Dear Partners in Mission:
It has now been three months since we should have been gathered at Paul Quinn College for our annual NT-NL assembly. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we postponed with hope for a fall in-person gathering. Due to continued high rates of infection and hospitalizations, an in-person gathering even this fall is looking unlikely. As such, we are announcing today our first ever NT-NL online assembly to be held September 26, 2020 from 1-4:30pm. More information about registration and agenda will be forthcoming. I am excited for this opportunity in which we can utilize the resources of the Leadership Center at Briarwood. It will be a learning experience for us all, a hallmark of adaptive leadership.
Learning has been a hallmark of this time for us all. You have learned and adapted and brought new ways to connect into our life together. I am excited by the ways in which the many ministries of NT-NL have stepped up and adapted. This includes your ministry at Briarwood and the amazing talented staff.
While some camps have done a week or two of online content, your summer staff at Briarwood have produced amazing new content for you each week of the last six weeks including interactive worship (including Wednesday July 29th at 6:30pm) and game times (Tuesday July 28th at 11am). This content will also be available for your sunday schools and youth groups into the fall as a package to assist your congregation as we continue to learn to do church online and as able, in person. Please invite Avery Hawley (firstname.lastname@example.org), summer program coordinator and community engagement manager, to join your youth online.
Continuing in this spirit of innovation, our Conferencia Latina will be hosting a Bilingual VBS@home the second and third weeks of August. I believe this is the first such VBS of its kind ever in the ELCA. So grateful for how our leaders in the Conferencia Latina have come together to adapt and learn and provide resources for our communities. This is work #EnMisionJuntos #InMissionTogether.
Covid-19 has brought many challenges and losses. We recognize it is important that we grieve in this time and acknowledge the pain in our communities. But as we continue in this pandemic, I am more convinced we are going to look back on this time as a pivot moment in our life together. When challenged, our communities and ministries have responded in service and love for neighbor. Leaders continue to be developed. Congregations continue to be generous.
This past week I completed signing mid-year giving statements to our congregations in thanks for their mission support. This is a task that I find to be deeply spiritual and holy as I take time both to reflect on the generosity of our communities and pray for these communities and each rostered/authorized leader by name as I sign each letter. Even when we are separated physically, we are connected by our shared mission to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed.
As we transition now towards fall programming and planning, know that you are in my prayers, and we will continue to resource you for mission. By next week, we will be releasing a video sermon for August 16th provided by Pastor Jim Rowe of our Lutheran Campus Ministry in Denton. This is another resource for your community, and please share and utilize as it is useful for you. We thank Pastor Rowe for offering this gift to our communities and lifting up our shared work of campus ministry. Another way we connect with young adults.
As July ends, we look forward to what God continues to do in our midst. I am excited about our online assembly September 26th from 1-4:30pm and look forward to seeing our leaders together again.