Wednesday, September 14, 2016

St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Columbia, SC

Below is a letter I just mailed to Pastor John Trump and the saints at St. Andrew's Lutheran, Columbia, SC. Cheryl and I spent most of Sunday, 9-11-16, with them. Wonderful visit and wonderful partnership.

September 13, 2016

St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church
1416 Broad River Rd.
Columbia, SC 29210-7623

Dear Pastor John and the St. Andrew’s Family:

Thank you for allowing me to be with you on September 11, 2016 at both services, the Sunday School hour, the after-church meal, and the tour of Welcome House. The Burmese youth choir was a beautiful addition! And thank you for the work we do together. I continue to bask in our Sunday fellowship and decided to reiterate the points I tried to make during my brief remarks to the congregation.

Thank you for the partnership between the South Carolina Synod and Lutheran Services Carolinas! That partnership allows us to serve in so many ways, from veterans to foster care, to people with developmental disabilities, to refugees. And no congregation in the Carolinas has a closer connection to Lutheran Services Carolinas than St. Andrew’s.

The Catholic Church just made one of my personal heroes, Mother Teresa, a saint. I have always taken to heart her words, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Few saints do more than the saints here at St. Andrews. Thank you again for your partnership and ministry through Welcome House and beyond!

We are the church together! Separately, we are so thin; together we are so strong! Your chocolate – the old parsonage, and our peanut butter – the refugee services program, make a great partnership. Serving and partnering is never easy. Wear and tear, constant turnover, cultural differences, cooking and bathroom issues – some days I’m sure you throw up your hands and lament, “No good deed goes unpunished!” But we are the church together! We overcome the obstacles and stand together to welcome people who are escaping death and death threats and persecution and starvation.

Lutheran Services Carolinas has resettled over 14,000 refugees since 1979 from every corner of the world and from many religions of the world. And without incident. We will continue to be the hands of Christ, to work with and for you in this imperfect world.

Thank you for your time Sunday and for God’s richest blessings on your ministry here at St. Andrew’s every day!

Yours in Christ,

Ted W. Goins, Jr.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lutheran Services Carolinas and Grace Lutheran, Hendersonville, NC

Grace Lutheran celebrated their 100th anniversary on 9-4-16. They invited fellow church organizations to share connections. When I started thinking about it, there were so many connections. We are the Church together! My letter to Grace:

Grace Lutheran Church
1245 6th Ave. W
Hendersonville, NC 28739-3311

Dear Friends:

Congratulations and God’s richest blessings as you celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of Grace Lutheran Church. Grace has meant a great deal to Lutheran Services Carolinas, and to me personally.

Crescent View, now known as Trinity View, is a ministry of Lutheran Services Carolinas. Trinity View opened in 1991 to serve seniors in western North Carolina. Trinity View fulfills its mission as a faith-based, small, affordable, rental community.

Grace Lutheran Church has been instrumental in Trinity View’s founding and success. Your pastors and the congregation have been developers, supporters, volunteers, friends, employees, donors, board members, and always brothers and sisters in Christ. Grace and Trinity View have been an example of all of us being the church together! We are especially grateful that Grace and Pastor Greg & Brenda shared LSC teammate Elliott Williams with us.

Probably the most impactful connection between Grace Lutheran and Lutheran Services Carolinas is The Rev. Doctor Jefferson Norris, grandfather of Brenda Williams and great grandfather of Elliott. Dr. Norris, a former pastor at Grace, was a founder of Lutheran Services Carolinas, leaving Grace to become the first Executive Director of The Lutheran Home in Hickory, LSC’s first ministry. His legacy has grown into a $130 million ministry that serves the Carolinas through adoptions, foster care, refugee services, services for those with developmental disabilities, nursing homes, retirement centers, and much more.

Again, congratulations and blessings on your one hundredth anniversary, on our twenty-fifth anniversary together, and on the next generation of collaboration and mutual support. And on a personal note, Cheryl and I were married at Grace on October 27, 1990. We thank you for tying the knot tight allowing Cheryl and me a long and happy marriage!

Yours in Christ,

Ted W. Goins, Jr.