Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission,
In late 2018 a seminary friend of mine invited me to join the board of Lutheran Men in Mission (LMM). LMM was in a period of transition and they desired to have a representative of the conference of bishops on the board to build connections. I knew of the work of LMM, we have in NT-NL had active LMM groups, so I was curious what this transition might bring, what were the priorities going to be of LMM and how might that connect to our work in NT-NL.
What I have found is that LMM is committed to inviting men into lives of deeper discipleship while also being aware of and challenged as disciples of Jesus to face the systemic issues in our society. This is not an organization committed to simply preserving the status quo or ensuring traditional gender roles in the church. Instead it is moving into a transformational Men’s ministry that takes seriously the important role men play in their family and in the communities and wants to equip them to more effectively invite others into the way of Jesus. To be more active in the parenting and being a part of their families. To take seriously their health and have hard conversations about men’s health issues that too often we overlook (check out Project XII).
This is vitally important in a time when the life expectancy of men, particularly white men, in America is declining due to ill health, addiction and overdose, and frankly, a loss of sense of purpose. This is a problem the church must take seriously. But the goal of the church can’t simply be to pine for a different time or prop up patriarchy and white supremacy but challenge it and invite men into relationships and purpose that go far deeper. To recognize institutional systems of oppression that kill us all and focus on an identity in baptism that invites us to cross over borders and barriers. To listen to our neighbors of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and engage one another about our assumptions and how they have shaped our world views.
The LMM Bold gatherings the last few years have focused on bringing those sorts of issues to the forefront. I was honored to speak at the 2019 gathering in San Antonio about the freedom that comes with the call of God on your life in baptism. And the spring 2020 Bold Gathering, done virtually of course, in South Carolina was focused on racial reconciliation and the challenge of reaching across divides that have separated communities for generations.
Throughout 2021 I am going to challenging our congregations and institutions to think critically about their role in the system they reside in (for more info on Systems theory join us Jan 7th). To recognize we are not as individualized or independent as we might like or have been told we should be. To recognize we need one another and if our Lutheran witness in the territory of NT-NL is to bear fruit, it will only do so #InMissionTogether. I believe that LMM can be a partner for us in this work and I invite you to partner with them. In 2021 I challenge our congregations to take seriously the role that men can play in their communities as partners in mission and ministry and utilize the bible studies, resources, and other opportunities offered by Lutheran Men in Mission. To help our NT-NL Men in Mission synod group to be revitalized as a vital part of mission.
On this fifth day of Christmas I wish you a blessed celebration and a happy New Year.
MLK Virtual Choir Invitation
Martin Luther King Day Virtual Celebration Choir
Lift Every Voice and Sing
From the Southeastern Synod: Thank you for your participation in our virtual celebration! This video will be the finale of our service, and we hope that anyone who has a voice will contribute to the effort. There will be a few guidelines to follow, so regardless of your experience in doing something like this, please review the ones outlined here to help us put this massive project together. The deadline for submissions is January 3, 2021.
MEF Grant Application Deadline
Due to the continuing uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the deadline for 2021 NT-NL Mission Endowment Fund grant applications was extended to January 6, 2021. Email or call Linda Ness, Executive Director, with any questions you may have (email@example.com or 682-429-3446). Grants are determined by the MEF Board in February and awarded by early March each year. The guidelines and applications are available at this link: https://www.ntnl.org/ministries/mef/grant-application/.
Featured Resources for December
The Need for Stress and Conflict (Alban)
“Despite the ideal image of the loving, peaceful congregation in which everyone is happy—an image deeply ingrained in most all of us—leaders at times need to encourage conflict. They need to act in ways that make conflict inevitable. They need to enhance, not reduce, conflict. Doing these things is difficult. Few of us enjoy conflict. For many of us, taking deliberate actions that will lead to conflict runs counter to both personal desire and our image of our role in the congregation. The very thought of it may make our stomachs tighten, our hearts pound, and our palms sweat. And yet, at times inciting conflict is what effective and faithful leadership demands.”
What’s a church to do? Dealing with conflict during a pandemic (Faith & Leadership)
“Conflict is a normal part of church life, but it’s rarely easy to deal with. And disagreements in our faith communities feel especially fraught at the moment.
A recent survey found that 27% of evangelical and mainline pastors cited addressing conflict and maintaining unity in their congregations as primary sources of stress — up from just 8% in April.
This isn’t really surprising, given the enormous strain churches are under. But it raises a question: How can congregations handle conflict amid so much uncertainty, especially when most still cannot safely meet in person?”
Where in the world is?
Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 across our territory in November 2020, the bishop and staff will be engaging in no non-essential travel or in-person meetings through the remainder of 2020. For previously scheduled and essential meetings, the staff will wear masks anytime they are near people, either inside or outside a facility. All synod business will continue to be conducted online.
Pastor Totzke – Jan 3: Holy Trinity, Shreveport
Pastora Bañales – Jan. 3: Emanuel, Dallas
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:
- Dec. 30: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Letting Go with Jill Beverlin and Jason O’Neill, Zoom
- Jan. 6: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – The Sacred Work of Grief, Part 5: TBA with Rev. Solveig Goodin-Nilsen, Zoom
- Jan. 7: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jan. 7: Interim Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Jan. 7: Systems Theory and Anxiety workshop, Zoom
- Jan. 9: Public Witness Team meeting, Online
- Jan. 13: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Discipleship and Civic Engagement with Amy Reumann (ELCA National Advocacy), Zoom
- Jan. 14: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jan. 20: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Growing Young: Warm Relationships with Rachel Alley and others, Zoom
- Jan. 20-23: 2021 ELCA World Hunger Leadership Gathering, Online
- Jan. 21: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jan. 25-26: 2021 Tri-Theological Conference, Online
- Jan. 27: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Showing of Welcome Strangers documentary, Q&A with Sarah Jackson (Casa de Paz) and others, Zoom
- Jan. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration for upcoming NT-NL News.