Dec. 10 2019
Cultivating Presence This Advent
This collection of Advent devotions and reflections comes from Portico Health Benefit Services .

Introduction:
Though deemed the “most wonderful time of the year,” this season can be hectic and overwhelming with additional worship services, countless holiday gatherings, and a range of emotions to navigate. Portico and Deacon Tammy Devine have designed a resource to help you alleviate some stressors and focus on what matters — so you can open your hearts to the coming light of Christ Jesus.

Our “Gift of Presence” activity includes weekly devotions and simple daily prompts crafted to help you reframe your mindset and be more fully present for the joys of this season.
Week 2
Make ready. John the Baptist cried, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near … Prepare the way of the Lord …” Now is the time to turn around, away from darkness and brokenness, toward light and wholeness...

Changing your direction ever so slightly can offer you an entirely new perspective. To name and claim the change you desire:
  • Identify and take the first step.
  • Where do you seek to turn from your ways? What support do you need?
  • As you practice presence — what are you noticing?

Devotion
With a candle lit, pray these words:

ELW 255 There’s a Voice in the Wilderness
There’s a voice in the wilderness crying, a call from the ways untrod:
Prepare in the desert a highway, a highway for our God!
The valleys shall be exalted, the lofty hill brought low;
make straight all the crooked places where God, our God may go!
But the word of our Savior is faithful.
The arm of our God is strong,
who stands in the midst of the nations and soon will right the wrong.
Lord feed your flock like a shepherd, the lambs so gently hold;
in pastures of peace now lead them,
and bring them to your fold.
(James Milligan)
Transition Ministry Training

Transitions –  There are many factors that come into play when a congregation is in transition. Whether that congregation has just received an interim pastor, or has just received a newly called pastor, or is seeking new direction into God’s future, it is a time of transition from something that was to something that is yet to be. 
The Transition Training Event will help attendees to focus on what it is that properly motivates ministry so that the “yet to be” is fully in the hands of God, and God’s people are themselves renewed and ready for that ministry.
Learn more and register  HERE .

The next Transition Ministry Training event will be at Luther Springs on Jan. 27-29, 2020. More information available HERE .
Synodical Women's Organization Accepting Fund for Leaders Applications

The Fund for Leaders Scholarship Application for the 2020-2021 academic year is available on our website, www.flwelca.com The deadline is midnight, January 1, 2020.  

Applications should be submitted to Phyllis Wade, SWO President, 412 North Sea Lane, NW, Unit C, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 or electronically to wade.phyllis73@gmail.com or secretary@htlc.gccoxmail.com .

The scholarship will be awarded by the decision of the FL-BA SWO board at their next Board Meeting (January 31-February 2) using the following criteria:
  • The applicant must be a student in the candidacy process attending one of the eight ELCA seminaries in either the Master of Divinity or Master of Arts program, or a student in an approved extension program of one of the ELCA seminaries and be enrolled in an approved program, such as the Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) program.
  • Preference will be given to residents of the Florida-Bahamas Synod.
  • Preference will be given to female applicants.
  • Preference will be given to an active member of a congregational unit of the Women of the ELCA.
  • Applicant should exhibit faith qualities that empower others.
  • Applicant should demonstrate leadership qualities in church and the community.
Mark your Calendar
Click on the calendar to go to the synod calendar to learn more about these events
For Your Information
The Hurricane Season is Over but the Challenge to Match Giving to the Hurricane Dorian Bahamas Relief Fund is in Full Swing!
Here is one example of how a congregation is continuing to partner with the ongoing relief work in the Bahamas. Funds sent to the synod designated for Hurricane Dorian relief will be used exclusively for that purpose. In this season of Advent, as we reflect on the ways we cry out for God’s healing presence in the world, consider a gift to the Hurricane Dorian relief fund to continue to support the work in the Bahamas. With our siblings in Christ in Freeport, we prayerfully anticipate restoration and wholeness for that community, even as we prayerfully anticipate the many ways Christ’s presence restores and brings wholeness to us. As we journey together as church for the sake of the world, our support for those impacted by Hurricane Dorian and other natural disasters is a tangible way we proclaim the coming of Christ.
Hurricane Dorian Bahamas Relief Challenge: The St. Philip Congregational Council has voted that our St. Philip Thrivent Choice Dollars Fund will match any total giving up to $1,500, now through Jan. 31. Give today! Earmark/Memo all checks/cash: “Florida-Bahamas Synod Hurricane Dorian Bahamas Relief Fund.”
Midnight stillness
In her December column for Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on the mystery of the season: the expectation and longing of Advent and the true gifts of Christmas—“the helpless baby in a wooden manger, a broken man on a cross.”


Give a Christmas gift with ELCA Good Gifts

Give a gift in honor of your friends or loved ones this Christmas! You can choose from 50 charitable gifts that will make a global impact — from a goat to a piglet to a simple water well. When you make your gift online, you get to personalize a card to mail, print or email. A beautiful gift to slip under the Christmas tree!  Give a gift through ELCA Good Gifts here .
Bishop's Calendar
  • Synod Office
  • Emmanuel, Naples (Latino Summit)
  • Christmas break
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