Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
On Sunday April 18, 2021 we marked an important date in the life of our church and our particular Lutheran witness. 500 years ago, on April 18, 1521, Martin Luther had his “Here I Stand” moment at the Imperial Diet of Worms in front of Emperor Charles V. On that day Luther made a bold and dangerous decision that both further sparked the protestant reformation as well as set in motion historical events that changed the world.
While I do not expect anything quite so dramatic at our 2021 NT-NL Synod Assembly this Saturday, April 24th, I am looking forward to being with you online (registered voting members will receive a link to participate; visitors can observe on our Facebook page). At this assembly we will do some vital work of our church and we want you to be involved in that work. One of the great opportunities members of ELCA congregations have is to participate in the governance of their church body. While this can be messy at times it is a commitment that we have made, as descendants of the reformation, in how we conduct our business. Appointed leaders and private counsels do not make our decisions but instead we lay out before you the work of the church, what we have been working to accomplish in the previous year, how we have stewarded God’s resources of time and finance. All this we do to ensure we are being open and transparent in our mission.
So I invite you to join us online this weekend. Our theme is Entrusted, and we will take time in education and in prayer to discern how we are faithful to that with which we have been Entrusted, including our reformation heritage.
In the Risen Christ,
Creativity and Generosity in Ministry
Faith congregations across California are responding to the state’s housing crisis by sharing their parking lots with people living in their cars, providing mobile showers for the homeless and joining their neighbors in calling for rent control in their communities. But another form of housing advocacy has been taking place among spaces of faith.
A number of churches are exploring ways to build affordable housing on their own land. It’s what pastors and other leaders are referring to as YIGBY, or “Yes in God’s Backyard.” The acronym is a play off of the term NIMBY — short for “Not in My Backyard” — a term often used to describe community pushback against affordable housing or other similar projects.
“Jesus very clearly tells us to keep our eyes open to those who are in need,” said Clairemont Lutheran Church pastor Jonathan Doolittle. Continue reading.
What does it mean to be a sanctuary denomination? The 2019 Churchwide Assembly voted 718-191 to declare the ELCA a sanctuary denomination. The declaration builds on the church’s commitment to accompany migrant children and families through its AMMPARO strategy, which was approved by the 2016 Churchwide Assembly. (AMMPARO stands for Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities.) The 2019 vote both brought the denomination increased media attention and raised questions within the ELCA about what it means to be a sanctuary church body. The cover story in Living Lutheran’s May issue reveals how churches have been responding to this challenge. Read the article.
Featured Resources for April
ELCA World Hunger Domestic Grants
Registration Open Through May 5
NOTE: Applicants must be registered in ELCA GrantMaker to access the application. Allow up to two weeks for registration approval. If you have not registered by May 5, you will not be able to start a new application. If you have already registered in ELCA GrantMaker, you do not need to register again. Starting April 19, 2021, you can log in directly at elca.fluxx.io using the Google Chrome browser to start your application.
Application Open April 19 – May 21
Full details can be found here: https://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/ELCA-World-Hunger/Get-Involved/Domestic-Hunger-Grants
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/april-18-2021-500-years-of-here-i-stand/ – published Apr. 18)
Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline: Updated April 2021
(https://www.ntnl.org/definitions-and-guidelines-for-discipline-updated-april-2021/ – published Apr. 19)
Where in the world is?
Across a context as wide and different as NT-NL, the reality of Covid-19 is very different. As such, NT-NL synod staff are doing more in-person Sunday visits for worship and occasional meetings. However, as good stewards of time and travel dollars, we will be utilizing online meeting formats into our new hybrid future. Until we can assure everyone in attendance at a meeting are vaccinated, in order to protect those gathered, the synod staff will continue to wear masks unless preaching or presiding and sufficient social distancing can be provided.
Bishop Gronberg, Pastor Totzke, and Pastor Bañales: Apr. 24 – NT-NL Synod Assembly (online with some in-person)
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. 21: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Growing Young: Prioritize Young People (and Families) Everywhere with Rachel Alley and others, Zoom
- Apr. 22: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Apr. 23: Synod Council and Deans Meeting, Online
- Apr. 24: 2021 Synod Assembly, Online
- Apr. 28: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – TBA, Zoom
- Apr. 29: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 6: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 6: Transitional (Interim) Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- May 8: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- May 13: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 15: Parish Lay Ministry Academy, Spring 2021, Course 3, Online
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to Jason (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration for upcoming NT-NL News.