The first weekend of November was a #MilesAndMiles weekend of NT-NL Synod, ELCA. On Saturday we ordained the Rev. Austin Nickle to serve First Lutheran, Waco. Austin has been a SAWL at First for many years. He has guided them through the sale of their property, relocating to the Episcopal Ministry center at Baylor and now completed his education through the Lutheran Seminary Program of the Southwest in Austin, TX. It was a joyous day and well attended by clergy from all the synods of Texas.
Sunday I enjoyed the extra hour of sleep and then headed 200 miles west of Fort Worth to Roscoe and First Salem. This congregation has been a Lutheran outpost in West Texas for a century. They are a small community in a small community but have strong spirit and faith. For many years they have hosted food services and daycamps often helped by our Mission Endowment Fund.
They also have an advantageous location just a few hundred yards north of the Allsups on I-20. They told me of an occasion a few years ago when an ice storm closed I-20 for several days. First Salem along with other churches in town provided sanctuary for those stranded due to the weather. That included a baptist preacher who they related after 2 days of being cooped up they asked if he might share a word. His response, to the bemusement of all, was “a captive audience? A preachers dream!”
I boogied back to DFW to connect with the Rev. Louise Johnson, the President of Wartburg Seminary. She is moving into a new role with LEAD a ministry formerly of the Gulf Coast synod and now becoming an independent entity. We had a good conversation about NT-NLs initiative in Latinx education, the Secondary School of Theological Education, which we have done in partnership with the ELCA, Wartburg Seminary, and LSTC. NT-NL leaders, working in partnership and with assistance from @Briarwood Leadership Center have been critical in developing this ministry to help grow Latinx and ultimately all leaders across our church.