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December 2017

Dear Friends,

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. 5 Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. 6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. 7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. 8 Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together 9 Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.” Psalm 98: 4-9

The great hymnwriter Sir Isaac Watts is credited with having composed over 750 hymns, including beloved favorites such as “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?, “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” As a result of his popularity and inspired genius, Watts has been referred to as “the father of English hymnody.” Watts was a member of the Congregational Church in England, which emphasized the singing of psalms in public worship. Although Watts embraced this practice, he believed that the psalms “… ought to be translated in such a manner as we have reason to believe David would have composed them if he had lived in our day.” Watts set out to do that very thing, composing a collection of the psalms written in the contemporary language for the English people. However, when Watts was writing this “English Psalter”, he did so with an eye toward the truths of the New Testament. It was important for Watts to show how the Old Testament promises were fulfilled in Christ. In fact, the title of his composition was the “Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament.”

It is believed that Watts composed “O God Our Help in Ages Past” based on Psalm 90, “Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun” by Psalm 72 and “Joy to the World” by Psalm 98. It is also easy to see the impact of Romans 5 in Watts composition of his most familiar Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World”:

               No more let sins and sorrows grow,
               Nor thorns infest the ground;
               He comes to make his blessings flow
               Far as the curse is found,
               Far as the curse is found,
               Far as, far as, the curse is found.

“For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:17-21

The suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ has triumphed over the forces of darkness. Indeed, God’s grace is much greater than our sin.

May the God richly bless you this Advent and Christmas season with the assurance of the abundant blessings in His Son, Jesus Christ, the One who rules with truth and grace. Merry Christmas!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Chuck Bylkas


In memory of Luella Bergstedt
From James & Kristin Erickson

In memory of Rebecca Kozyra
From Verna A. Hendrickson

In memory of Pastor Kenneth & Verna Hendrickson
From Rev. Derek & Gail Kalkes

In memory of Edwin Puumala
From Rev. Derek & Gail Kalkes

In memory of Dolly Johnson
From Rev. Derek & Gail Kalkes

In memory of Pastor Wayne Juntunen
From Rev. Derek & Gail Kalkes
Hazel Yliniemi

In memory of Dr. Jack Bergstedt
From James & Kristin Erickson
Mark & Gail Johnson
Rev. Derek & Gail Kalkes
Gary & Lyndell Moberg
Jack & Ruby Munter
Steve Palosaari
John & Suzanne Sanregret
Hazel Yliniemi

In memory of Jeremy Kuivanen
From Kenneth Heikka

In memory of Jean Makkonen
From Pastor Ernest Bylkas III & family

In memory of Gerald (Jerry) DeMotts
From Myra DeMotts

In memory of Edward & Helen Sunnarborg
From Rev. Derek & Gail Kalkes

In memory of Edward Puumala
From Rev. Derek & Gail Kalkes

In memory of Ernest Bylkas, Jr.
From Pastor Ernest Bylkas III & family

In memory of Jeanne Kulju
From Hazel Yliniemi

In memory of Jack Munter
From Pastor Ernest Bylkas III & family
Steve & Marilyn Dahlmeier
Timothy & Kristi Johnson
Mark & Gail Johnson
Dale & Joanne Mattinen
James & Laurene Mattinen
James & Barbara Murdock
Gene & Arlene Silkowski
Noel & Kristine Walters
Pastor Jay & Kristine Weidner

In memory of Peter Bergstedt
From Hazel Yliniemi

In memory of Kathleen Forsman
From Pastor Ernest Bylkas III & family

Winter Night of Music @ Zion Lutheran Church-Hancock
You are invited to an evening of Christmas caroling and special music as we usher in the Christmas season on Tuesday, December 5 at 7PM. Refreshments will be served with support from Thrivent Financial. A free will offering will benefit the seminary.


The spring semester will begin Monday, January 22, 2018. The following classes will be offered:

Lutheran Confessions (3 credits) – An in-depth look at the three ecumenical creeds and the documents that make up the Book of Concord.

Churches, Sects & Isms (3 credits) – An overview of the teachings and practices of the most prevalent Christian denominations, sectarian groups and others.

Acts of the Apostle (2 credits) – The historical account of the rise of the Church according to Luke is examined in the light of its doctrinal and theological contents.

Ministry to the World (2 credits) – The biblical basis for mission work along with a history of the methods employed to carry out such work.

Gospel of Matthew (2 credits) – An analysis of the gospel of Matthew in the light of its similarity to Mark and Luke. Also, questions concerning the roots and priority of the Synoptic Gospels.

Working as a Deaconess I (2 credits) – A course which explores the use of Deaconess skills involving both congregational and personal care and the employment of such skills in the current church setting.

Please contact the seminary if you are interested in taking any of these classes -email or call (906) 482-3337.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year!
~From the students and staff
of the Inter-Lutheran Theological Seminary

There are several ways to support the Seminary.


Have you ever have used to do your shopping? Now AmazonSmile offers the same products, same prices and same service and will also donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Inter-Lutheran Theological Seminary whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
Simply log use in by using this link….
which will bring you directly to in support of our organization.


The Thrivent Choice® program offers a way members can recommend where Thrivent Financial distributes some of its charitable outreach funds. As a benefit member, your ownership of Thrivent Financial products and services help make this support possible.

Remember….If you are an eligible member 16 and older you can recommend how to distribute Thrivent Financial charitable grant funds thought Choice Dollars®. Member eligibility and the Choice Dollars designated are based on:
• Holding a Thrivent Financial volunteer leadership position; or
• Having $750 or more in annual premiums of qualifying insurance products; or
• Having $20,000 or more in contract value of qualifying products.
For more information about Choice Dollars, visit or call 800-847-4836 or contact your local Thrivent Financial representative.


Several years ago, the Seminary board of directors established the Inter-Lutheran Seminary Endowment Fund. Funds contributed to the endowment are not used for current day to day operations. Only the annual earnings of the endowment will be used for the seminary’s needs thereby ensuring the continued existence of this funding source. This is the preferred method used by many non-profit entities, especially ongoing religiously focused organizations such as seminaries.

While this is an excellent strategy, it has proven a challenge for us to actually meet the minimum funding requirements. Until now, the fund has existed but remained unfunded. By the Lord’s grace we have been blessed with a large contribution to fund the Inter-Lutheran Seminary Endowment Fund. We would love to build on this generous contribution to grow our endowment into a major source of ongoing seminary support.

Although the seminary still needs the financial ongoing regular contributions of our supporters, please consider the endowment fund for your planned giving needs. The seminary has chosen the InFaith Community Endowment Fund (the renamed Lutheran Brotherhood Foundation) to administer our endowment fund. They will provide experienced legal advice to help guide you with any contribution questions done through estate planning in addition to lump sum contributions, IRAs, property and securities. For more additional information, please contact Kirk Otto, Jr. at (715) 294-4343 or Cheryl Hendrickson at (906)482-3337.


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Inter-Lutheran Theological Seminary
James Weidner, President
P.O. Box 449
Hancock, MI 49930
Phone: 906-482-3337
FAX: 906-482-0694