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January 2021

Dear Friends,

As clocks strike twelve on the first of January every year people all around the world break into song, mouthing words to a familiar tune which few people know the full lyrics of and much less know the meaning of the title. “Auld Lang Syne” means simply “old long since” and is equivalent to saying, “days gone by.” So, on the first day of the year, we sing of the past and reminisce looking to the future. This past year is not hard to say goodbye to for many people. So many have suffered great loss due to the covid virus and this seminary has been no exception. Last October, right after I had written the November newsletter, I learned of the passing of our dear brother, gifted pastor and instructor, Elmer Yliniemi. It was too late to include a tribute to him in that letter, so I’m doing that now.

I remember when I first came to seminary when we were still located in Plymouth MN and classes were held in the back Sunday School room of the Plymouth Apostolic Lutheran Church. One day a man of quite imposing stature came to teach a class on the history of Apostolic Lutheranism. He was serving congregations in Minnesota in parts of the state that, at that time, I had never heard of. Immediately, I was struck by his obvious, deep interest in the material he was teaching. That was my first experience with Elmer and I often told him that his class was one of my favorites and that it was so helpful in understanding the background of the movement that I was now associated with. People often still tell me that I know so much about the history of Laestadianism and the various Apostolic Lutheran groups, I don’t, but Elmer did, and I listened. When people talk to me about the topic, they think I’m answering them but I’m not, Elmer is. His interest was strong, and we were greatly blessed to receive that information and pass it on.

One of the other things I deeply admired about Elmer was his candor. He would speak to us openly about his experiences as a missionary and as a pastor. We learned so much from him in short order, as he pulled no punches sharing the good and the bad of his of many experiences, he was candid, even brutally honest at some points, and he prepared us in a most marvelous way with the truth as we went on to experience Christian ministry in our own right, every day equipped with the knowledge passed down by one who had walked the path before us. I used to always greet him when he would come to teach his class at the seminary, as he did for many years, as the bishop of Spruce Grove. It was a bit of fun but honestly rings so true when one reads the qualifications for the office in 1 Timothy. Elmer was all of that, and much more, to those of us who were blessed to be his students. An example of the good, and faithful shepherd whose instruction we were wise to follow.

Every day, at the opening of our instruction for the day, Elmer would have us sing a hymn from the old, red Hymns and Songs of Zion. That first day when I met him, we sang I Know Whom I Have Believed (376 in the blue Hymns and Songs). On October 23, 2020 Elmer realized the fullness of the chorus of that song:

But “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able To keep that which I’ve committed Unto Him against that day.”

We thank God for God’s faithfulness that gave Elmer such a gift through Jesus Christ our Lord. Likewise, we thank God for Elmer’s faithful carrying out of his calling through which he witnessed to His Savior every day. Our deepest condolences go out to Miriam and all of Elmer’s family, may God comfort you as you feel the sting of your loss but also bless you as you know of Elmer’s victory in Jesus.

May God bless us all with such a steadfast faith as we start a new year. Another Auld Lang Syne.

God’s Peace,
Jay Weidner


In memory of Elmer Yliniemi
From Steve & Marilyn Dahlmeier
Miriam Yliniemi
Dick & Yvonne Carlund

In memory of Dorothy Anderson
From Joyce Tibbs

In memory of Peter Antioho
From Joel & Lois Hendrickson

In memory of John & Mayme Niemitalo
From Sharon Lehr

In memory of Adam Ostapenko
From Joan Ostapenko

In memory of Joyce Magner
From Joan Ostapenko

In memory of Ross, Kent & Kris Wolfe
From Fayth Wolfe


We are very happy to announce that the matching fund program was a HUGE success! We have matched the $20,000 that our donor pledged and would like to extend our sincere thanks for your continued support. May God Bless your generosity.


Old Testament Introduction (3 credits) – An introductory study of the origin, authorship, purpose and reliability of the Old Testament writings with special attention devoted to their literary design and individual and corporate unity.

Principles of Biblical Interpretation (3 credits) – A history and study of the hermeneutical techniques and their application to scriptures, including the methods of Textual Analysis.

The Pastoral Counselor (3 credits) – A course about the dynamics of the Pastoral counseling process designed to provide insight into human nature and the close relationship between body, soul and mind in human behavior. Students learn to apply Biblical teachings to help people resolve problems in their lives.

History of the Ancient Church (3 credits) – A historical analysis of the major people and events that shaped the Christian Church from the Apostolic Age to 600 AD.

Gospel of Luke (2 credits) – An in-depth analysis of the Third Gospel with an emphasis on sound and segmentation.

Please note the Monday night class on the Gospel of Luke will be available by Zoom only.

If you are interested in enrolling in any of the classes listed above, please contact the seminary at 906-482-3337 or email


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