Thursday August 27th was a full day of meetings, calls, and as always our Synodcheck-in/prayer time. Our prayers rose particularly for those in the path of Hurricane Laura. So far reports are that while devastating and lives were lost it was not as bad as it could be. Our congregations in Shreveport are ok. As always if you are looking to immediately respond either give to Lutheran Disaster Response or you can give to NT-NL Disaster Fund (please note that on your gift). https://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Hurricane-Response
Later in the morning I met with our Public Witness Team regarding a statement of commitment to anti-racism work in our synod. The realities of institutional and systemic racism in our society are undeniable. This team has worked on a statement and commitments to bring to our synod council and assembly. Grateful for their work.
While I was doing my work, over 450 individuals, including 14 from NT-NL, were participating in ELCA Churchwide congregational vitality training. This is facilitated through our DEM, the Rev. Irma Bañales. Grateful for those doing this training work.
In the afternoon we had our weekly Conference of Bishops check-in call. Good to spend time with colleagues in prayer and conversation. Getting updates on wildfire responses in the West and the challenges of responding to tensions in Kenosha, WI and the aftermath of a police shooting and then subsequent protests and violence. I am grateful for my colleague Bishop Paul Erickson and his steady work on behalf of the Greater Milwaukee Synod, which was where my spouse and I served our first calls. We also spent time Dwelling in the Word led by Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson of the NW Wisconsin synod.
My day ended with a final edition in this series of Conversations at Briarwood. Dr. Jacqueline Hidalgo presented on indigenous history in California, particularly as it relates to the missions and also the monuments erected to commemorate those missions. This conversation was especially vital in thinking about leadership in a time when monuments of many kinds, but particularly ones glorifying the confederacy, are being questioned. To lead we must listen and learn. Also grateful for Pastor Ben Dueholm of Christ Lutheran Church and Preschool who participated bringing reflections on an article he wrote about monuments in the wake of the Charleston protests in 2017. Rich conversation.