Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
On April 24th we held our annual synod assembly. Once again, as in 2020, we utilized technology to gather, do business of the church, learn, and connect. I was very pleased to see the strong turnout for this second online assembly and for your participation throughout the day. Of particular note were the breakout room sessions after each of Bishop Mike Girlinghouse’s presentations (which are now on our website: https://www.ntnl.org/resources/videos-embracing-gods-future-without-forgetting-the-past/). In feedback from assembly participants it is clear you enjoyed that time together and perhaps even wished it were longer.
Prior to the assembly we sent a survey to each registrant to ask for information and feedback on how their congregation responded to the pandemic. Over 40% of registrants responded to the survey (a good rate of return for a survey) and we received much information that will help with planning for future synod events and continuing education offerings. The responses were honest (sometimes brutally) about the challenges you all have faced. When asked about online worship one respondent stated “I hate it!”
Overall however, the responses indicated that our congregations and leaders have been resilient, responsive, and adaptive in this time. And that you are continuing to realize you are going to need to be so into the future. I was most encouraged by the “word cloud” above created from the responses to the question “What is the most important thing you have learned about your congregation in 2020-2021?” In these open responses the words that appeared most often indicated connection, adaptation, and the strength and resilience congregations have shown in the past year. We will continue to need that strength and resilience as we move forward. Recognizing that we are still in this storm of change and pandemic and that we are, with the rollout of vaccines slowing, even moreso weathering it in different boats.
Thank you to all who attended our assembly and for the planning team and the hard work so that we could meet. With hope we look to 2022 and gathering in Dallas at Paul Quinn College April 29-30th. Bishop Vashti Murphy-McKenzie will be our preacher for that assembly. But before that remember to have September 11, 2021 on your calendar for a synod gathering at Briarwood. In hope we believe by then we will be able to re-gather together in person and be renewed and revived.
In the Risen Christ,
Bishop Erik Gronberg
Adviento Arlington Interim Mission Developer
Connie Ortega (Voss) was installed as a Synodical Authorized Mission Developer in the role of Interim Mission Developer for Adviento in Arlington this past Sunday, May 2. Pastor Edy Santos will continue to provide online ministry while in Columbia, and SAWL Ortega will provide support and leadership on the ground in Arlington. We offer congratulations to Connie and Adviento and ask for your continued prayers for this worshiping community.
Volunteer at Holden Village this Summer
Are you interested in volunteering at Holden this summer? They are currently (somewhat urgently) seeking applicants for their Middle School/High School (MS/HS) Head, as well as a few MS/HS Assistants. The MS/HS Head is a seasonal, stipend position with free room and board. The MS/HS Assistant position includes free room and board. There are also a number of positions outside youth programming. http://www.holdenvillage.org/volunteer/short-term-volunteers/
Featured Resources for May
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Hospitals and health systems play an important role in providing behavioral health care and helping patients find resources available in their community. Hospitals create unique partnerships to address behavioral health issues in non-traditional ways. Many of our members are leading innovations in the way behavioral health disorders are identified and treated—through the integration of physical and behavioral health services, changes in their emergency departments and inpatient and outpatient settings, and via community partnerships. These strategies improve the overall value of health care and can lead to improvements in patient outcomes, quality of care and total costs. The AHA (American Hospital Association) has a long-standing commitment to support these efforts and advocate on issues related to behavioral health. AHA supports the integration of behavioral and physical health and helps hospitals play a key role in establishing partnerships to ensure access to a full continuum of behavioral health care.
Since 1949, MHA (Mental Health America) and our affiliates across the country have observed May is Mental Health Month by reaching out to millions of people through the media, local events, and screenings. We invite other organizations to join us in spreading the word that mental health is something everyone should care about by using the May is Mental Health Month toolkit materials and conducting awareness activities. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the mental health of people of all ages. Now, more than ever, it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles, because that stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help. Our 2021 toolkit includes sample materials for communications and social media as well as printable handouts on the following topics:
- Adapting after trauma and stress
- Dealing with anger and frustration
- Getting out of thinking traps
- Processing big changes
- Taking time for yourself
- Radical acceptance
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families. For 2021’s Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI will continue to amplify the message of “You Are Not Alone.” We will use this time to focus on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay through NAMI’s blog, personal stories, videos, digital toolkits, social media engagements and national events. Together, we can realize our shared vision of a [world] where anyone affected by mental illness can get the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives — a [world] where no one feels alone in their struggle. Share awareness information, images and graphics for #MHAM throughout May.
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information. Also visit the online treatment locators.
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is a week-long campaign dedicated to talking about mental health problems during and after pregnancy.
It’s all about raising public and professional awareness of perinatal mental health problems, advocating for women affected by it, changing attitudes and helping families access the information, care and support they need to recover.
The daily themes and resources can be found here: http://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/news/maternal-mental-health-awareness-week-2021/
World Maternal Mental Health Day draws attention to essential mental health concerns for mothers and families. Life changes around pregnancy make women more vulnerable to mental illness. The negative cycle of poverty and mental illness impact on a woman’s ability to function and thrive. This may also directly affect her foetus or child, with long-lasting physical, cognitive and emotional outcomes. Mental health care provides the necessary support to empower women to identify resources and personal capabilities. This can enhance their resilience to difficult life circumstances and support them to nurture their children optimally. Caring for mothers is a positive intervention for long-term social development. #MaternalMHMatters
For full details and resources: https://wmmhday.postpartum.net/
Additional Maternal Health Resources
Save the Date
Briarwood Leadership Center, Argyle, TX
Saturday, September 11
We are praying we are able to be together IN PERSON as a synod. We will gather together for worship, remembering, renewal, revival, and fun! Facilities will be available for family, fun, food, and a time to gather together to be renewed.
More details (including the timeframe for that day) will be provided closer to the event.
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. Until we can assure everyone in attendance at a meeting are vaccinated, in order to protect those gathered, the synod staff will continue to wear masks unless preaching or presiding and sufficient social distancing can be provided.
Pastor Totzke – May 6: Interim/Transitional Pastors meeting via Zoom
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 6: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 6: Transitional (Interim) Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- May 8: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- May 11: White Supremacy & Racism: Facing Reality, Taking Responsibility – Introduction and Concepts, Zoom
- May 13: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 15: Parish Lay Ministry Academy, Spring 2021, Course 3, Online
- May 20: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 25: White Supremacy & Racism: Facing Reality, Taking Responsibility – Selections from Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Zoom
- May 27: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jun. 3: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jun. 3: 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 editions of our weekly news.