News & Notes

January 2021 Update

January 1, 2021

Happy New Year 2021!

The year 2020 was like no other in recent memory. What started as a normal year has certainly changed in ways that we could not have predicted. Due to the pandemic, Winter and Summer Services were moved to an online environment, foreign mission trips were postponed, confirmation schools were scheduled and rescheduled, most of the summer camps were canceled and local congregations adjusted their service arrangements.

We became familiar with distance learning, working from home, limits to social gathering and so on. Many things have changed around us and there may have been sorrows and trials, yet around us we see God’s abundant blessings. The greatest blessing is that one has been preserved in faith and can enter the new year as a child of God. Thus we face another year securely trusting in God’s guidance and direction for our own personal endeavor of faith and also for the work of His kingdom.

It has been heartwarming to see the care and generosity of believers in supporting the work. At the beginning of 2021, we prayerfully ask for God’s continued blessings. Most of all, the child of God has a living hope that one day faith will be changed to eternal life in the glory of heaven.

LLC Update Tour Continues

The LLC Update Tour was partially completed in 2020 as scheduled. Due to the pandemic, a number of congregation stops have been postponed into 2021. We have found the tour, which happens every three years, to be an important and needed means of communication throughout North American Zion. The plan is to complete the tour as early in the year as possible.

Staff Changes

Kathy Laho will be retiring from her position as LLC Communications Assistant early in 2021. A notice for filling this position has been sent to LLC congregations. Kathy has served in LLC work for many years and will be missed at the office. We wish Kathy God’s blessings for the days and years to come!

2021 LLC Winter Services

We extend a heartfelt welcome to 2021 LLC Phoenix Winter Services March 18–21. The current plan is to hold the services at the Phoenix church. Services are also scheduled to be held Wednesday, March 17, in Prescott Valley.

The theme chosen for services is Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17). The topic for the congregation discussion evening will be based on this theme and will be presented by Sam Roiko.

2021 LLC Summer Services

2021 LLC Summer Services are scheduled for July 1–4 in Marquette, Michigan. Please see additional information on page 15.

Confirmation Schools 2021

Planning for 2021 Confirmation Schools began with a web conference for directors and teachers on Monday, December 8. There will be eight camps this year, each planning for 30–35 students, with the exception of Stony Lake which can handle additional students due to the recent renovation. Online sign up began on January 4.

New LLC Office Building

Recently we’ve communicated plans to our member congregations regarding the purchase of a facility that we will use as our central office after the lease expires at our current location. The lease for the current LLC office space is expiring in 2021 and over a sixty-percent increase was planned in negotiations of a new lease. The purchase of the building in Monticello, Minnesota, is under contract.

Currently a 60-day due diligence period allows discussion with city officials and exploration of buildout costs. With the purchase of the new building and subsequent buildout, monthly costs are expected to be similar to current expenses. The closing is scheduled for February 25. Information will be communicated regularly to LLC congregations as the project develops.

Seasonal Positions Open

Seasonal positions for 2021 are available at each of our camp facilities, including core counselor, lifeguard, kitchen help, and caretaker’s assistant positions. Look for the information sent to your congregation. Contact LLC Facility Manager Phil Jurmu (pjurmu@llchurch.org) for additional information. Please submit your application by completing the Camp Work Application online.

Silver Springs Development

The LLC Facilities Committee, along with the Silver Springs Development Committee (SSDC) and Management Committee (SSMC) met at the LLC office on December 3, to consider future development at Silver Springs. The meeting prioritized five immediate needs and coordinators will communicate those plans to LLC congregations early in 2021.

Publications Updates

  • The Communications Department intends to publish two books in the coming months. One is titled The Heavenly Father’s Gift, which is a sequel to Where Has the Heavenly Father Gone?, an illustrated story originally published by the SRK. Our other new book will be Christ is the Same Yesterday, Today and Forever. The individual chapters of this book have been printed in the Voice of Zion in 2019–2020 issues, and now they will be compiled into a book.
  • We excitedly await the publication of Easter Messenger, the LLC’s new Easter magazine. Voice of Zion subscribers can watch for this new publication in the mail mid-March.
  • Speaking of the mail, we are aware that some subscribers have recently experienced delays in receiving their periodicals in a timely fashion. This appears to be due to the fact that we utilize bulk mail to reduce postage and subscription costs. We are investigating ways to avoid this in the future.
  • The Voice of Zion contained an insert in the October, November and December issues. The insert, called Round the table, aims to provide education, inspiration and activities that foster connections and discussion. We have received appreciative feedback on the insert, for which we are thankful. In 2021, we will publish Round the table every other month, in the February, April, June, August, October and December issues of the Voice of Zion.
  • The Communications Department made an effort to provide a variety of digital content around the Christmas holidays. These efforts have been well received, and we are considering ways to make such content available on a more regular basis.

Workshop for New Ministers

An online workshop for new ministers is scheduled for January 22–23 and will focus on a minister’s responsibilities. The workshop aims to provide basic information, resources and support for pastoral duties. This first workshop for new ministers is especially intended for ministers called in 2017 or later. Information about the workshop has been sent to congregation contacts.

Mission Work Update

  • A church facility was recently completed in Busumbala, Gambia.
  • Construction of the church facility in Atimé, Togo, is now underway.
  • Weekly online services for Ecuador have been scheduled through May 2021.
  • Recorded devotions are being delivered in WhatsApp in both English and French for congregations in Africa and Pakistan.
  • Evening devotions have been scheduled for four evenings per week through 2021.

Operating Plan

At the beginning of 2021 preparation for the 2022 LLC Operating Plan has begun. The theme chosen are words of Jesus, Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). The Operating Plan is an important tool for office staff as it gives clear direction to the work of the LLC.

God has given us a blessed time of work; may God continue to guide and bless our new year as only He can.

Eric Jurmu

info@llchurch.org
763-479-2422

Laestadian Lutheran Church
212 W 3rd St
Monticello, MN 55362

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1607
Monticello, MN 55362