Dear Gulf Coast Leaders,

If you would, go to your Junk E-mail box. If there are any emails from any of us at the synod office, right-click on them, hover over Junk E-mail and select Add to Safe Senders List. This will keep our stuff from going into your SPAM folder. Unless of course you want it there. 🙂

November 1 – ALL SAINTS

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9 – The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God 

In our Prayers

Pastors John and Lawrence Bade, their mom and family as they grieve the death of their father Heinie Bade. 

Save the Date!

The Houston celebration of the Lutheran-Methodist Full Communion will be Sunday, January 18, 2010, 4 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Methodist, Houston. Bishop Janice Huie and Mike Rinehart presiding. This takes place on the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This will be a great time to celebrate our unity in Christ.


These emails can also be viewed at

New Wehdem

Today I was at St. James New Wehdem (Brenham) for their 140th anniversary. This congregation, formed in 1869, has the distinction of being the congregation where Bishop Ray Tiemann grew up. Bp. Tiemann preached. You take 290 to Brenham and go south on Texas 36 for about four miles, then turn right on County Road 36, which the locals call New Wehdem road. After a few winding miles of narrow blacktop you arrive at St. James.

While many rural congregations struggle with few young families, St. James is teeming with children. The sanctuary is larger than it looks. You can pack 250-300 in, and that’s about what they had today. Pastor Jill Vivroux has been there a little over a year.

Their “new” building (1927) has the chandelier from The cornerstone says Ev. LUTH. St. JAKOBI, Gegruendet 1869, Gebaut Sept. 27, 1927. Most of the members came from Wehdem in the Prussian province of Nord Rhein Westfalen (now Germany). There’s also a parsonage which they use for meetings now, a fellowship building, and an old school house, which was just refurbished. I’m told it’s the oldest school house in Austin County.

According to St. James’ history, in 1872 the pastor’s salary was $250. In attendance today was Pastor Bob Pfennig. His great grandfather was pastor at St. James over 100 years ago (1885-1895). He told stories of how they used to jump on the freight trains and ride them into Brenham. In 1890 some families from St. James helped start St. Paul’s in Phillipsburg. In 1895 St. James hosted the synod convention. In 1919, St. James was 50 years old. Worship and classes were still held auf Deutsch. But as some English was in use (and due to the poor treatment of Germans in WWI) St. Jakobi became St. James. In 1927 there were about 90 adult members. A vote was taken to build a new sanctuary. Mr. Fritz Tiemann was paid $.50/hour to oversee construction. It was dedicated in 1928. The $15,000 debt was paid off in about ten years. In 1936 electricity became available in the area, and the church added electric lights. In 1941 a U.S. flag was added to the chancel to demonstrate this German community’s allegiance to the United States of America.

Also in attendance were Pastor Willard Rother (1961-1970) Pastor Laird Engel (1971-1975), and a few others. St. James was Pastor Engel’s first call. When Pastor Engel arrived, a young Ray Tiemann was a senior in high school. Thanks to the ubiquitous nametags, I know that today I communed well over a dozen Tiemanns.

There are so many Lutherans in the Brenham area (more Lutherans than Catholics or Baptists), that some folks say evangelism is just shuffling the deck. Not so, says Pastor Engel, who has a passion for evangelism. Evangelism is welcoming the folks that are pouring into Washington and Austin Counties from Harris County. And of course the rapidly growing Latino population, curiously absent.

After the day’s festivities, including a turkey dinner that left us all stuffed, I stopped at the Walmart at 105 and 36 for something. I heard no German, but lots and lots of Spanish.

A Texan All Saints

I can think of nothing better to post this week than the words Pastor John Bade (Baton Rouge) wrote for his father’s funeral this past week, read by his brother Lawrence (St. Paul’s Brenham). Peggy and I drove out to the funeral which was held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Cuero, Texas.

A full church and four-part singing witnessed to a life of faith. The cemetery a few miles away was behind a church where Lawrence was ordained. Heinie was a Sager, a descendent of Christoph Adam Sager and the other Sagers that came over from the Chrischona school to found Lutheran Churches in Texas.

After graveside, we went to John and Lawrence’s mothers home, out in the country, over blacktop roads with generations of history, to old dairy farm the seven children helped maintain.

All saints Sunday we remember all those who have gone before us. We remember those who passed the faith on to us parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, mentors, friends. This brought tears to my eyes. I pray it does yours too.

“Let’s Return Thanks”

Celebration of Hope and Love

Heinie Bade 1917-2009

October 21, 2009

St Mark Lutheran Church, Cuero, TX

As our friends and family

gathered on this day to celebrate the life of Heinie Bade

and the promises of life eternal which he now knows in full,

I want to include you in on a family ritual that I think is unique to the Bade family.

(I haven’t heard of it being done anywhere else.)


It’s a ritual that occurs around the dinner table.


After enjoying a wonderful meal …

of brisket

grilled over live oak and mesquite coals

and coated with a homemade sauce that Dad concocted

with an “add- ingredients-according-to-taste” recipe …


of vegetables

harvested just a few hours before the meal from the garden …

of the melt-in-your-mouth flavor of Mom’s homemade rolls

dripping with homemade strawberry jelly and pure butter

(not any of that “I Can’t Believe-it’s-not-butter” pretender ….because it isn’t) …

of the sweet taste of Dad’s home-brewed wine

extracted from the Bade wine cellar

(also known as the crawl space under the house) …

mingled with homemade green grape pie …


(Are you hungry yet?)


After all this,

our hunger having been satisfied,

our palettes delighted,

and our needs and our bellies filled to overflowing …


Dad would say three simple words

which would invite us to remember the true source of the meal

and all that we had just enjoyed.


He would quietly say,

“Let’s return thanks.”


And we all would bow our heads and together pray this prayer:

“We give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endures forever.”


as we gather as family and friends

and with the saints in glory seated at the heavenly feast which never ends,

I invite you to join me in this family ritual.


As I say, “let’s return thanks,”

would you pray with me,

“We give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endures forever.”


Let’s try it …

“Let’s return thanks.”

“We give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endures forever.”


We give thanks to the Lord …

for the gift of creation

and the joy and calling of being stewards of it.


For beautiful, tended meadows of coastal Bermuda grass,

framed by groomed live oak trees …

For fields of bluebonnets and wild phlox …

For rows of sweet corn, strawberries, and okra …

For bouncing baby calves

and protective mother cows ….

For bold Brahma bulls

and belligerent outlaw steers that refuse to stay in their pens …

For the precious gift or building clouds

and life-giving rain ….


“For the beauty of the earth …

Lord of all to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise,”

we sing today.


The story is told of a South Texas farmer

who was walking one evening in the pasture,

having a conversation with the Lord.


As the man was marveling at the beauty of the burnt-orange sunset,

the multi-colored landscape,

and the well-tended fields and crops,

God said to him,

“Ahh, the work of my hands. Sure is pretty, isn’t it?”


The farmer nodded,

then looked at his own hands,

scarred and calloused from years of hard work on the farm.

He was quiet for a moment,

then he said to God,

“It’s pretty, all right.

But you should have seen it before I started working on it.”


Like that farmer,

Dad delighted in the beauty of creation

and he took seriously the privilege and responsibility of being a steward of it.


He employed all his strength and wisdom

to the care of the land and livestock under his care;

and through his work in conservation,

through his delight in all things living,

through his daily work on the farm,

he taught us to do the same.


So today,

as we give thanks for the gift of creation

and the calling of stewardship,


let’s return thanks:

“We give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endures forever.”



We give thanks to the Lord this day

for the gift of family ….


69 years of partnership with Mom ….

7 children … 14 grandchildren … 19 great-grandchildren …


Anyone who has children whose birthdays span 18 years …

18 years of changing diapers,

countless PTA meetings,

the challenge of raising a teenager 7 times over ….

the expense of college tuition for 7 children …


Anyone who has done this in his lifetime

must be endowed with a particular kind of parental love and patience.


For the gift of family …

For the model of a loving parent, grandparent,

brother, friend ….


Let’s return thanks:

“We give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, And his mercy endures forever.”



We give thanks to the Lord today …

for the gift of faith.


As Dad struggled over the past months

as his health declined and his pain increased,

it became increasingly difficult for him to do his normal daily routine.

He couldn’t get comfortable in his chair …

He had trouble sitting at the table …

his eyesight wasn’t clear …

his strength was limited.


But one part of his daily routine remained constant.


Every day began with daily devotions, with scripture and prayer.

Every Sunday included worship,

even if it was participating in the worship service on TV.


Faith … and the gift of the church …

were central to Dad.


His involvement in the local congregation …

His service on synodical boards …

His participation in national church conventions …

His daily discipline of prayer and the reading of the Word ….

All bore witness to the importance of his faith in his life.


It served as a compass for him in his decisions.

It guided his life and his work.

It was a touchstone in times of joy.

It gave strength when times were tough.

It gave him consolation in times of grief and love.



In the last few months,

as his strength ebbed,

he found it more and more difficult to say good-bye after visits with family.


In one of our farewells a few weeks ago,

as Dad took my hand, drew it to his head, and clung to it,

I whispered softly to him through my tears,

“Hang on to the promises that have sustained you.”


Hang on to the promises …

promises of God the creator,

who fashioned the world and all that is in it and who said of it, “That’s good.”

who made and claimed Dad and each of us as God’s own children,

so that we will always know of a loving Father

who names us his own,

who provides for us a place in his loving embrace,

who like the father of the prodigal son

waits for us at the end of the road

with open arms, and a word of forgiveness,

and a place at the banquet table.


Hang on to the promises of God the Savior,

who died and who rose from death,

so that we don’t have to face death alone …

who has gone to prepare a place for us ….

who serves as our pilot in the restless sea …

who is the resurrection and the life …

and in whose name you were baptized

and in whose life you were confirmed.


Hang on to the promises of God the Comforter …

whose presence sustains us when the journey is difficult

who reminds us that we are loved

who joins us to others and makes us one family.


Hang on to the promises ….



And so, as we gather today as family and friends,

we give thanks.


We give thanks for Dad’s life and witness

and for the promises that sustained him.



We give thanks for the gifts of creation

and the privilege of caring for it.


We give thanks for the gift of family

and the joy of loving relationships.


And we give thanks for the gift of faith

which guides, comforts and sustains us.



For all these gifts,

let’s return thanks:

“We give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endures forever.”


– Written by John Bade

– Proclaimed/Spoken by Lawrence Bade

In loving memory of their father

Heinie Bade


Michael Rinehart, bishop