Spring 2022 | Connecting National and Local Secretariats
Official Publication of the National Lutheran Secretariat | Via de Cristo

A Word from the
NLS President

Did you notice?
There are eight weekends scheduled for the months of February and March! Is your Secretariat’s next weekend listed yet? If not, fill in a brief form at https://viadecristo.org/about/weekends/list-a-weekend/ to share the good news with the rest of the community.

Prayer vigils
Now that we can list weekends on the website, we are working to add links to prayer vigils, so we can form a broader community of prayer lifting up our weekends. Keep checking the website at https://viadecristo.org/events/. Meanwhile, if your prayer vigil is accessible on-line, send the URL to our Vice-President for Outreach, Karen Weires, at outreach@viadecristo.org and we will share it with the other secretariats. 

COVID precautions
With weekends restarting, each Secretariat is adapting to conditions in their area and at their weekend site. Please consider passing on your COVID guidelines or stories of how you modified plans to John Aclin at president@viadecristo.org or Karen Weires at outreach@viadecristo.org so others can benefit from your research and lessons learned.

Share your stories
The NLS exists primarily to facilitate communication between Secretariats. You all are where God does the work of changing hearts and motivating leaders. Share your stories – what are you celebrating? What worked? What was a well-intentioned flop? Together, we can encourage, improve, and move forward. Send your stories to Karen Weires at outreach@viadecristo.org or John Aclin at president@viadecristo.org 

Lay Directors’ Round Table
On March 28 at 8-9:30 PM (EST) there will be a round table for Lay Directors via Zoom. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn from one another. Check your email for the Zoom link.

Spring – renewal after slumber
Spring is coming soon! (OK, maybe not as soon to Minnesota as to Florida, but work with me here.) After a period of apparent death, life comes back to the earth. Flowers and trees bud and blossom. Hibernating animals emerge and migratory birds return. Life looks fresh and vibrant.

For Christians, Spring also means Easter is upon us – the ultimate in renewal and victory over death. We celebrate God’s grace and deep love for us; His sacrifice and atoning gift that restored us to a right relationship with Him. This is the Good News we are all called to share.

Leaders in our Secretariats tell me that Spring is truly coming to Via de Cristo. Many are planning to hold their first weekend in two years this Spring. There is excitement about the opportunity to finally gather together safely and share the wonderful mission of VdC. Yes, we need to adapt to accommodate health requirements, but the love of Christ and God’s grace will shine this Spring!

We need to boldly claim God’s promises now. Jesus promised that he would never leave or forsake us. As surely as Good Friday led to Easter, we need to trust that if we give God our first fruits and serve with our whole hearts while seeking His will, He will bless us. We may not understand how things will unfold, but we can put our trust in the One who does. I know many of our Secretariats are regrouping after a prolonged period of separation, but we can do so with a peaceful spirit and a sense of hope. What problems do you face that are bigger than God? What challenges are too big for Him? 

On the weekend, we learn that an isolated Christian is a paralyzed Christian. The purpose of the NLS is to help us avoid isolation as Secretariats. God has called us to be a larger community of faith – you are not alone. Your Regional Coordinator can be a great source of answers or a friend to walk alongside you as you move forward with God. The Annual Gathering in Texas this summer is another wonderful opportunity to meet with other Secretariats and share our experiences, seeing how God is at work around the country. Your Executive Committee is here to help you as you reach out in faith to build Christian communities in your region – as you “bloom where you are planted.”

Spring is a time of hope and renewal. Our God is a God of love and restoration. We have every reason to be confident and at peace as we move forward. Not because we have all the answers, but because we serve the One who does. I pray the Holy Spirit gives you His peace and helps you claim God’s promises as we seek to “renew the face of the earth.”

John Aclin

A Word from the
Executive Director

“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat…the disciples woke Jesus, saying,” Lord, save us! We are going to drown!! Then He got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, and it was completely calm”.   
Matthew 8: 23-26

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the story of Jesus calming the waves came upon my heart this week. As I read and thought about it, I couldn’t stop thinking about how it parallels our current situation in Via de Cristo, and in our world today.

Covid has been a furious storm that has come upon us. It made us fearful from a safety standpoint of holding weekends and ultreyas for the last couple of years. Several members of our VDC community have succumb to Covid or related illnesses and moved on to their 5th day. While we rejoice in them being reunited with the Father, we miss them here on earth. 
We have called on our Lord to deliver us from the storm of Covid, and it appears our prayers are being answered. The waves are calming, Covid is receding across the world. As we rejoice in this answer to prayer, there is a new fear emerging in many areas of our ministry; the fear of not being able to recover the momentum and normal operating rhythms we had pre pandemic.  

That brings me to one of the most impactful pieces of advice I have ever gotten. We are called to be OBEDIENT to the Lord, not successful.  We need to be obedient to his calling, and put in the work per His plan. However, the success of our recovery is in the hands of Christ. As much as we want to put the burden on ourselves, and hold ourselves accountable, we are tools of the Heavenly Father, and He will use us to His glory.   

In addition to putting in work, we also need to continue our processes of prayer and discernment. On our website now is a list of 8 weekends that are going to happen in March across our ministry. What better way to support our revival, than praying for the weekends taking place in the Spring. If you copy and paste the link below, it will take you to the list.     

I would also encourage anyone who is having a weekend that is not posted, to connect with any member of the Executive Committee and we will get your weekend posted. 
Give us the opportunity to pray for you and the people going through your weekend. That is one big blessing we can all share in.

I am so excited to be a part of this ministry, and blessed to serve in it with all of you. Love you guys!!!

Brian Schwarz
Executive Director

Faith Corner:
A Place to Share Your Faith Journey

On March 2nd of last year, I wrote my first (and last until now) Executive Directors Corner update. I would like to say that I have been working so hard on strengthening the Via de Cristo ministry, that I didn’t have time to write one. I can’t. Life has been crazy for me with work, Covid, ect…the demands of my day job have been overwhelming. But even that isn’t all of it…

Over the second half of the year last year, I struggled to find my place in this ministry, and how God was calling me to serve him. Spent time in prayer, discussed with my reunion brother…I couldn’t tell if this uncertainty I felt was a message that God was calling me somewhere else, or if it was the devil shrouding me in doubt. Then the God moment happened…

John Aclin, our VdC president reached out to have a meeting with me. I assumed we would share our concerns and thought we would wind up parting ways. However, the call took a very different tone, he ask me to take a bigger part in things. We talked for 90 minutes, and with every passing minute the passion for NLS service just welled up inside me. It was an answer to prayer for me, and we have even begun reunioning on a weekly basis. If feels like spring in my VdC journey, a rebirth of excitement I felt when I first took the role of Executive Director.  

I share this story with you because I believe it is “Spring” in our VdC ministry as well. After 2 difficult years, our ministry is in a rebirth phase, and as I think about what that means, here are couple of items that come to mind: 
Focus on the essentials: Most secretariats have not had weekends in a long time. As you start back up, take a look at the essentials…build your weekend schedules around that. There are certainly optional things you can include, but given the potential resource and monetary constraints the covid hiatus has put on us, getting the essentials done are key. (I am a sucker for a good skit though 😉)

Intentional communication: At one of the churches I attended, we had a team that looked for people we hadn’t seen at church in a while and reached out to them directly to see about them. After 2 years of Covid, we probably need a similar approach. We need to be intentional about inviting 4th day members that we have not interacted in some time back to weekends and ultreyas.

Prayer: Prayer has been the one constant since our ministry started. Your prayers and petitions to the Lord keep our ministry strong, and keep the excitement alive.  

I love to hear from you guys with any comments, thoughts, suggestions and questions…feel free to contact me:  

May the Lord continue to bless you as we begin our season of Lent!!
In His service,
Brian Schwarz 
Have you struggled with your faith? Have you had a God moment? We'd love to hear YOUR faith journey! Please share by emailing newsletter@viadecristo.org.
What are the "Essentials" and why?

As we "spring" back into action this season, many Secretariats are wrestling with how to adapt our weekend practices to accommodate health requirements.

In Christ, we have great freedom in how we conduct our weekends provided we retain the essentials of Via de Cristo. But do you feel comfortable with what the essentials are and why those specific practices are considered essential? 

Pastor Paul Schmidlin will offer a webinar on "The Essentials of Via de Cristo" on April 23, 2-3:30 PM (ET). Pastor Paul was one of the authors of our Essentials manual and will be there to answer your questions and help us understand what is required and what is optional in our Via de Cristo practices. You can connect to the webinar using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81831479667?pwd=eGxwemE4d1I0WDNoWENNT1RmMEpkQT09
Decolores! We’re excited registration is open for our NLS Annual Gathering at https://viadecristo.org/

Our host committee leads have been working virtually to prepare for your participation from July 21-24, 2022 at Texas Lutheran University

Our guest speakers are confirmed and will be fulfilling on our theme of “Love One Another” from John 13:35. Future articles will feature highlights of each one:

  • Keynote: Revival of living our Fourth Day by Rev. Jennifer Gold
  • Forum 1: Revival of love by Father Steven Kalas
  • Forum 2: What’s disciple in the world we have now by Becky Del Rio
  • Forum 3: Supernatural love by Jason Cole

For budgeting purposes, early bird registration fees will include meals and lodging due by May 1, 2022:
  • $240/person from July 21-24, 2022
  • $275/person from July 20-24, 2022

When making your travel arrangements, we suggest flying into the San Antonio International Airport (SAT), which is about 30 minutes away from TLU and the closest airport. Transportation to/from the airport will be provided by our host committee.

God loves you and so do I,
Jane Winge
Vice President for Administration

Keep A Look Out on Your Email!!
The Summer Conexiones will be here before we know it! Look for it in June 2022.