Archive for category: News & Announcements

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.

Link to the FLGA District Donation Page

Categories: News & Announcements

To get to our donation page, click here.

Donations Page

A Day in Dahlonega – Celebrating the Reformation!

Categories: News & Announcements

When:    October 24, 2017

At St. Peter Lutheran Church,
        109 Tipton Drive, Dahlonega, Georgia 30533

9:30 A.M.  Gather for Coffee, Juice, Donuts, Bagels, and Fruit

10:00 A.M.   Welcome and Opening Worship

10:20 A.M.

Presentation:   “Sola Agape Dei: The Way to Reimagine the Reformation 500 Years After”
Dr. Albert Garcia, Professor Emeritus of Theology at Concordia University Wisconsin

11:20 A.M.

Adjourn to the Auditorium at the Hoag Student Center at the University of North Georgia, Dahlonega

At the Hoag Student Center,
University of North Georgia, Dahlonega 30597

12:00 – 1:00 P.M.

Presentation:    “Martin Luther: Controversial Reformer and the Reformation after 500 Years” – Dr. Scott Hendrix, Professor Emeritus of Reformation History, Princeton Theological Seminary

1:30 – 3:30 P.M.

Luncheon for Religious Leaders with the opportunity to dialog with Dr. Hendrix, Banquet Room at the UNG Food Service

TBD:

Display of Reformation posters from the German nation

 

Background on our presenters:

Dr. Albert L. Garcia, a native of Cuba, immigrated to the United States in his youth, who became a Lutheran in his teens. Educated at Concordia Theological Seminary, he earned Th. M. and Ph.D. degrees from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He is Professor Emeritus of Theology at Concordia University Wisconsin, where he taught for 21 years. The translator of Luther’s Latin commentary on the Minor Prophets into Spanish, he has also written numerous books and articles, his most recent being Wittenberg Meets the World: Reimagining the Reformation at the Margins, which he co-authored with John Nunes. He lives in retirement in Decatur, Georgia with his wife, Mori.

Dr. Scott H. Hendrix is Professor Emeritus of Reformation History at Princeton Theological Seminary. Prior to that,  he taught at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, and the Lutheran Theological Seminaries in Philadelphia and Gettysburg, PA. The author of many articles and books on the Reformation, his most recent is the widely acclaimed biography: Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer. Together with Guenther Gassmann, he wrote the Fortress Introduction to the Lutheran Confessions. A graduate of Duke University; he earned his M.Div. from  Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, SC; and his Th.D. from Eberhard Karls University, Tuebingen, Germany. The recipient of significant grants and awards, he now lives in retirement in North Carolina with his wife, Emilee.

Hurricane Harvey Hits Texas

Categories: News & Announcements

We have fielded several inquiries here in the District office today regarding Hurricane Harvey and the District’s plans to respond.  We are in touch with the Texas District , and even though the situation is still unfolding, it is clear that the need will be great.  But as it is with flooding, it will take quite some time for the extent of the damage and a plan to deal with it to unfold.

The Florida-Georgia District has pledged to work with the Texas District to help in any way that we can.  Most of the need will be financial, but there will most likely be opportunities for congregations to put together their LERT teams for an extended trip to Texas to help.

We ask that you keep an eye on our Facebook page and Web pages for future announcements.  In the meantime, if you or your congregation would like to donate directly to the Texas District, you can do so here. ->  http://txlcms.org/congregations/disaster-relief/

Alternatively, you can also donate to Synod’s Disaster response here. ->  https://www.lcms.org/disaster-response

If you have further questions, please direct them to the District Disaster Response Coordinator, John Elliott at 407-258-5054 or jelliott@flgadistrict.org

John Elliott
Business Manager, DDRC
The Florida-Georgia District, LCMS
5850 T. G. Lee Blvd, Suite 500
Orlando, FL  32822

Direct: 407-258-5054

Fax: 407-857-5665

Email:  jelliott@flgadistrict.org

Operation Barnabas – August, 2017

Categories: News & Announcements

Note:  — An Important opportunity you will want to know about:  Click here for the information about S.A.V.E. Suicide Prevention Overview”

Dear Operation Barnabas Congregations/Chapters,

The August 2017 Warning Order is now available.  Please click here.  There are some great stories in this issue.  Please take a moment and click on it.

Operation Barnabas congregations and chapters do some great and faithful work. Welearn from each other. Please share pictures, stories and events with the Ministry tothe Armed forces department. Please send them to: CH (COL) Gary Danielsen at: garyldan@bellsouth.net or gary.danielsen@lcms.org

JOIN THE CCTP TEAM!
The CCTP is recruiting community clergy partners to join our team and bring the National VA Chaplain Center’s tested and proven CCTP curriculum to rural communities across the country. To date, more than 4,000 clergy members, chaplains, behavioral health professionals, and others supporting Veterans in rural communities have participated in a CCTP training event.
Live training events enhance the knowledge and skills in:

  • Recognizing the holistic healthcare needs of Veterans,
  • Smoothing reintegration into family and community, and
  • Increasing clergy referrals to VA or community healthcare and resources.

VA Chaplain Facilitators will bring CCTP training events, including training materials, to your rural community. The VA Chaplain leads and facilitates the training and provides training materials, at no cost to the community clergy partner. They will work with you on our simple planning process to coordinate space, set-up, participant recruitment, and training implementation. Community clergy partners help secure a training space – such as a house of workshop, community college, or school – and recruit attendees.

For more information about becoming a CCTP Partner, contact: Chaplain Keith Ethridge, CCTP Program Lead, Keith.Ethridge@va.gov, (757) 728-3180.

____________________________________________________

About the Community Clergy Training to Support Rural Veterans Mental Health
While rural life provides benefits such as a tight-knit community and less crowding, rural Veterans have a higher risk of suicide than their urban counterparts (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2015 QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Rates for Suicide,* by Urbanization of County of Residence† — United States, 2004 and 2013). For some Veterans, serving in combat may lead to one or more mental health issues. Transitioning back to civilian life may cause stress, depression, and anxiety which can intensify underlying mental health concerns such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With only 16 psychologists per every 100,000 rural residents, there are fewer resources to support Veterans with mental health issues (American Psychological Association, 2007). In fact more than 85 percent of rural residents live in a mental health professional shortage area (Smalley et al., 2010).

Most rural communities have clergy-led faith groups, and research shows that up to one-in-four individuals who seek help for mental health problems do so from clergy (Wang, P. S., Berglund, P. A., & Kessler, R. C. [2003]. Patterns and correlates of contacting clergy for mental disorders in the United States. Health Services Research, 38(2), 647-673). However, clergy are often unfamiliar about:

  • Reintegration and transition challenges
  • Common post-service, mental health-related issues
  • Differences between PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Military culture and mental health stigma
  • How to build community partnerships to support Veterans and their families

___________________

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,

Craig G. Muehler

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

 

What is the New Song in Your Heart?

Categories: News & Announcements

A recent devotion included the following thought: “And like the Psalmist writes, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” (Ps 40:3)  We have much to be thankful for in Jesus Christ.  What new song is on your lips today?”

Rev Dr. David Sieg took that literally and sent a new song for us to sing and listen to.  It is called “Often As You Do This” and the words have been posted on our website, along with a .mp3 audio file for your listening enjoyment.  He wrote:

You asked yesterday about a new song.  How about this one?  Along with the written version, I’m sending a mp3 file.  I asked the keyboardist to play just enough for two verses, and improvise it as a piano solo.  (His improvisation is not written anywhere.)  Please let me know what you think of it.  Love in Christ, David

Have a blessed and powerful day!      Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.     ~Ephesians 3:20,21

Click here to listen to the song

Click here to see the music

 

Lutheran Life 2017 vol 4

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
  • President Greg Walton Celebrates Ministry Milestone
  • Candidates, Vicars Assigned to FLGA District
  • Time for Another Reformation:  Re-Forming Living Stones
  • 2017 District Annual Report
  • Congregational Support Enables Florida-Georgia Mission & Ministry
  • LWML Celebrates 75 Years of Mission, Outreach, Service
  • Courage for Today
  • “Flip a Coin?  Roll the Dice?  Cast Lots?”  How to Pick Leaders
  • Consecrated Stewards Instructors Ready to Assist District Congregations
  • Understanding the Dynamics of Stewardship
  • Responding to God’s Abundant Blessings
  • Martin Luther Explains the Significance of His “Luther’s Rose” Logo
  • District Capsules
  • Regional news
  • and much more

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

Life 2017 vol 4

Doug Kallesen’s Outreach Blog

Categories: News & Announcements

Please take a look at Rev. Doug Kallesen’s latest blog!Outreach Blog - Wait on the Lord

A Time to Celebrate

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

Dear Friends,

The Psalmist wrote, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage!” Ps. 33:12. What a blessing to know that despite our sinfulness, despite our weaknesses, our gracious God has still chosen us in Jesus, and claimed us as His very own. It isn’t by random chance or mistake that the God who chose us places us where we are. He has a plan. He always has a plan, for your life, for my life, for all of those He has redeemed through the blood of Jesus. He has placed us in this great Nation, and in this 241st year of existence, we celebrate the freedoms we have as citizens of this country. Of course our true freedom comes through Jesus, and what a grand opportunity to celebrate again and again the 500th Reformation Anniversary celebration of the freedom of the Gospel! Still, it’s a great time to celebrate this Nation!

Irving Berlin is noted among 20th Century America’s most beloved lyricists and composers. In fact, George Gershwin once called him “the greatest songwriter that has ever lived.” While some may argue that point, Berlin, in his time, produced many familiar and popular tunes during the Second World War, that brought comfort and hope to our Nation. Many of his tunes were used in some of the great Broadway shows of that time, and they have an enduring quality even today. One of my favorite songs that Berlin wrote he penned on a hot July in 1940 in California. No one could have predicted just how popular the song, “White Christmas” would be, but even now at Christmas it still has a strong sentimental place in many hearts.

Long before his success with “White Christmas,” in about 1918, Berlin wrote another tune that captured our Nation. The song is “God Bless America,” and he wrote it while serving in the Army during World War I. Later, during World War II, he revised the words to the song that most of us have heard again and again. “God bless America, land that I love; Stand beside her and guide her, through the night with the light from above.” Here is what I find so fascinating. Berlin was born Israel Isidore Baline in Tolochin, Russia. With the persecution of Jewish people, his family fled to the United States when he was still a baby, but he heard the stories, and he was grateful to be in a country that not only received his family, but gave him unparalleled opportunities. Berlin held a deep appreciation for his adopted country, and he was considered by many to be a patriotic supporter. He celebrated this nation!

Last month I was summoned for Jury Duty, and almost got on a case. As we gathered in the Jury Room at the beginning of the day, we were sworn in, and then we stood together, well over a hundred of us, and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. I must admit that it’s been some time since I’ve had occasion to do that, and my immediate thought was, “Do I remember the words?” Honestly, as we began speaking it, like riding a bike (which I also haven’t done for a while…) the words just came. Amidst all of the issues we face as a nation, it almost seems as if we have forgotten being “one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

How easy it can be to take our liberties for granted. While there are certainly things that perhaps each of us would wish to change, we live in a marvelous place filled with ample opportunities and experiences that many others in our world simply don’t ever get. God has blessed us in so many ways, and while there is work to be done, God has placed each of us here for such a time as this, as witnesses of the love and grace of Jesus Christ. What a joy to celebrate our faith in this nation!

In Acts 3:17-21, Peter says, “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”

God’s calling on our lives is to proclaim the saving name of Jesus to the nations, beginning in our own neighborhood. He washed us clean in the waters of Holy Baptism, He has given us the gift of His Word, and we have the right, privilege and freedom to worship Him, all so we can grow in our faith. God is purposeful in all He does. His desire is that all are saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. He equips, empowers and engages us as His missionaries in the conditions He has placed us so we can tell others of His love and grace. So, let me ask you, do your neighbors see Jesus living in you? Often, because of ignorance or sometimes even willful disobedience, we have not allowed the light of Jesus to shine through us.

If that’s true for you, and I admit there are times it’s true for me, we aren’t alone! Consider the Apostle Peter. We often remember him as the leader of the Apostles, but the truth is, he wasn’t always a particularly good witness throughout his sojourn with Jesus, sometimes putting his foot in his mouth. He knew how to talk the talk, but he learned that walking the walk takes time and is a learning experience. Right before the crucifixion of Jesus Peter pledged his undying loyalty to Jesus, and then quickly denied him when the pressure was on. Following the resurrection Peter hid with the rest of the disciples, and they slowly went back to their former life of fishing. Yet, God’s call was on Peter’s life. That wasn’t the end of the story. One morning, following the resurrection, as the disciples were fishing, Jesus called to them from the shore. You no doubt remember the story. From John 21 we read, “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

Jesus restored Peter and refocused him as a servant. It wasn’t until the power of God’s Spirit came on Peter that he really began to catch on, and even then, from time to time, he made blunders. Even then, he knew who to turn to for forgiveness. Here’s the point. Peter is an example for each of us of the true power of restoration.

We, too, can know the relief from sins forgiven and God’s refreshing restoration. Jesus sets us free to engage in the Master’s business. He desires to renew us and refresh us so that we are better equipped and empowered and engaged to connect people to Jesus. In Him we have been given such an awesome gift to share with the world. So take time to celebrate your freedom, as a child of God redeemed in Jesus, and as a citizen of this nation. May God bless America, and may He draw us back to the principles upon which this nation was founded and make us bold witnesses of our faith in Jesus. Keeping our eyes on Jesus, we can do this for His sake.  As the writer to the Proverbs says, “It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:8.

Celebrating our nation and our Savior with you,

Greg