Message from Bishop Gronberg
Partners in Mission:
Almost three months ago I wrote to you that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to be a generational moment. It has and is but in addition now our nation is being challenged again to face the realities of systemic and institutional racism. As I wrote to NT-NL leaders last Wednesday I believe that the church has a Word for this time and that the political and civic spheres of society recognize that. The Pentecost vision is of a church that is multi-ethnic and multi-lingual reaching across the barriers that divide us economically, socially, and politically and working for justice and against the sin of racism. Your NT-NL Public Witness team and Dr. Robert Smith from Briarwood Leadership Center are partnering with our African descent leaders to develop resources for you on addressing these challenging realities.
This is vital work and, as Holy Trinity Sunday reminds, you do not do this alone. Just as God is in relationship with Godself in the Trinity you are invited into relationship with your neighbor. Relationships that feed you and sustain you with resources and tools to do this work. That is the work you do as part of our synod as well. Together we equip each other for ministry which is why I am encouraging you and your congregation to ask these 5 questions of your ministry now. In addition below are many resources for you and your community in this challenging time that add to my “Resources for You” blog from May.
In-Person Worship: Many of you have asked me about trends across NT-NL in returning to in-person worship. If you have not communicated your plans to us in the synod office or posted them prominently on your website, we will be contacting you in coming weeks. From interactions with you, we have learned context is key. In general, through June 1st, the majority of our congregations continued to offer worship online and not in-person. The exceptions being communities with small numbers of cases who have been either worshipping outdoors or with strict social distancing. That is changing now as congregations, particularly those outside the metroplex, are coming together for in-person worship this weekend (June 7th or in coming weeks). In the DFW Metroplex some have indicated they will begin worship June 14 or 21st with the majority looking at July 5th (or later). Please follow the guidelines we have given you and the checklist for in-person worship.
Counting Online Participation: Your 2020 ELCA Parochial report will include two lines for attendance. One for in-person and another for online. This blog speaks to ways to calculate that number.
Thursday Conversations: New beginning this week (June 11th) Dr. Robert Smith of Briarwood will be offering Thursday gatherings from 7-8:30pm on pertinent topics. The initial conversation will be on how best you can have political conversations in times of crisis. We will explore topics like church/state relations and the concept of Civil Society. These will be very valuable conversations for rostered and lay leaders alike and you can join here.
Lessons from Campus Ministry
There are more than 240 Lutheran campus ministries providing an ELCA presence at state and private colleges and universities around the United States. Their individual contexts may vary, but the campuses where these ministries serve make up one of the largest communities of young adults in the country. The Lutheran Campus Ministry Network (LuMin) conducted a two-year research project to learn more about the impact of campus ministry programs and what young adults are saying about their lives, their faith, and the church. This lead feature of Living Lutheran shares some of the project’s findings and explains what congregations can learn from campus ministry. Read the article.
ELCA Prayer Ventures
ELCA Prayer Ventures is a resource that provides a prayer for every day of the year. These petitions are offered as a guide for your own prayer life, as we pray for the needs of the world and give thanks for the ministries of the ELCA. Download daily prayers (per month) at elca.org/resources/prayer-ventures.
Featured Resources for June
World Refugee Day is June 20
On June 20, the world commemorates the strength, courage, and resilience of millions of refugees. Around the world more than 50 million people have fled their homes. Each day, thousands more follow.
Around the world, communities, schools, businesses, faith groups, and people from all walks of life are taking big and small steps in solidarity with refugees. This World Refugee Day, we challenge everyone to join together and take a step with refugees. Join the movement. You can learn more here.
Migrant and Refugee Sunday can be observed on any Sunday
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) invites you and your congregation to infuse new meaning into the phrase welcome the stranger. Join us in celebrating the resilience and courage of refugees and migrants in America and in your own community!
Download “An Immigration Catechism” — an educational resource examining current realities and policies relating to refugee resettlement and asylum process, and prompting participants to reflect and discuss the classic catechetical question, “What does this mean?” It comes as a PowerPoint presentation with notes for leading participants through both the information and the faith-based reflection. It is well-suited for use in adult forum, Bible study class, women’s circles, or other group study and discussion settings. Biblical and theological framework and reflection questions are embedded in the presentation. The study can be completed as one session; but also has breakpoints built in for spreading it across several sessions.
Save the Date
Conversation @ Briarwood
Briarwood Leadership Center is starting a new series of interactive online conversations to equip the church in this complicated time. Intended for NT-NL leaders, both rostered and lay, these conversations will cover a variety of topics.
Thursday evenings @ 7pm Central via Zoom
Hosted by Pr. Robert O. Smith, Director, Briarwood Leadership Center
Our first conversation on Thursday, June 11, will focus on how we best have political conversations in times of crisis. We will explore topics like church/state relations and the concept of Civil Society. These are uncomfortable conversations; pastors and other leaders can be prepared to convene and host them.
Welcome to this Conversation @ Briarwood!
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 431 838 8272
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Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/counting-online-attendance-in-2020/ – published Jun. 1)
(https://www.ntnl.org/five-questions-you-should-be-asking/ – published Jun. 2)
(https://www.ntnl.org/religious-freedom-03/ – published Jun. 7)
Where in the world is?
Based on recommendations from public health officials, and to live out our call to love and protect “the least of these,” Bishop Gronberg, Pastor Totzke, and Pastora Bañales are suspending all congregational visits, in-person meetings, and travel until further notice. They will continue to meet with individuals and groups online. Though many buildings are closed, the church is all of us, and ministry continues.
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:
- Jun. 10: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Jun. 11: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jun. 11: Conversation @ Briarwood, Zoom
- Jun. 13: Public Witness Team meeting, Arlington, TX
- Jun. 17: Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine, Online
- Jun. 17: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Jun. 18: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jun. 18: Conversation @ Briarwood, Zoom
- Jun. 24: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Jun. 25: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jun. 25: Conversation @ Briarwood, Zoom
- Jun. 27: Living Connected: The Spiritual Discipline of Creation Care (Food)
- Jun. 30: Living Connected: The Spiritual Discipline of Creation Care (Food)
- Jul. 1: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Jul. 2: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jul. 2: Conversation @ Briarwood, Zoom
- Jul. 2: Interim Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Jul. 8: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Jul. 9: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jul. 9: Conversation @ Briarwood, Zoom
- Jul. 11: Public Witness Team meeting, Arlington, TX
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.