Archive for category: News & Announcements

Early Childhood Directors Conference – Feb 3-4, 2017

Categories: News & Announcements

We are thrilled to invite our Early Childhood Directors and Assistant Directors to come to the 2017 EC Directors Conference.  All Early Childhood Directors and Assistant Directors or lead teachers are cordially invited and encouraged to attend this Conference.


The goal of the Conference is to give the Early Childhood Directors concrete ideas to take back to their centers on the importance of play as a way for children to experience science, technology, engineering, art and math.

      • HOST – Faith Lutheran Church
        • 555 US #1, North Palm Beach, FL  33408 – Phone:  561-842-2487
      • COST:
        • First Staff Member – $50
        • Each additional staff member – $30
        • Pay fees upon completing registration
        • Meals are included in fees.
        • Pay online:  Use the link in the footer of this webpage that says: “Payments & Donations” to pay with a credit/debit card.  Choose Early Childhood Conference when paying.
        • Or, write a check, made payable to:  Florida-Georgia District.  Send it to:  5850 T G Lee Blvd. #500, Orlando, FL  32822
        • Registration is not complete until payment is made.  Your spot is not reserved until payment is received.

        • First read through and select your workshop choices below, then
        • Click Here – 2017 EC Registration
      • SCHEDULE – Friday, February 3, 2017
        • 4:00 pm – Registration opens
        • 5:00 – New Self eSTEAM – Part 1
          • Presenters:
            • Pastor Billy Brath
            • Mark Brink, FLGA District School Ministries Executive
        • 6:00 – Dinner at Faith Lutheran Church
        • 7:00 – New Self eSTEAM – Part 2
        • 8:00 – Dismiss
      • OVERNIGHT LODGING available
        • Super 8 Motel – 2 blocks away – for reservations:  561-848-1424
        • $119 Conference room rate
      • SCHEDULE – Saturday, February 4, 2017
        • 8:00 am – Breakfast and Devotions
        • 9:00 am – Morning Session 1
          • Environmental Ed EC Rating Scale – Yash Bhagwaji, Ph.D., presenter
            • ECEERS. The Early Childhood Environmental Education Rating Scale  provides a collaborative tool for educators to discuss the program philosophy, design and implementation, consider its strengths and areas of needed improvement, and chart a future direction for development.
        • 10:30 am – Morning Session 2
          • “Growing Up Wild” Part 1 (Max 15 People) – Pilar Tucker & Kathy Knudtson (participants need to attend Part 1 & Part 2 to receive their certificate of completion.)
            • Growing Up Wild is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them.  Through a wide range of activities and experiences, Growing Up Wild provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about nature and lifelong social and academic skills. You must attend both sessions to get Growing up Wild certification.
          • “Kaplan S.T.E.A.M. Resources – Jamilet Diaz
          • “Educational Technology; Standards and What EC Educators Need to Know – Elizabeth Kenney M.Ed.
            • “Young children live in a world of interactive media. They are growing up at ease with digital devices that are rapidly becoming the tools of the culture at home, at school, at work, and in the community” (NAEYC, 2012, p. 2). This presentation will address technology integration into early childhood classrooms, considering the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Position Statement on technology and the International Society for Technology in Education’s updated standards.
          • The Outdoor S.T.E.A.M. Classroom – Ileana Barbari
            • How to use your outdoor space as a S.T.E.A.M. Clas.s The outdoor Classroom at St. Luke’s was developed to have the same interest areas as the regular preschool classrooms. With that in mind we chose to develop a class that was primarily outside and infuse all the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts and Math with a developmentally appropriate and hands on approach.
        • 12:00 Noon – Lunch at church
        • 1:00 pm Afternoon Session 3
          • “Growing Up Wild” Part 2 (Max 15 People) – Pilar Tucker & Kathy Knudtson
            • See description on Part 1.  This is the second part of the workshop.
          • “S.T.E.A.M. & Reuse!” – Chelsea Odum
            • Resource Depot will give a presentation on different STEAM projects that can be done with reused materials and participants will actively make a project that they can take with them. Presentation will touch on all the areas of STEAM.
          • “Play and Learning:  The Importance of Indoor and Outdoor Play” – Elizabeth Kenney, M.Ed
            • Play is a vital activity for children in early childhood classrooms, one that promotes development and learning. This presentation will start with an examination of the benefits of indoor and outdoor play for young children, will include a conversation on the various types of play, and will conclude with a discussion of teachers’ roles in promoting play before, during, and after play.
      • IN-SERVICE POINTS – Earn up to 10 In-Service Points by attending both days of the Conference.

Register Now

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Ministry are Hearts for Jesus Recipients

Categories: News & Announcements
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Flordia-Georgia Educators Meet LCC K-9 Comfort DogsLCC Staff K-9 Comfort Dogs Hannah, Jacob, Luther, Ruthie, and Sasha (Island Lutheran – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina) returned to Orlando, Florida in the fall of 2016 with their handlers. The teams were invited by District President Rev. Greg Walton to attend the Florida-Georgia Educators Conference and share with attendee’s how a K-9 Ministry can extend outreach, and bring mercy and compassion to their communities. The teams invited the community to a meet and greet at Trinity Lutheran in downtown Orlando.  Because of their ministry during the Pulse nightclub tragedy, the dogs are favorite guests whenever they visit Orlando.  They often visit with first responders at Fire Station 50 in Orlando to thank them for all that they do, and to bring them some unconditional love.

They have spread their unconditional love in many hurting communities after tragedies.  Information about this ministry can be found on the Lutheran Church Charities website, where you can read about some of their recent visits.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 October 2016 10:33

St. Paul Weston Together We Make A Difference Video

Categories: News & Announcements

Please take a few minutes to view what a difference St. Paul Weston has made in the lives of people in their community.

New Outreach Blog Now Available

Categories: News & Announcements

Always be Prepared – the latest outreach blog by Rev. Doug Kallesen is now available here.

Pastor Appreciation Month – Christ, Lakeland, FL

Categories: News & Announcements

ctk1Sunday, October 16th, 2016 was Pastor Appreciation Day at Christ Lutheran Church in Lakeland, Florida. The Board of Stewardship coordinated an event where, unbeknownst to their shepherd, Rev. Thomas E. Block, every family would sign a paper sheep that read “We ❤ Our Pastor!”

ctk2The paper sheep was then attached to a wooden stake. On Sunday morning before dawn, all 121 sheep were staked into the grounds surrounding the church, so as to surprise their Pastor upon his arrival that morning. In addition to that sheep, a larger version of one, on a foam board, was placed in the Narthex for every member to sign, all on one board, for a keepsake for him.

We then celebrated in the Fellowship Hall after the service with cake and an assortment of food.

ctk3Pastor Block has been with this congregation for 15 years and this congregation would certainly be blessed if we could have 15 more!

In Christ,

Kim Kaniecki

Chairperson of the Board of Stewardship


Haiti Update by Helen Roenfeldt

Categories: News & Announcements

Subject: Hurricane Report
Date: Sat, Oct 15, 2016 7:38 PM

oct20164Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

To catch you up on events in Haiti. As you may know, I have been in Haiti since Oct.8 and have visited 4 or 5 areas affected by Hurricane Matthew. In partnership with Lutheran Church Charities, we have prepared and distributed $10,000 worth of food that will feed over 400 families for a week.

I have had the opportunity to meet with church and community leaders, pastors and friends. Early last week, I was able to talk with Rev. Ross Johnson, of LC-MS World Relief and Human Care, Rev. Ted Kray, LC-MS Director for the Caribbean and Latin America and Tim Hertzner, of Lutheran Church Charities.

All of our discussions were very encouraging pertaining to partnership, cooperation and transparency in our recovery work in Haiti.

The south is now open all the way to Jeremie and while there is much destruction, food, water and assistance is moving into LesCayes and Jeremie. We have seen convoys of food and UN trucks headed to the places in need.
People wade across a flooded street while Hurricane Matthew passes through Port-au-Prince, Haiti. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

I feel as though the larger agencies can respond to the overwhelming food and immediate needs better than we can. We have helped a couple of isolated areas and we may do more but I think that overall, the scope of the need is so far beyond our ability those needs are best left to UNICEF, FOOD FOR THE POOR and other international organizations. Most of those agencies will leave in a short time and we can fill the vacuum that is left. We excel at helping individuals and that is what is needed to get the economy moving in the South again.

Where I believe we can best help is in the area of targeting isolated areas of need, like the 5 houses and school in Kenskoff that have experienced winds high enough to remove their roofs, and Jean-Louis where the church lost 1/3 of the roof and the gardens were flooded. I also believe that we can assist in the redevelopement of agriculture, fishing, and replacing herds, flocks, tools and business supplies to get the economy moving again in the South.

Goats are about $50. each, a flock of 25 laying hens is $250. and a chicken coup and feed runs another $500 or so.
I’m not sure of the cost of the small fishing boats, nets and lobster pots, but I will meet with Pastor Paul Toulotte before leaving Haiti to get those figures.

We will continue our Community Health Outreach and the microloan and other educational programs.

oct20162The LC-MS will be focused on roofs in the area of LesCayes, first with pastor’s homes and churches, then other areas.
I think if we focus on getting people back to work will be the best use of our funds and best for the people of Haiti. The more people that are earning a living the less pressure there will be on outside food and support.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. I will have more figures etc. later on. But as people ask how they can help, this is what we will be doing – helping the places that are being overlooked and helping Haiti get back to work. So, we aren’t going to collect clothes, shoes, or anything that needs to be shipped. It is expensive, and most of that is overkill. We will be asking for donations to purchase those things needed to give people their lives back.

Thank you for however you can help.

Because of Christ, for the Cause of Christ,
Helen M. Roenfeldt
Executive Director, Mission: Haiti

Scenes from Educators Conference

Categories: News & Announcements

Celebrating 25 Years of God’s Grace

Categories: News & Announcements

Celebrating 25 Years of God’s Grace

November 13, 2016


CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF GOD’S GRACE Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Celebration

Festival Worship: 10:00 AM Guest Preacher: Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour Ministries

Banquet: Noon (call 352-331-4409 to purchase tickets)

Abiding Savior Lutheran Church
Gainesville, FL

Contact:   Susan Moss

PHONE: 352-331-4409



Lutheran Life 2016 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
  • Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dog Settles into Trinity/Savannah Home
  • District Campus Ministries Launch New School Year
  • Impacting the Community According to Need
  • Getting Unstuck – The Coaching Leader
  • SE Florida Stewardship Summit Report
  • Thrivent Members Generously Support Orlando
  • Megan Miessler to Direct LCS Programs
  • Florida-Georgia Part of Lutheran Federal Credit Union “Firsts”
  • District Board Reviews Critical Ministry Targets
  • LCEF Florida-Georgia District Shared Blessings to 18 Congregations Top $85,000
  • NYG a Celebration of Identity “In Christ Alone”
  • Weekly Walks with Pastor Offer Prayer, Scripture, Exercise
  • LCEF Seeks Congregational Advocates to Assist With Expansion of Vital Ministries
  • District Capsules
  • Regional news
  • and much more

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

Life 2016 vol 5

How Will You Celebrate?

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

October is a month filled with celebrations. In fact, like most months, there are national celebrations for almost every single day. You can celebrate everything from National Ghost Hunting Day on October first, National CB Day on 10-4, National Taco Day, National Gumbo Day, National Bald Day, all the way to National Grouch Day. In addition to a few other things, October 31st is National Knock-Knock Joke Day, which may explain my warped sense of humor. My wife has told me several of those special days seem to apply to me …

Of course, October has a few more significant celebrations as well. It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s also Clergy Appreciation Month. Since late August the stores have been reminding us about Halloween. For many of us, who have grown up in the Lutheran Church, it is also the month we celebrate the Reformation. In fact, we are on the eve of the 499th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg in 1517.

As people prepare for the big 500th Anniversary in 2017, many trips have been planned to visit the Luther sites. Numerous celebrations are in the works across the world, not to mention those being planned in our own Synod, District, Circuits and congregations. It will be an exciting year to proudly reflect on our heritage as Lutherans. However, I strongly believe that Anniversary celebrations are a great time to look back, but they also provide an opportunity to look forward. Looking to the past while trying to move forward causes one to walk into a wall!

Luther looked to the past and didn’t really like what he saw. He was discontent with what the church of his day had become. It had built wonderful legacies of traditions, but had moved the focus off of Jesus. For Luther it was all about God’s free gift to us in Jesus. I sometimes wonder if the church in our day hasn’t somehow slipped back into a false sense of security, bolstered by knowing the right doctrines and words, rather than celebrating a living faith in Jesus.

I used to tell a story in Adult Instruction class about a family who brought their precious baby to be baptized. On the day of his baptism a wealthy family friend gave the baby’s parents a large check to bless this baby in the future. It was actually for a million dollars, and this friend could well afford it. These parents were overwhelmed by this generous gift, and never having seen a check for a million dollars, they framed it and hung it on the wall of the nursery. It brought smiles to their faces every time they saw it hanging there because they knew that their child’s future was secure.

In time the baby began to grow, and the nursery became a bedroom, and as the boy grew this check was actually forgotten, and it was packed up with a lot of the items that had adorned that nursery. The boy grew, and as he was about to graduate high school tragedy struck and his parents were killed in a terrible car accident. He was left an orphan. At the funeral, in the midst of the sorrow, the family friend whom the boy had heard about but never met, came to the service. He expressed his condolences and learned that the boy would be left virtually penniless. He asked him about the check, and the boy vaguely remembered it being on the wall.

Days after the funeral, as he was packing up the house, he came across the box with all his baby things, and he found that framed check. He was astonished that his parents never cashed it. He took it out of the frame and took a huge risk. He went to the bank and he learned that the check was still somehow valid after all these years. He was able to cash it, and once he did this family friend came and helped him learn how to invest it. It took him through the rest of his life.

Obviously this was a made up story, and flawed at that. However, it had a point. How many of us are never given the opportunity to be invested in the life we’ve been given through baptism? How many fail to take advantages of the promises offered to us there? How many miss out on something because they just didn’t understand the gift that has been given? Here’s the point—the gift is still valid, even if it’s stuck in a box and forgotten. It’s time for the church to unpack the box and start living for Jesus!

My mother, now in her 80’s, has an iPad. She resisted touching a computer when my father first got one, even though I tried to explain to her the benefits of being part of the digital age. She got her iPad primarily to keep up with pictures of her children and grandchildren, and now great grandchildren. Here’s what she discovered. She got an iPad expressly to look at pictures, then she discovered that it could do so much more! She now reads books on it, she looks up recipes, and she keeps up with Facebook, and even facetimes on her iPad. I think she regrets not trying to do this sooner. Living with regret is bad when you’re talking about technology. It’s even worse when you talk about faith. That’s why we need to invest in the Word and live it out each day.

Luther, when he learned we were justified by faith apart from the law, wanted all Christians to understand God’s grace as a free gift. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We are saved by grace, not to celebrate our good fortune, but rather so that we can walk in good works to proclaim Jesus to the whole world!

Luther’s whole struggle with the Church was born of a desire to bring about a true reformation, refocusing people on the beauty of God’s gift of grace to us in Jesus. The Church of that day had become so institutionalized, so ritualistic, and so controlling of people with fear of the law rather than devotion inspired by faith in Jesus’s love and grace. The Church was actually teaching that if you did certain things, if you said certain words, it you obeyed the church, you could earn your way to heaven. Luther encouraged the Church to go back to the basics of Scripture, focusing on God’s Word. In a world that was so culturally influenced by the Church in wrong ways, Luther moved outside the box for the sake of the Gospel. In fact, one of the primary emphases of the Reformation was the priesthood of all believers, meaning that each of us are gifted by the Spirit for service to Jesus.

We are living in a day when some feel that we’ve fallen back into the trap of celebrating our traditions rather than living out our faith. There are some who feel because they bear the moniker “Lutheran” they will get to heaven despite the fact that they have boxed up their faith rather than investing it. The LCMS has marked the theme for next year as “Its still All About Jesus!” My heart resonates with that, because as we engage in the Master’s business, we want to connect people to Jesus, and it is ALL about Jesus! Luther saw the Reformation as urging the church to return to the very Gospel we proclaim, and he was willing to lay down his life for it. How about you?

Next fall, in the midst of our celebrations of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the FLGA District will host the President’s Equip Conference—a brand new idea to meet the needs of a church in transition. Rather than simply focusing on continuing education for pastors and teachers, the conference next year will also additionally focus on raising up the laity. People who seem to know and understand things far better than me are telling me that in the next five years or so the LCMS will experience a tremendous change in pastoral leadership as our baby boomers, which represents the largest portion of our pastors, will begin to retire. We are not replacing workers at a rate consistent with the growing needs. We already have an abundance of congregations without pastors or an inability to afford full time workers. What is the solution? I certainly don’t claim to have an answer, but in part I believe we need to raise up an army of our laity who become passionate about their faith and life in Jesus. This would be a true reformation!

To that end, the President’s Equip Conference is being designed for pastors and teachers, but also for our laity. It will be held on Thursday afternoon, Friday and Saturday, September 28-30, 2017, to encourage our laity to attend. As always we will offer breakouts for professional church workers, in addition to offering practical strategies and training for congregational officers and elders, for volunteers to understand their purpose and place in the context of congregational ministry, partnering with pastor and other staff for the sake of Jesus. There will be times of inspiration, fellowship and times of learning and applying skills for the sake of God’s kingdom. We’ve tried to find a centralized location in Ponte Verde at Sawgrass to that people from both Georgia and Florida can drive and participate. You’ll definitely be hearing more about this in the coming days, but mark your calendar now and make plans to be with us as we celebrate the Reformation and how God is reforming living stones!

What will the church look like in the future? We know that those great Sola’s of the Reformation (Sola Scriptura, Sola Fides, and Sola Gratia) won’t change. However, as God continues to shape us, He is transforming us into His people who move beyond the institution and traditions of our church to people who actively live out their faith to reach this world for the sake of Jesus. That’s always been His heart’s desire. As we celebrate this month, let’s remember that even now it’s still all about Jesus, and that is something to celebrate!