The Western Region of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren is a group of congregations in the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We have 21 churches in these four states and another that has applied for membership in the CLB..
More than half of the congregations are in North Dakota. One of the biggest issues in these churches is the vast distance between them with some being more than 200 miles from the next CLB congregation. This puts limits on how often these churches and pastors can get together. Another issue is that of the shrinking of rural America. Some of the small towns in these areas are shrinking as the farms grow larger. This has been offset lately with the drilling of oil wells in western North Dakota and eastern Montana. Half of the congregations in this region would be small town or rural congregations with most of the rest being in communities of 100,000 or fewer. This sets us apart from much of America.
For the most part ministry in this area still reflects traditional church ministry in America. That is changing as our culture continues to change, but those cultural changes come slower to rural and mid-America than to the major cities and coasts. There are in most of these congregations a self-reliance and strong sense of family that makes them very stable and strong. The congregations of this region seek to bring Jesus Christ to their neighbors while building a strong foundation of faith in those who already come.
My wife’s aunt and uncle from Brooklyn, New York had driven to Fergus Falls, Minnesota to help us celebrate our newborn’s baptism. I thought it would be nice to take uncle Olaf and my father-in-law Palmer fishing. So I did. It was a hot, very windy August afternoon. We left Palmer’s dock full of expectations
“Our Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my
Dear CLB Pastors and Leaders: Today we praise God for His provision and we thank Him for you. We have closed the books on our 2015-16 fiscal year. As many of you know, we faced together a difficult challenge as we entered April, the final month of our fiscal year, needing to raise just over
As a Christian and a Lutheran, I hold near and dear the truth that it is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that I am saved. Years ago, when my oldest grandson was only five years old, I asked him if he understood what this Bible verse meant: “Abraham believed God and
Rev. Steven J. Brue, president of Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, is stepping down from the President’s Office effective June 30, 2016. “After prayerful consideration, I have submitted my letter of resignation to the HLA Board of Directors as President of Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. An opportunity has come to be directly involved with
Chaplain Kenneth Austin, 76, of Underwood, MN died Tuesday, October 27, 2015. Ken was born on December 11, 1938, in Minot, ND. On February 15, 1959, he married Mavis Field in Minot, ND. As a layperson Ken participated in Church of the Lutheran Brethren church plants in Dickinson, ND and Bismarck, ND. In 1987 he
During 17 years of living as bi-vocational missionaries in a “closed” country in East Asia, my family and I have grown accustomed to the small twinges of reverse culture shock that we inevitably experience whenever we return to the U.S. for a home assignment: orderly traffic, beautifully manicured green lawns, large people, and a bewildering
The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, making same-sex “marriage” a constitutionally protected “right,” is rightly regarded by advocates and opponents alike as a tipping point for the nation’s sexual revolution. The decision itself was hardly a surprise. “Blue states” had been approving homosexual marriage for years1 while the White House was
To my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ—now the Church in Exile: I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Over the past several decades it has become increasingly clear that the world in which we live does not share at a foundational level our understandings of truth, beliefs, or values. We
With Christmas approaching, I think of the story of Mary—the mother of Jesus. She is a woman of opposites. She seems to be an ordinary Jewish woman, who most likely cooked, and looked after her home, husband and children. On the other hand, the Bible tells us she had an extraordinary life. She would be
Eat your lasagna!” “No, apple first!” “You have to eat one bite of lasagna!” “No, apple first! Apple First!” “Do you need a time out?! All you have to do is eat one bite of lasagna, then you can have an apple, it’s really not that hard.” “No lasagna!… a’ done, a’ done, ALL DONE!”