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Updates from congregations around the Church of the Lutheran Confession

It might seem like a paradox. On the one hand God says of Himself in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord , I do not change,” while at the same time Jeremiah speaks of how the Lord’s compassions “are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) We don’t usually talk about something that never changes as at the same time having the quality of being new.

And yet that is exactly what all of God’s people have always experienced. We treasure the profound peace of always knowing that our Lord’s gracious undeserved love and forgiveness is forever with us, as we experience it anew with the challenges and blessings that come with each dawning day.


In the five years since we were last profiled in the pages of the Lutheran Spokesman, we at Zion Lutheran Church in rural Hidewood Township of Deuel County, South Dakota, have experienced those new-every-morning mercies of the Lord in a number of ways.

A building such as ours, which is well over one hundred years old, needs lots of maintenance. In these recent years we were blessed to be able to hire Loren Hansen from Hecla, South Dakota, to put a new steel roof on the church and also on the steeple.

And speaking of God’s blessings on old age, member Arnold Johnson turned 101 this year, and with his wife Helen celebrated their forty-first wedding anniversary!

Arnold Johnson,
still playing violin at age 101
Arnold Johnson, still playing violin at age 101
Arnold and his wife
Arnold and his wife Helen

Our congregation has not been blessed with growth in numbers from those not previously connected with Zion. But in these five years our church family has grown to include the spouses and/or relations of those who were already members-there have been seven adults who have taken instruction with the pastor, of whom four remain as current members.

Teacher Collette rause of Trinity
Lutheran School and kindergarten graduate Tessa
rause of Zion
Teacher Collette rause of Trinity Lutheran School and kindergarten graduate Tessa rause of Zion

God has also continued to bless Zion’s families with internal growth. Five years ago we reported having five children under six years old-since then we have had nine additional baptisms, of which five of those baptized remain as current members. One visiting pastor, knowing Zion/Hidewood to be an older, rural church, arrived expecting a small group of mostly older members. You can imagine his surprise when he instead found a church whose pews were nearly full, with several young families and many children!

Baptism of Charles Krause
Baptism of Charles Krause
Baptism of Charlotte Tramp
Baptism of Charlotte Tramp

Through this internal growth, God has blessed us with the new challenge of having in place formal and informal instruction for our youth. Most years several Zion children go to Trinity Lutheran in Watertown for vacation Bible school, with the exception of 2019 when there were enough children for Zion to host its own VBS! This past year also saw Zion having two Sunday School classes meeting weekly during the school year. A couple of Zion’s families have also made the commitment to enroll their children in the Christian day school at Trinity Lutheran in Watertown.

We invite you to join us in praying for God’s continued never-changing and ever-new blessings on our congregation!

			Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
			There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
			Thou changest not; Thy compassions, they fail not;
			As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
			Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
			Morning by morning new mercies I see;
			All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
			Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
			(Lutheran Service Book, #809:1)

Paul Krause is pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Watertown, South Dakota, and Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hidewood Township, South Dakota.