2018 Synod Assembly: Under Construction, Abundant Sharing, #InMissionTogether
We had a wonderful time in Temple, hosted by the Heart of Texas conference. We are grateful for the hospitality, time, and talents of our hosts, Assembly planning team, HOT Detour band, and volunteers. We give thanks for The Rev. Dr. Mandy Brobst-Renaud, who led us in engaging Bible studies and group discussions.
NT-NL Easter Campaign Donations Received
The Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA is now in its fifth and final year. The emphasis for this year is on growing gifts for the Fund for Leaders in Mission. This fund provides 50 full-time scholarships each year for seminarians in the ELCA. Additionally, the NT-NL has its own Fund for Leaders, which allows us to give scholarships locally as well. NT-NL has benefited from these gifts in many and various ways.
Bishop Gronberg and the NT-NL Synod Council invited congregations to support the NT-NL Fund for Leaders by considering a special offering this Easter season. Giving thanks for the hope of the resurrection, we encouraged congregations to support those discerning a call to ministry and help us keep student debt to a minimum. Three congregations had stepped forward (King of Glory, Dallas, Preston Meadow, Plano, and Trinity, Fort Worth) with a challenge to match dollar-for-dollar the first $10,000 given to this Easter Appeal. The total funds received as of Assembly this past weekend are $14,409 (given) + $10,000 (match) = $24,409!!! Thank you for your generous support for the ELCA Campaign and Fund for Leaders. Thank you especially to Faith, Flower Mound, for giving $1,100, and to Ms. Marilyn McRoberts (Good Shepherd, Irving) giving $200, in the quilt auctions. Gifts may still be directed to the Synod office; please specify Fund for Leaders.
Together, we can invest in leaders for Christ’s church on a scale and scope we never could otherwise. Your gifts to the Fund for Leaders program empowers those whom God calls into ministry to go and serve as the church needs and the Holy Spirit leads.
Support and Encouragement Requested for NT-NL Youth
Ms. Janelle Miller (Calvary, Richland Hills) gave a powerful report about being a part of the faith timeline of young people in our synod. She has helped coordinate our participation in the upcoming ELCA Youth Gathering, including the Bishop’s group (the first of its kind in the ELCA). As a result, 33 congregations are currently participating in the gathering by sending youth and adults. In addition, she reported that there are many ways for other congregations to support as well. She distributed note cards for assembly members to write encouraging notes to young people at the gathering. She showed a video sample of a women’s group at Calvary sending greetings to the youth. All of these are ways to help us reach Bishop Gronberg’s goal of 50% participation of congregations in the youth gathering in some way.
If your congregation is not sending youth and would like to send a message, help supply a meal, or support housing for one of our ethnic specific communities who are sending youth, please contact Janelle at Janellemiller@yahoo.com.
Generosity and Challenge Conclude Assembly
As the Assembly was ending, two impassioned speeches were given to support our work #InMissionTogether. Pastor Rusty Sullivan (Faith, Flower Mound) came to the microphone during the approval of our mission plan. He named the reality that without growth in mission support, increased operational expenses would continue to limit our ability to fund mission programming. Rather than complaining, he instead pledged to go home and challenge his congregation to increase their mission support giving by 1% in the coming year. He encouraged other leaders to do the same. In addition, lifting up Bishop Gronberg’s goals of synod participation, he encouraged the 18% of NT-NL congregations who gave no mission support in 2017 to make a gift to our life together.
Pastor Paul Mussachio (Preston Meadow, Plano) then asked for the floor responding to the report of Briarwood Acting Director Matt Baumhardt and his powerful story of a Briarwood supporter who sent a monthly $7 check to the ministry. In the memo line each month, it simply said “Love Gift.” Matt shared how, although the gift was financially small, during challenging times, that line “Love Gift” gave him energy and faith to continue on. Pastor Mussachio offered $7 to support Briarwood each month and then encouraged others to see if they would give $7 as well. In response, $777 was collected by the end of the assembly as a “Love Gift” for Briarwood. Others who wish to set up an ongoing “Love Gift” sustaining offering to Briarwood are invited to do so at http://www.briarwoodretreat.org/ways-to-give.
We are grateful for all our leaders and particularly those who challenge us to consider how we can all play a part in sustaining and, more importantly, growing our ministry #InMissionTogether.
Fund for Leaders Recipients
Synod Treasurer (4 year term)
Synod Council Positions (nominees come from the related conference – 4 year term)
Latin@/Hispanic – Ordained: The Rev. Violeta Siguenza-Del Aguila
Eastern Conference – Ordained: The Rev. Russell Vardell
Heart of Texas Conference – Lay Female: Glenda Phillips
Heart of Texas Conference – Lay Male: Dr. Douglas Krug
Conference Out West – Lay Female: Teresa Swecker
Conference Out West – Lay Male: K. Fritz Leifeste
ELCA Church Council Members (nominees to be then voted on at the 2019 Churchwide Assembly)
TWO Rostered Ministers of Word and Sacrament: The Rev. Russell Vardell and The Rev. Nick Billardello
ELCA 2019 Churchwide Assembly Voting Members
Rostered Minister of Word and Sacrament – Female: The Rev. Kristin Klade
Rostered Minister of Word and Sacrament – Male: The Rev. Edy Santos
Lay Female (preferably 35 or younger): Bianca Blaney
Lay Female (36 or older): Shirley Wilson-Sigler
Lay Male (preferably 35 or younger): Thomas M. Blaney
Lay Male (36 or older): Don Heller
We are part of the greater church. To learn more about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and why we love being a part of this community, you can download these videos:
Bishop Eaton’s Synod Assembly Video (length: 6:00)
ELCA’s 2017 Year in Review (length: 5:39)
2019 Synod Assembly
Did you miss this year’s Assembly and wonder what all the fuss is about? Or were you present and want to join us again next year?! All are welcome!
April 26-27, 2019
Richland Hills, TX
Call for Prayer
Join us in prayer for our Southwestern Texas Synod partners as they meet for their Assembly this coming weekend and as they elect a new bishop.
In her April column for Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reminds us that we confess “Christ is risen” in the face of worldly wisdom that is based on death. But we stake our lives on this: “Life wins. Love wins.” Read her column in English at https://bit.ly/2H2zwck and in Spanish at https://bit.ly/2GJV5k7.
Featured Resource for April
New! This FREE ELCA World Hunger five-week study uncovers how our Lutheran faith shapes our perspective and role in the economy.
Save the Date
King of Glory, Dallas
From the press release:
“At times, the mantle of ministry mandates that you both see and hear difficult things. Prophetic ministry then requires that you speak out concerning what you have witnessed. Always, the mantle of ministry requires courage.”
Waters is an award-winning author, community leader and social commentator. He is founding pastor of Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church and an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. He is well known in Dallas and across the country for speaking out on current issues such as diversity, ethical leadership, race, religion and even hip hop culture. His words of hope and empowerment have inspired national and international audiences.
Waters was a Dallas Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree and received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader award, the university’s highest honor, both in 2015. He holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from SMU. In 2016 he received the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Community Leader of the Year award. He has been featured in EBONY magazine among America’s emerging leaders and has appeared on national TV and in the press. Recent commentaries have been published in The Dallas Morning News. Waters’ book Stakes Is High contains narratives of racial violence and offers ways people can live out their faith for the cause of social justice. Sojourners magazine, shortly after the book’s release in 2017, wrote that “Michael W. Waters…is both blunt and lyrical as he meditates on police violence, racism, hip-hop, and the power of faith.” The book will be available for purchase and author signing following the meeting.
Stakes Is High earned the Wilbur Award at the April 2018 conference of the Religion Communicators Council. Wilbur Awards are given to promote and encourage excellence in the communication of religious faith and positive values through a variety of secular media. Waters first book, Freestyle: Reflections on Faith, Family, Justice, and Pop Culture, was published in 2014. In it Waters confronts issues within the urban community such as addiction, education, incarceration, family issues and absentee fathers. His latest book, For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World, is soon to be released.
For more information:
Excerpt from Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America | In this collection of columns written originally for The Huffington Post, the Rev. Michael W. Waters offers stories from the front lines and offers ways that he and others can live out their faith for the cause of social justice.
Stakes Is High: An Interview on Race, Faith, and Hope with Michael Waters | The Rev. Michael Waters talks about his new book, Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America and what we can do to build a more just world for African Americans and all people.
Good God Episode #3: Reverend Michael Waters | George Mason and Michael W. Waters of Joy Tabernacle AME Church discuss economic justice, poverty, race relations in Dallas and America, and how we can address it with our faith.
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/interfaith-seder-and-begolden/ – published Apr. 24)
(https://www.ntnl.org/closing-of-st-paul-shive/ – published Apr. 24)
(https://www.ntnl.org/an-installation-for-the-books/ – published Apr. 23)
Where in the world is?
- May 5 – Briarwood Gala is going… Fiesta!, Euless, TX
- Apr. 30-May 1 – Leadership for Faith Initiative, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN
- May 4-6 – Southwestern Texas Synod Assembly, San Marcos, TX
- May 5 – Briarwood Gala is going… Fiesta!, Euless, TX
- May 5: Briarwood Gala is going… Fiesta!, Euless, TX
- May 14: Dr. Michael W. Waters to discuss Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America, Dallas, TX
- May 15: Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber: “Stop saying the church is dying!”, Fort Worth, TX
- May 19: MEF Board meeting, Grand Prairie, TX
- May 19: PLMA Spring 2018, Course 3, Briarwood
- May 19: NT-NL Eastern Conference W-ELCA 2018 Spring Gathering, Shreveport, LA
- May 20: 2018 Lutheran Campus Ministry (Denton) Golf Outing, Frisco, TX
- May 27-Jun. 1: Spanish Language and Hispanic Ministry Intensive, Austin, TX
- Jun. 10-15: Building Congregational Capacity for Hispanic Ministry, Austin, TX
- Jun. 24-27: the tAble: an ELCA gathering of youth with disabilities, Houston, TX
- Jun. 24-27: The ELCA Multicultural Youth Leadership Event, Houston, TX
- Jun. 27-Jul. 1: ELCA Youth Gathering, Houston, TX
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to the Synod office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration for upcoming NT-NL News.