Equipping the Saints Conference set for Feb. 5 in Victoria

Jan. 14, 2011 at midnight
Updated Jan. 13, 2011 at 7:14 p.m.

Equipping the Saints, an annual event sponsored by the Victoria Conference of Churches affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will be Saturday, Feb. 5, at First English Lutheran Church, 516 N. Main St. in Victoria.

The Rev. Ray Tiemann, Bishop of the Southwestern Texas Synod, ELCA and the Rev. Kerry Nelson, who served as director for evangelical mission for the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, ELCA, are event preachers and two of the workshop leaders.

The conference's theme is "The Church - Back to Basics." It includes an opening and closing worship, workshops offered during three different time frames during the day, child care for young children (typically infants to about age 5), and a catered luncheon for registered participants.

This is the 29th year of Equipping the Saints, designed to help laity and clergy explore the depths of the Christian faith.

This event is the largest attended and longest sustained such event among the Lutheran conferences in Texas and Louisiana.

Equipping the Saints 2011 includes workshops to assist people in doing ministry in their congregations and communities, as well as providing the opportunity for personal and spiritual growth, strengthening relationships and Bible study. Equipping the Saints 2011 is known for the quality of its preachers and workshop leaders and the diversity of workshop offerings.

The many workshops offered provide insights and Biblically based tools. While the event is sponsored by ELCA congregations in the Victoria Conference covering an eight county area, participation at the event is open to people of other denominations and churches.

Other workshop leaders include:

Jenna Bruns, developer of Cottonpatch Designs, a studio dedicated to designing and crafting church vestments, paraments and banners and has work in churches all over the world, including Africa, England, India, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Russia, Canada and throughout the United States.

Rev. Helen Appelberg, director of the Center for Spirituality of Aging, Sealy Center on Aging, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and Associate Priest at Grace Episcopal Church, Galveston. She previously served as director of the Community of Hope, Diocese of Texas, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital System, Houston.

Joann Bludau, superintendent of Hallettsville school district. Bludau is a graduate of Texas A & M University and the University of Texas in Austin, receiving her Doctorate in Education Administration from Texas A & M. She is a member of the Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Association of School Business Officials, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for Key Women Educators, and Rotary International. She attends Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hallettsville and St. Michael's Catholic Church in Weimar.

Rev. James Mayfield, interim pastor at the Yoakum United Methodist Church. He has served as the Austin district superintendent of UMC, taught at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, served as facilitator of clergy groups for the Texas Methodist Foundation Institute for Clergy and Congregational Excellence and has authored the book "Discovering Grace in Grief," now being republished as "Amazing Grace in the Midst of Grief." Mayfield, while serving in Tarrytown, was pastor to George and Laura Bush when Bush was governor.

Wesley Nurses Signy Sizer, of Port Lavaca, Kathy Frels, of Victoria and Shirley Goss, of Gonzales, all associated with the Wesley Nurse Health Ministries, a mission of the Methodist Health Care Ministries. All are registered nurses.

Lane Johnson, a much requested speaker at Equipping the Saints, is director for clinical programs and services at Gulf Bend Center. Johnson is a licensed professional counselor, board certified in professional counseling, diplomat member of American Psychotherapy Association, diplomat and certified sports counselor with the National Institute of Sports, a critical incident consultant for municipalities, and founder and owner of The Head Coach, a life coaching business dedicated to improving performance through mental attitude and preparedness. He is also an ordained minister and has served the Presbyterian Church in Yorktown.

Phoenix Johnson, founder and owner of Life Outfitters Financial Counseling in Victoria. She was trained in Tennessee at Dave Ramsey's Lampo Corp. and provides one-on-one financial counseling based on the popular "Financial Peace University" program which teaches how to attain a debt-free lifestyle. Phoenix is also author of the "Phoenix Factor . Rise Above the Ashes of Abuse," a book that journeys through her experiences in an abusive marriage. She also does writing for "Recovery Today."

Becky Hand, founder of "Life in Grace Ministries," a Biblical teaching ministry, and pastor of Life in Grace Lutheran Church, Odessa.

Rev. Alan Williams, pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Hallettsville, who spent 21 years as an interfaith hospital chaplain. Williams is a board certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and a clinical member of ACPE.

Dr. S. Gemayel Heinold, pharmacist and member of St. James Lutheran Church in Ganado.



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