March Update
Date: 03/01/2016

During the Lenten season, and with the festivities of the 2016 Phoenix Winter Services behind us, we again pause and ponder the events leading up to Easter, a day of great festivity, as the songwriter has written: “Easter is our day of great festivity, when the Lamb was offered there on Calvary. Through His blood redeeming from our sins we’re free, robed in righteous garments, clothed in purity. Praise to Thee, dear Jesus! Sing my tongue and soul to Thee! Sing Hosanna! Amen!” (SHZ 107:1) It is by faith that the tired traveler will one day attain the glory and peace of heaven. 

Updates on Several LLC Activities

• Many of the staff from the LLC office were able to attend the 2016 Phoenix Winter Services, held February 25–28. The services motto, “Seek the Lord and his strength” (1 Chron. 16:11), reminded us how the weak and tired traveler can put complete trust in God’s almighty hand. Randy Herrala presented the topic, “Confession,” for the Friday congregation and youth evening. Archived sermons and photos can be accessed on the LLC website. Look for additional coverage in the upcoming April Voice of Zion.

• We have followed the Pastor search developments in Phoenix and Prescott Valley with keen interest and marvel at God’s guidance in this matter. The full-time Pastor position in Phoenix and Prescott Valley, and shared with the LLC, has been offered with unanimous support to Harri Vähäjylkkä from Jyväskylä, Finland. Harri and his wife Elina visited the southwest congregations January 23–30, 2016. Harri is an ordained minister presently working for the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church. Harri and Elina have 13 children; plans are for seven children to move with them. We wish them God’s abundant blessings as they make plans to come.  

• The new camp enrollment system is up and running. It has gone very well with few glitches. Interestingly, nearly 600 applications were processed in the first week. As part of the new system an additional feature has been added at checkout. This feature gives an opportunity to donate an additional amount to help those unable to contribute the full amount of camp dues. It was done at the request of those who would like to support families who, for whatever reason, are not able to pay the entire suggested camp fee.

• Information from the LLC office has been sent to the congregations for the annual LLC Campwork-Youthwork Week, March 6–13. As in the past, a video presentation has been sent to the congregations for their use. The theme for this year’s camp work comes from the Prophet Nehemiah, “For the people had a mind to work” (Neh. 4:6). May God give to each one of us the same heart of service today.  

• We will also meet with directors and other camp staff to begin their planning for the camp season at the Camp-Staff Workshop, Thursday, March 10. Those that can gather at the LLC office, welcome! We will connect others by web conference.

• A recent survey of LLC congregations shows there are 350 preschool-age students in Sunday school—ten years from now they will be confirmation-age. By contrast, for this year, plans are being made for 225 confirmation students. It reinforces the need to prayerfully ask that God will continue to provide direction to the work of His kingdom. 

• Work weeks at our camp facilities have been scheduled: Stony Lake Camp, April 2–9; Kamp Kipa, April 23–30; and Hasscib Lake Camp, May 16–22. The camp caretakers greatly appreciate the volunteers who come to help with projects and to get the camp facilities ready for the busy camp season. Put the dates on your calendar, and bring the new generation of volunteers to help out as well!

• Aware of the growth in God’s kingdom and additional staffing needs, a joint meeting of the LLC Personnel and Finance committees was held February 25 during Winter Services. It was a brainstorming session to consider LLC’s short-term and long-term needs. 

• Ministers camp is scheduled at SLC, April 15–17, 2016. This gives an opportunity for the ministers to meet and discuss joys and concerns of our day, and to be refreshed in the mutual work to which they’ve been called. In previous years it has been heartwarming to see the support that congregations have offered in sending their ministers to the camp. 

• Final proofing and editing is taking place now with the Chorale Book project. The plan is for a three-volume book with over 800 arrangements. The Publications department remains hopeful of releasing the long-awaited book at the 2016 LLC Summer Services in Toronto.

Eric Jurmu

March 2016 Voice of Zion

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