January Update
Date: 01/01/2015

Happy New Year! With this familiar greeting we wish one another good fortune in the new year just beginning. At the same time we are reminded that another year has ended and that time has gone quickly. Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians that we should walk not as fools but as wise, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). We want to make wholesome use of our time. As we make plans for the coming year, let us pray to God that He will bless our plans and guide our footsteps, protecting us in faith and from harm on the journey to heaven.

Updates on several LLC activities:

• As the new year begins, LLC staff and event directors begin planning in earnest for the many 2015 events appearing on the LLC calendar. We also begin the planning process for 2016, scheduling core events and asking directors, teachers, and ministers to serve. Let us note a few items in particular:

−Current information about the 2015 LLC Winter Services in Phoenix, Ariz., and 2015 LLC Summer Services in Outlook, Sask., appears in this issue of the Voice of Zion and on the LLC’s website.

−Preparations are underway for joint planning meetings with our sister organizations, SRK (Finland) and SFC (Sweden), to be held in Finland in March. 

−April includes an LLC Board, staff, and spouse camp April 10–12 and the biennial board members workshop on April 25.  

−New camps include the second Veterans’ Camp at Stony Lake Camp, to be held September 18–20, and a women’s camp at Stony Lake Camp, October 2–4.  

−The 2015 “Camps at a Glance” cards will soon be available in your congregations. This schedule may also be downloaded directly from the LLC website by going to “Camps at a Glance” under the “Camps” heading on the homepage. It also appears on the inside of the front cover of the 2015 LLC Calendar. Review the calendar and begin making exciting plans for the events you will attend in 2015!

• The Stony Lake Camp Development Committee presented a report to the October 25 LLC Board meeting. In working with an architect, conceptual plans have been developed for a proposed project envisioned to meet the future needs and use of the camp. The plans call for a new camp center to be constructed and the current main building to be remodeled. The October LLC Board discussion of the proposed project continued on December 4 when the LLC Board, Stony Lake Camp Board, and Stony Lake Camp Development Committee held a joint meeting. The project concept was also presented to the annual meeting of the Midwestern Area Congregation Boards December 6. Presentations about the project are now being arranged for early 2015 in Stony Lake Camp Support Area congregations. We look forward to a time of mutual discussion about the possibility of another significant project and improvements to our oldest camp facility.  

• Our mission work staff recently sent a communication to congregations outlining a new method for scheduling visiting ministers from Finland and Sweden. In an effort to reduce costs and rigorous travel, speaking tours will be more regional. All congregations will have approximately the same number of service days per year, but visiting ministers will not reach as many congregations on each trip as before. The number of SRK and SFC services will increase in some congregations and decrease in others.

• Each month in the Voice of Zion we note the upcoming LLC-arranged foreign mission trips. In December, Peter Lever and Olli Vänskä traveled to Ecuador, and Ron Simonson and Mark Lee traveled to Togo and Ghana in West Africa. Trips beginning in late December and continuing into January include Peter Kuopus to Finland, and Jim Jurmu and Timo Löpponen (SFC) to Ghana and Togo. Walt Lampi departed in late December, along with his wife, Avis, for a three-month mission trip to Ecuador, the first trip of such duration. Antti Paananen (SRK) and his wife, Aino, will join Lampi’s in Ecuador during the latter part of January. Jon Bloomquist will travel to Kenya with Marko Niskanen (SRK) later in January. We thank our ministers for serving our brothers and sisters in foreign lands, knowing that such trips in and around the holidays require special effort. 

• Delegates at the 2014 LLC Annual Meeting on July 5 decided to increase LLC dues by $1/member/month effective January 1 to partially fund the proposed increase to the personnel budget. The new dues rate upon which LLC member congregations base their monthly dues contribution to LLC is now $30/member/month, or $40/member/month when camp support area contributions are included. Thank you for supporting your home congregation and the LLC!

• The 2015 LLC Operating Plan adopted by the LLC Board of Directors in October included the addition of an LLC support staff position early in 2015. The Personnel Committee is currently working to define the new position and will bring a recommendation to the full Board at the LLC Board’s February meeting.

God has given us a time of work, but He has also given us His gifts with which to serve and the joy of His blessings in doing so. May God bless our new year and the many gatherings for which we prepare!

Randy Herrala

January 2015 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