Arvin Pirness | The Voice of Zion January 2023 - News and Notes --
To God on high all glory be, who sent His Son to set us free, while angels sing with pious mirth a glad new year to all the earth. – SHZ 16:15
The beginning of a new year marks a milestone – a point in time that gives us a reference mark to days gone by. We often find ourselves in contemplation of the past year and even nostalgic of yesteryear as the year ends and another begins.
The child of God joins with Samuel’s experience that so far hath the Lord helped us (1 Sam. 7:12). Having experienced His help, we can approach another year and securely trust in God’s guidance and direction for our own endeavor of faith and for the work of His kingdom. I have been touched by the support and generosity of believers in supporting the work. At the beginning of 2023, we prayerfully ask for God’s continued guidance and blessings.
The new year 2023 marks the 50th year of the Laestadian Lutheran Church and this thought is on our minds as we plan our service events, camps and publications.
Updates from the Mission Department
We have committed to quarterly ministers’ webinars beginning in 2023. The first webinar is scheduled for February 3.
We have begun planning for staff at Confirmation schools and foreign mission work trips for 2024. This preliminary work is sent to Area Mission Committees so they can facilitate the requests from congregations in their areas for special services and other area-wide events.
Updates from the Communications Department
In the Communications Department, there are goals in place to release a number of new publications this year. Among these:
We will publish one more board book in the current series edited by Ruth DeLacey and illustrated by Karen Fredrickson. This book, titled Now the Day Is Over, will feature an evening song and prayers. We hope this book will find its way into many little hands when evening comes and bedtime nears.
A special publication this year will be the first volume of our organization’s history. Watch for more information on this project in coming issues of The Voice of Zion this spring.
In a couple months, subscribers to this newspaper will find in their mailboxes the third issue of our annual Easter magazine, Easter Messenger. This publication, which is loosely modeled on Christmas in Zion and centered around the observation of Christ’s death and resurrection, appears to have been well received.
Speaking of Christmas in Zion, this year we will produce our 40th issue of that beloved publication. In honor of that, we plan to produce a special Christmas book. More information on that project will be forthcoming.
This year we will produce some new music albums. One of them is a choral album on the theme of The Good Shepherd. We will also record songs by North American composers and lyricists for a special anniversary album in honor of LLC’s 50-year celebration year. At the end of summer, we intend to record youth singing at Peace Gardens. In addition to these albums, there will also be some music that will be published only on Hearken, our publications app.
In addition to these physical publications, our work continues in digital efforts as well:
For several months already, our services broadcast team has been producing audio programs to present during LLC services.
Hearken will reach its one-year mark in March. We are thankful that LLC’s own publications app has been received well. We have many more subscribers already than we originally projected we would in the first year after the app’s launch. We will continue to add new content for subscribers’ enjoyment on a weekly basis. We invite users’ feedback as well! Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
For all our publications efforts, we rely on a large number of volunteer content creators. For all these contributions we are deeply grateful. The writings and artwork and other content you produce serves God’s children in so many ways! We will hold another Content Creators Workshop in September at Stony Lake Camp here in Minnesota. Stay tuned for more details!
Updates from Education and Facilities
Building on the foundations established by the workers of the past we now experience a new set of challenges as our membership increases. Camp work and Education have always tied closely together and this will continue. At the same time, however, we are beginning to see a time of adjustment and work to provide additional support to those who have been called to teach and preach. The focus for 2023 will be to provide greater support for directors and teachers assigned to camps. During 2023 we will continue to provide teacher and director workshops with training on the catechism and its contents.
The facilities owned by the LLC continue to serve well. The location of the new office continues to be of greater benefit to many for meetings, conferences and workshops. It is also situated in a way that is more visible to the community. We often receive visitors from the community who are interested in the services we provide. Recently a young mother stopped by who wished to have her infant baptized. The baptism was held in the conference room; it was an opportunity to share the mystery of faith to a member of the community.