial statements of the Michigan District, LCMS. Copies of the audit report, which include all integral parts of the financial statements, are available from the District Office. *The Michigan District sent 40.5% of its unrestricted cash receipts from congregations to national Synod during the fiscal year. The numbers on the financial statements reflect adjustments based on pledges from congregations and to the Synod as required by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
Support for National and International Ministries For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2013, the Michigan District remitted $1,903,724 to Corporate (national) Synod, which represents 40.5% of the Districtâ€™s unrestricted gifts from congregations. The 35 districts of the Synod contribute approximately $16 million of undesignated revenue to Corporate Synod annually in support of national and international mission and ministry. The balance of the $65 million 2012/13 budget of Corporate Synod comes primarily from restricted gifts and sales of materials and services. The Program Budget Summary for Corporate Synod indicates that 56% of the undesignated revenue is allocated directly to Programs of the Synod (including 14% for missions and 28% for education). Allocations of the budgeted use of undesignated revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013 are as follows: International Missions 10% National Missions 4% Pastoral Education 6% University Education 22% Communications 11%
KFUO 3% Ecclesiastical Services and Commissions 9% Officers and Administration 18% General and Administrative 17%
50 A nniversar
CELEBRATE WITH US SUNDAY 9/29/13 Campus Tours 1:00-2:30 p.m. Program 2:30-3:00 p.m. CUAA Past, Present and Future
Worship Service 3:30-4:30 p.m. with Alumni Choir
Refreshments 4:30 p.m. For questions or more information, visit: www.cuaa.edu OR Contact Sue Kratko at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-995-7331
Peacemaking in our Congregations photo by John Brooks
by Richard Marrs
Three steps of Admonition
like to ask Christians if they are familiar with Matthew 18. Most biblically knowledgeable Christians respond, “That is the chapter about what we are supposed to do if our neighbor sins against us. Jesus teaches us to follow the three-step process of going to them individually, then with one or two others, and then, if they still won’t listen and confess their sin, to tell it to the church.” We are often quite good at remembering these three steps of admonition. But then I follow up with the question, “What else is in Matthew 18?” People are normally stumped. We remember the three steps, but not the rest. And the rest of Matthew 18, the context of the three steps (which are actually only three verses in a 35-verse chapter), is incredibly important.
Comparing Billions to Thousands
The rest of the chapter includes Jesus teaching about humility, the Parable of the Lost Sheep, and the authority of the church to bind and loose sins. The chapter ends with Jesus’ emphasis on horizontal forgiveness between Christians, as he teaches Peter to forgive “seventy-seven times” and then blesses us with the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. In that parable, the first servant owes his master 10,000 talents (probably of gold). This was a HUGE amount. When the Queen of Sheba presented her exorbitant gift to King Solomon (1 Kings 10:10), it was only 120 talents of gold. Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs notes in the Concordia Commentary on Matthew that it would take the first servant at least 1,000 years to pay off such a debt. Yet, his gracious master forgives the debt entirely. Then the first servant comes across a fellow servant who owes him money — 100 denarii — about three months’ wages (perhaps equivalent to $10,000 for us today). This is a significant amount of money, yet it pales in comparison to what the first servant owed, like comparing billions to thousands. 16
When we Christians find ourselves in conflict with others, it is often over something significant. In church it may be whether or not to continue funding a particular ministry as stewardship revenues decline, a harsh snub by someone in another family, or a business deal that has gone sour with a fellow member. Yet, we are called by our Lord Jesus to love everyone, even those we are in conflict with. Even if someone has sinned against us in some significant way, their sin still pales in comparison to what our Lord Jesus has forgiven us. When we realize the scope of what Jesus has done to forgive us for “billions” and to vertically reconcile us to His Father, then it should always be possible for us to forgive our fellow humans horizontally for “thousands.” We can use sincere, explicit, Gospel-focused language to seek reconciliation (e.g., “I’m sorry that I said what I did. Would you please forgive me?”). May our Lord grant us the grace to show His forgiveness through our forgiveness of others. Rev. Dr. Richard W. Marrs is the Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Dean of Faculty, and Tennis Coach at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. Prior to coming to the seminary, he served at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Junction City, Kan. His prior experience includes being a professor of psychology and counselor at both St. John’s College in Winfield and Concordia University Chicago, Riverforest, Ill. He and his wife, Laura, have two adult daughters and a son-in-law. LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission supports and encourages rural and small town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. Learn more at www.lcms.org/rstm.
Congregation News Brick By Brick
Each year, Trinity, Conklin’s Board of Missions and Evangelism Committee consider options for its annual mission project. In 2012, they chose to build a home for two families. Working through Food for the Poor they received insight into the great need for food and housing in Haiti. “House in Haiti – Brick by Brick” began with a model house made out of foam board, and as money came in, the bricks (sold for $10 apiece) were applied to the outside of the model home. The model was displayed in the narthex where members could watch the progress. Donation jars were set up around the church for loose change. The most basic necessities of life – food, shelter, and clothing – were also needed by the two families. The final offering for the mission project totaled $9,134.55 which covered $6,400 for the home and an additional $2,734.55 for food. When the congregation initially began the project, they thought it would take two years, but with praise, thanksgiving, honor, and glory to God, they saw their mission accomplished in just one year! The excitement and satisfaction of this project is only the beginning. Plans are being made for a member to travel to Haiti to meet the families and see firsthand what the Lord has done, brick by brick.
Rev. Scott Benjamin, pastor of Resurrection, Detroit (back left) and Rev. Todd Seaver, pastor of Holy Cross, Toledo serving the small English District congregation Holy Child, Detroit (right), with members of Holy Child who were received into membership at Resurrection on Palm Sunday.
Little Dresses for Africa
This past spring, Immanuel, Macomb prayed blessings over 153 pillowcase dresses which were donated to Little Dresses for Africa (www.littledressesforafrica.org). Immanuel’s LWML took on this mission as another opportunity to make a difference in the lives of families. LWML member Carol Soulard says, “We pray to God that each girl who receives a dress not only knows they are clothed physically, but more importantly clothed in the love of Jesus daily!” Lead Pastor Greg Griffith says, “Our core values at Immanuel include Missions and Families, and here we strive daily to make a difference in the lives of others. Our community isn’t focused on doing church, rather on being the church, changing lives one life at a time as God gives us opportunity.” Pastor Greg also noted: “I am reminded of when Jesus sent His disciples to go out and try to catch fish again, they returned with 153 fish … notice the number of dresses that were made, this isn’t a coincidence, it is God at work in our world.” Through Little Dresses for Africa almost 2 million dresses have been delivered to 43 countries in Africa and countries in crisis including Honduras, Guatemala, the Philippines, Cambodia, Mexico, and Haiti. Dresses have also gone to the Appalachian Mountains and South Dakota. Dresses are shipped or delivered by mission teams and travelers and then distributed through orphanages, churches, and schools to plant in the hearts of little girls that they are WORTHY! For more information, please contact Pastor Greg Griffith at email@example.com or 586.286.4231.
In June, St. Paul, Bay City received six new members; one by adult Baptism; two by adult Confirmation; two by reaffirmation of faith, and one by transfer. michigandistrict.org/mit
Rev. Larry Loree, Jr. dedicated prayer shawls made by women of Holy Ghost, Monroe. During visitations, Loree gives the prayer shawls to shut-ins and hospital and nursing home patients.
St. Paul, Bay City’s high school age leadership team, Young Believers in Christ, organized a servant event at a nearby cemetery. About 75 members were involved in the cleanup.
Nativity, St. Charles welcomed 22 new members in June. Elder Larry LaBelle gave each of the eight new member families a loaf of bread to remind them of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life. Nativity is served by Rev. Dr. Robert J. Schultz, interim pastor, and Vicar Mitch Vogeli. In partnership with POBLO International Ministries, All Nations, Troy has added 15 new members to its congregation. All 15 recently immigrated to the United States. POBLO assisted them with basic needs such as furniture and transportation. The new congregants were instructed in Luther’s Small Catechism before they were received into membership at All Nations. We rejoice together as we witness Christ moving and working in the lives of these individuals!
Holy Cross, Saginaw welcomed 33 new members last spring. Pictured with Rev. James F. Krueger are proud parents, siblings, and fiancés – many of whom were already members of Holy Cross. 2012 has been a great year with a large number of adult and infant baptisms. Praise God for the way He continues to enlarge and bless His Church on earth!
This past summer, women and children, ages 5-80, gathered at Trinity-Saint James, Munger to make 18 fleece baby blankets for 19 year-old Aja Mills to take with her on a mission trip to Shaanxi, China. The group offered prayers for strength, endurance, and joy for their service that day and also for the infant girls who would receive these gifts of love. Mills served two weeks at an orphanage and gave the blankets to abandoned and orphaned baby girls. Through the assistance of a Michigan District mission grant, St. Thomas, Ann Arbor opened Freedom Child Care Center as a way to connect with its community and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. St. Thomas, the oldest congregation in the Michigan District, purchased property on a paved road – an old golf course club house – to house the center. The ministry has been open for a year and has recently gained state approval to increase its capacity from 15 to 20 children. Jo Andersen and daughter, Grace, (left) joined St. Thomas after connecting with the church through Freedom Child Care. Her son, Ivan, (not pictured) received Holy Baptism.
New members were welcomed at St. Paul, Millington
Special Recognition ORDINATIONS
In July, Rev. Mark R. Doede was ordained as a Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) at Historic Trinity, Detroit and will serve as vicar of Our Shepherd, Birmingham. Doede is a student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. He and his wife, Janice, have 13 children and reside in Southfield. Doede is pictured (5th from left) with pastors from area congregations including Rev. Dr. John L. Heins, (center) former president of the Michigan District, LCMS.
In June, Rev. Eric I. Ekong (front center) was ordained into the ministry and installed as senior pastor at Trinity, Jackson. Ekong is a graduate of Concordia University Ann Arbor, Mich. and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. His grandfather, Jonathan Udo Ekong, founded The Lutheran Church of Nigeria in the 1930s and his father, Rev. Hosea J. Ekong, serves as a pastor at Victory Lutheran Church in Youngstown, Ohio. He and his wife, Linda, have five children and reside in Jackson.
In June, Rev. Aaron M. Richert (front center) was installed the associate pastor at St. John, Fraser. Richert previously served as vacancy pastor at Cedar Crest, White Lake and Lutheran High School Northwest in Rochester Hills. He and his wife, Becky, have three children and reside in Sterling Heights. He is pictured here with circuit pastors including his father, Rev. Cary M. Richert (3rd from right).
Rev. David P. Schmidt (front, second from left) was installed as senior pastor at St. Paul, Royal Oak. Schmidt graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. in 2005. Prior to coming to St. Paul, he served as associate pastor at St. John, New Boston for eight years. He, and his wife, Jennifer, were married in May 2010. Schmidt is pictured here with circuit pastors. In June, Rev. Timothy M. Verity was installed as the Intentional Interim Pastor at Trinity, Reed City. Verity and his wife, Janet, were warmly welcomed. Throughout his time as an Intentional Interim, Verity will learn about Trinity’s history and will offer encouragement and guidance as it moves toward calling its next pastor.
RETIREMENTS In June, Rev. Douglas M. Adams was installed as sole pastor at Trinity, Berrien Springs. Adams is a graduate from Concordia University Ann Arbor, Mich. and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. Adams previously served St. Paul’s, Hillsdale and Immanuel, Britton. He and his wife, Robyn, have five children. Adams is pictured (front center) with circuit pastors.
Jean Thomas was honored for 41 years of teaching as she retired from St. Peter, Hemlock. Over the years, Thomas has worked with musical groups, coached, and served on numerous District conference committees and on accreditation teams. In 2005, Thomas received the Crystal Apple Award from the Saginaw News and was involved in coaching the FIRST LEGO League Team.
In June, Rev. Michael L. Heiden was installed as the associate pastor of Immanuel, Macomb. Heiden is a graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. His main responsibilities will be to connect anyone that comes on campus to ministry and help attenders and members take next steps in their faith life. He is also the primary preacher and planner for contemporary and interactive worship venues, and will be overseeing young adult ministry. Heiden is pictured here with his wife, Joy, and his daughter, Amelia.
The members of St. Paul, Bay City celebrated the closing of the school year with a special recognition upon the retirement of two faithful servants. Kathy Eisman (left) was honored for 27 years in the teaching ministry. She served congregations in Kentucky, Ohio, and Missouri as well as in Hemlock, Mich. and Midland, Mich. before coming to St. Paul. Recognition and thanks also went to Carolyn VanCise (right) who more than ably served as interim principal for the past two years. michigandistrict.org/mit
Wellspring Lutheran Services Coming october 2013
We are in the business of serving people. it’s something we’ve been doing as two separate organizations for 120 years. and during that time, we’ve learned a lot about human nature and how to care for people regardless of their age or circumstance. over the years, the way in which we deliver our services has changed; but the reason we provide it hasn’t. We want to pour into the lives of the people we serve — individuals, communities, congregations and more — so they emerge stronger than ever, with a renewed sense of hope and purpose. today, we are proud to announce this exciting new era that combines the very best of both worlds. it’s Wellspring Lutheran Services.
Lutheran Child & family service of michigan 989.686.7650 | www.lcfsmi.org
Lutheran Homes of michigan 989.652.3470 | www.agingenriched.org
LWML Women in Mission - A Brief Look at two of our Grants GRANT #4 Fort Wayne Food Co-op: Karen Fuelling, Director of the Food and Clothing Co-op writes: “The Food and Clothing Co-op at Concordia, Fort Wayne, plays a vital role by helping students feed and clothe themselves and their family members while they prepare for full time church work. The Co-op continues to serve the needs of the student families as it has for 35 years…. Because of the LWML Mission Grant you provided for us, in the past fiscal year, which is July to June, we were able to purchase MORE THAN 40,000 pounds of produce. You also helped provide over 2,475 dozen eggs and over 4,200 gallons of milk. We purchased 3,000 pounds of ground beef and over 1,600 boxes of cereal. We purchased 3,059 pounds of diapers and 3,106 pounds of toilet paper and paper towels.” St. Louis Food Bank: Laura Moehlman, Operations Supervisor of Enrollment Mgmt says: “I want to extend a special word of thanks on behalf of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and our students for your continuous support through grant monies in order to assist with the daily operations of our Food Bank…. You are indeed partners with us in the Gospel to help provide necessities for our students and their families here at Concordia Seminary.” And a note
from one of the families: “Dear LWML Michigan District, Thank you so much for your generous financial support of the Seminary Food Bank. Your support is truly a blessing to the students and their families (like us). Thank you. Merrit & Veronica Demski.” GRANT #11 Their grant proposal states: “Worship for Shut-Ins ministers to not only the homebound and infirmed, but also to those who may not know Jesus Christ as their Savior” and “it takes outside sources to support this ministry costing $1,265 weekly [for broadcasting].” Executive Director Ken Schilf states in his letter: “I sincerely thank you on behalf of our viewers in your district that so rely on your program to be spiritually fed. Furthermore, I have had letters and conversations with viewers, who have come to know Christ as their Savior because of Worship for ShutIns. Praise the Lord!” As we can see from the above, our mighty MITES are working and are appreciated. Keep up the good work! Please mail your Mites to: Glory Drum PO Box 5305 Warren MI 48090
Michigan District, LWML new website address: www.LWMLmichigan.org
LLL Philip Krauss II Elected Vice Chair
Philip Krauss II of Westland was re-elected recently to a two-year term as vice chair of the International Lutheran Laymen’s League (Int’l LLL) Board of Directors. Krauss is program developer at Marygrove College, where he had previously been director of enrollment. He has experience in Philip Krauss finance, recruitment, counseling, and admissions and has previously served the Int’l LLL as a regional governor and committee chair as well as a district chair, board secretary, and ambassador. Krauss is the chair for the 2014 Int’l LLL Conference in Detroit. Nearly 11,000 contributing members of the Int’l LLL/ Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) voted in the recent election to fill the open positions on the Int’l LLL Board of Directors. The elected members were installed in July. The International Lutheran Laymen’s League (Int’l LLL) is the governing body for Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM), a Christian outreach ministry supporting churches worldwide in its mission of Bringing Christ to the Nations ― and the Nations to the Church. LHM produces Christian radio and TV programming for broadcast, as well as Internet and print communications, dramas, music, and outreach materials, to reach the unchurched in more than 30 countries. LHM’s flagship program, The Lutheran Hour, is the world’s longestrunning Christian outreach radio program. It airs weekly on 1,400 stations.
2014 LLL/LHM Conference
Plans are being made for the 2014 International Lutheran Laymen’s League/Lutheran Hour Ministries (Int’l LLL/LHM) International Outreach Conference in Detroit next July. The conference is scheduled for July 23-27 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, 400 Renaissance Drive, Detroit. Hotel reservations can be made by calling 313.568.8000. Lutherans from across North America and various parts of the world where LHM has an active ministry will be gathering at this conference for four days of worship, inspiration, fellowship, and sharing. The conference will feature Rev. Gregory Seltz, a Michigan native and current Lutheran Hour Speaker. Workshops motivating Christians for outreach and inreach will be featured along with family night, the conference banquet, and Lutheran Hour rally. Additional details will be provided in upcoming months. Volunteers are needed to help with the event. If you’re interested in attending or helping out at the conference, contact committee chairman Phil Krauss II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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and society, and you wonder what the future will be like. Ted Koppel said, “We have actually convinced ourselves that slogans will save us: ‘Shoot up, if you must, but use a clean needle.’ ‘Enjoy sex whenever and with whomever - just use protection.’ NO. The answer is NO, and not just because it isn’t cool or smart or because you might end up dying in an AIDS ward, but NO, because it is wrong. Because we have spent 5,000 years as a race of rational human beings trying to drive ourselves out of the primeval slime by searching for the truth and moral absolutes. In its purest form, truth is not a polite tap in the shoulder. It is howling reproach. What Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai were not The Ten Suggestions.” ABC Nightline Moderator, Ted Koppel, at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, giving the 1987 commencement address. During the darkest time of Israel’s history, the period of the judges, the end of the book concludes with what six words? Do you know? “… everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 21:25 NIV) or “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (NKJV). WE have forgotten God today. Way too often WE have forgotten God. God, during the founding years of this nation and for a century or more afterwards, was the focal point and the foundation of America. It is obvious now, however, that we in the United States have forgotten God. We were once a thankful people. But in so many regards we have lost the truth of what the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (NIV). The only way for the USA to stop this downward spiral is to return to God. That will only happen when God’s people, when churches, not only take a stand in their community against the things that are wrong that cause the downward spiral, but also demonstrate a love and compassion for every sinner, and are involved in the community endeavoring to help folks, especially the down and out. It has been proven and acknowledged that the most effective social work done in America today is done by faith-based organizations. Churches that have soup kitchens, clothes closets, English as a Second Language classes, etc. and truly care for people are making a transformational difference. Friends, God is calling us to return to Him; or let me use the biblical word, REPENT. We must heartily and sincerely repent of our own sin and of our own complicity in the downward spiral of our nation. Turning to the only true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, may He help us to understand and remember that we are so bad that God’s Son had to die for us to set us free, and so 22
loved by Him that He did it with joy. Jesus, “for the joy set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). Full, free, and final forgiveness is ours as a gift from God through faith in Jesus. And with that forgiveness comes God’s power through our connection with Jesus. In His strength, we can change individually, personally. In His strength we can work to change our nation with His love. By grace, “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14 NIV). God invites and empowers us to take up our calling. As God’s freed and forgiven people may we, remembering that “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36 NASB): Return to the importance of Scripture — Scripture and the correct study of it must become a priority within the walls of the church and homes and from there taken out into the world. Return to the priority of prayer — Prayer unlocks the power of God on the Church. The people of the church must make it a priority in their lives as well as in the life of the church. I am convinced we need to spend more time praying together. We won’t be able to do anything significant in the world until we humbly come before God in prayer, and beseech “Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20 NASB) to help us as families, churches, communities, and as a nation return to Him. Return to the importance of Evangelism — We have been given the privilege of carrying on the mission and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ who said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 NASB). Knowing that all people are loved by God and desperately in need of what only He can give — forgiveness, new life, renewal, salvation — we must consistently present this Good News, the Gospel, to people in our families, churches, communities, and around the world in word and deed. The crucified and risen Lord Jesus – the lover of all mankind, the Redeemer of our lives, desires to freely bestow and continually give of His love and blessings to those who believe, to those who know His voice and follow Him. Forgiven, freed, empowered may we, therefore, not only be hearers of the Word, but doers as by God’s calling and grace we heed His words in Micah 6:8, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (NASB). David P. E. Maier The Collected Words of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Ray Basler, vol. 6, p. 156) Democracy in America. Alexis de Tocqueville, published in 1935; as quoted from www.joyclubusa.com/detocqueville.htm. 1 2
Calls and Roster Update ORDAINED
Calls Accepted Boerger, Paul M. (Flint) to Lamb of God, Flint Creeden, Anthony M. (Westland) to Bethlehem, Lakewood, CO Erickson, James D. (Associate Pastor, Immanuel, Alpena) to Senior Pastor, Immanuel, Alpena Fandrey, James E. (Clinton Twp.) to Grace, Wood River, NE Ferry, Charles D. (West Bloomfield) to Mission Developer, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, St. Louis Hooper, William (St. Louis, MO) to Christ, White Cloud Johnson, Randy L. (New Buffalo) to St. John’s, Cheboygan Khan, Amer M. (Administrative Pastor, All Nations, Troy) to Associate Pastor, All Nations, Troy Khan, Khurram M. (Associate Pastor, All Nations, Troy) to Senior Pastor, All Nations, Troy Peterson, Russell A. (Hales Corners, WI) to Trinity, Sturgis Peterson, Ryan R. (Wildwood, MO) to Asst. Professor of Theology and Campus Pastor, Concordia University Ann Arbor Seaver, Todd A. (Toledo, OH) to Holy Ghost, Monroe Change of Status Doenges, Joseph C. (St. Clair) to Non-Candidate Reusch, Jon W. (West Bloomfield) to Emeritus Stahlhut, Steven C. (Linden) to Emeritus Transferred Out Meyer, Mel M. (South Bend, IN) to Indiana District Rippy, Sean L. (Boise, ID) to Northwest District Reinstated to Roster Gorlitz, Larry R. (St. Cloud, MN) Resigned from Roster Becerra, Roberto A. (Sawyer) Sgambelluri, Carlo A. (West Branch) Called Home Goltz, Gordon K. (Emeritus) Rudow, Eugene C. (Emeritus) Ruhl, Lorne C. (Emeritus) Voorhees, David L. (Emeritus) Congregations Added Blissfield, Blessed Savior Pontiac, St. Paul
COMMISSIONED Calls Accepted Arrick, Mary (Candidate) to Green Bay Lutheran School Association, Green Bay, WI Barth, Rachael (Concordia, Mequon) to Immanuel, Alpena Britton, John (Lutheran Church of St. Luke, Itasca, IL) to Trinity, Port Huron Fischer, Melinda (St. Luke, Clinton Township) to St. Paul, Troy, IL Furr, Ruth (Concordia, Seward) to Holy Cross, Saginaw Grannis, Kristy (Non-Candidate, Minnesota South District) to Open Arms, Belleville Hildebrand, Laura (Candidate) to Christ, Stevensville Jenicek, Rebecca (St. Matthew, Washougal, WA) to Messiah, Holt Johnson, Andrea (Zion, Bethalto, IL) to St. Peter, Macomb Krc, Mary (Concordia, Seward) to Holy Cross, Saginaw Looker, Paul (Lutheran High Northwest, Rochester Hills) to Lutheran High School Association of Greater Detroit, Rochester Hills McCollister, Allison (Candidate) to St. Paul, Northville Newton, LaRayne (Candidate) to St. Michael’s, Richville Oechsner, Bryan (Lutheran High North, Macomb) to Mt. Rainier High School, Tacoma, WA Pehlke, Todd (St. John, Merrill, WI) to St. John, Rochester Pidsosny, Mary (Non-Candidate) to St. Peter’s, Eastpointe Schlak, Stephanie (Concordia, Ann Arbor) to Lutheran High Northwest, Rochester Hills Scott, Aaron (St. John’s, Glendale, WI) to Concordia, Redford Scott, Amy (Grace, Menomonee, WI) to St. Matthew, Walled Lake Unger, Daniel (St. John, Fraser) to Lutheran High North, Macomb Vogeli, Mitchell (Commissioned Non-Candidate) to Nativity, Saint Charles (Ordained) Weiss, Theodore (Grace, San Mateo, CA) to Immanuel, Sebewaing Zeddies, Brooke (St. John, New Boston) to Messiah, Independence, MO
Change of Status Beethe, Ivan (Trinity, Conklin) to Candidate Beringer, Daniel (Immanuel, Sebewaing – serving Christ the King) to Emeritus Bresemann, Linda (St. Lorenz, Frankenmuth) to Emeritus Burmeister, Nathaniel (St. Luke, Haslett) to Non-Candidate Eisman, Kathleen (St. Paul, Bay City) to Emeritus Elmshauer, Laura (Trinity, Clinton Township) to Candidate Gallagher, John (Trinity, Muskegon – serving West Shore) to Emeritus Gioe, Louise (St. Lorenz, Frankenmuth) to Emeritus Michael, Patricia (Trinity, Berrien Springs) to Emeritus Mueller, Robert (Peace, Saginaw) to Emeritus Odinga, Ardith (Holy Cross, Saginaw) to Emeritus Schmitt, Kristine (St. Paul, Lapeer) to Emeritus Siefker, Dorothy (St. Paul, Northville) to Emeritus Stordahl, Jean (Trinity, Muskegon – serving West Shore) to Emeritus Taggart, Linda (St. Thomas, Eastpointe) to Emeritus Thomas, Jean (St. Peter, Hemlock) to Emeritus Thompson, Judy (St. Peter’s, Eastpointe) to Emeritus Vanick, Edward (St. Thomas, Eastpointe) to Emeritus Wiersig, Christine (St. Paul’s, Farmington – serving Concordia, Redford) to Emeritus Transfer out of District Arrick, Mary (Candidate) to North Wisconsin District Baringer, Todd (Trinity, St. Joseph) to Mid-South District Beethe, Ivan (Candidate) to North Wisconsin District Fischer, Melinda (St. Luke, Clinton Township) to Southern Illinois District Kumm, David (Christ the King, Sebewaing) to Ohio District McDaniel, Jennifer (Macomb, St. Peter) to Pacific Southwest District Oechsner, Bryan (Lutheran High North, Macomb) to Northwest District Pickelmann, Jonathon (St. John’s, Midland) to South Wisconsin District Robbins, Nathan (Concordia, Ann Arbor) to Texas District Wallace, Jeffery (Christ, Stevensville) to Indiana District Zeddies, Brooke (St. John, New Boston) to Missouri District Transferred into District Grannis, Kristy (Minnesota South District) to Open Arms, Belleville Jenicek, Rebecca (Northwest District) to Messiah, Holt Nash, Patricia (Indiana District) as Non-Candidate Sankey, Thad (Nebraska District) to Concordia, Ann Arbor Schumacher, Joshua (Pacific Southwest District) to Concordia, Ann Arbor Weiss, Rebecca (California-Hawaii-Nevada District) as Candidate Weiss, Theodore (California-Hawaii-Nevada District) to Immanuel, Sebewaing – serving at Christ the King, Sebewaing Resigned from the Roster Beach, Sharon Called Home Grueber, Susan Reitmeyer, Royce
A complete up-to-date listing of Calls and Vacancies can be found at www.michigandistrict.org, click on About.
E OF HOP L P O E PE
MICHIGAN DISTRICT LCMS
Michigan In Touch Online! Check out Blogs, Pictures, and Videos online at
www.michigandistrict.org/mit. Content that:
Awakens, Connects, Challenges, and Inspirits!
Calendar of Events SEPTEMBER
2 10-11 12 15-18 23-26
Labor Day Office Closed Circuit Counselors Conference Peace, Ann Arbor Webinar - Spiritual Disciplines* Deacon Conference Arcadia, Michigan IIM Conference Hillsdale, Michigan
4-6 6-9 11-13 16 18-20 21-23 24-26 25-27
Church Extension Fund Fall Conference Lansing, Michigan All Pastors’ Conference Boyne Falls, Michigan Lutheran Adult Gathering Mackinac Island, Michigan Webinar - Mission & Outreach* Confirmation Retreat Arcadia, Michigan Michigan/Ohio DCE/FLD Retreat Maumee Bay, Ohio LEA Convocation Milwaukee, Wisconsin Confirmation Retreat Arcadia, Michigan
Loon Lake Lutheran Retreat Center in Hale, Mich. is
“A Place Apart” • Youth Groups • Men’s/Women’s Groups • Family Reunions • Quilting Retreats • Outdoor Education • Band/Sports Camps • Conferences
877.264.1004 LLLRC@centurytel.net www.loonlakeretreat.org 24
7 New Church Worker Conference Ann Arbor, Michigan 8-9 Family Friendly Partners Network #3 Event 6 Guardian, Dearborn 13 Webinar - Communications* 28-29 Thanksgiving Office Closed
12 Webinar - School Mktg & Enrollment Education* 24-25 Christmas Office Closed
New Years Day Office Closed For detailed event information, please visit www.michigandistrict.org/events.
* The District Office hosts monthly free live webinars for professional church workers and lay leaders throughout the state and beyond. The hourlong presentations cover topics such as: school board membership, service as an elder, effective governance models, strategic planning, stewardship, missions, and more. For more information or to register, visit www.michigandistrict.org/webinars.
The September 2013 Michigan District, LCMS supplement to The Lutheran Witness.