Marks Us as His Own
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised
from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Rom 6:4 NIV)
Baptism is more than an initiation rite. It is virtually synonymous with the entire Christian life. Being a Christian and being baptized is the same thing. Confirmation is the affirmation of Baptism and Confession and Absolution is the practice of Baptism. In Baptism we become part of Christ; a union continued in Holy Communion as He becomes part of us. By Baptism we received the name of God, included in Christ's death and resurrection and so are made members of His own Body, the Church.
This is why the Baptismal font in many of our churches sits in the middle of the aisle. Here, the font serves as the focus of who and whom we are. Placed squarely between the pews and the altar, it blocks the central aisle. Each person approaching the altar has to decide on which side of the font to walk. When leaving the altar he/she has to make that decision again. It is impossible to walk straight to the altar. Even the opening procession of worship is interrupted by the placement of the Baptismal font. The Baptismal font is an impediment to orderly traffic and forces all those who pass it to ask why an obstacle was placed right in the middle of the aisle. It is as if John the Baptist were standing at the church doors telling us to repent of our sins. He points us to the baptismal font where we can find Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Every font is a reminder to every Christian that he or she was once baptized into Christ and that the Holy Trinity came to live in him or her. That font blocks our path so that we by faith see the Holy Trinity in the water who joined Himself to us in Baptism. The font is not a meaningless portable, non-pretentious, largely to be ignored (except for times when children are baptized), piece of furniture, that is a nuisance when it has to be moved.
God finds His home in the water of Baptism and on that account it can do such great things as forgive sins, grant life and salvation, and actually confer the power of Christ's resurrection. God's pres
ence in Baptism is more than His working in every place in the universe, but in Baptism He takes us and our children to Himself and He comes to live within us. Through Jesus we share in the divine nature. We become the temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells within us. In the Old Testament the presence of God was dreadful. Israel stayed far from Sinai because God was on that mountain. Isaiah saw God in the temple and trembled. Can a man see God and live? And the answer is no. But in Baptism we come face to face with God. Instead of wrath and death, we are given the life of God Himself and our sins become permanently past tense. The unapproachable God approaches us in water.
Luther says from the baptismal font the voice of the Holy Trinity sounds. Some make the sign of the cross at the baptism font as a confession that the God who spoke to Moses from the burning bush speaks to all Christians through His Son in Baptism to give us His Spirit.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Almighty and most merciful God and Father, we thank and praise you that you graciously preserved and enlarged your family and have granted to us the new birth in Holy Baptism and made us members of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as heirs of your heavenly kingdom. We humbly beseech you that, as we have now become your children, you would keep us in our baptismal grace that according to all your good pleasures we may faithfully grow to lead a godly life to the praise and honor of your holy name and finally with all your saints obtain the promised inheritance in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
** IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER! **
Hotel Block Rate Ends --
January 27, 2018
** CONVENTION WORKBOOK **
The convention workbook is now available on the
convention page of the Southern District website.
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF HIS RESOURCES
District Mission Support Trends
2015 2016 2017
$900,000 $900,000 $900,000
Budgeted Income $900,000 $900,000
Actual Income $911,618 $829,960 $765,412
NEWLY ELECTED CONGREGATIONAL LEADERS
Congregations who have elected new congregational officers/leaders, please update the Southern District office with their information.
to submit your information online.
If you would like a paper form, please contact email@example.com.
SPIRIT OF SOUTHERN SUBMISSIONS
Remember that submissions for the January/February issue of SOS are due by Feb. 15. The preferred means for receiving submissions is by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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)
||Southern District Convention
IN TRANSITION: CALLING CONGREGATIONS
Holy Cross - Mobile, AL Hope - Santa Rosa Beach, FL (Associate)
Immanuel - Bossier City, LA
Grace - Pensacola, FL
Redeemer - Mandeville, LA Resurrection - Pensacola, FL
If your congregation has extended a call, had a call accepted, or had a call returned, please remember to notify the Southern District office.
~ CALLED TO SERVE ~
Rev. Ron Millard, Immanuel-St. Charles, MO to Immanuel-Bossier City, LA ~ Declined
Rev. Louis Boldt, St. Paul-Hammond, LA to Emmanuel-Aurora, IL ~ Declined
Rev. Aaron Stinnett, Redeemer-Mandeville, LA to St. Paul, Parkersburg-WV ~ Accepted
Rev. Karl Hollibaugh to St. James, Gonzales, LA ~ Accepted
Rev. George Borghardt, Zion-McHenry, IL to Immanuel, Bossier City, LA ~ Pending
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People
~ January ~
Anniversary of Ordination
30th ~ Rev. Mark D. Kocsis - Trinity-Dothan, AL
For more information, visit sdconfessionallutherans.wordpress.com
or call: Rev. Josh Leigeber - (337)375-6288 or Rev. John Bussman - (256)708-0084
Operation Barnabas Training Event
What is Operation Barnabas?
Operation Barnabas is a network of care to our nation's military members and their families.
We reach out to all components, with a special emphasis on our Reserve members and their families You may ask: "Why is it called Operation Barnabas?" Barnabas was Paul's companion, who helped him in his missionary journey. Barnabas means "son of encouragement." We hope to encourage our military and their families!
Operation Barnabas Chapters have been created to serve our military at the congregation level. One congregation, or a number of congregations, can join together to create an Operation Barnabas Chapter. Chapters serve a a means for members to grow in their faith and also serve as a means of outreach to the local military community.
For more information:
www.lcms.org/armedforces or Facebook: OperationBarnabasLCMS.
February 24, 2018 from 10 am to 2 pm.
Good Shepherd LCMS
2456 Decatur Hwy.
Gardendale, AL 35071
$5 must be received at Good Shepherd by Friday, Feb. 16.
Chaplain Gary Danielsen: Retired Major in the U.S. Army.
Southern District Senior Youth Mission Trip
Ages: 14 and up
Cost $299 / person
Lodging and all meals are provided
We are working with YouthWorks, an organization that has been developing youth mission trips since 1994. Each summer YouthWorks provides life-changing Christ-centered mission trips for over 30,000 students and adult leaders in over 70 communities across North America.. YouthWorks seeks to listen to local ministry partners and returns to the same communities year after year. It is their desire to walk side-by-side with friends in service, helping support the work God is already doing through them. We will serve in the city of Nashville, places to be determined, but include: working with kids club, community garden, elderly care centers, soup kitchens, and more!
A typical day begins with Breakfast and preparing lunches. Morning devotions follow, and ministry/service time is from 9 am - 3 pm every day. Dinner is served at 5:30, with evening activities beginning at 6:30 pm each night. At 9:00 pm we have Large group gathering, followed by a time to process the day,
Evening activities include a downtown scavenger hunt, community cookout, Centennial Park.
Our Chaplain: Pastor Steve Richardson will lead us in worship and devotions.
You are responsible for your transportation and adult leaders.
To register go to
Questions? Contact DCE Cindy Namanny, 601-924-9999 or email@example.com
FIRST LUTHERAN - CROWLEY, LA
Seaux 'N Piece Quilters that meet at First Lutheran Church in Crowley, LA on Saturday mornings gave 16
lap robes and 25 stuffed stockings to the residents at Encore Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Crowley on
December 19. The stockings were stuffed with personal items. A kindergarten and fifth grade class at Charles
Burke Elementary School in Duson, LA made Christmas cards to put in the stockings also. The quilting group
makes quilts to give to fire and flood victims and items at Christmas for one or two of the area nursing homes. It
is attended by ladies in the community. Pictured from left to right are Debbie Greene, Pennie Washington with Encore, Liz Cox,
Becky Leger and her two granddaughters, and Roger LeJeune, the babies' dad.
Submitted by Debbie Greene
FREE FOR THE ASKING!
If you are in need of vestments, please contact Pastor Kevin Wendt, Grace-Destin, at
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change" (James 1:17).
Here are some gift giving insights from Synod's November StewardCAST newsletter. It is comforting to appreciate how much our district Stewardship Southern Style is in step with our synod stewardship emphasis on the Gospel and maki
Prepositional Stewardship. Stewardship has been described as what the Christian gives TO. This makes sense. Theoretically, the steward gives a gift TO the Lord. Practically, this is done most often TO the local congregation. This allows the congregation, then by extension district and Synod, to be active in mission and ministry. But TO is not the only preposition that is often connected to stewardship. There is also extensive use of the word FROM. The faithful Christian steward gives their gifts FROM gratitude to the goodness of the Lord. The Lord gives, and the steward gives FROM a desire to respond. This can only happen when the steward is willing to engage two stewardship questions: "How has God blessed me and how is He calling me to respond?"
Forward and outward. There is, however, yet one more preposition that better captures the essence of a faithful steward. That preposition is THROUGH. In the creation account in general, the call of the steward is to work and keep the creation for the sake of others. The working and keeping of the steward was never for self. It was always a forward and outward movement. The steward was to work and keep the creation for generations to come!
But this forward and outward nature of stewardship forms the way that the forgiven and restored steward is to carry out their task of being a steward. Forward and outward are the directions of the Gospel! The Lord Jesus went forward and outward from His eternal throne to secure the recreation. At cross and tomb, Jesus sets right the order that stewardship failures s of all time had messed up. From that complete work of death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit has poured forward and outward, calling failed stewards to repentance and faith in Jesus! Working through the Gospel, the fallen and restored steward is set free from the fear of death and is restored to the task of working and keeping!
Stewarding the Gospel.
The first and foremost treasure entrusted to His stewards is the treasure that is the Gospel. The work of the steward is now to be about stewarding the Gospel. Every gift of the created order is used by the faithful Christian steward for the sake of the delivery of the Gospel to others. Yes, this does include financial stewardship. But it is also so much more. It is the investment of all that we are and have in being faithful caretakers and
sharers, not owners of what God has done for us in Christ. The Holy Spirit working through the individual stewards that make up the corporate stewardship of the local congregation, district and Synod is inherently a missional act. Stewardship that flows through the conduit of the faithful steward to the world in need is the kind of stewardship that the Scriptures teach!
It is time that the church stops focusing on the TO and FROM, for these allow for ownership mentality to still sneak in. It is time for us to move to a stewardship understanding that is THROUGH God working in and through His stewards for the sake of the kingdom.
Submitted by Gary Grubb, Chairman
WE LIFT UP IN PRAYER. . .
The family of Mrs. Jeanne Reinhardt, wife of Rev. Ronald Reinhardt (Pastor at St. Paul's, Decatur, AL 1961 - 1997; member of the SD Board of Directors) at her passing on Dec. 18, 2017.
The family of Rev. David Moerbe (Good Shepherd, Gardendale, AL) at the passing of his father. Further details are not currently available.
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)
Rev. Keith and Diana Ringers at the birth of their first grandchild, Sadie Grace. Congratulations!
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)
These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with various health issues:
- Mrs. Melodie Rupp, wife of Rev. Bob Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
- 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)
- Rev. David Robatzen (Luth Church of the Resurrection - Pensacola, FL)
- Rev. Bernard Ansorge (Ascension - Huntsville, AL)
- Rev. Anthony Robinson (Christ - Tuscaloosa, AL and Epiphany - Arlington, AL)
- Mrs. Nancy Kaul (SD Board of Directors Member) Hattiesburg, MS
- Mrs. Grace Yunker, wife of Rev. Arthur Yunker (Emeritus - Mobile, AL)
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
THE GIFT OF GENEROSITY-Electronic Giving
A definition of generous includes this phrase:
Freely sharing valuable things.
. . .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.
or contact Ronnie Giaise
at the Southern District office for more information --- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Patti Miller, Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, Alabama.