Thank you to the 75 leaders who took the time to log into our rostered/authorized leader call this morning. I hope that information was helpful to you and that the time together was encouraging as we go forward in mission. An email to the entire synod about our synod staff guidelines and recommendations re: worship and community life will be sent later today. However, we wanted to take a moment to thank you for participating and also provide a few resource links for you right away.
The first is the link to our NT-NL website resource page, https://www.ntnl.org/resources/covid-19/, which will be updated continuously and includes Bishop Eaton’s thoughts on the Lenten Fast and how this time encourages us to new ways of thinking and connecting.
The second is a message below this one regarding the free coaching opportunities we discussed that we are providing this week.
Third, are links to tithe.ly and LEAD regarding opportunities for moving worship online and also other ways we can think about connecting and being church together.
This is a challenging time. It is also an opportunity for us to be the church, to care for those in our charge, to preach the gospel in word and deed to those whose hearts might be newly open to hearing it, and to be generous stewards of God’s abundance in our midst. God bless you in this work.
Bishop Erik K. J. Gronberg, PhD
Being Church in the Time of COVID-19
ELCA Coaching Ministry’s Response
“What is the next most faithful step we can take?”
ELCA Coaching Ministry would like to add our voice to those across our denomination and country speaking into this unique time of concern and care.
Many of us are in conversations that have revealed the extraordinary stress that COVID-19 and the associated fall-out has placed upon our faith communities and leaders. It has been said multiple times and in many different ways, “We don’t know how to be a leader in the midst of a deadly pandemic, and we don’t have all the answers.” Indeed, this is true.
We also recognize that getting through this means working together as God invites us in 1Corinthians 12 – the body of Christ, utilizing and recognizing all parts/resources; and most importantly, knowing that when one suffers, we all suffer; when one rejoices, we all rejoice.
ELCA’s Coaching Ministry wants to provide a platform for us to do this together. On a weekly basis we will be offering a ZOOM opportunity for leaders to gather in conversation around various topics related to: Being the Church in the Time of COVID-19.
This week we are offering space for these topics of conversation:
· Staying Connected and Caring for One Another & Our Neighbor
Our conversations will follow this template:
· Welcome and centering with scripture
· Short presentation on the topic area
· Break-out into small groups with discussion facilitated by an ELCA Coach
· Gather back in the larger plenary for a short debrief and time of prayer
The goal of these gatherings is to offer a safe, even brave, space for our leaders to come together and name out loud what they are experiencing and to figure out what possible action steps they might take to move forward in this new reality.
We engage in this endeavor knowing that we do not know all of the answers, but we do know that figuring out what a next step looks like is easier in collaboration and in an atmosphere of proclaiming the promises of God (hear: “We are church together”).
Our intent is to offer these types of conversations and spaces weekly. Topics and content will shift depending on the needs of those that attend.
COVID-19 will continue to impact our lives and our work in ministry, and eventually we will realize life has morphed into some new sense of normal. When this happens, I hope the world will also reach a new understanding – that we are all connected and better together than apart. As church, we have a unique opportunity to model what this looks like. Let’s show up tomorrow (and the next day, and the day after that) knowing that God meets us there – expecting that God has provided all we need for our next steps, and recognizing that we need one another to take them.
See you online. Dates, times and links to our ZOOM sessions are below:
Topic: Being Church in the Time of COVID-19 – Worship
Time: Mar 17, 2020 02:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)