Category Archives: Learning

Joyful Poetry of Advent Devotional

Joyful Poetry of Advent: A pilgrimage through Advent based on the poetry of E.E. Cummings

Free Advent Devotional Available to Gethsemane Members

Pick up a copy in the Narthex or check G-News for a downloadable version.

The son of a pastor and a thoughtful theologian in his own right, E. E. Cummings often explored spiritual terrain in his poetry – including a group of brilliant, inventive, provocative poems related to Advent and Christmas.

In this Advent devotional, biblical texts and Cummings’ poems call us to keep awake, watch, and wait for God to arrive on Christmas morning. All you’ll need is your favorite Bible and Cummings’ “Complete Poems” (all the poems referenced in the devotional can also be found online). Week by week, simple candlelight services and weekly practices will help us read, reflect, sing, and prepare – all for the sake of deepening the joys of the season.

God’s Work Our Hands and Rally Sunday 2022

Sunday, September 11th

Don’t miss this exciting day at Gethsemane! Wear or plan to purchase a “God’s Work Our Hands” shirt to wear for this day of service together.

Gather for Rally Sunday in the multipurpose room at 9:30 am to celebrate the beginning of a new year of growing in faith together. After the opening, children and youth will meet with their teachers. Parents are asked to go with them to get them registered.

Following the 10:30 am worship, enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch prepared by Gethsemane members Greg & Debbie Pitts (aka Rusted Shut BBQ) in the multipurpose room.

After lunch, participate in the annual “God’s Work Our Hands” multi-generational opportunity for service work restoring/reconciling communities.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Make pet toys for the Austin Humane Society
  • Donate food and clothes for the Food Pantry & Clothes Closet
  • Give blood at the “We Are Blood” blood mobile in the Gethsemane parking lot
  • Contribute birthday party supplies for single mother families at The Jeremiah Project
  • Work on GLCM outdoor campus beautification
  • Clean up around the church campus, including the kitchen pantry and MPR tables
  • Sign greeting cards to Gethsemane members in need of love and prayers
  • Bring baked goods to deliver to local emergency responders and to enjoy as a community after lunch
  • Donate costumes, dress-up, pajamas, and accessories (ALL MUST BE NEW) and/or monetary donations for Katrina’s Cocoon Crew to bring smiles to children battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses

Signup sheets for each of these opportunities are available in the narthex or email to sign up.

See you there!

November was Wellness Month at Gethsemane

If you missed any of our virtual wellness sessions in November, you can now watch recordings of them! Links available below.


Virtual wellness sessions for all ages weekly throughout the month of November:

Week 1:

EXERCISE/YOGA – Free virtual yoga session led by Dana Huntsman on Sunday, November 1st at 3 p.m.
This yoga session is suitable for all ages and abilities. Wear comfortable clothes, grab a yoga mat/towel and water, and join us! Exercise involves engaging in physical activity and increasing the heart rate beyond resting levels. It is an important part of preserving physical and mental health. Yoga is an excellent form of exercise as it develops a relationship between your body, mind, and spirit through different body postures, meditation and breathing patterns. Maintaining a regular yoga practice provides numerous physical and mental health benefits.


Week 2:

MENTAL HEALTH – Free virtual “Families Together” Mental Health Workshop led by NAMI Central Texas on Saturday, November 7th from 1-3 p.m.
In the United States, almost half of adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Hear compelling personal stories about living with mental illness and achieving recovery. Understand the reality of living with mental health conditions that are often invisible to others. You’ll also have a chance to ask questions, which allows for a deeper understanding of mental health conditions and helps dispel stereotypes and misconceptions.

*No recording available for this session, but NAMI Central Texas offers this session frequently through their website:

Week 3:

NUTRITION – Free virtual workshop on nutrition led by Gethsemane member Tracy Anderson on Sunday, November 15th at 3 p.m.
Eating a nutritious diet offers numerous health benefits that keep you mentally and physically well. Healthy food provides the energy you need to keep active throughout the day and the nutrients you need for growth and repair, helping you to stay strong and healthy.


Week 4:

SLEEP – Free virtual workshop on sleep hygiene led by Gethsemane member Mary Lou Newman on Sunday, November 22nd at 3 p.m.
We have so many demands on our time—jobs, family, errands—not to mention finding time to relax. To fit everything in, we often sacrifice sleep. But sleep is vital to your well-being. Insufficient sleep is linked to a host of health problems, from depression to cardiovascular disease. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle.


Week 5:

MEDITATION/MINDFULNESS – Free virtual workshop on meditation and mindfulness led by Pastor Susan Schnelle on Sunday, November 29th at 3 p.m.
Studies have shown mindfulness meditation to positively impact both mental and physical health by reducing stress, improving sleep, increasing focus and improving relationships.



Join us for Sunday morning virtual worship services, which will also be centered around wellness during the month of November.

Virtual Mental Health Workshops for Teens & Parents

Join us online on Sunday, October 18th from 3-4 p.m. for two simultaneous workshops – one for teens and one for parents – led by NAMI Central Texas.

This event is FREE, but you must register to receive the Zoom access link.
Parent registration form:
Teen registration form:


Geared to middle and high school students; presenters include a positive role model – a young adult living in recovery from a mental health condition

Understanding what it means to live with a mental health condition is critical for middle and high school students – especially given that 50% of all lifetime cases of mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24. This presentation is geared to not only raise awareness of mental health conditions but to reduce the stigma so that individuals can seek help.

What students will learn:

  • Signs and symptoms of mental illness
  • Statistics on mental illness and it’s affect on middle and high school students
  • How to seek help for themselves or a friend
  • Recovery and coping strategies
  • Understanding mental illness and ways to reduce the stigma

What students will keep:

  • Contact information for mental health agencies and youth support services
  • List of symptoms and warning signs of mental illness


More than 40% of teens are not receiving the care and treatment they need–often because they are too embarrassed to talk about mental health or don’t know how to ask for help. Parents don’t know how to bring up this difficult subject with their children either. This one-hour presentation empowers parents to talk to their teens about mental health by dispelling mental health myths and providing useful resources and healthy language to use.

What parents will learn:

  • How to talk to your teen about mental health
  • The difference between bad behavior and symptoms of mental illness
  • Early warning signs of a teen in crisis

Costa Rica Spanish and Cultural Immersion Trip

JULY 4-18, 2020

One week of classes at CPI Monteverde and one week of classes at CPI Heredia. Classes are 4 hours per day Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12 Noon.
Tours and activities are scheduled for weekday afternoons following classes and weekends and most include lunch.
Activities are not scheduled for evenings so that the student has time for homework and to visit with their host family.
Students will take an assessment test and have an interview to determine their Spanish proficiency for class placement. Group classes consist of 2-4 persons. Private classes for the two weeks are available for an additional $250.

Cloud Forest Hike
Café Monteverde Coffee Tour
Life Monte Verde Volunteership
Sky Trek (hanging bridges or
canopy zip-line)

La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Worship at the Lutheran church & walking in San Jose
Heredia walking tour
Cooking Class & Dance Class

The cost of the trip is $1862 and includes tuition for one week of group classes at CPI MONTEVERDE and one week of group classes at CPI HEREDIA, homes-stay, breakfast, dinner, laundry service each week, tours/activities, airport transfers, tips and one night stay at bed & breakfast.
MONTEVERDE AND HEREDIA ACTIVITIES include all activities, private transportation, entrance fees and professional guide or CPI chaperone.
Please note, costs not included are:
Airfare, some lunches, personal purchases, such as snacks souvenirs, etc., travel/health insurance. It is recommended that students bring about $200 emergency money or a credit card for emergencies.
To reserve your spot, a $200 deposit is due by March 1st. The full amount is due by May 31st. Cancellation Policy: Three weeks prior to the arrival of the group no refunds will be granted.

For additional information or questions please contact
Pastor Susan Schnelle at
512-836-8560 or email:

Please print the 2020 Costa Rica Immersion Trip Brochure and return to Pastor Susie or the church office by March 1st with your $200 deposit.

The Bridge at Gethsemane

You’re invited to join The Bridge at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Austin! This ministry is designed to bridge the gap between youth programs and ministries catered toward retired adults. We are a diverse group–young professionals, singles and families with and without children–looking to build community through fellowship and faith-sharing during this busy stage of life. We meet during the Sunday Learning Hour (9:30-10:30am) downstairs in the room adjacent to the church office. Sunday School or nursery care is available for children. Come have a cup of coffee or tea and connect with us! Find our group on Facebook: The Bridge at Gethsemane

Gethsemane Receives ELCA Mental Health Grant

In the United States, almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. When families are struggling with mental health conditions the first place they call is the church, yet churches are often lacking the information and resources needed to help. 

Gethsemane Lutheran in Austin is launching a Mental Health Ministry Plan thanks to a $10,000 grant from the ELCA. Gethsemane will host twelve workshops over the next year and a half covering a variety of mental health topics for both adults and children. The first “kickoff” event will be a 4-hour workshop to inform and support people who have friends or family with a mental health condition on Saturday, November 16th from 1-5 p.m. at Gethsemane Lutheran in Austin led by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

In addition, all Southwestern-Texas Synod clergy and their church leaders are invited to attend one of two mental health training conferences led by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at Gethsemane Austin on January 9 & 25, 2020 to learn the tools needed to support mental health in congregations and facilitate an environment that is knowledgeable, open and supportive of individuals and families dealing with mental health issues.

Photo Caption (photo attached): Grant proposal writers (left to right) include Gethsemane Austin members Elizabeth Kite, Alice Bassett, Pastor Susan Schnelle, Karalyn Heimlich and Glenda Holmstrom.  


Gethsemane Lutheran will be offering language learning opportunties for people who want to learn English or Spanish. There will be English as a Second Language and Spanish as a Second Language classes offered on Thursday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm from September 19th thru November 14th (excluding Oct. 31st). If you are interested in either attending classes or volunteering please contact Pastor Schnelle.