Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
Within the next week the vast majority of children across our territory will be heading back to school. Just a couple weeks ago it looked like this might be as “normal” a back to school as we have seen since March 2020. But in that time the “Delta variant” of Covid-19 has come and new cases and hospitalizations (but thankfully not deaths) have risen to levels not seen since last January. Back to school now seems a bit more complicated than it did just a couple weeks ago.
Every context and community in this situation has different realities and so it is vital that your congregation and community adjust to those realities and prioritize caring not just for ourselves but for our neighbors. As I wrote to our conference deans last week, following the science what we do know is “that masks work, distancing works, and the vaccine seems to limit the severity of cases.” So I encourage our community members to get vaccinated. To consider putting masks back on when indoors (if you are in Louisiana that is mandated) and being wise in our interactions with one another.
Despite these challenges I am encouraged when I hear of the ministry being accomplished across our territory. Congregations continue to meet both in person and online, not forgetting the lessons of the last year but living into our hybrid future. Please put October 18-20th on your calendar for our 2021 Leadership Convo. We will take time to reflect then on our learnings this last year and how to turn our reactions and fast adaptations into real change and innovation. Also plan to join us at Briarwood on September 11th for worship and fellowship. We will continue to monitor the situation with Covid-19 but as our worship and most activities will be outdoors so far we are proceeding as planned. Please also submit names for our Book of Remembrance on that day.
This season has and continues to challenge us. Yet God is and has been faithful. We have, as we read last Sunday, the bread of life in Jesus Christ. The pan de vida that gives us all we need for this life, and the life to come. God bless you in your ministry and work this week and throughout this season.
Advocacy Summer School
Peace Not Walls is working in collaboration with ELCA Advocacy to put on the first ever “Advocacy Summer School” starting tomorrow, Wednesday, August 11, for the next five weeks (Wednesdays at 2pm ET). These will be at a 101 level and a great series to invite folks newer to advocacy or folks in need of a refresher/inspiration.
The first session will paint a picture of what advocacy is and how advocacy is shaped with a faith foundation, especially as members of the ELCA. Future sessions will cover ways to carry out advocacy work and specific policy issues where the Lutheran community can make an impact. In the 4th session – we will hear from ELCA Peace Not Walls partners and staff for a faith-centric update on what is happening in the region and with Lutheran affiliated ministry.
You can find the registration for each session here: Peace Not Walls » Blog Archive Advocacy Summer School – Peace Not Walls – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (elca.org)
You can register for the 4th PNW focused session here: https://bit.ly/4B-ELCAAdvocacySummerSchool
Memorial Service for Peter Steinke
Dear Friends and Family,
You are invited to a memorial service in celebration of the life of Peter Steinke. We hope that many of you will be able to attend. A reception will follow the service in the fellowship hall of the church.
Time: Saturday, August 21, 6:30 PM
Place: Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
3525 Bee Cave Rd.
Austin, Texas 78746
If possible, we’d appreciate it if you could please let us know by email to email@example.com if you plan to attend in person.
If you can’t attend in person, you can livestream the service here: https://bit.ly/SteinkeMemorial. It will be available on August 21 at 6:30pm.
We look forward to remembering Peter with you.
The Steinke Family
Featured Resources for August
Congregational Communications Tools
The ELCA offers a place of welcome for all seeking a congregational home. Your congregations can extend an invitation to neighbors and the surrounding community through the use of these customizable communications tools. Download and use these free tools today.
Save the Date
October 7-9, 2021
The Center of Addiction & Faith will hold its third Addiction & Faith Conference in Bloomington, MN, to give faith communities tools for responding to the addiction crisis. Registration is open for in-person and virtual attendance at addictionandfaithconference.com.
The Center grew out of the Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy. Founder Ed Treat was an active Lutheran pastor in 2018 when he held the first Addiction & Faith Conference. The success encouraged him to leave parish ministry after 25 years and dedicate himself full-time to the Center of Addiction & Faith, which became a 501©(3) nonprofit organization in 2020.
Here is a link to the one-page flyer: https://www.addictionandfaithconference.com/uploads/1/2/9/9/129988162/afc_flyer_2021_updated_7_20_21.pdf
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/bishop-note-to-deans-re-covid-delta/ – published Aug. 5)
(https://www.ntnl.org/remembering-residential-school-survivors/ – published Aug. 5)
(https://www.ntnl.org/first-weekend-of-august-worship-wedding-transitions/ – published Aug. 9)
(https://www.ntnl.org/welcome-pastor-leah-lawson/ – published Aug. 9)
(https://www.ntnl.org/gloria-dei-in-lubbock/ – published Aug. 9)
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.
Aug. 22: King of Glory, Dallas
Aug. 29: Mt. Olive, Dallas
Sep. 11: Synod Council meeting, Briarwood
Sep. 11: Re-gathering worship at Briarwood
Sep. 12: Holy Trinity, Irving
Sep. 19: Festival Worship at Santa Maria, Irving
Sep. 26: Trinity, Fort Worth, with TLU President Debbie Cottrell
Sep. 29-Oct. 2: Conference of Bishops, Chicago, IL
Aug. 21: Candidacy Committee, Briarwood
Aug. 22: Emmanuel, Granbury
Aug. 23-25: Leadership for Faithful Innovation (LFI) conference, Stillwater, MN
Aug. 26-30: Vacation
Sep. 2: Transitional pastors meeting, Zoom
Sep. 11: Synod Council meeting, Briarwood
Sep. 11: Synod Re-gathering worship at Briarwood
Sep.12: Resurrection, Plano
Sep. 18: Faithful Innovation training, Abilene
Sep. 19: Redeemer, Greenville
Sep. 26: Holy Trinity, Irving
Sep. 27-30: Tri-synodical First Call Pastors retreat, Briarwood
Sep. 11: Synod Council meeting, Briarwood
Sep. 11: Synod Worship at Briarwood
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:
- Aug. 14: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- Aug. 17: White Supremacy & Racism: Facing Reality, Taking Responsibility – Vine Deloria, Jr., “A Better Day for Indians,” Zoom
- Aug. 31: White Supremacy & Racism: Facing Reality, Taking Responsibility – Ian F. Haney López, “White by Law,” Zoom
- Sep. 2: Transitional (Interim) Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Sep. 11: Synod Council meeting, Briarwood
- Sep. 11: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- Sep. 11: Gathering Together, Briarwood
- Sep. 12: “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday
- Sep. 14: White Supremacy & Racism: Facing Reality, Taking Responsibility – Karen Brodkin Sacks, “How Did Jews Become White Folks?”, Zoom
- Sep. 18: Parish Lay Ministry Academy, Fall 2021, Course 1, Zoom
- Sep. 28: White Supremacy & Racism: Facing Reality, Taking Responsibility – Susannah Heschel, “The Slippery Yet Tenacious Nature of Racism”, Zoom
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 editions of our weekly news.