Message from Bishop Gronberg
Partners in Mission:
A blessed Reformation Day/All Hallows Eve to you all. Today we remember how 506 years ago a young monk asked for a disputation regarding abuses he saw in the church. The nailing of the 95 theses by Martin Luther not only changed the church but also our world forever. Luther’s intense focus was that the gospel, in its truth and purity, be proclaimed clearly. It is good today that we remember this heritage of faith and also consider what it means for us today.
The church in 2023 is continuing to go through significant changes. The realities of demographic shifts, a lack of denominational loyalty, continual mobility in communities, and a host of other issues have made doing church today drastically different than any other time in our lived history. Assumptions or best practices from even a few years ago cannot be counted on. And so the church must reform and adapt if we are to continue, in the tradition of Martin Luther, to ensure the free course of the gospel.
I experienced this willingness to adapt, to be reformed, this past Sunday, October 29th when I was blessed to be with our faithful ELCA communities in the Permian Basin. Christs Lutheran-Odessa and Midland Lutheran came together with Grace Presbyterian and St. Nicholas Episcopal for Reformation Sunday worship. Midland Lutheran made the faithful, and difficult, choice several years ago to sell their building and look for a new location for worship. They have since found that with Grace Presbyterian who has welcomed them with open arms. The new pastor at Grace, the Rev. Diane Baldwin, as well as Midland Lutheran leadership and I met on Sunday morning. There I heard a vision of two congregations being together in worship and contributing to the life of their community while retaining the clarity of each theological tradition. Encouraging this unity, without imposed uniformity, were Mother Amy Haynie from St. Nicholas and SAWL Mark Russell from Christ’s Lutheran-Odessa. All have a commitment to seeing our witness continue in this part of Texas which so desperately needs a gospel word of welcome and inclusion in a church culture, as we see across our territory, dominated by legalism and deeply partisan political ideology.
We celebrated the Reformation, worshipped together, had a trunk or treat (indoors due to the chilly and rainy weather) and even a visit from Dr. Luther (Markan Luther) himself. It was a festive and hopeful day to see these communities come together to celebrate and commit ourselves to the free course of the gospel in the world. I give thanks for all our communities this day and look forward our continued work in God’s world. We are…
This is Wartburg – Live with Violeta Siguenza
You are invited to join Wartburg Seminary for the second edition of their Zoom gathering of “This is Wartburg – Live!” on Monday, November 13th at 7pm. This is an opportunity to learn how and where Wartburg is showing up in the world.
In this live Zoom event, participants will hear Pastor Violeta Siguenza, the Director of Wartburg’s Centro Teológico Luterano Multicultural, discuss her own Latina identity and cultural background, and the unique challenges and opportunities she believe exists for Latine pastors and leaders in the United States. Pastor Siguenza will also discuss ways the church and institutions like Wartburg Theological Seminary help leaders overcome these challenges and thrive in public ministry and also prepare congregations to welcome them. And finally, she will discuss the role she sees the church / Wartburg can play in addressing social and economic disparities with the Latine community. Stay tuned to the end for advice for upcoming Latine leaders who are considering entering ministry or spiritual leadership, and how to support them!
Lutheran Men in Mission Updates
Lutheran Men in Mission has released their quarterly Ambassador-Gram full of events, discussion groups, and more! You can learn more about Lutheran Men in Mission here.
Featured Resources for October
Clergy Appreciation Day is celebrated annually on the second Sunday in October (October 8 this year).
Clergy Appreciation Month is celebrated annually in October.
How might you honor the faith leaders in your community to show your gratitude for their faithful leadership, especially in these times? When was the last time your community encouraged and supported your faith leaders in observing a regular Sabbath? How might that support be sustained going forward?
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 12: Trinity, Sherman
Nov 19: Immanuel, Killeen
Nov 2: Interim/Transitional Pastors Meeting and MSP Training, Zoom
Nov 11: PLMA
Nov 18: Candidacy Committee, Synod Office
Nov 28: First Call Pastors Check-in, Zoom
Oct 26-Nov 3: Immersion Trip, Chiapas, Mexico
Nov 5: Community of Hope, Fort Worth
Nov 9: Santa Maria, Irving
Nov 10: Latinx Youth Retreat
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:
- Oct 26: Cultivating Compassion Session 10: A People’s History of the United States, Online
- Nov 2: Transitional Pastors Meeting, Zoom
- Nov 11: Parish Lay Ministry Academy, Course 3
- Nov 11: Public Witness Team Meeting
- Nov 28: First Call Pastors Check-in, Zoom
- Nov 30: Cultivating Compassion Session 11: Practice- Reparations, Online
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration for upcoming editions of our weekly news.