The Lutheran Orthodox Church, inc
Annual Report and Message from the Secretary- Treasurer of The Lutheran Orthodox Church, Rev Sandy Guido
Annual Report January, 2010
When I was growing up there was a song by the band The Grateful Dead that had a line in it that went something like this: What a long strange trip it's been. And as I was preparing this annual report those lines just kept going through my head. What a long strange trip it has been indeed.
I was one of the fortunate ones who was with The Lutheran Orthodox Church right from the start. I was involved with its ministry even from its early days, as it evolved from The Evangelical Protestant Church through the Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church right through the split which formed this church body, now known as The Lutheran Orthodox Church. I saw firsthand the joys and the sorrows, the trials and tribulations and the late night discussions and meetings that ran into the early morning hours. Laying the foundations brought overwhelming highs and undescribable heartbreak when pastors we loved and worked with for years parted ways over misunderstandings and stubborn pride. One pastor, who was overjoyed that we ordained him left to join another church a few months later because he was 'uncomfortable' with female pastors. This even though he was not 'uncomfortable' when I was one of his ordaining Bishops. But we learned through all this as well, and hopefully continue to grow as pastors, and as people.
I remember also when my husband was in conversation with Randy Wagoner during one of those 'dark' days, when I saw them both agree that they would rather be in a church that had only two members but spoke the truth and preached the Gospel correctly than a church of thousands that did not. The odds of what they were building were definitely not in their favor. But stand against the odds they did. When we incorporated the Lutheran Orthodox Church they asked me to serve as Secretary/Treasurer and I thought 'Gee that would be the easiest job in the world, since they never took a collection, never charged a fee, rarely had more than $500.00 in the checking account and only had one congregation...how hard would that be?' Little did I know, this would be the hardest 'easy job' I ever had. In a month's time we answered more than 1000 letters and emails, return hundreds of phone calls, and assisted ministries in ways you just can't imagine. We have been lauded and ridiculed, praised and defamed, held in esteem and held in contempt. We have received letters of gratitude for our help, and the occasional death threats too. But in all things we always give thanks and glory to God, to whom all praise belongs.
Since we founded this body, we have had visitors in my living room from every corner of the earth, from Haiti, India, Russia, Israel, and other places, as well as nearly every state in the US. We have had army privates to 3 star generals and Bishops from churches even I never heard of.
The LOC raised and donated thousands of dollars and tons of clothing to assist the victims of natural disasters, keeping not a penny for itself, even donating the shipping costs to cover the expense of shipping those items to those who needed it most. And most recently assisting the people of Haiti, where we are still searching for our Bishop, Louis Marcel Pierre, who has not been heard from since Jan 10th.
It is my privilege to issue this report on the state of The Lutheran Orthodox Church
for the past year.
The Lutheran Orthodox Church has not solicited for contributions and collected no fees, dues or tithes for the year 2009.
The Lutheran Orthodox Church received less than $10,000.00 in voluntary unsolicited contributions for the year and used all the funds to aid the ministry. A detailed report is not required by our By Laws as the contributions were less than $10,000.00.
No salary was paid to any member of the LOC for the year 2009.
The Presiding Bishop and Executive Officers did not seek reimbursement for any out of pocket expenses for the year 2009.
The balance of funds in the LOC checking account was donated to Crusaders For A Cause a 501(c)3 non profit charity unaffiliated with The Lutheran Orthodox Church on Dec 12th, 2009.
Ministries and Ministers
The Lutheran Orthodox Church has 110 established congregations and ministries world wide plus 40 clandestine congregations which must meet in secret due to war, persecution etc.
The LOC has 2 prison ministries, 6 nursing home ministries and 3 accredited hospital chaplains.
The LOC supports 4 missionaries, 2 orphanages 1 elementary school, 1 food pantry, and one disaster response team.
The Lutheran Orthodox Church received 3 Bishops by transfer from other ecclesiastical bodies and consecrated 3 from its own ranks during the year 2009.
One minister was released to another church body during 2009.
There were no other resignations or retirements during 2009.
As I look back on this report, I still can't believe that it has been 6 years since we brought this all together. And not once did we ever solicit for funds, or require anyone to contribute, and yet The Lutheran Orthodox Church has grown, and prospered, not financially, but spiritually, with friends now in every region of the world. But what it comes down to is not how big or how small we are, what it comes down to is the hand we hold, the lives we touch, the people we reach out to with The Gospel, and the Good News of Jesus Christ. For if we look at our numbers of course we are a microscopically small synod, but when we, along with our members share in communion every Sunday morning, we share in the Body of Christ not just as members of The LOC, but as members of the entire Christian community. The Body Of Christ no matter what we call ourselves: Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, whatever, we are a part of His Body. And that ain't too small. Not that small at all.
What a long strange trip it has been. Indeed.
Peace, Blessings and Good Health to You All,
Rev Sandy Guido,
Council Of Bishops,
The Lutheran Orthodox Church, inc.