Archive for category: News & Announcements

All Things Convention….

Categories: District Convention, News & Announcements

Dear Pastors and Congregation President:

As we approach the FLGA District Convention June 22-24th, 2018, I want to inform you of vital information regarding both the nominations and overture process. In all of these things, the deadline to remember is March 24th.

By March 24th, all congregations must submit delegates to the District Convention. This will include:

Delegates must be elected or appointed in alignment with your church’s constitution and bylaws. Delegates to the District Convention need not be the same persons as are voting for Synod president from your congregation.

By March 24th, congregations and circuit forums may submit overtures to the District Convention. These may include:

By March 24th, congregations may nominate candidates for the following positions within the following geographic and service boundaries

  • President from the FLGA District (ordained)
  • Vice President from the region of the congregation (ordained)
  • Secretary from the FLGA District (ordained)
  • Two (2) Lay Representatives from the region of the congregation (lay)
  • Commissioned Representative from the FLGA District (commissioned)
  • Nomination Committee Members from the FLGA District (2 ordained, 2 commissioned, 4 lay)

Necessary forms are posted above.

Please direct questions and comments to District Secretary Rev. Jay A. Winters (pastor@universitylutheranchurch.org / 850 224 6059) and/or Kathy Keene kkeene@flgadistrict.org at the FLGA District Office.

May we all be blessed in our remembrance of the Christ child born in Bethlehem and wait in expectation for Him to come again soon in glory.

In Christ,

 

Rev. Jay A. Winters
FLGA District Secretary

Looking Into the New Year

Categories: News & Announcements, President's E-news

Dear friends

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Co 5:17). The same could be said about 2017 transforming into 2018! Happy New Year! The New Year brings a lot of exciting things for the Florida-Georgia District. For one thing, it is our 70th Anniversary year. We will actively celebrate from Pentecost 2018 to Pentecost 2019 as the Spirit moves among us! It is also a Convention year, and that means that June will be a busy month.

The theme for the Convention comes from John 15:12-17, “Chosen with Purpose: To Abide in Jesus!” This section of John 15 begins with Jesus commanding that we love each other. He doesn’t give any option here. The disciples were to love each other the way that Jesus loved them, even to the point of laying down their lives. Imagine the power of that kind of love! It transformed them from servants into friends, depicting the kind of intimacy that Jesus longs to have with each of us.

Each day of the Convention we will experience His transforming love through a specific focus. As we begin on June 22 the theme will be “Abiding in His Presence,” as we gather together in His presence. There is no greater place for us to be than in the presence of Jesus! Day two will focus on “Abiding in His Fruit,” as we will do much of our Convention work on this day. These works of our hearts and hands are to bring glory and honor to Jesus! On the third day we will focus on “Abiding in His Love,” as we gather to worship and celebrate His love, and then are sent out into the world, not only abiding in that love, but also carrying that love with us into the world, starting right where we live!

Life is all about choices, isn’t it? From clothing styles to favorite foods to where we live, we make many choices every single day. In John 15:16, Jesus also talks about choices. He says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you.” Jesus chose each of us, but He chose us with purpose—to abide in Him, and to bear abiding fruit for Him. We are to be fruitful followers, connecting people to Jesus as we engage in the Master’s business.

Here’s what I know: an apple tree cannot bear peaches, and a plum tree will not grow bananas. As each is unique and created for a specific purpose, so also are each of us. The fruit borne in your life will not look the same as that which is borne in mine, and vice versa. In other words, this is not about comparing ourselves to another, but rather about living out our faith in the world each day for Jesus’ sake. It’s all about Jesus! As we abide in Him our lives are filled with fruit as a natural overflow of His love living in us. Unused fruit rots and is useless. Just so, we share the fruit of our faith with others so that they can be blessed by Jesus. May that guide our life and actions in 2018 and beyond!

A New Year is a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. Over the years I’ve learned that you can’t change the past, but you can make an impact on the future through the decisions you make today! As we look to the future what a blessing it would be if in the next five years we made every effort to grow God’s Church by bearing fruit and reaching more people with the Gospel and connecting them to Jesus. Currently the Florida-Georgia District has about 200 ministries and about 51,449 members. What might happen if each of our five regions intentionally worked together to raise up 10 new ministries by 2021? That amounts to about two new ministries per region each year. Jesus told us that the harvest is plentiful, and who of us could argue with that? What if we began by challenging ourselves our congregations to baptize 1000 babies and 2,000, adults all by 2019? That would mean each of the five regions would baptize 200 infants about 400 adults and in the next year! Now, think about this: with 203 congregations, this would amount to about 1 infant baptism and 2 adult baptisms per congregation in a year. It is certainly a possibility, but will only come about as we make every effort to grow God’s kingdom by connecting people to Jesus. In fact, I bet some of you are already thinking of people that might be reached as we work together. Mind you, this isn’t a numbers game at all, but rather a desire to bear fruit for Jesus by obeying His call to make disciples as we live in His love. Jesus reminds us that what we ask in His name, the Father will grant to us, so let’s ask Him to help us connect people to Jesus!

As you consider your personal resolutions for the New Year, let me encourage you to gather with the congregation or church leadership and resolve to baptize two adults and one infant this year. If you really want to challenge yourself, make it this quarter, and then follow the same pattern throughout 2018. You won’t get any extra points with God, but you will rejoice with the angels because of all the souls saved! You have been chosen with purpose, to abide in Jesus and bear fruit for Him. May this be a year filled with fruitful ministry for Jesus in the Florida-Georgia District!

Happy New Year!

In His peace,

Greg

Operation Barnabas – January, 2018

Categories: News & Announcements

Dear Operation Barnabas Congregations/Chapters,

The January Warning Order is now available.  Please click here.

ATTENTION!!  Mark your calendars!  We are going to have an Operation Barnabas National Conference with great speakers, training opportunities and networking on March 15th and 16th, 2018 in at the Airport Hilton in St. Louis, MO.  Please contact Nancy Rowley at nancy.rowley@lcms.org or (314) 996­-1337 for more information and registration.  More information to follow.  Please plan on attending and let Nancy know if you are interested.

One of our main speakers is General Rick Lynch, retired 3-star Army General.  He will speak on the importance of our Operation Barnabas project and others reaching our Veterans and their families.  Click here for his BIO and website.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership in the LCMS Operation Barnabas project.  As always, please contact us at Ministry to the Armed Forces if you have any questions or concerns.

In Christ’s Service,

Chaplain Craig G. Muehler
CAPT, CHC, USN (Ret)
Director, Ministry to the Armed Forces
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
314­-996­-1337
800­-248­-1930 Ext. 1337 (toll-free)
E-mail: craig.muehler@lcms.org
Cell: (571) 234­-0073

Connect and Support:
Donate to Support our Ministry to the Armed Forces

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MinistryArmedForces.LCMS
Web: www.lcms.org/armedforces
Instagram: @LCMSMAF
Twitter: @LCMSMAF

Lutheran Life 2017 v 6

Categories: Lutheran LIFE, News & Announcements

The latest issue of Lutheran Life is in the mail to subscribers and is also available online.

This issues features the following:

  • LIFELINES:  Message from the President:  The Major Manger
  • Florida-Georgia District VOC Retreat is Coming!
  • LWML Events Offer Blessings on District, National Levels
  • Lutheran Services Florida:  “Ready for School, Prepare for Life”
  • Lutheran Services Georgia Receives Wendy’s Grant
  • District Middles-School Youth Explore “What’s Next?”
  • Mission Haiti Celebrates Milestone in Ministry
  • District Board Begins June 2018 Convention Plans
  • LCMS Recognized for Service to Military Personnel
  • Hurricane Irma Recover Continues
  • Help?  But How?  It Makes All the Difference
  • Seminary Campaign Hits Historic Mark
  • District Ministry Awarded LCEF Kaleidoscope Fund Grant
  • Redeeming Life Ministry, Pastor Dennis Bartels Honored at LCEF New Orleans Conference
  • What is Laborers for Christ?
  • District Capsules
  • Regional news – How we celebrated Reformation 500
  • and much more

Watch for it in your mailbox, or read it online by using the link below:

Life 2017 v 6

LERT Training November 11th Christ the King Largo

Categories: News & Announcements

UPCOMING TRAINING EVENT – Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT).

November 11

Christ the King Lutheran Church

11220 Oakhurst Rd

Largo, FL.

Basic disaster response training.

Registration starts 8:30
Training: 9:00 – 3:00
Lunch provided
Cost: $25
Contact: Rev. Joseph Adams
(727)595-2117
office@ctklc.org

Lutheran Life 2017 v 5

Categories: Lutheran LIFE, News & Announcements

The latest issue of Lutheran Life is in the mail to subscribers and is also available online.

This issues features the following:

  • LIFELINES:  Message from the President
  • Woodlands Camp Founder Pastor Harold Storm
  • Derek Broten Named New National Youth Gathering Director
  • FLGA Leaders Gather to be Re-formed as Living Stones
  • Anniversaries & Pictures from the PEC Conference
  • Synod Leaders Share National Updates with District Board
  • Concordia NY Reports Record Enrollment
  • Valparaiso Honored as a Top University
  • Courage for Today, by Rev. Bruce Lieske
  • The Coaching Leader, by Rev. Scott Gress
  • LCEF Shared Blessings Rebate Program Rewards Active Congregations
  • Hurricane Irma Has District-Wide Effects
  • Birmingham, AL Hosts Black Ministry Family Convocation
  • Saturday Night LiveUCF a Night to Remember
  • District Capsules
  • Regional news
  • and much more

Watch for it in your mailbox, or read it online by using the link below:

Life 2017 v 5

Link to the FLGA District Donation Page

Categories: News & Announcements

To get to our donation page, click here.

Donations Page

Stories from the Storm

Categories: News & Announcements, President's E-news

Dear Friends,

To read stories from your friends and colleagues, go to the FLGA District Facebook page.  We are posting the stories as they arrive.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge penned the words, “Water, water everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.” That’s how some people described the conditions after Hurricane Irma barreled through Florida and Georgia on September 10th and 11th wreaking havoc and destruction in many places. As bad as the storm really was, loss of life was minimalized by people who took reports seriously and heeded the warnings to hunker down or evacuate. Some estimate that there were 6 million folks that evacuated from South Florida to avoid the punishing storm. All this while people were still trying to figure out how to help our brothers and sisters in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

The news carried stories of power outages, water systems shut down, limited gas, and continuous lines of traffic—first heading north, and then, once the storm passed, heading south again. People were anxious to get to their homes to assess the damages. Many places had to wait over two weeks to get their electricity back as they struggled with stifling heat. It was a scary storm. In spite of all this, God was at work and we have heard some tremendous stories of God’s blessings in the midst of the storm.

In Matthew 8 we have this story of Jesus out on the Sea of Galilee with His disciples. Matthew reports: “And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. And they went and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”

Despite the fact that these were seasoned fisherman well familiar with this lake, they feared for their lives. I can relate, and maybe so can you. Having been on the Sea of Galilee when a storm arose, I can sympathize with their fear. Having heard the howling winds and the driving rains of Irma, I would have to admit that there were very scary moments when I felt like crying out “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” All the time the Lord was with us, and we knew that regardless of whatever might happen, even to losing our very lives, we were secure in a future with Jesus. The disciples would learn that very thing as they grew deeper in their relationship with Jesus.

Can you imagine the stories they told their families after Jesus calmed the storms? “It was crazy. One minute we think the boat will capsize and the next there’s not a cloud in the sky!” “When Jesus spoke, everything listened!” “You should have seen it. When Jesus told the wind to shut up it immediately stopped!” These disciples would have more encounters as they traveled with Jesus and no doubt had many stories to tell.

Hear some of the stories we have heard. Holy Cross, North Miami has a school with over 400 children, most of whom eat both breakfast and lunch there. As a result their freezers were packed with food. When the power went out they had some decisions to make. They could let the food go to waste, or find a creative way to use it. So they began to cook it all up and made signs to hold on the roadside inviting people in for a hot meal. Hundreds of people took advantage of this opportunity, and Holy Cross had dozens of volunteers!

The pastor of one of our churches knew they wouldn’t be able to hold worship on Sunday morning so he prepared a devotion for his members and included an emergency order of baptism just in case. That Sunday morning, as families gathered in the fellowship hall of this congregation a grandfather was able to baptize his teenage granddaughter, giving her the comfort and peace in the midst of a very tense time of life.

One of our staff told of how at her daughter’s home there was an old phone pole in the back yard. It looked out of place. It turns out God had a plan. When the hurricane came through it knocked a tree over that would have crushed the home. That tree had branches that branched off into a Y formation, and wouldn’t you know that the Y landed right against that phone pole so that it couldn’t reach the house. Later, when they went to look at the damage they discovered two additional trees leaning on the tree against this old phone pole. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

Grace Lutheran Church in Naples pulled together some supplies to hand out to the community. When they were well stocked they figured they would need three days to hand it all out. However, when their doors opened it was gone in the afternoon. The pastor put out an appeal to his “northern” friends and people responded.

One of our pastors rode out the storm even though his family had evacuated. He stayed behind to help some who couldn’t leave. As they prepared for the storm there was no plywood to be had, so they improvised and took apart the man’s deck to cover the windows.

I’ve heard stories of volunteers coming from all over the country, bringing generators and water, food and supplies. We have had a great response with flood buckets—so thank you to all who have supplied them. There is much to be done and especially in Southwest Florida and the Keys it will be a long and arduous recovery.

Like many of you, we were very fortunate to have some minor damages. We had lots of branches down, and I’m convinced that my oak tree, which still looks full, shed another oak tree in the process. It took me three hours to clean up the branches. Two significant things happened because of the storm. I travel many weekends and as a result, I don’t get to spend much time with our neighbors. When the storm came I had to change plans and remain at home. In the midst of this, I got to spend time with some neighbors who shared tips with me about being prepared for a hurricane. Afterwards, there was a little block party as we cleaned up, and helped each other out. One man said he had ropes and a truck, another had tools, one said he would be happy just to do grunt work, and then they looked at me and said, “It’s good to know we have a spiritual covering, too.” Just about then I heard in my mind, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” We all worked together to clean up in some of our neighbors yards who evacuated. It felt great!

Stories from the storm are all around us. God presented us with tremendous opportunities to share the love and grace of Jesus. What I discovered is that many of the things that divide our nation, even things that divide our denomination, mean very little in times of crisis. At those times our focus becomes clearer, and what matters most is safety and well-being. We begin to see that despite all the diversity around us, we are all God’s children and that often our actions will speak far louder than our words. When we live in the love of Jesus and actively practice it, not to gain favor with God or man, but simply because of God’s calling on our lives, this has a powerful impact on those who don’t yet believe. It opens doors for conversations as it peaks the curiosity of those who may have a preconceived notion.

A few weeks ago, days after Hurricane Irma, Edith and I were on our way to an appointment when traffic stopped on the highway. As I watched the car ahead of me, I was struck from behind by a car that tried to pass me on the left. The impact left my car damaged, and the young man who hit us flipped his vehicle. It was miraculous that more vehicles were not involved. As I saw the flipped vehicle in that moment of shock, I prayed that nobody was hurt, although it looked bad. I didn’t stop to ask if the man was a Christian, much less a Lutheran; I didn’t check out his color or where he grew up, whether he was gay or straight. What I saw was a man that I believed was hurt. A number of drivers pulled off and rushed to his car. Thankfully, he walked away. Here’s the point, in a crisis we tend to value things differently. But why does it take a crisis to soften our hearts?

There is a crisis all around us. Certainly we face the threats that our world throws at us. However, what looms larger than those things is the crisis of sin and death, and it effects all people. God calls us into the midst of that crisis to connect people to Jesus. We are privileged to share the freedom, love, forgiveness and peace that belongs to all who proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior. God provides the opportunity, even in the midst of the storms, for us to share the hope we have within us through Jesus. Sometimes God has to rock our boat in order for us to pay attention. Yet, He’s always there, even in the midst of the storm, to show us His power and might.

Life is filled with storms—some are weather related; others we create ourselves. We may lose our electricity but no one can take away our power! That power, and its promises, were given to us in baptism, and even when the wind is whipping up, we can be confident of the One who will never leave us nor forsake us. He is Lord of the wind and the waves, and He is the Lord of our lives.

We’re still hearing great stories, and hope you might share yours too. Go to our website and you can share it there!

Showered In His Grace,
Greg

Share your Hurricane Irma God Story!

Categories: News & Announcements

Hurricane Irma arrived in the Florida-Georgia District sometime during the weekend of September 8-12, depending where in the District you live. During Irma’s tumultuous visit, numerous churches, schools, workers and volunteers in our District offered prayers and counted on God’s benevolent mercy to keep us safe, comfort our fears, and get us through the dark night. Stories are being told of unexpected mercies that we experienced, and God’s unfailing grace. Furthermore, so many have jumped in to help their neighbor, friend, or family member at seemingly just the right time to offer comfort, hope, perhaps a meal, a place to stay, or some other gift of grace. This is God working through us to share His love with each other.

So, we really want to hear your stories. How have you seen God through the Eye of The Storm that you experienced?

Share your God Story

District Update — Hurricane Irma 09-13-17

Categories: News & Announcements

As power becomes available, more reports will come in.  For now, there has been no reported loss of life in our congregations and it would appear that the District Congregations and it members weathered Hurricane Irma fairly well.   That is just an overall assessment and certainly not indicative of every situation.  With that being said, there is a lot of work to do.  We do have congregations with damaged facilities and one Pastor has lost his home.  We have reports of several members with trees on their homes.  If you haven’t reported to either the District or your Circuit Visitor the status of your congregation and members, please do so at your earliest convenience.

General conditions throughout the District are a lot of trees down, a loss of power, and it is tough to find gas.  Travel conditions into Florida are being hampered by a bridge detour on I-75 south of I-10.  We expect heavy traffic back into the State through the weekend and a great pressure on gasoline supply for the near future.

Synod Disaster Response is in the Naples/Ft. Myers area today and tomorrow to make assessments and feed information back to the District office.  They will be also surveying Highland County which was hit very hard by the storm.

Joel and Kathy Mathews, from Messiah Lutheran in Tampa, will be helping the District office in the Southwest Florida area by being the onsite liaison for the District office.  Both Joel and Kathy have a great deal of disaster response experience and will provide great information gathering, coaching, and guidance.  They are a tremendous resource and we encourage you to meet them and let them know what your needs are.  Joel and Kathy can be reached at joel@mercydisasterresources.org or at 813-215-8098.  We expect them to be in the Ft. Myers/Naples/Marco Island area by Friday this week.

We are coordinating LERT teams to come help with the cleanup but need congregations with room in their facilities to sleep a crew, make a meal, and provide showers for the volunteers.  If you wish to volunteer your congregation, please contact John Elliott in the District office.

Disasters are a marathon, not a sprint.  Sprinting is fine, but if you sprint too much you will burn out and be of no use to anyone.  Please stop, take a breath or two and exhale.  There will be work for years to help people recover in the District.  Pacing oneself via a weekly schedule is an important tool for responding to situations such as these.  Make time for Bible Study, sermon preparation, counseling, and exercise.  And please, do not forget your families.  They are instrumental to your wellbeing.  Put them on your schedule!

If your congregation weathered the storm well, please consider the following:

  1. Consider holding a LERT training session at your congregation so we can make more volunteer groups that can respond. The response in the Keys alone will likely take years and the more hands we have, the lighter the lifting will be for all of us.
  2. Consider helping to raise funds to help the on-going response efforts. Many of those most affected are those least able to care for their losses.
  3. Be looking for needs that aren’t being covered in your community and think about how your congregation might respond to those needs. Then contact John Elliott in the District office to discuss how we might partner to make it happen.
  4. If the children in your community are particularly stressed, consider holding a VBS called Camp Courage which is tailored to help children cope with disaster.

As always, please report your status to your Circuit Visitor or to John Elliott in the District office at 407-258-5054.  Stay tuned for more updates.