This Ministry
That We Share

       Southern District - LCMS
    August 1, 2017

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Wet Feet Faith
Rev. Kurtis D. Schultz
But immediately He spoke to them, saying, "Take heart, it is I; have n o fear." And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water."  He said, "Come".   So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
Matthew 14:27,29
For many years I have read the story of Jesus walking on the water and seen Peter's lack of faith as some kind of sad but understandable weakness. This time when I read the story, I saw something different: I saw Peter take a courageous first step! While all those in the boat would eventually worship Jesus, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God," only Peter's faith had "feet", trusting that Jesus was Lord of heaven, earth, and also the sea.
Which of us, like Peter, would have climbed over the side of the boat, lowered ourselves to the water, and carefully put our feet down on a heaving sea to risk that first step? How can we gain the kind of faith, imperfect though it was, that Peter displayed? Perhaps a closer examination of this story can help us.
     First, scripture records that Peter was the only one who, upon hearing Jesus' voice, answered Him that night. Peter first of all heard the voice of Jesus calling to be able to respond. We can only display this kind of faith if we are hearing Jesus call to us in His word.
     Second, Peter asked Jesus to strengthen his faith. Peter asked, "Lord if it is you, bid me come to you on the water." His answer was, "Come."  Jesus will give us the strength of faith we need to heed His Call.
     Third, Peter trusted Jesus. Peter's experience of Jesus' faithfulness enabled him to trust the Lord in this new circumstance. In trust he obeyed.  It is only God's gracious, loving, eternal, faithfulness to us that enables our trusting obedience.
     Last, when in his weakness fear overcame him and he began to sink, he called out to Jesus for help and he was saved. It is not the strength of our faith that saves us.  We are saved when we call out in helpless weakness to Jesus, the only one who can save us.
Peter was a simple fisherman with an extraordinary God-given faith. Like Peter, we will, in every circumstance, find Jesus to be faithful to His word.
Lord, grant us the grace to listen for Your voice, the courage to ask in faith believing, the faith to trust in Your goodness, and the knowledge of Your presence in our every need. Amen.

Registration Closes --  October 8, 2017
 All Memorials due --  October 8, 2017
 All Nominations due --  November 1, 2017
 Hotel Block Rate Ends --  January 27, 2018

Any Southern District congregation, meeting in assembly, may submit nominations for offices of the Southern District. Positions open for nomination, nomination forms, and nomination deadlines, are available on our  website: 

Exciting FREE Conference Coming to The Southern District! 
Help Connect Your Church To Your Community

Southern District Rebecca's Garden of Hope Conference, 
Connecting Congregations With Their Neighbors
Regional Outreach Conference 

August 25 & 26

Hosted in NOLA by Broadmoor Community Church (Formerly Gloria Dei) 


This conference is being presented  FREE  of charge to the congregations of the Southern District by a generous grant from the District Mission Committee and the office of Rev. Eric Johnson, Mission Executive.  

This free conference gives you and the members of your congregation a simple way to reach  un-churched children and families with the love of Christ. The Conference is FREE and it's not just for the pastor, but anyone at your church interested in reaching more families in your community!

Rebecca's Garden of Hope gives you a way to start conversations and develop relationships with new families in your community. It's all about relationships, this FREE conference can show you how to create relationships that can result in new families coming to faith, baptism, and discipleship in your local congregation.

This unique training opportunity will answer questions about how to get started and keep the ministry going. Participants will learn about resources to help children develop spiritually, socially and educationally.

SAVE THE DATE, August 25 & 26 for the Southern District's Rebecca's Garden of Hope, Connecting Congregations With Their Neighbors Regional Outreach Conference. Look for more details to follow soon, with registration opening  in 2 weeks.
You can contact Rev. Eric Johnson, Southern Dist. Mission Exec.

District Mission Support Trends

        2015                     2016                    2017      
Total Budget                 $900,000            $900,000        $900,000

Budgeted Income          $525,000                 $525,000             $525,000             
through 07/31

Actual Income                 $513,695                  $477,120             $455,783
through 07/31



Remember that submissions for the September/October issue of SOS are due by Sept. 15. The preferred means for receiving submissions is by email ( Please send photos as JPEG files, attached to the email. Congregational news that is received but exceeds space in the printed SOS will be published on the "Around the District" blog of our website. Thank you for sharing your news!

                                                                                                                                                            (click on image for                                                                                                                                                              the current issue)


All Congregations!  Please remember to update your Spirit of Southern lists.  As indicated in the letter each congregation received, you will need to cross off any household that does NOT want a paper copy.  Any households left on the list will cost $5.00 each.  Thank you for your attention to this!!

August 24-25, 2017 Rebecca's Garden of Hope Regional
Outreach Conference
Broadmoor Community
Church (Gloria Dei) in NOLA
October 8, 2017 Grace Lutheran Church
150th Anniversary Celebration
Grace Lutheran Church
Mobile, AL
November 19-21, 2017
2017-2018 Annual Teachers' Conference Grace Lutheran Church and School, Huntsville, AL


       Holy Cross - Mobile, AL                       Hope - Santa Rosa Beach, FL (Associate)

       Trinity - Monroe, LA                               
If your congregation has extended a call, had a call accepted, or had a call returned, please remember to notify the Southern District office.


Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People 

150th Anniversary - Grace Lutheran Church, Mobile, Alabama

October 8, 2017

Rev. Wayne Miller, Pastor


Anniversary of Ordination

60th ~ Rev. Simon Bodley, Jr. ~ Emeritus - St. Matthew, Pensacola, FL

55th ~ Rev. James Marshall ~ Emeritus - Faith, Mobile, AL

30th ~ Rev. Paul Leigeber ~ Shepherd of the Bay, Lillian, AL

25th ~ Rev. Dr. Mark Koch ~ Immanuel, Bossier City, LA

20th ~ Rev. Bradley Aumann ~ St. Paul, Picayune, MS

15th ~ Rev. John Jankins ~ Trinity, Hanceville, AL

15th ~ Rev. LaVaughn Wiggins ~ United, Montgomery, AL

10th ~ Rev. Kenneth Boudreau ~ Trinity, Meridian, MS

5th ~ Rev. James Yonkers ~ First, Florala, AL


Please save the date for the 2017 - 2018 annual Teachers' Conference.
Here is the basic Information:

WHO:    The teachers and DCEs of the Southern and Mid-South Districts
WHAT:    Annual Conference
WHERE: Grace Lutheran School and Church, Huntsville, Alabama
WHEN:    Sunday, November 19 - Tuesday, November 21
WHY:      For Professional Growth, Worship, and Camaraderie

For more information, contact Glenn Gerber or
  the Conference Chairman, Tom Naatz at Grace, Huntsville

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - More than 540 people from all across the country - and even as far away as Kenya, East Africa - converged here July 12-16 for the 2017 LCMS Lutherans in Black Ministry Family Convocation.
During the five-day gathering, attendees spent time together in worship, learning and fellowship under the theme "All for Jesus - Know Him. Confess Him. Serve Him."
"We had Africans, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Anglo-Americans there," said the Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray Jr., director of LCMS  Black Ministry . "This was an opportunity for Black Ministry to be more inclusive and to begin to celebrate who we are as Lutherans across cultures. It's just an exciting time to be in ministry in the 21 st  century."
The convocation also celebrated two historic anniversaries: the 500 th  anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation and the 140 th  anniversary of Black Ministry in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which started just 30 years after the Synod was formed.

Honoring the 'Immanuel Seven'
During the convocation, Gray unveiled a new award - the Servants of God and of His People Award - which was given to the seven living pastors who graduated from Immanuel Lutheran College and Seminary in Greensboro, N.C., which closed 56 years ago.
The Rev. Dr. William H. Griffin (who graduated in 1951), the Rev. Dr. Frazier N. Odom (1960), the Rev. Dr. Bryant E. Clancy Jr. (1961) and the Rev. Dr. James B. Marshall (1961) received the award in person. Not in attendance were the Rev. Dr. Simon Bodley (1957), the Rev. James Wiggins Sr. (1959) and the Rev. Arthur Bodley (1961).
"We honor you today because you weathered the storm for us," Gray said to the four men who received the award in person. "The reason we're here today is because you challenged the Church in the work of the Gospel."

Engaging the youth
Some of these future leaders also participated in the convocation. While their parents attended workshops and keynote addresses, some 120 children and teenagers had their own schedule full of speakers, servant events, devotions, field trips and games.   During the event, the youth also elected members to a new Black Family Ministry Youth Advisory Committee, which will help plan the youth track at the next convocation.
The Rev. Gregory Manning, pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, New Orleans, and one of the leaders of the program for children and youth, said he hopes the committee can "give some direction to how youth who are of other cultures can be better represented at the national Youth Gathering."
On the opening evening, the Rev. Dr. Ulmer Marshall Jr., pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Mobile, Ala., and Bethel Lutheran Church, Point Clear, Ala., and first vice-president of the LCMS  Southern District gave the sermon.
In the closing service, the Rev. Dr. McNair Ramsey, second vice-president of the LCMS Southern District, likened the convocation experience to being "Peter, James and John when they were on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus."  "We don't want to leave this place, but the work is down in the valley," Ramsey said. "So, we must go and proclaim the goodness of the Lord."

We are in another "Hurricane Season."  The Southern District takes this subject very seriously and wants to help as much as possible.  First and foremost, if you receive a mandatory evacuation order, PLEASE heed it!  Then, please take a few moments to register with the district so that information can be on file.  This can be done by phone or on the District website, .  This flyer can be saved in your evacuation file.  It contains all of the information that you will need if and when the time comes.
If you can provide shelter, or are looking for shelter, you can also use the website to provide or receive information.
___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . _
In the event of hurricane evacuation, please contact the Southern District with the following information:

Name, Congregation, City, State                Report information to:                 
Evacuated (yes or no)                                 Church Workers  (Mandatory reporting)--                                                                                        985-796-7577               
 If yes, to:  City, State                                                                                                                                      
Contact Phone Number                               Congregation Members - 985-796-7577
Opportunities for Local Volunteers this Fall

This August we celebrate 11 years of service at Camp Restore - New Orleans. In that time, we've been blessed to host over 30,000 volunteers from all 50 states and more than 30 countries, including hundreds of local volunteers and nearby neighbors from across the Southern District.

This Fall, we're going to try something new: focusing on a specific construction project for our local churches and volunteers to get involved with, as a way to bring our nearer church family together around a common goal.

We're working out the details soon, in the coming weeks, as our first goal is finishing out the summer strong. Preliminarily, we are thinking of a project in New Orleans as well a project in Baton Rouge, with Camp Restore - Baton Rouge.

For now, keep up with the latest news from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and now Detroit at! If you would like to personally receive details as they come available, please email Pastor Goodine at

Baton Rouge Lutheran School's Changing of the Guard
Baton Rouge, LA, July 22 - Baton Rouge Lutheran School (BRLS) and Trinity Lutheran
Harmon Butler
Church (TLC), 60 year members of the Baton Rouge community, announce the arrival of a new principal - its first in nearly 30 years and only the 4th in the school's history.  Principal Harmon Butler brings 23 years of experience serving schools in California, Texas, and Michigan.  His knowledge and experience in culturally diverse schools in various settings and sizes provides him the insight needed to lead BRLS into the next stage of its life. 
BRLS is one of the best kept secrets in Baton Rouge with a staff that averages over 16 years of experience and an unsurpassed dedication to their students. BRLS students have academic, athletic and noncurricular opportunities which most other schools cannot match. Students are encouraged and challenged academically, socially, and spiritually. The BRLS family includes children from 6 weeks through 8th grade.  
Trinity Lutheran Church is expanding the BRLS brand to a new campus on S. Harrell's Ferry Road. The new campus will house Sunday worship and 6 week child development to 4 year old classes starting in January/February 2018.
"I'm truly blessed and humbled at the opportunity to be a part of the leadership of this remarkable Christian organization.  The opportunities for mission work within our community through BRLS, Trinity Lutheran Church and Camp Restore Baton Rouge are incredible!" Principal Harmon Butler.              
Baton Rouge Lutheran School                     
(225) 272.1288

Southern District w elcomed Kenzie Woltemath, DCE intern at Trinity, Baton Rouge, with a day in New  Orlea ns with district DCEs Curtis Wiese, Good Shepherd, Shalimar, FL; Nick Butcher, Trinity, Baton Rouge, LA; and Zeal Beale, St. Paul, New Orleans, LA;  with Concordia -Seward DCE student and summer Lutheran Young Adult Corp participant Alex Lillis. 

 Southern District LERT Training
When disaster strikes, lives are turned upside down. Survivors often need food, clothing, shelter, and spiritual care as they begin to cope with tragedy and loss. Responding to these hurting people is a vital part of who we are as member of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. We show mercy and love to our communities because of the great grace and love that God has first shown us in Christ Jesus.
Join a Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT) training event near you to learn how congregations and even individual members like you can be better prepared to show Christ's love to the community when a disaster strikes. Attendees will receive training in the following areas:
The LCMS Disaster Response Program
  • Christian Care in Times of Disaster
  • Congregation Preparedness
  • Engaging the Community Response
  • The LERT Program
  • Safety and Equipment
  • General Volunteer Opportunities
Attendees will receive an LCMS Disaster Response
(1)   C redential that will give them credibility as they enter disaster zones in a coordinated and collaborative effort to assist those in need. 
(2) LERT Vest
(3) LERT Training Manual.
Southern District LERT Training Schedule
Cost is $35 per person.
August 12:  From 8-12 a.m.
            Our Redeemer Lutheran Church,
            1799 Clinton Raymond Rd.
            Clinton, MS 39056
Contact Milly Helgeson for registration information.  Home: 601-497-6636 or cell 303-547-5350.
August 26:  From 8-12 a.m.
            Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
            2456 Decatur Hwy.
            Gardendale, AL 35071
Contact Pastor Ed Brashier for registration information.
Cell 205-296-3714 or E-Mail,      
To Host a LERT Training Event for your congregation or circuit contact the Southern District Disaster Response Coordinator,
& Director of Shepherd's Heart Ministry
Pastor Ed Brashier at Cell 205-296-3714 or E-Mail,


Congregations throughout the Southern District have plans for celebrations and activities to recognize the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.  The SD website contains a list of these celebrations with additional information.  

To view these,  click here

Here are the purpose statements for the Stewardship of Our Congregations project. Provide a proof of concept that demonstrates through words and actions that we are ALL in this together when it comes to making disciples for Jesus Christ. Make a firm statement that a Lutheran presence in a community is important to us ALL whether it's connecting and/or revitalizing current congregations or making a new church plant. The project is designed to provide a way to connect small congregations across the district.

So, what is a small congregation? Did you know that 31 percent of the congregations in our district worship 25 to 50 people on an average Sunday? Moreover, 17 percent worship fewer than 25 people.  Bottom line is this: congregations, several district committees, and the Board of Directors will all have a role in developing and implementing this "Culture of Partnership" strategy.  
Just this past week, God provided an awesome opportunity for us to ADVANCE THE CONVERSATION with pastors from potential host congregations in Circuit 12. It was a special blessing to have President Kurtis Schultz, MMF Eric Johnson and VP Pastor Tony Ramsey to help facilitate the conversation. The pastors of candidate Host Congregations for two shared ministry clusters, identified the initial priority topics to discuss with Host and Satellite congregations. They presented practical challenges, raised important questions, and during our short time together suggested possible approaches for their potential ministry cluster. The priority effort is to develop and communicate with Host and Satellite congregations the advantages and disadvantages of connecting with available digital technology to help meet each congregation's Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care ministry needs. These are example topics that will be addressed in proposals and options for each ministry cluster.  
  • Time, frequency and location of worship services (alternative if pastor not in onsite rotation)
  • Sermon message (ministry cluster specific, real time, playback)
  • Bible studies (ministry cluster specific, real time, playback)
  • Communion (frequency, Pastor presence)
  • Technology available (satellite/land line, portability, record for delayed playback)
  • Training and coaching (technology)
We are excited about helping work out the details to form initial clusters for shared ministry. For more information on the Stewardship of Our Congregations initiative to include interest in participating in the effort, please contact Stewardship Team members Pastor Tony Ramsey or Don Panzenhagen. Contact information and the project brochure are on the District Stewardship web page.  

Gary Grubb, Stewardship Chairman


Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;..."  John 11:25 (NIV)
  These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with cancer:
  • Rev. Jerry Conley (Emeritus - Marianna, FL)
  • Mrs. Gloria Moritz, widow of Rev. Victor Moritz (Emeritus - Metairie, LA)
  • Rev. Sidney Ponseti (Emeritus - Baton Rouge, LA)
  • Mrs. Doris Taglauer, wife of Rev. Jim Taglauer (Emeritus - Folsom, LA) 
  • Rev. David Robatzen (Lutheran Church of the Resurrection - Pensacola, FL)
      These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with various health issues:
    • Mrs. Melodie Rupp, wife of Rev. Bob Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
    • Rev. Michael Shannon (Faith - Shreveport, LA)
    • Rev. Rory Hermann (Emeritus - St. Augustine, FL)
    • Rev. Dr. James P. Brown (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
    • Dr. J. B. Marshall (Concordia College Alabama Board of Regents member)
    • Rev. Perry McCulllam (Unity - Birmingham, AL)
    • Mr. Don Panzenhagen, Southern District Stewardship Committee
    May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed. Thessalonians 2: 16-17  (NIV)
                                    THE GIFT OF GENEROSITY-Electronic Giving
     A definition of generous includes this phrase: 
    Freely sharing valuable things.   Freely sharing
    . . .no strings attached. . .no tit for tat. . .nothing expected in return.   Valuable things: your child. What is more valuable than a life of someone you love beyond measure?   As we reflect on this message, remember Those Who Don't Yet Know Jesus.  Your continued support for the mission and ministry of the Southern District is requested. 
    If you need a convenient way to make regular offerings, we encourage you to look into our electronic online giving options.  

    Visit here or contact Ronnie Giaise  at the Southern District office for more information ---

    Illustration by Patti Miller, Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, Alabama.              Southern District -LCMS               504-282-2632

    100 Mission Dr.
    Slidell LA 70460