March Update
Date: 03/01/2015

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). With this motto, guests gathered February 19–22 for the 2015 LLC Winter Services at the Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran Church. Throughout the services and during the congregation and youth evening, where a presentation titled, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people” (Isa. 40:1) was heard, listeners were encouraged to trust in God’s guidance and pray for His protection during all phases of life. Guests were reminded to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). God’s kingdom is a refuge, and the children of God who dwell in it, endeavoring to keep faith and a good conscience, are protected from much evil on the journey to heaven.  

Updates on Several LLC Activities:

• The LLC Board of Directors held its winter meeting on February 20. At that time, the Board appointed Eric Jurmu to assume the LLC Executive Director position upon the retirement of Randy Herrala at the end of August. This decision of the Board was reached after hearing a report from the Executive Director search committee. The search committee, consisting of seven LLC Board members from seven different LLC congregations across North America, was formed at the October 2014 Board meeting to undertake the process of finding a replacement and bringing forth a recommendation. Jurmu, who is currently serving as pastor of the Phoenix and Prescott Valley congregations, also serves as one of three LLC-shared pastors who spend a portion of their time in the work of our central organization. He also serves as an LLC Board member from the Western region.

Eric and his wife, Maggie, have agreed to accept this calling, trusting that it is God’s will to relocate to Minnesota where Eric’s new place of work will be in the LLC’s Loretto offices. Recalling the Winter Services motto, “To every thing there is a season,” we see this also in the work of God’s kingdom. Servants serve for their time as God calls and places His gifts into various positions of work. Now the transition from one Executive Director to another begins, and it will also be a time of change for the Southwest congregations as they prayerfully seek a new servant to fill Eric’s pastoral position. We pray for God’s guidance and blessing in these changes and in all things.

• In other Board meeting actions, requests for LLC membership were approved from two newly formed congregations. The addition of the Laestadian Lutheran Church of Flagstaff, in Arizona, and the Laestadian Lutheran Church of the North Sound, in Washington, brings the total number of LLC congregations to 33. Each congregation needs servants of the Word, houses of worship, board members, teachers, song leaders, organists, youth workers, and many workers in numerous areas. May God bless these congregations as they begin a new era in their communities.

• Acting on a recommendation from the Personnel Committee, the Board approved the addition of a full-time support position in the LLC office. The position description and solicitation of applications will be sent to congregations in the near future.

• In recent weeks, five new ministers have been called to serve in LLC member congregations. We wish God’s blessings to the following ministers and their wives as a new season to serve in their lives and in their congregations begins:

– Blaine Maki, Seattle Laestadian Lutheran Church

– Scott Simonson, Seattle Laestadian Lutheran Church

– Andrew Hotari, Toronto Laestadian Lutheran Congregation

– David Niemi, Toronto Laestadian Lutheran Congregation

– Troy Wuollet, Laestadian Lutheran Church of Williston

During the LLC greeting at the opening of the 2015 LLC Phoe­­­­nix Winter Services, Board chairman Jim Frantti referred to the words of Jesus, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).  It is a time of work, and God knows our needs. We are thankful that He continues to call workers into the vineyard.

• The Stony Lake Camp Development Committee has now held meetings in all SLC support area congregations to review conceptual plans for expanding and renovating Stony Lake Camp. The committee and congregations are now beginning to discuss alternatives for fundraising and funding. At the same time, valuable suggestions arising from the congregation visits are being studied as refinements to the conceptual plans take place. The LLC Board will be considering local support and further suggestions for this project at its spring and summer Board meetings.

• Jim Frantti, Jon Bloomquist, Randy Herrala, and Eric Jurmu are preparing for their trip to Finland during the last week of March. At that time representatives of three sister organizations—LLC in North America, SFC in Sweden, and SRK in Finland—will be meeting to discuss the mutual work of God’s kingdom and to explore further opportunities for joint work on many fronts.

• The annual Camp Staff Workshop will be held on Thursday evening, March 5, originating from the LLC office with provision for remote attendance. This event will present current information to camp event directors, assistant directors, and teachers to help them prepare for this year’s many camp events. The Camp Staff Workshop takes place during Campwork-Youthwork week, to be observed March 1–8 in most congregations. The Campwork-Youthwork week video presentation will soon be available for viewing on the LLC’s website in addition to viewing in your home congregation sessions. 

• The Home and Family Committee has scheduled a teleconference for March 3, for Home and Family congregation contacts and ministers. Daren Hendrickson, who works in the area of professional counseling, will present information on mental health and social services that are available to individuals and families.

• Remember that it is time for you and your family to enroll in the 2015 camps of your choice. Enroll online via the LLC website. Congregation board members and ministers should also make note of the LLC Congregation Board Members Workshop to be held April 25 at the Minneapolis Laestadian Lutheran Church. Agendas will be sent to congregation officers soon; enrollment may be made online or by contacting the LLC office.

During the weekend of February 6–8, my wife and I attended the Winter Services of the Laestadian Lutheran Church of Florida in Lake Worth. It was our first opportunity to visit in that locality. The motto for the service weekend came from Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Guests attended the festive services from the United States, Canada, Finland, and Sweden. It was good to remember how God throughout time has blessed the nations and people who love and fear Him. 

Randy Herrala

March 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