The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia and Ebola

In the summer of 2013, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in convention affirmed altar and pulpit fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia. This was a joyous day. This is a young, upstart confessional Lutheran group who are bringing the pure, wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins, received by grace through faith, to the people of Liberia.

These, our brothers and sisters in Christ, need our prayers. Liberia, along with Sierra Leone and Guinea, are facing a tremendous outbreak of the Ebola virus in their midst. In fact, it’s the worst ever outbreak of this terrible disease.

My congregation has developed a support relationship with Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Cotton Tree, Liberia. I’ve been blessed to speak on the phone and correspond by email many times with Pastor James Kollie, the pastor of Good Shepherd. As the Ebola outbreak became more widespread, I wrote to him to see how he and his family were, as well as his congregation and their neighbors, families, and friends there in Liberia. With his permission,  I share his update on the situation for himself, his congregation, and the people of Liberia:

On the other hand, We frightened here very highly as no one knows who has the Ebola Virus as we move around. Liberia at the moment is under a state of emergency for 21 days for everyone to know their status. Our doctors, nurses, and citizens dies per day here. Please join us to pray for the our only home land Liberia to survive this devastation. Jesus in His infinite mercy is the only one whom we all are looking up to for our safety. My community is safe yet at the moment but who knows what will happen in the next few weeks, months or so. Jesus, have mercy on us. My wife and children are staying behind me while I come to Us for studies in a situation like. I am the only one who goes out to the cities to purchase food and when I am gone, my wife will be the next person to do so for our family survival.

Please also pray that the Lord will always provide for them to have enough and keep safe. Also, the family of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church that I am the founding and senior pastor, Lets pray for their safety cause their safety will be ours since we meet many times weekly.

Thanks so much for your concern and we pray to see you soon.

Please add Pastor Kollie and his family, the people of Good Shepherd Lutheran in Cotton Tree, and the people of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea so affected by this Ebola outbreak.

Let us pray. Lord God, heavenly Father, your mercies are new every morning. You have shown Your love and mercy for us in sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us from sin and to defeat death and the grave for us. Let Pastor Kollie and his family and your people in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia know of Your love and care for them. Help them to be a constant reminder to their neighbors of Your love. Protect them from this disease, according to Your good and gracious will. Deliver them from evil; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

A Picture of Christian Vocation in Action

D-Day-Mass

On this anniversary of D-Day, I came across a picture of that day that illustrates the vocation of the Christian so very well.

The vocation of the Christian is 1) repenting and faithfully receiving forgiveness from Christ in Word and Sacrament, and 2) serving the neighbor in love through whatever other vocations the Lord has put us in.

After the landing and battle; after the soldiers have done their duty in serving their neighbor, they gather together and are served by our Lord Himself in His word of forgiveness preached and in His Body and Blood of forgiveness fed.

How amazing and merciful our Lord is!

Thrivent Reinstates Funding to Crisis Pregnancy Centers – An Open Letter

bigstock_Falling_Money_669153Dear Mr. Hewitt and Thrivent Board Members,

Imagine my pleasant surprise when today, while doing some research for a follow-up article on Thrivent’s neutrality policy, I discovered that a bit more than 70% of the pro-life organizations that Thrivent had kicked out of their charitable giving programs in the name of “neutrality” have been quietly reinstated.

Thanks be to God! Wonderful organizations that are serving men, women, and children in their time of need are again eligible for Thrivent Choice dollars as well as other Thrivent charitable giving programs. This is a great first step for Thrivent. I do wonder why you are being so quiet about it; nevertheless it is very good to see.

Now for the next step. The faithful organizations that provide education about life and bioethics issues should be reinstated. These organizations are doing faithful, Christian work. They are providing resources to men, women, and children – Christian or not – in times of great need. These organizations are:

These organizations are not political, but instead exist to provide the truth about life issues to Thrivent’s Lutheran Members. I can see no reason they should not also be reinstated, given that what they do is in many ways indistinguishable from the life-issues education I provide in my congregation, and as many other congregations are also providing on a regular and ongoing basis (all receiving Thrivent funds, by the way!) As Rev. Matthew Harrison stated, “the LCMS and every one of its entities and congregations are both pro-life and nonprofit, so we certainly hope that Thrivent will continue to support such pro-life, nonprofit organizations.”

There are a few other organizations that have yet to be reinstated. I hope it’s only a matter of time before they too can receive Thrivent funding. According to my information, they are:

  • CareNet Pregnancy Services of DuPage County, Downers Grove, IL
  • Crisis Pregnancy Center of Tidewater, Chesapeake, VA
  • Harbor Lights Pregnancy and Information Center, East Tawas, MI
  • Pregnancy Assistance Center North, Conroe, TX
  • Pregnancy Care Center, Fresno, CA
  • Pregnancy Support Center, Canton, OH
  • Sanctity of Human Life Network, Fair Oaks, CA

The Triune God whom all Thrivent Members confess in the Apostles’ Creed is pro-life. Full stop. It is our privilege as God’s people to imitate Him in serving our neighbors in order to promote and protect life. I hope you will continue in this positive direction. This is my ongoing prayer. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Rev. Michael Schuermann

 


 

This is an open letter. Feel free to use it yourself to send to Thrivent CEO Brad Hewitt and the Thrivent Board of Directors. Thrivent is listening to Thrivent Members. Thrivent Members, make your voices heard.

Brad Hewitt, CEO
Thrivent Financial
625 Fourth Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1624