Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
July 21-24, 2022 I had the privilege of being part of three events that, although all happening in DFW, encapsulate much of what is happening in our synod in this season.
Thursday July 21st we laid to rest our beloved sister the Rev. Doris Harris. Doris, a leader raised up by the NT-NL Synod, served as pastor amongst us for three decades. She was a patient and yet persistent voice challenging us to see the realities of racism in our midst and how that impacts our ministries across our territory. Her death after an extended illness was both a deep grief and also a release as we entrusted her to God’s everlasting mercy and grace. In this season in which we have had so many griefs and losses, it was a comfort to be together with clergy and lay leaders who came from across our territory to be present and bear witness that Doris’ impact on us as synod will continue, her legacy is secure.
Sunday July 24th we celebrated 100 years of Central Lutheran in Dallas and also their recent merger with Bethany-Dallas. This festive liturgy both celebrated the legacy of Central but also challenged us to look forward to the future of this new thing that has been created. The difficult and challenging decision of Bethany to end Word and Sacrament ministry on their campus and join together with Central gives them new possibilities as they complete the call process as well. For the sake of mission we must be willing to do new things, to let go of ministry silos and come together for vitality and future possibilities for mission, to “Ask, Seek, and Knock” as Jesus commands us and be open to where the Holy Spirit might lead us.
This spirit of willingness to try new things and step up to lead was also on display July 21-23 at Briarwood during the multicultural youth event MYJ2. With the cancellation of the ELCA national gathering, that also meant the MYLE gathering centering the experiences of youth of color was also cancelled. We had hoped to have a gathering for all our synod youth earlier in July but unfortunately that didn’t come together. However, our Conferencia Latina leadership, particularly Rev. Rachel Ringlaben (Emanuel, Dallas), Lupita Escamilla (San Gabriel, Alvarado), the Rev. Moises Carasquillo (First Sagrada, Garland and Santa Maria, Irving), came together with Anna Thompson from Briarwood to ensure an event for youth of color would happen in 2022. I was blessed to have some time with those young people and their leaders, again inspired by their spirit and energy for service. Not waiting for “the synod” or Briarwood to create an event, instead stepping up to make it happen for their young people.
In this season these three events reminded me again of how God continues to be at work amongst us despite the many challenges we face. The pandemic, civil discord, changes in religious participation, these are all real. Yet despite these challenges God is at work. We grieve our losses, particularly our sister Doris, yet we take from her faith, our faith, confidence that God will open new doors and provide new opportunities when we, in faith, “Ask, Seek, and Knock.”
In Mission Together,
Request from the Name Gathering Project
Help connect your college bound high school seniors to ELCA Campus Ministries before they head off to school. Submitting your students’ information to the secure referral form here – https://www.luminelca.org/refer-a-student/ – enables campus pastors to reach out directly to your student to invite them into their communities. ELCA campus ministries across the nation make a big difference in the lives of young adults! They are spaces of nourishment and welcome, discernment about vocation and the future, worship and learning, and help feed students (both physically and spiritually). Campus pastors can become an important resource for young adults during the hardships of college life, taking on the role of mentor and pastor when your students are far away from home. You can help connect your student(s) today! Follow the link above or email Cecie Suknaic Saulnier (email@example.com), the Summer Intern for the Lutheran Campus Ministry Outreach Initiative for more information.
NAMI “Pathways to Hope” Conference
NAMI wants to give us (clergy, lay leaders, church staff, and congregation members) a venue and the programming to discuss mental health opportunities and challenges. The goal is to identify projects and programs we can team up on to develop sustainable solutions.
Especially invited are people of faith who are involved in these community segments:
- Mental Health Practitioners: Medical, Social Workers, Recovery Centers, EMS, Police, etc.
- City, County, and State Government Agencies and Judicial Systems
- Universities, Community Colleges, School Districts – Students, Teachers, Administrators, Parents
- Community Centers in Neighborhoods
- Members of County Behavioral Leadership Teams
- Multi-Faith Learning Institutions
NAMI FaithNet will provide national Plenary Speakers. NAMI North Texas and its production partners (Mental Health America of Greater Dallas, Grant Halliburton Foundation, and the Mental Wellness Alliance) will provide local speakers and programming that will guide participants to the issues that we collectively believe to be the most fruitful to begin our work together.
The UT Dallas Center for Brain Health will be the host on Friday, August 26, and discussions will continue virtually on Saturday, August 27. The in-person venue can accommodate 150 participants, so please attend if you are knowledgeable and passionate about solving mental health and wellness issues.
NAMI FaithNet has provided the funding to produce this conference so there will be no charge to participants. CEUs will be provided to those who need them.
Featured Resources for July
Nearly 100 Recordings with Faith Leaders from Across the Church
When most of us became aware of COVID-19 in March of 2020, ELCA Coaching (including our very own synod communicator, Jason O’Neill) began hosting weekly gatherings with faith leaders (rostered and lay) from around the nation to discuss ways we could envision (and take action toward) BEING CHURCH more like Christ taught and modeled. After taking part of the summer of 2021 off to rest and listen, they began hosting these weekly gatherings again around COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP. These gatherings continue to meet weekly on Wednesdays at 1pm Central, and anyone may participate. (Login information can be found here: https://www.elcacoaching.org/events/courageous-leadership) Recordings are typically posted by the next day and often include links to additional resources: https://www.elcacoaching.org/podcasts/elca-coaching-media/series
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/myj2-event-at-briarwood/ – published Jul. 24)
(https://www.ntnl.org/remembering-the-rev-doris-harris/ – published Jul. 24)
(https://www.ntnl.org/central-dallas-100th/ – published Jul. 24)
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.
Jul. 31: Installation of Rev. Erin Swenson-Reinhold, Preston Meadow, Plano
Aug. 5-6: ELCA Latinx Young Adult Gathering, Briarwood
Aug. 7-12: ELCA Churchwide Assembly, Columbus, OH
Jul. 31: Installation of Pr. Erin Swenson-Reinhold, Preston Meadow, Plano
Aug. 4: Transitional/Interim pastors meeting, Zoom/Briarwood Aug. 6: ELCA Latinx Young Adults Gathering, Briarwood
Aug. 7: New Hope, Keller Aug. 10-17: Vacation Aug. 19-20: Candidacy Meeting and retreat, Briarwood Aug. 23: First Call pastors, Zoom Aug. 27-28: Permian Basin ministry conversations, Midland/Odessa
Jul. 27: VBS at Central, Dallas
Jul. 28: Meetings with Ecumenical Group and NT-NL Renewal Team
Jul. 30: First Sagrada Familia, Garland
Jul. 31: New Hope, Keller
Aug. 2: Walnut Hill, Farmers Branch
Aug. 4: Meeting with Rev. Héctor Carrasquillo, ELCA Latino Ministries Director
Aug. 5-7: ELCA Latinx Young Adults Gathering, Briarwood
Aug. 9: Denton Jury Duty
Aug. 10: Executive Committee meeting, Santa Maria, Irving
Aug. 14: New Hope, Keller
Aug. 15-17: DEM’s Region 4 Retreat, Galveston
Aug. 18: Ecumenical Panel
Aug. 20: Visioning Retreat, Central, Dallas
Aug. 21-24: ELCA Becoming Service & Justice conference
Aug. 26-27: NT-NL Latina Women Retreat
Aug. 28: Ecumenical meeting, West Texas
Aug. 30: Meeting with Mission Developer
Aug. 31: Meeting with Mission Developer
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:
- Jul. 27: Courageous Leadership – Nathan Swenson-Reinhold – Channeling the Energy of the Crowd: Explorations in Team and Group Coaching
- Aug. 3: Courageous Leadership – Choose Your Own Adventure (breakout rooms by topic)
- Aug. 4: Transitional Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Aug. 5-7: ELCA Latinx Young Adults Gathering, Briarwood
- Aug. 10: Courageous Leadership – Coaching Real and Current Topics for Attendees
- Aug. 13: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- Aug. 17: Courageous Leadership – Coaching Real and Current Topics for Attendees
- Aug. 24: Courageous Leadership – Coaching Real and Current Topics for Attendees
- Aug. 31: Courageous Leadership – Coaching Real and Current Topics for Attendees
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.