Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
Last Saturday your NT-NL Synod Council met online to do important business of the church and to gather for prayer and fellowship. We gathered online because for the last 2 years weather has interrupted our ability to gather. Doing so also saves us considerable financials resources that otherwise would go to travel. You can read a synopsis of the meeting here. I also encourage you if you are a voting member to get registered for our Synod Assembly, April 28-29.
At the meeting we rejoiced in the continued success of our Parish Lay Ministry Academy (PLMA), the generosity of the Mission Endowment Fund (MEF), and three ordinations in the last 6 months. Leaders are being developed and your support prayerfully and financially makes that possible. Thank you to all for your sharing of God’s abundance for our work together.
In our conversations we also took time to hear some hard truths about generational decline, congregational closures, and the fact that in 2020 only 25% of American’s claimed to be practicing Christians (a drop of 20% since 2010). We also looked at synod wide statistics that show a downward trend in attendance, baptisms, and new members for the last 20 years. These realities have deep implications for our ministries and is not something that happened overnight.
So we focused significant time on what is the purpose of our ministries ranging from the Synod, PLMA, individual congregations, MEF, and Briarwood. In each situation there are documents that guide us to understand what our purposes are. Interestingly, these purposes are sometimes not what we spend the most time focusing on. Our purpose as constitutionally defined is…
“The Church is a people created by God in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, called and sent to bear witness to God’s creative, redeeming, and sanctifying activity in the world.”
With concerns about buildings, traditions, and individual desires and preferences, we can become distracted from our purpose. Yet our lectionary gospel reading last week (Matthew 5) reminds us that Jesus calls us to be Salt and Light for the world. Focused on this purpose and not the preservation of the past, I believe we can and will continue to make good decisions for future mission and ministry in our synod. Please join me in prayer for the elected leaders of your synod and for our work together.
In Mission Together:
2023 Synod Assembly Updates
Significant updates have been added to the event page for our 2023 Assembly: https://www.ntnl.org/event/2023-nt-nl-synod-assembly/
- We have added a meal (Saturday breakfast) without increasing any registration prices
- We have confirmed a hotel room block at the same location as our meeting space at significantly reduced pricing
- We have confirmed our keynote speakers: Pastor Joe and Deacon Jess Liles
- We have added details regarding our sponsor display space
- Early bird registration pricing closes on March 1
- Registration for Assembly and the hotel room block both close on April 16 (there will be no on-site registration)
Lutheran World Relief Appeal
Lutheran congregations are always among the first to respond and the last to leave in times of emergency.
Right now, you and your congregation can rush aid to our neighbors devastated by the earthquake in Turkey. Lutheran World Relief teams are already coordinating a response, and it is your congregations’ compassion and generosity that will rush emergency care. Gifts to LWR’s emergency response fund will deliver critically needed care for families like water, medical care, shelter, and essential supplies. Congregations and individuals can give online at lwr.org/quake or mail a check to Lutheran World Relief, PO Box 17061, Baltimore, MD 21297-1061 (Please write QUAKE in the memo).
Thank you for sharing God’s love with the world when it’s needed most.
Featured Resources for February
March 5, 2023
Celebrate the bold women in your life. Bold Women’s Day–observed the first Sunday of March–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. Resources can be found here: https://www.womenoftheelca.org/bold-womens-day
March 8, 2023
For International Women’s Day and beyond, let’s all fully #EmbraceEquity. Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity. Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity. Resources can be found here: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/2023-winter-synod-council-meeting/ – published Feb. 4)
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.
Feb. 10-12: NT-NL Junior High & Senior High Youth Gathering, Preston Meadow, Plano
Feb. 18: First Communions and Confirmations, First Sagrada Familia, Garland
Feb. 19: Preston Meadow, Plano
Feb. 19: Call Committee Orientation, Our Savior’s, Durant
Feb. 28-Mar. 3: Conference of Bishops
Mar. 11: Parish Lay Ministry Academy (PLMA)
Dec. 1-Feb. 28: On Sabbatical
(Awaiting calendar updates)
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. 8: Courageous Leadership – James Henricks – Conflict and Resolution, Zoom
- Feb. 10-12: NT-NL Junior High & Senior High Youth Gathering, Plano
- Feb. 11: Public Witness Team meeting, Hybrid
- Feb. 15: Courageous Leadership – Danielle Groth and Vicky Lovell – Self-Love (Matthew 22), Zoom
- Feb. 22: Courageous Leadership – Presenter and Topic TBA, Zoom
- Feb. 23: Cultivating Compassion Session 2: Nonviolent Communication, Online
- Mar. 1: DEADLINE to register for Synod Assembly at Early Bird Pricing, Online
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to Jason (email@example.com) for consideration for upcoming editions of our weekly news.