Join Pres. Beinke for a weekly Bible study of the Scripture readings for the coming Sunday! This online study takes place on Thursday's from 7:00 - 8:00 PM on Go-To-Meeting at the following link: https://meet.goto.com/445850965. If Thursday is a national holiday the class will not meet.
Recently I had the privilege and blessing of leading the Sunday morning Divine Services and teaching the Bible class at one of our congregations, as their pastor was away. O, what a joy to be with God’s people in His house, and focused upon His Word! This should be the greatest of joys for us all, for in this gathering are brought together God and His people; the saints in heaven and we who are on earth; time and eternity. All are brought together in the eternal Son of God who became flesh for us. Paul sums it up this way in Eph. 1:3-10:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth."
As Paul speaks of how God has blessed us in Christ, notice where he focuses: "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us."
The forgiveness of sins, lavished upon us: is this your focus? Over the course of my 38 years in the Holy Ministry I have heard many times the lament that we Lutherans – at least, we in the LCMS – focus a lot on sin. "Oh, how negative! How depressing!" To this I say, "Oh, contraire! How Biblical this is! How Christ-like! How positive and uplifting!" This assumes, of course, that our focus is not simply upon our sins but above all upon their forgiveness. This must be our focus, for this is the focus of our God and His Word.
Consider the Psalms. Ps. 103, one of my favorites, begins: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." It then proceeds to list a number of God’s benefits, beginning with: "who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy." The forgiveness of our sins is the first blessing listed, for it brings with it every other blessing; indeed, all of the blessings that God desires to give us! Then, there’s Ps. 32, which was the focus of my Sunday morning Bible study in the congregation I recently served. It begins: "Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit, there is no deceit." An entire Psalm focusing on forgiveness, and the blessings that come from it! This is a good Psalm to memorize and meditate upon often.
Then, there’s Jesus in His ministry. How did He sum it up? "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:28) He spoke this to His 12 disciples to emphasize that such sacrificial service to ransom and save the lives of others was to mark their lives. So: if your pastor focuses predominantly upon your sins and their forgiveness in Christ... give thanks to God! He is doing what Jesus has told His pastors to do.
Remember when the Pharisees and Scribes grumbled because Jesus was welcoming sinners to Himself? He responded: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17) A physician for sinners: that’s who Jesus is, and so that’s who faithful pastors proclaim. They begin with diagnosing the affliction – sin – so that the cure – Jesus, the forgiveness He won for us on the cross and gives to us through His Word and Sacraments – will be desired and received.
So, if your pastor regularly focuses on your sins, and then proclaims and gives their forgiveness in Christ: give thanks to God! He is serving you well! May God bless us with many more of such faithful servants!!
40 Days for Life The 2024 Spring 40 Days for Life campaign is ongoing in New England and around the world, beginning February 14, through and including Mar 24. For information about 40 Days For Life, visit 40daysforlife.com.
Connecticut March for life The Connecticut March for Life will be held on Wednesday, March 20th, 2024, with the rally at 12 noon and the March for Life around Bushnell Park at 1pm. Join us at Bethany Lutheran Church in West Hartford, CT at 10:00am for a service before the March. Pastries and coffee served at 9:00am For information, visit marchforlife.org.
As always, please pray that Pregnancy Resource Centers remain open and that staff and clients remain safe from violence and harm.
The New England District (NED), comprised of the LC-MS churches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Maine, has four congregations with day schools (preschool through grade 8):
These schools offer a solid education within the context of our faith for the children in their communities. The majority of students enrolled are from non-member families, giving the sponsoring congregations an amazing opportunity to reach beyond their walls and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A congregation with a school for primary education commits to, among other things, providing and maintaining the facilities, hiring staff, purchasing curriculum and enrolling students. The congregation also accepts the responsibility to financially support its school, as tuition only covers a portion of these costs.
We now have an opportunity to join our sister congregations in supporting the mission work of our NED schools:
Please lift up our schools in your prayers, giving thanks to God for this ministry to students and families.
Consider a tax-deductible financial gift. The NED has established a dedicated account for monetary contributions that will go directly to the schools. Funds will be distributed annually through the NED Board of Directors with recommendations from a newly-established School Funding Committee. If you would like to contribute, please follow this link and designate your gift for “Support Our Schools”, or you can mail a check directly to the New England District office and note “Support Our Schools” in the memo field.
Each NED congregation will receive more information next year about the schools and the giving opportunity will be on-going. Thanks be to God for congregations that preach and schools that teach the wonderful identity we have as God’s children and His guidance for our lives!
St. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son.” (Gal. 4:4) Luke, in his Gospel, makes careful note of the time of Christ’s birth: “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.” (Luke 2:1-2) And Matthew, in his Gospel account of Christ’s birth, begins with a time reference: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king...” (Matt. 2:1)
God, the Creator of time and Lord over time, entered into time and became subject to it when He was conceived and born into this world. Why? To redeem, to make new and holy, not simply time, but your time. In our ever-busy and hectic holiday season, keep this in mind and take time to consider, and give thanks for, God’s redemption of your times and days in Christ!
I recently found time to read a portion of a sermon from St. Augustine, the 5th century bishop of Hippo. May your time be blessed as you consider what he says!
“With the fullness of time He appeared—the One who wanted to set us free from time. For, set free from time, we would be able to reach that eternity which is beyond time. We would therefore no longer need to say: When will the hour come? For it would be an eternal day. No yesterday would precede it and no tomorrow would follow it.
In this world, however, days go by and others come. No day remains. Even as we speak, the moments pass, the first syllable pressed on by the second that is waiting impatiently to be heard. As soon as we have spoken, we have become a little older. I am certainly older now than I was this morning. Nothing stands still. Nothing remains firm in time. We must therefore love the One through whom the times came to be, so that we may be set free from time and become established in eternity, where time and the changes it brings no longer exist.
It is, then, a great mercy on the part of our Lord Jesus Christ that He, through whom the times came to be, came to be for our sakes in time, that He, through whom all things came to be, came to be in the midst of all things, that He became what He had made. For He became what He had made. He, who had made the human race, became human, so that what He had made would not be lost.”
Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, now and through all time! President Beinke
This fall we again consider the Reformation, Luther’s break with Rome and the beginning of the Lutheran Church. What was the Reformation all about? Luther, when asked why previous efforts at reforming the Church (under John Wycliffe and Jon Huss, about 100 years before Luther) had not succeeded, responded:
“Wycliffe and Huss fought merely against the life of the Pope. That is why they did not attain their purpose, for they were sinners just as the papists were. But I attacked the doctrine. With this weapon I defeated them. For this matter does not concern life; it concerns doctrine.”
To many today, doctrine, a word that means, “teaching,” is considered a bad word. What do most people look for in a church? Is it true doctrine? No, usually the focus is more on whether the people are friendly and the worship uplifting, or whether there are programs that fit their needs – all of which are, of course, good things. But, for a church to say that it is concerned about pure doctrine sounds rather arrogant and judgmental. Thanks be to God that we in the LCMS are concerned about purity of doctrine, concerned that what we preach and teach is not only from the Bible but accurately conveys what the Bible proclaims! We should all seek to learn the Bible correctly, and help to ensure that the Bible’s teachings are correctly taught in our church. We should do so for several reasons.
First, the Word of God is our life. As Peter confessed to Jesus, and as we sing in our liturgy: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) If God did not reveal Himself to us we would never know Him, and so could not believe in Him and have the hope of eternal life. The Bible, rightly taught, leads us to know and believe in Jesus as our Savior. Just as food that is properly prepared and kept free from impurities preserves the life and health of our physical bodies, so God’s Word, purely taught, gives and preserves spiritual life.
Secondly, proclaiming God’s Word purely honors God; it is an act of worship. As a matter of fact, we could not even begin to worship God if it were not for the pure Word of God. David says in Ps. 43: “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.”
If a member of your family were to let untrue things be said about you, would that please you? Wouldn’t you be upset instead? Even so, when we do our best to understand clearly what God says and allow no false teachings to be proclaimed in His Church, we honor Him. This He receives as true worship. Jesus emphasized this when He said to the woman from Samaria: “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
Finally, pure doctrine is vital because it brings forth purity of life. Why is it that so many people no longer seem to know right from wrong, good behavior from bad? Well, how would you know if it were not taught to you? “I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore, I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” So, says Psalm 119:104-105.
These days, not only in society but also in many churches, are filled with the denial of truth and so confusion and uncertainty. This is, then, an opportune time for us as Missouri Synod Lutherans! It is easy to think, “What do we have to offer? Our worship attendance is small. Look how many empty pews there are in church! Our building is aging – and so are our members. We’re not very exciting. What do we have to offer?”
Stop focusing upon yourselves, and upon what we don’t have! Trust in God! We have God’s true Word, which testifies to Him. And so, we have Christ, truly present among us in this Word and in His Sacraments, raising us to life with Him. We have, then, not only the hope of eternal life after we die, but the presence of Christ and His eternal life now. Rejoice in this!
And then, think of the other things we have. We are a liturgical church, and this is not a negative. Living in a heavily Catholic and Episcopal area as we do, we have a liturgy and worship that is familiar, even if it is not always clearly understood. We are a Sacramental Church, emphasizing that Christ is truly among us. We are a teaching Church, offering many opportunities to help people to understand the Scriptures. Above all, we are a Church in which the forgiveness of sins in Christ predominates.
This is all because of God’s holy Word; because of the mercy He shows us through it, and the mercy with which He fills us by it. Thanks be to God for His holy Word! May it always be purely proclaimed among us and by us!
On Wednesday, March 22 I was pleased to join a hearty group of NED-LCMS members (some are pictured above) and several thousand other concerned citizens (mostly Roman Catholic, but not all) for a rally on the steps of the capital of CT in Hartford and then a march. The purpose was to uphold and promote human life as a gift of God which is to be honored and protected, from its conception in the womb to its natural end. It may seem as if this was a useless event. Connecticut, after all (at least the great majority of its legislators), prides itself on supporting a women’s right to an abortion, and even provides funding to bring women from outside of CT to the state for abortions. Nevertheless, we are called by God to speak out in support of those whose lives are threatened. The Lord says in Prov. 31:8-9, “Open your mouth for those unable to speak, for the cause of all who are passing away. Open your mouth, judge righteously, contend for the poor and needy.”
Before attending the rally in Hartford our LCMS group gathered at Our Savior Lutheran in South Windsor, CT for a Service of Prayer and Preaching. My sermon at that Service follows.
Open your mouth for those unable to speak, for the cause of all who are passing away. Open your mouth, judge righteously, contend for the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9
If you have ever heard me teach the Scriptures, you know that I like to stress context. What's the background of the story, of the verses being studied? Who is present? Who is being addressed? Context often makes things much more clear.
It certainly does with Proverbs 31:8-9. “Open your mouth for those unable to speak.... Open your mouth, judge righteously.” A few verses before we're told that these are instructions that the King's mother gave him to help him to rule wisely. So: a good case could be made that they apply to me - I'm the District President, after all; but they certainly don't apply to you, do they? You're not rulers!
And, boy, it's a relief to think that they don't apply to you, that you don't have to open your mouth. This is so especially after considering God's words in Ps. 139: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” Wow. When you consider this, who are you - and who am I, frankly - to speak up to anyone about what they're doing? Like those who aren't married, yet fooled around and got pregnant and then ended that pregnancy through abortion… well, God knows full well the lustful thoughts and desires that arise in our own hearts and minds. Or, those who fear becoming unable to speak because of dementia, or becoming a burden because of frailty, and so feel it would be better to end it all first - well, do we not have such fears and desire to not be a burden, also? There's just as much sin in our hearts as in the hearts of others, just as much for the holy and just God to hate and punish.
“Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” God also knows the many times we don't have a word on our tongues and don't want to say anything - at least, anything good. “I hope you get what you deserve!” When it comes to evildoers and people who oppose God's good Word, those are the words that are in our minds, even if not on our tongues… and God knows them!
So… it's a good thing that Proverbs 31 was written for kings, and not for you. It's a good thing that you don't have to open your mouth for those unable to speak, for the cause of all who are passing away.
Oh, but you do! Even sinners like you and me are kings! Our God has made us such.
“Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness,” says Eph. 4. Put on the new self that God put on you when He baptized you! You were then born again, Jesus says; literally, born from above, given birth into the Triune God by the Holy Spirit. The God who spoke at the beginning and created Adam and Eve in His image and likeness spoke in your baptism, and in that simple act created you anew in His image and likeness.
In His image. Images are powerful. An image that speaks most powerfully today is the ultrasound image. How clearly it shows that that which is growing within the womb of the mother isn't just a mass of cells but is a developing human being… a baby who is being fearfully and wonderfully made. Thanks be to God for this technology, which enables us to see what would otherwise be hidden from our eyes!
God's Word is His ultrasound. It enables us to see, not only what is hidden from our eyes, but is especially hidden from our minds and hearts. It does so by showing us Jesus. The Bible proclaims Him to be truly God, one eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And yet, He is also a man, come to us in our flesh to be of one substance with us. He came to do what we fail to do and cannot do: love and serve God gladly and completely… including by doing what Ps. 139 says: hating all sin and all sinners. Jesus hated them with such complete hatred that He would not ask God to spare Him when He became all sinners by taking us and our sin into His flesh. He did not speak up to earthly rulers to defend Himself during His trial as a sinner, but hated His own life and offered Himself up to God's hatred of sin and sinners and judgment unto death and hell in our place.
Hatred is such a strong word. But, it is a Biblical word. It's intensity springs from the intensity of love, which will not tolerate or overlook harm that is done, or even threatened, to the one it loves. Because God so loved the world - the sinful, defiant, self-seeking people of a world fallen into sin - He sent His only-begotten Son into sin and death, that we might not remain in it and under His judgment. Because God so loved the world He poured out His Holy Spirit to create us again… to give us a new birth… to make us like Jesus: kings, rulers over sin and death and hell, and over every evil of this world!
You are such kings! For, you are baptized! You are in Christ! Open your mouth, then, for those unable to speak, for the cause of all who are passing away. These words of God in Proverbs 31 are for you!
So, today we march and we speak for those unable to speak, those in the womb whose mouths are being formed. We march and we speak for those who are losing the ability to speak due to injury or illness or frailty. And, we march and we speak for those whose sin has “darkened their understanding [and] alienated from the life of God,” even those who are obstinate in their opposition to Him as the Lord of life, whom Eph. 4 rightly says are “callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.” We do not only have words of warning and judgment; although, we must at times speak up clearly with such words. But, above all remember: in Baptism we have been created after the likeness of God… the likeness of our Lord Jesus Himself. As He prayed for those who hated and crucified Him, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” so we pray for those who are our opponents in the battle for life; for seeing God as the Author and Giver of life. We pray for God to have mercy; for the Holy Spirit to change their hearts.
And He does, as He speaks His Word. One of those who will be marching with us today is one who, although a Christian, when she was in her teens and early 20's believed in such things as a woman's right to choose. Like many people, even many Christians, she did not look clearly and carefully at the meanings and intents that lie behind phrases such as “the right to choose” and “women's healthcare.” God's Word led her to see the truth, and she now “opens her mouth for those unable to speak, for the cause of all who are passing away.” Another prominent example is Abby Johnson, whose story you probably know from the movie, “Unplanned.” She ran the largest abortion clinic in TX. But finally, it was ultrasound, the gift of God given through the wisdom of men's minds, that showed her the truth of what she was doing: taking the life of a human being in the womb. Then the ultrasound of God's Word, given to make us wise in Christ Jesus, showed her the One who gave His up life to forgive her and so save eternally the life of every human being.
God's Word makes clear who we are in Jesus and why we are, what the purpose of our lives is now in Him. Like Him in whom we have been born from above and given life eternal, we open our mouths for those unable to speak, for the cause of all who are passing away. We judge righteously and contend for the poor and needy. May God direct and bless our speaking and contending, to the glory of His name and the good of many! Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Life. Amen.
After all the excitement of the Christmas season, January and February can bring the doldrums – unless you are a child who enjoys snowstorms and the fun that they promise! But, for the rest of us, there are cold days to endure... the promise of having to clear your car of snow and ice, and then also the driveway... long, dark nights (although, at least the daylight hours are now increasing!)... and, for most of us, few vacation days to enjoy. Let’s just endure and get through winter!
In the Church, however, we have exciting things to focus upon and celebrate. The season of Epiphany begins on January 6 with the remembrance of the visit of the Magi. Then, on Sunday the 8th, we focus upon Jesus’ baptism. He is baptized by John, along with the rest of the people. And so, we learn that Jesus joins us in baptism, and joins us in His baptism! How exciting to hear on that day Paul’s words in Rom. 6: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his... So, you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” On the following Sunday’s we hear of Christ’s calling of His first disciples, the beginning of His ministry of teaching and healing, and then we spend several weeks on the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount. Jesus proclaims blessed in Him even the poorest in spirit among us, and then proceeds to carefully teach us God’s Law and His fulfillment of it. In Jesus we are given a wonderful identity as God’s children and wonderful guidance for our lives. We are truly blessed! How great it is to be able to be in church to hear this and receive, not simply of our Savior and His blessings, but to receive our Savior Himself! He pronounces forgiveness for our every sin through the absolution proclaimed by the Pastor He has sent... His very voice rings out in the readings from Matthew... He speaks to us through the Pastor’s sermon, applying His Word to our lives... and He gives us His very body and blood. Keep this in mind and have this focus, and you will never feel the doldrums in church!
We also have significant events to focus upon, and some to celebrate, this winter. The last week of January is National Lutheran Schools Week. We have four schools in our District: Trinity Christian School in Keene, NH; Immanuel Lutheran School and Preschool in Bristol, CT; Immanuel Lutheran School in Danbury, CT; and First Lutheran School in Holyoke, MA. I will be joining the staff and students at First Lutheran in Holyoke on January 25 to lead their morning chapel. I encourage you to first, and above all, lift up our schools in prayer; and then, to see how you can help our schools with your time and your financial support. Like our churches, they are bringing the Gospel of Christ to students and families and are working to anchor them in the wonderful identity we have in Christ as God’s children and His wonderful guidance for our lives. Thanks be to God for their ministry!
January also brings before us Life Sunday, which this year is celebrated on January 22. We live in a culture that increasingly promotes death as a solution to unwanted and unexpected pregnancy, terminal illness, and the weariness with living. We, however, know God as the Lord and Giver of life – and above all, eternal life – in Jesus! Let us rejoice in Him and joyously hold forth the hope and life we have in Him – in these winter months, and always!!
A couple of years ago, during the height of Covid, I saw in my local paper a picture of Santa Claus meeting with two kids. They were separated by a piece of plexiglass, with Santa sitting in his chair on one side and the kids standing on the other. They were reaching out to each other, however; Santa was touching his gloved hand to the glass on one side and the kids were touching it on the other side. Wow! What a memorable visit to see Santa!
This month we are again celebrating God’s Son coming to us in our flesh. How different was His coming! There was nothing to shield Him from our sicknesses and sins and sorrows. No, the holy and eternal Son of God became flesh and came to live among us in order to take upon and within Himself all that comes with life in our flesh and in this fallen world. Matthew points this out in the 8 th chapter of his Gospel when he writes:
When Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” (Mt. 8:14-17)
Accounts like this tend to make us think that Jesus was impervious to diseases. After all, He quickly and easily healed people; often with just a word! But, notice: Matthew says that He took our illnesses and bore our diseases. He was quoting Isaiah 53:4, which says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Jesus was not at all impervious to the things that trouble us. He felt them in His flesh and soul.
I have no doubt that He did so even in His infancy. Seeing as Jesus was born and began His life on this earth in the same way as us, He probably suffered at times from things that trouble babies to this day, such as diaper rash. In fact, seeing as life was much rougher and far less sanitary in the 1 st century, this was probably a common occurrence. As a child, He probably fell now and then and skinned his knee. Other kids probably teased Him and made fun of Him at times. And, He probably got sick. You may have not thought so, but why not? Don’t put a plexiglass shield between you and your Savior. “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” The Son of God did not come to be separate from us in any way. Rejoice in that! Rejoice, because He came to take our illnesses and bear our diseases – and, above all, the sins that lay behind them and are the cause of all sorrows – and to bear them to the cross. He came to put them to death in His flesh, and then rise in triumph over them and bring forth a new flesh and a new life for us.
This is precisely why God the Father sent His Son to us: to save us from our sins and all the trials and tribulations which accompany them. Especially at Christmas, then, we sing with the angels:
Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace, goodwill to men.
Fall is a busy time in our congregations. Many resume Sunday School and Bible classes in September, and perhaps also increase their number of worship Services. Boards and committees resume or increase their activity. People are back from vacations and are seeing one another more frequently.
Fall has become very busy for me, also. At the end of August, I completed 28 years of ministry as the Pastor of St. Peter’s in Norwalk, CT and assumed the position of District President full-time. And so, you may see me around the District, especially on weekends. I have begun visiting congregations on Sunday’s: sometimes to preach and lead worship and Bible class; other times simply to worship with you and get to know you. If you have a special occasion coming up in your congregation, let me know! If possible, I’ll be there to join in the celebration.
I do want to let you know of a very special occasion that will be coming up November 6th: the ordination and installation of Rev. Adam Teferi as a Missionary-at-Large of the District to serve a growing group of Christians from Ethiopia. The Oromo people are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, and many, including Pastor Teferi, have been coming to the U.S. They are conservative, Bible believing Christians, and those who settled in the Boston area began worshiping together and seeking a conservative Church to join with. We have been helping them and encouraging them for several years, and they are now worshiping at our congregation in Acton, MA, with Adam leading them. Supported by Pastors in our District, he recently completed the work that was necessary for him to become a Pastor in our Synod, and so our Board of Directors in September voted unanimously to call him as our Missionary to the Oromo people. We pray that soon they will become our newest congregation in the District! You will have the opportunity to meet these brothers and sisters in Christ when Pastor Teferi is ordained and installed. This Service will be at Mt. Calvary in Acton at 3:00pm on November 6th, and the news about this will go out well in advance. I hope to see you there!
One final thought: October is the month when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses (on October 31, 1517) and the Reformation, which resulted in the formation of the Lutheran Church, began. The Reformation rested upon the Word of God, and it was that Word which brought it about. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” says Jesus in John 8, the Gospel reading that is appointed for Reformation Sunday. I encourage you to grow in your understanding of God’s Word by reading carefully this month’s issue of our Synod’s magazine, The Lutheran Witness. The October issue provides an overview of 12 Christian denominations, as well as the Lutheran response to their teachings. Reading through this, you will, I believe, come to a greater appreciation of how blessed we are in our Synod to have God’s Word rightly preached, taught, and confessed. Thanks be to God for the gift of His precious Word, for by it we receive Christ and His salvation! To Him be the glory and praise; to us be the blessing of faith.
On August 28th, Christ the King celebrated Rob Morris' 10th Anniversary as their pastor. Perhaps you have received other information, but if not, here he is with Christy, Elijah and Isaiah following the service.
On July 19, Volunteers for the Orphan Grain Train's (OGT) New England Branch, located at 33 South Main St. in Terryville, Ct. loaded a 53-foot container of needed items for Appalachia and on July 20, loaded a 26-foot truck with items for Ukraine relief. OGT has the use of a warehouse in Terryville that is owned by Mr. Bill Allread, who has made space available for this charitable work.
The July 19 shipment sent to the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) which aids those less fortunate over a twelve-state area and is headquartered in Kentucky. Included were over 1,000 boxes of Blankets and Quilts, Men's, Women's, Children's and Infants Clothing, Hygiene supplies, Hospital supplies, Diapers, Layette Kits and stuffed animals. Also included were 8 Sewing Machines with boxes of sewing supplies and hundreds of canes, crutches, and walkers. Some hospital items were added like a Gurney, Geri chair, IV poles, wheelchairs and shower chairs. The shipment arrived on July 20.
Then on July 20, volunteers loaded a 26-foot truck with many items for refugee relief for Ukraine sent thru St. Andrew's Ukrainian Cathedral in Maryland which ships aid directly to Kiev. Included on this shipment were 17,000 Harvest Pack meals and oatmeal packs, and over 2300 pounds of food consisting of rice, flour, sugar, and salt. Also Included was medical equipment consisting of 6 hospital bed kits and 2 emergency medical chairs, 90 boxes of hygiene supplies, 178 boxes of diapers, and 47 boxes of hospital linens. These items will be combined with inventory at the Cathedral's warehouse to fill a container to be sent to Kiev.
Other shipments have gone to missions in a number of countries e.g. Liberia, Nicaragua, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Nepal, the Philippines, Trinidad, Panama, Ghana and the Republic of Georgia, as well as hurricane relief for Puerto Rico, Florida and North Carolina. The Branch also helps those locally in New England, giving medical items that have been donated to individuals in need and thru the visiting nurse and hospice care organizations of the area. It has also helped with a shipment to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.
The effort is an Outreach Ministry of the Lutheran Church, and OGT is a 501(3)(C) charity affiliated with the church and supported locally by Holy Trinity Lutheran in Terryville and Immanuel Lutheran in Bristol and St. Johns in Waterbury and is open to all who want to help others. For more information, please call 860-582-0723 and/or check out the OGT.org website.
The 40 Days for Life 2022 Fall Campaign continues until November 6th. According to their website (40daysforlife.com/en), 163 babies' lives have been saved since Sept 28th, 2022.
40 Days for Life offers its "40 Days for Life University" (40daysforlife.com/en/university) and "Sidewalk Outreach" training, as well as its FREE quarterly publication, "Day 41." I encourage you to sign up to receive the publication.
40 Days for Life is a great way to participate in Life-affirming work. You and your pastors can have a "Lutheran Hour" and he can conduct prayer during that time (no rosaries!). Please find a campaign near you. The next campaign will begin in Spring of 2023.
Bethel Oromo LCMS is a newest church plant in the New England District. This sister congregation is led by Rev. Adam Teferi. On Sunday, August 14th the congregation celebrated four baptisms of children named Kaku, Milto, Nimona and Kate. More than 40 Oromo adults, teens and children celebrated how God has grown their community in worship and afterwards with wonderful Ethiopian food and baptism birthday cake. Rev. Teferi has completed all requirements set forth by the LCMS Pastoral Colloquy Committee and will be installed on November 6th as a Missionary-at-Large in the District to the Oromo congregation. Bethel Oromo congregation is completing the state requirements for organization before applying for official status within the LCMS. The congregation began their weekly gatherings at Mt. Calvary, Acton on June 12, 2022.
Did you know?
The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) is one of the largest and fastest growing Lutheran churches in the world with nearly 11 million members
Mekane Yesus means "the place of Jesus"
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) has a growing relationship with the EECMY
The EECMY is six times larger than the LCMS
Oromo is the largest people group in Ethiopia
According to the Cambridge Community Development Department, greater Boston is home to the 13th largest Ethiopian community in the United States
How can you help?
Pray for Rev. Teferi and Bethel Oromo LCMS
Partner with them by donating to the New England District's 1:1:1 fundraising campaign
Praise God that He is sending believers to the United States to share the gospel with Americans
New "Life Resources" will be available at the Life Coordinator table during the NED-LWML Fall 2022 Rally in CT November 4-5. These are available from https://humanlife.org at low or no cost. Resources include publications, posters, and cards, some of which are shown here:
It’s reassuring knowing your child is God’s child. Now your child’s savings can help others experience God’s love through the sharing of the Gospel. When you invest with Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), you are supporting Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) ministries — without forfeiting competitive rates. This Christmas, give the gift of a Young Investors (Y.I.) StewardAccount
LCEF is a nonprofit religious organization; therefore, LCEF investments are not FDIC-insured bank deposit accounts. This is not an offer to sell investments, nor a solicitation to buy. LCEF will offer and sell its securities only in states where authorized. The offer is made solely by LCEF’s Offering Circular. Investors should carefully read the Offering Circular, which more fully describes associated risks. StewardAccount access features are offered through UMB Bank n.a. StewardAccount products are not available to investors in South Carolina. Balance restrictions apply. Rates subject to change. Visit LCEF.org for details.
Christmas is right around the corner! Or will wedding bells soon be ringing for a friend or family member? For special occasions like these, a Visa gift card makes a thoughtful gift, affording the recipient flexibility to use it however they wish. For Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) investors, the LCEF Visa gift card can be a great gift-giving option. The gift cards are available in $25, $50 and $100 values. An additional $1.99 fee per gift card will be added to the order.
LCEF investors can learn more by calling Lutheran Church Extension Fund at 800-843-5233.
Our Bible study is entitled, “Be Thou My Vision (In Such a Time as This).” Our Bible study leader, Donna Snow, is an inspiring speaker who has led a past retreat for us and has been the Bible study leader at National LWML Conventions.
The Retreat will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel at Bradley Airport in Connecticut. Please plan to join us and bring a friend! We know you will be blessed by your time in the Word and in fellowship with your sisters in Christ. More information and the registration form can be found on our website, lwml-ned.org.