Triennial Gathering



“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


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


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


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.


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. 



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.

NT-NL Area News for September

Faith Lutheran Church, Meridian, Texas

With the guidance of our previous Pastor Joan Iker, Faith Lutheran, Meridian applied for a grant from the Mission Endowment Fund and were fortunate enough to be given $1,000 to be used in our community. Our W-ELCA group asked for help from the Meridian ISD elementary school personnel for suggestions as to families that were experiencing difficult circumstances and could use a grocery gift certificate during the summer months when school meals were unavailable. We were given names and contact information of families who could use this assistance and we were able to surprise them with substantial grocery store gift cards. We were blessed to be able to do this and are so thankful for the trust placed in us by the Mission Endowment Fund.

Trinity Lutheran Church, Clifton, Texas

We are collecting items for school kits, and quilting weekly. We held August birthday party for Sunset ministry with Landry and Layton Cockrell performing on the keyboard and Pastor Clay McCord playing the guitar for the delight of the residents. We continue to contribute to any cause when asked.

St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Cranfills Gap, Texas

In July, St, Olaf WELCA held a birthday party for the residents of Lutheran Sunset Home in Clifton. The Girl Scouts, who meet at our church, entertained the residents with several songs and helped to serve them ice cream sodas. The July birthday men and women were given cheerfully wrapped gifts. The oldest was 103!

We also served the faculty of Cranfills Gap School during Inservice week. The church basement was beautifully decorated in a Hawaiian theme, with palm trees, seashells, and flowers. Teachers were given leis as they entered, and the menu followed the theme, with ham, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, followed by desserts of pineapple upside down cake, coconut cake, and banana pudding. All were grateful for the lovely break before readying for the return of students.

Exotic Hawaiian table decorations prepared for our teachers’ luncheon by Karen Sharp and her visiting sister.

First Lutheran Church, Longview

First Lutheran Church of Longview WELCA held its 8th Annual Ladies Retreat on July 30, 2016. Every summer, we use the three-session Bible Study from Gather Magazine in a one-day retreat setting. This year, the author of the study is our own Pastor Angela Shannon from King of Glory in Dallas. It’s not often that the author of the study in our national magazine is so close by, so we convinced Pastor Shannon to lead us through the topic The Heart of the Matter—Conflict, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation. She very ably and gently led us to look at these topics with new eyes and to see that the ministry of reconciliation is actually a way of life rather than a single act or event. One of the notes I received afterwards referred to the day as “a retreat we learn from and will remember a long time.”

We had a wonderful day including a scrumptious salad luncheon and a light-hearted session listening to pop songs about forgiveness from each of the decades beginning with the 30’s. That was interesting, to say the least, to see how a common theme changes with time; and the walk down “memory lane” was fun. We had women in attendance from age 14 to 97, so we had a lot of music to represent.

Women from five congregations were represented to hear Pastor Shannon and share in our day with us – King of Glory in Dallas, Bethany in Dallas, St. John’s in Dallas, Trinity in Sherman, and First in Longview.

Pastor Shannon will be speaking at the SWO Convention in Waco. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear her. You’ll be glad you did.

Fallfest, Quilts and World Records, Oh My!

October will be an exciting month in Clifton, Texas and for Lutheran Sunset Ministries (LSM)!

The annual FallFest (presented by Clifton Main Street) has brought family fun, food and entertainment to Clifton for many years and LSM is proud to be a part of this exciting event with their annual Volunteer Auxiliary Quilt Auction. This year marks the 25 th year of the auction, which will take place on Saturday, October 15, 2016.

The event is always held on the third Saturday in October in conjunction with FallFest, a day-long community event. This year the event has a new time and a new location! It will take place at the Clifton Civic Center (403 W. 3rd St., Clifton) with a preview at 11am, lunch served at 12pm and the auction beginning at 1pm. From resident phone systems to transportation to beautiful gardens and pergolas, the auction has funded numerous projects around the LSM non- profit campus, enhancing quality of life for residents.

Starting in 1991, LSM has hosted the Annual Quilt Auction, with approximately 100 quilts donated by more than 60 church congregations, groups and individuals throughout Texas and beyond. What once started as a relatively small gathering under a tent in the parking lot of the Sunset Home, has transformed into a nationally-recognized event that attracts more than 80 loyal bidders each year. In 2015, the Quilt Auction alone raised more than $39,000 for various needs of Lutheran Sunset Ministries. There is no admission charge.

New this year to FallFest, Lutheran Sunset Ministries needs your help to break the Guinness World Record for most people in a 30-minute, chair-based exercise. Last year, in honor of Active Aging Week, LSM attempted to break the record of 481 participants; however, fell short with 166 participants. While they did not break the World Record, they did set a Bosque County record. The record was filed with the Bosque County Historical Commission on October 13, 2015.

Undiscouraged, they are back at it again this year! Please join them at FallFest in downtown Clifton at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2016 to help them break a World Record! All ages are welcome. Bring a chair and two canned goods to use as hand weights. After the event, all canned goods will be donated to the Clifton food bank. For more information on the Volunteer Auxiliary Quilt Auction or the World Record attempt, please visit or call 254.675.8637.

Smorgasbord Tickets Orders Postmark Sept.10-22

The annual 68th annual Norse Smorgasbord will be held one night only on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Clifton, TX. Ticket orders must be postmarked between Sept. 10 to22 for the event. Orders postmarked before or after these dates will be returned – and as always, no phone orders will be accepted.

There will be two servings of 120 persons each. Serving times are 4:30 and 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 and each order (limit 10 tickets per order) should indicate first choice of serving time, must include a self-addressed stamped envelope and check made payable to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Women.

Orders should be mailed to Mr. and Mrs. Charley Aars, 7047 FM 219, Clifton TX 76634; or Mr. and Mrs. Steve Heinley, 5518 FM 219, Clifton TX 76634. For additional information check the web at

Around the mission area: July 2016

Policies and Procedures Document Updated

The Policies and Procedures committee met at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Grand Prairie on Friday, May 13 to update this document. The last update had been in 2003, and a lot of changes needed to be made.

Each delegate to the NT-NL SWO convention in October will receive a copy of the updated document before the convention. If approval is received at our convention, then the document will be sent to the ELCA Churchwide Synodical Women’s board for approval. This document provides guidelines as to how our group is to function.

Appreciation to Hattie Hammer and Pastor Kathi Johnson for the use of their church fellowship hall. Members of the committee present were Carol Otterstad, chairman; Cynthia Sparks, Susan Remshardt, Diane Fehler, and Sarah Gohlke.

Eastern Mission Conference Spring Gathering

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Shreveport, LA hosted the Spring Gathering on Saturday May 21st. Over thirty ladies came together for a wonderful day of fellowship.

Laurie McGehee of the Caddo Parish Juvenile Services presented a very informative talk on Sex Trafficking. Dr. Dan Gibbs, a member of Holy Trinity, entertained us with beautiful piano music. A bountiful brunch was provided to the women of the ELCA from these three churches: Holy Trinity and St. Stephen in Shreveport, and First Lutheran in Longview.

One half of the offering was given to the sex trafficking program with NT-NL Synodical Women receiving the other half. Carol Shoul of Holy Trinity was elected conference coordinator.

Excitement Builds as Registration for Tenth Triennial Opens Sept. 6

The Tenth Triennial Gathering, July 13-16, 2017 will bring Lutheran women together from across the church with life-changing workshops, worship, Bible study, and more. Women will gather in Minneapolis, Minn., under the theme “All Anew.” Registration opens on September 6.

Early-bird registration, through January 6, 2017, is $310; after that registration is $350. Register at or email women for a registration packet.
Liz Gaskins, one of the Triennial Gathering Promoters, will be at the NT-NL SWO convention in Waco October 7-9 with a display table with all things Triennial. She will answer your questions, have registration packets, etc. for you at the convention. She also will be speaking to our group on Saturday.

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.


The WELCA unit of Clifton will not meet in July but start again in Aug. We will host the August Birthday party at Sunset Ministries, using our Trinity youth and their blessings of talent in music and dance. Asking for prayers for Elaine Bell in her recovery from some difficult surgery.