The Adventure Continues

November 8, 2015 was a great day at Zion. We processed out of the sanctuary after our congregational meeting to break ground on our new construction. As we entered into construction, the two words Pastor Dave and Pastor Russell used were – “generosity” and “adventure.”

What an adventure it’s been! In January we made the transition from the sanctuary to the Family Life Center and began a new worship schedule. We give God thanks for the many ways in which this congregation has been so gracious with each other during this time of transition.

In any adventure there are obstacles. Earlier this year, we found out what our obstacle would be. As we began necessary demolition of parts of the sanctuary for remodeling, we found out something no one had any way of knowing about. Due to our previous architect and contractor not using best practices, we have significant problems in our sanctuary and administration building that we didn’t know about until we started looking behind the walls.

Here’s a list of the major problems:
1. There is supposed to be a gap between the limestone (which is a façade) and the walls actually holding up the building to allow for moisture drainage. The gap is smaller than what is usually called for and is clogged with remains of limestone and mortar.
2. The materials behind the limestone were not properly waterproofed.
3. The stained glass windows in the sanctuary were not flashed, allowing water to enter into the sanctuary.

We did additional testing and selective removal of other portions of the building and found out that this is present throughout the whole sanctuary and administration building.

While all this testing was going on, we consulted multiple attorneys to see what legal options we have against the previous contractor, architect, and inspector. Texas law gives us 10 years to find these sorts of defects and this building is over 25 years old, so we have no legal action. We have also contacted our insurance company to see if we can make any sort of insurance claim.

So in light of all of that, work has begun on fixing the problem. Earlier this week scaffolding began to be placed around the sanctuary walls and will remain there for several months.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a post on what will happen while the scaffolding is around the sanctuary.

Parking Update


As we announced in worship on April 3, the parking lot in front of Church #3 is closed.  We continue to ask that you have a spirit of adventure and generosity throughout construction.  As a reminder, we had to do this once we started any construction in order to be in compliance with current city building codes.  Our new parking lot will be much nicer once it is done, but in the midst of construction we will have to deal with some inconveniences.


A few helpful hints to navigate our time without part of our parking:

-Handicap parking that was on the front row nearest the Fellowship Hall has now moved to two places:

-The corner of the FLC nearest Braun and Leslie Roads AND


-Several spaces on Leslie Road directly across from the Fellowship Hall.  The non-handicap spaces can be used if you have mobility issues and are coming to the Fellowship Hall.



-If you are more able bodied, consider parking on Sundays in the grass in front of Cemetery #2 to reserve more prime parking spaces for those with mobility issues.


-The owners of the vacant lot across from the Fellowship Hall have graciously agreed to let us park there.  If you park there on Sundays, please cross with the assistance of the police officer at the designated crossing point.  If you park there at other times, please utilize extreme caution when crossing the street.  We have had several close calls with oncoming traffic and want to keep everyone safe!


-There is plenty of parking near Church #2.  On Sundays, please cross at the designated crosswalk with the assistance of the police officer for your safety.  During the week, please exercise extreme caution when crossing Leslie Road.


-We now have a designated, paved walkway near Leslie Road that connects the lower parking lot near Cemetery 2 and the sidewalk near the Fellowship Hall.

-There are plenty of parking spaces on the 1604 side.

During the Week:  

Zion is a busy church throughout the week, so we know that there are several people that come to the church during the week.  Here are some additional helpful hints:


-If you are coming to the Church Office during the week, you can park in the lower parking lot nearest Cemetery #2.  There are some stairs and a sidewalk that will lead to Church #3’s Narthex.

-If you cannot navigate the stairs and you need to come to the church office, you can park on the 1604 side and enter through the Conference Room.

As always, we will continue to keep you informed with construction updates.  We continue to live with a sense of adventure and thank God for giving us generous spirits throughout our time of construction… Until next time!

After the storm…

Last night was one heck of a storm on our side of town.  I was amazed to see the pictures people were posting on social media last night.  Texas-sized hail pummeled our community!

First things first – we hope you and your things are ok.  As Christians, we have a calling to love our neighbors as ourselves, so we want to invite you to check on your friends and neighbors and make sure they are ok as well.

We thought we’d briefly update you on what’s happened at the church.  Last night we did sustain some storm damage.  Our facilities manager, David Blank, reports that approximately 10 windows in the education building behind Church 2 were broken because of the hail damage.  He has been busy making temporary repairs to the windows today while we put in a call to our insurance company.  A quick inspection of other parts of the church facilities don’t seem to indicate any major damage.

It looks like the construction site and equipment did pretty well.  Our construction workers were out on the job site this morning cleaning up debris and making sure everything is ok.

See you on Sunday as we continue to celebrate Resurrection joy!!


Easter Thanks!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Yesterday the church office was closed so we could rest after a very busy Holy Week.

As you can imagine, Holy Week and Easter doesn’t just happen. It takes lots of planning and work so we can gather to celebrate the resurrected Christ with beauty and dignity.

So with that, we want to lift up these things and people that helped to make Holy Week and Easter so meaningful.

Altar Guild – Ever wonder who fills all those communion cups on Sunday mornings?  That would be our altar guild.  They are one of the important “behind the scenes” groups that makes worship run smoothly.
Brass Group – It was great to hear the brass playing on Easter Sunday!
Choirs – Their musical leadership adds so much to our worship.
Drama Ministry – Godspell was wonderful on Saturday night! It was a wonderful way to hear the story of Jesus.
Easter Egg Hunt – We love seeing our children here at Church.  Thanks to everyone who made that day such a blessing.
Floral Guild – They worked to make our worship space filled with beauty. We loved seeing many of the pictures of people around the floral cross on social media.
God – Of course, we’re going to thank God! It is by God’s mercy that we are able to gather.
Holy Week in Church #1 – Thanks to those who came out to worship with us on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week.
Iridescent glow off of Pastor Dave’s head. He was sure having fun!
Jimmy Hoffa – that’s the nickname we gave to the copier that runs all the church publications. We’re very thankful for copiers!
Kindness – We are in the midst of a year of adventure at Zion.  One of the things we noticed is that we have a
Lectors – Thank you for taking time to practice your readings and to proclaim the Word of God in worship.
Men’s Ministry – They met on Holy Saturday for their monthly prayer breakfast. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of prayer during this time.
Nursery Staff – We have three of the best nursery caregivers!  Thanks Mrs. Connie, Mrs. Laura, and Ms. Katie for taking such wonderful care of our young children.
Office Staff – There are lots of behind the scenes sorts of stuff that has to happen. Our office staff handles it wonderfully and makes it look easy!
Program Staff – Easter Egg hunts on Palm Sunday, choirs that sing throughout Holy Week, a drama ministry production…. Our program staff is a blessing to this church!
Quietness – God uses quiet to speak to us.  We had several chances for extended silence in our worship.
Resurrection – It’s all about resurrection!  Jesus’ first and foremost; and because of Jesus, ours.
Sound Team – We keep hearing that you can hear in the FLC. We’re glad! That happens because of the sound team.
The Amiable Assemblers – (Ok – this one is a little bit of cheating!) This is a good group of folks that come up to put together your bulletins. They joyfully put in extra time during Holy Week stuffing all those extra bulletins.
Ushers – They are the first line of people to welcome people to Zion. We give God thanks for their hospitality
Video Team – We didn’t know how many people would be here, so we asked them to broadcast a closed circuit video to Room 101 for overflow. The good news is that we now have this technology and we can use it in the future when we need to.
Worship Leaders – Each worship service had lots of people helping as communion assistants, acolytes, and other important roles.
X – We still can’t think of anything that starts with an “X” in this place.  Anyone want to start a ministry with that title?
You! – It takes all of us to make ministry happen in this place.
Z – as in zzz’s… The pastors and staff are thankful for getting a few extra zzz’s after Easter Sunday is over.

February Construction Update

Hello from Zion!  Things continue to move along with our construction projects here at the church.  If you come up here during the week, you’ll see workers doing all sorts of stuff.  Rather than writing about what’s been happening, I thought I’d share some pictures with some information.



Those trenches have our plumbing and electrical lines in them.

Building Team 2

It’s important to make sure the base is packed tightly.  I’ll think about this picture the next time I read Jesus saying something about building things on a solid foundation!! (Matthew 7:24-27).




Today (Friday), we saw some concrete trucks on campus.  Before the pipes buried underground, they are sealed in concrete and then the dirt is tightly packed on top of them.


There used to be a wall there!  Part of the walls to the stairwells were removed this week.  We did this to help bring attention to the stairwells so people who can will be able to use the balcony more often.

Building Team 1

Do you recognize where the light switch was?

Building Update

I thought I’d put together a brief update of what’s been happening with our construction:

-Penelope the Organ
To begin with I’d like to show a video from the Christ Cathedral in California after the Roman Catholic Church purchased that property from the Crystal Cathedral.

Our organ project isn’t nearly as large, but you can begin to see from the video how time consuming a project like this can be.

The pipe organ in Church #3, which was nicknamed Penelope, was removed from the sanctuary last week. It was a fascinating process to watch from start to finish. Each of the individual pipes had to be carefully removed, labeled, wrapped, and then put in boxes for transportation to the Dallas area. There are also parts on the inside of the pipe organ made of various types of wood that are made with various types of wood that are bulky and heavy that had to be removed and stored.

After a very full week of work, the final pieces of the pipe organ were removed from the sanctuary on Friday afternoon.

A lot of people have asked – what’s going to happen to Penelope?  If we were going to continue to use her in the sanctuary, she was going to need some significant repair work.  Rather than repairing Penelope, our organ builder took parts of Penelope so they can be re-purposed for future pipe organs throughout the country.

-All The Pews that Fit
Before major construction begins, the pews in the sanctuary have to be removed during construction. So here’s a quick run-down of what’s happened:
1. When the pews were installed, they were anchored into the floor. They had to be removed from the floor.
2. The longer pews in the sanctuary are actually two pieces joined together. They were taken apart.
3. In preparation for moving, the pews were wrapped in plastic to protect them as they’re stored during construction.

After all of that, the pews are being removed from the Sanctuary Wednesday and will be in storage during the renovation and it will be time for some selected demolition in the sanctuary.

-Moving Dirt…
Work on the education building continues…

Last week several parking spaces on the 1604 side were fenced off. There have been lots of loads of dirt dumped on our property that form the base for the new education building. The dirt has been moved around, packed, and will continue to be formed into a solid foundation for this building.  If you come up to the church campus during the day, you’ll probably hear the beeps and other sounds of heavy construction equipment like bulldozers.

As always, we’re thankful for the ways in which this community of faith embodies generosity and adventure.  I invite you to keep our building team, staff, and construction crew in prayer.

Getting Ready For Sunday

Before we begin, let us pray.

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-A prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship

This Sunday marks an important shift for 2016 at Zion – we are moving down to the Family Life Center for most of the year while our sanctuary is remodeled. This past Sunday we said goodbye for a little while to Church 3 and now it’s time for the adventure to continue.

Before we continue, I want to thank the 60 or so people that helped move us out of the sanctuary this past Sunday. Their work made a major difference! We’ve also had several other projects during the week that others have done to help with this transition. Thank you for your generosity!

Now onto Sunday….
When you pull into the parking lot, you’ll notice we have moved some handicap parking spaces over by the Fellowship Hall. If you are more able-bodied, please reserve better parking spaces for the elderly, families with small children, and those who have mobility issues closer to the FLC.

Also, please don’t park in the loop next to the Family Life Center. That is for people to drop off people and functions much like our port cochere (the covered driveway by the sanctuary) did when we were in Church 3.

Starting at 8:00 we will have some coffee on in Room 101. There are some comfy chairs, tables, and we think it will be a really neat space to visit before or after worship. Come on in and visit!

There are three entrances to the worship space. You can enter through Room 101, the doors next to Room 101, or the doors facing Braun Road (the doors closest to the Coke machine). On days when the weather isn’t bad, we’ve asked our ushers to be outside to greet people.

The layout of the worship space is similar to the sanctuary. You’ll notice some chairs with arms through out the sanctuary. If at all possible, please reserve these chairs for people who need a little more help getting up out of a chair.

As a reminder, the nursery has temporarily moved to the Fellowship Hall. If you need to have your child cared by our awesome nursery staff, enter through the doors facing Leslie Road.

If you see something that we’ve missed or something that could make things run a bit smoother while we are worshipping in the FLC, let one of the pastors know and we will see what we can do.

Here are some common questions we’ve been asked as we prepare for this adventure:
How long will we be worshipping in the FLC?
We will return to the sanctuary at sometime in Fall 2016. We will have an exact date once we are closer to construction being completed.

If I have items to donate to CAM or somewhere else, where do they go?
There is a plant on the main floor of the FLC with a sign that says, “Donation Station.”

Because the pews aren’t in there, I’m assuming we won’t have Bibles, hymnals, or other papers and envelopes in our seats?
That’s correct. Our bulletin will include hymns and songs that weren’t previously in there.

If I forgot my offering envelope or want to make a special donation on Sunday for a special cause, what do I do?
You can find envelopes that were in the pews at the Welcome Center.

What about our theatre ministry? How will that work?
2016 won’t be quite the same as years past, but there are some really neat things planned. Stay tuned!

One final thought:
We are on an adventure together. We have tried very hard to do as much as we can to make this transition as smooth as possible. Thanks be to God for your commitment to the mission and ministry of Zion. It has been a joy to be a part of this time in our church’s history.

The Move Begins!

Moving time is coming soon!  In fact, we’ve already started moving some small items into their temporary locations, but the first big items we moved happened this Tuesday night.  Our handbell choir moved all their items from the balcony to their temporary home in the Family Life Center.  Thanks to Dave Thamm and the handbell players for doing that!

The first week of January is going to be a very busy week here at Zion.  At we finish celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas (which the church has always said START on December 25), we will be moving everything from the balcony, narthex, sanctuary floor, sacristy, attic spaces, and music apse so the renovations in that part of the building can begin in early 2016.  Please mark your calendars for Sunday, January 3 at 2:00.

This is a massive project and it will involve us packing up everything that isn’t bolted down in the sanctuary and we really need your help to make this happen.

See you in worship!*

-Pastor Russell

*Don’t forget about our new worship schedule that starts on December 27.
9:00 – Worship
10:15 – Education
11:15 – Worship

Stories of Faith in Action #3

Over the last several days we’ve been hearing about how people at Zion have been using their gifts to put their faith in action.  Today’s story is from Dave Newman, one of our leaders of Zion’s Lutheran Men in Mission about a unique way a group of men used their gifts.  He writes:

“November 25 was a bittersweet day at Zion.

The bitter? After months of careful planning, designing, and praying, several of our oak trees had to be pushed over to make way for the new Education Building. Sad…those trees probably watched as Zion came and grew to be the church it is today. There is a common grieving throughout the congregation about losing some of God’s beautiful creations.

The sweet? God is continually the creator. Obviously, we soon will be blessed with a great new educational facility and enhanced areas for work and fellowship. We also will be blessed with many more new trees, albeit younger/smaller, for future generations.

And also…God creates opportunities. The trees were scheduled to be hauled to the landfill. What a waste! For years, Zion’s men have traveled many miles gathering firewood for Zion BBQ’s. The opportunity to gather firewood from our own church grounds was heaven sent. Also, the trees could be honored with a noble end…providing the next “Holy Smoke” for another Zion BBQ.

In keeping with the traditions passed down throughout our history, our men felt a responsibility to support Zion. Several volunteered hastily arranged hours to cut up and stack most of the fallen trunks and limbs before they were to be hauled away. We gathered enough firewood to last for several BBQ’s. While we still mourn the loss of our trees, we will be able to continue serving Zion again and again with the heat from burning their remains. A wonderful fringe benefit of the project was the camaraderie the Spirit provided among those who helped.

Any who would like to be included in Zion’s next Lutheran Men in Mission event, contact Dave Newman. (210-859-7860 or”


Stories of Faith in Action #2

We’re continuing our series of stories of faith in action.  As people of faith, we are entrusted with caring for all of God’s creation.  It takes all of us using our gifts and these posts are stories of how people have answered the call to serve God in the world.  Today’s story is from Sammy Mikulski, our director of theatre ministries.  She writes:

“For the past 4 years I have had the honor of heading up the Thanksgiving Basket food drive. This is a ministry that is very dear to my heart. When I was a child I was one of those who received those baskets, and the joy that came along with it is unexplainable.

This year we were able to feed 25 families wonderful meals from olives to turkey with all the trimmings,  through to the pumpkin pie desert, because of the generous folks here at Zion. The smiles we received this year were wonderful, and two of the families had us hold hands and say a prayer with them.   They were all so gracious, we were invited in like we were one of the family. To me this is what Thanksgiving is all about.

A huge thank you to Zion for the amazing donations of food, money, and gift cards. And another huge thank you to our food deliverers Celeste, Julie, the entire Christmas family, Bonnie , Brinkley, Lindsay, Gavin, Amy and Manny.  God is Great… God is Good…you know the rest!”