Chicago – The Windy City played host to the official kickoff of the
United Lutheran Mission Association (ULMA). Shortly after 10:00AM on
July 16, 2005, Pastor William K. Abbott of Pilgrim Lutheran Church,
Decatur, Illinois, opened with a prayer and Devotion. Later that
day, Pastor Jack Cascione of Redeemer Lutheran Church, St. Clair
Shores, Michigan, closed the meeting with a Devotion and prayer.
These Devotions centered on the aim of ULMA to remain Salt and Light
(Matthew 5:13-16) and to focus on the Truth of our Savior (1 Timothy
3:16).

These two topics set the tone for the meeting that took place
throughout the day. ULMA is encouraged to remain Salt and Light
rather than becoming like the world, and to remain Scripture and Lay
led rather than By-Law and Constitution led. ULMA was reminded of
the importance of sharing the great truth of 1 Timothy 3:16 through
effective outreach. This is in contrast to some Church bodies which
use resources for professional offices and training rather than
direct mission work.

Congregational Presidents Bob Linsdeau (Redeemer) and Alan Ruwe
(Pilgrim) co-chaired the meeting throughout the day. In addition to
Pastors Abbott and Cascione, all eight voting members (4 laymen
elected from each congregation) were in attendance.

The ULMA Commission first came to agreement regarding the Mission
and Intent of ULMA. This document will soon join others currently
appearing on ULMA’s website (www.unitedlutheranmission.org). ULMA’s
intent is to assist Lutheran laymen, pastors and churches in the
proclamation of the pure Word of Christ. Assistance from ULMA will
range from advice to financial support, but the key goal is to see a
return to pure doctrine and effective mission work by ULMA member
churches.

Once agreement for Intent was achieved, the Commission examined a
Process for Reviewing and Awarding Support. The discussion centered
on information gathering procedures to determine what support is to
be granted and to whom, and what these requests for support will look
like, and who will likely ask for support. At this time those
requesting support include congregations from various Lutheran
bodies; groups of laymen looking for support in order to leave their
current setting; and pastors who are looking for support to move to
an orthodox confessional body. Key organizational goals for ULMA
will be the effective prioritization of resources and the
mobilization of volunteer lay support.

Six parties are currently discussing a relationship with ULMA,
including one international entity. As ULMA becomes fully organized
and operational, formal discussions with groups requesting
information and membership will commence.

At present, ULMA consists of two former Lutheran Church–Missouri
Synod Congregations who left to practice pure doctrine and
congregational lay leadership. ULMA is seeking like-minded Lutheran
Churches, clergy, and laymen who would join in promoting a return to
the orthodox doctrinal roots of the Lutheran Church.