Dear Partners in Ministry:
During the crisis that is impacting our nation and world right now, it seems that our lives are ever shifting and changing. Things we thought we could count on, ways of thinking about the world and one another, are being challenged. And with challenge and change brings uncertainty and anxiety. Yet in the midst of all of this, I am ever more convinced God is working on us and working on God’s church.
One of the ways I am convinced of this is in encounters with individuals God has called to engage in further theological education. NT-NL has had a long standing commitment to leadership formation and education. A key goal of my work as bishop has been to build on that foundation, both in our investment in Briarwood Leadership Center, and also encouraging individuals to pursue theological higher education. 2020 has been a banner year for that work as eight individuals from NT-NL congregations completed masters level or higher theological education. On Pentecost Sunday, I was blessed to be able to sit down with them and hear their stories, and now I get to share those stories with you.
It is inspiring to see and hear from these individuals who are living into the Lutheran tradition of academic excellence and inquiry. I pray hearing from them inspires you as well. NT-NL offers many avenues for those seeing theological and leadership education. Our Parish Lay Ministry Academy is growing and becoming a model for other synods across the ELCA. We offer coaching and coach training to help guide leaders to faithful decisions. We encourage and support seminary education for both lay and ordained professionals in the church. In the midst of all the changes in our world today, this commitment — to educating and developing leaders for God’s church and world — will remain constant as long as I serve in the office of bishop.