It was a busy two days in October at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Decatur, Illinois. The congregation hosted two events for the United Lutheran Mission Association (ULMA); their Fall General Meeting and their first Forum.

As part of the fall meeting, the budget for 2010 was approved and elections held for officers. Frank Butkovich of Redeemer – St. Clair Shores, MI will be Vice Chairman in 2010, taking over the position from Robert Linsdeau, also of Redeemer. The administrative task of overlooking benefits for our called Missionaries at Large is an area that the Commission has handled well, keeping an eye on requirements for our called staff and the unique needs from each state.

Numerous leads from individuals and pastors have continued to come in. With the changing landscape of American Lutheranism, we should not be surprised how many clergy are contacting us in light of next year’s LCMS Convention. Each inquiry is personally addressed and responded to. One such lead actually went to one of our mission congregations. They are exploring the possibility of remote Bible Study and monthly worship services, similar to a preaching station, with this latest lead.

The three mission congregations are continuing along well with their outreach efforts. The Lord provides fruit in the strangest of circumstances. Two of the missions have gained adult confirmation students from their humble efforts. The congregation at Agnus Dei wishes to share the news that starting a mission church can be done. Is it work? Yes. Does it take time? Of course. They have been blessed with the chance to water the tree and watch God provide the harvest.

The theme of the ULMA Forum was “Life Without A Synod”. Presenters included pastors and laymen from the missions and member congregations of ULMA. There were in excess of 60 people, lay and clergy, from various congregations in attendance. Audio files (MP3) of the presentations and papers (for some of them) are now available on our website. Just go to the new Papers and Other Information page.
http://www.unitedlutheranmission.org/papers.htm

The talks were well received and ULMA was given encouragement in our efforts. We cannot continue, though, without your help. Has your congregation been looking for a mission association to become involved in? We urge you to check us out. The current pair of member congregations has been blessed with more chances to serve than you can imagine. Our Chairman commented during the meeting that if you had told him two years ago we would have missions on both coasts and in the Midwest at this point, he would have said you were dreaming. If your congregation wants to see direct usage of its mission monies, give us a call. Listen to the talks given at the Forum. If your time is limited, listen to the talk by the laymen from California on how their congregation came to fruition. If your congregation is part of a synod and you wish to know how to go independent, listen to the talk by Kurt Bickes on the legal proceedings to take.

It’s been another busy year for ULMA, and we’re looking forward in faith to 2010.