Augsburg Fortress
One Mission Blog - reflections on the ministry of publishing

Small but mighty ministry resources!

August 11th, 2015 by Beth A. Lewis

I love it when I hear about the ways people in the Church take the resources we create and then adapt them in creative ways for use in their own contexts!  Here are a few examples:

I have heard of several grandparents who want their grandchildren to grow up in their Christian faith, yet the parents of those grandchildren haven’t made attending church or Sunday School a priority in their busy lives.  Grandma and Grandpa live hundreds of miles away, so what are they to do?  One solution is to purchase two copies of one of our story Bibles, Spark Story Bible or Whirl Story Bible.  Give one copy to the grandkids and keep one at Grandma & Grandpa’s house.  Then, spend intentional “Skype” story reading time.  The grandparents read, the kids can follow along in their own story bible!

interior of Spark Story Bible:

SparkStoryBibleLayout copy

interior of Whirl Story Bible:

WhirlStoryBibleLayout copy

Another small but might resource is our annual Bread for the Day 2016.  My husband and I spend a great deal of time traveling and are only together about half the time. But, for the past several years we have both used Bread for the Day for our daily devotionals.  When we’re together, he’ll often read the daily passage and prayer to me.  When we’re not together, I find it lovely to know that we’re reading the same text and prayer even though we are separated by distance and timezones. One of the other features that I appreciate is the monthly pages for recording prayer requests that I want to be sure to remember.  You might be surprised how often I note something from a prayer request via Facebook and jot it down in my Bread for the Day so that I don’t forget my promise to lift my prayers with those of others in support of a particular person or situation.

Bread for the Day 2016

Today, I heard this story via a Facebook post by Pastor Paul Bailie, who serves at Iglesia Luterana San Lucas in Eagle Pass, TX.  I was so moved as I read it that I contacted him and asked his permission to share it with you, which he granted.  

“I finally ordered a copy of the Prayer Book for the Armed Services, from our Lutheran publishing house. I’m not at all a military person, but I love this little book. It has rites and prayers specific to the military, like a blessing for returning veterans, but it also has the complete liturgies for baptisms and funerals, as well as the lyrics for 65 hymns. I love that it has the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed in both English and Spanish on the front page. Most of the pastoral care I do now is in Spanish, but it will be nice to have several English resources very accessible in this compact little volume. Well done, Augsburg Fortress.”

PrayerBook copy

We published Prayer Book for the Armed Services to be used by military chaplains, people serving in the military, etc.  I hadn’t really thought about how it is a compact and versatile resource for a pastor in a bilingual and bicultural setting, such as the one Pastor Bailie serves, but as soon as I read his post I thought “of course!”  And, if you want to get a sense Pastor Bailie’s ministry and why this small book would be so helpful, I would encourage you to read his blog where he describes his ministry on the borderland of Texas and Mexico.  It is very moving.

Then, later today, another Facebook post caught my attention.  This one from Pastor Tim Jahn who serves at Salem Lutheran Church in Catonsville, MD. Again, he gave me permission to quote him here:

“Giving thanks for Augsburg Fortress today. With two minutes and four or five clicks of a mouse, I was able to get every liturgical date and lectionary text imported onto my Google calendar for free. A wonderful ministry to church leaders.”


The free resource he refers to here is our annual Little Red Book calendar, available by pre-order only in print or  you may download your free digital version at

Thanks for sharing stories of creative ways you use the ministry resources we create at Augsburg Fortress and sparkhouse!  I’d love to hear more of them!





Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

Who Do You Know? AF Board Nominees Search

August 11th, 2015 by Beth A. Lewis

Is Augsburg Fortress a ministry? Absolutely!

Is Augsburg Fortress a business? Absolutely!

In keeping with this duality, we need people to serve on the Augsburg Fortress Board of Trustees who have the backgrounds, skills and experience that will assist us in making strategic decisions for Augsburg Fortress, Fortress Press and sparkhouseWe need your help in identifying possible nominees for election to the Augsburg Fortress Board of Trustees at the ELCA’s August 2016 Churchwide Assembly.

As you might imagine, the world of publishing is changing rapidly, so we need board members who can help us think strategically and be nimble in this industry. Our Board Development committee has reviewed the skills and expertise of current board members and identified areas that we need going forward.

Please note that we don’t expect any one person to have all of these!

Expertise, Background & Skills we need:

  • Strategic financial management expertise
  • Strategic information technology expertise
  • Strategic Software as a Service/Web-based product expertise
  • Strategic for-profit business experience
  • For-profit corporate board experience

Characteristics of a good board member:

  • Faithfulness
  • Willingness to take risks
  • Commitment to AF’s mission
  • Sense of humor
  • Openness and honesty
  • Ability to ask constructive questions
  • Calmness
  • Passion
  • Advocacy
  • Self-assurance
  • Collaborative

What is required of an AF Board member? 

Terms on the AF Board of Trustees are for 3 years, but are renewable for up to a total of three, 3-year terms.  New members elected in August 2016 will serve from the October 2016 board meeting until the August 2019 Churchwide Assembly, with the possibility of re-election. Each member’s nomination for re-election is based upon both the member’s and the board’s discernment; all elections are made by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly.  When first elected, we ask that nominees be prepared to serve for a minimum of six years. We ask for this commitment to limit turnover so that the board has a mix of new and experienced members.

We have two in-person meetings per year in Minneapolis, plus we have one to three special webinar meetings per year. These are unpaid, volunteer positions, but we do pay board members’ travel expenses. Unlike most not-for-profit/church organizations, we do not have an expectation for AF Board members to donate money to our ministry/business.

AF Board Demographic Requirements:

To be on the AF Board, nominees must be a member of an ELCA congregation (with the exception of up to two people who may come from Full Communion Partner denominations) and we must follow certain demographic guidelines.

For the August 2016 nominees, the demographic requirements are:

  • A member of an ELCA congregation.
  • Two lay people with at least one or both being female.
  • Because these are contested elections, we need to have two “matched sets,” (e. two lay females running against one another for the same slot). Current members who are nominated for re-election will not be paired in subsequent elections, although it is always possible for additional candidates to be nominated from the floor of the Churchwide Assembly.
  • We also need to have a minimum of 10% of our 11-15 member board be people of color, or whose first language is not English. Ideally, one or two of these slate pairs (both nominees) will fit this category.
  • The Board is made up of people representing a range of geographic locations (determined by where the congregation to which they belong is located, not their home or business address). There is a requirement that we have no more than two Board members per any one synod. There is only one synod from which we already have two board members, SW California (2B). For now, we can have nominees from any of the other 64 ELCA synods.

In addition, we need two nominations for each category (i.e. two lay females, with expertise in strategic financial management, who would run against one another for election by the Churchwide Assembly).


While the elections won’t happen until August 2016, this is a long process.  The timeline is as follows:

  • Between now & December 1:  We need to identify as many nominees as possible that fit both the background/skills and demographic criteria noted above.
  • Early December:  The AF Board Development committee will review the names.  Each person to be considered will be contacted for a brief conversation to learn more about them, their level of interest in serving on the AF Board, and to answer any questions the prospective nominee might have about the role.
  • January 2016:  We will send two “slates” of names (2 names for each open position) to the ELCA Office of the Secretary.
  • February-April 2016:  The Office of the Secretary will convene the ELCA nominating committee to review our suggestions, and others they receive, and decide on the final nominations to be put forward to the 2016 Churchwide Assembly.
  • April-May 2016:  Nominees will be notified that their names are going forward to the Churchwide Assembly.
  • August 2016:  Voting members at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly will elect the next class to our Board (and other Boards, ELCA Church Council, etc.).
  • Late August 2016:  Nominees will be notified whether or not they were elected to the AF Board.

This is where we need your help. 

Who do you know that might fit into one or more of these categories, and that you think would be an effective AF Board of Trustees member? If you can think of anyone (or several people), please send your suggestions to me at the email address below even if you aren’t 100% sure that they would be an exact fit.

Remember, this is a lengthy process so the sooner you can send your suggestions to me, the better!  Tell me whatever you can about the person related to the criteria above.  And, please include the person’s email address and/or phone number.  If you’d like to contact them first to see if they are interested in exploring this opportunity to serve, that’s fine, but it isn’t a requirement.

Thanks for your help!



Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

Do you love to sing or listen to singing?

August 6th, 2015 by Beth A. Lewis

For many years, our Worship, Music & Congregational Life colleagues have hosted music clinics all across the USA for church musicians and pastors.  This year is no exception with six of them where we have enjoyed excellent attendance numbers.  But, there is another component this year!  The Augsburg Fortress Hymn Sing! For those of us in the Twin Cities area, whether you love to sing or just enjoy listening to wonderful hymns being sung by groups of people who really know how to do it, you should put Monday, August 10 at 7:30 p.m. on your calendar!  

Here are some more details:  

Augsburg Fortress is hosting a hymn festival at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, August 10, 2015, at Roseville Lutheran Church in Roseville, MN, that is free and open to the public.

Hymn festivals are a way of promoting congregational song in churches, as well as bringing communities together through music and liturgy. “Let the Whole Creation Cry: A Hymn Festival” follows a pattern for worship that includes hymn introductions and accompaniments, readings, reflections, and prayers prepared by John Ferguson, retired professor of organ and church music and cantor to the student congregation at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. Congregational hymns and choral anthems will be led by Anton Armstrong, professor of music at St. Olaf College and conductor of the renowned St. Olaf Choir.

In addition to the hymn festival, individuals and choirs are invited to participate in the festival choir led by Armstrong and accompanied by Ferguson in a rehearsal prior to the hymn festival from 6 to 7:15 p.m. No registration is required to attend the hymn festival or rehearse and sing with the festival choir.

“Whether you sing in a choir or just love adding your voice to a strong singing assembly, you won’t want to miss this rare opportunity to make music with two of the world’s premier leaders of choral and congregational song,” says Martin Seltz, publisher, Augsburg Fortress. 

The hymn festival is part of the Augsburg Fortress Summer 2015 Music Clinics, which annually draw hundreds of church musicians at six locations across the United States with the purpose of exploring fresh and innovative ways to enliven music in worship.?”



Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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