On April 25/26 the United Lutheran Mission Association (ULMA) held their spring General Meeting at the Holiday Inn – Cincinnati in Erlanger, Kentucky. ULMA Commission members from all three member congregations (Our Redeemer – Forsyth, IL, Pilgrim – Decatur, IL and Redeemer – St. Clair Shores, MI) attended the event. The mission churches were represented by Rev. James Shaw and Mr. Jeremiah Hansen from Agnus Dei Lutheran Church in Virginia, and Rev. William C. Mack from Christ the Rock Lutheran Church in California.
The two-day event began as usual with the closed Commission meeting on Friday afternoon, followed by an evening of fellowship and food in the hotel restaurant. We were pleased to be joined by many of the attendees’ family members at the meal. It was back to business early Saturday morning, with the Commission members, mission representatives, and guests in attendance.
The ULMA Commission has been communicating with an independent Lutheran congregation in Michigan that has expressed interest in working with us. We pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as they give consideration to joining ULMA as a member congregation.
Both mission churches are actively reaching out to their respective communities. Faced with the general spiritual malaise that the Church is encountering, inroads have been difficult. The congregations remain faithful to the pure Word. As reported previously, the missionaries continue to find the best outreach is personal invitations from the members to their families, friends, and acquaintances.
Pastor Shaw is considering reaching out beyond the Fredericksburg area. There are some leads to the southwest which may result in a preaching station—a location where worship services or bible studies take place on a semi-regular basis as part of mission outreach. From this, one can determine the interest in the area. We pray that the Lord will guide Pastor Shaw and those in the community that he will be visiting.
As with many churches and mission bodies over the last few years, funding continues to be a challenge for ULMA. The budget for 2014 was reviewed at the meeting, with projections into the following year discussed. All are asked to prayerfully consider their outreach commitments as the Lord will lead them.
In a related note, Pastor Brock Abbott of Pilgrim Lutheran Church gave an update on Walther Theological Seminary (WTS). The seminary is ready to accept students, and has an interested candidate possibly starting classes this fall. WTS has recently received word from the IRS that its 501(c)3 status has been approved. This is a plus for fundraising efforts. While the seminary is solely owned and operated by Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Decatur, Illinois, and not part of ULMA, the hope is that it will be a source of pastors for ULMA’s mission and member congregations.
The meeting wrapped up early on Saturday, with most attendees departing for home shortly after noon. The next meeting will be in October at the same location near Cincinnati. Please keep the missions and member congregations in your prayers. An apathetic world is a serious challenge, but with God all things are possible.