Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
Gathering to discuss a funeral conversation inevitably turns to scripture. Sometimes families have specific requests, or the deceased left instructions, but a fair number of times the pastor is asked to make suggestions or even pick. When that happened to me, John 14, our gospel reading from yesterday, was my usual suggestion. Jesus preparing his disciples for his departure, comforting them but also creating expectation, there is more than what you see here to come.
In this time of COVID-19 when gathering for worship, including funerals, has been disrupted, these promises of Jesus ring all the more clear. What we have here is a glimpse of what God has in store for you and for me. While you may wish to get back to “regular” life, we know this crisis is more than a disruption, it has and will continue to change us. And change, if you and I are honest, makes you nervous.
Last week, I shared with you a video about current plans for the ELCA Youth Gathering in 2021. Today, we have a conversation about our synod’s ministry at Briarwood (bwtx.org) with Dr. Robert Smith, Director, and Ms. Avery Hawley, Community Engagement Manager. This conversation is timely as we get closer to summer and expectations about whether there will be a place for you at Briarwood. Will it be safe to gather, and if so, will they be prepared? How are the staff and leadership managing a ministry that is primarily financed by providing a place for people to gather? The short answer (spoiler alert) is that staff are adapting, leadership is making good decisions for sustainability, and planning and preparations to have a place for you at Briarwood are ongoing. Of course, this is all pending continued guidance from public health officials to ensure your safety.
Briarwood’s leadership continues to make faithful decisions to sustain this ministry and now invite your support for the online gala experience this Saturday, May 16th. As you will hear in the video, work at Briarwood has not stopped and ministry continues through development of resources and content for you. New leadership formation partnerships have been created with ELCA Coaching, Federal Chaplaincy, and LEAD. Growing from Dr. Smith’s blogs on Societal Chaplaincy, a webinar co-hosted by Briarwood, ELCA Coaching, and NT-NL drew 91 leaders from across the ELCA together to learn concepts of grief coaching. In addition, Avery fills us in on new online programming and leadership formation opportunities for you as well. Weekly bible lessons, NT-NL Synod young adult ministries, online content and classes, are all being developed for you and your congregation’s ministry. Many can be linked to at facebook.com/BriarwoodRetreat/. This is being done while continuing to support our NT-NL leadership programming such as our Fall Leadership Convocation focusing on religious freedom, the PLMA, and the Secondary School of Theological Education. The vision of a leadership center that we as synod have invested in both in the physical building at Briarwood but also the capacity to create and distribute content is being achieved.
Reflections on Faith & Finances
Reflections on Faith & Finances in Times Such as This
A Conversation with Rev. Charles Lane
Thursday, May 14, at 3:00 PM
Simply link to: Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 319 941 5281
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Learn about a special promotion for stewardship in congregations.
This talk will be recorded and placed in our new ELCA stewardShowcase at https://vimeo.com/showcase/5854136.
How Mission Support Adds Vitality to Congregational Life
Perhaps you were not able to join us for stewardCast 2020. Learn how congregations are discovering How Mission Support Adds Vitality to Congregational Life. These are all posted at elca.org/stewardship.
Featured Resources for May
May is Mental Health (Awareness) Month
There are a number of trusted organizations who have quality mental health resources:
May 6 is World Maternal Mental Health Day
Save the Date
Saturday, May 23, 11:00am-2:00pm
The BOLD GATHERING is a day for men to come together to learn, to network, and be equipped to BOLDY live out their faith!
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/caring-for-neighbors-acting-for-justice/ – published May 9)
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:
- May 12: Holy Hollywood for NT-NL Young Adults, Zoom
- May 12: ELCA Youth Gathering Information Meeting, Zoom
- May 13: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- May 13: Webinar 1 of 2: Theological Perspectives on Immigration from the U.S. Mexico Borderlands
- May 14: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 14: ELCA Youth Gathering Information Meeting, Zoom
- May 14: Webinar 2 of 2: Living in Third Spaces: Where the church meets asylum seekers
- May 16: PLMA, Spring 2020, Course 3, Zoom
- May 16: Briarwood 2020 Gala: Adventure Awaits, Online Experience
- May 20: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- May 21: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 23: ESET (SSTE) Módulo 7 (Día 5 de 5), Zoom
- May 24-29: Spanish Language and Hispanic Ministry Intensive I, Austin, TX
- May 26: Holy Hollywood for NT-NL Young Adults, Zoom
- May 27: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- May 28: 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.