Spirit of Hope and Possibility

Spirit of Hope and Possibility

At our most recent Synod Council meeting this past weekend, we were blessed to receive presentations from three amazing and gifted leaders in the church:

+       The Rev. Dr. Donna Allen who spoke about confronting Racism and White Privilege/Supremacy in our communities and in our churches

+       Ms. Victoria Flood, Director for Mission Support for the ELCA who shared information on approaches to enlivening connections at all levels of the ministry of our church, and

+       Pr. Margaret Marcuson, an author who has written and taught extensively on Church Leadership and Stewardship.

All three presentations were challenging and a reminder that as a church, we have some work to do to become stronger reflections of God’s power, peace and hope for all people in this world. There was a palpable spirit of hope and possibility that came through all three presenters. More about their work and witness will be shared in the future as the Council continues to offer leadership in our synod’s ministry.

In that same spirit of hope and possibility, the Council acted during our meeting to step forward in faith by trusting that God is a God of abundance. We made the decision to honor all our commitments that are represented in the current budget – a budget that was passed with a 90% approval vote at our 2018 Synod Assembly. Beginning this month, we will honor our commitment to all our ministry partners, including sending 37% of our undesignated offerings to the Churchwide expression of our church, and budgeted amounts that are to be sent to PLTS, Cal Lutheran, Mt. Cross, Lutheran Social Services, the Lutheran Office of Public Policy, Lutheran Engagement and Advocacy in Nevada, and all of our Campus Ministries.

It is our hope to “lead by example” as we encourage the congregations of our synod to also step forward in honoring commitments to giving to the larger church. At this point in the year, our total giving from congregations is higher than last year, even with over 50 of our congregations that have yet to submit any mission support to our synod and churchwide. It is our intention to be in contact with the pastors and leadership of these congregations to ”check in” on how things are going in their ministry and to ask if there is any special concern or need of which we should be made aware. This will NOT be an attempt to shame or blame – but a hope to enliven the connection between our synod leadership and the congregations of our synod, as Ms. Flood and Pr. Marcuson encouraged us to do.

A letter will soon be sent to all the congregations, leaders and rostered ministers of our synod with more information about our hope for a new beginning in our thinking about stewardship and mission support. In the meantime, please pray for all of our synod’s ministry as we seek to meet the needs of the many congregations and ministries in this mission field in which we have been called to work and witness. You are the best way for people to know of the presence of Christ in the communities where we have been planted to do “God’s work with our hands.” Thank you for all the faithful ways you are responding to this call, and for your partnership in this vital work we share.

God’s Peace,
Bp. Mark