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June 2021

Dear Friends,

“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20

After God poured out His Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the apostles boldly proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The same apostles who beforehand were afraid to come forth from the upper room, now go out to fearlessly preach the wonderful words of life. After God miraculously healed the lame man outside of the Temple by the command of Peter, Peter and John are ordered to refrain from preaching Jesus Christ. Peter and John responded by saying that they have no choice. They must “…speak the things which we have seen and heard.” The Gospel was simply too good for them to keep silent.

This is the portion of God’s Word that continues to come to my mind as I grieve the loss of my friend and Brother, Orval Wirkkala. Upon reflection, Orval had the heart of an evangelist. He had an overwhelming passion to share the Good News of God’s grace to anyone who would listen. Orval shared the Gospel, not only because he was commanded to do so, but because the news was simply too good for him to keep silent. Orval preached the grace of God, because he knew the grace of God. The more Orval learned of God’s forgiveness for himself, the more he desired to share that message of forgiveness with others.

I was struck by a picture of Orval that I saw on Facebook that was posted by his daughter, Lynn, I believe. It shows Orval seated outside, studying his bible with telling smile on his face, as if he had discovered yet another treasure from God’s Word. “Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” Matthew 13:52 Orval was always studying, always learning, always growing “…in grace and in the knowledge of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” II Peter 3:18 We enjoyed his fellowship as a part-time student at the seminary for several years. Even after retiring from serving the Kingston congregation as their pastor, Orval remained steadfast in his passion for Christ’s church. He faithfully served in the Foreign and Eastern Missions of our church federation. Along with Brother Ansten Tretten, Orval coordinated weekly prayer and bible studies on the telephone in order to deepen the fellowship of fellow pastors and preachers. Even up to a few weeks before his death, Orval called me with an important concern. “How can we help encourage young men who are just starting out in the ministry? I feel very strongly about this, and I am willing to help.” It was only one of many such offers that I heard from our dear brother. When Orval saw a need, he set out to meet that need. Orval was a servant. “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23 Our beloved brother Orval has now entered into that joy. He will be greatly missed and not easily forgotten. Orval was a great encouragement to me personally, as well as many others. We continue to pray for Beth and her family as they grieve Orval’s passing. God bless us all as we continue our fellowship in the Gospel of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Orval’s daughter Renee offered this passage as a fitting tribute to her father:

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” II Timothy 4:1-8

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Chuck Bylkas


In memory of Vern LeBlanc
From Dennis & Janet Heitala

In memory of William Bergstedt Sr.
From Bob & Sandy Caviness

In memory of William Bergstedt Jr.
From Bob & Sandy Caviness

In memory of Marian Kilpela
From Bob & Sandy Cavinesss

In memory of our children Rebekka & Luuk
From Larry & Sharon Wahala

In honor of Dr. Jouko Talonen on his retirement
from the University of Helsinki
From Mirko M. Hall

In memory of Orval Wirkkala
From Beth Wirkkala
Neal & Cheryl Hendrickson
Ernest Bylkas III, Joy & family
Linda Wirkkala
Verna A. Hendrickson
Kim & Sueann Mickelson
Reuben & Anita Aho
Paul & Mary Vik
Jimmy & Barb Maunu

The Board of Directors
of the Inter-Lutheran Theological Seminary
invite you to attend the Graduation of Lois Matson
from the Deaconess Program on
Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.
at Zion Lutheran Church
400 Ingot Street
Hancock, Michigan

Cake & coffee will be served afterwards.


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.

formerly InFaith Community Foundation

InFaith Community Foundation and Thrivent have an expanded partnership, which will include a shared brand and client experience. This will allow InFaith to continue to provide all the same offering and services. They will be operating under a new name, Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing, which highlights the close relationship they have had with Thrivent since their inception. The Inter-Lutheran Seminary has an Endowment Fund through this organization. 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.

We would love 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. 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