The peace of the Lord be with you…
How often have we exchanged this greeting without really thinking of how meaningful it is? Join Lutheran Women at the Fall Gathering this November. It will once again be held at the Lake Yale Conference Center which is set on a beautiful lake among towering oaks - a perfect place to reflect upon ‘God’s Peace’.

Please Join Us:
Florida/Bahamas Synodical Women’s Fall Gathering
November 8, 9 & 10, 2013

Opportunities for exploring ‘God’s Peace’ will include: Gathering and
Sending Worship Services, Bible Study, Worship with Holy Communion, and many workshops to choose from. Time for personal reflection and meditation will also be available throughout the weekend. Delegates will be conducting the business of our organization including election of officers and triennial delegates.

A youth leader will guide the youth throughout the weekend. They also will join in many of the activities and workshops. To encourage young women to attend, their fees are reduced. Consider bringing along your daughter or granddaughter!

‘Share the Spirit Grants’ are available to help defray costs for anyone wishing to attend. Watch the web site for additional information regarding the Fall Gathering and registration forms. These will be available during the summer.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Fall Gathering Information Links 

Registration Information 

Overnight Registration 
Workshop Registration 
Love Offering 


All those who could attend enjoyed the annual summer Bible Study hosted by St. Andrews By-The-Sea at Jacksonville Beach on August 17, 2013.  We so appreciated not only the time dedicated by those lovely ladies who taught our three meditations but the delicious assortment of toppings and treats provided for our salad luncheon.  You can’t go wrong with this mixture of Lutheran women, laughter, study and food!

What are your churches doing?  I remember how our Northern Assembly attendants at the Spring First Coast Conference excitedly spoke on each individual congregation’s projects, missions, and works of love.  Let CJ Whitfield, our President, know to include your group or church’s events so that the blog she created for us can help “spread the word” for all that can or might be able to participate or share with you.

Any questions that we can help you with or answer for you or if your group has had a recent change of officers for email or “snail mail” delivery, please notify your officers listed to the left.

Keep abreast of the news on our FL-BA SWO website for what the Women of the ELCA are planning as well as the wealth of resource materials available for your groups.  The Lake Yale Convention data and information should be or will be available for those planning to attend in November.

Check Out our on line calendar also. 

Reference our FL-BA SWO website at

Summer Bible Study Hungry Hearts

Just a Reminder!!!

Bible Study
Hungry Hearts


Please remind the women of your congregations that St. Andrews, 1801 Beach Blvd, will be having a Bible study on Saturday, August 17th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  This Bible study will be taken from the summer issues of our Gather magazine. Lunch will be served.  St. Andrews will provide the greens for salad and everyone coming is asked to bring a topping. If you are not able to stay for the whole time, the study will be in one hour sessions.

Where:  St Andrews,  1801 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL. 

Time:    10:00 am - 2:00 pm 

If you have any questions, please give me a call.    Kathy Clifford - @

Barbecue at St Andrew's

St. Andrew's WELCA Chicken Barbeque and Silent Auction

Barbecue at St Andrew's 


 June 8, 2013 from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM
      Price - $7.00 - Benefits Kitchen Renovations
  Tickets must be bought in advance by calling
Meal includes half of a chicken, baked beans, cole slaw and bread.

 Rachel’s Day

We pray for our Children who are lost and crying out from the dark. Open our hearts, minds and arms, God, so that we may welcome children whose parents are incarcerated, absent from the home, or struggling with addiction. And help us, together, to provide them with the love, strength, and stability needed to run this race of life.—from the Litany for Rachel’s Day

Rachel’s Day is usually observed on the first Sunday in May.The day takes its name from Jeremiah 31:15–17, in which the matriarch Rachel grieves for her children. Rachel’s Day is a time to mourn the loss of our children and to renounce the forces of violence and fear. It started in one congregation, Bethel West in Chicago, and spread from there. At the 1996 Women of the ELCA Triennial Convention, delegates passed a memorial on Rachel’s Day, brought by the Metropolitan Chicago Synodical Women’s Organization, resolving “that ELCA women encourage their congregations to recognize the first Sunday in May each year as Rachel’s Day.” We continue to observe Rachel’s Day in order to broaden awareness of the violence suffered by children and to encourage taking action to address it. 

Your Unique Gifts & Talents

You might be surprised how many adults are still looking for their God-given talent. For so many of us, the problem isn't that we don’t have one; it’s that we are trying too hard to find it. People think that a God-given talent must be some huge and complicated thing that we have to search for, but it’s really much simpler than that.

Like all things in our walk with God, start your “talent search” with prayer. Ask God to help you see yourself through His eyes. Most of the time we don’t see our God-given talent because we think that there is nothing extraordinary about us. Ask God to help you see with His eyes because whenever God looks at you, all He sees are extraordinary things because that is what He put in you.
The other part of realizing your God-given talent is paying attention to what is already inside you. For example, when I was growing up my favorite games to play with my sisters were make believe games; we would pretend that we were in college or church. My favorite part of these games was pretending that we were in church because I got to teach the Bible to my younger sisters. Even though it was make believe, I look back now and realize that the game let me start using one of my God-given talents – teaching!

It’s also important to remember that your God-given talent may be something that you don’t even consider a talent, but that isn't something just anyone else would be good at. My husband David is amazing at making things happen–that’s one of his God-given talents. If someone comes to David with an idea for something that needs building or fixing, he can make it happen. He has a difficult time thinking of that as a talent, but let me tell you, I can’t do what he does!

The most important thing about finding your God-given talent is to be open. Your talent may not be music, performing, or athletics, but that doesn't mean that you don’t have a talent or that your talent is less important than someone else’s. We have to be open to talents that put us in the background more than in the spotlight. Think about what you really enjoy doing: singing, teaching, building things, organizing, listening to and helping other people, cleaning. Some of these may not sound like talents, but they are. If you enjoy it, are good at it, and can use it to bless God’s people, then it’s a God-given talent.

I promise you, you have at least one God-given talent. I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.
What do you think your God-given talent might be?

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many… If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? – 1 Corinthians 12:14 & 17

Jenn Arman

Each of us has unique talents

Have you ever looked at a talented friend and felt almost envious? Maybe you thought something like "There's nothing special about me. Look how talented Jane is! I'll never speak or sing as well as she does." Maybe you've even compared past mistakes. Maybe you've thought, "I've made too many mistakes in my life. I've done too many things wrong. God can't use me." Or maybe you've done the reverse and felt you were somehow better because you hadn't made as many mistakes as a friend had.

In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul uses the analogy of a body to explain why such comparisons are futile. After listing some of the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit can give, he explained, "For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the smelling be? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you."

Each of us has unique talents, gifts and abilities made especially for us. We need not compare and think ourselves better or worse than another individual. Our Heavenly Father has given us what we need for our circumstances. He knows what challenges we've faced or will face. He has given us those gifts that will best enable us to serve His kingdom and to become the person He knows we can be. Some of us work well with youth, others with small children, yet others with adults. Others work well with inanimate objects such as crafts, computers or cars. Whatever the gift you've been given, seek out ways that you can magnify it to better serve the Lord. Ask Him to show you how you can best devote your time, talents and abilities to serve others and reflect His image in your life.

Are you waiting to be asked by others to serve. Our Heavenly Father appreciates a willing servant who takes the initiative to love and lift others. Remember the parable of the talents? (Matthew 25) One servant was given 5 talents, another servant 2 and another 1. The person with 5 talents worked to double his to 10, the servant with 2 doubled his to 4, but the person with only 1 talent was afraid and buried his talent in the earth. When their lord came to make an accounting, he praised those who had magnified what they had been given and rebuked the fearful servant who buried his talent. The lord took his one talent away and gave it to the person with 10.
Take stock of your talents. Don't minimize them. Don't belittle or bury them. Don't say, oh, I'm just a kidney, I'd rather be a mouth. Or I'm just a big toe; I'd rather be an eye. And of course, don't get proud and say, "Look at me. I'm a hand; look at that old toe over there." We're all needed. We're all important. And it is from the small and simple things that great things are brought to pass. Thank the Lord for the gifts you've been given, use them to the best of your abilities and God can do great things through you – even if you never see the full ramifications of your efforts in this life

Each gift reacts differently when given to each individual. For example, everyone is invited to sing in church – no matter how polished his or her voice may be. We can all raise our voices in song and praise our God, but some people have the gift for making the melody sweet such that it stirs our souls.
Similarly, "no man (or woman) can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:3), but some people have the ability to testify of Him in such a way that we feel the Spirit bear witness that what is being said is the truth. The gift of healing may come to one person and enable her to be a great physician. With another person the gift of healing may enable her to have a calming effect on those who are troubled emotionally or mentally. She may have the gift to lift spirits and heal minds and hearts.

The real power comes when we each use our unique talents and work symbiotically with others to build the kingdom. For example, if you want to play a game of basketball, you've got to use your hands, feet, legs, eyes, arms, etc. One member of the body can't play basketball by itself. If we want to build the Lord's kingdom, we've got to stop bickering and comparing, and start working together. It's time we started building each other up so that we can each be the best we can be. Building God's kingdom is a team effort, and that means each of us needs to be doing our best and cheering on our teammates.
Until we meet again. I challenge you to assess your own talents and abilities, and then look for ways you can love and lift others. For Jesus said, Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:40) the message 

Stay In Touch

God's Love

God's Love
There are a few verses in the Bible that both Christians and non-Christians lean on when conversation takes a turn for the religious. “Do not judge” and “love your neighbor” are two of the most popular, but right up near the top is 1 John 4:8: “God is love.”
The notion that “God is love” is confusing, however, in a culture where “love” can apply to anything from Jesus’ death on the cross, to sex, to deep-dish pizza.
If God is love, what kind of love are we talking about?
It is common to hear married people speak of “falling out of love” with their spouses, and “falling in love” with someone else in adultery. In using the language of “falling,” they are cleverly avoiding any responsibility, as if they were simply required to follow their hearts.
But the Bible tells us not to follow our hearts, but rather “guard” them because they are prone to selfishness and sin (Prov. 4:23; Jer. 17:9).
Because “God is love,” that means love does not come from our hearts, but rather through our hearts. In relationship with God through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, we receive God’s love to share with others (1 John 4:7–21). Galatians 5:22 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love . . .” And Romans 5:5 says, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Through the presence of God the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are able to continue loving others—including our spouse. Even when we don’t feel “in love” with our spouse, we can give love to them and receive love from them if we live Spirit-filled lives.
The Bible does describe love as a feeling. But rather than beginning as a feeling that inspires an action, love is often first an action based on obedience to God that results in a feeling. This explains why the Bible commands husbands to love their wives (Eph. 5:25) and wives to love their husbands (Titus 2:4) rather than commanding them to feel loving. This further explains why the Bible even commands us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43–47).
Additionally, the Bible describes love as a verb—it is what we do. Like Jesus’ love, it is a covenant commitment that compels us to act for the good of the one we love. The most popular wedding Scripture of all time depicts love as active: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4–7).
Christian marriage is reciprocal acts of covenant love. That may sound like a heady theological concept, but it includes the little things. Here are a few practical examples that I collected from some married couples to illustrate:
•“He lovingly goes to McDonald's for coffee when I am still in bed, and it means a lot to me!”
•“He still opens the car door, and it means a lot to me.”
•“My husband will not leave the house without kissing me goodbye.”
“God is love” does not mean that “love is God.” This liberating truth allows us to worship God by serving each other, rather than worshiping love and demanding it from each other. When both spouses each make a deep, heartfelt covenant with God to continually seek to become a better friend, increasing love and laughter mark the marriage.

"There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 
For  he who has entered His rest 

has  himself  also ceased from his works

as God did from His. 

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest.
 Hebrews 4:9-11b

How many of you truly seize God’s moments?  Just moments, one after another, day by day. Praising and delighting in Him with an open heart, spirit and mind for each step of the way. Or do you instead spend needless time worrying and planning step by step, so far ahead -  rather than allowing God’s Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct your steps?  How many of you take the time to rest in the Lord?   Just leaning on Jesus. Trusting in great faith with no doubts.

How many of you truly rest in God’s  Promises.  Resting on His Word.  Renewing your hearts, souls and minds each day. Leaning not only on your understanding? Understanding that God’s supernatural ways are not our ways.

How many of you take time out each day to soak and  refresh yourselves in God’s Word?  Hiding His Word in your hearts.

Do you ever take the time from your busy lives just to sit and glory in God’s Presence and delight in Him?  His Word tells us that when we delight in Him, He in turn delights in us! God loves spending time with us.  He made us to praise and worship Him in the beauty of His Holiness. God is holy all the time, every day.  He cannot be anything but holy.