Sunday, Nov. 12, was a day steeped in tradition new and old. Started by getting my kiddos to their church at Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Worth (Rev Kendra Mohn, Rev Matt Schroeder) in time for the advent fair. This event was put together by Darlene Hopkins, a Parish Lay Ministry Academy (PLMA) student at Trinity.
It drew on many traditions and gifts of the community including stations to make your own advent wreath, do creative art, cookie decorating, shopping with Bethlehem Christian Families, learning about Santa Lucia, support ELCA Good Gifts, and much more. A creative and wonderful example of how PLMA is a gift to congregations.
Then in the afternoon I drove over to Rejoice, Coppell (Rev. Ernie Hinajosa, Rev. Todd Bruning) for the 100th Anniversary celebration of Finland with our Finnish Congregation (Rev. Jarmo Tarkki) which is part of a 3 point parish (2 in California, 1 in Texas) serving Finnish nationals and immigrants working in the US. The Finns have a long history of faith in the midst of trial and oppression. Their independence is very dear to them and due to the rise of the telecom industry in north Dallas there are currently over 2,000 Finnish nationals living in the Dallas area. It was a joy to be with them, to hear beautiful music (their pianist is the great great granddaughter of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius), and to bring a word of greeting and hope to this community.
I arrived just as a Kenyan Swahili speaking congregation that Rejoice has welcomed was finishing their worship. We sang and worshipped and gave thanks for Suomi. I then met with parish leadership to discuss the challenges this unique parish in NT-NL Synod, ELCA faces. As I was leaving the evening praise service of Rejoice was wrapping up. The last of 5 services (in 3 languages) in that space today. Amazing witness and focus on utilizing their space for mission.