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JULY 2009

12100 Champion Forest Dr. Houston, TX 77066 281-444-3126 P 281-444-1733 F Inside This Issue Pastor Jeff’s Message


Online Pictorial Directory


Council Corner


Sharing Grace Found in Kosovo


Anderson Re-elected Bishop


July Noisy Offering


2009-2010 Milestone Calendar


Best of the Rest


July Birthdays


Youth News

8 - 11


Mission possible Dear Friends in Christ, Earlier this month Pastor Mark, Bruce Elijah, Terry Richter, Dolores Wendt and I attended our synod assembly. The Bishop and staff are making a serious effort at ―re-rooting‖ by encouraging clusters of congregations to take a serious look at how they can best serve and reach their community. One of the things we learned, in terms of population growth, was that our synod has been one of the fastest growing areas of the country — while at the same time being the synod with one of the highest declines in average worship attendance. Bishop Mike is passionate about turning this around! I have been extremely impressed by the new Interim Director of Evangelical Mission, Pastor Kerry Nelson, who served many years at Covenant Lutheran Church in west Houston. Largely

as a result of our Bishop’s passion, Kerry sent the following letter to all pastors:

Central to the effort toward a new vision for mission in our synod is the expansion of ―relational ties‖ between and among congregations toward the common purpose of mission. We all want to reverse the declines in membership, worship attendance, mission support and ministry that we have seen for so many years in so many of our congregations. One of the tools that I hope will help bring the right people together, as well as widely share good thinking and best practices, is what I’m calling the ―Mission Possible Network.‖ The ―Mission Possible Network‖ will be an electronic community comprised of members and leaders of every congregation in the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. There are four purposes behind the creation of the Network:

Pastor Nelson

•Providing regular communication to every congregation which encourages

missional thinking and behaviors •Creating a network of people in the parish trenches for sharing best practices and celebrating successes •Identifying key leaders who will serve on the three missional tables in our synod – Mission Strategy, New/ Renewing Congregations and Mission Support •An invitation list for occasional ―Gatherings‖ to be held throughout our synod for inspiration, encouragement and networking I am hoping to build the Network by inviting pastors to submit the names and addresses of congregational members who ―get it,‖ current leaders or ―leaders in development‖ around what it means and what it takes to reach new people and to live as faithful and generous stewards. What does it mean to say who ―gets it?‖ Continued on page 5.


Council Corner It is hard to believe that the year is halfway over for the 2009 Council. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were meeting in January to discuss goals for the year. These goals included, but were not limited to, review and possibly amend portions of the Church Constitution; review current committees and ministries; clarify staff roles and job descriptions; work on improving our campus; and support the Vision to Grow process by educating and aligning staff. Our goals to date have been to

continue to develop our Ministry Plan as part of the Vision To Grow process and work has been initiated on a review of the Church Constitution. We have also been working with Pastors Jeff and Mark on matters related to clarification of staff roles and alignment. At our June Council meeting, we reviewed our work to date and discussed a vision for the remainder of this year and future years. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Campus Management Team for our new monument sign. This has been an

ongoing project for several years, and the results are fantastic. A preliminary plan is also in the works to beautify our campus and information will be forthcoming later in the year. If you have any interest in working in this area or other campus items, please contact Susan Converse. I recently shared with Council my attendance at a President’s luncheon hosted by Bishop Reinhardt. It is my understanding that this was first type of gathering specifically for Council Presidents in the Gulf Coast Louisiana Synod. I sat at a table with my other peers and listened to the many stories that each shared concerning the hardships and obstacles they faced in their respective congregations. As I listened, I realized that Kinsmen is truly blessed, and that we should never forget about others that are in need of support during these trying times.

The 2009 Council members include, left to right, Dorcas Staff, Bob Boller, Dale Parr, Dolores Wendt, Don Rosseisen, Chrisanne McAuliffe, Gary Kolkhorst, Randy Grobe and Mark Adam

Online pictorial directory coming soon; smiling faces needed Attention all Kinsmen friends and family! It’s time again for a new pictorial directory of the entire church family. Longtime members, regular attendees, occasional guests — anyone who considers Kinsmen their church home — will not want to miss out on this important opportunity to create community and become more aware of who is in our church family. ―We decided to get away from professional photographers, who pressure people with heavy-handed sales tactics,‖ stated Lynnae Schatz, director of congregational care. ―With more and more people using the Internet, Kinsmen has decided to

produce an online directory that will allow us to add new member portraits, as well as update current member photos and information instantaneously.‖ Pictures and gathering information will be done on July 12, 19 and 26 in several different locations. As people arrive at church, photographers will be ready to take pictures in the plaza or near the back entrance. These volunteers will be there on the Saturday before those Sundays, too! Hours for picture taking: Sundays: 8 AM-12:15 PM Saturdays: 5:15-6:30 PM

Mark your calendars, wear pictureperfect clothes and bring your best smiles. If you have the desire to serve as a digital photographer, please contact Linda Martens at or Lynnae Schatz at for more details. No experience or digital camera needed. Also, if you are unable to have your picture taken on any of the above mentioned dates, please inform Linda Martens or Lynnae Schatz, as make-up photos will be taken in August.


KINSMEN “Sharing Grace” Found in kosovo Dear Kinsmen Family: As you recall, Tony Bislimi came to us with a dream of an education and degree at an American university. Texas Lutheran University (TLU) stepped forward in faith with a four-year, full-tuition scholarship in the fall of 2002. Kinsmen members also donated funds for room, board and books. Tony graduated summa cum laude in 2005 and was the first TLU student to be admitted to Harvard Graduate School directly from TLU, where he graduated in 2007.

Tony fell in love with America and with TLU and wanted more of Kosovo's bright young people to have the experience and quality education that he received. Thus, in cooperation with TLU and generous scholarship grants, four more Kosovo students entered TLU in the fall of 2006. Again, Kinsmen members supported these students by supplying dorm and school supplies and contributing to room and board expenses through Noisy Offerings. On May 9, 2009, three of these four students graduated, one summa cum laude and two cum laude. In addition, seven additional students from Kosovo

are attending TLU through the Education for Peace Foundation that Tony founded. We want to thank you for your initial participation and ask that you continue to pray for these youth, that they might carry back home to their new country the desire to help establish a firm foundation for their people. God be praised for what wonderful things He brings out of small beginnings. Jim & Judy Hinkhouse Do you have a Kinsmen “Sharing Grace” story? Send it to Susan Emfinger at

Jon Anderson re-elected bishop of ELCA S o u t h w e s t e r n M i n n e s ota S y n o d The Rev. Jon V. Anderson was elected June 12 to a second term as bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Anderson was re-elected on the first ballot for bishop, receiving 488 of the 623 votes cast at the synod assembly at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn. The other 135 votes were cast for the Rev. Scott M. Grorud, a pastor at Faith Lutheran Church, Hutchinson,

Minn. Gustavus Adolphus is one of 28 ELCA colleges and universities. Anderson and Grorud were the only nominees.

pastor of Lutheran congregations in New Ulm, Minn., St. Cloud, Minn. and as an associate pastor in Houston before being elected bishop in 2003.

Anderson, 49, was born in Glenwood, Minn. He earned a bachelor's degree in religion from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., in 1981. Anderson earned a master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., in 1985. St. Olaf College is one of 28 ELCA colleges and universities; Luther Seminary is one of eight ELCA seminaries. Anderson served as a

Anderson and his wife, Robyn, are parents of three children and live in New Ulm, Minn. The Southwestern Minnesota Synod has 133,094 baptized members in 269 congregations. The synod office is in Redwood Falls, Minn. Printed with the permission from ELCA News Service.

j u ly N o i s y O f f e r i n g to h e l p H o u s to n h o m e l e s s On July 11 & 12, monies will be collected at all worship services to benefit The Life Center.

The Life Center 4516 Old Yale St. Houston, TX 77018 713-884-8938

This nonprofit organization, founded in 1989, assists Houston’s homeless individuals by providing shelter, food, clothing, drug and alcohol counseling, computer training, and most importantly, spiritual guidance.

GLIMPSES OF GRACE June Noisy Offering Reach Unlimited ELCA: God’s Global Barnyard June Synod/ELCA NAM: Baby Food

$1,025.00 $830.00 $10,937.00 $35.00



2009 TOTAL



Mission Possible (continued from page 2)

A faith milestone is a marker along life's journey that says, "This is something important, and God is here, too!" It's time to pause, to share the joys and sorrows and to give and receive support. Milestones are a time of fun, learning and celebrating the important Milestones in one’s faith life. 3-Year-Olds Beginning Sunday School Aug. 23, 2009 Pre-kindergarten Prayer Feb. 14 & 21, 2010 Kindergarten Worship and the Church Year Jan. 24 & 31, 2010 1st and 2nd Grade Service Feb. 21 & 28, 2010 3rd Grade God’s Word Sept. 13 & 20, 2009 4th Grade First Communion Oct. 18 & 25, 2009 5th Grade Endings April 25, 2010 (class only) 6th Grade Beginning Confirmation Aug. 23, 2009 7th Grade Relationships Feb. 7 & 13, 2010 8th Grade Confirmation May 2, 2010 9th Grade God’s Best Aug. 28-30, 2009 10th Grade Driver’s License Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, 2009 12th Grade High School Graduation April 18, 2010 Grief and Healing Oct. 31, 2009 Marriage Feb. 13, 2010

Regarding Evangelism, we’re looking for people who:

―Centralized Leadership Development‖ and ―Organizational Focus.‖

•are excited about the faith; are actively involved and see God at work in the ministry of their home congregation

The Willowcreek Leadership Summit is an excellent way to experience highcaliber equipping and leadership development. We currently have three (3) openings. This year’s speakers include:

•are passionate about connecting with un-churched people from their own relational networks and/or the surrounding community •have demonstrated a willingness and ability to invite others to engage in their congregation •are potentially open-minded about the potential changes required in congregational life to connect with new people in new ways •have no previous service on an Evangelism committee or other congregational leadership role (required) Regarding Stewardship, we’re looking for people who: •are excited about the faith; are actively involved and see God at work in the ministry of their own congregation •demonstrate personal faithfulness in worship attendance and their own stewardship of time/talents/treasures •envision stewardship out of a perspective of God’s abundant provision rather than a fear of scarcity •appreciate the value and responsibility of local congregations to be generous both in missional support for the wider church and for their local community •no previous service on an Evangelism committee or other congregational leadership role (required) We are looking for at least three and as many as seven names from each congregation. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT One of the specific expectations outlined in my letter of call was this one: Recruit and equip members to be leaders in the Kinsmen community. Also among our four growth barriers Vision to Grow identified were

•David Gergen, analyst for CNN and PBS and former White House adviser to four presidents •Dr. Tim Keller, founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York •Jessica Jackley, co-founder of, a peer-to-peer, online micro-lending Web site •Gary Hamel, renowned business thinker and visiting professor at London School of Business •Bono, lead singer of U2 and activist in the fight against AIDS and poverty in Africa •Roundtable Session, top experts, Henry Cloud, Carly Fiorina, David Ireland and Patrick Lencioni, from a variety of disciplines will dive into the practical skills that every leader needs — from effective hiring to navigating critical board meetings. The date is August 6-7, 2009. See you in worship!

Jeffery Alvestad, Pastor


The best of the rest BACK TO SCHOOL DRIVE Although summer has just arrived, the 2009-2010 school year is just around the corner. Help Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM) prepare kids for the new school year with supplies, clothing and shoes. NAM must raise $72,500 to serve the same number of students they served last year. Make a donation to NAM’s Back to School drive by calling 281-885-4605 or by donating online at Any surplus funds raised will be applied where needed most by NAM. CONGRATS, PASTOR BONGERS! Pastor Harvey Bongers has been accepted as a full member of the Houston Symphony Chorus. This will give Pastor Harvey many exciting opportunities with many accomplished singers under the direction of world famous conductors. In addition to performing in Houston, the Chorus travels around the globe. Well done, Pastor Harvey! CATCH THE EXCITEMENT Lutheran Social Services Night with the Houston Astros is Saturday, July 25, as the home team hosts the New York Mets at Minute Maid Park at 6:05 p.m. Discounted tickets are still available by contacting Lynnae Schatz at or 281-444-3127, ext. 43. BOY SCOUTS The month of July begins with both Pack and Troop 440 participating in the Fourth of July parade in Greenwood Forest. The month continues with a rocket evening, as the cub scouts will be building small rockets and launching them. The summer will come to a close with a Pack pool party. For information or questions about scouting, send an e-mail to SENIOR ADULTS ARE ―GOIN’ TO THE DOGS!‖ Wednesday, Aug. 12 Gulf Greyhound Park - Senior Day La Marque, Tex.

Church departure: 9:30 AM Cost: $9 per person (includes bus trip, park admission and lunch buffet) Reservations may be made by contacting Peggy: 281-469-1372; Hélène: 281-444-7948 or Grace: 281-440-4213. Please do not make reservations by voice mail; speak to one of these ladies personally. FAITH, FASHION AND FRIENDS On Aug. 7, women are invited to an exclusive preview of fall fashion trends from Chico’s. Enjoy the style show while dining on refreshing summer cuisine. Mingle during the social hour and hear tips on how to look good in your clothes and on your balance sheet from Yvonne Dean, CFP®, FIC, a Partner for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. This event will be held in Kinsmen’s Community Room from 7-9 p.m. Cost is $10, but bring friends for free! Attend with three or more guests and receive a free gift. Child care will be provided, and gently used clothing will be collected to benefit Northwest Assistance Ministries. No products will be sold at this event. Register at JOSEPH FROM THE PIT TO THE PALACE All students from Kindergarten through 8th grade are invited to be a part of this Stomp musical. To kick off the rehearsals, a music camp will be held the week of Aug. 17 (Aug. 17-21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Aug. 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). The cost of the camp is $25. Before and After Camp care is available for an additional fee. Other rehearsals will include a lock in Aug. 28-29, and Sept. 6 and 13 from 4-6 p.m. The show date will be Sept. 19. Contact Lynnae Schatz at or 281-444-3127, ext 43, for additional information.

AND THE AWARD GOES TO ... On June 24, Leadership Houston (LH) presented Kinsmen with an honorable mention award in the Youth, Children and Families category for the leadership shown in its planning and implementation of After School Kinsmen (ASK). The LH awards recognize nonprofits and corporations that have made extraordinary contributions through their programs/ projects toward the betterment of life in the greater Houston Area. This honor demonstrates the impact ASK has in the lives of families in the community. LET THERE BE LIGHT Serving as Acolytes for July worship services will be: July 5 8:15 AM Kylie Dankert/ 11 AM Christian Vindiola/John Vindiola July 12 8:15 AM Elissa Monrad/ 11 AM Michael Ford/ July 19 8:15 AM Katelyn Fox/Bryan Smith 11 AM Jason Lockhart/Joel Lockhart July 26 8:15 AM Mitchell Schroeder/Natalie Schroeder 11 AM Michael Ford/John Henze SAVE THE DATE Rally Day will be held Sunday, Aug. 30. This day celebrates the beginning of our church school year. Look for more detailed information in the coming weeks.


Krista Dankert


Barbara Williamson


Kevin Horst


Dave Ehlers


John Wood


Danny Kolkhorst


Max Jones


Kasey Zabadal


Ashton Tobler


Quenton Sharp


David Cook


Shane Stewart


Vanessa Pearce


Kevin Erickson


Michael Clifton


Eric Scanland


Rev. Cynthia Forde


Colin Mc Coy


Carolyn Yeats


Brian Gaudet


Janet Misamore


Donald Hudson


Braden Nott


Brent Bayer


Debby Simpson


Samantha Roesler


Richard Groppell


Andrew Erickson


Eric Rosendale


Mariclare Mc Neill


Megan Erickson


Judy Biffle


Rachel Wehring


Corey Hock


Kennedy Dankert


Michael Bench


Tim Timmerman


Brian Heider


Becky Ferguson


Jennifer Cobb


Janelle Rinker


Bert Hall


Carl Gatti


Gary Adams


Ruthie Kirkwood


Brian Misamore


Abby England


Jason C. Lockhart


Thomas Peterson


Carter Hambrick


Preston Maisel


Linda Thomas


Connie Mc Mahan


Matthew Reder


Kay Cajacob


Dale Hilpert


Jordan Burkland


Peyton Clifton


Michele Mulkey


Kenneth Gerner


Roger Helgoe


Bob Sawicki


Dolores Bobek


Julie Hughes


Pamela Sperber


Delbert Brase


Kinsey Moore


Jaakko Jyrkama


Ryan Gealow


Julia Richie


Salena Leija


Pat Jensvold


John De Leon


Christopher Matson


Roger Junker


Christopher Alewine


Ken O’Neal


Kathleen Masiko


Janine Blackbourn


Joseph Burton


Nina Pechal


Ted Keeling


Ray Mc Clure


Phillip Mataway


Matthew Edwards


Rhonda Tavey


Oscar Nelson


Danny Shelby


Kimberly Cook


Timothy Roesler


Ashley Snyder


Christopher Hey


Allison Scott


*This list is compiled from church records. If your name is missing or the information listed above is incorrect, please notify the church office.


Camp Basics Day Camper:

Camp Day

Youth who will attend kindergarten in the fall, through rising 4th grade. An action-packed day for school children includes Bible stories, crafts, games (indoor and outdoor), songs and more. Campers are cared for by Small Group Leaders and Support Staff throughout the day.

CAMP HOPE SPECIAL DAYS Splash Days Tuesday and Thursday

Disciple Camper: 9:15 AM - 3:45 PM Alpha (Opening Worship)

Manna (Active Bible Study)

Small Group (Activities)

Lunch Sabbath (Rest Time)

Small Group

Youth who have attended 5th and 6th grade. Pre-teens learn to serve God by helping others. Their service will include both on- and off-campus projects. Bible study and crafts connect faith to their daily life.

Hot Lunch Day Wednesday

Small Group Leader: Those who have completed 9th grade through young adults are invited to apply for paid staff positions. Each Small Group Leader shares responsibility with a Support Staff Leader, facilitating a Small Group.

Support Staff: Those who have completed 7th grade on up are encouraged to volunteer at camp. Support Staff are vital to the camp staff.


Omega (Closing Worship)

Small Group Activities include games, crafts, snacks and expressive arts

Thank you to all who have agreed to serve as mentors through Camp Hope. You service and time is greatly valued. Thank you Mary Collins for helping to facilitate this process. Mentors have already been active around camp supporting their staff.


CONFIRMATION CAMP Our Junior High Youth had a spirited time at Lutherhill for Confirmation Camp. The theme was “Spirit Life,” which focused on the Holy Spirit. Throughout the week, we learned how the Holy Spirit is present through wind, water, wheat and wine, word and witness. We also found time for climbing walls, The Blob, crafts, swimming, games, songs, Bible study and worship. Thank you to our adult sponsors — Denise Cook, Kevin Edwards, Dorcas Staff and Wendy Young.


Car Wash Sunday, July 19 — 8:15 AM - Noon During worship on Sunday, July 19, we will be holding a car wash to raise money for the offering at the Gathering. The offering collected assists ministries both locally in New Orleans and around the world. Signup to help with the car wash on The Messenger or e-mail Pastor Mark. We will need washers from 8:15 a.m. until noon.

Gathering Details We will either leave Tuesday night, July 22, or early Wednesday early, July 23, for the Gathering. If you cannot depart on Tuesday night, please contact Pastor Mark. We will return late on Sunday, July 26.

Gathering Packing List — What To Bring ServantLife Day - Closed-foot shoes (tennis shoes or boots) - Sunscreen and insect repellent - Water bottle (refillable—important as it will be used ALL WEEK) - Knee-length shorts (no short shorts allowed) - Backpack - Camera (optional) General Things to Pack ___Bible ___Journal and pen ___Money for meals ($25-$30 a day) ___Money for Sunday offering ___4-6 outfits ___Comfortable walking shoes (no-flip flops) ___Pajamas (be appropriate ) ___J-walk t-shirt ___Teal Gathering t-shirt ___Sweatshirt or long-sleeved shirt (in case A/C is too cold) ___Refillable water bottle ___Any prescribed medications ___Book or magazines ___Cards or other free time activity materials ___Hat and sunglasses (for walking outside) ___Snacks, cereal bars, cereal, etc. Things to Leave at Home: -Expensive items -Drugs, alcohol and medications not prescribed to you -Firearms, knives, weapons -Glass bottles -Laser pointers, air horns, matches, lighters

IMPORTANT CLOTHING NOTES PLEASE note that tank tops must cover your stomach and also have at least one-inch straps. Shorts MUST BE the appropriate length that you can wear to school, finger-tip length or longer. Please do not pack flip-flops; they will only be allowed to be worn in the hotel or on the bus. Know that if you do wear inappropriate clothing items or shoes, you will be asked to change. BREAKFAST NOTES We will be eating breakfast in the hotel, and all youth are expected to eat something for breakfast. We will be bringing breakfast and snack bars that are easy to eat on the go. If you have any questions or choose to bring your own snacks, that is okay, but it must fit in your own luggage. AMOUNT OF LUGGAGE Each person is allowed to bring one suitcase or large duffle bag and one smaller back pack. TRANSPORTATION IN NEW ORLEANS We will be doing A LOT OF WALKING each day at the Gathering, and our main mode of transportation will be walking. Please be sure you are prepared, walk or run five times a week until we leave for New Orleans. Also, be sure you bring comfortable walking shoes that are not brand new, as sometimes breaking in new shoes will cause blisters. If you are buying new shoes, please have them broken in before the trip. EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBER Pastor Mark’s cell phone will be on 24 hours a day, if you have an emergency please do not hesitate to call. If we are in a session, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible. Pastor Mark’s cell phone number for trip emergencies is 804-986-5717.




Sunday 9:30 AM

5:30 PM

8:15 AM & 11 AM

Informal Worship

Traditional Worship

with Communion

with Communion on 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of each month

Education Hour 9 - 11 AM

9:30 AM

Contemporary Worship with Communion

Classes for all ages (August - May)

Fellowship Breakfast Community Life Center

Connection is a monthly publication of Kinsmen Lutheran Church. Deadline for submitting news is the 15th day of each month or the previous church business day if the deadline falls on the weekend or on a church holiday. Articles are preferred electronically, but may be faxed or hand-delivered to the church office.

Kinsmen Staff Reach a Staff Member directly by dialing 281-444-3127 plus their extension.



Monday - Friday 9 AM - 5 PM

281-444-3126 Phone 281-444-1733 FAX

Rev. Jeffery Alvestad, Senior Pastor — Ext. 18

Kristen Schulze, Contemporary Worship Co-Coordinator

Rev. Mark England, Youth & Family Ministry — Ext. 24

Timothy Browning, Contemporary Worship Co-Coordinator

Bruce Elijah, Associate in Ministry — Ext. 15

Joan Horner, Parish Assistant/Hospitality — Ext. 12

Susan Converse, Director of Administration — Ext. 17

J.D. McCollom, Media Team Coordinator

Lynnae Schatz, Director of Congregational Life — Ext. 43

Sherri Botker, Director, Kinsmen Kids Preschool/Mother’s Day Out — Ext. 23

Julie Hughes, Administrative Assistant — Ext. 10 Susan Emfinger, Media & Communications Coordinator — Ext. 21 Irene Baasen, Accounting & Financial Reports — Ext. 14 Stefanie Gibbons, Children’s Ministries Coordinator — Ext. 15

Gundi Talbert, Director, Before & After School Kinsmen — Ext. 35 Eileen Edwards, Before & After School Kinsmen Registrar — Ext. 37 Willie Stewart, Head Custodian Ruben Cervantes, Custodian

Linda Thomas, Principal Organist

Lonnie Davis, Custodian

Elizabeth LeMay, Traditional Worship Coordinator — Ext. 22

Celebration Church 281-758-1279


July 2009  

July 2009 Connection