August Update
Date: 08/03/2016

When I visited the Essa Agriplex late last fall, it was a cold, wet, and windy day, and it was hard to imagine how Summer Services might go in such an open and airy venue. However, God blessed the 2016 LLC Summer Services in many ways, including the weather. It was an opportunity for us North Americans to experience in a small way what summer services in Finland might be like. Essa Agriplex is an agricultural complex with acres of fields that housed the nearly 50 RVs and over 30 tent sites. Temporary showers were built in wash bays for services guests that stayed at the site. Without kitchen facilities meals had to be prepared in advance and taken to the site as needed. And, as it has been in recent years, the grill was a popular choice for meals. Even breakfast was provided for those staying onsite.

Most important was that God blessed the services with His Word. This year’s services motto, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid” (Isa. 12:2) was woven throughout the sermons, and the tired traveler left comforted and refreshed. We thank the Heavenly Father for this time of refreshment, and we also thank the believers in the hosting congregation of Toronto and the supporting Eastern Area congregations, for their service and labor of love. 

LLC Board Meeting, Friday, July 1

Visiting ministers, Pentti Rentola and Timo Lehtola, relayed greetings from LLC’s sister organizations in Finland (SRK) and Sweden (SFC), respectively. Rentola spoke of the importance of mutual work between the organizations and how it helps to foster unity. He told of the new Finnish hymnal (Siionin laulut ja virsikirja) that was released at Summer Services in Tornio, and how suviseuraradio (summer service radio) has become a mainstay of activity for the summer. We were given a small glimpse of the magnitude of work being done by the SRK with 48 confirmation camps and 2300 students scheduled to attend those camps in 2016. Timo Lehtola also spoke of the importance of mutual work, expressing thankfulness for the opportunity to visit North America and to experience the unity and love that unites God’s children. 

• Board members reviewed planning updates for current Summer Services and future Winter and Summer Services. The motto, “I will not leave you comfortless” (John 14:18), was approved for Phoenix Winter Services, February 23–26, 2017, and “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37), for Summer Services in Cokato, Minn., June 30–July 3, 2017.

• The Home and Family Committee is working with the Publications Committee to publish a “table top” book for use in the home. This will be a compilation of Home and Family articles that have been published in the Voice of Zion and some from the Shepherd’s Voice

• The Monticello congregation has entered into a purchase agreement on a 99-acre parcel of land formerly known as the Silver Springs Golf Course. The Minnesota Facilities Committee has been studying the possibilities of acquiring land for a “camp” facility and potential summer services site in southern Minnesota. The LLC Personnel/Facilities Committee has discussed the possibility of purchasing a portion of this property. Possible uses would be to build LLC offices, a conference center/camp facility, and summer services site. Discussions are ongoing with the committee, the Monticello congregation, and the Minnesota Facilities Committee, along with local city and county representatives, to assess the potential. 

• Mission Work and Pastoral Directors noted that special consideration will be made in 2017 celebrating the 500th year since the Reformation. Our yearly cycle of events and publications operations will incorporate commemorative activities and products celebrating this milestone.

• Our publications department noted the completion of the long-awaited Chorale Book and reviewed plans for its release. For a listing of other newly released items, see the Publications Release writing on page 10. Also noted was a recording of youth singing at the Toronto church, July 4, 2016, scheduled for release this fall.  

• Cooperative work between the LLC and SRK will begin soon to provide English material for the 2017 summer services radio in Finland. Also included are plans to broadcast archived sermons from 2017 Winter Services in Phoenix. Remote training is a possibility, but a couple of people may need to travel to Finland for some training. 

• MP3 songs from LLC’s Songs and Hymns of Zion are now being made available on iTunes and other online music sites, including the LLC’s website. 

• The Christian Education department is working on future camp planning with a camp use analysis. It’s important to look at how we use our facilities. Are we maximizing their use? 

LLC Annual Meeting, Saturday, July 2 

The 2016 LLC Annual Meeting began with opening devotion and by singing in memory of saints who have passed away during the last year. Especially re­membered was Quentin Ruonavaara, long-time servant of the Word and LLC Board member.  

Annual meeting delegates warmly supported the proposed 2017 LLC Operating Plan. Some of the plan highlights include:

• Representatives of the LLC, SRK, and SFC meet every other year. Plans have been made to hold a meeting of the three organizations at the LLC offices in Loretto, Minn., in April 2017.

• Survey information forecasts a growth in confirmation students from 234 to 340 by the year 2026. A sixth LLC confirmation school will be needed in 2017 and is being planned for Saskatchewan.

• The Christian Education area is studying the impact of operating our camps as year-round facilities.

• Camp facility search committees in the Pacific Northwest and Saskatchewan are also considering needs and possibilities in their respective areas.

• The LLC Home and Family Committee continues to build a resource data base on the LLC’s website.

• In the fall of 2016, the Voice of Zion’s Home and Family feature will address the topic of sexuality.

The Publications department will in upcoming months release the final book in the four-part topical, editorial series. This book will feature writings that impact the believer in his individual endeavor in faith. 

• LLC Technology Committee will begin work on website redesign.

• With the LLC budget now over two million, we thank the membership for continued support—no dues increase is needed. 

Other Annual Meeting highlights include:

• Delegates reelected James Frantti and Petri Hotari (Eastern Area); James Jurmu (Midwestern Area); James Moll and Peter Lever (Western Area) to three-year terms.

• Future Summer Services hosting congregations: 2017–Cokato, Minn.; 2018–Seattle; 2019–Rockford, Minn.; 2020–Ishpeming, Mich.

Updates on Other LLC Activities

• In June, two new servants of the Word were called to serve the Laestadian Lutheran Church in Longview, Wash. We wish God’s abundant blessings to Daniel Huhta and Loren Keplinger, and also remember their wives and families.

• We continue to see how God is blessing the growth of His kingdom. The Laestadian Lutheran Church of Elk River, in Minnesota, has broken ground on their new church project. We wish them God’s blessings in this endeavor. 

• Final plans are being made for Peace Garden Youth Days to be held over Labor Day weekend. Please enroll online if you are planning to attend.

Eric Jurmu

August 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