What a wonderful convention! Laughter, fellowship, and hugs filled the halls as members of the Gulf States District gathered at the 37th Biennial Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Convention held on April 27-29, at the Hilton Perimeter Park Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama.
Gulf States District President, Judy Lessmann, welcomed everyone and introduced special guest Patti Ross, National LWML President. The theme, “Reign in My Heart,” (based on Colossians 3:15-17) provided the opportunity for participants to fellowship, conduct business, and to share with others. There were over 150 LWML members and guests from all over the state of Alabama, a small section of Mississippi, and the Florida panhandle in attendance. Convention hosts were members of the Women of Vision Zone.
The welcome to Birmingham was given by Ms. Sybil Scarbrough of the Mayor’s Office. Opening Presentation of Colors was by the award-winning ROTC of Woodlawn High School. Lydia Landes served as Music Leader / Director. Friday night’s worship was led by Rev. Dr. Arthur Porter; assisting him in communion were: Rev. Mark J. Kuehnert, Rev. R. Daniel Carlson, Rev. Michael Ahlemeyer, Rev. Clifford Hellmers, Rev. Joe Fairchild, Rev. Thomas Noon, and Vicar Kyle Will.
Convention guests included:
Patti Ross, President of the National LWML
Michelle Diercks, Keynote Speaker, (author of 30 Days for Joyful Gratitude)
Rev. Joe Fairchild, Bible study leader
Bea Dailey, who spoke about her lifelong experience in LWML
Cherie Endrihs, Saturday morning devotion leader
Tom Noon, Thrivent Financial Luncheon Speaker
Creative Dance Team, Creative Expressions, performed “Reign in My Heart.”
Rev. R. Daniel Carlson provided music and entertainment during the Saturday night banquet.
Linda Bailey, Interrupter (Katie Luther)
Newly elected Officers were:
President – Gwen Marshall; First Vice President – Cherie Endrihs; Financial Secretary – Mary Harris-Thrash; Junior Pastoral Counselor – Rev. Paul Leigeber; Nominating Chair – Lydia Landes, with members Kittie Wiggins and Lynn Harmon.
Continuing Officers are:
Second Vice President – Jackie Morris; Recording Secretary – Vickey Southern; Treasurer – Diane Plotz; and Senior Counselor – Rev. J. Mark Kuehnert.
On behalf of the Children’s Aid Society of Birmingham, Mrs. Pat Johnson accepted a total of 4,778 “Gifts from the Heart” that included personal care items, bedding, water, snacks, gift cards, and monetary donations.
The mite goal for this biennium, of $60,000, was voted on and approved.
Mission grants totaling $30,000 were voted on by delegates. The order of funding is as follows:
- $3,000 – Gulf States District Scholarship Fund
- $5,000 – New Roof: Camp Dixie, Elberta, AL
- $5,000 – Good News Vans: Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Mobile, AL
- $2,500 – Word of Hope Post Abortion Hotline: Lutherans for Life
- $3,800 – Sanctuary Carpet for Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Prattville, AL
- $5,000 – Spanish and American Sign Language Bible Stories: Lutheran Friends of the Deaf
- $3,000 – Scholarship Program: Camp Dixie, Elberta, AL
- $2,550 – Building a Strong Foundation in the Lutheran Church of TOGO
- $ 150 – Concordia Seminary International Graduate School Program
At our Saturday night banquet “Who Knew” our Junior Pastoral Advisor Rev. Carlson could sing like Frank Sinatra. What a voice! Everyone enjoyed the music, and a few got up to dance. Everyone was saddened to learn Pastor Carlson will be moving back to his home state of Minnesota within the week.