English District of
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
Servant to Servant
October 8, 2021
The Midwest Region Pastors Conference
The Midwest Region Pastors Conference was held October 4-6, 2021, at Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, WI. There were two guest presenters. Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Seltz, Executive Director, Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty Washington DC, discussed: The Church’s Response to Gender and Equality Issues in the Public Realm. Rev. Dr. Jacob Corzine, Assistant Professor of Theology at Concordia University, Chicago, spoke on two topics: "Preaching in the Wake of a Pandemic" and "Assessing the New Normal: Life after COVID-19”. A Divine Service was held on Tuesday evening, followed by a reception and fellowship.
Divine Call
Call Received

The Rev. Dr. John J. Bombaro, Board of International Mission, St. Louis, MO, has received a call to serve as sole pastor of Blessed Sacrament, Hayden, ID.
Happy Thanksgiving!

We celebrate with our friends in Canada as they gather with family and friends to give thanks to God for His abundant blessings. This year, Canada will celebrate Thanksgiving on Monday, October 11, 2021.
Pastor Voelker Retirement
Gethsemane Lutheran Church in, Windsor, ON gave thanks to God for the past 24 years that Pastor Robert Voelker and his wife Sandy (organist) served their congregation. Rev. Voelker and Sandy are retiring and moving to Minnesota where they will be closer to their grandchildren. Their final worship service was this past Sunday, October 3rd.  Associate Pastor Rev. Jordan Simon, and District Vice President Rev. Jeffrey Miskus, St. Mark, Mississauga, ON. participated in the worship service giving thanks for the Voelkers' faithful ministry.
Hear How Pastor Hernan Castano Handled a Challenge to His Religious Freedom
It’s no secret – fellow church leaders have been experiencing religious freedom threats for years.
Let’s take a look at one shocking example: The City of Houston demanded that several area pastors turn over their sermons, e-mails, text messages, and other communications with their congregants. 
The officials wanted to see if the pastors had opposed or criticized a city ordinance that, in part, allows members of the opposite sex into each other’s restrooms. Clearly, this was a violation of the pastors’ First Amendment rights.
Watch Courage Determination Love For Our Neighbors to hear a first-hand account of the city’s attempt to intimidate church leaders for standing firm in their biblical beliefs about males and females.
While the Houston city ordinance was ultimately rejected, government officials continue attempts to pass similar laws. Under the guise of equality, these laws add sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) as protected classes in the law. 
SOGI laws undermine religious freedom across the country. These laws impact churches and ministries, including those like Downtown Hope Center.
Downtown Hope Center is a faith-based rescue mission in Anchorage, Alaska, that serves both men and women during the day by providing food, clothing, and laundry and shower services. But at night the center becomes a women’s-only shelter to provide a safe place to sleep for homeless women – many of whom have survived rape, sex trafficking, and other abuse at the hands of men. Some city officials have tried – not once but twice – to force the shelter to allow males who identify as female to sleep mere feet from the abused and vulnerable women the shelter serves. ADF is defending Downtown Hope Center’s right to continue operating according to its religious beliefs about males and females.

SOGI laws and issues are not limited to municipalities like Anchorage or Houston. These are appearing at the state and federal level with bills like the Equality Act. If passed, the federal Equality Act could force churches to open sex-specific facilities to members of the opposite sex. It could even forbid houses of worship from ensuring that their employees abide by their doctrines or beliefs about marriage, sexual behavior, and the distinction between the sexes.
The government has no right to meddle in the internal operations of churches and ministries or to tell them what to believe. And you can be confident that Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) will continue to advocate for the religious freedom rights of churches across the country.
If your church is seeking ways to protect its religious freedom to the greatest extent possible, you can access religious freedom legal help through membership in ADF Church Alliance.
ADF Church Alliance acts as a hub for churches like yours to gain access to experienced First Amendment lawyers who are available to answer religious liberty questions, conduct document reviews and provide advice, and even represent your organization in court if necessary and appropriate – it’s virtually all-inclusive for religious freedom issues.

English District LCMS has teamed up with ADF Church Alliance so your church can become a member at a discounted rate. Visit www.adfchurchalliance.org/EDLCMS to learn more and use promo code ENGDISTLCMS when you apply.
"Take Heart" Retreat
From September 20–22, 2021, I had the opportunity to attend a “Take Heart” respite retreat in Bolivar, PA. This was organized as a partnership between the LCMS Office of National Mission and DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel. More information about these retreats can be found here.

This was my first personal experience with a DOXOLOGY program, though I was familiar with the organization and its work with pastors within our Synod. Despite thinking that my congregation and I got through the COVID-19 pandemic relatively unscathed and everything was “fine,” I registered for the event. My congregational lay leaders also encouraged me to go. (After all, we don’t usually have the Synod hold events in the Mid-Atlantic Region, so showing up was a good idea!)

The two retreat presenters, Dr. Beverly Yahnke and Rev. David Fleming, spoke with us about the challenges that we face in pastoral ministry, particularly those experienced during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Challenges present as impediments to carrying out our pastoral work. Even more so, they can become stumbling blocks to acknowledging and living our identity as people redeemed by Christ. The time together at the retreat helped to show where I had tripped over some of those challenges, dispelling that initial thinking that everything was “fine.”

Corporate prayer was held several times each day. Presentations focused on understanding trauma and crisis, being resilient in ministry, and enduring spiritual warfare as we carry out our vocations. A session near the end provided participants a chance to set goals to incorporate what was learned in our personal and pastoral lives, benefitting ourselves and our parishioners.

What I found was that this experience was beneficial to my vocation as a pastor. The term “respite retreat” is exactly as it reads. Having time away from the congregation to engage in discussions and devotional acts with fellow ministers was a respite, as well as a time to recommit to carrying out the work that Christ has assigned.

Thirteen respite retreats were scheduled across the Synod for 2021, including events outside the Midwest in California, Idaho, and Pennsylvania. Nearly all of them are completed. But if other retreats are offered in the future, I would encourage pastors to attend. Pastors and congregations may also consider participating in the other programs and seminars that DOXOLOGY provides.

Rev. Luke Zimmerman
Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mechanicsburg, PA

The Office of National Mission (ONM), via Making Disciples for Life, is committed to supporting the health and well-being of every LCMS pastor. The Rev. Michael Meyer, director of Disaster Training for the LCMS, has been working with DOXOLOGY on behalf of the ONM under the Making Disciples for Life (MDFL) initiative to develop and coordinate the “Take Heart” retreats. Funding has been provided by the LCMS Soldiers of the Cross—Amplified program so that, other than transportation, there has been no cost to pastors.
Embarrassment of Riches
You’ve probably heard the idiom, “an embarrassment of riches”. It means to have an overabundance of something or too much of a good thing. The Grand Rapids, Michigan area just celebrated “Art Prize.” In one television interview, the organizer of the event commented that they had so many requests to submit art for the event that they had to turn artists down. “We had an ‘embarrassment of riches’ with so much art but not enough venues to display it even in a town the size of Grand Rapids.” Can you ever have too much of a good thing?  I can look in our closet at home and say definitively, “YES!” (I won’t say if I’m looking at my clothes or my wife’s.) I can look in my back yard with the leaves beginning to fall and grudgingly say, “YES!” We roll our eyes when we hear a lottery winner who confesses that their winnings brought them unsaid burdens that they never expected. YES, it’s true. When we have this embarrassment of riches, we must ask the question: “What are we going to do with it all?”
But what about God’s grace? God’s Word tells us that we have more than enough grace to face anything in this life. You can never use up the grace of God. God alone has incomparable, rich, all-surpassing grace for you and the world around you. Through the life, death and resurrection of Christ, we have been lavished with God’s riches at Christ’s expense. So....what are we going to do with it all? Read this article and consider the embarrassment of riches we have when it comes to the incomparable riches of grace. We are rich to share it with others!
The Body of Christ and the Public Square Conference
Because tickets are sold out, people can join the conference “The Body of Christ and the Public Square” held on October 16, 2021, at Our Savior, Hartland, MI, (featuring in person Candace Owens, Charlie Kirk, Dr, Alveda King, and Rev. Chris Thoma) by streaming it online.

Click here to stream the event.
World Lutheran News
SELK’s Bishop Emeritus, former ILC Vice Chairman, enters into glory
On September 22, 2021, Rev. Dr. Jobst Schöne, Bishop Emeritus of Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK), finished his earthly race. READ MORE

Former LCA President passes on to glory
Rev. Dr. Lance Graham Steicke, former president of the Lutheran Church of Australia, has passed on to glory at the age of 88. READ MORE

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod is a member of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies. For World Lutheran News, visit www.ilcouncil.org
Connected to Christ
The annual fall regional pastors conferences are underway! There will be 12 gifts. Twelve signed books, “Connected To Christ” gifted from author Rev. Dr. Mark Wood, at each of the four regional conferences. Your Evangelization Team will be giving away three books at each event: one to the first three people at each event who will promise to read and write a personal review of this gem of a book. We have obtained copyright permission from CPH. Rev’s. John Diener and Mark Wood have created a free study guide to go along with the book. You can win at Connecting people to Christ because God waters and grows the seeds you plant. 
All Saints Campus Ministry, Slippery Rock, PA
Why a Soccer Game Matters

All Saints’ first student meal of the school year was on Labor Day. We were elated that Slippery Rock University students had seen our posters and signs inviting them to a free, homemade Korean meal.
The students who came included several SRU soccer players, who had spotted the sign outside of our church and student center. It was their first meal at All Saints, and they felt very welcome and enjoyed Jo Dublin’s excellent cooking.
Before leaving the meal, the students were offered boxes of leftovers to carry back to their dorms. We told them our door was always open to them. We let them know we would be calling them soon. They were so enthusiastic about All Saints’ friendly welcome that they called out an invitation to me as they left saying: “Mrs. Mennell, come to our soccer game Wednesday.”

Click here to read more!
How the Real Estate Market Has Churches Considering "Best Uses" for Their Real Estate
Matt Messier, a good friend and great partner for LCEF, is featured in this article, which talks about churches considering how to use their real estate for the kingdom. The pandemic, dwindling membership and hot real estate markets all have combined to give churches good reason to reconsider how they use their space.

If you would like to hear how LCEF can help your congregation make the best use of its real estate, let’s talk! I’m only a call, email or text message away!

English and SELC LCEF District Vice President
Prayer Requests
The Bible's promise is true: "If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (1 John 5:14).

District daily prayers for November are located on our website.

Your prayer concerns are important to the English District. If you have a prayer request you would like shared in this newsletter, email the District office.
LCMS Foundation
For more information, contact the English District Gift Planning Counselor Ron Grimm by phone (412)-584-7039 or email.
In Our District
LWML, Tucson, AZ

The LWML Arizona Zone held their Fall Rally outdoors at Catalina Lutheran Church, Tucson, AZ. The mission speaker was Rev. Nicholas Wirtz from Iglesias Luterana Santa Trinidad. The ingathering was socks for Operation Barnabas and diapers for Family First Pregnancy Care Center and Family Diaper Bank. 
In Our Churches
Ascension, North Olmsted, OH

Twenty-five members of Ascension Lutheran Church attended a day-long witnessing workshop using CPH's "Every One His Witness" curriculum. Members walked through the "LASSIE" approach to evangelism with a specific eye to how to put this approach into practice at existing congregational events. Ascension will be offering follow-up modules in the fall.
Messiah, Princeton, NJ

On Sunday, September 26, the Lutheran Church of the Messiah celebrated the 10th anniversary of Pastor Martin Erhardt's installation!
First, Kingsville, ON

The last weekend in September, five families from First Lutheran Church traveled to Camp Celtic (Bruce Peninsula, ON) to spend time together and with Jesus. Besides a morning dip in Lake Huron, a hike in Bruce National park, and a lot of sport activities, they also had an opportunity to worship the Lord together through song, Bible studies and personal testimonies. They are looking forward to next year's trip already.
Ascension, Tucson, AZ

Alana Violet was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ on Saturday, October 2. A precious day for a precious child of God.
In Our Schools
Hales Corners, Hales Corners, WI

Kindergarten and 3rd grade classes had fun this week with some Martin Luther High School football players, cheerleaders and Marty Sparty! All of these high school students were also students at HCLS! Even their coach, Mr. Hoppert is an HCLC member whose kids were Wildcats, too!
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Also, please share your congregation's or school's unique ministries with the rest of the District. Send pictures and stories for consideration to jmcgarr@englishdistrict.org by Wednesday at 12:00 Noon ET. We want to see how YOUR congregation or school is showing the love of God to those in your community and around the world.
Livestreamed/Recorded Services
We encourage everyone to take advantage of alternative opportunities to hear God’s word and to be blessed by the Divine Service. We have compiled a list of opportunities on the English District website that is continually updated.

If your congregation is recording or live streaming and is not included on this list, please email us at info@englishdistrict.org and let us know how people can access it.
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