August Update
Date: 08/01/2014

A summer festival, the 2014 LLC Summer Services and meetings, concluded on July 6. God gave a time of refreshment to pause around His Word in the fellowship of His children. Saturday evening’s youth presentation, “Remember, now thy Creator in the days of thy youth” (Eccl. 12:1), by Sam Roiko, spoke of the joy of a child of God and noted that the time of youth is a special time of visitation. “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth” (Eccl. 11:9). The Summer Services weekend was truly a time of joy for the children of God who gathered there!

LLC Board Meeting, Thursday, July 3

The first of two LLC Board of Directors’ meetings during the Summer Services was held on Thursday, July 3. All 15 Board members were present in addition to staff and Finnish guest minister, Timo Tuomisto. Board Chairman Jim Frantti and Timo Tuomisto both relayed greetings from representatives of the LLC’s sister organization, the SRK, in Finland. Frantti opened the meeting noting how in the world we have seen a rapid decline in morals and a loss of the fear of God, yet in God’s kingdom we’ve seen great blessings in a time of growth and work. We need to trust in God, remembering that He gives the increase. The Board heard reports and acted upon various items:

• Board members received planning updates for the current Summer Services and for future Summer and Winter Services. The location for the 2015 LLC Summer Services has been confirmed as the Outlook Recreation Complex (Rec Plex) in Outlook, Sask., and the Board approved “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccl. 3:1) as the motto for the 2015 LLC Phoenix Winter Services. The Board also approved a request by the Laestadian Lutheran Church of Elk River to host the 2019 LLC Summer Services in the Midwestern Area. Summer Services locations have now been established through 2019. 

• LLC will have a booth at the FinnFest tori (market) in Minneapolis on August 8–10 to promote LLC and SRK publications and to share historical and faith-related information from our FinnFest USA 2013 lectures and Millennium Exhibit.

• The Christian Education Committee is planning to host a Bible Class Teachers workshop via teleconference on September 25.

• On August 14, twenty North American students will be departing for the next school year in Finland at the Jämsä, Ranua, and Reisjärvi opistos. In addition, the Opisto Scholarship Committee will soon be reviewing 29 applications for 14 scholarships for the 2015–16 opisto school year.

• Nick Ylitalo visited the Board meeting to give a presentation on behalf of the Stony Lake Camp Development Committee. He showed preliminary architectural concept plans that reflect the committee’s goals of doubling camp capacity, constructing for year-round operation, and hosting simultaneous camp events. Planning work will continue with more defined project proposals to be presented to the Board this fall.

• In mission work, planning has begun for joint LLC–SRK–SFC meetings in Finland next spring. The Board favored adding a confirmation school in Togo in 2015 to the present schedule, and planning is underway for a three-month mission trip in Ecuador by Walt and Avis Lampi in early 2015. 

• Publications director Paul Waaraniemi will travel to Finland in September to attend the Päivämies 60th anniversary commemoration, take part in an SRK publications seminar, and discuss mutual publications work with SRK.

• A Home and Family link has been created on the LLC website under “Our Faith,” linking to a resource area containing articles and presentations related to home, family, and diaconal work.

• Jim Frantti reported on the 2014 LLC Update/Congregation Tour, noting that the visits to congregations generated meaningful input and positive comments. Staff will be reviewing the information and considering how to incorporate suggestions into the future work plans. 

LLC Annual Meeting, Saturday, July 5

The 2014 LLC Annual Meeting began according to tradition, with an opening devotion and by singing “Saints of God” in memory of believers who have passed away over the past year. The opening devotion was kept by Petri Hotari, speaking from Ezekiel 36:33–38, and long-time Ishpeming, Mich. minister Bernie Johnson was remembered in particular as the delegates stood to sing.

• Annual Meeting delegates brought a strong message of support from their home congregations as they visited about the 2015 LLC Operating Plan. The booklet format has been appreciated, and a unanimous vote in support of the plan was taken. 

• In the election of LLC Board members, Randy Herrala, Duane Pirness, and Dave Anderson were re-elected to new terms from the Midwestern Area, and Eric Jurmu was re-elected to a new term from the Western Area. Kermit Ylitalo retired from his Midwestern Area Board position, and Sam Roiko was elected as a new LLC Board member. 

On behalf of the LLC Board of Directors and staff, I thank the Laestadian Lutheran Church of Monticello and the Rockford Laestadian Lutheran Church for their work in hosting the 2014 LLC Summer Services and meetings. We also thank all the congregations and their delegates for the Annual Meeting discussions about the 2015 LLC Draft Operating Plan. LLC Board and staff will be reviewing the suggestions in the weeks ahead, in preparation for adoption of the final plan this fall. As the summer of 2014 continues, we wish God’s blessings to the over 200 confirmation students who completed their studies at the five 2014 LLC confirmation schools and to the 20 North American students who will soon depart for the 2014–15 school year to study at the opistos in Finland. May you all have an enjoyable summer!

Randy Herrala

August 2014 Voice of Zion

Laestadian Lutheran Church 279 N Medina St, Suite #150, Loretto, MN 55357
Phone 763-479-2422 | Fax 763-479-2133 | Email info@llchurch.org