2017 Synod Assembly

``We Are Church Together: Telling Our Stories``

30th Annual Synod Assembly – Thursday, May 4 – Saturday, May 6, 2017

Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Fresno Convention Center
2233 Ventura Street, Fresno, California, 93721

 We know that this is truly the Savior of the World  (John 4:42b)


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New this year: One registration per person! Fees increase after Monday, April 3.



DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Fresno Convention Center
2233 Ventura Street
Fresno, California 93721

We have a block of rooms reserved for May 3 – May 6, 2017. You must reserve your room by April 18 or before the block fills up to receive the special room rate. This location has filled in the past, so make your reservations now!

Make your Reservation Online

Check in is 3:30 PM; check out is 12:00 Noon. There may be a check-in/check-out wait, so please plan accordingly.

The cancellation policy is 24-hours prior to arrival to avoid late cancellation penalties.

Day of Service

Join us in Fresno, the day before the Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly for a Day of Mission.  Click here to join our mailing list to learn more about activities and to RSVP.  Participants get free Reformation 500 t-shirts!


Keynote Speaker
Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy, President, Pacific School of Religion

Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy serves as President of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California – a progressive, interdenominational Christian seminary committed to preparing theologically and spiritually rooted leaders for social transformation. A committed pastor, a nationally recognized immigration leader, and a sought after speaker, Vásquez-Levy leads at the intersection of faith, higher education, and social change.

Following the devastating May 12, 2008 immigration raid in Postville, Iowa—at the time the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history—Vásquez-Levy served as part of the Postville Relief Effort core team. His leadership included coordination of resources, humanitarian assistance, legal support, spiritual and mental health counseling, family reunification, advocacy, and long-term community re-development. This work has led him to serve as a consultant on various documentaries and contribute a faith perspective to the national conversation on immigration—including speaking at a congressional briefing and participating in two immigration consultations at the White House.

Vásquez-Levy is the author of various publications that explore migration stories in sacred texts and in people’s lives. He has lived in four countries and taught courses and led international study and service trips across the globe. His international experience has also included refugee resettlement work in Canada and studies at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.

Vásquez-Levy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Texas Lutheran University and University and a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry in Preaching degrees from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.


wyvettaELCA Churchwide Representative, Preacher
The Rev. M Wyvetta Bullock , Assistant to the Presiding Bishop/Executive for Administration

Wyvetta has served as Assistant to the Presiding Bishop/Executive for Administration, in the Office of the Presiding Bishop since 2007.  Prior to serving in this position she served as Executive for Leadership Development and Executive Director for the Division for Congregational Ministries.

Wyvetta is an ELCA pastor. She received her Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC).  Wyvetta received the Distinguished Alumni Award from LSTC in 2003.  In 2004 she was conferred with the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Grand View College, Des Moines, Iowa.

Wyvetta serves as a pastoral associate at Bethel Lutheran Church, Chicago, Illinois.  Wyvetta serves on the Board of Directors of Augusta Victoria Hospital, Jerusalem.

Wyvetta is a contributing author to two books: The Evangelizing Church:  A Lutheran Contribution, Called Out of Our Comfort Zones, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Spring 2005; and The Missional Church & Denominations:  Helping Congregations Develop a Missional Identity, The Challenge of Developing Missional Denominational Agencies and the Implications for Leadership, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2008.

Wyvetta and her husband, Neil, have two children:  David and Karen Ann.


RCumming Headshot copyBible Study Leader
Dr. Ryan Cumming, Director of Education, ELCA World Hunger

RYAN P. CUMMING, Ph.D., has been a movie extra, a bartender, a factory worker, and a fishmonger, but he is currently Program Director for Hunger Education with ELCA World Hunger, his favorite job so far.  He writes stories about hunger ministries, visits with congregations, and helps Lutherans learn about hunger, poverty and justice-seeking faith.  Ryan graduated from Capital University and Loyola University Chicago, where he studied psychology, theology, and ethics. Ryan teaches at Loyola and Central Michigan University and has presented his research in the US and overseas.  He is the author of The African American Challenge to Just War Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and a contributor to The Forgotten Luther: Reclaiming the Social-Economic Dimension of the Reformation (Lutheran University Press, 2016). His writing has also appeared in academic and popular journals. When he’s not working, he enjoys playing with his kids, camping, and traveling with his family.


Jonathan Rundman

Born and raised in the isolated Finnish-American communities of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Jonathan Rundman has been writing songs and performing across the country since he was 18 years old. He emerged on the national music scene as a Chicago-based touring artist, generating rave reviews in Billboard, The New York Times, Performing Songwriter, Paste, and countless regional publications. Now living in Minneapolis, he continues to tour and record. Jonathan’s songs can be heard on radio stations across America, in Scandinavia and England, and have been featured on television’s Ellen Degeneres Show and CBS This Morning. He has performed live on NPR’s Mountain Stage Radio Show, and on Iowa Public Television.

In 2016 Jonathan Rundman’s new album LOOK UP was released in Europe. It marks a mature new phase in Jonathan’s critically acclaimed discography. These ten songs explore themes of technology, linear time, and optimism, and draw from Rundman’s diverse musical influences including Americana, Nordic folk music, and ’80s New Wave pop.

Jonathan has also recorded and toured with Kaivama & Arto Järvelä playing Finnish folk music.


In Kind Gifts

Once again, the Sierra Pacific Synod will be collecting in-kind gifts for a human service organization in the Synod Assembly host city. Please share this information with your congregation and encourage their participation and support.

 In-Kind Gifts will be baby diapers and personal items for women at the Marjaree Mason Center in Fresno, a shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.  For more information on the Center, please visit their website at  https://www.mmcenter.org.

Financial Gifts

This year we are setting a high goal for our financial contributions at the 2017 Synod Assembly – $25,000!  We need your help as congregations and individuals in order to achieve our goal.

All Offerings will be divided equally among these three organizations:

1/3 to Fresno Area Lutheran Hunger Network
1/3 to ELCA Churchwide: World Hunger
1/3 to Sierra Pacific Synod Candidacy scholarships


Request for Display Space
Due no later than April 3, 2017
To be considered for Display Space your ministry, group, organization, or agency MUST be:
affiliated with the Sierra Pacific Synod,
affiliated with the ELCA,
a direct beneficiary of the Synodical budget, or
a beneficiary of the Churchwide budget.

The workshop schedule will be coming in April!

Watch for more information about proposed resolutions.

Welcome Letter 2017.2


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