National Lutheran News

AFLC celebrates 50 years of fellowship

Delegates to the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations received updates on mission programs during the 50th anniversary conference in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, in mid-June. Metro Lutheran photo: Darlene Hegrenes Hulteen

The mournful sound caused by the blowing of the shofar, the ram’s horn, called together Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC) conference attendees for the opening worship at Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, on June 12. The AFLC was celebrating its 50th anniversary with the theme of “Jubilee,” and the shofar was reminding participants of the year of Jubilee, when all debts are forgiven.

“The shofar was interesting because the man representing the organization that sells the shofar wanted to speak to the man who would be blowing it at the convention,” explained the Rev. Bob Lee, professor at the Association Free Lutheran Theological Seminary and Metro Lutheran board member. “He wanted to be able to pray for him.”

Praying became a theme of the conference. Each time a proposed resolution mentioned prayer, the assembly stopped discussion and prayed. “This slowed down the deliberation some,” Lee said, “but was good to do.”

In addition to the praying, participants experienced a time of celebration for the 50 years of ministry of the AFLC. Several people in their 90s who had attended the first conference in 1962 were back again this time.

The association accepted seven new congregations, including its first predominantly African-American church (from Louisiana). In addition, after AFLC President Elden Nelson announced he would not seek another term at next year’s gathering, the vice president’s race took on greater prominence. On the 10th ballot, Pastor Peter Franz, Grace Free Lutheran Church, Maple Grove, was elected.

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