Message from Bishop Gronberg
Partners in Mission:
In the amazing way weather changes across our territory it is hard to believe two weeks ago we were in the midst of a catastrophic ice storm. A natural disaster exacerbated, as they always are, by the reality that while we were all in the same storm we were not in the same boats. The real limitations of the storm and its outcomes were amplified by individuals access to resources, food, heat, electricity, transportation. As always the most vulnerable amongst us bore the brunt. The systemic inequalities in our society, the cracks, exposed even more.
Into this reality you have responded generously as always. Congregations have provided in kind donations either through their own food/clothing ministries or by donating locally. Some have chosen to give to our Synod disaster fund which we are then able to use to share with congregations to support members in need. Our Conferencia Latina also benefits from that fund as they have access to resources to share with conference members. We have been sent greetings, prayers, and financial gifts from our partners in the Southwest Pennsylvania synod as well. For all this, stewardship of that which you have been Entrusted with, I am grateful.
The systemic cracks in our society are a result of human sin. Sin that allows systems of oppression to remain unchallenged. Sin that separates and divides us. Ultimately, sin that causes death. During this Lenten season we take seriously that reality of our own sinfulness. Our liturgies turn us to repentance and self-examination. To be honest with ourselves.
However, as we are now marking a full year since the first deaths from Covid-19 in our midst, deaths than now total over 500,000 individuals, we also must in lent remember hope. The hope of Easter dawn, which can seem very dim in our grief and loss. Light that is yet far off and to which we shouldn’t run too quickly to avoid our grief. But hope none the less and we find this in scripture, worship, and time together. In this time of Lent I invite you to join me every Tuesday at 11am online for our NT-NL synod devotionals either on zoom or Facebook Live. Each week we highlight a devotion, based on the coming Sunday gospel, from an NT-NL pastor in their first call as well as musical offerings from congregations across our synod and times for prayer.
Gathering together as we can in this time is so vital. To take seriously our brokenness and the sin that is around us, yet also strain our eyes, even through the tears, to see the coming light.
Discovering Hope Conference
A conference to explore the best practices for Vital Ministry
Saturday, March 13, 10am – 12noon
This conference will be held online and is designed to build vitality in congregations with fewer than 50 people in worship. However, congregations with greater than 50 will also find it helpful. The focus is on spirituality, leadership, and community connections.
Topics covered include:
- Stories of Hope: Finding Vitality in your Congregation
- Making Disciples: Learning to Live Jesus’ Way
- Evangelism: A Way of Life
- Leadership: Who’s Driving the Tractor?
- Discovering the Gift of Place
- Mission: Possible – Discovering Hope for the Future
We encourage at least 3 people to attend from each congregation.
Only $20 per congregation (includes 1 copy of the book)
Register here: https://tithe.ly/event-registration/#/3279968 (registration closes 1 hour before the start of the conference)
The mailing address included with your registration is where we will send the book. If you register by March 5, you will likely receive your book prior to the conference.
The Zoom link will be emailed to registrants the morning of the conference.
Questions? Contact Rev. Irma Banales, firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2019, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly endorsed the Earth Charter. The charter is neither a theological nor an environmental document but a foundational ethical document calling for actions to build a more just, sustainable, and peaceful society. The Earth Charter articulates the values and principles for achieving sustainable development and demonstrating a global interdependence mindset and shared responsibility while offering a vision of hope and a call to action.
Featured Resources for March
Race and Christianity in the United States
A VIDEO SERIES EXPLORING RACE AND RELIGION IN THE UNITED STATES
Offered at NO COST to NT-NL Leaders and Worshiping Communities
ABOUT THE SERIES
Talking about race in the United States is challenging, complicated, and fraught. Even as so much of our lives are affected by race—from where we live to how we vote—we disagree about how big a problem racism is and even how to define it.
This video series provides one lens through which to explore race in the United States. Focusing on the history of black/white relations in the U.S., it considers how race and Christianity have interacted, for good and for ill. It offers a narrative that helps to answer the question “how did we get here?” I hope that by offering a look at our racial past, we will better understand ourselves and be better able to have those challenging, complicated, and fraught conversations our churches and our country need. – Sarah Ruble
ABOUT SARAH RUBLE
I am an associate professor of religion at Gustavus Adolphus College. In addition to teaching (some of the world’s most wonderful) undergraduate students, I lecture in churches and to life-long learning groups. All of that means that I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make the past accessible without making it simplistic. As both a Christian and a historian, I’m always learning, trying to figure out how to make sense of our past and what it means for us today.
Sample Curriculum: Race and Christianity Leaders Guide Introduction with Early Sessions
The full curriculum consists of eight YouTube videos that are 20 to 25 minutes each, as well as a print component that includes questions for discussions and some suggestions about other resources to consult for further exploration. The videos and downloadable curriculum are available on Sarah’s website: sarahruble.com
Here’s the direct link to the series: http://sarahruble.com/episodes/
Save the Date
Now the Green Blade Rises: Storytelling for the Healing of Creation
Saturday, April 17, 9am-12:30pm Central
We invite you for a morning of personal and biblical stories to strengthen the grassroots movement through the telling of personal and biblical stories, to strengthen the grassroots movement among the People of God to hear the cry of creation and heed God’s call to respond. All are welcome!
Professor Barbara Rossing, Professor of New Testament, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, Director of Environmental Studies Program
Kevin Anderson – Director, Family Freedom Center, Duluth
Johanna Bernu – Fond du Lac member, 8th grade student
Ricky Defoe – Spiritual Elder, Pipe Carrier, Fond du Lac Member
Tom Uecker – Founder, Duluth Monarch Buddies
Alicia Green – Creation Care Team Member, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa
A story teller to be named centering on sustainable agriculture
Small group breakout sessions in which each participant has the opportunity to react, dream, consider future actions and tell their own stories
Now the Green Blade Rises Music videos as performed for the Moments of Arising videos, with musical arranger and director Paul Jacobson, and filmmaker Linda Kalweit
For questions, please contact EcoFaith Network Co-Leader, Rev. Kristin Foster, at 218-290-4694 or email email@example.com.
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/nt-nl-disaster-response-opportunities/ – published Feb. 23)
(https://www.ntnl.org/winter-storm-damage-briarwood-update/ – published Feb. 28)
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.
Pastor Totzke: Mar. 4 – Transitional (Interim) Pastors meeting via Zoom; Mar. 6 – Candidacy Committee meeting (rescheduled from Feb. 20)
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:
- Mar. 2: Synod Online Devotion for Lent, Zoom or Facebook
- Mar. 3: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – The Sacred Work of Grief, Part 7: Honoring Grief and Gratitude One Year into the Pandemic with Rev. Solveig Goodin-Nilsen, Zoom
- Mar. 3: Lenten Journey: Landscapes of Our Soul, Zoom
- Mar. 4: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Mar. 4: Transitional (Interim) Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Mar. 9: Synod Online Devotion for Lent, Zoom or Facebook
- Mar. 10: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Suggested Guidelines for Returning to Church with Dr. Dave Daubert, Zoom
- Mar. 10: Lenten Journey: Landscapes of Our Soul, Zoom
- Mar. 11: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Mar. 13: Discovering Hope Conference: Building Vitality in Your Congregation, Online
- Mar. 13: Parish Lay Ministry Academy, Spring 2021, Course 1, Online
- Mar. 13: Public Witness Team meeting, Online
- Mar. 14: National Lutheran Choir 2021 Winter Online Program
- Mar. 16: Synod Online Devotion for Lent, Zoom or Facebook
- Mar. 17: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Growing Young: Jesus’ Message with Rachel Alley, Zoom
- Mar. 17: Lenten Journey: Landscapes of Our Soul, Zoom
- Mar. 18: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Mar. 20: Living Connected Workshop on Creation’s Gift of Land, Online
- Mar. 23: Synod Online Devotion for Lent, Zoom or Facebook
- Mar. 23: Living Connected Workshop on Creation’s Gift of Land, Online
- Mar. 24: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – TBA with Giovana Oaxaca, Program Director for Migration Policy with ELCA Advocacy, Zoom
- Mar. 24: Lenten Journey: Landscapes of Our Soul, Zoom
- Mar. 25: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Mar. 31: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – TBA, Zoom
- Apr. 1: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Apr. 1: Transitional (Interim) Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
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.