November Devotion

And you also, as living stones, be built up and become spiritual temples
and holy Priests to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable before God……. 1 Peter 2:5

 

When you first read this, you think: What an oxymoron!! How can this be?? Living stones?….are there any such things??….not in the geology or earth science class. There are fossils and 50-million-year-old parasites trapped inside Baltic amber. But living stones? There are Lithops plants in southern Africa. They look like stones but they are not living stones but rather succulents.

Rather I believe this is a picture of what God wants to do for each of us. Turn our bag of bones bodies from calcified beings; breathing life into us and turn us to prayer and praise for his name. We can begin living rather than existing by living spiritually rather than physically.

So what kind of living stone are we to be?

Like a molcajete the Mexican version of the mortar and pestle used for grinding food. A working stone. To preach, teach, organize and plan church activities or maintain God’s wonderful earth and His churches.

Or a glamourous, glittering, glitzy gem formed by heat and pressure to joyfully praise his name and encourage one another. Sing His praises! Alleluias to His name!

Or the minerals from hot springs for stomach ailments and with other healing powers. These stones give comfort, joy and encourage peace.

Or limestone carved into blocks and key stones to build churches and homes. Blocks become a foundation and the keystones are the central stone at the summit of an arch, locking the whole arch together to form the wonderful architecture of the European cathedrals. Buildings provide sanctuary from life’s perilous times.

Whatever stone we are, we are to be spiritual temples offering sacrifices, assistance and aid to the world in Christ’s name. Just as the minerals and stones make God’s beautiful earth, we are to build our stones together to make God’s church.

A bumper sticker says: it’s what you build; not what you buy.

We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 3:9
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

And in Galatians 6:10.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith.

 

May we be grounded in our faith, and our actions be a blessing to our church family

Amen

This was devotion was presented at the October 26th meeting of the officers of the NTNL. Sunday October 27th lectionary Celebrate had several references that might say it best: In Isaiah the people are bid to look to their spiritual ancestors as the rock from which they were hewn. Jesus declares that the church will be built on the rock of Peter’s bold confession of faith. God’s word of reconciliation and mercy are keys to the church’s mission. Paul urges us to not be conformed to this world, but to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, using our individual gifts to build up the body of Christ.
The Prayer of the Day: O God, with all your faithful followers of every age, we praise you, the rock of our life. Be our strong foundation and form us into the body of your Son, that we may gladly minister to all the world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen

NT-NL SWO Fall Retreat

Join us October 13 -15, 2017 at Briarwood Retreat Center for Women of Courage Then and Now. Gather with your sisters from thoughout the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod for a look at the courage of persons working in refuge relief services and in missions around the world. We will have topical Bible studies and a video about Katharina Von Bora Luther, fellowship with fellow WELCA ladies, crafts, and time for meditation. Briarwood will provide us excellent meals in the dining hall and comfortable lodging. Bring an item for the silent auction and money to bid on other items to raise funds for our scholarships.  If you are in need of help to attend the Fall Retreat, apply for a scholarship.  Bring a light color t-shirt and $2.00 if you would like to make a shirt with Luther’s picture on it.

Download the registration form here.

ROCK, RUN AND ROLL AT FALL RETREAT

Participate in walking, running, or rolling a 1-mile gravel roadway through Briarwood Retreat Center. The funds raised through this activity will benefit the NT-NL SWO Scholarship Fund. This scholarship fund provides a portion of registration fees for events sponsored by the NT-NL Synod SWO and/or W-ELCA Churchwide. We have offered scholarships for NT-NL SWO participants who are continuing their education in the ministry and/or initiatives sponsored by the ELCA.

Bring this sheet and monies collected with you to the NT-NL SWO Retreat at Briarwood Retreat Center October 13-15, 2017 and plan to Walk, Run, and Roll!

Other things to remember:

  • Bring your own tote bag for goodies, etc. (have it at registration)

  • Make a note of food allergies or special diet beside Meals on the registration form.
  • Check-in will be in Quail Run Lodge
  • Bring Bible

Volunteers are still needed to assist with registration, the silent auction, and various other tasks.  Step out with courage and help!

Contact
Ann Hanley at 903-240-7922 or ahanley444@aol.com
Ginny Grundel at 903-222-9359 or ggrundel51@gmail.com
Diane Fehler at 254-744-6457 or dmfehler@gmail.com

From Around the Mission Area

Women in COW Conference will meet September 23, 10 AM to 2 PM. Topic – “Women in Justice” – using material from ELCA as the basis for the study with a power-point presentation. We would like to have a craft, possibly – fall decorating ideas. Grace women will be providing a salad luncheon. A love offering will be taken for Lutheran World Relief.

On October 18 at 7 PM, Women of Grace have invited Linda Moss, designer, to teach us how to make stuffed pumpkins. 

November 4 from 9 AM to 4 PM, Women of Grace will be having their 3rd Annual Grace Christmas Market. There will be booths with a wide variety of merchandise and crafts. All are welcome to come and shop with us and find unique gifts for that special someone.

Teresa Weicht, Secretary, Women of Grace, W-ELCA, Grace Lutheran Church
Abilene, TX

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On Saturday, August 12, thirty-five women joined together at Lord of Life, Glenn Heights for a one day retreat. The following congregations were represented Four Mile, Mabank, New Life in Christ, Duncanville, Our Redeemer, Grand Prairie, Shepherd of Life, Arlington, Christ the King, Haltom City,  Hope, Cedar Hill, Lord of Life, Glenn Heights and King of  Glory, Fort Worth. Pastor Vicki Taylor, pastor of Lord of Life and Pastor Kathi Johnson, pastor of Our Redeemer, led the retreat which dealt with Vocation. The women of Lord of Life provided a delicious breakfast and lunch with desserts provided by the women of Our Redeemer.
The retreat closed with a Service of Holy Communion and a commissioning event.

Hattie Hammer, Our Redeemer, Grand Prairie, TX

First Lutheran Church – Longview, TX  WELCA News Update

The women of First Lutheran, Longview held its 9th Annual Ladies Retreat on Saturday, August 5th with 46 in attendance.  Joining us were women from Trinity Lutheran, Sherman, Bethany Lutheran, Dallas, and St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal, Longview.  We had a wonderful day of fun, fellowship, and Bible Study.  We followed the summer studies from Gather Magazine, “All Anew. Ready or Not.”  We were expertly led through the challenging Bible studies by Pastor Jan Mar, retired former Assistant to the Bishop of NT-NL.  We very much appreciate her direction and wisdom in leading us to become All Anew in our thinking and ideas about contemporary and sometimes controversial topics.

We also enjoyed a session by Julee Rachels of Heartisans Marketplace in Longview.  Julee’s mission is the perfect embodiment of the lessons we studied. Her store uses volunteers to make and sell a variety of items to support job-training skills and tutoring for women who have been unemployed or under employed.  Their motto, “Love Serves. Changing lives, one woman at a time.” is evident in everything they do.  What a blessing to learn more of this mission!

We were updated on a specific mission of First Lutheran, Longview to build water wells in Sierra Leone, West Africa.  We partner with Living Water International.  This project started with the women at our retreat two years ago and has extended to our congregation and beyond.  Since that time, more than $21,000 has been given.  We had completed two wells; and with the money given at the retreat, we have enough to complete the third well.  We invited our guests to partner with us, and they responded.  More than $1,200 was received the weekend of the retreat.  This project is perfect for women’s groups.  Women and girls, the primary ones to fetch water in poor countries, often walk many miles to find water which is still dirty with water-borne bacteria.  Having clean and safe drinking water in a community is obvious; but it also changes lives, enabling women to work to make money and girls to go to school.  Anyone is welcome to partner with us.  $15,000 builds a new well.  $3,000 will rehab a broken well.  We now rehab wells.  Contact me if you’re interested.  belindawal@aol.com. We left our retreat uplifted, challenged, and empowered to go forward All Anew.

Belinda Walenta

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Our ladies continue with quilting, quilt tacking, collecting pull tabs for Ronald McDonald house, making baby quilts for the house as well, collecting school supplies for our local school plus LWR, hosting many events including Sunset Home birthday party for August with our Pastor, Clay McCord, playing music and leading the singing.  Our oldest member of Trinity WELCA died this past Saturday the 5th. She was 106 years young and alert and talking until the last week of her life, what a blessing she had been to so many. God bless her memory Ms. Pearl Micklson.  Have a great August, 

Respectively Submitted Wynema Dahl Trinity WELCA , Clifton


Forty women came together on Saturday July 22nd at St. John Lutheran Church, Coryell City to study the Bible lessons in the July/August Gather magazine.  Pastor Christopher Richmann led the Bible study.  It was a good day of Bible study and fellowship with one another.  Ladies from seven churches in the Heart of Texas Conference came together for this annual event.

Triennial Gathering

ALL ANEW

 “I AM ABOUT TO DO A NEW THING; NOW IT SPRINGS FORTH, DO YOU NOT PERCEIVE IT?  I WILL MAKE A WAY IN THE WILDERNESS AND RIVERS IN THE DESERT.”  Isaiah 43:19

“Attending the Triennial Gathering was a God thing.  My initial thought was to attend with my mom, so she would go.  Being there among all those women was a wonderful rekindling of the Holy Spirit within me.  God put me right in the path of W-ELCA from our region at the First Attendee breakfast.  These gracious ladies invited me to lunch.  I instantly felt a kindred spirit with everyone at lunch and I feel blessed and look forward to beginning a W-ELCA unit at my home church.”  – Sara Kriesel-Hall

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As I was reflecting on the Triennial, I likened it to our youth going to Church Camp or the Youth Gathering.  I say that because in all these events, it’s like you’re in a bubble – away from daily demands and routines; you’re allowed to fully focus without all the worldly distractions coming at you from all directions!  You’re able to truly LISTEN – listen to others, to the Word, to the Presenters, to the Holy Spirit.  And then there’s also the ability to ponder and process it all in this special setting. For example, after one of my workshops, (The Practicing Life: Simple Acts, Sacred Living) I just felt the need to get away, to seize the moment and let it all soak in.  Sooo, I bought my favorite cappuccino,- white chocolate mocha with raspberry-  found a table outside the Convention Center and sat down to enjoy the delightful weather (79’) and let the experience penetrate my soul. It was a special time for me.

The Triennial is truly an experience that is hard to explain- put into words. The Workshops, Servant Events and Exhibits were excellent.  And Bishop Eaton- she is Awesome! We are so fortunate to have her as our Bishop at this time.  She speaks with such wisdom and strength and yet with compassion and kindness and firmness.  She is funny – very witty – and so real, so down to earth.  Praise God for this special leadership of the ELCA!

The Opening Worship prepared us for the days to come and the Closing Worship sent us out into the world feeling restored and challenged.   This quote from Angela Kwabeb caught my attention:  “God of the UNIVERSE blesses EVERYONE.  God cannot be God of the Universe if the seeds of His love don’t fall on everybody.”  GOD OF THE UNIVERSE!   It’s not just me, or the Lutheran Church, or the United States that He blesses – we are just one of the many parts of God’s Universe.  We are ALL part of God’s Universe!

We were also reminded that ALL ANEW is not just a moment or event but a process.  And as I left Minneapolis, things did seem different as I looked at them All ANEW.

Ann Hanley, Board Member, NT-NL SWO

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Unbelievable!!!…What a great time!!…The power of the heavenly spirit was so strong from all those women of our great nation and world could be felt the moment one walked into the convention hall…….. As a 70 year old woman and a first timer, I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to go….Thank-you all from the bottom of my heart…..Hopefully see more new faces in Phoenix ….

Marilyn Nelson—Rejoice Lutheran Church…Frisco, TX

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BY THE NUMBERS: Triennial 2017 

Nearly 3,400 participants attended the gathering, and more than 1,300 were first-timers.

$49,094.60 was raised in Thursday evening’s Thankoffering service.

404 participants ran in the Run, Walk and Roll, and 

$19,116 was raised for seed grants to support Women of the ELCA’s health initiative, Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls.

In-kind gifts included more than $19,000 in gift cards, more than 27,000 items of hygiene products, clothing, quilt kits, and Days for Girls kits. 

5,850 labyrinths were collected and given to gathering and convention participants. The remainder will be distributed to various ministries in the Twin Cities.

Nearly $64,000 was collected during Sunday’s service of Holy Communion. The offering is being shared among PV for Phebe (25 percent); Cherish All Children (25 percent); and Women of the ELCA (50 percent). (To give regularly to Women of the ELCA, enroll in our Faithful Friends program.)

97 people gave blood for a total of 81 good units. Each unit is separated into red cells, platelets and plasma, which could potentially help 243 people.

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Triennial 2020

Be thinking about being nominated as a voting member to the Triennial in Phoenix AZ in 2020.  We probably will be able to have three voting members – our president and two others who are members of our Synod.  (We now have 40 active units.  If we reach 50 active units, we will be able to have 4 voting members.) We will be voting on these voting members at our 2018 SWO Convention to be held next October.  We will be using the Rank Order Process to make the decisions.  There will be three tickets voted.  Ticket A will be used to elect the number of women of color or, whose primary language is other than English as set forth in the constitution.  Ticket B will be used to elect the number of first time voting members as set forth in the constitution; and Ticket C will be used to elect the remaining number of nominees needed to complete the delegation. I encourage you to begin thinking about serving as a Triennial voting member.  Next Spring when the nominating committee begins its work, please contact them and complete a nomination sheet.  No person can be nominated from the SWO Convention floor.  All nominations have to be on the ballot prepared by the nominating committee.  

Also, four officers and 17 members of the Executive Board will be elected at the Triennial.  If you are interested in being nominated to be an officer or a member of the executive board, please submit your application between July 30 and November 30 of 2019. I know this is a long time away, and hopefully our new SWO president will remind you.  But for now, I am giving you the info to keep while you ponder your decision.  Region 4 can have three members on the Executive Board, but only one from the NT-NL Synod.  You will be able to find up-to-date info on this on the Churchwide website in 2019. 

KATHARINA VON BORA LUTHER

KATHARINA VON BORA LUTHER

We cannot talk about the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation without telling Kate’s story. Martin Luther wrote to his spouse with affectionate humor:  “To my dear lady of the house, Katherine von Bora Luther, a preacher, beer brewer, gardener.”  Sometimes he addressed her as “Lord Katie” or my dear lady of the New Pig Market.”  Recalling the story of Adam and Eve, he often called Katherine “my rib.”

Katherine was born January 29, 1499 in Hirschfeld, near Meissen, Saxony a daughter of German nobility.  By the age of six she was sent to the Benedictine boarding school after her mother died and her father remarried.  Four years later at the age of ten Katherine entered the Cistercian nunnery Marienthron Convent which began her education and leading her on the path to becoming a nun.  At the age of 24 in April 1523 she left the convent because of her beliefs in the Reformation about which Martin Luther had been writing and talking.  On June 13, 1525 Katherine and Martin were married.  Six children were born to this union.  She became the “unseen partner” in the Lutherhaus.

Kate was a talented and knowledgeable wife, mother, and advocate for evangelical reforms.  Acquainted with tragedy and grief, she exhibited a deep spirituality in her private and family life as she encouraged her husband in times of desperation and doubt and provided for the numerous students and guests to Wittenberg and the parsonage.  She was “an extraordinary woman – a genuine servant whose faith and courage stand as an example today.”

Katherine was in reality a strong, assertive business woman.  She managed an enormous household selling linen, renting horses, and brewing beer.  Her home, a former monastery, was a boardinghouse for university students and guests.  Refugees from religious persecution could find shelter there.  It was a hospital in times of plague.  Many men thought Katherine was too outspoken, but she was a good match for her strong-minded husband.  Like Martin, she remained true to her convictions, even when the world had different expectations.

Katharina von Bora Luther passed away on December 20, 1552 at Torgau after a serious accident during her flight from Wittenberg.  Her funeral and burial was on December 21 at St. Mary’s Church in Torgau.  Her husband Martin had passed away on February 18, 1546, five years earlier.  Katie was 53 years of age at the time of her death.

Upcoming Events, September 2017

Unauthorized: Nevertheless, She preached

University Baptist Church, Waco, Texas

Save the Date for Unauthorized: Nevertheless, She preached beginning September 12 at 5:30 pm. This is a dynamic grassroots event celebrating women’s voices in the pulpit. In the spirit of the brave women who have gone before us, we add our voices to theirs – in praise, in partnership, in proclamation, and in protest. Go to www.neverthelessshepreached.eventbrite.com for more info and to register.

NT-NL SWO Fall Retreat

Briarwood Retreat Center, Argyle, Texas

Join us October 13 -15, 2017 for Women of Courage Then and Now. Gather with your sisters from thoughout the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod for a look at the courage of persons working in refuge relief services and in missions around the world. We will have topical Bible studies and a video about Katharina Von Bora Luther, fellowship with fellow WELCA ladies, crafts, and time for meditation. Briarwood will provide us excellent meals in the dining hall and comfortable lodging. Bring an item for the silent auction and money to bid on other items to raise funds for our scholarships.  If you are in need of help to attend the Fall Retreat, apply for a scholarship.  Bring a light color t-shirt and $2.00 ifyou would like to make a shirt with Luther’s picture on it.

Other things to remember:

  • Bring your own tote bag for goodies, etc. (have it at registration)
  • Make a note of food allergies or special diet beside Meals on the registration form.
  • Check-in will be in Quail Run Lodge
  • Bring Bible

Volunteers are still needed to assist with registration, the silent auction, and various other tasks.  Step out with courage and help!

Contact
Ann Hanley at 903-240-7922 or ahanley444@aol.com
Ginny Grundel at 903-222-9359 or ggrundel51@gmail.com
Diane Fehler at 254-744-6457 or dmfehler@gmail.com

Download the registration form here.

Upcoming Events

September 12-13 – Unauthorized:  Nevertheless, She Preached – Waco, TX

September 23 – COW Conference WELCA meeting at Grace, Abilene

September 21-23 – Synod Council Meeting – Briarwood

September 23 – Dedication of the Climbing Wall and Zip Line at Briarwood

October 13-15 – SWO Fall Retreat, Briarwood Retreat Center

October 18 – Grace Abilene – Linda Moss, designer, will teach how to make stuffed pumpkins at 7 pm

October 29 – Reformation Sunday

November 4 – Grace Abilene – 3rd Annual Christmas Market, 9 am – 4 pm