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LCMC conference includes visit from “Martin Luther”

Lutheran association holds national gathering in Golden Valley, Minnesota

Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), an association of more than 500 Lutheran congregations from across the United States, is meeting this week at Calvary Lutheran Church, an independent congregation in Golden Valley, Minnesota. This is the 10th national gathering of LCMC, and the theme for the 2010 gathering, which opened Sunday, October 3, is “Jesus Christ: The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever.”

More than 1,067 people have attended the gathering as of noon on Tuesday. About 220 of those are guests, meaning people not members of congregations that are a part of LCMC, according to Sharon MacFayden, administrative coordinator of LCMC.

More than 1,000 participants in the LCMC national gathering packed the sanctuary of Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, Minnesota. Metro Lutheran photos: Bob Hulteen

Participants on Tuesday morning received an “unexpected” visit from Martin Luther for a morning session. “I really enjoyed the history … which brought Martin Luther alive by portraying his theology and what he discovered in his time,” explained Ben Luense, a member of St. John Lutheran Church, Springfield, Minnesota. St. John’s, formerly an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregation, has been part of LCMC for 10 months, Luense said.

“It’s refreshing to hear the Word brought forth,” Luense added “It’s renewing.”

The Rev. Johan Hinderlie, one of the keynote speakers for the gathering, “channeled” Martin Luther in his opening session. He stayed in character throughout his early morning presentation.

Later in the morning, speaking in his own voice, Hinderlie opened by saying, “It’s always easier to follow someone who’s dead [Martin Luther].” Then he turned serious, stating, “It is humbling to stand in the presence of people who have had to withstand so much in the last year.”

The Rev. Johan Hinderlie, Mount Calvary Ministries, Alexandria, Minnesota, exhorts attendees to confront the powers and principalities of this age.

“The problem today is a fallen understanding of the Holy Spirit — a separation of the Holy Spirit from the Word.”

Hinderlie, the executive director of Mount Carmel Ministries, proclaimed “The problem today is a fallen understanding of the Holy Spirit — a separation of the Holy Spirit from the Word.” In a post-modern age, he went on, this leaves people free to choose their experience over scripture as the source of truth. “’We do not fight against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers’,” Hinderlie quoted from Ephesians 6:12. “This is a fight against principalities and powers,” he said, referring to the confrontation with modern culture.

Much of the conference is devoted to organizational efforts, given the growth of LCMC over the last two years. “We tried to create a structure under which people could work together theologically — even when there is disagreement — and also work together locally,” the Rev. Meg Madson, a longtime participant in LCMC told Metro Lutheran. “We want to keep that structure, and that is challenging with so much change.”

LCMC operates with both geographical and non-geographical districts. The non-geographical districts are the CrossAlone District, the Evangelical Renewal District, and the Augustana District. Minnesota is split into two geographical districts of LCMC, with southern Minnesota yoked to South Dakota, Cambodia, and Russia in Area 3; northern Minnesota is tied to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin in Area 4. Minnesota is home to 56 of the approximately 520 LCMC congregations.

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