Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
In our Affirmation of Baptism (Confirmation) liturgy we are admonished to “strive for justice and peace in all the earth.” In our assent to that statement then we are called, as baptized Christians, to be public with our faith which includes our lives within our communities. This means that our faith should primarily impact the way we interact with the political and economic worlds in which we also operate. It is in the spirit of this commitment I made at my confirmation, and my ordination vows, that I share this with you.
Throughout 2023 the Texas Legislature has consistently been faced with the issue of providing public money (taxes) for private education. These vouchers have been presented as “school choice” or “education savings accounts” by those encouraging their adoption including our Governor, Greg Abbott. The Texas House has, in bipartisan fashion, consistently rejected the adoption of such vouchers. Despite this rejection the Governor continues to call special sessions of the legislature, as he is empowered to do by our constitution, to attempt to gain passage of vouchers.
I have consistently and publicly opposed vouchers for a number of reasons and encourage you to do the same. Voucher programs, particularly those now presented, do not aid the vast majority of Texas children. In fact the current proposal offers more funding per student in vouchers than the state provides per student for public education. Public education which the Texas Constitution requires the Governor and legislature to provide and fund. Across the country we have seen when vouchers are implemented they effectively serve as a subsidy for those already choosing private education. For example, the current voucher proposal would pay less than 50% of the cost of tuition at most private schools. Tuition that only some families can afford.
Across our territory, particularly in our rural communities, private school education is not only not available but any decrease in funding would harm the schools that are the heart of many of our small towns. Private schools are not accountable to state testing, do not have to accept students who have learning challenges, and also do not have to provide transportation for those who would desire to attend. Sadly I see many in faith communities who are advocating for vouchers are those who would financially gain from their passage. This is not equity and it is certainly not just.
Texans have long prided ourselves in having limited state governance. Allowing local communities choice. As people of faith in Texas (not forgetting our Louisiana communities, but this is currently a Texas issue) we are called to speak to our elected leaders and say enough. Four special sessions of the legislature, costing millions of dollars, to pass a program rejected by a bipartisan legislature, is enough. As a synod we work with Texas Impact in our public voice. You can sign and send your representatives a letter at this link. I encourage you to educate yourself on this issue and call our elected leaders to account. Public money (tax dollars) should pay for public schools. Those who desire to send their children to private education have that choice but the state should not pay for it.
As Christians living in society we face many difficult and challenging decisions. My hope is that we will approach them with prayer and humility, asking God to guide us.
ELCA Mission Support Memo
ELCA Mission Support is excited to share their October ELCA Mission Support Memo. What a joy it is to know Mission Support is at work across our church: serving folks on the margins, growing leaders, supporting ministry, and engaging us all in our local communities, national church and global work.
These stories are a reminder of what is possible through the generosity towards Mission Support.
Featured Resources for November
Where in the world is?
NT-NL synod staff are excited to engage in-person on Sundays for worship. As good stewards of time and travel dollars, we will be utilizing online meeting formats in our new hybrid reality when possible. If you would like to schedule a meeting with the bishop or Synod staff please contact them directly.
Nov 19: Immanuel, Killeen
Nov 18: Candidacy Committee, Synod Office
Nov 19: Calvary Call Committee, Richland Hills
Nov 20: King of Glory Call Committee, Dallas
Nov 26: Grace, Carrollton
Nov 28: First Call Pastors Check-in, Zoom
Dec 3: Abiding Grace, Southlake
Dec 17: Grace, Abilene
Dec 24: Trinity, Sherman
Nov 14: First Sagrada Familia, Garland
Nov 15: Mission Developers and Redevelopers Lunch, Synod Office
Nov 18-19: St. Stephen, Shreveport
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 28: First Call Pastors Check-in, Zoom
- Nov 30: Cultivating Compassion Session 11: Practice- Reparations, Online
- Dec 2: Upper Elementary Retreat, Abiding Grace, Southlake
- Dec 7: Transitional Pastors Meeting, Zoom
- Dec 9: Public Witness Team Meeting, Zoom
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
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