September Devotion

As I sit here remembering my recent trip to Germany, July 30-August 9, to be specific, I am extremely grateful and thankful that we had such a wonderful trip full of exciting times and seeing all things Luther. To attend Sunday church services, which were in German, at All Saints Church in Wittenberg, commonly called the Castle church, and to participate in communion that Sunday and then exit through the 95 Theses Doors was a truly moving experience and one that I will remember always. The original doors were replaced years ago with bronze doors that have the Theses written on them. This church is also the burial site of Martin Luther in 1546.

We saw Luther’s birth house, death house, the church where all his children were baptized, and the house he and Katie and the children resided in. We spent one day in Berlin visiting sites there. We also toured Eisleben, Leizig, Halle, Erfurt, Eisenach, and Frankfort. Our tour ended with a visit to Wartburg Castle and a tour of it.

To sit and look at the pictures I took and remember the good times fills me with thankfulness that our trip was so peaceful and without mishap. God was with us. There were 26 members of our tour. Most were members of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Waco, Texas.

Peggy Tooker

St. Matthews, Waco

Changing Hearts, Transforming Lives, impacting the World: Bartlett WELCA bids farewell to 13-year Kairos prison ministry

Article submitted by Debra Caldwell

With the upcoming June closing of the Bartlett State Jail, St. John Lutheran Church Pastor Joe Woodward held a farewell worship service on April 23, 2017. The service was held to commemorate the ending of the final Kairos weekend in Bartlett as well as to bid farewell and Godspeed to Kairos prison ministry volunteers who have used the Bartlett church as a twice-yearly home base for Kairos weekends since 2004.

Tears and hugs marked the end of an era for the Kairos volunteers and for the WELCA volunteers who have supported them for so many years.

Pastor Woodward, who was ordained at St. John, Bartlett, on July 5, 2014, also serves as the chaplain for the Bartlett Volunteer Fire Department. He was quick to sign up to serve as a Kairos pastor as well – and as a member of the Kairos band, playing his guitar at the weekend events.

“Kairos” is Greek for “God’s Special Time.”

The Kairos Prison Ministry serves nearly 500 prisons and communities in 35 states and 9 countries.

The mission of Kairos Prison Ministry is to share the transforming love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to impact the hearts and lives of incarcerated men, women, and youth, as well as their families, to become loving and productive citizens of their communities.

One of three Kairos programs, “Kairos Inside” creates Christian communities inside prisons that can transform lives, decrease prison violence, and reduce recidivism. The ultimate goal of Kairos Inside is to build a Christian community inside the prison to pray and fellowship together on a weekly basis by nurturing each other in their faith walk and providing accountability. This is the heart of Kairos.

Who knew cookies could be so powerful?

Kairos uses home-baked cookies during their 3-day retreats as a tangible expression of Christian love and an indication of God’s concern for a group of people who seldom encounter either in the course of their daily lives. Sometimes known as the “cookie ministry,” Kairos provides thousands of cookies baked by supporters throughout the area for each of its weekend events. For the Bartlett prison ministry, cookie collections have been led by members of St. John WELCA. Twice a year the women spearheaded efforts to bake, collect, and package literally hundreds of dozens of home-baked cookies. They established a tremendous outpouring of community support in and around Bartlett twice a year for 13 years in support of this powerful ministry.

The key ingredient in every cookie: prayer. Bakers and their families are asked to pray that God will use their cookies as a source of God’s love to shine on the prisoners and staff throughout the Kairos weekend.

In addition to the tremendous effort of collecting so many cookies for each Kairos weekend, St. John WELCA members raised $500 to support the initial Kairos weekend in 2004. By their 2005 budget just one year later, the group began a continuing tradition of donating $1,500 a year to fund two tables at each Kairos weekend. The money was been provided to help pay expenses at every Kairos weekend through spring 2017.

St. John also provided kitchen and meeting facilities for the Kairos weekends in Bartlett, providing spare beds for long-distance prison ministry volunteers to sleep in during Kairos weekends and occasionally updating kitchen facilities in support of church and Kairos needs.

In addition to honoring all volunteers who participated in this important ministry, St. John WELCA members are grateful to everyone who supported our Kairos efforts in any way – especially everyone who baked and prayed over all those cookies. Special thanks go to the WELCA cookie coordinators who spent so much time and effort leading the effort to ensure our Kairos friends always had plenty of cookies for their ministry.

For further information about the Kairos Prison Ministry, view: kairosprisonministry.org/index.php and kairoshsp.com/docs/Cookies.pdf

“I was in prison and you visited me” — Matthew 25:36

Around the Mission Area, July 2017

Bible Study at Coryell City

Saturday July 22, 2017, 9 am – 1 pm

You are invited to join us for our annual Bible Study at St. John Lutheran Church in Coryell City. Dr. Christopher Richmann will lead the Bible study in the July/August issue of the Gather magazine. The offering received will benefit Mosaic in Waco, a facility for helping people with intellectual disabilities. Mark this date on your calendar and plan to attend.

One-Day Retreat at First, Longview

First Lutheran, Longview, will hold a one-day retreat on Saturday, August 5, 10 am – 4 pm. All are welcome to join us for a day of fun, fellowship, and study as we address the three summer Gather Magazine “All Anew” Bible studies. Pastor Jane Mar will lead us as we learn and share, and other activities are planned as well. There is no fee, and lunch is included. To help us prepare, please RSVP to Belinda Walenta at belindawal@aol.com.

Mosaic’s Christmas in July

Help re-stock our 8 group homes with supplies during our Christmas in July Supply Drive! During we July we are collecting essential household, hygiene, cleaning, and healthcare supplies for our homes. Donations of supplies allows us to better use our resources for programs and services! Last year’s supply drives raised over $15,000 in supplies for Mosaic! If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can order supplies and have them delivered free of charge to Mosaic!! Donations of supplies or checks can be sent to Mosaic in Dallas, 2245 Midway Rd, Ste. 300, Carrollton, TX 75006.

Lori Baum
Community Relations Officer. Mosaic
lori.baum@mosaicinfo.org or cell – 469-964-5484

Seeing the Sacred Today Retreat at Lord of Life, Glenn Heights

Lord of Life, Glenn Heights and Our Redeemer, Grand Prairie invite you to a one day retreat on Saturday August 12, at Lord of Life Lutheran Church.

You Are Invited to join
The Lord of Life, Glenn Heights and
Our Redeemer, Grand Prairie
For a One Day Retreat – Saturday, August 12
Theme: Seeing the Sacred Today
Presenters: Pastor Vicki Taylor and Pastor Kathi Johnson
9:30 – 2:30 – Breakfast and Lunch Provided
Retreat will be held at Lord of Life, 700 E. Ovilla Road, Glenn Heights
(1 mile west of I-35, SW corner of Ovilla Rd. & Uhl Rd.)
Hope you can join us!!
A Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Event


Click here to read Changing Hearts, Transforming Lives, impacting the World: Bartlett WELCA bids farewell to 13-year Kairos prison ministry

Around the Mission Area: May 2017

Trinity, Sherman prepares Baby Care Kits

In the month of April, Lutheran churches across America sent Baby Care Kits to Lutheran World Relief, to be distributed to the people of over 15 countries.

Last year, Trinity Lutheran Church in Sherman, Texas, gathered the materials needed to complete 10 Baby Care Kits for LWR. Our goal this April is to send 20 kits.

With that in mind on, October 2nd the TLC women hosted an International Baby Shower! The food served at the shower was from the countries LWR serves.

Indonesian dip and naan were served to represent the Asian countries. Salvadoran quesadilla (not the quesadillas we know, from Mexico; this is a kind of pound cake) and Peruvian energy balls represented the Latin American countries. Kibbeh (a kind of meatloaf) and tabouli were our Middle Eastern dishes. Pita bread and chakalaka, representing countries in Africa, rounded out our international menu.

It was wonderful! Everyone had a great time sampling new foods and enjoying fellowship with each other.
We are so excited to announce that, through the generosity of our congregation, our goal of 20 Baby Care Kits is over 90% accomplished. What a great kick start to our Baby Care kits.

Submitted by Marie Murphy, Trinity, Sherman TX

(Editor’s Note: I apologize for not getting this report in the March Tapestry but it fell through the cracks with me getting ready for surgery. Hope this makes it up to you.)

Upcoming Retreat Opportunities

Our Redeemer, Grand Prairie and Lord of Life, Glenn Heights will hold a one-day retreat on Saturday, August 12. More details will be available at a later date. Reserve the date now in your calendars!

The Young At Heart retreat has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 14 through Thursday, November 16 for seniors at Briarwood Retreat Center. If you have not attended one of these in the past, be sure to include this in your fall plans. Go to Briarwood’s website for more information.

Submitted by Hattie M. Hammer

You are cordially invited to attend the Spring Gathering of the Eastern Cluster of the Eastern Conference. We have invitations out to the churches in Shreveport, Marshall, and Mabank. We plan on discussing at the business meeting expanding the gathering to include the active metro east units in future years.

HOT Conference Spring Gathering

The Heart of Texas Conference Women of the ELCA Spring Gathering was held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Saturday, March 25, 2017 from 8:30-1:30. The theme was “Grace: Making a Difference,” celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Our theme verse was Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

Pastor Bill and Linda Metting greeted the 59 guests at the door wearing masks of Martin and Katie Luther. Tables were decorated with white tablecloths adorned with burlap and lace runners and beautiful standing crosses on loan from members of Our Savior’s.

Lauri Aars welcomed everyone and opened the meeting with the WELCA purpose statement. Pastor Beverly Blackman-Mounce provided the theme devotion and Bible study, “Pondering Pontifical Presence” for the group. A love offering was collected and divided between the SWO and Bag of Blessings. Karen Bentsen read the names of members of our local units that have passed since the 2016 Gathering during a special remembrance ceremony. Alice Brewer and Karen Bentsen presided over the silent auction. The proceeds from the auction went to scholarships for Women of the ELCA.

Kimberley Fehler was installed as coordinator, Diane Pitts was installed as treasurer to fill one year term vacated by Kimberley, and Debbie Moehnke was installed as secretary. We voted to change the name of treasurer to assistant coordinator. The proposal must be approved at the next meeting before it can be changed.

COW Conference-wide Meeting

In March, the Women of Grace had a conference-wide meeting of the WELCA in our area. We had a presentation by Lori Bunton about human trafficking in our own Taylor County. It was a real eye-opener for all of us, I believe. We never realized how close to home this subject really was. We may or may not have heard of it; or thought it was in bigger cities; or not in our state but other states, but never dreamed it was in our own backyard. If you ever have a chance to hear a talk on human trafficking, please do so.

Along with our meeting, we had a salad luncheon and then delved into attempting to make some crocheted Prayer Labyrinths for the Gathering in June. We met from 10 AM to about 2 PM which seemed to give the out-of-town guests time to get to Abilene and then plenty of time to get home before dark.

Our next conference-wide meeting will be June 17, so if you are in the Conference Out West or any other conference, please feel free to join us. An invitation should be going out soon, but don’t wait for an invitation—All Are Welcome‼ All the Time‼ We try to keep our Women of Grace Facebook page current so please check there for any updates or items of interest. The women are having a pottery painting class on April 19th at 6:30 at the church—wish us luck!

June mini-Conference

The date for the mini-June conference will be June 17, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Following is what the conference will be about:

The core of the June gathering is taken from the ELCA Faith, Sexism, Justice: Conversations toward a Social Statement by the ELCA Task Force on Women and Justice. One in Christ.

Women of 2017 stand on the shoulders of the women who came before them (mothers, aunts, etc.) just so, as disciples of Christ we stand on the shoulders of the faithful who came before us. The discussion will explore how living out our faith in the world strengthens the foundation for coming generations to stand upon.

Also our Women of Grace WELCA group is planning a trip to Chandor Gardens on May 13. The cost is $5 for an unguided tour or $10 for a guided tour. More info at the website.

Submitted by Teresa Weicht

BOLD Women Sunday in Trinity, Sherman TX

On Sunday, February 19, 2017, Trinity Lutheran Church in Sherman, Texas, celebrated Bold Women Sunday in Honor and Remembrance of Sue Sappenfield. Sue was active all phases of the congregation life at Trinity over many years. We selected 19th because it was Sue’s Birthday.

Sue was fascinated by Katie Luther and her life in the history of the Lutheran Church. Her interest led her to study Katie’s life and prepare presentations (dressed as Katie may have dressed) to share her story. Her presentation was presented locally and in many communities in the U.S. as well as a Triennial Gathering.

A Temple Talk during the service by Mary Burkart explained Bold Women Sunday and its significance in the Women of the ELCA organization. The congregation participated in “A Remembrance of Sue” offering as they exited the Sanctuary. The offering will be designated for “The Katie Fund” with Churchwide W-ELCA.

Submitted by Barbara Rechtzigel

LWR Boxes Transported to Dallas

Twelve Heart of Texas congregations and one non-ELCA congregation participated in the 2017 Lutheran World Relief Items.

On Thursday, April 20 at 8:30 a.m. Saint Matthew, Waco volunteers loaded 156 boxes into a rented truck and delivered the boxes to Bethel Lutheran Church in Dallas, Texas.

A completed 2017 LWR inventory final report will be e-mailed to each HOT Unit President to share with your membership.

A BIG THANK YOU to all the churches who made a free will donation towards the rental of the truck and fuel.

THANKS to volunteers who worked so hard this past year to make this collection so successful, and to the members who delivered the boxes to Waco.

God’s Blessings to each of you.

Submitted by Wanda Kilstrom, St. Matthew, Waco TX

Calvary, San Angelo Partners with Mosaic

A partnership between Calvary, San Angelo, Texas, and Mosaic in San Angelo, a ministry of the ELCA, has brought about wonderful relationships while benefitting the community.

Last summer, Doris Wendland, a member of Calvary, called Mosaic to see if we were interested in working with them on a project making mats out of recycled plastic bags for homeless people in San Angelo. She said she thought it would work well, since the activity included many skill levels. Bags needed to be flattened, folded, cut, and tied together to make “plarn,” and then crocheted. We decided we would try it and see what happened.

As a non-profit organization that works with people with intellectual disabilities, this kind of project is perfect for the variety of people served by Mosaic.

Almost a year later, the activity has morphed into so much more than making mats. The faces of the four volunteers that come every Monday light up almost as much as the faces of the people at Mosaic who are waiting for them.

They have completed two mats so far, with a third one in progress. All completed mats will be donated to an organization that works with San Angelo’s homeless population in the fall.

“I like to be part of the project,” said Shaunna Cochran, who lives in one of Mosaic’s group homes in San Angelo. “They (homeless people) need a place to sleep, and I like making the mats so they will be warm.”
The Calvary ladies have added more than just mat-making to their Monday afternoon repertoire. In December, they worked together to make Christmas ornaments. In January and February, they learned how to knit hats on a loom, which were then added to others made by the congregation, and were blessed by Pastor Paul Zwarich before being sent on a mission trip to Nepal.

After the donated hats were complete, the people from Mosaic wanted to make hats of their own. They have just recently finished those with help from the Calvary volunteers, and cannot wait for the weather to get cold again so they can wear them!

For volunteer Marie Williams, a retired special ed teacher, “Monday Funday” as it is called, is perfect, since it gives her an opportunity to use her teaching skills and projects she has used in the classroom. “Interacting with anybody in a positive manner is educational for both,” she said.

Kara Martinez, another volunteer, said she was in special ed classes when she was little, which is where she says God told her to take care of others. “People used to make fun of me and my friends,” she said. “I learned that God made everyone special in their own way.”

The volunteers are excited about the relationships being built, which seem to grow stronger week after week. “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” said Calvary’s Sassy Puckett. “We all have different talents God gave us.”

Mosaic: Discover the Possibilities

What does your perfect day look like? Join us to learn how Mosaic partners with people with intellectual disabilities to help them become the people they want to be. Hear stories about how Mosaic helps to create a meaningful life in caring community, giving a voice to the needs of those served. Please join us for Discover the Possibilities, held twice a month. See our Facebook page events tab for tour dates, times, and locations.

Contact Ami Mizell Flint (325-651-3333 ext. 206 or ami.flint@mosaicinfo.org) for more information or to register or host a Discover the Possibilities tour. Events are free and open to the public.

Mosaic: Christmas in July

Is your unit looking for a project for this summer? Consider  partnering with Mosaic’s Dallas office for Christmas in July!

Mosaic is collecting donations to help us restock their group homes with much needed hygiene, cleaning, household, and health supplies! For more information call Lori Baum at 972-866-9989.

Download Christmas in July fliers to see which items they are collecting.

2017 Spring Gatherings

Panhandle conference

The Spring Gathering of the Panhandle Conference Women of the ELCA will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at Grace, Slaton, TX. Hosted jointly by the women of St. John, Wilson and Grace, Slaton, the day promises to be filled with a variety of opportunities for fun, fellowship and faith growth.

The gathering will begin with registration and reception at 9:00 a.m. and will end by approximately 3:00 p.m. Details will be provided as they are confirmed.

Please mark your congregation calendars and share this date with your Women of the ELCA leaders so women can make plans to attend.

Dallas Area Metro North Conference

The Dallas Area Metroplex North Conference is holding our 6th annual spring Women’s Retreat on March 25, 2017. This year it will be held at Christ the Servant, Allen, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Our guest speaker will be Karen Williams, who was also our speaker at last year’s extremely popular retreat. Karen presents fascinating information with great humor and grace, and her session will be wonderful!

This year we are collecting items to donate to UpBring (formerly Lutheran Services of the South), an organization that provides needed items to children entering the foster care system. We will be focusing on infant needs such as receiving blankets, sleepers, onesies, socks, and travel-sized baby toiletries. Please bring any donations with you to the retreat.

Download the Dallas Area Metro North Spring Gathering flier and registration form for more information. You can also register online at christtheservant.com (link opens in new tab/window). Registration forms are due by March 10.

We will be offering child care for children aged 3-10 (for an additional fee), so please indicate on your registration form if that is needed.

Everyone is welcome to attend, so please pass the word! Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Thanks!
Pam Grosze
pgrosze@tx.rr.com

HOT Conference

Download the registration form for the HOT Conference Spring Gathering on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at Our Savior’s, Norse. Please make copies and share this Gathering information with the ladies of your church and friends. It is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship, to study God’s word and to conduct the business of the Heart of Texas Conference.

A nominal registration fee of $10 will used to help the hosts cover the costs of the food, etc. A love offering will be collected and divided between the SWO and a charity chosen by OSLC. We will have a special memorial time for WELCA members of our local units that have passed since our last Gathering in 2016. In addition, we will again have Silent Auction items donated by each church to help fund WELCA Scholarships.

If you register by March 18 you will receive a special gift upon check-in. Late registrations will be accepted at the door or you may contact Lauri Aars or Glenda Phillips using the contact information on the registration letter. Payment for those can be made at the door with cash or check.

We look forward to seeing you all again and sharing in a fun day!

Lauri Aars, OSLC WELCA President
Glenda Phillips, OSLC Secretary

Grace: Making a Difference

Grace to you, dear sisters, and peace through God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ!

What a year we have before us as Lutherans, as we celebrate 500 years of our heritage of faith grounded in Grace!
I have been thinking about you for several weeks now. The desire to reach out and greet you and introduce myself has been strong, but what to say first?

Thanks to our sisters at Our Savior’s, Norse, it came to me! The theme they have selected for our spring gathering has such
POWER in it! Ephesians 2:8 says:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

Isn’t that just the best news ever?

Grace in Our Leadership Structure

This year begins with a transition as Glenda Phillips, who was our elected HOT conference coordinator, takes her place as Secretary to the SWO, following her election at the fall gathering in October 2016.

The Conference Executive Team was tasked with finding Glenda’s successor; I asked that Glenda and Bettye consider me for the role.

In January, I was confirmed to complete Glenda’s term, which will end in the spring of 2019. Also during that meeting, Diann Pitts, from Our Savior’s, Norse, was appointed to fulfill my term as financial secretary. (We have also appointed a nomination committee to look for a candidate for the secretary position, which Bettye Spears will vacate this month. Could it be your season to serve?

A Little about Me

I am a lifetime Lutheran; I began participating in church leadership at Bethany, Fredricksburg. My daughter was two at the time, so I served quite a bit in children’s and youth ministry, Sunday school, and the women’s choir.
I have just completed three years of service on Zion, McGregor’s church council, as worship team liaison. I also sing in the choir and do just a little bit of everything.

My first career was as a professional chef. I have had a life-long passion for feeding people and am elated that so many of our conference units have feeding programs or participate in local food pantries!

Today I am working on my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Trauma and Crisis and serve as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) for McLennan and Hill Counties. My passion is therapeutic recovery treatments for women and children who have escaped domestic violence and attempting to rebuild their lives.

My career goals include serving the wider church in areas of advocacy for women and children.

I am a proud mother of a wonderful, bright, compassionate 16-year-old. Hannah is a sophomore at Vanguard College Preparatory School in Waco where she is in Latin Club, on the Yearbook Staff as the business manager, and on the golf team. She serves Zion on the audio/visual team and sings with the choir and praise team.

Grace: Making a Difference

Lauri Aars and Glenda Phillips of Our Savior’s, Norse and their team are putting together a great day for us on March 25.
The theme brings Luther’s word for Christians in full focus through Ephesians 2:8 and what a gift that is! I encourage you to make plans, invite friends, and come join us!

Even if you are unable to make it to the gathering, I urge each unit in our conference to take on a special project this year in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. There is nothing too big or too small.

If there is anything that I can do to help you with your unit’s plans to make a difference, or if you have ideas that could bring us together as a conference for service, please do not hesitate to reach out to me! Email me at kdfehler@gmail.com. I would enjoy getting to know every group as we join together in service to our Lord!

Blessings Always,

Kimberly Fehler
HOT Congerence Coordinator