Thank you to all our leaders who made our first in-person assembly in 3 years a great success. Special thanks to King of Glory, Dallas (Pastor Kenny Dickson) and particularly staff member Phil Thomas and all their volunteers. We had spirited worship, challenging and thought provoking theological reflection, and time to be together. What a gift that was to be together again.
As we move past assembly I want to be sure you are aware of some opportunities and events going forward…
- Mission Endowment Fund Emphasis Sunday May 15th
- NT-NL Senior High Youth Gathering (July 7-10) at Briarwood – Indicate Interest Here.
- MYJ2 Multicultural Youth Gathering (July 21-23) at Briarwood – Indicate Interest Here.
- ELCA Latinx Young Adults Gathering at Briarwood (August 5-7)
- ELCA Churchwide Assembly (August 8-12) – Please pray for your voting members from NT-NL
In my assembly report I spoke about our need as people of Law and Gospel to both speak the truth which reminds us continually of our need for the gospel. The good news that despite the reality of sin and death God claims us by God’s choosing. That gives us encouragement to be bold, knowing that God has already accomplished for us all that needs to be done.
Being bold means we can also name realities in our communities honestly. It is a reality that the Christian church in America has been in decline for more than a generation. That is not just a Lutheran reality but has been shared across denominations and has been accelerated by the pandemic crisis. That can be discouraging and frustrating for us as leaders. Yet it also gives us an opportunity to be honest in our assessment and look for new ways of being. Congregations that have engaged in our LFI or LEAD programs reflect how they have felt invigorated by that intentional process. Leaders who are actively being coached report how that relationship has challenged and encouraged them. We also know that congregations and church institutions have life spans and sometimes it is good stewardship to let a ministry go. In all of these things your synod staff and I as bishop desire to walk with you and to remind you that your life, your hope, and all that you are is found in God.
Our world, constantly striving after more, needs to hear this message now more than ever. I pray that as we move forward in 2022 and beyond we will be bold to proclaim that truth. To move our communities out of our walls and into the lives of our neighbors who need to hear this message. The tomb is empty, death does not win, God is for you.