Sunday September 19th my two younger kids and I ventured over to Iglesia Luterana Santa Maria de Guadalupe. We continue to bring Santa Maria back into the NT-NL Synod, ELCA community after the attempts to separate from us were deemed to have been done incorrectly. The leaders who led those attempts have either left or realized their errors and so we are able again to be together and they are being cared for by our synodical administrative team and Pastor Moises Carrasquillo.
Today was a special day because it is the week of celebrations for Latin American Independence. Between September 15 and 19th Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile all celebrate their national independence. For Santa Maria the independence of El Salvador is a primary driver of the festival as many of the key leaders in this congregation have roots in El Salvador. It was good to celebrate with them, enjoy pupusas, pan con pollo, aquas frescas, and other delicacies.
In addition to the church events I had the opportunity to meet the new Consul General to Texas of El Salvador and his staff. He is recently appointed and attended today because of the deep connections of Santa Maria to the Salvadoran community in DFW. We want to partner and be connected to these leaders as we do work on behalf of our NT-NL communities and families particularly given the issues of El Salvador and immigration. I look forward to learning more from the Consul General and growing that relationship.
It was a good morning and afternoon of festivities. My kids were troopers and the hospitality of Santa Maria was warm as was the September weather. But I am grateful to be present for this time together.
While I was there your Bishop’s Associate Pastor Totzke was having a #milesandmiles weekend first in Abilene doing Leadership for Faithful Innovation training with our Conference out West. Then in Redeemer, Greenville this morning as they are in transition and finally at Walnut Hill, Farmers Branch who is also in transition as Pastora Violeta Del Aguila Siguenza has taken the call to Wartburg Seminary as the Interim Director of the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest.
All our staff has been busy this week as usual. Your DEM Irma Banales was at an ELCA stewardship conference with members of our NT-NL Stewardship team this week, Briarwood Leadership Center director. Bishop’s Associate Robert Smith wrapped up our “re-gathering” festivities last weekend and continuing to shepherd the repairs to Briarwood facilities as well as prepare for a council training this fall. MEF Director Linda Ness continues to prepare for the MEF celebration in October. Communicator Jason O’Neill is shepherding a conversion of our phone system that will save us several thousand dollars annually. And your NT-NL Database Manager and Finance leader Jeanne Heggen keeps our books in order and deals with internet outages with grace.
As you can see NT-NL staff have had a busy and productive week of ministry. It is important to acknowledge and give thanks for that labor on behalf of the gospel. I am, as I know you are, thankful for them. We are grateful for this work and the opportunities it brings. #NTNL #InMissionTogether