Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
As our leaders, lay and rostered, prepare for the celebration of Christmas please know that you are in our prayers. We continue to live in challenging and often confusing times. With a new variant of Covid-19, conflicting advice regarding gatherings, and so many expectations, this has and continues to be a difficult time to be a public leader. My prayer continues to be that you will be able to experience some Joy each day of this Advent and then 12 day Christmas festival. To be reminded again and again that God comes to us, not because of our effort, but because God has chosen to be incarnate among us. God has come so we might have life, and have our joy made complete.
Although it can be difficult to look ahead we do have some joyful opportunities coming to us in January 2022. Specifically on Saturday January 8th. The Parish Lay Academy will hold an in person (and online) graduation on Saturday, January 8th at Santa Maria in Irving. This will be the first graduation since January 2020 and will be for the graduating classes from Fall 2019 through Fall 2021. If you were a part of those classes please contact Pastor Phil Heinze, Dean of the PLMA, at email@example.com.
You are in my prayers and those of our entire synod staff. May God’s joy be yours this Christmastime.
ELCA Ministry Growth Fund
The ELCA Foundation is proud to announce the relaunch of its Endowment Fund Pooled Trust — also known as Fund A — under a new name, the Ministry Growth Fund, that better represents the Foundation’s goals for the future.
“This renaming of the fund is an exciting step in engaging even more members and supporters of the ELCA in the life — and future — of the church and its partner organizations,” said Kathy Freeman Summers, president and CEO of the ELCA Foundation. “We hope that, through this change, we will more effectively communicate the purpose of the fund: to support and grow the ELCA’s ministries for generations to come.” Learn more at ELCA.org/foundation.
Featured Resources for December
While watching galactic science fiction films, we might feel the urge to grab a laser sword and join the universal battle, fighting evil and standing for all that is good. These stories resonate strongly because they tap into our desire to rise above what we know and challenge us to become more than we think we can be. For young people who love science fiction and pop culture but struggle to talk about God and the Bible, the new, interactive “Called to Lead” guide offers young people a starting place for discussion of their inner selves, their vocation and their call to lead.
The “Called to Lead” spiritual gifts interactive activity was first offered at the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas. Participants traveled to a distant galaxy where they identified their specific leadership gifts and abilities. Then they were sent to planets that offered them specialized training — so they could become the best protectors of the universe they could be!Now “Called to Lead” has been adapted into a set of downloadable resources that can be used in person or online. The materials include a five-part Bible study guide as well as instructions and supplies for leading the spiritual gifts interactive activity in a variety of contexts. These resources were designed for middle school and high school youth, but they can be adapted for use with young adults. Our church needs leaders of all kinds as we look toward the future. The “Called to Lead” guide will give youth and young adults a new way to explore their baptism, spiritual gifts and call to lead.
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/christmas-luncheon-and-lfsw-fund-presentation/ – published Dec. 15)
(https://www.ntnl.org/christmas-greetings-from-sierra-leone/ – published Dec. 16)
(https://www.ntnl.org/lutheran-men-in-mission-devotional-12-17/ – published Dec. 17)
(https://www.ntnl.org/pastor-doris-harris-update/ – published Dec. 19)
(https://www.ntnl.org/advent-4-prayers-for-leaders-and-families/ – published Dec. 19)
(https://www.ntnl.org/joining-mary-sermon-for-advent-4/ – published Dec. 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. Given the rise of breakthrough infections and in order to protect those gathered, the synod staff will choose to wear masks as is deemed appropriate unless preaching or presiding and sufficient social distancing can be provided.
Jan. 16: Bethany, Dallas – Closing Liturgy
Jan. 2: Immanuel, Killeen
Jan. 6: Transitional Pastors meeting, Zoom
Jan. 9: Mt. Olive, Dallas
Jan. 16: Bethany, Dallas
Jan. 22: Faithful Innovation with COW Conference congregations at Bethel, Avoca (Ericksdahl)
Jan. 23: Bethel, Avoca (Ericksdahl)
Dec. 20-31: Holidays and time off
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:
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.