Message from Bishop Gronberg
Partners in Mission:
Preparing for our national day of Thanksgiving in 2020 has a very different feel as we continue in this year like no other. As we prepare to give thanks, there are three things I would like you all to consider in your communities.
- You may remember in June I wrote a blog about 5 questions you should be asking. Many of you have relayed to me that you have utilized that resource. For that I am grateful. One of those questions relates to the ability of your community to withstand another significant disruption to our lives. We are living in that time, and I am grateful so many of you took seriously that possibility and invested in ways to connect your communities safely and keep our shared mission going. If you haven’t thought through these challenges, please do so. If a coach would be helpful, we can help connect you.
- It is clear the virus is most rapidly spreading when friends and family spend time together without masks or distancing. This makes traditional gatherings like Thanksgiving especially dangerous. Dr. Robert Smith from Briarwood has been my representative on several calls with public health officials in DFW and statewide. His notes from those calls and the considerations we should be making can be found here. For worship considerations, my counsel remains the same, that it can be done but with significant cautions. As you prepare for Advent/Christmas, do so in creative ways. It is essential we continue to care for our neighbors and put their health and safety first.
- Finally, in this time of national Thanksgiving, please take time to give thanks for all that God has done for and with us in 2020. While there have been griefs, God has also provided great opportunities for us to learn, grow, and adapt. This past week on calls with our conference pastors, again and again I heard from them the challenges but also the unexpected joys and the ways in which new capacities have been found. And last weekend we ordained our 6th candidate in 2020 for Word and Sacrament ministry in the church. As we remembered at our 2020 Synod Assembly and in our MEF Gather in Thankfulness worship service, “God has done great things for us and we rejoiced.”
I give thanks for you and for your participation in our mission. Just a couple weeks ago, we sent 3rd quarter financial mission support giving statements to the pastor and council president of each NT-NL congregation. Over and over as I signed those letters I was reminded of just how thankful we can and should be for your commitment and sharing in this work. Despite uncertainty you have responded, and for that I am grateful. So thank you, and I give thanks for you.
ELCA Executive for Administration Job Posting
The ELCA seeks its next Executive for Administration (EA), who will serve as the chief operating officer for the ELCA’s churchwide headquarters located in Chicago. The EA will work closely with the presiding bishop and all ELCA staff leaders. Importantly, the EA position presents the unique opportunity to be deeply involved in the redesign of the churchwide leadership structure and to serve as a primary driver of the strategic planning process, including addressing challenges facing congregations such as an aging membership and diversity in membership.
To apply, send a current resume and letter of introduction to Kittleman & Associates, LLC at https://bit.ly/3jHyQuu. For best consideration, interested parties should submit their information ASAP. Please note the short timeframe: The application deadline is this Friday, November 20.
At the Table Together | Juntos a la Mesa
The theme for the November issue of Living Lutheran was “Together at the table.” In keeping with this theme, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton shared her favorite food and faith story, which originally appeared in her September 2017 column. Read her column in English: At the Table Together o lee su columna en español: Juntos a la Mesa.
Featured Resources for November
“As the magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis is revealed, religious leaders—at every level, national to local—will be challenged to respond to the needs of their communities and society at large. The magnitude and scope of this disaster will fundamentally challenge American society, shaping the callings and responsibilities of all pastors, priests, imams, and rabbis….
My fellow faith leaders, the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis is expanding our vocation. We are called to look outward for the benefit not just of our own communities, but for the good of society itself as we seek to promote the flourishing of human communities. This developing tragedy is also a time of potentially tremendous remaking.
What do you perceive is needed in such a time as this?
What global and communal wisdom can we draw upon for responding to this axial moment?”
“…The US has not had any direct, long-term experience with national trauma and loss.
Societally minded leadership among persons of faith (lay, rostered, and ordained) will be necessary for helping persons and communities name the losses they have experienced, the grief they carry, and the resources already in their possession for rebuilding life on all levels. The skillsets of ‘societal chaplaincy’ can be of direct assistance….”
This session hosted by ELCA Coaching explored the concept of “societal chaplaincy” in order to provide tools for responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. This global crisis is producing layers of grief and trauma beyond what most people are anticipating. Religiously informed leaders have particular callings to respond not just to their defined communities, but to society as a whole, helping others name their grief while pointing to paths forward. The insights of social analysis, grief coaching, and chaplaincy each have contributions to make as we move forward together.
“…[Don Eisenhauer] named that COVID-19 is causing all of us to experience not just a public health crisis, but a ‘pandemic of grief.’ In that context, he warned us against cutting grief short. Loss and grief need to be named, worked with, lived with.
There are many reasons to cut grief short. We do not like to admit weakness and the feeling of being out of control. We are surrounded by people made uncomfortable by loss and grief, who would rather we put it away instead of working through a process.
Although religious systems are often at their best when staring death in the face, when they speak a word of hope and truth in a moment like this. But often, religious people are the absolute worst at accompanying people through the experience of death and other forms of loss….”
December 9, 7pm Central
Benefiting ELCA World Hunger
Facebook Premiere (accessible without a facebook account)
In the first ever event of its kind, ELCA World Hunger presents an online Christmas benefit concert featuring Peter Mayer, who is a longtime Lutheran and the lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffett.
Although we are in the midst of a difficult winter due to COVID-19, we know that, through God’s abundance, you have shown incredible generosity by supporting the necessary work of the church. This concert is a gift to you this Advent season. It is a way for us to say thank you and provide a place for you to gather online with the church community as we prepare for the birth of our Savior.
The concert is free and will premiere on the ELCA Facebook page with a live chat so you can engage with the audience, ELCA staff, and Peter Mayer himself. Donations to ELCA World Hunger are encouraged and will support our church’s work to respond to hunger and poverty in more than 60 countries around the world.
Registration opens on November 18! Register to receive a free exclusive Peter Mayer Christmas album download, created just for this event!
Make sure to share this event with your friends and join the fun on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #ELCAChurchTogether and #StarsAndPromises, and ELCA World Hunger with be re-sharing your posts.
We hope to see you there!
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/veterans-day-supporting-federal-chaplaincy/ – published Nov. 11)
(https://www.ntnl.org/ordination-installation-of-eric-saed-nov-14-15/ – published Nov. 15)
(https://www.ntnl.org/welcome-to-the-rev-eric-saed/ – published Nov. 16)
(https://www.ntnl.org/littlefield-and-levelland/ – published Nov. 16)
(https://www.ntnl.org/ntnl-covid-19-update/ – published Nov. 16)
Where in the world is?
Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 across our territory in November 2020, the bishop and staff will be engaging in no non-essential travel or in-person meetings through the remainder of 2020. For previously scheduled and essential meetings, the staff will wear masks anytime they are near people, either inside or outside a facility. All synod business will continue to be conducted online.
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:
- Nov. 18: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Growing Young: Keychain Leadership with Rachel Alley and others, Zoom
- Nov. 19: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Nov. 25: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – TBA with Jory Mickelson, Zoom
- Dec. 2: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – The Sacred Work of Grief, Part 4: TBA with Rev. Solveig Nilsen-Goodin, Zoom
- Dec. 3: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Dec. 3: Interim Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Dec. 9: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – TBA, Zoom
- Dec. 9: Stars and Promises Christmas concert featuring Peter Mayer, lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffett, benefitting ELCA World Hunger, Facebook
- Dec. 10: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Dec. 12: Public Witness Team meeting, Online
- Dec. 16: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Growing Young: Empathy with Rachel Alley and others, Zoom
- Dec. 17: 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.