By Adriane Heins
“I wish every member of the LCMS could spend time with these fine young Christians,” LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison noted, reflecting on four young adults he recently met in Washington, D.C.
Those “fine young Christians” are the winners of a recent collegiate essay contest sponsored by “Free to be Faithful,” the Synod’s education and awareness initiative regarding marriage, life and religious liberty. The contest focused on ways college-age Lutherans can remain faithful, despite the pressure of academia and the culture.
The four chosen are:
- Isaiah Armbrecht, a student at Concordia University Nebraska, in Seward;
- Bethany Glock (University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign);
- Claire Houser (Concordia University, St. Paul, in St. Paul, Minn.); and
- Joshua Lacey (University of Wyoming, at Laramie).
They were awarded the honor of serving as “Free to be Faithful” Young Adult Ambassadors and were recognized by Harrison at a recent LCMS gathering in Washington, D.C., which focused on the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty (LCRL) and the need for an enduring LCMS presence in the nation’s capital.
“They are articulate and eager to confess the faith,” Harrison said about the ambassadors. “One of my greatest joys during the week was interacting with these Millennials. And there are thousands more just like them in our church body.”
Throughout the event in Washington, D.C., the four ambassadors — along with other attendees — heard from a variety of experts, both from within the “Beltway” as well as the LCMS, on the theme “Let’s Talk Marriage, Life and Religious Liberty.”
Presenters included Dr. Ryan Anderson, Sherif Girgis, Mollie Hemingway, the Rev. Dr. Scott Murray, Becky Rogness and Erik Stanley, among others.
LCMS Sixth Vice-President Rev. Christopher Esget served as conference chaplain for the event’s worship, and “President Matthew Harrison gave wonderful remarks on how the Two Kingdoms can and should and will serve us better than ever in an evocation worthy of Luther himself,” recalled LCRL board member Timothy Goeglein, who is vice-president for External Relations for Focus on the Family.
“The Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty conference was a fantastic event that was informational, exciting and encouraging,” Armbrecht said, noting that Ryan Anderson, author of Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, was influential for him. “One of the most superb ideas he presented was that our problem with marriage begins with us and our sin. We have lost the meaning of what a family is, and so marriage no longer means anything either.”
Glock said she also appreciated Anderson’s presentation since “he suggested that there is much that churches as well as individuals can do to protect our religious liberty and make the case for marriage. This made me all the more thrilled to have been selected as a Young Adult Ambassador this year.”
The ambassadors — who will assist in communication efforts as well “LCMS U” events in their new role — indicated that they used the LCRL conference to gather information about marriage, life and religious liberty, as well as consider ways that they can speak to those issues in their own spheres of influence on campus.
Houser said that being in Washington, D.C., helped set the tone for serving as an ambassador. “As I saw the nation’s sacred monuments for the men that died for the freedom of others, it made me realize how important it is to be a Christian in the kingdom of the left.”
Lacey also noted the camaraderie and enthusiasm from those in attendance. “Learning that everyone is important to the LCMS only increased my confidence in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod,” he said.
Serving as ambassadors highlights the “supreme challenge of these orthodox youth [who] will be articulating sound, biblical and rational arguments for life, marriage and religious freedom,” Harrison said.
Citing the decades-long efforts of the pro-life movement to put an end to abortion, Harrison indicated high hopes for these young men and women. “The 40-year task,” he said, “now is to demonstrate that support for marriage is not bigotry, but an argument for the complementarity of man and woman, made one, for the procreation of children and the benefit of society. That case will be made by these youth. I’m actually hopeful.”
Learn more about “Free to be Faithful” and the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.
Adriane Heins — firstname.lastname@example.org — is managing editor of The Lutheran Witness and editor of Catechetical Information for LCMS Communications.
Posted Sept. 28, 2015
Will the essays of the four winners of the recent contest sponsored by the Synod’s “Free to be Faithful” education and awareness initiative be posted on the Synod’s “Religious Liberty: Free to be Faithful” website or on the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty or elsewhere?
Yes, their essays will be used in Free to be Faithful communication tools throughout the upcoming year.