Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
Last week, I wrote to you about how we are living in a “generational moment.” The crisis brought on by the spread of COVID-19 has changed lives and already taken far too many lives. These impacts are both near and far away. In Zoom calls with pastors and lay leaders from our conferences, and in many individual conversations, I and my staff continue to hear of the challenges and the impact on our congregations this crisis is making.
Our NT-NL leaders, along with public leaders at every level of society, have been challenged to make difficult decisions in the face of uncertainty. Decisions we make not only for our own safety and well being, but also that of our neighbors.
The ethic of service to neighbor is central to the theological breakthrough of Martin Luther and the reformers. With no need to appease God’s righteousness, what then is the purpose of our good works? Our neighbor, even the wretched and needy one (Luther has a flair for dramatic language), becomes the recipient of that which we might have done for God.
All works of love, then, must be directed to our wretched and needy neighbors. In these lowly ones we are to find and love God, in them we are to serve and honor God, and only so can we do it. The commandment to love God is wholly merged in that to love our neighbors. – Martin Luther, Fastenpostille, 1525
It is out of love for neighbor that we then find it faithful to stay home unless our services are essential. We pray for and support our neighbors who serve civil society to keep us safe, care for the sick, and provide for our daily necessities. We notice and encourage our political leaders to find ways to provide for those who have lost employment and income in this time.
Care for neighbor in this pandemic means to practice physical separation while focusing on social solidarity. Being kind to self and neighbor, adapting to new realities, and speaking a word of hope and truth into a world struggling with new realities.
Practicing physical separation means that we must make difficult decisions about worship and life in community. It is my strong recommendation and hope that NT-NL congregations would suspend in-person worship indefinitely. Continue reading for important information about Holy Week and Easter, including links to additional resources.
NT-NL Young Adult Small Groups
In this time of uncertainty, we are inviting young adults ages 18-39 to gather online with small groups to build community and talk about what it means to be the body of Christ apart.
We believe that physical distancing is vital for the good of our neighbor, but our call is still to community – to support one another, pray with one another, rejoice and lament with one another.
This online form will help us organize folks into small groups with one small-group leader who will convene group online: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1thdyGerQEWxQoomABIfAIfybsKaTXGQGYKQQ-c6zagk/viewform?ts=5e813114&edit_requested=true
You will get a follow-up email with more info about your group including your meeting time and how to access the small group materials before your meeting.
We are so excited you’re here, and can’t wait to welcome you into the NT-NL Synod Young Adult Community.
If you have questions, please email YoungAdultsNTNLsynod@gmail.com
The peace of God remain with you,
NT-NL Synod Young Adult Ministries
Finding Inspiration in Isolation
From our partners at SMU | Perkins School of Theology:
In light of recent challenges, we thought a Spirited Discussion with Jack Levison would be uplifting.
April 1, 8, and 15
12:30 -1:15 p.m. CST
Join via Zoom link from the comfort and safety of your home.
Each session will take you back in time to recapture Israel’s tenacious sense of the Spirit’s energy. Join us and discover a wealth of authentic expressions of the Spirit that challenge the conventional, confront the commonplace, and transport you to a world of wisdom, work, and wonder.
Bring your lunch and Bible, and engage with Jack’s half-hour presentations, followed by Q & A, based upon his latest book, A Boundless God: the Spirit according to the Old Testament.
John R. (Jack) Levison is the W. J. A. Power Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and Biblical Hebrew at Perkins School of Theology.
Featured Resources for March | Recursos destacados para marzo
A new landing page for Spanish-language resources is available. Download social statements, communication tools, ELCA brandmarks, bishop messages, and more.
Se encuentra disponible una nueva página de destino para recursos en español. Descargue declaraciones sociales, herramientas de comunicación, marcas registradas de la ELCA, mensajes de obispos y más.
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/pastoral-theological-reflections-holy-communion-covid19/ – published Mar. 23)
(https://www.ntnl.org/acknowledging-grief-and-telling-the-truth/ – published Mar. 24)
(https://www.ntnl.org/zooming-across-the-territory-of-nt-nl-and-beyond/ – published Mar. 26)
(https://www.ntnl.org/bell-county-health-decisions-mar-27/ – published Mar. 27)
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 virtually. 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 postponed or cancelled:
- Apr. 4: ESET (SSTE) Módulo 7 (Día 1 de 5), Zoom
- Apr. 11: ESET (SSTE) Módulo 7 (Día 2 de 5), Zoom
- Apr. 11: Public Witness Team meeting, Arlington, TX
- Apr. 18: PLMA, Spring 2020, Course 2, Zoom
- Apr. 19-24: Ministerial Flourishing: Exploring the Meaning, Means and Practices, Navasota, TX
- Apr. 24-25: 2020 Synod Assembly, Dallas, TX
- May 2: ESET (SSTE) Módulo 7 (Día 3 de 5), Argyle, TX
- May 2: Heart of Texas conference WELCA spring gathering, Waco, TX
- May 9: ESET (SSTE) Módulo 7 (Día 4 de 5),Argyle, TX
- May 9: Public Witness Team meeting, Arlington, TX
- May 16: PLMA, Spring 2020, Course 3, Argyle, TX
- May 16: Briarwood 2020 Gala: Adventure Awaits, Argyle, TX
- May 23: ESET (SSTE) Módulo 7 (Día 5 de 5), Argyle, TX
- May 24-29: Spanish Language and Hispanic Ministry Intensive I, Austin, 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.