Welcome to Family Heritage Alliance
All South Dakota legislators are invited to attend FHA Action's upcoming Legislative Policy Briefings.
Click here to register for the Sioux Falls Briefing
Click here to register for the Rapid City Briefing
Ministry Information Luncheon A Success
On Thursday, December 5, three Rapid City area Ministries hosted our first annual “Ministry Information Luncheon”. The almost 20 area guests participants, Church/Ministry Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, were treated to a delicious Olive Garden Buffet. This was our opportunity to appreciate them in a very meaningful manner as we shared with them what God is doing in the Black Hills area through the ministries of:
Family Heritage Alliance
Passages, Women’s Transitional Living – www.PassagesLiving.com
National Day of Prayer – BlackHillsNDP.org
We are thankful for what these professionals are doing to enhance the Kingdom of God as we work together to the 'Applause of One'. We extend our gratitude to the Rapid City First Assembly of God who graciously allowed us to utilize their facility for the hosting of this luncheon. It is our intent to replicate this concept across the state of South Dakota. So, Church/Ministry Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, be watching for a "Ministry Information Luncheon" to be held near you in the not-so-distant future.
My ‘Thanksgiving’ Drives Me….
By FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher
Thanksgiving is America’s preeminent day. And today I have much for which to be ‘Thankful’ and it is that Thanksgiving which drives me to remain passionately engaged in the cause of the Family Heritage Alliance. I am driven to do all that I am able to do when it comes to:
- Protecting the Sanctity of Human life;
- Defending Natural Marriage; and
- Championing our Religious Freedoms.
, Family and Freedom are my personal life priorities. Let’s just take FAITH for a moment. On November 22nd of this year I celebrated my 47th birthday! Now before you doubt my sanity - I am speaking of my spiritual birthday
. Yes, I was twelve years of age, as pictured here, when on that day in 1966 I gave my life to Christ, was baptized into Him and began a new and exciting life’s journey. This journey compels me, drives me
to be an Ambassador of Christ when it comes to our Family Values.
Shortly after coming to Christ I was introduced to the music of Jim Reeves. This American country and popular music singer-songwriter became well known as “Gentleman Jim”. He died in the crash of a private airplane at the young age of 41. Shortly before his death he penned the words to one of my favorite songs titled: We Thank Thee. Yes, Jim Reeves knew whom to thank for the simple blessings of life. He wrote:
We thank Thee each morning for a new born day
Where we may work the fields of new mown hay
We thank Thee for the sunshine and the air that we breathe oh Lord we thank Thee
Thank Thee for the rivers that run all day
Thank Thee for the little birds that sing along the way
Thank Thee for the trees and the deep blue sea oh Lord we thank Thee
Oh yes we thank Thee Lord for every flower that blooms
Birds that sing fish that swim and the light of the moon
We thank Thee every day as we kneel and pray
That we were born with eyes to see these things
Thank Thee for the fields where the clover is grown
Thank Thee for the pastures where cattle may roam
Thank Thee for Thy love so pure and free oh Lord we thank Thee
Oh yes we thank Thee Lord...
Today this spiritual classic is needed more than ever before as we face this noisy, ego-driven materialistic age of ours. Let our Thankfulness Drive Us to a deeper level of gratitude this Thanksgiving Season.
From all of us here at the Family Heritage Alliance to you – “Happy Thanksgiving
Qusi Alhaj Mesmerizes FHA BH Luncheon Crowd
170 folks crowded into the room so graciously provided for us by Open Bible Christian Center. They came to eat lunch of course, but they could do that many other places in and around Rapid City. They came to eat, fellowship, and be encouraged. And I think all would agree, they got what they came for. On November 20, the FHA did what we do well. We brought together a diverse group of people who share a common faith in God and a common love of this amazing country. Several dignitaries were in the room. Among them were, Rapid City’s Mayor Sam Kooiker, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom, RC Alderman Brad Estes and a host of SD legislators. State Senator Shantel Krebs took a few moments on stage to talk about her candidacy for SD Secretary of State. Brad Otten, was in the room representing US Representative Kristi Noem and of course Qusi Alhaj, Senator John Thune’s West River Regional Director was there as well (more about Qusi in a moment). The legendary Chop House catered the event, and as always the food was amazing.
Many in the room came specifically to hear Qusi’s story, which is entitled “American Exceptionalism, An Immigrant’s Journey”. Simply put, it is the story of a broke teenage Jordanian immigrant who came to this country with a twenty-word English vocabulary, seeking a better way of life. Alhaj spoke of the hope this country holds for the world, and the exceptional and unique nature of our freedom and way of life. At one point, Qusi stated: “as Americans, if we get it right, the rest of the world has a chance to get it right. If we get it wrong, the rest of the world is in deep trouble”. If you missed this event, or even if you didn’t, do yourself a favor. Sit down, settle in, watch the video (below) of Qusi’s story. It will be an invaluable thirty minute investment in restoring your hope for this country.
As always, we want to close by thanking those that made this event a success. Open Bible Christian Center, their staff, and volunteers, were simply amazing. The army of FHA volunteers (too numerous to name) always represent us well and create an exceptional experience for those who attend. Amy Willson, our Executive Assistant, did great job helping us get all the moving parts ready for the luncheon. And last but not least, thanks to all who attended. As our Executive Director, Dale Bartscher is fond of saying: “you are the wind beneath our wings”.
Meeting with RNC Director of Faith Engagement
On Thursday, November 21, FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher attended a breakfast meeting with Sandye Kading, South Dakota's National Republican Committeewoman; Robert Fischer, Rapid City Businessman and FHA Advisory Council Chair; and Chad Connelly, Republican National Committee's Director of Faith Engagement. This two hour encounter was thought provoking and inspirational. Chad shared of his walk to Christ and all were moved emotionally by his story of redemption and hope. To those who find themselves discouraged with the Leadership of the Republican Party we say "Be of good courage for there are men and women at the helm such as Chad and Sandye who unashamedly and boldly proclaim our values of Faith, Family and Freedom."
Chad spoke of his new book titled: Freedom Tide: How You Can Make A Difference. This 80-page quick read opens with these words: "The Tide of the Future is a Freedom Tide! The signs are all around us: violent crime is up. Teen pregnancy is rising dramatically. Test scores are down. Cradle-to-the-grave social services are taking the place of personal responsibility. And all the while, our freedoms are eroding. Now is the time to take a stand!" This is the heart of the FHA and so it is that a 'Complimentary Copy' of Chad's Book, Freedom Tide will be presented to the first #85 Pastors and Ministry Leaders who register for this coming year's 'South Dakota's Ministry Leaders' Capitol Summit' to be held on Thursday, February 6, 2014, at the SD State Capitol in Pierre. To register please click here. Stay tuned to the news of Chad Connelly's return to South Dakota as an FHA event speaker.
Reform SD DUI Laws?
FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher was honored to attend the monthly breakfast meeting of the Sioux Falls City Council, Minnehaha County Commissioners and other Eastern South Dakota Leaders. The meeting's keynote speaker was Greg Spindler who was there advocating for a reform of South Dakota's DUI laws. Greg is personally and emotionally involved in this endeavor as his beautiful, 25-year-old daughter, Maegan Elizabeth Spindler, was killed by a drunk driver on July 8, 2013, in Pickstown, SD. This was an informative meeting which may produce legislation for the 2014 SD Legislative Session. As always, the FHA Action will read all submitted bills through thoroughly before determining whether we will support them or not. One thing is for sure…DUI is a nationwide problem and South Dakota is not immune. Nationally 3.5 times as many die annually from DUI as did on 9/11/01. There have been over 160,000 DUI deaths in the US since 9/11. "Friends, we have a problem!"
Sioux Falls Luncheon Draws Record East River Crowd
Leading up to the Family Heritage Alliance Sioux Falls Area Luncheon, South Dakota War College blog was calling the event the “hottest ticket in town”. Citing the fact that Former Governor Mike Rounds and State Senator Larry Rhoden would be making a joint appearance in Sioux Falls at the luncheon, South Dakota’s number one political blog was all aglow about the upcoming event. Well, as it turned out, the event pretty much lived up to the prediction. Wednesday, November 13, 104 friends of the FHA (and maybe one or two opposed to us as well) assembled at Church at the Gate in Sioux Falls for a meal and a fast paced hour of information and discussion. We heard from Senator Krebs, Senator Rhoden, and Former Governor Rounds (listed in alphabetical order) as each took the stage for a seven minute description of their respective candidacy and vision. Senator Krebs is running for Secretary of State and both Rhoden and Rounds are vying for the Republican nomination for US Senate. Beside the three who took the stage, the room was wall-to-wall dignitaries including Sioux Falls Mayoral candidate Greg Jamison, Attorney General Marty Jackley, and a host of legislators (Manny Steele, Steve Westra, Don Haggar, and Jim Stalzer to name a few). At 104 attendees, this event was by far the largest FHA East River luncheon to date. We are so grateful for the partnership of the amazing folks at Church at the Gate, their staff, and volunteers. The hospitality and excellence they exhibited contributed enormously to the success of this project. Also, our SE SD representative, LaVonne Fossness did such an amazing job keeping all the moving parts moving. Also, Norman Woods, our Student Intern was, as always, a huge asset in Sioux Falls and the long drive there and back. What can I say; the lad makes the FHA look good.
FRC Added to FHA's List of National Associations
Last week, we announced our new official association with Focus on the Family, and CitizenLink. Well, the hits just keep on coming! This week, the FHA was honored to add the Family Research Council to our list of national associations. As you may know, Tony Perkins and the FRC have since 1983, occupied the front line trenches in the defense of faith, family, and freedom. Since our inception, FRC has been there to assist in so many ways, and we are so pleased to be associated with them.
Update on ENDA
ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) about which we reported last week, was passed in the US Senate on Thursday, November 7. The 64-32 vote was helped handily along by the assistance of ten Republican Senators. South Dakota Senator John Thune stood for our family values and voted "NO" on this measure. This is the first major piece of legislation involving gay rights since Congress repealed “don’t ask – don’t tell” in December 2010. The passage of the measure in the Senate puts the issue in the hands of the House of Representatives, where Republican leaders have stated the bill is not going anywhere. The FHA will continue to monitor this.
The Defenders of our Freedom In Jeopardy of Losing Theirs
Increasingly, we are getting reports from Christian military members regarding the ongoing intimidation and persecution of our brave Bible-believing men and women in the armed services. From briefings which demonize Catholic and Evangelical Christians, to equating conservative organizations with hate groups, a clear pattern seems to be emerging. Monday, November 11 is Veterans Day. It would be a good day to do one or more of the following:
Custer GOP Holds Forum
On Monday, November 4, FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher was at Legion Hall in Custer, SD, and found there a lesson in democracy. The Custer County GOP Central Committee had invited the public to come hear from two of the five South Dakota US Senatorial Candidates. Approximately 60 passionately patriotic men and women filled the Legion Hall and for almost two hours asked thoughtful questions and applauded both Senator Larry Rhoden and Representative Stace Nelson as they answered. The FHA Action applauds the community of Custer for hosting this event of information and civic responsibility.
FHA Welcomed Into the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce
On Thursday, Novermber 7, the Family Heritage Alliance celebrated our "Ribbon Cutting" and with it our entrance into the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce.
Family Heritage Alliance Secures Associations
As we look to the FUTURE it’s important for our FHA friends to know that a little over a month ago the Family Heritage Alliance became the 38th Statewide Organization to be Officially Associated with the highly respected, national Ministries of Focus On The Family and their sister affiliate, CitizenLink.
These new associations come at no financial cost to the Family Heritage Alliance nor do they entitle us to receive financial resources from either National Organization. However, this "official" invitation-only relationship, extended to only one organization per state, will allow the FHA to receive…
- a wealth of expertise in the arena of public policy,
- resource materials in educating and encouraging our Pastors and Elected Officials,
- significant human resources
- and access to a nationwide Network of organizations and individuals who likewise champion our values.
In return, the FHA will bring South Dakota issues to the Focus and CitizenLink tables when discussing national issues and legislation!
We are thankful for the trust and confidence these two national ministries have placed in the work of the Family Heritage Alliance! We will strive to live up to their every expectation as we do so all to the applause of ONE.
The ENDA First Amendment In Sight?
by John Dennis
Well, how’s this for a little Halloween spookiness? ENDA (HR 3017 or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) has been teetering on the verge of the all-important 60 votes necessary to avoid the threat of a filibuster and green light the bill to proceed to final passage. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has stated that he plans to consider the measure on the Senate floor next week. South Dakota’s own Senator Tim Johnson is a sponsor of the bill.
The issue at hand extends far beyond discrimination. This bill will add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as specific categories protected against discrimination in employment law. As a result, it will endanger the First Amendment freedom of religious expression and create a legislation minefield for businesses. The legal quagmire created by this bill is too massive to detail in this article, but I would urge you to take the time to acquaint yourself with this issue and act with haste if you find it to impose on employer’s freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of conscience, and the free market economy. As of Wednesday, all 52 Senate Democrats, the two independents, and four Republicans were expected to support ENDA.
Listed below are links to inform you and to allow you to inform your senators what you want them to do on this flawed piece of legislation.
CitizenLink’s article on ENDA
Family Research Council’s latest article on ENDA
Contact Senator John Thune (R-SD)
Contact Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)
2013 "Stand" Banquet - You Are Not Alone
As I talk and correspond with conservatives around the country, there is a prevailing sense of isolation and reluctant despair. The left-leaning media machine in this country paints conservatives as a tiny minority of poor confused individuals who lack a connection with reality. Or worse, we are painted as hate groups or enemies of the state. It’s intriguing to me that the media is always in the just the right place at just the right time to catch the most trivial of stories, but they never seem to cover events like the FHA’s October 15 “STAND” banquet. In the short span of two hours, this event shattered both stereotypes I just mentioned. One glance around the banquet hall left you with the overwhelming sense that we are not alone and that the folks who stand with us are truly the “A-Team”. As the evening progressed, a calm resolved and compassionate message emerged from the stage. Our executive director, Dale Bartscher spoke briefly of where we have been as an organization and optimistically of where we are headed. Our keynote speaker, Focus on the Family’s president, Jim Daly presented a powerful message charged with the challenges ahead and the compassion we are to have toward those in our culture with worldviews that differ from ours.
The Rapid City Civic Center’s LaCroix hall provided the perfect venue for an evening with the FHA and Jim Daly. 530 passionate defenders of faith, family, and freedom gathered for an awesome meal, and a fast paced two hour program. Pastor / State Representative Scott Craig was the evening’s emcee. Sara Frankenstein led the assembly in our National Anthem and Pastor Michael Brandt led the invocation. Beside presenting an overview of the Family Heritage Alliance, Executive Director Dale Bartscher also presented our three annual awards, assisted by our FHA Action Board Chair Dr. Patrick Clinch.
- John Peter Muhlenberg, Pastor Leadership Award was presented to Sioux Falls Pastor Steve Hickey
- Rosa Parks, Citizen Activist Award was presented to Linda Schauer, SD Concerned Women for America President
- William Wilberforce, Elected Leadership Award was presented to Marty Jackley, SD Attorney General
As the evening drew to a close, Roger Gallimore, Family Heritage Alliance Board Chair, took to the stage to challenge those in attendance to partner financially with the FHA. Pastor John Dennis, our Communications Director led the benediction to officially bring the evening’s proceedings to a conclusion.
Due to the significant and long lasting impact of winter storm Atlas, our numbers were down some from last year, and still the amazing contribution provided exceeded last year’s. The FHA is poised to move strongly into 2014.
To Jim Daly and the amazing folks at Focus on the Family, the host of volunteers, the amazing table hosts, the Rapid City Civic Center’s staff, and everyone who took time out of their busy storm tossed lives (literally) to STAND with us, we extend our sincere and humble thanks!
By the way, eight influential friends of the Family Heritage Alliance recorded testimonials for us to compile and debut at the banquet. That video is provided below.
The First Annual Hispanic Biblical Worldview Conference
I sat staring at a blank page, trying to find a way to express the scope of the weekend the FHA had September 20 and 21. We have been planning for months. Conference calls and collaboration with Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, The Manhattan Declaration, and the New Jerusalem Church have been a constant. This being the first event of its kind ever, there were so many details to work out, so many questions. We had no baseline to work from, no stats from the previous year to compare against. Then there was the language barrier, which was no small issue in its own right. So to say, that the First Annual Hispanic Biblical Worldview Conference stretched the FHA out of our comfort zone would be putting it rather mildly! We were praying for 20 Hispanic ministry leaders in attendance Friday evening and Saturday morning. We really weren’t even sure how to guess how many might show up for the finale Saturday evening. There were plenty of nerve racking hiccups along the way. Our translator arrived from Las Vegas on time, but on the wrong side of the state. Dale Bartscher was able to pick him and a friend of his up at the Rapid City airport and they traveled with Dale to Sioux Falls. A couple of the scheduled speakers had to cancel at the last minute. So there was a fair amount of tension the last few days before the event. Finally, the day arrived and the important pieces were all in place. Instead of 20 Hispanic leaders, 60 showed up for our Friday evening and Saturday morning events. The speakers were superb. The fellowship with our Hispanic brothers and sisters was amazing. The translator (an amazing guy named Edgar) added a layer of humor to the process of communicating the importance of a Biblical Worldview. Then Saturday evening arrived and the sanctuary at Sioux Falls First Church began to fill. In amazement we watched as 200 Hispanics and their friends arrived to participate. Each of the speakers and our interpreter took the stage and delivered a powerful insightful series, defending life, liberty, and God’s definition of marriage. We are including in this article, the Saturday Evening introduction by our Executive Director, Dale Bartscher, and the address on marriage by FRC’s Randy Wilson. We will post the full complement of videos and have them ready for you next week. It was genuinely an amazing weekend and it was an honor to have been a part of it. Special thanks go out to our Sioux Falls area representative LaVonne Fossness. Without her tireless efforts on the ground in Sioux Falls, this event would have not been nearly the success it was. Also, a huge thank you goes out to Pastor Salomon Garcia who, along with the New Jerusalem Church, did so much to make this a success.
Side Notes: It also bears mentioning that other organizations, including Focus on the Family are planning to use this event as a prototype for nationwide projects. You can see additional pictures from the event on our Facebook page here. Stay tuned. We will be posting more on this event and the followup as time permits.
Amy Willson Accepts Executive Assistant Position
The FHA has been searching for just the right person to step in
and assist us in the day to day tasks of running the office. We are
pleased to report that we have extended an invitation to Amy Willson and
she has graciously accepted. Amy will be on staff beginning September
3. Amy is married with two teenagers. She has worked in the nursing
profession for 10 years. Along with the work she will be doing for the
Family Heritage Alliance, she is also the local chapter leader for Act!
For America. She states: “I'm very honored to work with Family Heritage
Alliance. I am excited about aligning with and serving the Family
Heritage Alliance to fight for faith, family, and freedom.” Amy, we
couldn’t be more pleased!