HOUSTON—Delegates to the Synod’s 64th Regular Convention here heard today that Fan into Flame, the six-year-old campaign to raise $100 million to support the Ablaze! Gospel-sharing initiative, had raised $58,900,172 in gifts and pledges as of July 1. The money is being used to launch 2,000 new congregations, “revitalize” 2,000 existing congregations and fund outreach efforts worldwide—including seed money that has enabled LCMS World Mission to place 29 missionaries in 14 countries and seven U.S. cities.
Minutes after the report, delegates adopted, without debate, Resolution 1-01, “to celebrate Fan into Flame blessings and commit to its completion.” The resolution notes the “formal completion” of the campaign on Reformation Day 2011; asks that its “support mechanisms” remain in place until districts and congregations complete their local Fan into Flame campaigns; and requests that a final campaign report be provided to the next convention.
So far, 26 districts (and 1,420 congregations) have taken part in the campaign, and seven more districts are beginning their involvement, said LCMS First Vice-President Dr. William Diekelman, who gave the first part of the Fan into Flame report. Diekelman said “many congregations … would still like to participate” in the coming months, “so we know [the amount of contributions] will grow. We would like every congregation to have the opportunity to be on the list of supporters.”
He thanked those who have contributed to the effort, and noted the “extraordinary efforts” of district presidents.
Dr. Thomas Zehnder, executive director of LCMS World Mission, said Fan into Flame funds are being used to start Concordia International School in Hanoi, Vietnam, which will open for the 2011-12 academic year and “has the potential for educating the future leaders of Vietnam and instilling them with a solid Lutheran education.”
Campaign funds also are being used to build a Lutheran seminary in Ghana, West Africa; restore a Lutheran church in St. Petersburg, Russia; and support church planting in Sri Lanka.
Zehnder asked delegates and guests to consider taking part in Fan into Flame, if they haven’t already, and for their “prayerful support” of the effort. He invited them to visit the LCMS World Mission website (www.lcmsworldmission.org) for more information.
The convention is meeting July 10-17 under the theme “ONE People—Forgiven.” Among the approximately 3,000 participants are some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.
Posted July 14, 2010