Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
On April 24th from 9am-3pm voting members from your congregations are invited to the Thirty Fourth annual assembly of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, ELCA. This assembly will be an online event and your voting members need to register here by April 11. There is a small fee for registration to cover contracting for audio/visual cameras and sound along with other upgrades based on our learning from our fall 2020 assembly. Also our education portion of the assembly will feature Bishop Mike Girlinghouse speaking about his book Embracing God’s Future Without Forgetting the Past. This book has gained attention across denominational lines as it resonates with the tasks you have been entrusted with. Tasks that have and continue to change in our current context.
Our assembly theme, Entrusted: Servants of Christ and Stewards of God’s Mysteries, is drawn from 1 Cor. 4:1-2, “Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” Connecting to the promises given and made in baptism this theme reminds you that you have been entrusted not only with the message of the gospel, the most precious gift of all, but also with care for your neighbor and stewardship of God’s abundance in this world. In our assembly we will reflect on ways we have been faithful over the past year in our life together as synod as well as how together we will seek to be found trustworthy moving into the future.
As NT-NL you live into this theme Entrusted when…
- Congregational leaders prioritize health and safety of neighbors, moving online, wearing masks, sacrificing what you know, to ensure you are found trustworthy with your neighbors health.
- Pastors and lay leaders work to find creative ways to observe a second Lent and Easter in pandemic.
- Youth and family leaders seek new ways to connect, to serve and equip families to continue Christian Education in their homes.
- Lay leader education continues online through the Parish Lay Ministry Academy and Secondary School of Theological Education.
- When our full communion partners of the former Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth call, our congregations open doors and offer immediate sanctuary.
- You continue to give faithfully to your congregation’s financial needs and in turn pass along a portion of those gifts for our life together as synod.
- In the midst of a historic winter storm you call on one another, check on those who have been entrusted to you, and offer generous support to your synod’s disaster fund.
- When thousand of migrant young men are brought to the Dallas Convention center by FEMA, your Conferencia Latina responds to provide pastoral care.
We have been entrusted with a great many things. And as we give thanks for increasing numbers of vaccinations, hope on the horizon for fully coming back together in person, you also know that your lives, our lives, have been forever changed. And so this is a time for us to come together to reflect more deeply on how we can learn from this crisis and be found faithful in coming years. This is part of what Bishop Girlinghouse will invite us to explore together. Remembering the past, aware of all we have been Entrusted with, and recognizing that we are promised a hopeful future with God.
As you raise your palms this week and proclaim Hosanna! And begin the Holy Week that leads to the reason for our hope, God bless you as you participate in this old, old story that we have been Entrusted to share.
NT- NL Responds: Caring for Migrant Children in Our Midst
Late last week it was announced a FEMA “decompression” center to temporarily house approximately 2,300 migrant young men (15-17 years old) would be set up at the Dallas Convention Center. Our ecumenical community responded quickly to offer support and pastoral care for these young men, most from Central America, who will stay at the shelter 3-4 days for processing. On Sunday March 21 DEM Irma Banales and Conferencia Latina Dean Jesus Escamilla led a protestant communion liturgy that was well received. At this time over 1,900 individuals have signed up to volunteer for the various chaperone/monitoring roles needed so those needs are well met. However, Pastors or Deacons who are bilingual and would be willing to serve as chaplains during the day would be appreciated. To do so please contact Bishop Gronberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he can coordinate getting you on the list. There will be an additional background check required. We will continue to be in communication with Catholic Charities and FEMA on ways we can serve these young men in our midst.
As Part of Texas Refugee Advocacy Week (March 22-26)
Women In Refugee Resettlement
Wednesday, March 24, 1:00 – 2:00 PM CT
Join us for a panel discussion with refugee and SIV women as we discuss what it means to be a refugee or Special Immigrant Visa holder and what it is like to work in refugee resettlement. Our speakers will include Aisha Koroma, Dina Al Bayati, and Geeta Farahmand.
Register for this virtual event here: http://bit.ly/WomenInResettlement
FB Event link HERE
Hosted by Church World Service (CWS)
Featured Resources for March
Race and Christianity in the United States
A VIDEO SERIES EXPLORING RACE AND RELIGION IN THE UNITED STATES
Created by Sarah Ruble, Associate Professor in Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College
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.
Learn more about the series and about Sarah here.
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
The Way Forward to Legacy Generosity
April webinars to highlight planning for family, ministry
Lutheran Foundation of the Southwest will offer “The Way Forward to Legacy Generosity,” a webinar on legacy planning for family and ministry. The webinar will be offered at 2 p.m. on two Sundays – April 11 and April 18 – and at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 13, and at 12noon on Thursday, April 15. Please sign up for the one that works best for you at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0C49A8A629ABFFC25-theway.
This webinar is open to all congregational members to learn more about the foundation’s comprehensive legacy planning services for family and ministry. The foundation is a partner ministry of the three ELCA synods in Texas and offers its services at no cost and no obligation.
A congregation member may say, “I like the idea of leaving a gift to my church when I pass away, but I’d like to know more about how to create a plan for family and ministry.” The church has a dedicated ministry for just this kind of support through Lutheran Foundation of the Southwest. A gift planner is available in each synod that can guide you to clarify your goals and objectives in planning. Any congregation member can establish a robust personal legacy plan with the guidance of the synod gift planner. Those with existing plans should consider reviewing their plans to make sure they continue to meet their goals for family and ministry.
All members of ELCA congregations are invited to participate in these webinars. Those who may have additional questions or need assistance with registration are invited to contact Morgan Schmidlin, CGPA, gift planner for congregations in the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, at (440) 785-333 or email@example.com.
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/dallas-to-host-3000-youth-migrants/ – published Mar. 16)
(https://www.ntnl.org/pastor-jeremy-ullrich-installed-at-st-john-bartlett/ – published Mar. 16)
(https://www.ntnl.org/dallas-migrant-decompression-center-volunteer-information/ – published Mar. 19)
(https://www.ntnl.org/celebrations-across-milesandmiles/ – published Mar. 21)
(https://www.ntnl.org/gratitude-and-joy/ – published Mar. 19)
Where in the world is?
As we continue to navigate the changing realities of Covid-19 and guidelines regarding masking and other restrictions, synod staff will be resuming some in-person events. For those, synod staff will wear masks, and we encourage all in attendance to do so as well.
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. 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 – Towards an Even Greater We with Giovana Oaxaca and Mary Campbell, 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 with Rev. CeCee Mills, Zoom
- Apr. 1: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Apr. 1: Interim Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Apr. 7: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – TBA, Zoom
- Apr. 8: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Apr. 10: Public Witness Team meeting, Online
- Apr. 11: The Way Forward to Legacy Generosity, Online
- Apr. 13: The Way Forward to Legacy Generosity, Online
- Apr. 14: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – The Eisenhower Matrix (Urgent-Important Matrix) with Rev. Dana Peterson, Zoom
- Apr. 15: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Apr. 15: The Way Forward to Legacy Generosity, Online
- Apr. 17: PLMA, Spring 2021, Course 2, Online
- Apr. 17: 2021 Bold Gathering, Online
- Apr. 18: EcoFaith Summit 2021, Zoom
- Apr. 18: The Way Forward to Legacy Generosity, Online
- Apr. 21: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Growing Young: Prioritize Young People (and Families) Everywhere with Rachel Alley and others, Zoom
- Apr. 22: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, 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.