Summer 2022 | Connecting National and Local Secretariats

Official Publication of the National Lutheran Secretariat | Via de Cristo

A Word from the
NLS President

Who is this?

From Mark 4:

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”


During my years in the Navy, I’ve seen some pretty terrific storms – one so tumultuous that entire ships would disappear in the troughs of the waves. I was pretty comfortable in a very large aircraft carrier, but I imagine the storm was much scarier for the crew of those smaller vessels. 

I don’t know about you, but the last couple years have felt a lot like those storms. We’ve been shoved back and forth with various pandemic issues and now inflation and other issues have added to the uncertainty. As I’ve spoken with VdC leaders across the country, I hear tales of challenges and obstacles – though also stories of blessings and progress. 

So often, we find ourselves looking at the waves and thinking, “We can’t survive this!” That’s human nature. We all do it at times. And the disciples were no different. Here they were, with Jesus peacefully sleeping among them, and yet they were freaked out by the storm. But as soon as they reached out to Him, everything got sorted out. The storm abated and they were left wondering, “Who is this?” They still struggled to grasp that Jesus was God and had complete command over Creation.

Don’t focus on the waves! Focus on the one who has command over the seas. Many Secretariats are struggling to regain their momentum after 2 years of not holding weekends and the NLS is here to assist you as you need. Your regional coordinator is a great place to start if you’ve questions or want specific assistance.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Annual Gathering in July, as we gather together as a community. This is a great chance to form larger communities and to learn from one another. Every annual gathering I’ve attended has been a blessing to me and this year will be no exception. 

Trust in God. Forge communities – through reunion groups and ultreyas especially, whether done virtually or in person as makes sense to your community. Remember, “ultreya” means “onward.” Believe that if we work together to serve God, He will bless us and enable us to serve Him and bring Him glory. God does not slumber, neither does He sleep. We are still in the palm of His hand. Let’s use this tumultuous time to be a living example of faith in action. An example of living faith that draws others to the Lord!

God Loves You and So Do I!

John Aclin

NLS President

A Word from the
Executive Director


Study is the leg on my tripod that has the biggest cracks in it.    I have not read the bible cover to cover, I am more of a Gospel Guy, with a few “Letters” thrown in to the Romans and others.   It is easier for me to pick a book that weaves the Bible in with other contextual subject matter.    Last week I found this book by Max Lucado entitled “You were Made for the Moment” .  The title grabbed me, and I bought it and finished it in record time.  It really made me think on so many things, so I wanted to share a bit about it as I would highly recommend the book!

The central story revolves around the  Book of Esther which chronicles the adventures of Malachi, Esther, King Xerxes, and the villainous Heyman.   The nickel summary is that Malachi and Esther are Jews in Persia who have chosen to hide their faith to gain status, with Esther even being appointed Queen.  Heyman, the kings advisor, develops an intense hatred of Jews and convinces Xerxes to annihilate them all.  Malachi and Esther, instead of staying quiet and safe through keeping their faith hidden, they expose themselves and stand up for their people with the King.  King Xerxes sides with Malachi and Esther…Heyman is put to death, and the Jews are spared.  

The book inspired me in my own journey…knowing that whatever ups and downs I face, I am made for it because:  1) God made me;  2) he wont give me more than I can carry as long as I lean on Him.   Leaning on Him is not an easy thing for me, because that means I have to admit to myself that I am not in control, He is.   The worldly things that feel like they provide promise and hope, really don’t, only the Living Water that God provides is our promise and our hope.

In many ways I draw similarities to our Via de Cristo movement…”We are made for this moment”!  We are made for this moment by Christ who strengthens us and guides us.   I have concern for our movement coming out of Covid, and what the pandemic has done to some of our communities.   A microcosm of this we are seeing in Annual Gathering registrations which are currently below historical levels.  I want to do something to help drive participation, alleviate concerns, and fill up that Gathering!!   However, if I apply what I learned in my book, there are really 2 things I need to do:

  1. Get on my knees and pray, pray for guidance, pray for the VdC community, pray for Him to bring about a record turnout to celebrate this special ministry
  2. Remind us all…that “WE are made for this moment” …God will be with us as we get back to business as usual in this ministry.

I encourage all of you who can, come to San Antonio for the gathering, lets celebrate together the blessings of Christ, worship Him, eat good food, and share our perspectives on what it means to be MADE FOR THIS MOMENT!!

Oh there was a 3rd thing I can do…I can check off the book of Esther on my cover to cover list 😉  

Gods Peace be with you all

Brian Schwarz

Faith Corner:
A Place to Share Your Faith Journey

How have you seen God at work around you? Do you have a story that might encourage others? We are seeking your stories to share in our “Faith Corner,” stories of “God sightings.” They don’t have to be big stories – just instances that blessed you and will bless others. Please consider sharing your own stories!

Are You Worried About My Soul?

Recently, I had lunch with a friend – our first in-person meeting in many months. Over the past several years, we’ve taken to chatting on-line every week for an hour or two, sharing our ideas and views on the world. We quickly learned that although he is an atheist and I am a believer, we shared a common belief in helping and serving others. 

As we talked over lunch, I screwed up my courage and confessed that I’d been praying for him quite a bit. That I’ve been wondering how I could say I was his friend, yet ignore what was, to me, the single most important thing in life – the saving grace of Jesus. I didn’t press him on it – I just shared how, from my perspective, it was impossible to be a friend and not care about my friend’s eternal life. 

Because we are friends and he understood I was only speaking as a friend, he listened very respectfully. Finally he asked, “Are you worried about my soul?” My first reaction was to deny it – then I realized the answer was, “Yes.” In the end, while he certainly didn’t make a profession of faith, he expressed his appreciation that I honestly was concerned for his well-being. 

I tell this story primarily to say “Thank you.” You see, if it weren’t for Via de Cristo, I doubt this conversation ever would have taken place. Decades of meeting in reunion group have created patterns of thought. What have I done this week toward apostolic action? Listening to a rollista explain again how we need to “Make a friend, be a friend, share Christ with that friend.” If my pastor hadn’t sponsored me to make a weekend, if the community hadn’t drawn me into their fellowship, if I hadn’t heard so many stories by rollistas and 4th day speakers….this lunch conversation would never have happened. And so I am grateful to God for this movement and the way it has impacted my walk with Christ.

Have you struggled with your faith? Have you had a God moment? We'd love to hear YOUR faith journey! Please share by emailing

Decolores! We’re excited that over 120 participants have registered as of May for our NLS Annual Gathering at

Our host committee has been working hard to prepare for your participation from July 21-24, 2022 at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, TX.  Here are the latest updates:


  • We have 8 Clergy Delegates and 42 Lay Delegates authorized out of 44 Secretariats as of June 20th.  Is your Secretariat represented?
  • We have 6 nominees for the Executive Committee to be voted on July 23rd:
  • Secretary: Carolyn Witham
  • Spiritual Director: Rev. G. Karl Gaston and Rev. Percy Smerek
  • Treasurer: Steve Barnett and Raleigh Sandy
  • Vice President for Administration: Jane Winge
  • Steve Gielda will replace Becky Del Rio due to health reasons to present Forum 2: “What’s disciple in the world we have now?” on July 22
  • The Annual Gathering online binder is available and being updated regularly at 
  • Due to this unprecedented year, registrations between June 1-July 1 will not incur late fees.  The last day to register is July 1st for meal/room planning purposes:
  • $315/person from July 21-24, 2022
  • $390/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.  After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to provide your travel information and a map of the TLU campus.  See you soon!


“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:35


God loves you and so do I,

Jane Winge

Vice President for Administration

Click Here to Register

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