Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. -Matthew 25:35
Since Lutherans have been in the United States we have been involved in caring for and shepherding refugees and migrants around the world. In the 19th Century the Pennsylvania and New York Ministerium joined together to care for the every increasing flow of immigrants from Europe to America. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services dates its founding to 1939 when, in the wake of a Europe being torn by war, Lutherans realized their siblings in faith were in need. And there was great need. By1945, globally, one out of six Lutherans was a refugee or displaced person (dp) and 33% of all dp were Lutheran.
For the last two months the convention center in Dallas has been used as a temporary shelter for unaccompanied migrant teens. When word that this shelter was to be set up, an ecumenical and interfaith group of leaders from the Dallas area moved into action. Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian and other leaders came together to work closely with Catholic Charities who had been tasked with coordinating volunteers for this shelter. These bi-lingual volunteers worked closely with the children in the shelter helping them process their claims, get in contact with family, and provide pastoral care and comfort. Your DEM the Rev. Irma Banales was a critical connection to this working group and the NT-NL Conferencia Latina stepped up significantly to provide pastoral care and support as well as ensure an “Evangelical/Protestant” worship option was provided each week led by them and also our full communion partners.
Sunday, May 16th I had the opportunity to go with these leaders and participate in worship. It was a deeply powerful moment. Powerful in sharing the Holy Eucharist with these children seeking a home and welcome, to receive their prayer requests and pray over them, to give out birthday cards so that life moment doesn’t get forgotten, and to see how your NT-NL Conferencia Latina has responded in this time of need. Pictured above are the leaders who were with us on Sunday the 16th; they represent many others who also have taken part in showing up for these children in our midst.
As an immigrant church, one whose memory includes significant displacement of our own people not too many generations ago, we are committed to serving these individuals seeking safety, security, a better life. This commitment may have started in caring for our own but now extends beyond the self-interest of helping our siblings in faith. It is rooted deeply in our understanding of the story of God’s people as told in Scripture. Time and again the people of God are commanded to welcome the stranger and this command comes in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospels. Jesus himself reminds us that when we serve the stranger, we serve Christ. I am thankful for the opportunity we have had in this time to serve. Lutherans showing up for our neighbors, all our neighbors.
In the Risen Christ,
Everyday Spirituality: Being Faithful in the Ordinary
Thursday, May 20, 12noon Eastern
Bishop James Hazelwood, New England Synod, ELCA, will explore practical ways we can express our faith through seemingly ordinary activities such as walking, gardening, cooking, or singing. Join us to learn together, laugh together, and discover new ways God is present in our lives. Register here.
Get a sample in this introductory video:
Documentary on Missionaries Mark and Linda Jacobson
If you missed the premiere of the documentary Kuambatana (Accompaniment): The Ministry of Mark and Linda Jacobson, you can watch and download the video here. This 30-minute documentary shares the story of the ELCA’s longest-serving active missionaries, Mark and Linda Jacobson, who’ve worked in the health field in Tanzania for 38 years. Your ministry can host its own virtual or in-person screening, and you can go deeper with this discussion guide.
This documentary benefits ELCA missionaries, who serve at the invitation of global companions to meet specific community needs. They are pastors, educators, advisers, doctors, communication specialists and more. Working in a spirit of accompaniment, ELCA missionaries walk together with our companions and follow their leadership.
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
The Future of Tulsa’s Past: The Centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre and Beyond
May 26-29, 2021
The Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod invites all our siblings from across the ELCA to join us digitally for the 2021 John Hope Franklin Reconciliation in America National Symposium, May 26-29. Following the Symposium, on the afternoon of May 29th, everyone is invited to join us for a Zoom conversation where we will continue addressing the themes of Symposium and talk specifically about how those themes speak to us as a church. Attending the Symposium is not necessary to be a part of the post-symposium gathering.
The National Symposium is an annual event sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation in Tulsa, OK and brings together local and nationally known speakers and people from around the country to learn about and discuss ways to work against racism and for racial reconciliation. Founded in 2007, the vision of the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation in Tulsa is to transform the bitterness and mistrust caused by years of racial division and violence into a hopeful future of reconciliation and cooperation for Tulsa and the nation. In the spirit of John Hope Franklin (1915-2009), American historian and educator noted for his scholarly reappraisal of the American Civil War era and the importance of the black struggle in shaping modern American identity, the Center promotes reconciliation and generating trust through scholarly work and constructive community engagement.
Individuals must register for the Symposium through the JHF Center website: https://www.jhfnationalsymposium.org. A schedule and list of speakers for the Symposium is also available on the website.
From 1:00-3:30 PM CDT on Saturday, May 29, ELCA participants in the Symposium and others are invited to join the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod for a time of reflection and conversation. Led by a panel including Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod Bishop Michael Girlinghouse, Ms. Vanessa Adams-Harris, John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, Mr. Bill Horne, ELCA Vice-president, and Ms. Judith Roberts, ELCA Sr. Director for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion we will discuss the complicity and silence of the white church in the perpetuation of racial injustice, including violent events like the Tulsa Race Massacre, how the church is working against racial injustice today, and ways we can show up and step up to work for change in our church, our local communities and nation in the days ahead. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will share concluding thoughts and reflections about how we can move together as a church to address these issues.
If you would like to join us for the post-symposium conversation, you will need to register at: https://www.aokelca.org/event-details/2021-john-hope-franklin-annual-symposium to receive the Zoom link and password for the ELCA event.
If you have questions please call the A-OK synod office at (918) 492-4288
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/holy-land-2021-understanding-the-realities/ – published May 11)
(https://www.ntnl.org/congrats-2021-tlu-baseball-scac-champs/ – published May 12)
(https://www.ntnl.org/understanding-systemic-racism-cohort-begins/ – published May 13)
(https://www.ntnl.org/cdc-new-guidelines-on-vaccinated-individuals-and-masks/ – published May 13)
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.
May 23 – Calvary, San Angelo
May 30 – Emanuel, Dallas
June 6 – Installation of Pr. Will Foster, Trinity, Fort Worth
May 30 – Good Shepherd, Irving
June 1 – First Call Pastors retreat, Zoom
June 3 – Interim/Transitional Pastors meeting, Zoom
June 6 – Installation of Pr. Will Foster, Trinity, Fort Worth
June 17-22 – Vacation time
May 19 – Santa Maria McArthur, Irving
May 20 – Community of Hope, Ft Worth
May 22 – First Sagrada Familia, Garland
May 25 – Joy, Rockwall
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 20: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- May 22: Living Connected Workshop on Creation’s Gift of Energy, Zoom
- May 25: White Supremacy & Racism: Facing Reality, Taking Responsibility – Selections from Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Zoom
- May 25: Living Connected Workshop on Creation’s Gift of Energy, Zoom
- May 26-29: 2021 John Hope Franklin Reconciliation in America National Symposium, Online
- May 27: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jun. 3: Transitional (Interim) Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Jun. 8: White Supremacy & Racism: Facing Reality, Taking Responsibility – Derrick Bell, “Chronicle of the Constitutional Contradiction,” Zoom
- Jun. 12: Public Witness Team meeting, Online
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.