2017 SWO Fall Retreat

Wow!  What a gathering of women, presenters, fellowship, and renewal of faith in our ministry to serve Christ.  We learned more about Katie Luther and her work with Martin throughout the Reformation.  Kathy Dodson of The Texas Refugee Service provided some very good and interesting information about their work here in Texas.  Rev. Deb Louden-McCann of Mount Olive Lutheran Church and Savannah Sullivan of the ELCA in Chicago presented great programs on Global Missions and the Young Adults’ involvement in the Global Mission work.  Herb and Barbara Lammert concluded our study on Global Missions with slides of their trip to Tanzania several years ago.

We learned from Pastor Deb Louden-McCann, in the Bible study based on Deut. 31:6, how we can be those bold women who face adversities and overcome because we know God will go with us, will not fail us, nor forsake us. She showed us how people in the Old Testament had God with them also.

Bishop Erik Gronberg led us in a wonderful Compline Service Friday night, and Pastor Deb McCann presided over a beautiful closing worship services with communion Sunday morning.

Other activities included the Walk, Run, and Roll event, the Silent Auction, walking the Labyrinth, and lots of great crafts including making the Luther Rose and ironing Martin Luther on the front or back of a T-shirt.  We learned many new songs to be sung as table prayers, sang songs throughout the weekend, and after making S’Mores at the pit fire.

A most enjoyable weekend for all with time to relax, renew friendships, make new ones, enjoy the outdoor scenery at Briarwood, and thank God for all of his goodness.

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.

Pam Grosze

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

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: