Reformation 500 Festival in Brenham

Here I Stand Reformation

Area Lutheran Churches are working together in various ways to help celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.  This is when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Castle Church Door in Wittenberg, Germany.

This photo shows the door as it is today.  The original door was destroyed long ago in a war.

Wittenberg Door

Here I Stand…

500th Anniversary of the Reformation

The ELCA churches of the Brazos Valley have united to host a celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

 

Workshops on the Reformation and Justice                    

Saturday, Oct. 28th, 9am-12pm       

Come learn more about how the Reformation connects with matters of justice in our world today, and how we as Christians are called to stand for God’s justice. (hosted at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brenham)

See the details of each workshop listed later in this article.

 

Reformation Worship at the Brenham High School Auditorium                      

Sunday, Oct. 29th, 10:30am

Several ELCA churches in the Brenham area are gathering for one huge, Spirit-filled worship, at the Brenham High School Auditorium.

Lunch to follow at 12pm in the BHS Cafeteria, $10 tickets can be purchased at any participating ELCA church.

MLLC will have its regularly scheduled services this weekend (Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.)

 

 

Workshops on Justice and the Reformation

In celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Saturday, October 28th, 9am-12pm

Hosted at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brenham

 

This will be a morning of workshops with guest presenters that tie themes from Matthew 25.31-46 with the famous words of Martin Luther: “Here I Stand.” The event is open to anyone interested in learning more about the needs of our local communities and ways to live out God’s justice.

Here I Stand… with the Thirsty: Sam Brannon will speak on “The Future of Water in Texas.” Texas is slated to double its population in 50 years. In a state prone to lengthy droughts, planning for the supply, usage, and conservation of the public water supply is foundational to a healthy future.

Here I Stand… with the Stranger: Join Bishop Michael Rinehart of the ELCA Gulf Coast Synod as he discusses the work of the Lutheran Immigration and Refuge Service (LIRS) and the response of the Christian church to the needs and challenges of immigrants in our world today.  Explore ways in which congregations and individuals can minister to immigrants in different settings and situations.

Here I Stand… with the Naked: Dr. Phebe Simmons, Ed.D, Program Director for Family Promise, Bryan/College Station. Family Promise is an area-wide, volunteer-based, non-profit organization that supports homeless families with children by providing shelter, meals and support services as they work toward self-sufficiency to provide a home for themselves. Dr. Phebe Simmons has been serving as the director of this program since June, 2010.

Here I Stand… with the Sick: “When was it that we saw you sick?” The Rev Carol E. Peterson is an ordained Episcopal Deacon and Faith Community Nurse with many years of experience bridging issues related to health and spirituality. She will first review the historical role of the universal church in ministering to the sick. Participants will then explore the ways faith communities of today provide a wide range of ministries related to health, healing and wholeness.  The group will then identify a variety of practical ways that each one of us can minister to the person in front of us who is dealing with health challenges.

Here I Stand… with the Prisoner: with Daniel Lund, a Synodically Authorized Worship Leader (SAWL) from The Church of the Damascus Road. Daniel Lund will share his experiences in prison ministry as both a lay volunteer in prison ministry, and now as the SAWL & Director of Church of the Damascus Road, a prison ministry in Weatherford, TX. He will also offer ways anyone can become involved in serving in jails and prisons for the Kingdom of God.

Here I Stand… with the Hungry: Mike Bell with Rise Against Hunger will be doing a presentation on issues surrounding hunger and then lead participants in packing send-home meals that will be distributed in local communities. This will be an interactive, service-based workshop.

 

Sponsored by: the Brenham Mission Society and ELCA churches of the Brazos Valley

 

Hurricane Relief: Help Now

Hurricane Harvey Relief

Photo of Relief Workers, as shown on the Lutheran Disaster Response Web Site.

For continued updates on Hurricane Relief, see this page:  Click Link

Together We Can Help

We will have an ongoing Hurricane Harvey Recovery Page on the church web site.

There are several ways to help right now with relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.  There are and will be many volunteer opportunities.  As you are able, please give of your time to help those in need.  Much of the focus has been on Houston, since there are millions who have faced damage, displacement, loss, or more.  There are also many in Fayette County who have faced similar struggles due to flooding of the Colorado River and other waterways.  Our town has had flooding, but not to the point of massive damage.  It looks like the flooding of May 2016 in Carmine was worse for our town than that brought by Hurricane Harvey.

Ways to help:

At this time monetary donations are the most helpful.  You can always give through MLLC. All gifts will be forwarded to Lutheran Disaster Response, our ELCA organization which is already at work for long term relief from Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

*We will receive donations through the offerings at every worship service as long as there is need to help.  Designate the gift as Hurricane Relief.

*You can mail in a check to MLLC at any time.  Designate the gift as Hurricane Relief.

*You can give through our web site.  Click this link for our special giving web page.  On that page you can choose the section for Disaster Relief.  Gifts can be made through your bank account, debit card or credit card.

Mucking Crews – groups of people who will help clean up junk and ruined parts of homes so householders can fix up their homes and move back in.  Our Gulf Coast Synod has partnered with crisiscleanup.org to coordinate volunteers to help muck out homes.   Chris Markert, Assistant to the Bishop, will be helping synod church volunteer crews get connected to opportunities to serve.  Here is the contact page for Pastor Markert:  Click this link.

 

ELCA Gulf Coast Synod Message

Our Gulf Coast Synod has shared this message:

The number one question we hear: “How can I help?”

As followers of Jesus, we seek to love our neighbor and serve those in need.

So first, thank you. Here on the Gulf Coast, we have heard and felt your love and support during this disaster.

Second, as people of faith, join us in prayer. For first responders and those who had to evacuate flooded homes, for people worried about family and those who trying to pick up the pieces.

Third, financial gifts are more helpful than gifts of goods right now. Financial resources are portable and used for many different purposes. Consider donating to the Gulf Coast Synod Disaster Fund (to help congregations and their people get back on their feet and serve their neighborhoods http://gulfcoastsynod.org/Hurricane-Harvey) and to Lutheran Disaster Response (for case management).

Finally, wait and listen. The disaster isn’t over. It is still raining. Once the rain stops and the water recedes, then the work begins. Then we will begin to assess what the needs are and begin to clean up.

Christmas Boxes for Seafarers 2015

Christmas Boxes 2014 out front

Photo:  Pastor David Tinker and his son delivering the boxes last year at the Port of Houston.

Christmas Boxes for Port of Houston Seafarers 2015

We invite you to participate in this caring ministry of MLLC.  The Lutheran Men in Mission of MLLC will again prepare the Christmas Boxes of Port of Houston Seafarers. This is a ministry which brings cheer, God’s love, and practical gifts to people from around the world who must be away from family at Christmas. Between now and Thanksgiving weekend 2015 we invite you to collect items for the Men in Mission to pack for the seafarers. A collection station for these items will be set up during September. Last year there were 34 boxes assembled. Here is the address to our web page article about last year’s efforts: https://mllccarmine.com/2014/12/07/christmas-boxes-for-houston-seafarers/

The men on the ships truly appreciate the love and hospitality offered by these Christmas Boxes. Think about your life. Most of us get to be home every night with family and/or near friendly neighbors. Those who work in shipping are away from home for months at a time. They are thankful for the work, but they miss their families, friends and home communities.

The Port of Houston Chaplains are our ambassadors to these seafarers. They visit the ships and bring the boxes to the crews. On their web site the chaplains tell us: “Crew sizes vary between 8 and 30, with an average number of 22 seafarers to gift per ship. In 2014, we placed 11,392 gifts on board 512 ships which had seafarers from 69 different countries! These gifts had been donated to the seafarers by 223 churches and organizations! The Christmas boxes are personally carried to each ship by your staff of Port Chaplains.” Their web site is: http://www.venturecd.net/SeafarersCenter.org/Home_Page.htm

With our work together at MLLC we can help reach even more with the love of Jesus Christ.

Here is the official notice about this program from the Port of Houston Chaplains.  Click this link.

Please gather items such as these for the men on the ships:
Empty shoe boxes or purchased plastic shoe boxes to pack the items.
Address books
Band-aids (fabric)
Baseball caps
2016 Calendars
Comb
Dental Floss
Antiperspirant/deodorant
Disposable razors
Flashlight and batteries
Kleenex – small packs
Lip balm
Lotion
Nail clippers
Gold Bond cream
Gold Bond powder
Hot Chocolate (individual serving size)
Needles and thread
Q-tips
Shaving cream
Soap
Shampoo
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Gum and hard candy
Key chains
Pocket-sized notebooks
Mechanical pencils
Pens
Playing cards
Microwave popcorn
Socks
Sudoku books
Texas souvenirs
T-shirts
USB flash drives
Word search books

Presiding Bishop’s 2014 Christmas Message

elizabeth-eaton

We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  We are led by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.  It is an annual tradition that our presiding bishop presents a Christmas Message of some sort.  This year it was a video message which connects the manger of Jesus to the cross of Jesus.  Click here for the link to this video.

Gulf Coast Synod Bishop’s Christmas Message

Bishop Mike Rinehart BW

We are a congregation of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod.  We are led by Bishop Michael Rinehart.  In some way each year he presents a Christmas Message for the church.  This year he offers a video message for us.  Click here for a link to this Christmas Message video.

We are in the 12 Days of Christmas, and this is a wonderful time to reflect on God’s goodness and his message of hope in the midst of darkness and sin.

Three Generations at WELCA Convention 2014

Colette Cindy Janette airport

We had three generations of women in one family attend the 2014 Triennial Gathering of the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (WELCA).

Here is a report of this special event from Colette Wunderlich, who attended with her daughter Cindy and her granddaughter (and Cindy’s daughter) Janette.  See the photo above of these three generations at the airport on their way to Charlotte, NC, for the gathering.

Thank you to Colette, Cindy and Janette for representing MLLC at this special event.

 

Notes about the Triennial Convention:

Cindy, Janette, and I are thankful for the opportunity to attend the Triennial Women of the ELCA Convention in North Carolina in July. We would like to thank Martin Luther Women of the ELCA for their financial and prayerful support. The theme was “of many generations” and we three generations were proud to represent MLLC. Several babies were in attendance and at least six ladies over 90 years of age.

We attended Bible studies, workshops, worship, communion, and servant events. There were guest speakers, offering opportunities, and singing with no inhibition in English, Spanish, and Swahili. They put the words up and everyone sang, 2400 of us! Many of the 50 states were represented and the Virgin Islands. Our Companion Synod sister from The Central African Republic was unable to leave her country.

The workshops I attended were Streets to Live On: A WELCA Model about organizing or renewing units, Generations: The Quilt of Our Lives with great stories by Mrs. Alex Haley, Better Understand Mental Illness, and Story Matters which encouraged continual growth in faith love, and obedience in the will of God. I attended the WELCA unit workshop on Friday and wrote down many ideas from others but didn’t think any were just right for our younger women. Cindy attended that same workshop on Saturday and I was so excited when she came out and said, “Mom, I think I’ve got it, an idea for our younger women!” I’ll let her tell you about it sometime. We were told any group that does things in the name of WELCA, like our quilting group, whether there is Bible study or not, can be counted as a WELCA group. During our workshops, Janette attended the group events for about 20 girls including quilting.

Of course there was time for food and drink. We walked several blocks one night to eat at Emeril’s Charlotte, NC restaurant and I managed to sample some North Carolina beers.

The next Triennial Convention will be in Minneapolis, MN in July 2017. I’m going to start saving now.

Colette

 

Janette shown with many of the other girls at the Triennial Convention.

Janette with girls WELCA

Janette back home in Carmine quilting with a mentor/friend Jenell.

Janette Janell Quilting WELCA

VBS Bar Soap Challenge Report

 

soap vbs congregation Aug0814

 

The results are in for the Vacation Bible School (VBS) Bar Soap Challenge.

The students of the 2014 VBS at MLLC collected 246 individually wrapped bar soaps.  These were collected during the week of VBS: August 21-27.

During the 2 weeks following that the congregation was challenged to meet this total.  The congregation collected 198 bars of soap.

VBS students:  246

Congregation:  198

Grand Total:  444

 

For the sake of those in need around the world we will continue to collect these individually wrapped bar soaps through Resurrection Sunday 2015 – April 5, 2015.  We will also receive monetary donations to cover the cost of shipping these items.  Most importantly, please remember to pray for the ministry of Lutheran World Relief, and for those individuals who will eventually receive these items.

The real winners in this challenge are our neighbors around the world who will get to use the soap for personal hygiene.  The soap will be passed along to Lutheran World Relief for distribution to people in need around the world.

Thank you to everybody who participated in this special project.  We look forward to the continued collecting  of bar soap for the months to come.

Soap for LWR Challenge

soap vbs congregation Aug0814

At Vacation Bible School (VBS) here at MLLC our students collected individually wrapped bars of soap to give to Lutheran World Relief (LWR).  During the week at VBS (July 21-25) there were 246 bars of soap collected. Note that this is a revised total from what you see in the photo above.

The VBS students and staff have put a challenge out to the congregation.  They want to see if the people of MLLC can gather together at least 246 bars of soap for LWR by Sunday, August 10.  Quite a bit has come in already.  Together in ministry we would be very happy if the congregation could match this challenge.

Between now and this Sunday, August 10, you still have time to look around your home or to go shopping to get some individually wrapped bar soap to meet this challenge.  When you come to worship on Saturday (6 p.m.) or Sunday (9 a.m.) you can drop your soap by at the church in the Narthex.

After this date we will still collect individually wrapped bar soap.  These can be individual or multi-pacs.  In early April 2015 we will bring these to the Brenham area LWR collection site and send these off for LWR to use to help people around the world.

What you can do:

1.  Pray for this charitable work for our neighbors and for the ongoing ministry of LWR.

2.  Give money to help cover the cost of shipping such items.

3.  Bring individually wrapped bar soap (single or multi-pacs) to MLLC.

4.  Give thanks for our ministry together.

Synod Assembly 2014

20140509-100010.jpg

We are thankful for our delegation of voting members at our synod assembly this year. These include: Dana Smith, Dennis Smith, Jennifer Tinker, and Pastor David Tinker. This group is representing our congregation at the assembly of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. This is taking place May 8-10 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Packing and Sending of Quilts and Kits

Quilting 8

Martin Luther Lutheran Church has been a very busy place in recent weeks.  In addition to the Lent and Holy Week services, many dedicated volunteers have been assembling and packaging various items for Lutheran World Relief.  Check out these previous articles about this work: 1 2

We had 7 volunteers working on this packing and shipping.  They prepared for shipping: 36 quilts, 18 Baby Care Kits, 16 Personal Care Kits, 28 School Kits, and 3 Fabric Kits.  These will be sent to Lutheran World Relief.  This is in addition to the many other quilts which have been given to Camp for All and the Krause Children’s Center during this past year.

We are very thankful for the opportunity to share the goodness, love and mercy of God with others.  Here are some more photos from our work together.  There were 21 boxes packed.

 

Quilting 7 Quilting 6 Quilting 5 Quilting 4 Quilting 3 - scan Quilting 2 Quilting 1