Synodical News

St. John's is a proud member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.  Here you can find the latest news from the Synod and Witness, Mercy, and Life Together.


Twenty-one LCMS missionaries and their families begin orientation


Today, 21 new missionaries — along with their 44 spouses and children — began an intensive two-week orientation held by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in St. Louis to prepare for service in 13 countries around the globe.

That number represents continued successful recruitment efforts toward doubling the number of LCMS career missionaries on the field to 136 by 2016 — as called for by the 2013 Synod convention.

The missionaries — slated for East and West Africa, Latin America, Eurasia, Asia Pacific and Southern Asia — will serve in diverse roles, including as nurses, evangelists, deaconesses, theological educators and international-school chaplains.

“Missionaries are the people Christ has called to go out into all the world and speak the Gospel,” said the Rev. Dr. Edward Grimenstein, associate executive director for the LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM). “These men, women and children have given up everything they know to do this. For us at the Office of International Mission, there is no higher priority than caring for those entrusted to us. They are the very means by which Christ spreads His salvation so people may believe and by believing have eternal life.”

In years past, missionary orientations have been held once each year. But in response to such a great need, the OIM decided last year to add more orientations to prepare missionaries more quickly to enter the field.

Missionary orientation is the first major step in a missionary assignment. It provides information, experiences and study materials that will help establish a solid foundation on which new missionaries build as they prepare for missionary service. It provides specific training for their ministry assignment and an introduction to the LCMS staff and structure that will support missionaries during their international deployment.

Because of the increasing number of missionaries now being sent abroad, the LCMS began offering missionary orientation twice a year this year — once in the winter and once in the summer, and the possibility of a third one in the fall.

A new addition to this summer’s orientation is the introduction of resources by Doxology, a Lutheran non-profit and Recognized Service Organization, that would meet the needs of those deploying to foreign fields and to give missionaries additional support and care. Also new to this orientation is special programming for women and accompanying spouses, with topics related to spiritual care, marriage and helping the families deal with transitions.

The orientation will culminate with a special “sending service” at 2 p.m. July 2, in the International Center chapel. The special Divine Service with Holy Communion, followed by a reception, is open to the public.

The LCMS has been involved in mission and outreach since 1851, when it established its first mission board and sent its first overseas missionary to India in 1895. Today, the LCMS trains, sends and supports called and appointed long-term and short-term missionaries throughout the United States and in various countries around the world, where there are mission stations, partner churches, schools and mission relationships. To find out more about the missionaries, or to support their efforts, download their prayer cards at

For more information about LCMS missionary opportunities, visit or contact the Rev. Dan McMiller, email or call 314-996-1341.

Related video: The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, shares the history of LCMS missionary work and looks to the exciting future as LCMS missionaries continue to share the Gospel of Christ around the globe.

If you have questions about this email or need assistance, please contact the LCMS Church Information Center at 888-THE LCMS (843-5267) or


A Holy Week Message from President Matthew Harrison

Holy Week and Easter 2015

Dear Fellow Laborers in the Lord’s Vineyard,

The world must surely think we’ve lost our marbles when, in the liturgy for Good Friday, the words ring out: “We adore You, O Lord, and we praise and glorify Your resurrection. For behold, by the wood of the cross joy has come into all the world.”

How true! On that day of deepest darkness, humankind finally got its hands on God. We grabbed hold of God in the flesh, nailed Him to a tree and told Him to get out of our world and leave us “the hell” alone. To this day, our every sin still demands the same — to be left alone in hell. Not much cause for joy there.

Ah, but even more true, on that day of deepest darkness, our God was loving the world, loving you and me and all who fail Him again and again. He was loving us by giving His only Son into that horrid death so that our hate-filled, violent, rebellious race might be pardoned and given a life without end in His kingdom.

If you’ve been following along in the Treasury of Daily Prayer or with the Daily Lectionary, you know that we just read again the story of Joseph in Genesis. What light that whole story sheds on the events we’re about to celebrate when we see in Joseph a picture of our Lord! He was hated by his brothers, stripped, betrayed and sold, disowned and forgotten. And why? Precisely so that God could, through Joseph, bring great blessing to those wretched brothers, keeping them alive in famine, providing for their families. “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive” (Gen. 50:20).

As with Joseph, so with Jesus. Hence the miracle of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter! It’s true that we meant it for evil. But God Himself was at work through it all, reconciling the world to Himself, not counting our sins against us as He made Him who had no sin to be sin for us. And come resurrection morn, He proclaims to all the world that its sins are forgiven, forgotten, gone! The resurrection cries out: “His sacrifice has been accepted — for you and for all. So rejoice!”

Yes, beloved, through the wood of the cross, joy truly has come into all the world: the joy of sins’ forgiveness, death’s defeat, love’s unconquerable triumph. The cross is our God saying: “You can’t make Me hate you! I love you and forgive you in the blood of My precious Son!”

I know how busy the days ahead are as you work to bring blessings to the people of God. But don’t forget to savor the joy of the cross yourself — to join the people of God in kneeling before the Crucified One who yet lives, who still is the master of working all things (including suffering and hardship) to bring blessing to His own, and who will surely appear again in glory.

To Him, to our Lord of joy, be all glory and honor! Remember me, please, in your prayers during these days, even as I remember you in mine!

Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod




Religious Liberty: Free to be Faithful 


Update from the President


Dear brothers and sisters,

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, when the Church begins her slow and measured journey to the cross, where we see Jesus: the Savior who hangs — bloodied and scourged — for us. It is a time of reflection and repentance for me and also for you, for all of us as the LCMS, and for the Church throughout the world.

And yet in the midst of our dusty Lenten ashes, we also look forward to Easter, when our Lord is raised from the dead, triumphing over sin and Satan, all for us. Yes, even during our Lenten fast, joy abounds!

That’s why I want to share two important things with you, so that you may see and know that our Lord is at work in and among each one of us, and is using us collectively as the LCMS to bear witness to Him.

First, our Synod treasurer, Jerry Wulf, shared at our Board of Directors meeting last weekend that together as the Synod we have reduced internal borrowing of restricted funds to cash flow operations from some $16 million four years ago to zero. You read that correctly. Zero! And we’re not stopping there. To get our financial house in order, we have also achieved a three-month cash reserve for operations, which is the minimum for a responsible non-profit.

Second, I’m delighted to announce that we are closing in on doubling the number of career missionaries internationally, which is a goal set by the Synod in convention in 2013. We are working to find a measured pace that will ensure that a sound system of missionary care remains in place but, by God’s grace, will also enable us to continue to add men and women, lay and clergy, to our worldwide mission team. The international moment unfolding worldwide before us as the LCMS is truly astounding!

So, thank you. Thank you for taking part in getting our finances in order so that we may be hearty stewards of all our Lord has to give. And thank you for being a part of our church’s mission work, that our fellow members may go to the ends of the earth to bear witness to Christ to those who have not yet heard that they are loved and whole on account of His death and resurrection.

Thank you. Thank you for your faithfulness to God’s Word and to the Lutheran Confessions. Lay people, thank you for loving your pastors. Pastors, thank you for loving your people.

Thank you for living boldly as the baptized children, loved by God, that you are. And thank you for the privilege of serving you. I covet your prayers and promise you mine, this Lenten season and always.

Under the cross,

Pastor Matt Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod


Prayers for peace - prayers for Ferguson

Grant peace, we pray, in mercy, Lord:
Peace in our time, O send us!
For there is none on earth but You,
None other to defend us.
You only, Lord, can fight for us. Amen (Lutheran Service Book 777).

All-loving Father, look in Your bountiful compassion on Ferguson, Mo., and the greater St. Louis community.

Grant wisdom and guidance to all our civil leaders and bless the efforts of our law enforcement to keep order and to bring a sense of security and calm.

Grant protesters wisdom to express their disappointment and sorrow with respect and decorum.

Rid our land of all conflict and fear between various groups, and help us all to live together as Your beloved children, through Him who truly is our peace, even Jesus, whose blood has reconciled us to Yourself and made us one family.

We ask it in His strong name. Amen.

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