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12100 Champion Forest Dr. Houston, TX 77066 281-444-3126 P 281-444-1733 F Inside This Issue

ADVENT CONSPIRACY NOV. 29 - DEC. 24 The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. What if Christmas became a world-changing event again? Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.

A Note From Pastor Jeff


―Becoming A Contagious Christian‖


Advent Conspiracy


Noisy Offering


Linda Thomas Celebration Photos




Preschool Trick or Treating


The Best of the Rest


November Birthdays


Youth News

8 - 11


Accepting differences Dear Friends in Christ, One of the most insightful people I have met is Texas Lutheran Pastor and Psychologist, Dr. Peter Steinke. Since the beginning of the year our church council has been studying his DVD and book, ―Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times.‖ Dr. Steinke says: ―Healthy congregations accept differences.‖ We are by far the most eclectic and diverse congregation I have served --- in where we are from, generationally, economically, politically, length of membership and musical preferences. In such congregations the potential for development or division is high. This is especially true when discussing matters such as sexuality. Dr. Steinke compares congregations to families and believes the first mark of a healthy congregation is not the absence of differences, but rather the ability to accept differences. In a healthy church, people express disagreements in the open — without allowing their differences to separate them from one another. Kinsmen’s Church Council has modeled this very well. We are not of one mind

concerning the decisions made at the Churchwide Assembly or even, whether or not, to hold a forum. We probably are of one mind, however, on the brats and beer! A Council or congregation that never disagrees may well be a community whose zeal for Christ’s mission has been slowly extinguished. The Book of Acts and Paul’s epistles (especially the letters to the Corinthians) reveal differences among Christians. How should we care for our widows? How can we best welcome and receive the gifts of Gentiles, slaves and women? What’s the proper way to worship and celebrate the Lord’s Supper? Sometimes our differences concern central matters of faith. The gospel itself may be imperiled. But mostly our differences have to do with lesser things, and we too easily get drawn into destructive, distracting conflict. When a healthy congregation accepts differences: • People of faith do not paper over differences. • In times of disagreement, persons speak for themselves – openly, directly

and respectfully. They define themselves while remaining connected to their brothers and sisters in Christ. • People of faith understand anxiety. They find ways to respond thoughtfully rather than simply react automatically when anxiety rears its head. Some questions for reflection: • How does Kinsmen deal with differences? • Think of someone you know who is good at dealing patiently and creatively with anxiety. What does this person do to help keep anxiety in check? • What could you do to help Kinsmen grow in its ability to accept differences? See you in worship! And see you Sunday, Nov. 15, at 12 p.m. for the forum and 1:30 p.m. for the brats and beer! In Christ,

Jeffery Alvestad Senior Pastor

This free seminar is for churches of all sizes and is ―designed to equip people of faith for effective evangelism by showing them how they can share the gospel in a natural and powerful way while being the person God made them to be.‖ The Rev. Kerry Nelson, the Synod’s new director of evangelical mission, will be leading this event.


11:30 AM: 11:45 AM: 12:30 PM: 1:15 PM: 2 PM: 2:15 PM: 2:45 PM: 3:45 PM: 4 PM: 4:30 PM: 5 PM:

Gathering Lunch Session I: The Benefits of Becoming a Contagious Christian Session II: Being Yourself – and Impacting Others Break Session III: Deepening Your Relationships and Conversations Session IV: Telling Your Story Break Session V: Communicating God’s Message Session VI: Helping Friends Cross the Line of Faith Break and preparation for 5:30 worship

Register via the Kinsmen Web site or by calling the church office. Childcare is available upon request.


The conspiracy is waiting for you Christmas is coming. What was once a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior has somehow turned into a season of consumerism, stress, traffic jams and shopping lists. And then when it’s all over, many of us are left with presents to return, debt and an empty feeling. If you believe Christmas can (still) change the world, we invite you to join the Advent Conspiracy. This grassroots movement includes more than 1,000 churches in 17 countries participating as co-conspirators — with projects as varied as drilling a water well for those who lack access to clean water or simply encouraging individuals to think of meaningful acts of kindness as gift options to replace traditional gifts. Rather than giving a gift card out of obligation, conspirators think of ways they can give gifts that really will change the world, like quality time, providing clean water, feeding the hungry and looking for ways to be more loving. The conspiracy is about remembering that when we give presence instead of presents, the real meaning of Christmas has been restored. Kinsmen will be incorporating the conspiracy into all worship services and events during Advent. The themes will be: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All. During Advent, the Wednesday Night Fellowship Dinners will be simple soup and salad with a freewill donation given to support Water to Thrive. Kinsmen asks all members to commit to joining this movement on Sunday, Nov. 22. Opportunities to Participate INSPIRING WORSHIP Hanging of the Greens: Keep the tradition alive or start a new one with your family tradition by helping decorate our beautiful Sanctuary for Christmas on Friday, Nov. 27, at 6 p.m.

For more information contact Karen Crisler at 281-353-3744. EXPERIENCING FAMILY ―Prepare The Way For Jesus‖: Families are invited to an intergenerational Sunday school class on Nov. 29 in the Community Room. During this class, members will be preparing to celebrate the Advent season. ―Walk/Run to Bethlehem‖: Consider giving yourself and loved ones the gift of physical fitness or spend time walking with your family and friends. Walking is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 3:8. It was while walking in the garden that God typically spoke to Adam and Eve. How meaningful for us to walk while talking to our creator, the One who knows us best! Bethlehem is 7,106 miles from Houston. Collectively, ―Walk/Run to Bethlehem‖ participants will record their weekly mileage to determine how far Kinsmen walked for the week. More detailed information and sign ups will be available in the Narthex on Sundays beginning Nov. 8 or contact Lynnae Schatz. The ―Walk/Run to Bethlehem‖ begins Nov. 22. Small Groups: Have you ever wanted to participate in a small group but didn’t feel comfortable joining? Now is the best time! Advent Conspiracy, a DVD and book study, will be a four-week class beginning Sunday, Nov. 29. Sign up to join a small group in the Narthex between Nov. 8-22 or contact Lynnae Schatz. SHARING GRACE Alternative Christmas Fair: Kinsmen will host a Lutheran World Relief Fair Trade Fair from Nov. 29 through Dec. 6. Fair Trade is a system that helps people improve their lives and work their way out of poverty by ensuring they get paid fairly for their labor and are treated with respect. At the fair, you can purchase beautiful and unique Fair

Trade items handmade by disadvantaged artisans from 35 countries around the world. Lutheran World Relief receives 7.5 percent of each purchase to support its mission and ministry.

ADVENT CONSPIRACY CALENDAR 11/22: Advent Conspiracy Kickoff and Commitment 11/25: Thanksgiving Eve service with Holy Communion at 7 PM 11/27: Hanging of the Greens at 7 PM 11/28 & 11/29: Advent I – Worship Fully 12/2: Midweek Advent Service at 7 PM 12/4 & 12/5: Upper Elementary Advent Retreat at Lutherhill Dec. 5: Advent Conspiracy at Vintage Park from 12 – 2 PM 12/5 & 12/6: Advent II – Spend Less 12/6: Abendmusik Concert: Lessons and Carols at 6:30 PM 12/9: Midweek Advent Service at 7 PM 12/11 & 12/12: Junior/Senior High Advent Retreat at Lutherhill 12/12 & 12/13: Advent III – Give More 12/14: Before &After School Kinsmen Christmas Program at 7 PM 12/15: Kinsmen Preschool/Mother’s Day Out Christmas Program and Open House at 7 PM 12/16: Midweek Advent Service at 7 PM 12/19 & 12/20: Advent IV – Love All with the Sunday School Christmas Program 12/20: Bloodmobile from 8 AM – 12 PM 12/20: Family Caroling at 4 PM 12/24: Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Services with Holy Commun-


NOISY OFFERING Every time you go into a store, the goods you buy came through a port, most likely Houston. Every ship has at least 20 or more souls aboard who brought in the foods, from coffee to bananas, cars, computers, televisions and goods of every kind and color. Crews load all those containers on the ships and off load them here in Houston. They sail the seas never knowing if they will ever get home. That is where our port chaplains come into play. Ben Buehl, our Lutheran chaplain, and seven other Catholic, Episcopal and Presbyterian chaplains go aboard every ship that enters the channel and travel the 50 miles to port facilities. Crew members tie up at refineries, grain elevators, warehouses and equipment yards. They deliver and take aboard billions of goods and equipment. Their work is tedious and

dangerous, and while they are at sea, it is quite lonely and boring.

renew their support for this important ministry.

Our chaplains from the Houston International Seafarers’ Center are literally a line home to the crews’ families. The chaplains provide cell phones and calling cards so crews can call home for news and to hear the voices of their wives and children.

Please keep our staff chaplains and seafaring crews in your prayers.

Chaplains bring the Word and Sacraments to these crews and hand out free Bibles and other reading materials. This is required as 80 percent of the crews are not allowed to depart the ships to step on American soil. Homeland Security restrictions have made the chaplaincy work very difficult. The economy and community support has curtailed income to all the churches who supply chaplains. All chaplaincies have suffered and are faced with reducing or ending our chaplaincy work if support isn’t renewed; therefore, we ask Kinsmen and our other sister congregations to step forward again to

Pastor Chuck Sheppard, chair TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod Committee For the Port Ministry Houston International Seafarers’ Center 713-672-0511

GLIMPSES OF GRACE – OCTOBER – Noisy Offering: Habitat for Humanity




Lutherhill Day Camps


Monthly TOTAL 2009 TOTAL

$15,285.00 $125,395.50


DiscoveR -ring! Sixty-one bells. Sixty-one chimes. Twenty-six hands. Ridiculous! Truly, at first glance, there is no way a handbell choir should be able to work. Who could make music on an instrument that is 30 feet long and requires 13 people to play? But every week, faithful servants meet to figure it all out. Kinsmen’s handbell choirs make music together using the same rules they have followed since childhood: wait your turn, work together and share your toys. The cooperative spirit needed to ring in a bell choir is like none other in any group, including other music ensembles. Kinsmen has two bold groups of ringers who embrace the challenge of handbell ringing every week. The Jubilee Ringers

(formerly the Tuesday Ringers) meet Tuesday mornings from 11:30 to 12:30. This group laughs as much as they ring, and they are looking for some more jubilant people to laugh and ring with them! If you’ve never rung handbells before but would like to give it a try, this group is a great entryway into this glorious ministry. You can’t call them a beginning choir, because there are some talented and experienced ringers there, but the pace and the pressure of the choir is well suited to someone who would like to learn how to ring. Our other fearless choir is the Kinsmen Ringers, who rehearse Tuesday nights from 7 to 8:30. This is an extraordinary bell choir; every week they dare their director to challenge them further! The group also needs more ringers, but this choir is best suited for experienced ringers or for people who have an extensive

background on a different instrument. Beginning ringers will be welcomed and supported here, but hold on, because some of the music flies! If you love music and are looking for an extreme challenge, this group would love to see you next Tuesday night. ―It is a known fact that doing something with your hands reduces stress,‖ stated Barb Velotas, longtime member of the Kinsmen Ringers. ―Playing handbells does just that for me. It is upper body exercise along with mental concentration on something other than what is going on in my job or my personal life. I love using this talent of music for the Lord.‖ Whether you come for the mental exercise, the physical challenge, to socialize with a close group of friends or just because you think bells are pretty, the handbell groups look forward to ringing with you!


The best of the rest WEDNESDAY FELLOWSHIP DINNER NOVEMBER SCHEDULE Join us each week from 6-7 p.m. in the Community Life Center. Nov. 4: Spaghetti/Chicken Spaghetti Nov. 11: Fish Nov. 18: Turkey Dinner Nov. 25: No dinner due to holiday $6 $4 FREE

Adults (11 years and older) Children (3-10 years ) Children (3 years and younger)

UPPER ELEMENTARY ADVENT RETREAT All third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders are invited to attend the Upper Elementary Advent Retreat at Camp Lutherhill on Dec. 4 & 5. Lutherhill has a special way of putting the focus on ―Christ‖mas. Sign up on The Messenger for this overnight trip no later than Nov. 22. The cost is $60 per student. Contact Stefanie Gibbons for more information. SCOUT NEWS Here we grow again! October was a busy month for the scouts and Pack 440, where a few new faces joined the troop for a total of 53 members. The Tigers had their first district event, Tiger

Day. The new scouts got out for a morning of good weather, games and crafts. The Webelos had their first den camp out. Six boy scouts from Troop 440 joined the Webelos to start to introduce the group to the way the boy scouts camp. The scouts arrived home Sunday tired but with many good stories. Popcorn sales wrapped up at the end of October. Despite the economy, the cub scouts were able to sell a good amount. They learned a lot and earned money for the pack. The entire pack will be camping the first weekend in November and are hoping for warmer weather than they experienced last year. Later in the month, the Webelos will be participating in Webelos Woods, which will give the members a chance to visit other troops from around the district and see what each troop has to offer. The cub scouts will be going to Cuberee, which is a district event designed to help the boys with earning sports belt loops and pins (Like BB Gun and Archery) and work on other rank requirements in the great outdoors. For information or questions about scouting, please e-mail NAM 5K CHALLENGE AND FREE TEAM NAM TRAINING Team NAM is inviting race participants to raise money for Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM) through its NAM 5K Challenge. This will encourage participation in the Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon/EP5K, as well as foster health, fitness and good running. The Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K will be held on January 17, 2010. The NAM 5K Challenge is a fundraising event in support of NAM, an official charity of the Chevron Houston Marathon. Find more information at 2010 ALTAR FLOWERS Beginning in January 2010, the cost of chancel flowers will increase from $20 to $25. Celebrate a birthday, baptismal birthday, anniversary or honor a loved one with altar flowers by signing up on the Flower Sign-up Chart, which is posted in the hallway near the Narthex. The deadline is the Sunday before the desired date.


Floyd Blackwell Gregory Ray Archie Coote Vicki Beecher Pamela Roth Leigh Mc Auliffe Sherion Scroeder Zoe Kolkhorst Orville Musch Logan Messmer Alexander Agard Melissa Varney Charlotte Landgraf Tyler Bench Katrina Hock Erik Thomas Brian Williamson Mark Hanson Michael Henze Clarissa Cox Marie Blom Harlen Martens Jeanne Ritchey Marie Douglas James Gaudet Angel Puder Peter Friedell Matthew Jones Kaela Moseley Linda Martens Kendra Kirkwood Barbara Griffith Donald Nelsen Gabriella Leija-Avalos Natalie Rall Brad Rizzo Karen Bell Sharon Smith Lauren Tavey Rissa Foerschner Ian Yeats John Miller Don Alewine Julie Anderson-Smith Chelsea Burkland

11/1 11/1 11/1 11/1 11/2 11/3 11/3 11/4 11/4 11/4 11/5 11/5 11/5 11/5 11/5 11/6 11/6 11/6 11/7 11/7 11/7 11/7 11/7 11/8 11/8 11/8 11/8 11/9 11/9 11/9 11/9 11/9 11/10 11/10 11/10 11/11 11/11 11/11 11/12 11/12 11/12 11/12 11/12 11/12 11/13

Ed Malachosky Paula Bench Lisa Nott Lori Hollaway Mitchell Rosendale Brittany Wittenberg Lyn Easley Kevin Snyder Brenton Lenzen Alexis Lindblom Sara Winters Katelyn Ford Susan Beam Michael Ford Jennifer Hart Beth Hilpert Laurel Adams Janice Gumm Melissa Gerbozy David Simpson Pamela Leija-Avalos Susan Meyer Alyssa Wilson Miranda Blackbourn Marilyn Blackbourn Robert Rall Tim Jackson Chase Wolter Lisa Ebner David Boggs Lauren Best David Zeornes Margaret Richardson Karl Fortenbach Devyn Bean Karen Crisler Jack Banik Kirsten Williamson Dan Sell Robert Kirkwoodl Myron Menk Hayleigh Maisel Jim Hughes Alexis Agard Norma Cox

11/13 11/13 11/13 11/13 11/14 11/14 11/14 11/15 11/15 11/15 11/15 11/15 11/15 11/15 11/16 11/16 11/16 11/16 11/16 11/17 11/17 11/17 11/18 11/18 11/18 11/18 11/18 11/19 11/19 11/19 11/19 11/19 11/20 11/20 11/20 11/20 11/21 11/21 11/21 11/21 11/21 11/21 11/21 11/22 11/22

Bradley Young Paul Heggeseth Harold Kolkhorst Natalie Tills Dan Fox Locke Lehmann Shawn Mc Anear Anna O’Neal Hope Agard Jill Henze Marilyn Bradsby Henry Engel Craig Parliament Ronald Schneck Larry Horst Jane Cominsky Matt Lindblom Anne Jackson Ashley Moore Ashley Patton Stevie Berryman Mike Nash Jane Robertson Cheryl Ray Rose Mary Burkland Nancy Gealow Donald Blue Ana Woods Sue Durrett Bryan Groth Dia Stewart Joie Folkers Margie Fanaff Stefanie Gibbons Suzanne Thoele Katie Kolkhorst Jana Ray Stephanie Brady Grace Elijah Ray Bradsby Denise Rizzo Tina Metting Shane Wernette

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

11/22 11/22 11/23 11/23 11/23 11/23 11/23 11/23 11/24 11/24 11/24 11/24 11/24 11/24 11/24 11/25 11/25 11/25 11/25 11/25 11/26 11/26 11/26 11/26 11/26 11/26 11/26 11/26 11/27 11/27 11/27 11/27 11/28 11/28 11/28 11/28 11/28 11/29 11/29 11/29 11/29 11/30 11/30


We can change the world ... ... one story at a time. The story of Christmas has gotten all messed up. It’s supposed to be the story of a Savior’s birth but it has become the story of shopping malls and stress. But what if Christmas became a world-changing event again? What if we spent more time in worship and less on gifts? What if we bought one less gift and gave the extra money to Water2Thrive ( so they could provide clean water in Africa? What if we gave of ourselves and our time as gifts to loved ones instead of a sweater two sizes too big? What if instead of asking each other “What do you want for Christmas” we asked instead, “What are you giving for Christmas?” What if we made a difference in the world during Christmas instead of adding to our debt? In November, Junior and Senior High Youth will be invited to join the Conspiracy. On The Messenger and in the weekly Youth e-newsletter, we will have specific ways for you to be involved through promotions, Bible Study, worship and service.

Pastor Mark

 Jr. High, ext. 39  281-444-3127, ext. 24

 Sr. High, ext. 40

 Off Campus Hotline, ext. 41


Advent Retreat Friday, Dec. 11 - Saturday, Dec. 12 Hey, Junior High Youth: Come away with us to Lutherhill and join other junior high youth from around the state for the Advent Retreat. The weekend will be filled with friendship and fun as we grow in our faith. We will leave Kinsmen at 5 p.m. on Friday and return by 6 p.m. Saturday. The cost is $60 for the weekend. And don't forget to sign up for Confirmation Camp @ Lutherhill Sunday, June 20 - Friday, June 25.

@the Crossing Friday, Jan. 29 - Saturday, Jan. 30 Holy Comforter Lutheran Church @the crossing is a new event for 7th and 8th grade youth and their adult leaders. Be part of the new event and

Discover Who UR by identifying your own uniqueness and how you might use your gifts to serve in the world around you. Look for details on The Messenger.

Reformation Bowl Thank You Thank you Danny Kolkhorst and all who made the Reformation Bowl a great success! If you are interested in future Junior High Small Groups opportunities — to join together in fellowship or service — contact Pastor Mark.


S.W.A.T. is going to Open Door Mission! If you are a senior high student, we hope you will join us for our annual service event to Open Door Mission on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Open Door Mission is a faith-based recovery and rehabilitation center dedicated to transforming the lives of the addicted, disabled, destitute and homeless. We will meet at Kinsmen at 7:30 a.m. and will return around 1:30 p.m. Please sign up on The Messenger if you plan to attend. This is a great opportunity to serve others and you will learn about the ministry of Open Door Mission.

@theCrossing Leadership Team @the Crossing is an event for Junior High Youth Friday, Jan. 29 - Saturday, Jan. 30 at Holy Comforter Lutheran Church. At the event, 7th and 8th grade youth and their adult leaders will "Discover Who UR" by identifying their own uniqueness and how you might use your gifts to serve in the world around you. We are looking for high school youth to help with the planning and leadership of this event. Contact Lauren Boller or Pastor Mark to be a part of the leadership team. The leadership team will hold a lock in with high school youth from other congregations in December to plan this event.

Family Fall Festival Thank You The Family Fall Festival was a great success. Thank you to all who helped with donations, trunk or treat, the haunted house, games and the dramatic reading for the festival. During the event, children's books were given away as a part of our literacy theme. If you are interested in being a part of a team that discovers more ways to “share grace� through literacy projects in our community, contact Pastor Mark.





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 9:30 AM

Contemporary Worship

9:30 AM

Education Hour Classes for all ages (August - May) 9 - 11 AM

Fellowship Breakfast

with Communion

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 Rev. Jeffery Alvestad, Senior Pastor — Ext. 18 Rev. Mark England, Youth and Family Ministry — Ext. 24 Bruce Elijah, Associate in Ministry — Ext. 15 Susan Converse, Director of Administration — Ext. 17 Julie Hughes, Administrative Assistant — Ext. 10 Susan Emfinger, Media and Communications Coordinator — Ext. 21 Irene Baasen, Accounting and Financial Reports — Ext. 14 Lynnae Schatz, Director of Congregational Life — Ext. 43 Stefanie Gibbons, Children’s Ministries Coordinator — Ext. 15



Monday - Friday 9 AM - 5 PM

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

Kristen Schulze, Contemporary Worship Co-coordinator Timothy Browning, Contemporary Worship Co-coordinator J.D. McCollom, Media Team Coordinator Sherri Botker, Director, Kinsmen Kids Preschool/Mother’s Day Out — Ext. 23 Gundi Talbert, Director, Before & After School Kinsmen — Ext. 35 Mayra Olvera, Asst. Director of Before & After School Kinsmen — Ext. 36 Eileen Edwards, Before & After School Kinsmen Registrar — Ext. 25 Ruben Cervantes, Custodian Lonnie Davis, Custodian

Joan Horner, Parish Assistant/Hospitality — Ext. 12 Linda Thomas, Principal Organist


Stevie Berryman, Director of Adult Hand Bells

Celebration Church 281-758-1279

Elizabeth LeMay, Traditional Worship Coordinator — Ext. 22

Rev. Chris Markert, Mission Pastor — 281-840-0195

November 2009  

November 2009 Connection

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