Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
The summer season is fully upon us. Graduations, confirmations, and other celebrations of the end of school have largely been held. We are only about a month away from our NT-NL Synod High School Youth Event July 7-10, and many other activities are in full swing.
In the midst of these milestones and anticipation of summer this has also been a time of deep discernment and difficult conversation, particularly within the ELCA Conference of Bishops (CoB). Some of you may be aware of the actions taken by the Sierra Pacific Synod Council and Bishop Megan Rohrer in relation to Pastor Nelson Rabell and Mision Latina Luterana in Stockton, CA, in December 2021. These actions, the removal of a pastor from a mission congregation on the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and the way in which it was carried out, were rightly seen as insensitive and indicative of systemic racism in our church institution. In the months that have followed calls for action, including discipline, against Bishop Rohrer have been made by many. These calls have included members of the CoB, including four Latiné bishops.
Presiding Bishop Eaton commissioned a listening team to go to California and investigate the situation. This team did its work and reported back to Bishop Eaton and on May 27th she released her report. This report stated she would not bring disciplinary charges but recommended Bishop Rohrer attend the Sierra Pacific Synod assembly June 2-4, listen to the synod, and recommended they resign. On Wednesday June 1st the listening team report was published which led to stronger calls for action against Bishop Rohrer. This included members of the CoB who stated that if Bishop Eaton would not bring charges, members of that body would. During the Sierra Pacific Assembly a motion asking for Bishop Rohrer’s resignation received 57% of the vote (but not the required 2/3rds majority). Bishop Rohrer gave no indication publicly or to Bishop Eaton that they would resign. In response Saturday evening June 4th Bishop Eaton reversed her earlier position and stated she would bring discipline charges. On Sunday night June 5th the CoB met to discuss the situation and the next steps. From that meeting the following has been released.
“The Conference of Bishops met Sunday evening; Bishop Megan Rohrer (Sierra Pacific Synod) chose not to attend. The Presiding Bishop shared with us that she is initiating the discipline process immediately, including suspension of Bishop Rohrer, based on additional information that has come to light. The COB strongly affirmed her decision to do this. This process will take time, and Bishop Eaton will provide updates as appropriate. We remain committed to praying for this church.”
Throughout this time I have been communicating with our Conferencia Latina leadership as well as other members of our synod with ties to these events and places. I have appreciated the strong counsel I have received from our leaders as it has helped guide my discernment. The polity of the ELCA gives strong local autonomy, both for congregations and synod assemblies. It is a part of our life together that we respect the elections and decisions of other assemblies. Additionally, in our day of instant and constant communication I do not believe it is wise for every bishop of the ELCA to comment when situations in another synod are in process. However this situation has become different and has created and amplified deep and painful feelings in communities of color not simply in that synod but in every part of our church. As such, with counsel from our Conferencia Latina leadership, listening to their lived experiences of experiencing racism in our church, I communicated last Thursday to our Latiné bishops that I would stand with them to bring discipline if Bishop Eaton had not. I also pledged to them my continued commitment to the work of anti-racism and cultural awareness, to listening better and closer to those on the margins, both for myself personally and in our synod and church.
So what is next? Discipline processes take time. Additionally, in the afternoon of Monday June 6th, Bishop Rohrer posted on social media that they in fact had resigned effective June 4th at 4pm. This resignation letter was not made public at that time or to my knowledge shared with the CoB or Bishop Eaton. Once again the timeline has been confused by social media postings and incomplete information. Why I believe it is wise for synod bishops to be very judicious in the information we share. Since there now is a discipline process in place, I will be refraining from saying anything more about this specific situation.
For now, I ask you to join me in prayer. For the people of Sierra Pacific Synod, particularly elected leaders and synod staff, and for Bishop Rohrer. For our Latiné bishops who called us to account, for Bishop Eaton, and for the entire CoB. For all who have been and continue to be deeply harmed by our institutions and selves, and for all of us to listen more, and more closely.
En Mision Juntos,
kin·dom camp 2022
July 31-August 4
From our partners at kin·dom community:
kin·dom camp, in partnership with Camp Gilmont, is an opportunity for LBGTQIA+ youth to come and experience a week of affirmation, celebration, and FUN! Camp will be offered to youth ages 12-17 and while there will be a faith component (Gilmont is a Presbyterian camp, after all!), there is no expectation of faith, and we don’t want faith (or unbelief) to be a barrier. This camp is affirming. Full stop. It affirms all genders, sexualities, identities, religious backgrounds, and varieties of belief. The only thing we expect is a commitment to welcoming and celebrating everyone where they are, as they are. So — come as you are for a week in the Piney Woods of East Texas! Come as you are to reconnect with nature, reconnect with yourself, connect with others, and connect with the things inside you that make you unique!
Cost: $425.00/camper (scholarships available, email email@example.com)
Synod Assembly Worship Service Recording
The full worship service from our 2022 NT-NL Synod Assembly has been uploaded to the synod YouTube account and can be found here:
Featured Resources for June
You can choose which date
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!
World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on June 20 and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.
This year, the focus will be on the right to seek safety. Every person on this planet has a right to seek safety – whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever they are forced to flee.
Whoever. Wherever. Whenever.
Everyone has the right to seek safety.
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/pentecost2022/ – published Jun. 5)
(https://www.ntnl.org/godspeed-pr-gus-vinajeras/ – published Jun. 5)
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.
Jun. 13-14: Visit to Wartburg Seminary
Jun. 15-17: Visit bishops/staff
Jun. 18: LMM Annual Meeting
Jun. 19-24: Family Vacation
Jul. 7-10: NT-NL Youth (High School) Gathering 2022, Briarwood
Jul. 21-23: MYJ2 Multicultural Youth Gathering 2022, Briarwood
Jul. 24: 100th Celebration, Central, Dallas
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
June 14: First Call pastors (Zoom)
Jul. 7: Transitional Pastors Meeting (Hybrid)
Jul. 10: Bethel, Ericksdahl (Avoca) Jul. 12: First Call Pastors (Zoom)
Jul. 17: Mt. Olive, Dallas Jul. 24: Central/Bethany Anniversary & New Beginnings celebration, Dallas Jul. 31: Installation of Pr. Erin Swenson-Reinhold, Preston Meadow, PlanoJune 28: First Call pastors (Zoom)
Jun. 7: Ministry Review, First Sagrada Familia, Garland
Jun. 8: Leadership Formation Training, Santa Maria, Irving
Jun. 9: DFW Ecumenical Group
Jun. 11: Quinceañera XV, Little Rock, AR
Jun. 14: ELCA Spanish Coaching and SEMLA, MX
Jun. 16: St Matthews, Ft Worth
Jun. 18-24: Vacation
Jun. 25: Quinceañera XV, First Sagrada Familia, Garland
Jun. 26: Umoja International Chapel, Ft Worth
Jun. 30: Three Shared Ministries Quarterly Review – Community of Hope, King of Glory, Umoja – Fort Worth
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. 8: Courageous Leadership – Colleen Bernu & Matthew Cobb – Together Here
- Jun. 11: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- Jun. 15: Courageous Leadership – Dianne Johnson – Wild Church
- Jun. 22: Courageous Leadership – Dan Bowman – On the Spectrum: Austism, Faith, & the Gifts of Neurodiversity
- Jun. 29: Courageous Leadership – TBA
- Jul. 6: Courageous Leadership – Coaching – Choose Your Own Adventure (breakout rooms by topic)
- Jul. 7: Transitional Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Jul. 7-10: NT-NL Youth Gathering 2022, Briarwood
- Jul. 9: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- Jul. 13: Courageous Leadership – ELCA Young Adults – Topic TBA
- Jul. 20: Courageous Leadership – TBA
- Jul. 21-23: MYJ2 Multicultural Youth Gathering 2022, Briarwood
- Jul. 27: Courageous Leadership – Nathan Swenson-Reinhold – Team Facilitation
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.