"Oh give thanks unto the Lord for his mercy endures forever"
To celebrate true thanksgiving is to get everything in proper perspective. It is to admit that ultimately we are
not self-sufficient but totally dependent upon the grace of God. It is said that some of Martin Luther's last words were: "We are all beggars". That is for sure. If we believe that God is the Creator and Owner of all of the earth, then we are in a sense "beggars" indeed. That is to say that ultimately we own nothing. We leave this earth with empty hands. And all that we have even now is really owned by God and given to us as good stewards if we would but acknowledge it.
Gratitude is a natural quality in every person who is not entirely given over to selfishness, and the expression of gratitude is the simplest and surest way of giving honor and paying respect to another person.
It is to be expected, then, that expressions of gratitude to God should be among the most basic aspects of our relationship with Him. It is all too easy for us to overlook the ordinary, everyday blessings that we enjoy: food and clothing, shelter, friends, health. Too often these things are taken for granted as though they were our due. But the fact that so many of God's good gifts have been with us all our lives is a circumstance that ought rather to increase our sense of thankfulness.
It is good for us to pause and recollect, for the comforts and blessings of our lives always outweigh the unpleasant things, and, for this very reason, we tend to overlook them. Yet, even things apparently undesirable or evil can be made occasions for thanksgiving to God, since He never fails to extract from even the most unpromising situation some element which can be turned to our good.
We give thanks to God for His many blessings, and not the least for the opportunities He has given us of learning patience and forbearance through our adversities, and learning to know ourselves better; of learning, perhaps even in failure or neglect, that the only ultimate value in our lives is the love He has for us.
Thanksgiving Day offers us an opportunity to stop and express our appreciation for the preciousness of life, the goodness of life, the bounty given to us by God "Good measure: pressed down, running over."
"Oh give thanks, unto the Lord for his mercy endures for ever."
** IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER! **
Registration Closed --
October 8, 2017
All Memorials were due --
October 8, 2017
All Nominations due --
November 1, 2017
Hotel Block Rate Ends --
January 27, 2018
NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN!
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
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF HIS RESOURCES
District Mission Support Trends
2015 2016 2017
$900,000 $900,000 $900,000
Budgeted Income $750,000 $750,000
Actual Income $734,888 $665,903 $615,313
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPIRIT OF SOUTHERN SUBMISSIONS
Remember that submissions for the November/December issue of SOS are due by Nov. 15. The preferred means for receiving submissions is by email (email@example.com). 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)
SPIRIT OF SOUTHERN UPDATE
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!!
|November 12, 2017
|95th Anniversary Celebration Service
||Bethlehem Lutheran Church
|November 12, 2017
|Appreciation Service for
Rev. Jerome Terry
|Bethel Lutheran Church
New Orleans, LA
|November 19-21, 2017
||2017-2018 Annual Teachers' Conference
||Grace Lutheran Church and School, Huntsville, AL
IN TRANSITION: CALLING CONGREGATIONS
Holy Cross - Mobile, AL Hope - Santa Rosa Beach, FL (Associate)
Immanuel - Bossier City, LA
Grace - 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. William Cornelius, Emanuel-Millbank, SD to Trinity-Monroe, LA ~ Accepted
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People
95th Anniversary Service -- Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Prattville, AL
Rev. Jeff Hesterman, Pastor
~ November ~
Anniversary of Ordination
45th ~ Rev. Dr. Craig Rinker - Emeritus, Atonement, Metairie, LA
5th ~ Rev. David M. Hartung - St. Luke, Starkville, MS
PENSIONTOWN HELPING HANDS AND SAVING LIVES
You are invited to the grand re-opening of
Pensiontown Helping Hands and Saving Lives community development program. This special event is on Nov. 4, from 1:00Pm to 3:00PM. (A flier with all details is attached.)
Pensiontown Helping Hands and Saving Lives (HHSL) is striving to make a difference by helping build new lives for homeless' families, veterans and individuals in the community through outreach. Our mission is to move them from homeless and hopeless to independent living, renew and rebuild their self-esteem and help realize their potential. Our goal is to reach those in need in the greater New Orleans area and lend a helping hand. We offer a number of services catered to assist a variety of people with differing issues. We believe everyone has the right to happiness and we are committed to helping people get there one hand at a time. Volunteers are always welcome. For more information, visit our website:
SAVE THE DATE:
ANNUAL TEACHERS' CONFERENCE
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
: Annual Conference
WHERE: Grace Lutheran School and Church, Huntsville, Alabama
Sunday, November 19 - Tuesday, November 21
WHY: For Professional Growth, Worship, and Camaraderie
For more information, contact Glenn Gerber firstname.lastname@example.org or
the Conference Chairman, Tom Naatz at Grace, Huntsville
Three Category 4 hurricanes have devastated parts of Texas and Florida, as well as Puerto Rico-all in the span of a few short weeks.As we well know, recovering from an event like these is a marathon, not a sprint. Relief efforts will be ongoing for quite some time, and you can be a blessing to the victims in three ways:
PRAY for those who were affected by these disasters and those who will come to their aid in the weeks and months to come.
GIVE money and other, specifically needed items. If you would like to make a monetary donation, you have several options. A few of these are listed below. 100% of the donations given to these organizations will go directly to the affected areas. Be sure to earmark the donation for disaster relief. You may click on the following links to visit their donation pages.
If you need a physical address in order to mail a check, please call the Southern District Office: 985-635-4382.
Throughout the recovery process, specific products/items will also be needed. Upbring has put together a comprehensive list of items that may be gathered and assembled into care kits. Please click here to view the list. Once your kits are complete, contact Upbring to find out where the kits are needed so you know where to ship or deliver them.
VOLUNTEER when the call goes out. While the assessment of volunteer needs continues, you may already communicate your desire to volunteer. Camp Restore/RAI is coordinating volunteers for areas of Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. They are also exploring ways to assist with Hurricane Maria recovery in Puerto Rico. If you wish to volunteer in Irma relief, however, please contact Mr. John Elliott in the Florida-Georgia District Office. Click on the links below to sign up; you will be notified when opportunities are available.
Operation Barnabas - the only program of its kind in the U.S. - is the Synod's network of care to our nation's military members, families and veterans.
Rev. Gary Danielson, Coordinator for Operation Barnabas will be in Biloxi on Saturday November 11, 2017 (Veteran's Day) to conduct training on what your congregation can do to assist our military. This training will be conducted from 9 AM to 12 PM at the fellowship hall of Good Shepherd. It is open to ALL congregations.
Rev. Danielson will share how to become an Operation Barnabas Chapter and give a best practices style presentation of what a chapter can do in your community. Chapters are similar to any other group in your congregation, like Lutheran Women's Missionary League and others.
You will need a dedicated group of people in your church to serve in the chapter. This is not another task for the pastor. This is a chance for your congregation to actively serve in your community and share the love of Christ with those who have borne the burden of defending our nation.
"If not us, then who?"
Please let me know if anyone will be able to attend. (Refreshments provided.) I look forward to hearing from you and your congregation.
Pastor James Garnett
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd
Annual Southern District Junior Youth Gathering
One District, One Gathering, One HUGE event
for our Southern District Junior Highers!
@ Lake Forest Ranch ~ Macon, MS
Early bird August 25th-September 15th $105
Regular registration Sept 16th- October 25th $120
Presenters: Pastor Tim Schutt and Pastor Greg Manning
FREE BIBLES AVAILABLE!
We want to make you aware of a special offering from the LWML store. The
Today's Light Bibles
, 2014, ESV version are available in cases of 12, free for shipping costs. Karen in the office (800-252-5965
) will take your orders and can give you an approximate cost of shipping. These will make great gifts for confirmands, guest speakers, or for your church's Sunday use. As the hurricane-affected churches recover, you may want to reach out and offer to send the Bibles to them if they need them.
SOUTHERN DISTRICT 500TH ANNIVERSARY of the REFORMATION CELEBRATIONS
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.
STEWARDSHIP OF OUR CONGREGATIONS
THE REAL CURRENCY OF STEWARDSHIP - MID-OCTOBER 2017
Here are some timely excerpts from Synod's October StewardCAST newsletter. So, what is your answer to the age-old question, "How can we best communicate that stewardship is more than just the church begging for more money?" After all, there is really no solid "quick fix" answer to this million-dollar stewardship question. Far too much effort is expended in easy answers in the area of stewardship.
Easy answers often create more issues than they solve.
Simple solutions that deceive.
- The first "easy answer" often attempted is to go the programmatic route. There are those who hold that all you need is the right program, the right consultant, the shiniest print piece and catchiest communication handles, and everything will fall into place. But these items alone will not turn the stewardship skeptic into a committed steward.
- Another "easy answer" that is attempted is one that appeals to guilt. These impassioned pleas have come from pastors and congregational leaders. Only succeed in reinforcing the false narrative that the congregation is really oriented toward manipulative stewardship.
- Yet another logical attempt at an easy answer to the stewardship objection is to try and make the scope of stewardship too small. Reducing stewardship to categories like "time, talent and treasure" can often be logical and well meaning. The skeptical steward may say, "I have given my time. I have given my talent. Two out of three isn't bad. I will keep my treasure." This easy answer actually weakens the very stewardship it attempts to encourage.
Called, gathered and enlightened: A matter of identity. While there are no "easy answers" to the objections the original question posed, there are answers. There is no greater answer than to point the objector to Holy Scripture. The initial focus needs to be on the identity of the steward. Passages that highlight that stewards are stewards because they were made for this purpose (GENESIS 1 AND 2) and that they have been redeemed for this purpose (ROMANS 12:1-2) are good places to start. The wayward steward is restored to faithful stewardship by the Spirit calling, gathering, enlightening, sanctifying and keeping them by the power of the Gospel. This appeal to the identity of the steward will also broaden the horizon of the skeptical steward.
Modeling a vocation of joyful service. There is one tremendous answer that is often overlooked: modeling. This means the congregation needs to be highlighting and telling the stories of those who have been moved by the Holy Spirit to use all their life and life's resources for God's purposes. When skeptical stewards can see faithfulness in action in light of who God has called them to be, it gives a visible pattern for them. When people who are just like they (skeptical steward) are - young or old,
wealthy or poor, bored or busy, those on fixed incomes or those with growing assets - are seen being who the Lord has made and redeemed them to be, it can be a powerful teaching tool. Done well, this can be the best currency to buy a second look at faithful stewardship in the lives of the skeptical steward.
Leaders, as faithful stewards, know that stewardship is more than money. They know it is a call to be "all in" for the Gospel. Devoid of easy answers, it takes the regular application of God's Word and the visible investment of faithful stewards to serve as an example for those who would be the stewards God has made them to be!
Submitted by Gary Grubb, Chairman
WE LIFT UP IN PRAYER. . .
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)
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)
- 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)
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 --- email@example.com.
Illustration by Patti Miller, Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, Alabama.