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

500th Anniversary Challenge

Freed & Renewed in Christ: 500 Years of God's Grace in ActionHave you been challenged lately? If not, the leaders of Rockin’ Region 4 have a plan for you!

You are already hearing a lot about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Observance of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, which will be taking place this year.

Region 4 SWO presidents and vice-presidents are challenging each Synod to raise $500 for Women of the ELCA.

The money raised by this challenge, over and above our regular offerings, will be given to Women of the ELCA to be distributed in the following way:

  • 25% to support any special initiative that Women of the ELCA may choose for the Reformation celebration,
  • 25% toward Katie’s Fund, and
  • 50% to support the regular budget of Women of the ELCA.

Won’t you join us?

Send any amount that you or your local unit wants to contribute to Diane Fehler, our Synodical treasurer. NT-NL Synod wants to meet our $500 challenge!

Questions? Contact Sarah Gohlke at rsgohlke@gmail.com or Diane Fehler at dmfehler@gmail.com.

10th Triennial Gathering: All Anew

Links to welcatg.org open in a new tab.

[10th Triennial Gathering logo: an abstract figure with four leaves or wings (could be a flower or a butterfly) in four different colors, pink, yellow, green blue. Text reads, "all anew" in lower-case script and "Women of the ELCA" in blue, all caps block letters.]The Tenth Triennial Gathering will be held July 13-16, 2017 at the Minneapolis Conevntion Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Lutheran women from across the church will come together under the theme All Anew, for life-changing workshops, Bible study, and more.

Register now at welcatg.org or email women.elca@elca.org for a registration packet.

You can also prepare for the Tenth Triennial Gathering in any number of ways: knitting, sewing, crocheting, and more!

Quilters should consider entering a Black & White + One quilt challenge. Make a quilt interpreting the gathering’s theme, All Anew, using only black and white fabrics plus the addition of one color. Quilts should be 40 inches square; the deadline to enter is May 3.

Not a quilter? Make a finger labyrinth, quilted, knitted, or crocheted. They are hoping to collect 5,000 labyrinths, so each voting member at Convention plus each attendee at the Gathering may receive one. If they have extra, they will go to chaplains in schools, hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes. Examples, patterns, and directions are available on the website. The Churchwide Women’s Organization needs to receive them by June 1.

Find more information on these projects at welcatg.org/get-involved.

Nearly twenty women in our SWO area have already indicated to Sarah Gohlke that they plan to attend the Triennial Gathering. Please keep her informed by sending her the names, email addresses, cell phone numbers, and T-shirt sizes of any new attendees. Everyone will receive a Region 4/NT-NL T-shirt for picture taking day (cost of T-shirt will be announced later).

Tenth Triennial WELCA Gathering Scholarship

Triennial Gathering Scholarship application

Tenth Triennial WELCA Gathering Scholarship

[10th Triennial Gathering logo: an abstract figure with four leaves or wings (could be a flower or a butterfly) in four different colors, pink, yellow, green blue. Text reads, "all anew" in lower-case script and "Women of the ELCA" in blue, all caps block letters.]The tenth Triennial Gathering, to be held July 13-16, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minn., will bring Lutheran women together from across the church with life-changing workshops, worship, Bible study, and more. Women will gather under the theme “All Anew”. Register at welcatg.org or email women.elca@elca.org for a registration packet.

Because the Tenth Triennial Gathering falls during the observance of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, the theme resonates with reformation and transformation images. At the gathering, participants will explore ways in which the Holy Spirit changes us, acknowledging that reformation and transformation have happened and continue to happen within the community of women known as Women of the ELCA.

NT-NL SWO is offering five $355 scholarships to women who want to attend the Women of the ELCA’s Tenth Triennial Gathering in Minneapolis, Minn., July 13-16, 2017. Scholarships will be awarded with preference given to first-time attendees to the Triennial Gathering, and will be shared across the NT-NL Synodical area as much as possible given the applications received. Applications must be received no later than April 1, 2017. Apply now | Download a PDF of the application

Triennial Gathering Scholarship Committee

Let me begin by saying there is nothing quite like attending a Triennial Gathering of Women of the ECLA, and as such the Syndical officers are pleased to be able to offer 5 scholarships to women wanting to attend but who find the expense of doing so a struggle.

This is exactly where I found myself a number of years ago. My husband was serving a 3-point parish in Central South Dakota, we were raising 3 young children and I was attending college full-time. The Gathering that year was also going to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I just knew there was probably not going to be a better opportunity to attend, so I filled out the form to request a scholarship from our local Synodical group and was excited to receive the news that I had been awarded one.

Travel to the gathering was by chartered bus with lots of women from all over our area of South Dakota. What a blessing to spend those hours traveling with these sisters, all of us focused on a single event!

We had our days filled with great speakers, workshops and worship events. We got to see God at work in so many places and events.

The event I remember the most was a bus tour of Minneapolis in which we were shown the city from the view point of a homeless young man. He was connected to a ministry that provided individuals a place to receive mail, phone calls and a place to shower, all basics needed to assist with finding a job.

The young man who led our group spoke about living on the streets. He told us how, since he was cleanly dressed, he could often sleep on a park bench without being disturbed or told to move on, like many people experiencing homelessness are treated.

At the time I was in my 30’s and was so amazed by his story and how it was not the grand gestures that were making a difference in his life but the basics most of us take for granted.

Attending the gathering back then really did make a difference on how I look at the world and remember how sometimes it is just the little things we do that make big differences in other people’s lives. I can’t tell you how attending this gathering will impact you, your faith, or how you view the world you live in, but I can guarantee you it will impact you in some way.

I would encourage all of you to make the decision to attend the Triennial gathering of the Women of the ELCA and to apply for a scholarship if that is what you need to make the trip happen.

The event will be like nothing else you have ever experienced.

Lori Beers, Scholarship Committee

Apply nowDownload a PDF of the scholarship application

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day: January 11

At the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly last August in New Orleans, voting members approved a memorial “calling for a dedicated time of prayer to end human trafficking and to create resources to support congregations in this effort… including dedicated times of prayer each year, such as January 11, Human Trafficking Awareness Day.”

The Assembly also asked the ELCA worship team to create worship resources surrounding the issue of human trafficking, including prayers and litanies. The worship team, in turn, asked Women of the ELCA to consult on those resources. Women of the ELCA continues to create resources, found at welca.org/humantrafficking, that equip people to tell the story of human trafficking and move into action against it.

Lutherans in Wisconsin wrote prayers for each day from January 11 until February 5, Super Bowl Sunday.

Additional resources:

Around the Mission Area January 2017

What the churches are doing

Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Dallas

Greetings, My Sisters in Christ!

It has been quite a while since the Women of Mount Olive connected with you via Tapestry. We have been missing-in-action from the heart of the functions of the synodical organization; however, please know that we have been as busy as ever doing God’s work with our hands!

You will find the WELCA at Mount Olive involved in every area of outreach ministry supported by our congregation. Let me tell you about a few of those ministries:

Frances Byrd Horn of Plenty Food Pantry

Organized in 1999 under the direction of Mary Smith, in 2016 a total of 1,609 families and 9,100 homeless individuals were served via the Wednesday distribution. This would not have been possible without the faithful partnership of several individuals, churches and organizations. For this partnership, we are truly grateful.

Five women of the congregation spend a minimum of five hours each Wednesday volunteering at the pantry. Some women also spend their Tuesdays helping to prepare for Wednesday’s distribution. Ten to fifteen volunteers from other congregations also serve each week.

[Image description: photo of several youth, mostly African-American, standing outside listening to a presentation by a police officer. There is a police car in the forefront of the photo.]South Dallas Youth Conference

This one-day conference, established in 2006, is designed to reach the young people in South Dallas and surrounding areas. It is our hope that these sessions will provide youth with opportunities to develop vital skills and competencies, and to have positive experiences with caring adults.

Grants from the Mission Endowment Fund as well as donations from individuals have enabled this program to exist for ten years. The women of the church are involved in every phase of planning and execution of the project.

{Image description: photo of several families, mostly people of color, at the Back to School Rally]Back to School Rally

In 2016, with the assistance of sister churches and donations from church members, Mount Olive was able to provide 180 students with all the school supplies needed to start the school year. Twelve women from Mount Olive spent a total of 280 hours assisting with the packing and distribution of the supplies.

Computer Learning Center

This learning center, currently open one day a week, is spearheaded by Helen Beaujour. With the partnership of Christ Lutheran Church and other donors, this center makes available computer skills training in basic computer usage as well as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher.

Submitted by Helen Beaujour


St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Waco

Save The Date! Our Spring Gathering will be held February 25, 2017.
Speakers will be Pastor Amanda Brobst-Renaud from St. Peter (Malone) and Serena Cole with Mosaic in Waco. Registration forms coming soon. All are welcome!


Dallas Area Metro North Conference

The Dallas Area Metro North conference will host a retreat on March 25 at Christ the Servant (Allen) from 9-4. We will hear once again from Karen Williams about brains and will also have several workshops. Applications are coming. Childcare will be provided for a small fee.


Heart of Texas Conference

The HOT Conference W-ELCA presidents will be meeting January 28 at Our Savior’s (Norse) in the parsonage.

Items on the business agenda are to elect a new conference coordinator to replace Glenda Phillips, who was elected to the SWO board at the Convention in October; to establish constitutional guidelines for choosing a new coordinator in the middle of her term; and to make plans for the Spring Gathering to be held at Our Savior’s.

Another issue will be changing constitutional guidelines from three conference officers to two. Our Churchwide organization requests the elimination of the treasurer position, keeping only the conference coordinator and secretary positions.