Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
With heavy hearts we heard the news last week of yet another school shooting. This time 19 dead, 4th graders like my middle child, in a school in Uvalde, TX. The epidemic of mass gun violence across our country continues. Conversation about this issue, as with many others in our deeply divided communities, so very quickly devolves into minds uninterested in change and prepared statements and demonizing of any who disagree with our positions.
Last Sunday in our gospel reading from John, Jesus prayed that those who believe in him may be one, as he and the Father are one (John 17:20-26). The reality is that throughout the Christian experience the followers of Jesus have rarely been one. From the Arian controversy to the Great Schism, to our own beloved and treasured Reformation heritage, and the history of those who call themselves Lutheran, we are not and have not been one. Yet, that is what Jesus prayed for. But it is hard to be one, and it is hard to preach to a divided people.
Our pastors are preaching in divided times. Every word can be brought up as sowing division and discord. Yet we in the Lutheran tradition value our preaching and have criteria for it. And that as theologians we often ask the question, in the face of division, and violence, and death, of why? Why did this happen? Why did God allow it to happen? This is a valuable question, but it also often leaves us stuck. Perhaps, I was challenged last Sunday, we need to ask different, coaching, questions.
Instead of why perhaps we should ask “what?” and how?” What conversation do I need to have with someone to address this division this week? What is going to get in the way of this? And how can I overcome that? If we are to be one as the Father and Jesus are one, what must we be willing to give up to make that happen and how will we do so?
In these challenging times I find this challenge worthwhile. I will, as much as anyone, avoid difficult conversation if I can. It is uncomfortable and unsettling. Yet, if I am a follower of Jesus and wish to honor this prayer he prayed for you and me 2,000 years ago, this is work that must be done. As you do this work this week know you are in my prayers and that the Holy Spirit is guiding and leading you.
Paid Position: Seeking Team Coordinator
The NT-NL Public Witness Team is seeking a Team Coordinator who could commit 10 hours per week to the work of helping the team fulfill its mission. Find a brief job description here. If you are interested, please reach out to Pastor Franz Schemmel by June 2 with a brief resume and cover letter.
817-925-1318 (call or text)
Featured Resources for May
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, we join the national movement to raise awareness about mental health.
Resources from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):
Resources from Mental Health America (MHA):
Resources from American Hospital Association (AHA):
May 4 is World Maternal Mental Health (Awareness) Day
Women of every culture, age, income level, and race can develop perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth.
Resources from Postpartum Support International (PSI):
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. Given the rise of breakthrough infections and in order to protect those gathered, the synod staff will choose to wear masks as is deemed appropriate unless preaching or presiding and sufficient social distancing can be provided.
Jun. 4: First Communions and Confirmations, First Sagrada, Garland
Jun. 5: Retirement of Gus Vinejeras, Santa Maria in Exile/Santisima Trinadad, Irving, and Confirmation, Trinity, Fort Worth
Jun. 6: Ordination Service with North Central Conference United Methodist Church, Richardson
Jun. 13-14: Visit to Wartburg Seminary
Jun. 15-17: Visit bishops/staff
Jun. 18: LMM Annual Meeting
Jun. 19-24: Family Vacation
Jul. 7-10: NT-NL Youth (High School) Gathering 2022, Briarwood
Jul. 21-23: MYJ2 Multicultural Youth Gathering 2022, Briarwood
Jul. 24: 100th Celebration, Central, Dallas
Jul. 31: Installation of Rev. Erin Swenson-Reinhold, Preston Meadow, Plano
Aug. 5-6: ELCA Latinx Young Adult Gathering, Briarwood
Aug. 7-12: ELCA Churchwide Assembly, Columbus, OH
Jun. 2: Transitional Pastors Meeting (Zoom/Hybrid?)
Jun. 5: Pr. Gus Vinajeras’ retirement celebration, Holy Trinity, Irving June 14: First Call pastors (Zoom) June 28: First Call pastors (Zoom)
Jul. 7: Transitional Pastors Meeting (Hybrid)
Jul. 10: Bethel, Ericksdahl (Avoca) Jul. 12: First Call Pastors (Zoom)
Jul. 17: Mt. Olive, Dallas Jul. 24: Central/Bethany Anniversary & New Beginnings celebration, Dallas Jul. 31: Installation of Pr. Erin Swenson-Reinhold, Preston Meadow, Plano
Jun. 3: Planning Team, Latinx Young Adult Encounter
Jun. 4 & 5: St Paul, Levelland, and Trinity, Clovis, NM
Jun. 6: Woman’s Retreat planning team, First Sagrada Familia, Garland
Jun. 7: Ministry Review, First Sagrada Familia, Garland
Jun. 8: Leadership Formation Training, Santa Maria, Irving
Jun. 9: DFW Ecumenical Group
Jun. 11: Quinceañera XV, Little Rock, AR
Jun. 14: ELCA Spanish Coaching and SEMLA, MX
Jun. 16: St Matthews, Ft Worth
Jun. 18-24: Vacation
Jun. 25: Quinceañera XV, First Sagrada Familia, Garland
Jun. 26: Umoja International Chapel, Ft Worth
Jun. 30: Three Shared Ministries Quarterly Review – Community of Hope, King of Glory, Umoja – Fort Worth
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:
- Jun. 1: Courageous Leadership – Coaching – Choose Your Own Adventure (breakout rooms by topic)
- Jun. 2: Transitional Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Jun. 8: Courageous Leadership – Matthew Cobb – Together Here Ministries
- Jun. 11: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- Jun. 15: Courageous Leadership – Dianne Johnson – Wild Church
- Jun. 22: Courageous Leadership – Dan Bowman – On the Spectrum: Austism, Faith, & the Gifts of Neurodiversity
- Jun. 29: Courageous Leadership – TBA
- Jul. 6: Courageous Leadership – Coaching – Choose Your Own Adventure (breakout rooms by topic)
- Jul. 7: Transitional Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Jul. 7-10: NT-NL Youth Gathering 2022, Briarwood
- Jul. 9: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- Jul. 13: Courageous Leadership – ELCA Young Adults – Topic TBA
- Jul. 20: Courageous Leadership – TBA
- Jul. 21-23: MYJ2 Multicultural Youth Gathering 2022, Briarwood
- Jul. 27: Courageous Leadership – Nathan Swenson-Reinhold – Team Facilitation
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.