Testimonial for the Fund for Leaders
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.
Grace and peace to you!
We wanted to share a little of our story with you. We can still distinctly remember the feelings of doubt and unknowns sitting in our final semesters at Texas Lutheran University, looking at the prospect of a future of debt to the tune of two seminary tuitions (over $100,000). Our worlds changed that day when we got the call. Jeremy was a recipient of the Fund for Leaders scholarship, and Amanda was a recipient of a full tuition scholarship at Luther Seminary. Amanda also later received a Fund for Leaders scholarship through the Southwest Texas Synod.
In this moment of doubt and uncertainty at the crossroads of our lives, what an amazing affirmation of call and support by the church!
We were both filled with great joy that day. That joy was also followed by sense of guilt in our first months of seminary when we realized how much debt our gifted peers would be facing that we would not have to face ourselves. Why us? Why were we given such a gift when our others were not? We were almost ashamed to admit to our peers the gift we had been given so as to not make their indebtedness sting even more.
We graduated from seminary in May of 2014 without debt! After graduation, we vowed that we would try and spend the rest of our lives paying back what we had received, paying forward the financial blessing we had been given. And out of gratitude for this blessing, on the day of our graduation, we gave a small financial gift of thanks to Fund for Leaders. That gift led to an invitation by the Fund for leaders to join their Leadership Table to help raise awareness and funds for the Fund. The blessings have continued as we have had the honor of sitting at the table with gifted leaders from across the ELCA and doing what we can to raise awareness about the incredible ministry of the Fund for Leaders. Our goal is to raise enough money so that anyone who wants to serve in ordained ministry in the ELCA can be as blessed as us to receive full tuition scholarships.
We are so grateful for God’s abundance in our lives. Because of the kindness of generous faithful people before us, after graduation from seminary, we were able to be open to say yes to serving God, without the restriction of seminary debt. We have been able to buy our first home together, welcome our son Joel, and are now preparing to welcome our second child this June. This last summer, we sat down to make sure Joel would be taken care of even if we left this earth sooner than we plan. As we looked towards the future, we also had the joy of meeting with Daniel Cazac of the Lutheran Foundation of the Southwest and exploring how we could be generous in our dying as we hope to be in our living. In gratitude for the generosity and abundance we have experienced, we had the joy of designating giving to Fund for Leaders in our death.
Maybe you, too, feel a sense of gratitude for God’s abundance in your life. There is good news! You, too, have the opportunity to participate in this incredible ministry of Fund for Leaders by sharing the story and giving generously. We are so grateful to be serving in mission together with you in God’s work in NT-NL and the world!
Amanda and Jeremy Ullrich
Bishop Gronberg and the NT-NL Synod Council invite 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 encourage congregations to support those discerning a call to ministry and help us keep student debt to a minimum. A matching challenge grant has been given to match dollar-for-dollar the first $10,000 given to this Easter Appeal. Thank you for considering support for the ELCA Campaign and Fund for Leaders. (Gifts may be brought with you to Synod Assembly or 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.
Online Registration Closes Today
Online Registration ends TODAY, April 16.
Online Rates (closes April 16 – 11:59 p.m.)
Voting Members – $250
Retired Rostered – $110
Visitors – $60
On Site Rates
Voting Members – $315
Retired Rostered – $160
Visitors – $100
The Book of Reports has been posted online. If you plan to print and bring with you to Assembly, we strongly recommend waiting to print until the week of Assembly, as we are usually making updates up to that point.
The farm bill is an omnibus law, reauthorized every five years, that offers our Lutheran church the opportunity to help create a food system that reflects our values and addresses the needs of all of our neighbors. We expect Congress to vote on the Farm Bill by this September 2018. We call on you to help guide your legislators in crafting, defending, and funding a Farm Bill that best supports our communities and moves us closer to ending hunger and creating sustainable food systems.
We will raise our voices together and call on Congress to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), support international food assistance, promote the appropriate mix of conservation measures, strengthen safety nets for farmers and funding for research, and honor treaties and land claims by Indigenous Peoples.
Christ taught us in the Lord’s Prayer to pray for our daily bread. Martin Luther’s expansive understanding of daily bread includes not only what nourishes our bodies, but also the natural resources, labor, and the economy, including the food supply chain. Advocacy for good policies in the Farm Bill provides a means to express that love in a way that will contribute to the well-being of God’s people and creation and contribute to a just world where all are fed.
Your actions have, and will, continue to make a difference. We will raise our voices together to call on Congress to support a strong 2018 Farm Bill.
You can use our resources to schedule an in-district meeting with your legislators. The most important tools you have, aside from your testimonies, include a Farm Bill 101 Factsheet and a Leave Behind Document for you to share with your legislator’s office. Should you have any questions, and an interest in setting up viral trainings for you and your congregation, be sure to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The April day to #PrayFastAct with The Episcopal Church is Saturday, April 21. This month, our focus is on economic opportunity initiatives, education workforce development, and programs that help low-income families break out of poverty.
Cyclical poverty is a problem faced by millions of Americans. Many in our communities cannot access education and training because they need a paycheck to feed their family, and often there are too few affordable educational opportunities accessible to them. While some in Congress have proposed adding requirements that the entitlement program recipients must be working to receive assistance, this has historically proven to serve as an additional barrier to achieving self-sufficiency.
Pray for the working poor of our nation, that while we fight to keep our families housed, fed, and clothed, that we may also expand educational opportunities and training for better family-supporting wages.
Fast in solidarity with those who, while they labor tirelessly, still struggle to provide for themselves and their families. Consider including in your fast an action to donate savings from unconsumed meals to educational scholarships or to elementary school reading and library programs.
Act by writing to Congress on April 21 and demand robust federal funding for educational programs from early childhood to adult and trade schools. Study the one-pager on the connection between economic opportunity, education, and poverty.
Here’s how to equip yourself and your congregation to #PrayFastAct on April 21:
- Read the April advocacy resource to learn how ELCA Advocacy is urging the U.S. government to invest in education and economic opportunities domestically.
- Visit ELCA.org/PrayFastAct to watch a message from The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA.
- Read the ELCA Social Statement on Our Calling on Education (2007).
- Look out for the #PrayFastAct action alert on Saturday, April 21, and join us as we pray, fast and advocate together.
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
As members of the ELCA, we believe we are called, gathered and sent into the world to embody the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection – called into relationship with God, gathered together as a community of believers and sent into the world to love and serve our neighbors.
1 Corinthians, Chapter 12, reminds us, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
On “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday, we join together to use our various gifts in service to our communities – this is work you do every day, sharing the love of Christ with all of God’s people.
Watch how our congregations have put their faith in action since 2013 for this dedicated day of service.
If your congregation cannot participate on Sept. 9, please consider another time.
Save the date and visit ELCA.org/dayofservice for updates to our resources.
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/merkel-tx-prepping-for-houston-tx-elcayg2018/ – published Apr. 9)
Where in the world is?
- Apr. 22 – Bethany, Dallas
- Apr. 22 – Installation of Pr. Linda Anderson-Little, St. Luke’s, Richardson
- Apr. 15-19 – ELCA Domestic Mission Unit All Staff Gathering & ELCA Mission Support and Stewardship Table, Chicago, IL
- Apr. 21 – Teaching Spanish class, PLMA Spring 2018, Course 2, Briarwood
- Apr. 22 – Indonesian ministry, Allen
- Apr. 21: PLMA Spring 2018, Course 2, Briarwood
- Apr. 21: 2018 Regional Interfaith Conference, Lubbock, TX
- Apr. 21: NT-NL Panhandle Conference W-ELCA 2018 Spring Gathering, Lubbock, TX
- Apr. 27-28: 2018 Synod Assembly, Temple, TX
- May 5: Briarwood Gala is going… Fiesta, Euless, 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 27-Jun. 1: Spanish Language and Hispanic Ministry Intensive, Austin, TX
- Jun. 10-15: Building Congregational Capacity for Hispanic Ministry, Austin, TX
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to the Synod office (email@example.com) for consideration for upcoming NT-NL News.