Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
Yesterday we gathered for worship, dispersed in our various communities, yet together by the Christ who unites us. We heard again the story of Thomas, the disciple who refused to believe the resurrection accounts of his friends, who yet became a great apostle. We were reminded again, as I spoke in my sermon, that Thomas is both law and gospel for us, and that is good news. Christ comes to Thomas in his doubts, gives him what he needs, then sends him into mission.
It was a joy to see our leaders across our synod again adapting and finding new ways to connect with others, including the use of our video service of the Word and worship. Many have expressed gratitude for this offering, and I am grateful it was utilized. By Sunday evening, it was apparent that in a variety of platforms it had been viewed almost 2,000 times. Between that service and the many other offerings around NT-NL, this may have been the highest attended Quasimodo Easter Sunday ever (listen to the sermon to get the joke).
In this time of physical separation we, like the apostles, have a choice. We can be locked away for fear, or we can use the tools and technology we have to share the good news. We can be responsible stewards of our neighbors’ lives by limiting interactions, slowing the spread of this virus, yet also passionate evangelists living fully into the Easter hope we proclaim. The proliferation of resources onto the online world is an opportunity for us to invite others to hear from our NT-NL preachers and teachers. I have especially enjoyed our Briarwood “walk through the gospel” Facebook live posts on Sundays. All this we can do because we know our future is secure in Christ. As such, we can prioritize our neighbors’ health, give generously in support of those who have been displaced from employment, and work to care for our siblings who, for a variety of reasons, are left out of governmental support.
There are many ways you can support ministry in your context at this time. The first and foremost is continuing your faithful financial support of your congregation. Pastors and lay leaders are working more hours during this crisis than before. Finding ways to connect with parishioners and provide online experiences for worship, study, and connection. Adapting quickly to the ever changing realities of our communities and public health requirements. Your continued stewardship, living into God’s abundance, is critical for your community. Should you be able to also consider other needs, there are two other opportunities of hope and promise I lift up this week that are worthy of consideration…. Continue reading this Monday After Easter 2 message from Bishop Gronberg.
FREE “Pastors Turned Producers” Webinar
From practical tools to encouraging advice and everything in between, join The Graduate School at DBU for this upcoming webinar as they hope to equip you to make an impact wherever you work, serve, & lead.
Wednesday, April 22, 12:00n
Learn how to produce high-quality online services on a tight budget. Register here.
Earth Day Turns 50 This Year!
Sin and captivity, manifest in threats to the environment, are not the last word. God addresses our predicament with gifts of ‘forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation’ (Luther, Small Catechism). By the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God frees us from our sin and captivity, and empowers us to be loving servants to creation.
—ELCA social statement Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice, p. 5
As I work from home at our dining room table, I look out the front window and see the wildlife at my husband’s feeders. God created such beautiful creatures. As Christians we are guided by the promise expressed in our social statement that we are empowered “to be loving servants to creation.” It is our duty to care for God’s earth.
Established in 1970, Earth Day launched the modern environmental movement, spurring development of landmark policies for a creation in crisis and defining a path toward a more sustainable planet. In this 50th anniversary year, under the theme “Climate Action,” the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is joining the Earth Day Network as a featured faith partner. This partnership expresses our deep love for God’s creation and a Lutheran understanding of our profound responsibility for it. Continue reading ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton’s Earth Day message.
Only one day a year is devoted to celebrating the common home God entrusted to us, but our churches across the country are working to restore and protect earthly gifts throughout the year. What have you done (or could you commit to do) alongside the priorities of your congregation? Find out how you can (1) affirm your care for earth and neighbor and (2) act on action steps for every facet of the church life to engage in this calling. Download our free Lutherans Restoring Creation congregational kit and tell us what you are planning to do, so we can help!
Be sure to also check out 5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day as Church Together but Apart.
ELCA World Hunger’s Daily Bread Matching Grants support congregations and their partners as they work toward a just world where all are fed. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations with feeding ministries are eligible to participate. Apply today!
As part of the ELCA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 200 grants will be available to eligible ministries on a first-come, first-served basis.
Once your application has been approved, you will be able to invite your congregation, networks and friends to donate. To kickstart your campaign, the funds you raise will be matched by ELCA World Hunger with a grant of $500.
We are church together, working toward a just world where all are fed.
ELCA World Hunger Domestic Hunger Grants accompany congregations and their partners throughout the United States and Caribbean as they draw on the strengths of communities to address local issues such as food security, clean water, housing, job readiness, human rights, policy change, leadership development and more. Together, these ministries are part of a comprehensive approach to breaking the cycle of poverty and hunger — for good. Learn how to register and apply. (due before June 1)
Save the Date
Tuesday, April 21, 11:00am – 12:00n
Do you receive emails asking you to send money or trying to trick you into giving up sensitive information?
Do you know what to do if your data or the congregation’s data has been breached?
Do you want to learn how best to protect yourself and the church from online threats?
Please join us on Tuesday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Central Time for a FREE webinar for ELCA congregations.
Chris Hueneke, information security advisor for the ELCA churchwide organization, will host the webinar, covering these topics and more.
You’ll learn how to avoid phishing email attacks, protect sensitive data and prevent malware infections, and what to do if your data has been breached.
This event requires no registration. On April 21, simply go to this link and click on the field marked “Join the event.”
You will be connected immediately. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent Blog Posts
Campus Ministry Bible Study and NT-NL Young Adult Ministries
(https://www.ntnl.org/campus-ministry-bible-study-and-nt-nl-young-adult-ministries/ – published Apr. 16)
(https://www.ntnl.org/april-17-briarwood-update/ – published Apr. 17)
(https://www.ntnl.org/quasimodo-sunday-easter-2/ – published Apr. 19)
Where in the world is?
Based on recommendations from public health officials, and to live out our call to love and protect “the least of these,” Bishop Gronberg, Pastor Totzke, and Pastora Bañales are suspending all congregational visits, in-person meetings, and travel until further notice. They will continue to meet with individuals and groups online. Though many buildings are closed, the church is all of us, and ministry continues.
With the ever-changing guidelines and recommendations in our world right now, as we maintain physical distance in social solidarity, please keep in mind these events may be moved online, postponed, or cancelled:
- Apr. 22: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Apr. 23: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Apr. 28: Holy Hollywood for NT-NL Young Adults, Zoom
- Apr. 29: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Apr. 30: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 2: ESET (SSTE) Módulo 7 (Día 3 de 5), Argyle, TX
- May 5: Learning Coaching Skills for Grief and Loss, Zoom
- May 6: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- May 7: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 9: ESET (SSTE) Módulo 7 (Día 4 de 5), Argyle, TX
- May 9: Public Witness Team meeting, Arlington, TX
- May 12: Holy Hollywood for NT-NL Young Adults, Zoom
- May 13: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- May 14: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 16: PLMA, Spring 2020, Course 3, Argyle, TX
- May 16: Briarwood 2020 Gala: Adventure Awaits, Online Experience
- May 20: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- May 21: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 23: ESET (SSTE) Módulo 7 (Día 5 de 5), Argyle, TX
- May 24-29: Spanish Language and Hispanic Ministry Intensive I, Austin, TX
- May 26: Holy Hollywood for NT-NL Young Adults, Zoom
- May 27: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- May 28: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to Jason (email@example.com) for consideration for upcoming NT-NL News.