National Lutheran News

AFLC annual convention looks like family reunion

When the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC) gathers, there is a lot of shaking of hands and telling of jokes, primarily of the Norwegian variety. “Having been a part of the AFLC since the beginning, and having served in leadership for many years, the conferences are like family reunions for me,” said the Rev. Robert Lee, faculty for the AFLC’s theological seminary and Bible school, explaining the feel of the annual conference.

“Why have we come here?” the Rev. Al Monson, Dickinson, North Dakota, asked to begin his sermon at the conference’s opening worship. He listed options — to see people we haven’t seen for a year, to meet in prayer, to attend business sessions, “and to receive a word from God.”

“Many of us come discouraged, disgruntled, angry, or with broken relationships,” Monson went on. “We come to be your encouragement.”

Monson, referring to the conference theme “My Word a Fire and a Hammer,” a reference from Jeremiah, said that the prophet “was watching a country in decline.” The people didn’t want the truth, they didn’t want accountability. But that is what the church must offer, Monson said.

The business sessions revolved around ministry reports from committees. Participants actively engaged written and oral presentations.

“I primarily come for the fellowship and to hear the presentations,” said Dean Eichhorst, a layperson from Faith Lutheran Church, Shakopee, Minnesota. “Then I report back to the congregation,” the center of AFLC polity.