Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
It is hard to believe but it has been a year since we first began hearing about this “novel Coronavirus” that was spreading in China. We have learned in the last year a great deal. We have suffered significant losses. We have adapted and changed in the way we proclaim the gospel. And despite all the challenges, that gospel has remained constant, our hope and our rock. Our true identity.
Over the past year we have experienced our nation, synod, congregations, families, become more and more divided along partisan lines. As I wrote to you last Thursday this deeply concerns me because it threatens to undermine the primacy of our baptismal identity and the call baptism places upon our lives. In the liturgy of Affirmation of Baptism this call is made explicit…
“You have made public profession of your faith. Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism: to live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?”
To this we reply, “I do, and we ask God to help and guide me.” Then the assembly is asked if they will support us in this vocation and call.
This liturgy emphasizes the primacy of our baptismal call and the assumption, the expectation, that the community will support us in this work. To be a part of the way of Jesus, which means living with our neighbors. Not seeking after power and privilege but instead striving for justice and peace, serving all people, proclaiming good news, hearing the Word and, when possible, sharing the Lord’s supper. To be together, which means listening to one another, engaging one another in conversation, and in so doing, listening for God.
In his book Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote “Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either.” As we live in this challenging time I would invite you to join us for the 2021 Tri-Theo Conference, January 25-26. We will be digging into Bonhoeffer’s life and teachings, particularly his Lutheran baptismal identity and how that gave him tools for being in community, listening to one another, standing with the marginalized, and confronting the evil of fascism. As this is an online event, anyone who desires to participate can register.
Our baptismal identity is to be the primary mark of our life because it invites us into this listening community and in the end, it is the identity we will cling to in our death. The moment when we trust through baptism we will hear God welcoming us into life eternal. I pray that we as NT-NL Synod will continue to live into the promises we made when we affirmed our baptism, support, and listen to one another along this path. To let go of the easy and rehearsed narratives and listen to how God encounters us along the way in our neighbor.
Let us pray…”We give you thanks, O God, that through water and the Holy Spirit you give us new birth, cleanse us from sin, and raise us to eternal life. Stir up in your people the gift of your Holy Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence both now and forever. Amen.” (ELW)
Considerations for Electronic Meetings
Take advantage of technology and continue to hold necessary meetings to conduct the business of your congregation while loving your neighbor and erring on the side of caution before holding meetings in person anytime soon. Here is an FAQ of the questions being asked most often. Even in the current pandemic crisis, the rules have not all gone out the window, and state law, as well as your constitution, bylaws, and continuing resolutions, must still be respected. | DOWNLOAD
Updated Congregational Remittance Forms
We have updated the online and paper forms for 2021. You can find both of those here: https://www.ntnl.org/congregational-remittance-form/
Featured Resources for January | Recursos Destacados de Enero
Save the Date
Living Connected Workshops on Creation’s Gift of Waste
Waste as a gift may sound strange, but throughout creation, the waste of one creature becomes the life of another in a continuous cycle. The exception is our species, which declares things useless and buries or incinerates them. This Living Connected workshop will:
- Reflect on the way our systems make it easy to be wasteful;
- Discuss spiritual practices for viewing waste differently; and
- Provide resources for making faith-based choices about waste.
NT-NL Public Witness is offering this workshop online twice in January 2021. The presenter is Katrina Martich, a Lutheran Deaconess and licensed environmental engineer in Texas.
Saturday, January 23, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM CST
Tuesday, January 26, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM CST
Register at katrinamartich.com for the Zoom link.
Living Connected presents creation care as a spiritual discipline, formed by using the gifts of creation in just and loving ways. Workshops are offered at a reduced cost thanks to a grant from the NT-NL Synod Mission Endowment Fund. For more information, send an email to Katrina at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/in-memory-the-rev-jose-joe-garcia/ – published Jan. 4)
(https://www.ntnl.org/bishopsmessage01072021/ – published Jan. 7)
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.
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:
- 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. 23: Living Connected Workshop on Creation’s Gift of Waste, Online
- Jan. 25-26: 2021 Tri-Theological Conference, Online
- Jan. 26: Living Connected Workshop on Creation’s Gift of Waste, 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
- Feb. 3: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – The Sacred Work of Grief, Part 6: The Places That Have Not Known Love with Rev. Solveig Goodin-Nilsen, Zoom
- Feb. 4: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Feb. 4-6: ELCA Extravaganza 2021, Online
- Feb. 5-6: Synod Council and Deans Meetings, Online
- Feb. 10: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Counterstory: The Writing and Rhetoric of Critical Race Theory with Aja Martinez (UNT), Zoom
- Feb. 11: 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 (email@example.com) for consideration for upcoming NT-NL News.