LWML eNews Issue #160 – Convention Central #5
July 1, 2015
LWML Sets 2015-2017 Mission Goal at $2 Million
Over 4,600 people attended the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) Convention in Des Moines, Iowa, June 25-28, 2015, under the theme “Bountiful! Sow Nourish Reap." The convention theme was based on the Scripture passage: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV). The LWML is the official women’s auxiliary of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).
Tying blankets kept hands busy while convention attendees got to know each other.
Delegates to the 36th Biennial Convention of the LWML adopted a historic $2 million mission goal for the 2015-2017 biennium. This goal, by the grace of God, will fund 19 mission grants as men and women respond in prayers and offerings during the next two years. The delegates chose to support the following mission grants:
- Clean Water and Evangelism Ministry, $50,000
- Disaster Response Trailers, $80,000
- Cancer Care Packages – Phil's Friends, $50,000
- Renovation of JEM Seminary Buildings, $120,000
- Redeeming Life Maternity Home, $100,000
- Hope and Healing to the Navajo People, $75,000
- Outreach in Refugee Camps – Lebanon, $72,000
- Healthy Families, $60,000
- LCMS Global Seminary Initiative, $100,000
- Training Teachers and Leaders, $100,000
- Opportunities in Uganda, $100,000
- “In Their Hands and Upon Their Hearts,” $50,000
- “We Are God's Workmanship,” $32,500
- Bringing the Gospel to the Lost Sheep of Israel, $100,000
- Helping Hands Initiative, $100,000
- Deaconess Training, $90,000
- Lutheran Youth Corps, $25,000
- Providing Hope for Detroit, $100,000
- Rosa Young Academies, $14,063.94
LWML President Kay Kreklau, Drayton, North Dakota, welcomed participants saying, "We pray that God opens to us doors to sow and nourish the seeds of faith as we interact not only with the people of the LWML but also with the people He will place in our lives as we go out these doors, giving witness to our Triune God in what we say and in how we act.”
Women, men, and children joined together on Thursday, June 25, 2015, and completed a variety of servant activities that included assembling Braille books of the Bible; writing cards of encouragement to cancer patients; packaging Meals for Kids Against Hunger; marking Bibles for Prison Ministry; making plastic bag mats, lap robes, fleece blankets, pillow case dresses, and quilts; and assembling Gospel bracelets. Boxes and boxes of Gifts from the Heart (material items given to Christian mission service organizations) were gathered for donations to Luther Care Services, Orphan Grain Train, and Lutherans for Life.
At the Thursday opening worship service, Rev. Gregory Seltz, speaker for the Lutheran Hour® radio program, challenged attendees to Just be it! – Children of God: restored, redeemed, and sent by Jesus. He emphasized, “You have been appointed, you have been anointed, and you have been sent in Jesus’ name.” A vocal choir of over 400 women, two bell choirs, and 20 instrumentalists contributed wonderful music. The live-streamed service was picked up in 25 countries and 49 states with thousands joining in real time to worship together.
Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. James Lamb, Executive Director of National Lutherans For Life, passionately invited all participants to, “Share, share, share the bountiful grace of God.” Rev. Keith Piotter, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Bettendorf, Iowa, served as proclaimer for the Sunday closing worship service.
Bible studies were led by former LWML Pastoral Counselor Rev. Michael Mattil, from Denison, Texas. Rev. Mattil said, “You sow the seed (God’s Word) by pointing people to the cross and what it means for them. Once the seed is sown believers need to be nourished.”
The voting body elected Patti Ross, Tulsa, Oklahoma, as the new LWML President. Patti has served the LWML on all levels of the organization, most recently as Vice President of Christian Life from 2009-2013. President Ross encouraged the women of the LWML to embrace diversity as they are unified in faith. Asked why she was passionate about this organization President Ross said, “Many people have heard me say that LWML is the best women's auxiliary of any denomination in the Christian church. It is the whole package! In almost 75 years it has kept the main thing the main thing! The saving Gospel message of Jesus Christ is in the center of all we do, be it mission inspiration, service, or monetary support of missions. This is our motivation and our mission!” She will serve from 2015-2019.
Also elected for four-year terms were Debbie Larson, Bismarck, North Dakota, as Vice President of Organizational Resources; Kaye Wolff, Southfield, Michigan, as Vice President of Special Focus Ministries; Marilyn Schroeder, Boone, Iowa, as Treasurer; and Rev. Robert Mundahl, Faribault, Minnesota, as Pastoral Counselor. Newly elected members of the Nominating Committee are Katy Gifford, Falls City, Nebraska who will serve as chairman; Margo Dupre, Lubbock, Texas; Deaconess Betty Knapp, Marquette, Michigan; Deb Poese, Rockvlle, Maryland; and Melissa Salomon, Chula Vista, California.
The convention featured a Mission Pledge Walk; an LWML Bountiful Bash Block Party; joyful singing under the direction of song leader Dr. Dina Vendetti, Dover, Delaware; and wonderful laughter provided by Jan Struck, Appleton, Wisconsin, who served as Humorous Interrupter. Presentations by Carly Hatcher, Executive Director of Mission Opportunities Short Term (MOST) Ministries; Rev. Jeffery Nehrt, from the LCMS Southern Illinois District Prison Ministry; Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities; and Rev. Dr. Tilahun Mekonnen Mendedo, president of Concordia College, Selma, Alabama, exhibited how God puts LWML mites into action. Gary Thies, Director of Mission Central, Mapleton, Iowa also inspired participants with his energy and dedication to God’s mission.
Recommended changes to the Bylaws, election of officers, and other business of the LWML intermingled with mission speakers, song, and laughter. For a lively finale to a busy day, Humorous Interrupter Jan Struck and Convention Song Leader Dr. Dina Vendetti took to the stage and provided the Saturday evening entertainment.
Offerings were gathered to benefit these organizations:
- Mission Goal for the 2015-2017 Biennium.
- Discovering Disabilities – Including ALL of God’s Children Lutheran Special Education Ministries (LSEM) Farmington Hills, Michigan.
- Cabins for Christ’s Children at Lutheran Valley Retreat, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- Family of God Mission – Detroit, Michigan – A mission plant of the Michigan District that serves the addicted, homeless, and poor of South-West Detroit, Michigan.
Preliminary totals for the offerings were shared with convention-goers and these totals continue to rise. More information on these mission organizations is available under Conventions on the LWML website. Anyone may still contribute by sending their offerings to the LWML Office,
For more information about the convention or the LWML, visit the LWML website at www.lwml.org, where a convention highlights video is also available.