SUBMITTED BY PASTOR TONY PITTENGER, BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH, PORT ORCHARD, WA.
Our congregation will be sending out the following letter (see below) to all of our members who are stationed elsewhere. You can edit it to fit your specific needs.
Greetings in the name of Jesus; Ruler of wind and wave, Captain of the angel hosts, and Prince of Peace!
On behalf of all your brothers and sisters at Bethany, we want to thank you for your service to our nation. While military training and service is an honorable vocation it carries with it an inherent “danger”. You are now separated from your home congregation, you may also now be separated from that regular “feeding” from God’s Word and Sacraments.
We are writing specifically to offer ideas and assistance to mitigate that separation as much as possible.
The best of all possibilities is that you are able to find a local ELS or WELS congregation (we will help) which we could transfer you to—for the time being—and they would welcome you into their arms, their pews, and to their communion rail.
Of course that’s not always possible. There aren’t always like-minded churches nearby, and when a person is downrange or out to sea it can be even more difficult. Here are some “solutions”; imperfect as they are, they are solutions nonetheless.
Bethany emails sermons out every Sunday. Additionally the audio is posted on the church website and Facebook page. Check out: http://www.bethanylutheranes.org/ and www.Facebook.com/Bethany.Kitsap
Our synod posts daily devotions which you can go find or which you can subscribe to and then receive them every day in your email. The WELS does the same. Find these at: http://els.org/dailydevotions/ and https://wels.net/serving-you/devotions/daily-devotions/
Bethany Lutheran College does a live feed of its morning devotions. This is specifically at 10am Central Standard Time, but they really are very nice. https://www.blc.edu/chapelcast
Both the ELS and WELS have a number of congregations which stream their services. Here are links to those places: http://els.org/resources/sermons/ and https://yearbook.wels.net/unitsearch
An organization connected to the WELS, called Time of Grace, broadcasts devotional content on American Forces Network. While AFN is only accessible for those outside the U.S., if that’s who you are you can look for them in the local broadcast schedule. They also have shorter versions called Military Minute which we have been told are broadcast on board the USN ships.
Lastly, there are many good apps available, both for Bible reading (many will give you a daily schedule) and for devotions. I use a free ESV Bible app. The WELS has an app for their webpage and also one called “Meditations Daily Devotional”. I also like two from the Missouri Synod (“Pray Now” & “Portals of Prayer”)
May God guard and bless you and the faith He’s given you just as you are guarding and blessing us with your service. Contact us for any reason.
Pastors Locklair and Pittenger