National Lutheran News

Free Lutheran president won’t accept another term

Robert Lee told the AFLC convention 15 years is long enough

The president of the 36,000 member Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC) announced at the denomination’s June convention that he won’t stand for re-election next year. Said the Rev. Robert Lee, “I will have served for over 15 years [at the close of the term ending in 2007], and it seems right to my wife and me to request that my name should not be considered for re-election.”

The AFLC elected Lee to his fifth three-year term as president in 2004.

Lee had some good news for voting members representing his denomination. At their 44th Annual Confer-ence, held June 20-23 near Stanwood, Washington, he announced that contributions from congregations in support of AFLC ministries averaged 116% of budget goals for fiscal year 2005. For that, he declared, “We are grateful to God and our family of supporting congregations.”

Gathering under the theme, “This is a day of good news,” a phrase drawn from 2 Kings 7:9, voting members passed a resolution reaffirming the denomination’s conviction that women should not be allowed to be ordained as called pastors.

The resolution declares, “All Christians, whether men or women, have the same standing before God [and] are included in the priesthood of all believers. [However], the Order of Creation, together with the example of Christ and his apostles, as well as 1,900 years of church history, teaches that women should not hold the pastoral office.”

During a June 21 Mission Festival Service, four were called to serve overseas. Nathan and Rhoda Jore were commissioned as missionaries to Uganda, East Africa. Tomasz and Miriam Chmiel will serve “on loan” to the East European Missions Network, assigned to the Ukraine.

Delegates re-elected the Rev. Elden Nelson of Rockford, Minnesota, AFLC Vice President. The Rev. Brian Davidson, Minneapolis, was re-elected Secretary.

Members extended their thanks to the Rev. James Johnson, who is ending his service as Association Free Lutheran Bible School Dean. He’s accepted a call to serve a congregation in California. Succeeding Johnson as Dean will be the Rev. Joel Rolf, until recently a pastor in Valley City, North Dakota.
The denomination was reminded that 10 congregations from as many states have joined the AFLC during the past year.

There were 287 registered for the 2006 conference. In 2007, the denomination will meet in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The AFLC’s headquarters, along with its Bible school and seminary, are located on Medicine Lake Blvd. in Plymouth, Minnesota.