Lay and pastoral representatives from all three member congregations, as well as pastors from the mission congregations, attended the spring general meeting at Pilgrim Lutheran Church Decatur, Illinois. It was the first meeting for Rev. Julian Maire, who just accepted the call to Redeemer St. Clair Shores, Michigan. The closed session of the Commission members took place the afternoon of Friday, April 19th, followed by dinner for the attendees and their spouses at an area restaurant. The following morning the open session was held, which included visitors from Pilgrim as well as Our Redeemer Forsyth.
Written reports from the missions were presented, followed by a review and discussion period. The missions have persevered in their outreach efforts, and each continues to find that personal contact with friends and family is the most productive. While print and electronic means aid in showing who they are, and where they are located, it is the personal invitation that draws visitors to their worship services.
The biggest challenge for each of the missions has been the disinterest of modern-day Americans, who are either disappointed in the “established” church or feel no need of church involvement. This has provided a great opportunity for the pastors and members of the mission congregations to evangelize.
The economic downturn has not discriminated. The funding for ULMA may face some shortfalls by late 2014. We are all urged to give this matter serious and prayerful consideration. Even though they receive a fair amount of support from ULMA, the mission congregations still give a portion back as their support for mission work.
There was a second reason for Pilgrim Decatur to host our spring meeting. As previously reported, Pilgrim has established Walther Theological Seminary, an independent Lutheran institution formed to meet the need of training pastors who believe, teach and confess in accord with the Scriptures and Book of Concord. On Sunday, April 21st, the seminary professors and staff were installed at Pilgrim’s 10:45 a.m. worship service. Both member and mission pastors have agreed to serve as seminary professors. Rev. Hafermann of Our Redeemer Forsyth will serve as Field Work Supervisor. Quite an exciting weekend!
The next General Meeting for ULMA will be in October 2013 at Redeemer St. Clair Shores, Michigan. We will announce the date when it is determined.