Thursday, October 11, 2018

Great Plains Mission District Annual Convocation

This year's annual mission district convocation will be Saturday, November 10, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Abilene, Kansas.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Update from our Dean, Dennis Beckmann, July 18, 2018

A very Blessed Day to all,
I would like to pass on some information and updates for our mission district, The Great Plains Mission District.
1. In the past year we have welcomed into our Mission District the following Churches: Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Abilene, KS, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of Norway, KS, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Axtell, KS, and Living Word Lutheran Church of Rogers, AR,
2. Our Mission District we currently have 5 churches engaged in the process of discerning if they should become members of the NALC.
3. At our last annual meeting we asked for volunteers to be on a team that would look at dividing our Mission District into at least 2 Mission Districts. The NALC recommends that MD’s not exceed 15 churches with 12 being suggested as an “optimal” number. We currently have 18 members with a likelihood of being at least 21-23 by our annual meeting this fall. So division is needed.
a. The recommendation from the team exploring this is for the district to divide into 3 districts. A southern portion which would encompass Arkansas, Oklahoma, and everything in Kansas and Missouri that lies south of Interstate 70 (this is still a large geographic area but does not have very many congregations). Another district would contain congregations in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska that are north of Interstate 70 and west of Hiway 77. The third district would contain congregations in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska that lie north of Interstate 70 and east of Hiway 77. There was another proposal that garnered some support for division into two mission districts with Hiway 77 being an east West dividing line. The proposal for three districts was recommended over this proposal because of the likelihood that one or both districts would be looking into a need to divide again in the very near future as the likelihood of more congregations leaving the ELCA and joining the NALC, or LCMC congregations deciding to jointly be LCMC and NALC was very good. It is hoped that the three district model would provide stasis for the new districts for several years (and then we pray that the Holy Spirit would prove this false by providing growth to the NALC)
4. My term as dean expires this fall, thus as we elect a new dean it looks like an excellent time to divide the MD and elect multiple deans to head the newly formed districts.
5. I would like to take this time to introduce you all to Pastor Cindy Cone, now serving at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Axtell, KS, as well as Pastor Alan Aley (pronounced Daley without the ‘d’) now serving at Zion Lutheran Church in Everest, KS. Both churches and pastors joined together in ministry this July.
Yours in Christ
Pastor Dennis Beckmann,
Dean, Great Plains Mission District NALC

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Annual Great Plains Mission District Convocation Meetings

 Meeting November 18, 2017

The meeting of the Great Plains Mission District was held at Trinity Lutheran Church, Abilene, Kansas on November 18, 2017.


Meeting September 17, 2016  

The meeting of the Great Plains Mission District was held on September 17, 2016 at St. Matthew’s in Riverside, MO

Dean Dennis Beckman opened the meeting with prayer.

Present were representatives of the following congregations:
Ebenezer Oromo Evangelical Church of Kansas City (Pastor Faisa Atomsa)
Evangelical Lutheran, Mankato, KS (Pr. Dennis Beckmann, John Ross, Karen Ross)
First Lutheran, Rockport, MO (Pr. David Klappenbach)
Missouri Micronesian Church, Riverside, MO (Pr. Phillip Istaro)
St. John’s, Westboro, MO (Pr. Fritz Brandenberg, Dick Reumann)
St. Matthew’s, Riverside (Pr. Bud Elliott + some church members)
Trinity Lutheran, Gothenburg, NE (Pr. Jeff Cottingham)

Also present by Skype was Darian Hybl, Goodland, KS (NALC rostered, serving LCMC church)

Absent were Emmanual Lutheran, Fayetteville, AR; Faith Lutheran, Dannebrog, NE; Freemount Lutheran, Lindsborg, KS; Martin Luther, Johnson, NE; Peace Lutheran, Edmond, OK; Trinity Lutheran, Ava, MO and Paxton New Life, Paxton NE (now withdrawn from NALC)

Representatives from the congregations represented spoke about what they have been doing as to mission, concerns, etc.

John Ross, Dennis Beckmann and Jeff Cottingham spoke about the situation in South Sudan and problems experienced by Matthew Riak there.

Phillip Istaro spoke about his recent trip to his native island of Chuuk, Micronesia. He is still studying with Pastor Fritz. He asked for prayer as he endeavors to finish process to be a full pastor in the NALC.

Faisa Atomsa asked for prayer for Ethiopia as there is a lot of ethnic fighting, power struggle, and many have died.

Jeff Cottingham announced that Trinity Gothenburg is no longer a mission congregation and is fully self-supporting, has a new building, very active.

Dennis Beckmann asked for prayer as he and Kathy are fostering 3 children. Mankato is building a core group of youth. They took a mission trip to Kansas City to City Union Mission to help serve meals and visited Faisa’s church.

Richard Reumann announced that Zion Lutheran, Everest, Kansas is voting in October to go NALC and LCMC.

After the break, chairs were arranged in a circle for better communication.  The business meeting was called to order at 11:40 a.m.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved.

There was discussion about money the mission district has available for pastors and others to attend NALC events.

The treasurer’s report was read by Margaret Elliott (Secretary).  Copies of the check ledger and other information was made available to everyone in their packets.

Jeff Cottingham discussed efforts in training of Pastoral Assistants (PA’s). Trinity Gothenburg has 5 PA’s. They can commission people to serve churches in a manner faithful to NALC’s core values. There is a need to streamline training for PA’s and lay leaders and make sure people know what we believe.
Dennis Beckmann said there is a form for P.A. application that has just been made available. There was discussion about P.A. procedures.

Dennis Beckman has added 3 associate deans: Cathi Braasch, Fritz Brandenburg, and Darian Hybl. It was moved, seconded and passed without dissent to keep the associate deans in place.

Dennis Beckman presented the Dean’s Report.  He has attended 2 NALC Dean meetings, Cathi Braasch attended convocation for him in California. He sits on the structure committee of the NALC.  He will be attending a Dean’s meeting in November in Columbus, OH.  He discussed changes being considered by the NALC regarding whether to have multiple bishops. It would take 2-3 years to implement require 2/3 vote of all congregations. Some discussion ensued.
Next year’s Convocation will be in Nashville, TN.

Budget issues were then addressed. It was agreed as follows:
Reserve $4,000 for Dean and Associate Dean travel expenses and do away with the annual stipend.
Increase support for Oromo and Micronesian from $1,000 to $1,500.
Darian suggested a total budget of $15,000.
It was agreed that a final budget would be worked out at a later date.

There was discussion about the GPMD Bylaws that have not been adopted yet. A rough draft was presented. Jeff Cottingham said he would provide a copy of their bylaws to review. The matter was tabled for the time being.

It was unanimously agreed to leave officers in place and to table any changes until we have bylaws.

The next matter was the election of the Dean. Fritz Brandenburg moved to re-elect Dennis Beckmann as Dean, Jeff Cottingham seconded the motion, and all present voted in favor thereof.

Darian Hybl talked about importance of having pastors communicate and get together, and discussed the on-line meetings to be held monthly . Various ways of improving communication were discussed, perhaps by newsletter, on a blog, etc.

Jill Schroeder is no longer serving Paxton. Brent Block, PA is providing pastoral services twice per month.

Pastor Cathi Braasch is serving an interim at Bethel Lutheran, Holdredge, NE.

The meeting adjourned for worship at 1:55 pm.

Margaret Elliott, Secretary

Meeting January 9, 2016:
The postponed annual convocation of the Great Plains Mission District was held on Saturday, January 9, 2016 at St. Matthew's. About 25 people attended, including representatives of 10 of our 15 Mission District churches. One church (Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Fayetteville, AR) and another rostered pastor (Pr. Darian Hybl, Emmanuel Lutheran LCMC, Goodland, KS) participated by Skype.

The congregations shared some of the things they have been doing. Pr. Atomsa updated everyone and asked for prayer regarding the current conflict between the Oromo people and the Ethiopian government. Government forces have killed, injured and/or imprisoned many who protest the Ethiopian government's plan to confiscate their farmland for little or no compensation, leaving the people with no means of livelihood. All of the members of the Ebenezer Oromo church have relatives in Ethiopia.

There was discussion about improving communication among the churches and a number of ideas were presented. It was decided to try a monthly on-line meeting of the pastors, the first on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Pr. Darian Hybl agreed to set up the on-line meeting place.

It was suggested that we have our future annual convocations late summer or early fall to avoid potential problems of winter weather that we have experienced on several occasions. The next meeting was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at St. Matthew's.  In the interim, the Board and officers remain the same. We hope to have new bylaws to vote on at the next meeting.

Dean: Pr. Dennis Beckmann (Evangelical Lutheran, Mankato, KS)
Clergy Board Members:
    Pr. Keith Falk (Peace Lutheran, Edmond, OK)
    Pr. Franz Brandenberg (St. John's Lutheran, Westboro, MO)
    Pr. Faisa Atomsa (Ebenezer Oromo church, Riverside, MO)
Lay Board Members:
    John Ross (Evangelical Lutheran, Mankato, KS)
    Jill Schroeder (Paxton New Life, Paxton, NE)
    Kirke Kickingbird (Peace Lutheran, Edmond, OK)

At lunch, St. Matthew's served pizza, salad and desserts.

Following the business meeting, we celebrated in worship and Holy Communion.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

2015 NALC Convocation in Dallas, Tx

The annual convocation and related events of the North American Lutheran Church was held in Dallas, TX the week of August 10.  Those attending the Convocation included the following from the three congregations that meet at St. Matthew's: Pastor Bud and Margy Elliott (St. Matthew's), Pastor Phillip and Rida Istaro (Missouri Micronesian Church), and Pastor Faisa Atomsa (Ebenezer Oromo). About 600 people attended the convocation. The theme was "Martyr: A Life-Giving Witness". We learned much about continuing persecution of Christians in the world, and we were lifted up with the hope of Jesus Christ! There were many stories of those who stand strong in their faith! We also were thrilled that folks from 12 of the 15 churches in our Great Plains Mission District - NALC were able to attend, and 26 people attended our Mission District gathering the evening of Aug. 13.

16‘But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you. 17I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ — Acts 26: 16-18
Music from Steve Bell, Canadian musician/author

Bishop John Bradosky was re-elected

worshiping and learning

Pr. Paull Spring (former Bishop) honored for 50 yrs of ministry

vendors and mission displays

The NALC now has its own seminary

One of the many who spoke of Christian persecution in the world
Pr. Mark Chavez, NALC General Secretary

The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, inspiring and dynamic

Pr. Atomsa, Pr. Elliott, Pr. Istaro

Pr Elliott, Margy Elliott, Rida Istaro, Pr Istaro, Pr Atomsa
Rida Istaro, Margy Elliott, and a friend from  Pennsylvania

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2014 Great Plains Mission District Annual Convocation

The 3rd Annual Great Plains Mission District Convocation was held at St. Matthew's on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. Present were representatives from Evangelical Lutheran, Mankato, KS; Freemount Lutheran, Lindsborg, KS; Good Shepherd Lutheran, Wichita, KS; Peace Lutheran, Edmond, OK; St. John's Lutheran, Westboro, MO; First Lutheran, Rock Port, MO; Ebenezer Oromo Evangelical (meeting at St. Matthew's); and St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran, Riverside, MO. The Nebraska churches were unable to attend because of threatening winter weather.

Also present were Bishop John Bradosky and outgoing Dean Russell E. Saltzman.  Bishop Bradosky spoke concerning things going on in the NALC.

Pr. Dennis Beckmann was elected Dean of the Mission District. Pr. Faisa Atomsa was added to the Council and no other changes were made for the present.

A chili lunch was served by the St. Matthew's ladies.

Convocation closed with worship and Holy Communion.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2014 NALC Convocation in Charleston, SC

The 2014 Annual Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church was held July 24-25 at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Earlier in the week was the Lutheran Core Convocation and Theological Conference.  Here are a few pictures.  Attending from St. Matthew's were Pastor and Mrs. Elliott and Pastor Saltzman. There were also representatives there from other churches in our Great Plains Mission District, including Peace Lutheran (Edmond, OK), Trinity Lutheran (Gothenburg, NE), Faith Lutheran at St. Peders (Dannebrog, NE), Evangelical Lutheran (Mankato, KS), Good Shepherd Lutheran (Wichita, KS), St. John's Lutheran (Westboro, MO) and Trinity Lutheran (Ava, MO).

The theme of the Convocation was “Standing Withstand” (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Videos are available at

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oct. 5, 2013 Great Plains Mission District Annual Convocation

The Great Plains Mission District met on October 5, 2013 at St. Matthew's.  Elections were held for Board openings.  The Board consists of 3 clergy and 3 non-clergy, as follows:

Clergy Members:
     Dennis Beckmann, Evangelical Lutheran, Mankato, KS
     Keith Falk, Peace Lutheran, Edmond, OK
     Bud Elliott, St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran, Riverside, MO

Non-Clergy Members:
     John Ross, Evangelical Lutheran, Mankato, KS
     Jill Schroeder, New Life, Paxton, NE
     Kirke  Kickingbird, Peace Lutheran, Edmond, OK

The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, NALC Missions Director, presented an inspirational Bible Study on Acts.

Sharing with the convocation about various activities of their ministries included Pastor Jeff Cottingham (Trinity Lutheran, Gothenburg, NE), Pastor Keith Falk (Peace Lutheran, Edmond, OK), Pastor Fritz Brandenburg (St. John's Lutheran, Westboro, MO); Pastor Gerald Berggren (Freemount Lutheran, Lindsborg, KS); Pastor Tamara Keen (Good Shepherd Lutheran, Wichita, KS), Mr. John Ross (Evangelical Lutheran, Mankato, KS); and Pastor Bud Elliott (St. Matthew's, Riverside, MO), Pastor Mary Fast (Interim pastor for a LCMC church, Christ Lutheran Church in Blair, NE), and Pastor Richard Reumann. Faisa Atomsa (Oromo Evangelical Christian Church of KC) was also present and his ordination coming up the next day was discussed.

After a delicious meal served by the ladies of St. Matthew's, the convocation ended with worship, sermon by Pr. Russ Saltzman (Mission District Dean), and Holy Communion.