Eric Jurmu | The Voice of Zion September 2021 - News and Notes --
With summer vacations over we are returning to normal office activities. Reflecting on the summer months we see God’s continued protection and blessings. Even though we couldn’t gather in-person for Summer Services, God nonetheless blessed the online services in His abundance. We are thankful that we were able to keep a full camp season this summer, where so many of our young were able to experience camp life and the blessings which come from that. We pray that the Word which was sown there would bear fruit in God’s time.
September also marks the beginning of the school year for many children. Many prayers rise to the heavenly Father as the little ones embark on their task of learning life’s skills.
Updates on LLC Activities
• With the summer camp season winding down we are again thankful for God’s guidance and blessing. All eight confirmation schools went well with over 250 students being confirmed. We remember them as they return to their families and congregations.
• On August 10th we held an LLC office dedication and open house. During the dedication program we were reminded of God’s abundant blessing in providing the LLC with its first LLC-owned office space, and how generous our membership has been in support financially and with countless hours of labor in constructing the office space.
• Only a few items remain for completion of the office, the biggest being the exterior painting. In August the office sign was installed at the front of the building to complete the construction phase of the project.
• We see God’s continued blessings as Gary Hoikka was ordained on June 20, 2021, at a ceremony in the Cokato, Minn., church. The congregation expressed much joy with this calling, and the Holy Spirit clearly, and powerfully, guided the congregation with this decision. We wish Gary, his wife Jen and their family God’s abundant blessings in this call to serve.
• Additionally, the Monticello, Minn., congregation blessed Daren Hendrickson into the office of the ministry on August 15, 2021. The congregation took time to speak words of encouragement and support for Daren, his wife Melissa and their family prior to the ordination. We also wish Daren and Melissa God’s abundant blessings and protection with this calling.
• A third minister was called to serve in God’s kingdom. Antti Roiko was ordained in the Elk River, Minn., congregation on August 29, 2021. May God bless Antti, Anna-Kaisa and their family and keep them and all of us in living faith.
• Though travel can be challenging due to the pandemic, sixteen North American students left for their year at opisto in Finland. The students will be required to quarantine before beginning their school year. We continue to recognize the importance of the opisto program and wish the students God’s abundant blessings.
• It was agreed to hold Peace Gardens Youth Days September 4–5 even though the US-Canada border isn’t entirely open. Although many Canadian youth won’t be able to attend, there is excitement that youth have an opportunity to gather again.
• Due to travel restrictions during the pandemic, there is a possibility that the joint SRK-LLC-SFC meetings scheduled for early November will be postponed. The decision to postpone will wait until the end of September.
• Currently, foreign mission trips are still on hold. With the uptick in COVID-19 variant infections, it seems unlikely that any foreign mission trips will happen before 2022. Online services will continue for those mission fields affected.
• The LLC has entered a contract agreement with app developer Matellio for the LLC publications app. The Digital Publications committee expresses confidence that the new app will be ready for release by the end of the year. The committee will be prepared with an update for the October board meeting.
• The newest board book arrived at the LLC office in mid-August: Hear the Little Songbird Sing. I again marvel at the God-given gifts of His children.
• The reading group for the 50-year LLC history book project will meet for the first time in September to review the first installment of writing. It is with great interest that we watch this project move forward.
• There has been a delay in the release of the new songbook app due to summer schedules. The work is mostly complete with hopes for release soon.
• Due to increases in printing and postage costs, the subscription rates for our periodicals Voice of Zion and Shepherd’s Voice will rise by about ten percent, effective January 2022. We hope this increase will allow us to continue to publish these periodicals as before. New subscriptions or renewals made before the end of this year are available at current rates.
• Planning for 2022 LLC Summer Services now begins in earnest. Services will be held July 1–4, 2022 at Kelso High School; Kelso is Longview’s twin city. The facility is comparable in size to the Snohomish High School which was used for summer services in 2018. The school will also allow us to use a soccer field for RVs and dry camping. Look for more details on the LLC website in coming months.
• The LLC board assigned a committee to review the current structure of the three LLC areas. In review the committee noted that the entire Eastern Area currently reports 276 members, so it appears likely that some reorganization will be necessary. A proposal for reorganization will be prepared for board review at its October meeting.
• A note from the directors of the fall SLC Bible Course: Welcome to the SLC Bible Course October 8–10, 2021. Following an overview of the Jewish Festive Calendar, we will delve into three Old Testament feasts – Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles – their place in the gospel texts and the events that they point to in the New Testament.
We thank you for the continued prayer and support of the work of God’s kingdom.