Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
A week ago we sent an email encouraging all of our leaders across NT-NL’s territory to be aware of the coming cold weather and winter precipitation. And indeed that weather and precipitation has arrived and looks to be staying with us longer than anticipated. Obviously this creates both anxiety and real danger for our communities and our leaders. I am gratified to see via conversations and social media that you have taken this threat seriously. Now I write to you to have patience and pray for you the peace that passes human understanding.
While we cannot change the reality of this winter storm and its impacts there are small things you can do in this time to care for your neighbor. Just as we have been encouraging you in this time of Covid-19 to put the health and well being of neighbor first so now you also can care for your neighbor and be good stewards of the resources we have been entrusted with in this time.
If you do not need to travel stay home. I have instructed synod staff they are to do no work related travel this week without consulting me. Those in charge of buildings and your own homes can and hopefully have taken steps like wrapping and dripping pipes (which given the extent of this storm may not yet be enough), turning heat on but at lower levels to conserve electricity (assuming you have power), using space heaters safely to avoid fires. This is what your onsite staff at Briarwood is doing to protect that resource as I write to you. You also can and should call and check on members of your community, particularly shut ins and other vulnerable populations in your midst. Utilize the online skills (assuming you have power and internet access) you have cultivated in this time of Covid-19 to continue to connect for worship and begin the holy season of Lent on Wednesday.
Most of all in this extended period of cold and weather you can take time to pray, to contemplate the power of God’s creation, to be aware of and give thanks for the gifts you have been entrusted with to steward, to consider again how the cracks in our society have been revealed and the reality that we are in the same storm but we are in vastly different boats.
Ash Wednesday calls us to consider our mortality. To remember you are dust and to dust you shall return. But it also reminds you that you were given life by God from that very dust. Given life so that you might serve God and neighbor, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. As you begin another pandemic Lent, this time with a crippling winter storm as well, I urge you to take time to consider how these experiences are changing you and your community. How this might reorient your priorities, and that this can be good news.
Lent prepares us for the world altering change of Christ’s death and resurrection. You are being transformed by these experiences. You have been transformed by the waters of baptism in which you are joined to Christ’s death and resurrection. God bless you, be safe, check on one another, and as you can, stay warm.
Service for Judy Rommel
If you missed Bishop Gronberg’s letter in April 2020: https://mailchi.mp/ntnl/remembering-judy-rommel
For a direct link to Judy’s obituary: https://www.affoplano.com/obituary/judith-florence-rommel
From Judy’s nephew Jim: We kept delaying having a memorial service for Judy last year, hoping the COVID numbers would improve, as we wanted to have a service at the church rather than just online. However, the situation has not really changed, and we don’t want to wait any longer. We will have a memorial service for Judy on Thursday, Feb 18th at 7PM. The service will be live-streamed, as there is a limit to the number who can attend at the church. The service will be recorded as well, so you can watch it later, if you are unable to watch it real-time. The following day, Friday, Feb 19th, Judy’s remains as well as Florence’s remains will be laid to rest at Restland Cemetery in Dallas at 11AM. Anyone is welcome to attend.
ALOA Webinar: Living Life Fully
February 18, 12 Noon ET
Once retired, how do you serve? Yourself? Your family? Your church? Your community? In the first in a series of presentations, Deaconess and RN Penny Cedel will share information geared to help you understand your gifts & talents and how they can be utilized best, plan for the complicated or emotionally heavy decisions you need to make as a gift to your family. You’ll learn how to plan while you are healthy, rather than have determinations made without your wishes in mind. Register now.
Bold Women’s Day—observed annually on the fourth Sunday of February—celebrates all Lutheran women who have acted or are acting boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ. Some women are bold in their unceasing prayers. Other women are bold in their service to those in need. Still other women are bold in their advocacy or through their hospitality. Whether we live out our bold story of faith in the workplace, family home or community, our faith compels us to make a difference in the lives of others. It’s all about living out our baptismal call, about being a disciple of Christ. Click here for resources.
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific. Click here for resources. #IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge
Save the Date
Saturday, March 13, 10am – 12noon
This conference will be held online and is designed to build vitality in congregations with fewer than 50 people in worship. However, congregations with greater than 50 will also find it helpful. The focus is on spirituality, leadership, and community connections.
Only $20 per congregation (includes 1 copy of the book)
Register here: https://tithe.ly/event-registration/#/3279968
(The mailing address included with your registration is where we will send the book.)
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/innovation-and-church-it-can-be-so/ – published Feb. 13)
Where in the world is?
Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 across our territory since November 2020, the bishop and staff will be engaging in no non-essential travel or in-person meetings through at least the beginning of 2021. 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: Feb. 20 – Candidacy Committee meeting, Online
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:
- Feb. 17: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Growing Young: Jesus’ Message with Rachel Alley and others, Zoom
- Feb. 18: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Feb. 22: Re-imagining Using Church Spaces, Zoom
- Feb. 23: Synod Online Devotion for Lent, Zoom or Facebook
- Feb. 24: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – The Untold Story: Black Lutheran History, Part 2 with Dr. Larry Clark and Dr. Richard Stewart, Zoom
- Feb. 25: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Mar. 2: Synod Online Devotion for Lent, Zoom or Facebook
- Mar. 3: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – The Sacred Work of Grief, Part 7: Jesus’ Death and Metabolizing Ancestral Grief with Rev. Solveig Goodin-Nilsen, Zoom
- Mar. 4: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Mar. 4: Interim Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Mar. 9: Synod Online Devotion for Lent, Zoom or Facebook
- Mar. 10: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – TBA, Zoom
- Mar. 11: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Mar. 13: Discovering Hope Conference: Building Vitality in Your Congregation, Online
- Mar. 13: Parish Lay Ministry Academy, Spring 2021, Course 1, Online
- Mar. 13: Public Witness Team meeting, 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.