HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US! This is an exciting time in the Texas District as we celebrate our 100th birthday. We have and are celebrating and remembering this significant event in many different ways. Most of our congregations used a special Anniversary Worship liturgy, February 19, 2006, to celebrate the Texas District being separated from the Southern District in 1906. This anniversary celebration will be continued in our District Convention in Houston, Texas, June 22-25, 2006, with the theme, "God's Purpose-Our Commitment - Ablaze in Christ."
The Texas District Board of Directors, at the beginning of this decade, felt that it was important that we celebrate our 100th, not just for one day, but throughout the next ten years. As a part of this celebration, they established some goals for all of us to work towards. One goal was to start ten new missions a year. By God's grace, we have exceeded that goal. The second goal was to raise a $1,000,000 over our regular budget to help finance and support the mission effort in Texas. We have not met this goal, but we continue to work towards it with the Texas Partners in Mission program. The third goal was to increase the membership in The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod in the Texas District by 2% each year. Sad to say, we have fallen far short of this goal. We are basically staying even after a brief loss in membership. There is plenty of work to be done in sharing the Good News of the Gospel. Hopefully, the "Ablaze" movement started in Synod will help us in this effort.
The 2006 District Convention is being held in Houston because this was the location of the 1906 Southern Convention when it was decided to create the Texas District. The Southern District Convention recognized that Texas needed to be a separate District to meet all of the mission challenges in our State. We will ask the congregations in Texas to bring a special offering to the Convention to be divided between the Texas and Southern Districts for pre-designated mission projects that reflect the ongoing mission spirit of these two Districts. The president of the Southern District, President Kurt Schultz, will be present to be a part of these celebrations.
It is very clear that the formation of the Texas District was God's purpose so that His kingdom could be expanded. The ministry in Texas has continued to excel because of the commitment of its people. The rugged and can-do spirit of Texas was and is reflected in all of the ministry efforts in Texas. While we began as a predominately German culture, God has opened our mission doors to include ministries among Hispanics, Blacks, Chinese, Korean, Sudanese, and Asian Indian to name a few. But there is much work still to be done. I like to say that we do not have any problems, just challenges and opportunities. God has blessed us beyond imagination, and He will continue to support us in the future through the commitment of our Texas District people.
It is my hope and prayer that your congregation will recognize God's mighty work in Texas by making special plans to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Texas District in your church and community. I encourage you to be a part in all of the planned festivities. In so doing, you are recognizing God's grace and the commitment of our forefathers, which continue through us.
Peace and Joy,