August 2, 2023

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Assembly Offering Update

We Made It - Thank you!

Once again, the people of the Southwestern Texas Synod have stepped forward in generosity. 

If you recall, this year's Synod Assembly Offering expands the impact of the Evangelical Mission Endowment Fund. We said that when 100 individuals provided a gift of any size, a $25,000 challenge gift would be released.

We made it! 101 families stepped forward in generosity, freeing an additional $25,000 to enable emerging missional efforts. Because of the Mission Endowment:

  • Fund Eagle Pass Frontera Ministries offers hope and hospitality to migrants at the border
  • Iglesia Luterana San Lucas provides sustaining nourishment for 100 families a month through their food bank
  • Pláticas de Santa Sofía shares the love and welcome of Christ to those experiencing houselessness in downtown San Antonio
  • Valley Metanoia Network creates new disciples and exploring new ways of being church among young adults and Spanish speakers in the Rio Grande Valley. 

If you want to provide just one more gift, give online today or mail a check to the Synod Office at 1090 Oestreich Dr., Seguin, TX 78155. Please make checks payable to Southwestern Texas Synod and write Assembly Offering on the memo line.

And remember, we have another challenge gift to match up to $50,000 of congregational gifts to support these vital ministries. Thank you for your generous partnership in making Christ’s love known here in the SWT Synod.


“Thanks to the Evangelical Mission Endowment Fund, we were able to conduct effective ministry exploration that led us to move to the Great Valley of Texas to the city of McAllen. Once in the Valley we have been developing the launch team for Valley Metanoia Network. In addition, we work in fellowship with Valley churches intentionally to consolidate and expand congregational ministry among Latino communities. One of these efforts is outreach to young adults with an Ecology and Spirituality project” – Pastor Edwin Ortiz, Valley Metanoia Network

Mientras Tanto Story

Hill Country Conference: Immanuel Lutheran, living up to their town name in Comfort, TX

Immanuel Lutheran Church exemplifies what church can be, as a beacon of activity in the town of Comfort, TX. One living portrait of their faith in action is the Vicar, Katie Rode Evans. A fifth-generation pastor, seventh-generation Texan, and volunteer firefighter.

“When I arrived, I was instructed to go out in the community. For a church that is an incredibly faithful step,” Katie said. “They were paying me to lead their church, and they sent me into the community.”

Click here to continue reading.

Holy Land Pilgrimage Rescheduled

Dec. 28, 2024-Jan. 6, 2025

We are grateful to partner with Elias Tours for our pilgrimage to the Holy Land at the end of 2024. Our original trip scheduled for January 2024 conflicted with several other trips, so we have chosen to move to a different date and travel company. This also offers you a great opportunity to have extra time for financial planning! You will see that the cost of the trip is higher than the original one, but now includes airfare. Scholarships and other financial support are still available. Click here for more information and registration. If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Jessica Cain at [email protected]. 

SWT Synod Bookkeeper Transition

Susie Winterhalter has been the synod bookkeeper for 18 years (as of Sept. 6). Now we tell her: “Well done, good and faithful servant” as she has announced she is retiring at the end of September. 

We are pleased to welcome Rhonda Behal as our new synod bookkeeper. She began her work last week; there is a lot of training for a new bookkeeper to take on, so we are fortunate that Susie is staying on to ensure Rhonda is well equipped.

Read more

Weekly Inclusivity, Diversity, & Equity Resource

A Course from GTUx - Christianity and the Problem of Race

Instructor: Dr. Peter Choi

Putting Christianity and race into the same conversation can help us understand why racism is so deeply entrenched and difficult to untangle in American culture. This lecture explores historical and theological developments since the age of exploration and imperial expansion to uncover the relationship between Christianity and race in America. This course is free, accessible at any time, and available at your pace.

Register here

Recap of Truth in July Discussion

On July 29, I led the book discussion on Surviving the City by Tasha Spillet and Natasha Donovan. The graphic novel follows two adolescent girls as they navigate the challenges of growing up Indigenous in the city.


Surviving the City touches on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit (MMIWG2S) in Canada. MMIWG2S is also an issue of concern in the U.S. where the murder rate for Native women is 10x the national average. Read more about MMIWG2S from the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women.


If you didn’t get a chance, I encourage you to read Surviving the City and review the book discussion guide I prepared. Please join us and invite a friend to our next book discussion in August!


– Hilda

WorkSpace Cohorts

Forum dates: Thursdays,

September 14 - October 19

Time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm CT via Zoom

Facilitators: Michelle Jolley and

Erin McCracken

Suggested Program Fee: $100

Are you looking to deepen your anti-racism practice? Color of Grace invites you to participate in the upcoming cohort of WorkSpace: Racism and US. 'WorkSpace' is a six-week anti-racism forum centering on self-awareness through a participant-driven, project-based, diverse cohort experience. Participants sign a Safe Space Covenant in which participants agree to preserve the conversational safe space for vulnerable sharing. Respecting such private, privileged and confidential sharing is an integral component of the WorkSpace. Prior to each session, a brief homework assignment is given which is designed to facilitate personal reflection and threads for session discussions. 

Register your interest here.

Color of Grace LLC (COG) is a collaborative ministry created to step into the challenge of dismantling racism. COG was founded and is led by individual members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America—rostered and lay leaders from diverse backgrounds—spanning four synods touching Austin, Houston, and Waco, TX and Baltimore, Maryland. For more information visit: or email us at: [email protected].

Summer Ambassador-Gram

The Summer Ambassador-Gram has just been released, for men seeking "to be bold, daring followers of Jesus Christ".

Read it here.

Grant Opportunity

Austin Community Foundation offers grants through four strategic programs: The Black Fund, Hispanic Impact Fund, Women’s Fund and Community Grants.

Your organization must be tax-exempt under Sections 501(c)(3) or 170(b)(1)(a)(vi) of the Internal Revenue Code and units of government and must work in at least one of the following counties: Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis or Williamson. They fund faith-based organizations, as long as the project that’s lifted up is one that is not religious in nature. Currently, The Community Fund is taking applications.

Learn more and apply here

Cultivating Generous Congregations Fall Cohorts

Fall 2023

5-6:30 p.m. Central time

Late September–October

How do we, as communities of faith, change our thinking on stewardship and generosity to meet the challenges of the moment? In partnership with the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, the ELCA is offering congregations the opportunity to reexamine their stewardship thinking and imagine ways to act on their findings in their communities. The six-week webinar “Cultivating Generous Congregations” will offer virtual cohort sessions where congregational leaders can discuss, dissect and collaborate on how generosity might work in their contexts. The webinar costs $550 per congregation, plus workbooks ($40 each).

For a deeper look at what the webinar entails, watch this brief Cultivating Generous Congregations video.

Please contact the Rev. Larry Strenge and the Rev. Tim Brown if you’re interested in participating! They will work with your synod to get you registered for the fall cohort.

Valley Metanoia Network Needs Your Help

Valley Metanoia Network submitted a collaboration proposal with Misión Luterana San Pablo in Weslaco, Texas. The proposal consisted of the use of part of the church facilities as the Valley Metanoia Ministerial Center for training.

Two very important ministerial areas will be developed there:

  1. Missional Leaders Training Program
  2. The development of a Cultural and Community Immersion Program.

The building that Valley Metanoid Network will be using is in need of some repair and equipment.

One of the big challenges is to repair part of the building floor that is extremely damaged. The estimates cost for repairing the floor and buying some equipment (water heater, fire detectors, stove...) is around $10,000 dollars.

We want to invite you to collaborate with us in our goal to raise the funds we need to complete this project that will help to fulfill the purposes and ministries of Valley Metanoia Network.

Learn more here.

You may give online or mail a check to the Synod Office at 1090 Oestreich Dr., Seguin, TX 78155. Please make checks payable to Southwestern Texas Synod and write VMN Center on the memo line. 

Support Plaza de Paz Respite Center

We have recently become very busy at the Plaza de Paz respite center for migrants in San Antonio, receiving up to 100 individuals daily, particularly families. Here are some of our immediate needs: 

  • Men’s clothing: jeans (sizes 30, 32, and 34), pants/joggers (Small and Medium), T-shirts (Medium), Underwear/boxers (small and medium), Tennis shoes (sizes 8, 8 ½, 9, 9 ½ , 10), pullover sweaters/sweatshirts (small, medium, and large), and jackets (small, medium, and large).
  • Women’s clothing: Pants/jeans (small and medium), Bras (size 32, 34, and 36), Tennis shoes (size 7, 7.5, 8, and 8.5), Pullover sweaters (small and medium), and jackets (small and medium).
  • Boy’s clothing: Pants and shorts (sizes 4-6, 8-10, 12-14, 16), Pullover sweaters/sweatshirts (small, medium, and large), and jackets (small, medium, and large).
  • Girl’s clothing: Pants and shorts (4-6, 8-10, 12-14, 16), underwear (4-6-8-10-12), pullover sweaters/sweatshirts (small, medium, and large), and jackets (small, medium, and large). 
  • Baby/toddler (boys and girls): clothing (6 months – 2 years), and baby food.
  • Toiletry items: feminine pads

We are also looking for donations of meal kits. Please click here for more information on registering to volunteer or to prepare the meal kit. Then, scroll to the information under Plaza de Paz Respite Center.

We are also looking for volunteers to help at the center and/or to organize and serve a meal. Please feel free to contact Deacon Lisa Diana at [email protected] for more information. Thank you.  

Job Opportunities

  • Zion Lutheran Church in San Antonio is hiring a Facilities Manager. Contact Chris at [email protected] or 210-688-3090.

  • Trinity Lutheran, Victoria is hiring a Faith Formation Minister. Contact [email protected]

  • Triumphant Love, Austin hiring a Children's Ministry CoordinatorContact [email protected].

  • Good Shepherd in Bastrop hiring an Office Manager with bookkeeping experience. Contact [email protected].

Truth in August Book Discussion

August 26




As part of the Truth and Healing Movement Truth in August, we will be discussing Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah. Please join us to talk about overall impressions of the book and themes of identity, marginalization, tradition, family, and community. More to come!

Questions? Email Hilda Santiago, [email protected].

Family and Friends Labor Day Retreat at Camp Chrysalis

September 1-4, 2023

Theme- Survivor: Camp Chrysalis

Join us on the remote island of Camp Chrysalis where you’ll build new bonds through a variety of challenges and rewards. Enjoy making memories through interactive faith-building worship and Bible study, as well as your choice of camp activities like kayaking, hiking, making crafts, archery, the ropes course, rocking on the porch and more! Families will live in their own air-conditioned cabin with a shared central gathering room.


  • Adults and Youth in Grades 7-12: $190
  • Youth in grades K-6: $145
  • Preschool youth: Free
  • Household Max: $760

Early bird cost ends August 18th, after this fees increase by $10 per participant. Registration closes at 5pm on Friday, August 25th.

Learn more and register

Stewardship Webinar

Stewardship When Economics Are Uncertain

Monday, Aug. 21

6-7 p.m. Central time

Zoom Link

How can we talk about stewardship and money in a way that is honest and honors uncertain economic times?

On Aug. 21 the ELCA, in partnership with the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, will host a webinar to equip leaders to talk openly, honestly and inspirationally about stewardship and generosity even in uncertain times. It will be hosted by the Rev. Meredith McNabb and the Rev. Tim Brown.

Register Now: Total Solar Eclipse Retreat 2024

April 5-9, 2024

Camp Chrysalis and Ebert Ranch

Come experience the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024 with Cross Trails Ministry! Both Camp Chrysalis and Ebert Ranch will be in complete darkness for over 4 minutes!  

This once in a lifetime event will be paired with Cross Trails hospitality and activities to make an unforgettable long weekend. Participate in eclipse learning sessions and camp activities, and then join us for daily devotions and worships. Choose to do as much or as little as you would like and enjoy some great family time!

Learn more and register here.

Resources, Webinars, & Calendar