MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT “The synod” is a spiritual family united in a mission to share the Savior faithfully and efficiently across the world. I pray this annual report gives you a glimpse of God’s blessings on our common mission, reminds you of the privilege we have to do that work, and encourages in you a zeal to participate.
CREATING MINISTRY CONNECTIONS WELS facilitated the connection of Peter Bur, a South Sudanese man enrolled in our synod’s Pastoral Studies Institute, with other South Sudanese men in the U.S. and Ethiopia, and with the head of the Lutheran seminary in Ethiopia. As a result, a number of WELS pastors have begun training South Sudanese men in the U.S., and South Sudanese men who are refugees in Ethiopia are growing in their understanding of the gospel on the way to becoming Lutheran pastors. CALLED TO PROCLAIM
Rev. E. Allen Sorum of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI), Peter Bur (back row, third from the left), and another South Sudanese PSI student recently visited with five South Sudanese pastors in Ethiopia.
RUSSIAN ORDINATIONS CALLED TO PROCLAIM On Easter 2014 two native Russians were ordained and installed as pastors—the only two national pastors for the 312- member church body. “It’s just a new chapter for the church—to have the Russians in charge and leading,” says Rev. Larry Schlomer, administrator of the Board for World Missions.
WORLD MISSIONS Has a presence in 23 different countries Serves 76,500 baptized members in Lutheran churches Serves 52,000 more souls through correspondence and workshops Is training 170 men to become pastors in their own countries Is assisting national pastors to train hundreds of people to be congregational leaders in their home countries CALLED TO PROCLAIM
WORLD MISSIONS Is exploring outreach possibilities in five additional countries Supports 41 missionaries, 9 teachers, and more than 70 lay workers in our missions Produces digital and print materials for more than 45 different languages through Multi-Language Publications Maintains www.wels.net/missions to tell WELS members about the amazing work being donewww.wels.net/missions CALLED TO PROCLAIM
HOME MISSIONS Called to proclaim God’s Word in English-speaking North America Includes campus and multi-cultural ministries CALLED TO PROCLAIM
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA Saviour of the Nations, Vancouver, British Columbia held its first worship service in March 2009 but for most of its existence has shared a pastor with two other congregations and only had a pastor to lead worship services once a month. The congregation is excited to now receive funding from Home Missions to fully staff its ministry and move forward on the opportunities that it feels God is placing before it. CALLED TO PROCLAIM
MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA Grace, Minot, N.D. began worshipping together in the mid-90s, served 1-3 times per month by pastors living hours away. With the influx of people to the state due to the energy boom, WELS Home Missions authorized funding for full-time pastor Nate Walther. Walther says, “You have no idea how much your prayers and support mean to us. Thank you.” CALLED TO PROCLAIM
MARTIN LUTHER COLLEGE, New Ulm, Minn. MLC student Rachel Brokmeier spent her summer at St. John, Wood Lake, Minn., paid by the congregation to give free music lessons to the community. On the way to the piano at the front of the church one student asked about the Bibles and hymnals, and Rachel was able to talk to him about Jesus. The boy and his siblings later returned to attend the church’s VBS. CALLED TO PREPARE
MARTIN LUTHER COLLEGE, New Ulm, Minn. Training for pastors, teachers, and staff ministers; offers continuing education for called workers Enrollment: 727 students on campus; 120 in graduate program Office of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education served 894 people in 2013-14 Master of Science in Educational Administration degree being created CALLED TO PREPARE
MARTIN LUTHER COLLEGE, New Ulm, Minn. New Teacher Induction guides beginning teachers through their first two years of teaching through seminars and mentors Programs to give students mission experience CALLED TO PREPARE
WISCONSIN LUTHERAN SEMINARY, Mequon, Wis. Has prepared more than 3,500 pastors since 1863 Offers continuing spiritual and professional growth opportunities for pastors Pastoral Studies Institute guides and assists non- traditional students through their pre-seminary and seminary training CALLED TO PREPARE
LUTHER PREPATORY SCHOOL, Watertown, Wis. and MICHIGAN LUTHERAN SEMINARY, Saginaw, Mich. Prepare high school students to attend Martin Luther College and serve as called workers Enrollment: 441 at Luther Prep and 231 at Michigan Lutheran Seminary Students given opportunities to do ministry on campus or during mission trips, shadow called workers CALLED TO PREPARE
Luther Preparatory School is celebrating its 150 th anniversary. The celebration will culminate with a special worship service on Nov. 15, 2015. A Michigan Lutheran Seminary student participates in a Taste of Ministry opportunity at Emanuel, Lansing, Mich.
CONGREGATION AND MINISTRY SUPPORT GROUP EVANGELISM: Daily Devotions to nearly 10,000 people, 200 th School of Outreach, third outreach movie by Christmas 2015 LUTHERAN SCHOOLS: online Bible courses for high school students, support for early childhood ministries, school accreditation YOUTH AND FAMILY MINISTRY: 1,400 teens and 400 youth leaders attended International Youth Rally in Knoxville, Tenn. WORSHIP: More than 1,000 attended 2014 national worship conference CALLED TO SERVE
CONGREGATION AND MINISTRY SUPPORT GROUP ADULT DISCIPLESHIP : Shanna and Tyler Miller joined 49 other couples in Hood River, Ore., for a weekend in October for a marriage retreat presented by WELS Adult Discipleship. “We loved every minute,” said Tyler. “We loved having the time to focus on each other, as well as sharing our faith with dozens of other like-minded couples seeking to strengthen their marriages.” CALLED TO SERVE
CONGREGATION AND MINISTRY SUPPORT GROUP SPECIAL MINISTRIES: Helps churches conquer barriers to ministry like member disabilities and distance from a congregation Prison Ministry: During any given month 1,700 prisoners were studying the provided Bible study resources ConquerorsthroughChrist.net helps people who struggle with the temptations of Internet pornography. Since the launch WELS counselors are reporting a marked increase in people seeking help for this temptation. CALLED TO SERVE
COMMUNICATION SERVICES: Forward in Christ magazine celebrated its 100 th anniversary MINISTRY OF CHRISTIAN GIVING: Optimized online giving site for mobile and added tribute gifts option CHRISTIAN AID AND RELIEF: Provided $324,000 toward humanitarian aid projects that helped build bridges to proclaim the gospel TECHNOLOGY: Launched faster, more reliable, and easier version of WELS Mobile app CALLED TO SERVE
WELS FOUNDATION helps God’s people support WELS gospel ministry at their congregations, schools, synod, and other affiliated ministries through planned gifts. CALLED TO SUPPORT
WELS INVESTMENT FUNDS provides professionally managed investment portfolios. Currently serving 154 congregations and 33 affiliated organizations. NORTHWESTERN PUBLISHING HOUSE released Meditations Daily Devotional app, which has been downloaded 20,000 times in 138 countries; has more than 115 e-book titles CALLED TO SUPPORT
WELS CHURCH EXTENSION FUND provides loans and grants for home missions through funding from gifts and investments from WELS members, congregations, and affiliated organizations. In fiscal year 2013-14, $22.1 million of new loans and $0.9 million of new grant requests were approved CEF’s loan portfolio grew to more than $141.5 million with 206 loans to WELS congregations and affiliates CALLED TO SUPPORT
WELS BENEFIT PLANS Office administers the WELS Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA) Health Plan and the WELS Pension Plan. About 80 percent of WELS and ELS calling bodies currently provide this nationwide, long-term health coverage to their workers. CALLED TO SUPPORT
FINANCIAL PICTURE We thank our gracious God for his many blessings on WELS ministries In 13-14 congregation mission offerings of $20.9 million, plus $7.7 million from bequests, foundation grants, and gifts from individuals funded $28.6 million of ministry Due to a reduction in 2014 subscriptions, congregations reconsidered their commitments, resulting in a one percent increase over 2013.
WELS IN BRIEF Third largest Lutheran church body in the United States 1,272 churches 376,177 baptized members 298,899 communicant members One of the largest parochial school systems in U.S. 318 elementary schools 409 early childhood ministries 23 area Lutheran high schools WELS’calling: Nurture the faith of members and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world
WELS IN BRIEF Twelve districts allow for more area- specific ministry Member of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, an organization of 24 confessional church bodies throughout the world Headquarters in Waukesha, Wis.
Thank you for your support! Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod N16W23377 Stone Ridge Drive Waukesha, WI 53188-1108 Phone: 414-256-3888 Web site: www.wels.netwww.wels.net