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Updates from congregations around the Church of the Lutheran Confession

Over the past few years, Bethel has received several “new” things. The first of our novelties was a facelift: we renovated our fellowship hall, put a new ceiling in the sanctuary, and resurfaced the parking lot. Not only does the building now look more pleasing to the eye, but we also have high-speed internet and a wireless adapter for our projector. (Thank you, God!)

Like many other congregations, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it forced us to use the internet for communicating with newly home-bound members. Thus, an email group was created. This has now evolved to a “Bethel News” group, which sends our announcements the day before worship, so that the bulletin and worshipers can focus on God’s Word.

Some members of Bethel Lutheran Church
Some members of Bethel Lutheran Church

In December of 2020, Bethel received a new pastor. Pastor Johnathan Schnose had spent nearly twenty years as a WELS pastor, so much of the CLC was new to him; for instance, how certain words are used, what resources are available, and so forth.

Some members of Bethel with their pastor
Some members of Bethel with their pastor

One issue had to do with Bible translations. Like many in his former fellowship, Pastor Schnose had been using the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB, which became the Evangelical Heritage Version), “until the Wartburg Project was finished.” Bethel had been using the New King James Version (NKJV). Eventually the congregation decided to start using the Evangelical Standard Version (ESV), and to take advantage of some of the associated Lutheran resources available online. This was new to all of us.

Now, every Sunday, we have a unified theme (the Introit, Gradual, Collect, Lessons, Verse of the Day, Hymn of the Day, and the Prayer of the Church all match); and we have a Cantor who leads the church in chanting the Psalm. We find worship quite enriching.

With the ESV resources also comes an affordable music license. Thus, we are now able to stream (legally) our services. This brought one prospect to our church—but, alas, she did not complete her classes to become a member.

One final thing for which we are thankful—a new generation! Over the past six years, Bethel has had quite a few Baptisms. I’ve had two every year since I came here! When teaching children the truths of God’s Word, we bring out treasures old as well as treasures new. And sometimes, when the children express their Spirit-given faith, we learn new ways of seeing the same long-established truth. For this, God be praised.

Some of the congregation's children at Christmas
Some of the congregation’s children at Christmas

Johnathan Schnose is pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in Morris, Minnesota.