August Update
Date: 08/01/2015

We now reflect upon the 2015 LLC Summer Services and meetings held July 2–5 in Outlook, Saskatchewan. Countless hours of planning, from scheduling microphone activation or announcements, to cleaning the bleachers, building a boardwalk, and measuring for chair layout, all joined together to benefit service guests when they arrived at the Jim Kook Recreation Complex. The throng of travelers from many locations lifted their voices to sing songs of Zion from the words projected on screens and then quieted to hear the sermons. This year’s motto, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27), reveals how God’s children hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, and follow Him in life, suffering, and doctrine. We thank the Heavenly Father for this time of re­­freshment, and we also thank the Laestadian Lutheran congregations in Outlook, Dunblane, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and the supporting congregations of Lethbridge, Alberta and Williston, North Dakota for hosting this year’s event. 

LLC Board Meeting, Thursday, July 2

The first of two meetings of the LLC Board of Directors during the Summer Services was held on Thursday, July 2. Thirteen of the fifteen Board members were present in addition to staff and Finnish guest minister, Aimo Helén. Board Chairman Jim Frantti and Aimo Helén both relayed greetings from representatives of the LLC’s sister organization, the SRK, in Finland. Helén spoke of SRK’s reorganization into five work areas and three mission areas and about several major camp expansion and renovation projects. The SRK Board of Directors has now approved a new Siionin laulut (songs of Zion) collection that will be released in a new printing in the summer of 2016. 

• Board members received planning updates for the current Summer Services and for future Summer and Winter Services. The location for the 2016 LLC Summer Services has been confirmed at the Essa Agriplex in Essa, Ontario, near Toronto, and the Board approved “Seek the Lord and his strength” (1 Chron. 16:11) as the motto for the 2016 LLC Phoenix Winter Services to be held February 25–28. 

• LLC will have a booth at the FinnFest tori (market) in Buffalo, New York, on October 10–11 to promote LLC and SRK publications and to make both spiritual materials and historical faith information available. Leading the organizational effort on LLC’s behalf this year are Gordon and Loraine Kumpula and Walt and Avis Lampi. 

• The Reisjärvi Opisto in Finland commemorated its 60-year anniversary in July. Keith Waaraniemi represented LLC at the event.

• The Christian Education Committee is planning for the September 24 Bible Class Teachers Workshop, where it is hoped that Raimo Österberg’s series of Bible illustrations will be available for release on CD and USB flash drive.

• The new foreign mission work committee, referred to as “MW3” and consisting of members from SRK, SFC, and LLC, has begun work and is off to a very positive start. The Board approved the establishment of a Foreign Mission Work Facilities Committee to identify facility needs and assist with planning and project management of meeting locations in foreign mission work areas.

• The Pastoral Committee reported on the work of the Bible Translation Evaluation Committee and presented a revised Bible Translation Statement to be reviewed at the Annual Meeting. 

• The Publications Committee reviewed the new publications for release at Summer Services, including the books, The Sheepfold Tender, At the crossroads of choosing, and the 2015 LLC Telephone and Address Directory. Books for future release include Kingdom Poems, North American believers’ poetry; God Loves You, a book of nature photography and Scripture and messages; The Iron Pillar and Brazen Wall, a translation of an SRK book on Jeremiah. The SRK book on Jeremiah will be featured in the 2015 Publications Week presentation. 

Progress continues with compiling and laying out music arrangements for our Songs and Hymns of Zion in the Chorale Book, with the milestone of initial layout of all songs expected to be reached by late summer. 

• The Home and Family Committee reported that the May congregation workshop held in Seattle went very well. The committee hopes similar workshops can be held in other locations in the future. 

• The Board approved the SRK–LLC 2015 Cooperation Document, which was updated through the course of the SRK–SFC–LLC sister organization meetings held in Finland in March. The document establishes the framework for mutual, cooperative efforts in many work areas.

• The Board approved a request from the Laestadian Lutheran Church of Gillette, Wyoming to be an LLC member congregation. The newly formed congregation was assigned to the Western Area in accordance with LLC Bylaws.

• The Board approved a request from staff to form an LLC Technology Committee that will serve as a steering/oversight committee to guide and support various aspects of LLC’s use of technology.  

• Board members received an update on discussions relating to the proposed expansion of Stony Lake Camp and on possible new camp acquisitions in Saskatchewan and the Pacific Northwest.

• In August, 19 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 21 applications for 14 scholarships for the 2016–17 opisto school year.

LLC Annual Meeting, Saturday, July 4

The 2015 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. Jon Bloomquist spoke from Psalms 119:105 in the opening devotion. The late Wesley Hillukka, of the Laestadian Lutheran Church of Elk River, who had served God’s kingdom for many years in various ways, was remembered in particular as the delegates stood to sing.

• Annual Meeting delegates, in conveying the outcome of their home congregation meetings, warmly sup­­ported the 2016 LLC Operating Plan and expressed appreciation for the booklet format. 

• Delegates asked for more information about the work of the Bible Translation Evaluation Committee. Jim Frantti spoke about the challenges that the old English language in the King James Version brings to foreign mission work and to our young people in particular. Frantti explained the work of the committee to evaluate key passages of various translations. The goal is to recognize the translation philosophies behind each and to use alternative translations to help understand the King James Version but not to replace it. A statement about the work of the committee will be issued in the near future.

• After considering the budget options presented, delegates approved a $2/member/month dues increase that will help to fund an additional salaried staff position in 2016. That brings the new dues rate next year to $32/member/month or $384/member/year, to be funded by member congregations through a variety of methods as a mutual obligation. 

• In the election of LLC Board members, Peter Kuopus (Eastern Area); George Koivukangas, Keith Waaraniemi, Steve Haataja (Midwestern Area); and John Stewart (Western Area) were re-elected to new terms. Eric Jurmu vacated his Western Area Board position due to his relocation to the Midwestern Area to assume the LLC Executive Director position. Ken Wuollet was elected as a new LLC Board member from the Western Area to fill Eric Jurmu’s unexpired term.

LLC Board Meeting, Saturday, July 4

Following the LLC Annual Meeting, the LLC Board of Directors held its annual organizational meeting. Officers of the Board continue the same as in the past year, except that Randy Herrala was appointed to fill the secretary position previously held by Keith Waaraniemi. Current LLC Board officers are:

Jim Frantti – Chairman
Jim Jurmu – Vice Chairman
Randy Herrala – Secretary
John Stewart – Assistant Secretary
Steve Haataja – Treasurer
Dave Anderson – Assistant Treasurer

Board members reviewed the just-concluded Annual Meeting and were thankful for the support shown toward the work of our central organization. 

Updates on other LLC Activities:

• Looking at upcoming events for late summer and early fall, final plans are now being made for the age 18 and above Labor Day Weekend youth gathering at Peace Gardens, North Dakota; the annual joint meeting of camp boards at the LLC office on September 12; the second Veterans Camp to be held at Stony Lake Camp September 18–20; a Bible class teachers workshop via teleconference on September 24; a Bible Camp at Stony Lake Camp September 25–27; and a Women’s Camp at Stony Lake Camp October 2–4. Please see the LLC website or LLC cal­­endar for other camp and congregation events and to register accordingly. Remember this year’s goal to attend at least one camp event this season!

• In June, two new ministers were called to serve in the Phoe­­­­nix Laestadian Lutheran Congregation. We wish God’s blessings to Brett Rintamaki and Glenn Wisuri and their wives.

Six years ago I was writing News and Notes for the first time; now it is the last. I will retire from the LLC Executive Director staff position effective August 31, and Eric Jurmu officially assumes those duties on September 1. I am thankful for this great blessing in my life to work with God’s children and to serve them. My wife, Noella, and I thank you for your support over these years. I especially thank the LLC Board of Directors and staff who have carried me and guided me in my various duties. Now I ask that the same love and support be shown toward Eric and his wife Maggie. Remember the LLC staff members who will continue to follow through with many ongoing projects and tasks. Again, thank you! Above all, let us thank the Heavenly Father who has blessed us so abundantly!

Randy Herrala

August 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