For Such A Time As This
The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) continue our united call to Pray, Fast, and Act in support of good policies and programs that provide opportunities for and respect of the dignity of all people. This month, we draw your attention to international programs that work to prevent the spread of and provide treatment for HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
November Action: Global Health
Over the last two decades, the world has seen tremendous progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Expanded investments in research, prevention interventions, testing, and treatment have led to a decrease in new HIV and TB infections and have increased availability and access to medicines that treat these conditions. Millions of lives have been saved because of commitments by governments and the private sector to address these major global health threats.The U.S. and other donor countries provide funding, human resources, and technical support to countries heavily impacted by HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
While churches and other faith-based organizations provide vital services to those affected by any of these illnesses, governments and multilateral organizations play a critical role because they have more resources that make it possible to scale up services and research activities. Despite the progress we have made, more than three million people die from these diseases annually.
Here’s how to equip yourself and your congregation to #PrayFastAct on November 21:
- Read the November Advocacy Resource for more information on global health programs and the involvement of the faith community.
- Visit ELCA.org/PrayFastAct to watch a message from the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA.
- Look out for the #PrayFastAct action alert on Wednesday, Nov. 21, and join us as we pray, fast, and advocate together.
ELCA Seminaries Partner on New Website
Through grants from the Richard Hay Barkalow Charitable Fund at InFaith Community Foundation, the seven ELCA seminaries launched a new website: elcaseminaries.org. The new website provides a central place for people to learn more about the seminaries, scholarship opportunities, and explore other resources. The website will continue to grow and include more features, including an opportunity for people to share their stories. Explore the new website.
The art of staying open
Here are a few statistics worth considering. Depending on the source and methodology, estimates on new business closures in their first five years runs from 30-50 percent. According to the Economic Innovation Group, in most metro areas, there are more businesses closing than opening. Looking just at retail, it turns out that 2017 set a record as 8,600 stores closed. Is it safe to say that keeping any enterprise or organization resilient enough to weather the ups and downs of a changing world is a remarkable feat? Why would it be any different for the church?
It’s interesting how the rest of the world embraces this reality by elevating the disciplines of marketing, finance, human resources, leadership, and entrepreneurship as critical to the long-term success of organizations. Church consultant Russell Crabtree makes this point in his book, Owl Sight: Your local coffee shop, library, and hospital probably know more about their customers than your congregation understands about its members. He offers this not as a criticism but a reflection on how the world has changed. Here is an example of the kind of organizational intelligence that congregations might have access to through “Holy Cow! Consulting’s Congregational Assessment Tool.” You might also want to consider the ELCA’s congregational vitality survey.
As you are undoubtedly aware, there’s a lot that goes into keeping our congregations sustainable and thriving. Along those lines, check out this thought leadership piece by longtime Lutheran lay leader Roger Bloomfield titled “Taking Care of Business: Good Stewardship or Spiritual Bankruptcy.” Also, take a look at the congregational certificate program that is part of the Resourceful Servants initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment.
Featured Resources for November
Justice for Women
If you are looking for more resources from a global perspective, explore the Gender Justice Policy of the Lutheran World Federation.
Save the Date
Led by Bishop Gronberg and other NT-NL Leaders
Who: Young Adults 18-25 (post high school): Former LYLEs, Briarwood Camp Staff, College Students, Campus Ministry students, others interested in God’s call in their lives.
What: Conversation around scripture with other young people and leaders in NT-NL. Time to get away for a bit during Christmas break, enjoy fellowship, maybe take a ride on the zip line, worship around a campfire, and enjoy Briarwood’s beautiful campus.
Cost: Free to participants
Goal: Provide space for discernment and conversation around goals for future vocation for young people connected to NT-NL. Provide some time during Christmas break and a safe space for conversations about faith and life. Not specifically targeting church vocations, encouraging all to think about how God is working in their lives now.
Click here for full details and to apply. Limited to 25 participants.
Where in the world is?
- Nov. 25: St. Luke’s, Richardson
- Nov. 21-25: Thanksgiving weekend vacation
- Nov. 18-24: Vacation
- Nov. 25: Community of Hope, Ft Worth
- Nov. 29: ELCA Coach Training, Level 2, Briarwood
- Nov. 30 – Dec. 1: Candidacy Retreat, Briarwood
- Nov. 30 – Dec. 2: Upper Elementary Winter Retreat, Briarwood
- Dec. 1: High School Service Day (DFW area)
- Dec. 27-28: NT-NL 2018 Christmas Break Young Adult Retreat, Briarwood
- Jan. 13: ConFESt: Confirmands’ Afternoon with the Bishop, Dallas, TX
- Jan. 17: Boundaries Training, Briarwood
- Jan. 28-30: Tri-Theological Conference, Galveston, TX
- Jan. 31 – Feb. 3: IGNITE: North Texas 2019 (ALDE), Grapevine, TX
- Feb. 8-9: Synod Council meeting, Briarwood
- Feb. 9: MEF Board meeting, Briarwood
- Feb. 16-17: Junior High Gathering & Group Dynamix, Carrollton, TX
- Feb. 23: Senior Fest 2019 (ALOA), Plano, TX
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to the Synod office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration for upcoming NT-NL News.