December 2013

Dear Fellow Workers in Christ's Kingdom:

As we neared the small city, our tour bus slowed. A shepherd was driving his flock of sheep. Everybody was quick to snap a photo. Why? It wasn't that we had not already observed shepherds along the various routes of our journey. But this was special. It was right outside "the little town of Bethlehem" - the birthplace of our holy Savior! Think of what it must have been like that starry night long ago when the common shepherds witnessed the glorious sight of the angelic announcement of the birth that has forever changed world history. Think of the joy they had as they rushed to the place where the baby Jesus lay and knelt in joyous worship! Like the shepherds of old, may each of us in this sacred season kneel in spirit at the manger-bed as we hear the news meant for every single soul on this planet: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!" (Luke 2:11)


Have a truly blessed Christmas!

John A. Moldstad

Thanks for Hosting

The women of Bethany Lutheran in Luverne, Minnesota, hosted the annual women's mission rally on October 26, 2013. Presentations were made by Nick and Kerry Laper on Gift of Life in the country of Ukraine, Dr. Michael Smith on ELS home missions, and Rev. Paul Fries on world mission work. Over $10,000 in offerings were gathered for Cross-stitch projects.

Ringing in Praises for our Heavenly King!

On Sunday, November 24, 2013, the hand-bell choir from Parkland Lutheran, Tacoma, Washington, played for The Evergreen Lutheran School System (TELSS) Choral Festival. Rev. Alex Ring serves as the choir's director.

Jeff Luplow Installation of Pastor Luplow

Rev. Jeff Luplow was installed as pastor of St. John's Lutheran in Frankenmuth, Michigan, on November 10, 2013. Circuit 3 Visitor, Rev. Paul Schneider of Midland, Michigan, performed the rite of installation. Pastor Luplow joined the ELS in 2008.

Doctorate Conferred

We wish to acknowledge the doctorate earned by our New Testament exegetical professor at our Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. Rev. Michael Smith recently was awarded a Ph.D. in biblical studies from Trinity, Newburgh, Indiana. Congratulations, Dr. Smith!

Note on Synod Giving

First, we would like to thank all of our congregations and individuals for gifts toward the Gospel work we have agreed to do together as a synod. Your regular offerings for the ELS enable us to plan and implement projects and activities for the growth of Christ's kingdom. Also, at this time of the year, we want to remind all that we are in a position to meet our stated goal of $750,000 for congregational contributions in 2013. As previously adopted, any gifts beyond $725,000 have been slated for direct use by our Board for Home Outreach (home missions and evangelism).


Baptism of Caspian

The students of Jesus Lambs at Peace Preschool in North Mankato, Minnesota, were on hand to witness the baptism of fellow student Caspian on Monday, November 25. Caspian had learned about baptism in the classroom and had told the pastor he would like to be baptized. Rev. Tim Hartwig serves as pastor at Peace Lutheran.

News on Missions

  • Our newest home mission, Divine Mercy Lutheran Church in Weatherford/Hudson Oaks, Texas, has now secured a local middle school as the site for its opening worship scheduled for January 26, 2014. If you would like more information about Divine Mercy go to
  • In the month of January, we are anticipating the ordination of fourteen Indian pastors for use in the LMSI. The seminary level instruction over the years has been provided to twenty men on behalf of four ordained pastors.
  • The national church in Chile continues to take on greater responsibility. The church now has three active seminary students and three pre-seminary students. Also English-as-a-Foreign-Language classes in Linares have resulted in new members for that congregation.

Ottesen Museum

The ELS Ottesen Museum invites you to its third annual Christmas Open House. This year's theme is "An Asian Christmas," highlighting the Christmas customs of our sister churches in India and Korea. Take this opportunity to learn to sing traditional Christmas carols in Korean and Telugu like our brothers and sisters in Asia. Try some Korean and Indian Christmas treats. Get a taste for Asian style Christmas decorations. You may even be in for a few surprises. The Open House is Tuesday, December 10, 2013 from 2:30 through 5:30 pm at the Ottesen Museum: 4 Browns Court in Mankato, Minnesota.

Resignation and Appointment

Mr. Steven Buelow has resigned from the Committee for Communication. We thank Steve for his past service. The president has appointed Rev. Daniel Hartwig to fill out the remainder of the one-year appointed term.

Come Follow Me Come Follow Me

The newest outreach movie from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Come Follow Me, is now available. The movie focuses on Peter's tumultuous life as a disciple of Jesus. Copies can be ordered through Northwestern Publishing House.

Abiding Word Bible Class at Abiding Word

On Sunday, November 17, President Moldstad addressed the members of Abiding Word Lutheran in Bowling Green, Ohio. Abiding Word is currently in a vacancy situation and is being served by Rev. Carlton Sielaff.

President's Schedule

December 2-3 - Doctrine Committee

December 3 - Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary Graduation

December 5 - Assignment Committee

December 8 - Call meeting at English, Cottonwood, Minnesota

December 9-12 - Interchurch meetings in Tucson, Arizona

December 10 - Ottesen Museum Open House

December 12 - Synod Review Committee

December 13, 3:30 - Bethany Lutheran College Midyear Graduation

January 9 - Centennial Committee

January 21 - Planning & Coordinating Committee

January 22-23 - Board for Youth Outreach

January 30-31 - Board for Home Outreach

Vacancies and Calls

Click here to view current vacancies and calls in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. 




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