Issue2 | March 2021
CORE Voice Newsletter, Issue 2, March 2021
In This Issue

  • What are our young adults doing to spread the gospel?
  • Is music distracting to your online worshipers?
  • We need your best sermons!
  • How does CORE support orthodox ELCA Pastors?
  • How has the Congregations in Transition (CiT) program been helpful?
  • What guidance did Luther provide during the Bubonic Plague?
  • New March Video Book Review
  • Who's on the board of Lutheran CORE?
  • ELCA delusions of grandeur

Scroll Down for More
Thanking God for Our Young Adult Group
by Pr. Dennis D. Nelson, Lutheran CORE Executive Director

Thank you to Ethan Zimmerman for his reminding us of the power of prayer and our need to respond when someone is requesting prayer. Thank you to Jacob Moorman for writing about a successful young adult group. Ethan and Jacob belong to a group of younger persons with whom Lutheran CORE is working.

We thank God for this group, which includes a pastor, several seminarians, several who are considering going to seminary, and others who are seeking to be faithful in their daily lives. Among the goals of this group are developing a support network for orthodox seminarians and finding ways to communicate the Christian faith to younger persons in a clear and compelling way. Please pray for them, read and share these articles with others.
Our Thursday Night Group: The Lord Can Do This Anywhere

I believe my generation is asking two questions: “Who am I?” and “What’s my purpose?” 

We noticed a significant void in our lives [after high school] and in the lives of many around us. We couldn’t find a strong young adult Bible study or community gathering taking place in our area. . . . [T]wo of us decided to start meeting every Monday evening at IHOP. We resolved to study God’s Word together and be intentional in prayer. That first summer we read through the Book of Acts. 

We then began to talk about reaching out to our peers who hail from many different denominations. The Lord lit a fire under us!
Pray for Kanye

Recently, I was sitting in my car after class, listening to music on random shuffle, and eating Taco Bell, when the song, “Hands On” from Kanye West’s album, JESUS IS KING, started playing. I sat there listening to it, really listening . . . and I had a revelation. 

Now why do I bring this up? Why did I entitle this, “Pray for Kanye”? I did so because I have something in common with Kanye.

I have made decisions that cost me friends because I didn’t want to do things or go along with decisions that would jeopardize or go against my faith. It has been quite the perilous journey . . . .

What I see . . . is that Kanye is going through a formative time in his life too and his faith is also under attack . . .
Send Me Your (Best) Sermons!
by Pr. Cathy Ammlung, former director and secretary of the board of Lutheran CORE

I have a soft spot in my heart for small congregations, congregations of any size in transition, and churches whose isolation and resources make it difficult to field an “emergency fill-in” pastor, much less an interim or called pastor. That’s one reason I compile hymn suggestions and write intercessory prayers, even though they are widely used by congregations of all sizes and staffing. Churches without a regular pastoral presence have enough to do without crafting prayers, selecting hymns to go with the appointed tests… or figuring out how the Word will be faithfully preached every week. That’s what I want to talk about now.
Thank You and A Warm Welcome
Pr. Cathy Ammlung and spouse, Richard
Rob Kittel
Mr. Rob Kittel
Pr. Keith Forni
by Kim Smith, Editor and President of the Board of Lutheran CORE

To quote a famous Lutheran CORE Executive Director, "One of my greatest joys and privileges ... is to be able to work with such an outstanding board of directors. This is a very dedicated group of seven men and women who love the Lord, love the church, and are committed to the work of Lutheran CORE." I completely agree.

As a board, we say a fond farewell to Pr. Cathy Ammlung, Mr. Rob Kittel, and Pr. Keith Forni and thank them for serving as secretary, treasurer and Encuentro convener, respectively. Cathy literally used to send the meeting minutes to my inbox before I hung up the phone from our teleconferences and she wrote many excellent articles for Lutheran CORE as well as hymn suggestions and prayers of the church. We look forward to her next endeavor for CORE (sermons). Rob was always on top of our financial situation and could be counted on for sage advice and constitutional expertise. We are very happy that he will continue to serve on our financial team. Keith brought his passion for Spanish-English bilingual ministry to the table. He was (and is) always looking for ways to make connections with other Spanish speakers and to highlight positive ELCA programs such as The Uncle Charlie Program at St. Timothy.

We miss them and wish them well in their future endeavors.
Pr. Patti Abel
Mr. James Speckhard
Pr. Craig Moorman
The board of Lutheran CORE warmly welcomes our three new directors, Pr. Patti Abel (NALC), Mr. James Speckhard (LCMC), and Pr. K. Craig Moorman (NALC and LCMC). Thank you for joining us on this sometimes crazy journey. Patti will serve as our secretary and Jim as our treasurer. Craig pastors at River's Edge Ministries in Mt. Airy, Maryland and is all about discipleship (for reference see the article by his middle son Jacob, above).

Together we will continue to be a voice and network for confessing Lutherans and other orthodox Christians.
How is this Woke Agenda Working for You?
by Pr. Steve Shipman, Dean, Western Mission District of the Atlantic Mission Region, NALC, former Director of Lutheran CORE

The ELCA has long bragged in its news releases by a tag line reporting how significant it is because of its size. One could cite this as another example of a Theology of Glory, but then “God’s Work Our Hands” sounds rather ostentatious too (not to mention synergistic).

Anyhow, the current tag line reads:
"The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.”

Since 2021 statistics are not available yet, that means that the ELCA admits to the loss of . . .
CORE's Support to Orthodox ELCA Pastors
by Pr. Dennis D. Nelson, Lutheran CORE Executive Director

A while back someone asked how Lutheran CORE supports faithful, confessional, orthodox ELCA pastors who are serving in ELCA congregations. It is a good question. In the March 2019 issue of our newsletter, CORE Voice, I sought to answer that question. Here I will be providing an update to my answer. 
First of all, I would again want to say that when I speak of confessional, orthodox ELCA pastors who are serving (or did serve) in ELCA congregations, I am also speaking of myself. I am ELCA rostered. I served the same congregation (first ALC, then ELCA) for forty years before my retirement in June 2014. So I will also be speaking of ways in which Lutheran CORE was of support to me . . .
Grateful Client's Experience with Congregations in Transition
by Ms. Jody Ellingson, former call committee chair and transition team member, American Lutheran Church (LCMC), Long Prairie, Minnesota

It was bittersweet reading our pastor’s retirement announcement in the summer of 2019. ... In true Pastor Bill fashion, he set our church up for success as he prepared for his own departure. Not only did he give our congregation an entire year’s notice before his retirement, he also set us up with Congregations in Transition (CiT).

“What do you mean we have to find our own pastor? Aren’t we just automatically sent a new one once Pastor Bill retires?” Nope! OK, so where do we even begin? Thankfully, we had our CiT coach, Pastor Don Brandt, to guide us through . . .
Embracing the Challenges and Opportunities of Worship in the Digital Age
by Dr. Don Brandt, Director, Congregations in Transition for Lutheran CORE

Here is the brutal truth: Worship life post-COVID will not be returning to the “normal” we remember before the year 2020. Why? Post-pandemic, in-person worship attendance will, for most congregations, be at least 25% to 40% below what they had in 2019. 

So what can be done about this? The biggest initial challenge will be to focus on the mission opportunity that is before us. Because improving the quality of your online worship ministry can not only retain members; it can reach new people with the Gospel.  

Part of the problem here is that with online worship I find myself becoming even more of a music critic. With in-person worship not so much; partly because in the case of hymns and songs I am participating. With “couch potato” worship I tend to . . .
Video Book Reviews
by Pastor Dennis D. Nelson, Lutheran CORE Executive Director

Lutheran CORE continues to provide monthly video reviews of books of interest and importance. Many thanks to David Charlton, ELCA pastor and vice president of our board, for doing this month’s video review. His review is about the book, The Genius of Luther’s Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church by Robert Kolb and Charles P. Arand.  
Ever Wonder What Luther Did During the Bubonic Plague?
There is an ALPB book for that. It's called Martin Luther: What to Do During an Epidemic and it's available as a PDF book; it will be emailed to you for just $5.00. Click here and here for more information.
Pro Ecclesia 2021 Conference
by Pr. Steve Shipman, Dean, Western Mission District of the Atlantic Mission Region, NALC, former Director of Lutheran CORE

The Pro Ecclesia 2021 Conference
sponsored by the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology
June 7-9 (Monday evening to Wednesday noon)
Loyola University, Baltimore

Confirmed speakers include:
David Cloutier
Piotr Malysz
Marianne Meye Thompson (tentative)
Brent Waters  
Sarah Hinlicky Wilson 

Topics include:
The Ethics of the Sermon
The Sermon as Both Law and Gospel
Is the Sermon Economically Realistic?
Preaching the Sermon
The Place of the Sermon in Matthew’s Gospel

And a special address by CCET board member Michael Root, "Is the Ecumenical Movement Over?"

We are hopeful of having this conference but, of course, there remain COVID uncertainties. Updates will be posted at where, in due course, registration will also be opened.
Coming Events
  • NALC 2021 Pastors' Conference - May 4-6, 2021. Click here.
  • Pro Ecclesia Conference - June 7-9, 2021. Click here.
  • NEXUS Course - July 11- 17, 2021. Register here.
  • Lutheran Week @ American Bank Center, Corpus Christi, TX - Aug 2-6, 2021.
If you prefer reading the print version (PDF format), please click the button below.
© 2021 Lutheran Coalition for Renewal
PO Box 1741 Wausau, WI 54402-1741

Lutheran CORE's mission:
  • A Network for Confessing Lutherans
  • A Voice for Biblical Truth

Our purpose can be summed up in two words– Network  and  Voice . As  Network  for confessing Lutherans, we support and connect Lutheran individuals and congregations who seek to live in accord with Biblical and confessional teachings and practices. As a  Prophetic Voice , we advocate for Biblical authority and confessional fidelity among churches of the Lutheran community.

We support local gatherings and communicate Biblical truth through our newsletter, mailings, and various forms of social media.
Follow Us