Serving Safely

Sponsored by the Outreach Committee, Serving Safely is a weekly series distributed via Triumphant Love’s eNews with suggestions for serving safely during these COVID-19 times.

Free Movie Other Side of the Hill – July 1, 2021

OTHER SIDE OF THE HILL is a new film that will be made available in July through Interfaith Power & Light. IPL is a non-profit that inspires and mobilizes people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change.

This new short film is a hopeful, inspiring look at local leaders on the ground in rural America who are leading climate action in their communities. But it is also about coming together, finding common ground and new climate frameworks, and shining a light on rural voices as we envision a path forward.

The film will be available for free online viewing July 10 – 25. You can watch the trailer and sign up HERE.

Austin City Lutherans 2021 Summer Newsletter – June 24, 2021

We are the ELCA congregations in and around the Texas capital city—and that includes TLLC! Since its inception in 2011, ACL has sought ways to fellowship and minister in Austin following the simple moniker that we can do “more, better, together.”

The ACL Summer 2021 Newsletter is available – Click HERE – with information on Bread For All Food Pantry, Mariposa Family Learning Center, and the recent ACL Summit Meeting with special guest Ann Howard of St. Martin’s Lutheran Church. Ann serves as Travis County Court Commissioner for Precinct 3 and encourages us as an organization to join the effort in and around Austin to combat homelessness.

Synod Assembly Offering – June 17, 2021

The Southwestern Texas Synod 2021 assembly was held earlier this month. The assembly resources and recordings are posted HERE.

This year’s assembly offering will support the work of two immigration organizations: AMMPARO (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities) and LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service).

Triumphant Love has already donated on behalf of our entire congregation, but you can also donate as an individual.

Click HERE for instructions to donate online or via mailed check made payable to “SWT Synod” with a note for “assembly offering.” Gifts will be gathered by the synod through August 2021, then divided equally and disbursed to AMMPARO and LIRS. About $120,000 had been collected so far!

MANNA: Many Are Now Needing Assistance – June 10, 2021

TLLC established the MANNA (“Many Are Now Needing Assistance”) fund many years ago. With oversight from the Outreach Committee, Pastor Danielle draws on this fund to help people in need. This could be a TLLC member, someone from our local community, or another Lutheran mission or congregation. For example, in recent years MANNA funds were used to assist a TLLC member with a utility bill, help a friend of the congregation with an emergency situation, and support a Lutheran church that provided free meals to families affected by flooding.

You can donate to the MANNA fund by placing cash or checks in the special MANNA basket at worship,

manna basket

or donate electronically HERE and entering MANNA in the “other” category.

World Refugee Day MONTH in Austin – June 3, 2021

World Refugee Month Logo

Although World Refugee Day is officially on June 20, 2021 this year, the Austin Refugee Roundtable is celebrating refugees during the entire month of June! A variety of online streaming and downloadable activities are scheduled, as well as an in-person volunteer morning on June 18 at the Multicultural Refugee Coalition (MRC) New Leaf Farm in Elgin. The entire schedule and signup links are HERE.

Lutherans Restoring Creation: Part 2 – May 27, 2021

Lutherans Restoring Creation, a grassroots movement promoting care for creation in the ELCA, has recorded an interview with ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. As a follow-up to the Good Shepherd Sunday service in celebration of Earth Day 2021, the Board of Directors for Lutherans Restoring Creation met with Bishop Eaton to discuss earthkeeping topics. You can watch the interview HERE.

Asia-Pacific Disaster Response – May 20, 2021

Over the past two months, a surge of COVID-19 cases has spread across India. The country has officially recorded over 20 million cases and 220,000 deaths. On April 30, India reported over 400,000 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily count in any country during the pandemic. Thousands of deaths are documented each day, yet the actual number is suspected to be much higher.

For the past year, Lutheran Disaster Response has supported companion churches and partners throughout India and around the world as they raise awareness about COVID-19, provide personal protective equipment and distribute sanitation supplies to vulnerable communities. Padhar Hospital, a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh, has a ward dedicated to COVID-19 patients. Unfortunately, the hospital is currently being forced to turn away patients because it lacks the space and oxygen to support them. Lutheran Disaster Response is helping Padhar Hospital purchase an oxygen generator for its COVID-19 ward so it can treat more patients and not have to turn away people suffering with COVID-19. The work of Padhar Hospital is just one example of how our companions and faith-based partners continue to bring relief to communities during the pandemic.

Please give today. Your gifts ensure that our church will be able to provide help and hope for those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in India. Gifts designated for “Asia-Pacific Disaster Response” will be used entirely (100%) for direct response to COVID-19 in India and to other disasters in the region.

Learn more and GIVE HERE

Bread for All Diapers & Wipes Drive – May 13, 2021

This month TLLC is hosting a Diapers & Wipes Drive for the Bread for All food pantry. BFA has been distributing an average of 5,000 diapers per month, and their supplies are depleted. You can drop off donations during church office hours (10-4, M-Th) or at the Pentecost worship services on May 23.

Sponsored by Austin City Lutherans, Bread for All is located at Faith Presbyterian Church on East Oltorf. The pantry has remained open on Monday evenings throughout the pandemic, providing free food and household supplies to neighbors in southeast Austin. Donations of non-expired canned goods and shelf-stable items are also welcome.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services – May 6, 2021

This week President Biden announced that the refugee admissions ceiling for FY 2021 will be raised to 62,500. Did you know that Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the US? LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through nearly 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.

Want to learn more about migration and refugee issues? The LIRS Action Center has many suggestions on how to Act, Donate, Advocate, Pray, and Teach HERE.

Lutherans Restoring Creation – April 29, 2021

Lutherans Restoring Creation, a grassroots movement promoting care for creation in the ELCA, shared the following message about Earth Day 2021:

Thank you all and let us be sent forth to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

We are thrilled that, by conservative estimates, over 39,000 of us were worshipping as part of our service celebrating Earth Day this past weekend! Don’t worry: if you missed it or want to share it you can here find it HERE.

We hope that many of the 650+ congregations that chose to share this service will be inspired to take steps to make a Covenant for Creation Care and live out the messages of the service. Be sure to join us however you are able and honor that person, place or inspiration that motivates you.

Remember: Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has accepted an invitation for the Board of Lutherans Restoring Creation to interview her in early May regarding what the ELCA’s role is in Caring for Creation. We want her to hear from you! Write your thoughts in the comments section under the YouTube video, or email us your questions by May 1st.

Loose Parts Collection for the CDC – April 22, 2021

Earlier this month, Laura Mumme, Director of TLLC’s Child Development Center (CDC), spoke to our Faith in Action “Earthkeeping” class about the CDC’s Nature Preserve on the church property. She told us about Loose Parts: alluring, beautiful, found objects and materials that children can move, manipulate, control, and change while they play. Children can carry, combine, redesign, line up, take apart, and put Loose Parts back together in almost endless ways.

In celebration of Earth Day 2021 (April 22), we invite the congregation to donate Loose Parts for the CDC’s outdoor play areas. Look for the collection bin marked Loose Parts near the church office.

Nature-Based Loose Parts Suggestions:
• Acorns
• Dried flowers
• Small rocks
• Seeds
• Pinecones
• Wood cookies
• Moss
• Shells
• Pods
• Feathers
• Sweet gum balls
• Wooden crates
• Wooden bowls and spoons

Bread for the World: Offering of Letters – April 8, 2021

Bread for the World is a nationwide Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Bread members send letters and emails, make phone calls, and visit members of Congress about legislation that addresses hunger in our communities and around the world. For many years, Triumphant Love has supported Bread and held an annual letter-writing campaign called an “Offering of Letters.”

For 2021, our Offering of Letters has moved online! Bread’s redesigned website allows you to easily customize and send emails to your senators and representatives. Click HERE to learn more and take action on current issues such as SNAP benefits, child nutrition, and humanitarian assistance to Central American countries.

Also, note that Bread for the World is participating in the upcoming Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a virtual event of worship, workshops, and advocacy on the theme “Imagine! God’s Earth and People Restored.” Register HERE for this online event taking place April 18-21.

According to Asma Lateef, director of the Bread for the World Institute:

“Climate change is a primary driver of hunger globally, and the world will not be able to end hunger unless we bring climate change under control. By 2030, there may be an additional 100 million people living in extreme poverty as a direct result of climate change. Children in climate-affected areas are more vulnerable than adults to the impacts of droughts and floods, such as hunger and malnutrition when crops are destroyed, and the spread of vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria as a result of extreme heat.”

“The U.S. is one of the largest emitters of the greenhouse gasses which cause climate change and must act to reverse the impact. As the administration and Congress begin the difficult work of restoring an economy broken by the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge them to take a comprehensive approach that includes creating green jobs that reduce inequality and transforming our food system to deliver better nutrition and slow climate change.”

To learn more about the relationship between hunger and climate change, read Bread’s Background Paper: Confronting Climate Change to End Hunger HERE.

Earthkeeping: Part 2 – April 1, 2021

The Faith in Action class on “Earthkeeping” continues on April 11, 18 and 25. Join us on Sunday mornings as we discuss what actions TLLC is taking to be good stewards of the earth. The class link is on the church’s google calendar (fix link here).

You can also register for these online events to honor Earth Day on April 22:

April 18-21: Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a virtual event sponsored by Church World Service (ELCA is a partner). This year’s theme is “Imagine! God’s Earth and People Restored.” Register HERE.

April 16-25: Faith Climate Action Week, a virtual events sponsored by Interfaith Power & Light. This year’s theme is “Sacred Ground: Cultivating Connections between our Food, our Faith, and the Climate.” Register HERE.

April 10-26: Kiss the Ground, a documentary that was chosen as the featured film of Faith Climate Action Week. Register HERE to view for free.

Earthkeeping: Part 1 – March 25, 2021

This spring the Faith in Action class is learning about “Earthkeeping.” We are exploring the Biblical foundations of stewardship, ways to care for the Earth as individuals and as a congregation, and how our Lutheran theology adds to this ancient and contemporary conversation. You can join us online from 10-11 AM on Sunday mornings (March 28, April 11, 18 & 25). The class link can be found in the church google calendar (fix link here).

You might also consider participating in these upcoming Earthkeeping activities:

March 25, 5-6 PM CDT: Climate Justice on Sacred Ground: The Role of Church Lands in Resilience and Adaptation > A free webinar sponsored by Creation Justice Ministries (the ELCA is a member). Register HERE to attend.

April 10: Keep Austin Beautiful Day > Individuals and familes are encouraged to remove litter from their favorite neighborhood sport. Free cleanup kits are available for pickup. Register HERE.

April 15-May 20: New Leaf Farm’s Spring Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) > Providing agricultural livelihoods for refugees as part of the Multicultural Refugee Coalition (MRC). Become a CSA member HERE

Water To Thrive: March 18, 2021

This week we are revisiting Water To Thrive in honor of World Water Day on Sunday, March 21. Please click HERE(fix this link) to read updates on the current TLLC water well projects in Ethiopia as well as a particular prayer request for our brothers and sisters in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia.

Don’t forget to join us virtually on Sunday, March 21 at 10am (Adult Sunday School Class) for a special presentation about W2T by Dick Moeller. Class link can be found in the church google calendar.

Cross Trails Ministry: March 11, 2021

Cross Trails Ministry is a year-round camp and retreat ministry for our Southwestern Texas Synod. Many TLLC members have been to Lutheran Camp Chrysalis in Kerrville or Ebert Ranch Camp in Harper for summer camp, confirmation camp, retreats, and work weekends. Both scenic locations allow children and adults to connect with Christ, creation, and community.

This week Cross Trails’ annual Gift of Faith Gala is happening online here to help with camper scholarships and operating costs . Also, check out their 2021 schedules for Summer Camp and Family, Youth, and Adult retreats (with appropriate COVID protocols).

ELCA Advocacy: March 4, 2021

ELCA Advocacy works for change in public policy based on the experience of Lutheran ministries, programs and projects around the world and in communities across the United States. Their advocacy work is through political channels on behalf of the following biblical values: peacemaking, hospitality to strangers, care for creation, and concern for people living in poverty and struggling with hunger and disease.

Sign up for email alerts from the ELCA e-Advocacy Network HERE. Learn about current issues and send online messages to your Senator and Representative using the ELCA Advocacy Action Center HERE.

Lutheran Disaster Response: February 25, 2021

Our Southwestern Texas Synod and ELCA’s Lutheran Disaster Response are supporting relief and long-term recovery efforts caused by this month’s winter storms.

Southwestern Texas Synod

The winter storms have impacted millions of people across the United States and within our synod, and our hearts go out to everyone who continues to struggle with lack of power and water. We are thankful for the ways in which many of our congregations have already responded to needs in their communities, and as the extent of the damage is revealed in the coming days, we offer you our ongoing prayers and encouragement.

Many people have been asking how can they help or what can they do? Besides prayer, please encourage them to give a donation to our Disaster Response Fund. Gifts will help congregations and ministries who are in need. Thank you!

Lutheran Disaster Response

Lutheran Disaster Response is communicating with the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, the Southwestern Texas Synod, the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, and Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response. Congregations are already conducting relief efforts such as supplying water, food and generators to those in need and opening their doors to serve as shelters. Long-term recovery may include repairing water-damaged homes, disaster case management and supporting vulnerable populations. Read more HERE.

Please pray for the communities that were impacted by the winter storm. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need. Pray that God will deliver comfort to those who mourn and strength to those who are working diligently to care for affected communities.

Your gifts will support storm survivors. Gifts to “U.S. Severe Storms” will be used in full (100%) to assist those affected by severe storms.

Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT): February 18, 2021

Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT) works to build healthy relationships among faith communities. Their motto is “People of all faiths doing good together.” Here are some ways that TLLC members can get involved:

The Red Bench: A monthly dialogue program to improve interfaith understanding and civil discourse. TLLC had hosted the last in-person Red Bench in February 2020. Current programs are now virtual. The next Red Bench on “Grief and Loss” is Tuesday, February 23, at 6:30 PM. RSVP HERE.

Remembrance for Those We’ve Lost: A memorial service for those who have died from COVID-19 will stream live on Sunday, February 28, 2021, at 3 PM. Join on iACT’s Microsoft Teams webinar or Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department’s YouTube & Facebook pages.

Hands on Housing: In the spring and fall, volunteers repair the homes of senior citizens and disabled individuals. Contact Janis Coltin if you would like to lead a TLLC team for the April 2021 event.

The Dose of Hope: iACT’s weekly email with words of encouragement. Sign up HERE.

Passport Program: Visit houses of worship and community celebrations of many different faith traditions. Next virtual visit: All Saints Episcopal Church on Feb. 21, 10 AM. Sign up HERE.

iACT for Refugees: English classes, youth summer programs, and more. Volunteers are limited right now, but donations are always welcome.

Lutherans Restoring Creation: February 11, 2021

Lutherans Restoring Creation is a grassroots movement promoting care for creation in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. LRC provides initiatives, suggestions, and resources for Lutherans of all ages to connect their faith to care of the earth. Here are some LRC resources to check out:

Personal Covenant with Creation

Stewardship of Creation: A Thirty Day Discipline

Inspirations and gratitude: a Thank You Card for God’s Good Earth

Ways to Integrate Creation Care in your Lenten Practices

And consider joining the Faith in Action class on Earthkeeping on Sunday mornings at 10 AM! Look for details in the weekly eNews or announcements.

Austin CROP Hunger Walk on March 7th: February 4, 2021

Join our TLLC team for the Austin CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, March 7th! Along with other Austin faith communities, we are raising funds to help combat hunger in our community and around the world. This year you can choose walk, run, or ride on your own or in a small group. Weather-permitting, we will also offer an option to walk around the church property that afternoon.

Local beneficiaries receive 25% of the funds raised, with the remainder supporting Church World Service (CWS), an international relief, development and refugee assistance agency. The 2021 local beneficiaries are: Central Texas Food Bank, Micah 6, iACT Refugee Program, Urban Roots, Casa Marianella, Hope Food Pantry, and Mt. Olive Baptist Church Food Pantry.

Visit our Triumphant Love Lutheran Church team page to sign up as a walker or sponsor. If you’ve ever thought about participating in the CROP Walk, this is the year to do it! Our team walks in memory of long-time TLLC member and CROP walker, Kris Carlson. Contact Janis Coltin or Bob Kohls for more information.

Update on Johnson Doe:  January 28, 2021

TLLC member Johnson Doe continues to recover from his stroke last May, but is not yet able to return to work yet. After fleeing their home in Liberia during a civil war, he and his family were settled in Austin in 2004 by the Refugee Services of Texas. Soon afterwards, Johnson helped to start the Multicultural Refugee Coalition. Johnson and his wife Dorothy have five children from fifth grade through college. They are very grateful for TLLC’s ongoing assistance during this difficult time. Checks or online donations to TLLC (marked “Outreach Ministry”) will continue to provide assistance with rent, medical, and grocery expenses.

Upbring: January 21, 2021

Upbring’s life-changing programs include foster care, adoption, education, residential treatment, and community services. TLLC has been a long-time supporter, dating back to when this non-profit was known as Lutheran Social Services. In pre-COVID years, we hosted Upbring’s annual Christmas party for Austin-area foster families. Our members are especially involved with the New Life Children’s Center, which serves young women who have experienced abuse or neglect. Last month our Mary Martha Fellowship Group provided Christmas gifts for 27 residents. Our congregation periodically collects toiletries and other items for their onsite “store.” New Life is also a recipient of TLLC’s Special Offerings (collected during Easter, Christmas, etc.).

Due to COVID restrictions, volunteer and mentoring activities have been temporarily suspended, but you can still make a financial gift, purchase items for their children and families, or even become a foster parent. Upbring’s annual fundraising gala will be held virtually on Saturday, February 20. Tickets will be available soon HERE.

Texas Impact: January 14, 2021

Texas Impact has compiled a video, Love and Justice: an Interfaith Service of Public Witness to Welcome the 87th Texas Legislature. This video features prayers of blessing and intercession from faith leaders around the state, including Sue Briner, Bishop of our Southwestern Texas Synod. Click HERE to watch.

Texas Impact is an interfaith network which equips faith leaders and congregations with information and opportunities for education and engagement with state lawmakers. All three Texas ELCA synods are members. Texas Impact focuses on issues that impact the most vulnerable. You can read their 2021-22 Legislative Platform HERE. Their Weekly Witness episodes (online HERE or as a podcast) discuss various issues facing our state. Texas Interfaith Advocacy Days will be held online this year from March 7-9. Registration links will be posted on their website soon.

TLLC Casserole Ministry: January 7, 2021

TLLC’s Casserole Ministry provides meals to a family or individual in need, in the spirit of celebrating and sharing God’s grace and love. To participate, you can assemble a casserole in an aluminum container and place it in the freezer in the church kitchen. Half casseroles are also needed for smaller families or individuals. Add a label marked  “Casserole Ministry” and include this information:
– Casserole description
– Ingredients
– Cooking instructions
– Your name
– Current date
Perhaps you would be willing to provide a full meal when the need arises? Or know someone who could use a casserole? Contact the church office for more information.

Community First! Village: December 31, 2020

Our friends at Community First! Village have some exciting news to share. Phase II is now open—including some 3-D printed micro homes!—which will eventually add 300 new homes to the village. Also, their Community Works Entrepreneur Hub is completed. This 8,000 square foot building provides a safe space for neighbors to work on creative projects and earn a dignified income. Click HERE to watch their latest video: There is No Place Like Home for Christmas.

There are many ways to support CF!V. You can join the CF!V email list or shop at their online store. Some volunteer opportunities are available, and financial donations are always appreciated.

Lutheran Colleges Christmas Programs: December 24, 2020

Celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, along with students and faculty at our Lutheran colleges:

The St. Olaf Christmas Festival: A New Song of Grace and Truth
TLU Christmas Vespers: Sing Darkness to Light
Christmas at Luther 2020: For Everyone Born

Click HERE for a list of all 2020 Lutheran college and seminary virtual Christmas programs.

Central Texas Food Bank: December 17, 2020

The Central Texas Food Bank works with food donors, financial supporters, and volunteers to feed the hungry in 21 Texas counties. Local food pantries, including Bread for All and Micah 6, depend on CTFB’s weekly deliveries. CTFB provides numerous ways to receive free food help, including mobile food pantries, drive-thru distributions, weekly meal packs for children, and a Find Food Now map. CFTB has adjusted their procedures to allow safe volunteering during the pandemic. Click HERE to learn about “10 Easy Ways to Make a Difference this Holiday Season.”

Bread for All: December 10, 2020

On Saturday, Dec. 12, 10-11:30 AM, we are collecting donations at Triumphant Love for the Bread for All food pantry. These items are especially needed: peanut butter, diapers, baby wipes, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, detergent, and toilet paper.

In November, Austin’s Lutheran congregations—including TLLC—donated 2,721 pounds of food and staples to BFA. So far in 2020, BFA has served 1150 different households, a 70% increase over the previous year. BFA has also distributed almost $18,000 in rent assistance from a St David’s Foundation grant. Click HERE for the latest BFA news. Austin City Lutherans are doing “More, Better, Together!”

ELCA Good Gifts: December 3, 2020

Are you thinking about giving Christmas gifts that make a difference? ELCA Good Gifts are a creative, meaningful way to support the ministries of the ELCA. This program provides more than 50 different gift-giving options that help grow the church, fight world hunger, and transforms lives. Give online and you may personalize free, printed cards to be sent directly to your loved ones. Click HERE for more information.

Cross Trails Ministry: November 25, 2020

2020 has been a difficult year for Lutheran outdoor ministries. In our synod, Cross Trails Ministry opened Camp Chrysalis and Ebert Ranch Camp for three weeks this summer with zero COVID cases and offered some retreats this fall. Despite cutting expenses drastically, Cross Trails has experienced a huge loss of income due to summer camp and retreat cancellations. They hope to raise $50,000 before year-end. Watch their video announcement HERE.

How you can help:
– Donate online HERE to support our synod’s outdoor ministries.
– Check out Cross Trails online events HERE for Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1—including a Live Fire Watch and a Virtual Singalong!

Multicultural Refugee Coalition: November 19, 2020

The Multicultural Refugee Coalition’s mission is to create livelihood opportunities for refugees. TLLC member Johnson Doe, a refugee from Liberia, helped to start MRC. Over the years, our congregation has supported MRC’s sewing classes with our Sew Much to Share fundraiser and hosted their Shared Voices translator training classes in our building. Most recently, TLLC youth volunteered at their New Leaf Farm in Elgin as part of God’s work. Our hands.

Here’s how you can support MRC:
– Purchase a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) winter subscription HERE. Pickup locations are available in Austin and Manor.
– Visit the MRC online store HERE for your holiday shopping.
– Volunteer at the New Leaf Farm by signing up HERE.
– Pray for MRC and for Johnson Doe, his wife Dorothy, and their family.

Water to Thrive: November 12, 2020

Since 2008, Water to Thrive has funded more than 1,100 water projects in four countries, bringing clean, safe water to over 600,00 community beneficiaries.

TLLC member Dick Moeller founded Water to Thrive after participating in an adult education class about the global water crisis. Over the years, our members have sponsored over 100 water projects, and many have traveled on trips to African water project sites. You can read more about TLLC’s 2020 water projects HERE.

Even during this global health crisis, Water to Thrive continues to provide life-saving, clean water to families in need. You can donate online HERE or by check to TLLC (memo: Water to Thrive) to support water projects, or click HERE to give to the Drop by Drop Fund in support of W2T operating expenses.

Austin Parks Foundation: November 5, 2020

Since their founding in 1992, Austin Parks Foundation has been supporting the nearly 300 city parks in Austin. On Sat. Nov. 7, projects and virtual activities will be announced for their fall It’s My Park Day—At A Distance. Register HERE to receive more information. APF also has many interesting and safe volunteer suggestions for all ages HERE .

Don’t live in Austin? You can help your favorite park no matter where you live…

LEAVE NO TRACE: Whenever you visit park trails and green spaces, be sure to follow “leave no trace” guidelines. Make sure that anything you bring into the park, comes back out with you.

VOLUNTEER AT A DISTANCE: If you head out to a park, maintain social distance and give back at the same time! Bring along a trash bag and some kitchen tongs/gloves and pick up any trash you see. If the trash bag will not fit in the park trash cans, please take it home for disposal!

Election Engagement: October 29, 2020

TLLC members are encouraged to review the ELCA’s guidance on Engagement before, during, and after an election HERE. Here are a few excerpts:

In the unique environment of Election 2020, our faith-informed voices have much to contribute to inform, take action, and proclaim that fear will not rule the day—before, during, and after Election Day. Churches can play a role as trusted messengers in our communities.

Lutherans care about government because it is a gift from God intended for the safety and flourishing of human life. 

As our nation awaits results, we can be centered in the blessing:
Go out into the world in peace; have courage; hold on to what is good; return no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak, and help the suffering; honor all people; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Blessing Bags: October 22, 2020

Many TLLC members have been learning more about homelessness HERE as part of our God’s work. Our hands. emphasis this month. As a follow-on activity, you can also create Blessing Bags to keep in your car and pass out to someone on the street. Click HERE for instructions provided by Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a local outreach ministry serving our homeless brothers and sisters.

Voting and Civic Engagement: October 15 2020

Voting is at the core of all civic participation. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reminds us that “Voting is our right and our duty.” She calls on members, congregations and synods to “promote public life worthy of the name.” Click HERE to watch Bishop Eaton’s message, Civic Engagement in 2020.

Here’s suggestions on how to faithfully serve—and vote!—during this election cycle:

  1. Learn about the ELCA’s views on civic engagement and voting.

Government and Civic Engagement in the United States: Discipleship in a Democracy Social Message
ELCA Civic Engagement Guide
ELCAVotes Initiative
Sifting through Misinformation from ELCA Advocacy

  1. Make a plan to vote and encourage eligible family and friends to vote.

League of Women Voters Guide (Travis and Williamson Counties)

  1. Volunteer to serve as an election worker or as a nonpartisan volunteer poll monitor.
  1. Pray that, as Election Day grows closer, our conversations, deliberations and decisions will be guided by our faith, the teachings of Jesus, and our concern for justice, reconciliation, unity and the well-being of all people and communities.

12-Hour Prayer Vigil on October 11 2020

All ages are invited to join us for an online 12-Hour Prayer Vigil on Sunday, Oct. 11, between 7 AM and 7 PM. Sign up HERE individually or as a family for a 15-minute time slot to Pray Where You Are.

Florence’s Comfort House: October 1 2020

Florence’s Comfort House—Florence Ponziano’s home—provides a safe place for children to study and play in the Montopolis neighborhood of southeast Austin. TLLC has long supported our friend Florence with financial, food, and other donations. As part of this year’s God’s work. Our Hands., join us for an in-person yard and playground cleanup on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 10 AM. We are also collecting Costco gift cards for Florence. Contact Kristin Burke for more information and to sign up.

Mobile Loaves & Fishes / Community First! Village: September 24 2020

Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) had a modest beginning in 1998 when five friends began delivering food to the homeless in Austin from a minivan. Today MLF sends trucks out to many stops around the greater Austin area to distribute food, clothing and toiletries to the homeless at no cost. The trucks make runs to the same stops every day both at lunchtime and at dinnertime. Many volunteers are involved with preparing food, stocking the trucks, and running the routes.

Early on, MLF decided that what the homeless needed most was a permanent place to live and a sense of community. In 2004 the organization placed the first homeless person in an Austin RV park. They continued to do this until they acquired 51 acres just outside of Austin for Community First! Village (CFV). The first homeless people established residency in CFV in 2015.

CFV’s housing consists of microhomes, tents on platforms, and RV’s. Recently, three units were built using a 3-D printer (the printer head pumps concrete!). Facilities such as an organic farm, an art house, a forge, a car care shop, a screen printing shop, a woodworking shop, and others allow residents to learn a skill. Some of these shops also sell what they produce. Other amenities include walking trails, a family health resource center, community gardens, and a community cinema. Phase 1 houses about 200 formerly-homeless adults. Phase 2 will comprise about 300 homes.

Click HERE to learn more about MLF, CFV, and homelessness.

Meals on Wheels Central Texas: September 18 2020

Meals on Wheels Central Texas has provided nearly 440,000 meals to homebound seniors during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Travis County, volunteers now deliver two weeks’ worth of shelf-stable meals every other Friday morning. Pickup is from their Central Kitchen on E. 5th Street. New volunteers can sign up for online training on Wednesdays, 11-11:30 AM.

There are five other Meals on Wheels centers in Leander, Burnet, Georgetown, Round Rock, and Taylor. All are looking for new volunteers. If you would like to help, please contact the Site Directors listed below:

Bagdad Activity Center
Millie Garcia, Site Director
351 N. Bagdad Rd.
Leander, TX 78641

Burnet Senior Center
Sunny Hall, Site Director
602 N. Wood St.
Burnet, TX 78611

Madella Hilliard Senior Center
Kelsey Ward, Site Director
803 W. 8th St.
Georgetown, TX 78626

Alan R. Baca Senior Center
Sharla Mikeska, Site Director
301 W. Bagdad Rd., Bldg. 2
Round Rock, TX 78664

Taylor Senior Center
LaTuan Williams, Site Director
410 W. 7th St.
Taylor, TX 76574

Meals on Wheels also has a PALS (Pets Assisting the Lives of Seniors) program to help seniors with pet care. Next week a Pet Essentials Donation Drive is planned in The Arboretum area, not far from TLLC. Drop off donations in front of the Lamps Plus store between 11 AM and Noon on Tuesday through Thursday, Sept. 22-24.

Donation requests:
5.5 oz cans of Mighty Dog wet food
13.2 oz cans of Pedigree wet food
Purina Little Bites dry dog food (4lb or 16lb bags)
Fancy Feast Pate (Non-seafood flavors)
20-25lb Clumping Litter (Any brand)
Meow Mix Tender Centers and Hairball Control dry food (small bags)

Questions? Contact TLLC members Pat DiSanza and Cece Coffman

Lutheran World Relief Quilts: September 10 2020

Lutheran World Relief sends quilts, health and school kits all over the world. Last month, 43,000 quilts and many kits were waiting in the Beirut warehouse that exploded before they could be delivered throughout the refugee camps of the Middle East.

TLLC member Patricia Elliot is helping the quilting group in her former congregation, Community Lutheran Church in Rancho Santa Margarita in CA. If anyone would like to sew quilt tops to try to make up this loss, Patricia can share the directions for making a quilt. She will then send the tops to her old quilting group to be finished.

Additionally, if you have fabric of one yard or more for others to sew, please bring it to the church on Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 10-11:30 AM (during communion element pickup). Fabric must be cotton, cotton polyester or cotton flannel. Rayon, 100% polyester, wool or knits cannot be used, and the fabric may not have stains or tears. LWR is very specific about this since the quilts often get used and washed in very primitive conditions. If you would like more information, please contact Patricia Elliot.

ELCA Good Gifts: September 3 2020

Being a member of the ELCA means that we believe God is calling us into the world together. We can make a difference by choosing gifts that mean the most to you or by choosing gifts in honor of a friend or loved one from ELCA Good Gifts. This program provides more than 50 different gift-giving options that help grow the church, fight world hunger, and transforms lives. These gifts, starting at $10, provide direct support for the church-wide ministries of the ELCA. God’s work never stops! Click HERE for more information.

Lutheran Disaster Response: August 27 2020

Lutheran Disaster Response brings God’s hope, healing and renewal to people whose lives have been disrupted by disasters in the United States and around the world. LDR collaborates with other disaster response organizations and religious entities in the US and around the world to enable the greatest stewardship of resources and maximum impact of response. For example, LDR is currently working with partners and synods in California to provide immediate support and long-term recovery assistance for those affected by wildfires.

How you can help:

-Pray for those whose lives are being impacted by disasters at this time: wildfires, COVID-19, severe storms, hurricanes and more.

-Provide financial support for specific needs (such as U.S. Wildfires or U.S. Severe Storms) or where needed most.

Bread for All: August 13 & 20 2020

Sponsored by Austin City Lutherans (ACL), the Bread for All food pantry is located in Faith Presbyterian Church in southeast Austin. The pantry has remained open during these past months and is distributing food from the Central Texas Food Bank. Non-food items (listed below) are urgently needed at this time. Here is a video update about ACL’s Bread for All and Mariposa Family Learning Center.

How you can serve safely

-Financial donations: Online or check to TLLC marked “Bread for All”

-Volunteer: Socially-distanced opportunities on Mondays 1-3:30 PM or 4-6:30 PM. Volunteer here.

-Non-food donations: We are collecting the following items at TLLC on Saturday, Aug. 22, 10-11:30 AM (along with curbside pickup for communion elements): diapers, baby wipes, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, detergent, and toilet paper. [NO FOOD DONATIONS NEEDED AT THIS TIME]

ELCA COVID-19 Response Fund: August 6 2020

The ELCA COVID-19 Response Fund has been established to provide funds to the ministries of the ELCA most in need and best positioned to help. This includes our congregations as well as local and churchwide ministries capable of reaching and assisting those in need. More information

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