May is also a season during which we remember our mothers with Mothers’ Day and our new graduates with commencement exercises and receptions. Dear mothers, thank you for all you do for your homes and families! Dear graduates, a time of new opportunities now opens for you. May God bless your future endeavors!
Updates on several LLC activities:
• The Notice and Agenda for the 2015 LLC Annual Meeting, to be held July 4 in Outlook, Saskatchewan, have now been sent to all LLC member congregations. Included in the packet is the 2016 LLC Operating Plan booklet, titled, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). The Operating Plan provides two budget options for congregations to consider: one with no dues increase, and one with a $2.00/member/month increase. The plan describes additional staffing enabled by increased funding. Please participate in your home congregation’s discussions arranged to prepare your delegates for the annual meeting.
• The new staff position in the LLC office has now been filled. The LLC Board of Directors hired Jessica Nikula, of New Castle, Colorado, for the Administrative Secretary position at its April meeting. In addition to her secretarial skills, Nikula brings experience having served at many LLC camp events and as a Spanish interpreter on foreign mission trips. She will begin her LLC employment in mid-June upon relocating to Minnesota. We’re thankful for all the individuals who expressed interest and submitted resumes for the position.
• The April 25 LLC Congregation Board Members Workshop at the Minneapolis Laestadian Lutheran Church was well attended with 105 board members and ministers present in person and another approximate 40 attending remotely through 24 conferencing connections. In the opening session, Jim Frantti provided a report on the joint LLC-SRK-SFC meetings in March in Finland. The remainder of the day included sessions on the role of board members, the role of delegates, an overview of the 2016 LLC Operating Plan and preparing for the LLC Annual Meeting, and serving and supporting our home congregations.
• We are fast approaching the time of the 2015 LLC Summer Services in Outlook, Saskatchewan. The schedule is now being finalized, and information is being compiled for printing the Summer Services booklet, which will also be available for downloading from the LLC website. We have recently received new information about lodging in Outlook motels and at the Lutheran Collegiate Bible Institute, as well as youth hostel lodging at the high school gymnasium. Please see the related article in this issue of the Voice of Zion and watch the LLC’s website for updated information as the time of the services approaches. Also note the border crossing information for travel into and out of Canada.
• Three publications are nearing completion and are scheduled for release at this year’s Summer Services. They include the second book in the compilation of previously published editorials and presentations, The Sheepfold Tender, Life within God’s kingdom; the 2015 LLC Telephone and Address Directory; and the translation of an SRK book for youth, Time of Choice.
• During May, my wife and I will be traveling to Alaska to attend the dedication services of the Alaska Laestadian Lutheran Church. The Alaska congregation officially registered in 2005. Prior to completion of the new church, the area believers gathered in homes and rented facilities. After many prayers and years of hard work, we join in their joy of having a meeting place of their own!
Last month I mentioned that this May issue of the Voice of Zion would include additional information about the aforementioned March trip to Finland. Jim Frantti, Board Chairman; Jon Bloomquist, Mission Work Director; and Eric Jurmu and myself, Randy Herrala, as incoming and outgoing Executive Directors, made the ten-day work trip together. See the separate article, “God Blesses Meetings in Oulu, Finland.” Once again, the purpose of the trip was to participate in meetings of three sister organizations—LLC in North America, SFC in Sweden, and SRK in Finland—to discuss the mutual work of God’s kingdom.
SRK Vice Chairman Matti Taskila kept the opening devotion for the joint meetings. After reading from Eph. 2:19–22, Taskila spoke how we are not strangers but fellow citizens in the household of God. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone and everything is built on this foundation. As the two full days of meetings was ending, the participants shared their thoughts. Throughout discussions on the many topics, there was always a feeling of unity of faith and Spirit.
May 2015 Voice of Zion