Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission,
A week ago we had a wonderful time “re-gathering” together at Briarwood for worship, fun, and popsicles. Over and over I heard folks reflect on just how good it is to physically be present with others. To worship together, welcome new ministries, recognize leaders milestone anniversaries, and hear the gospel proclaimed and share the Lord’s Supper was a balm after so many months, years even, apart.
Prior to the Saturday activities we had an online meeting with our synod council and conference deans. We opened that time simply going around the synod and checking in with our leaders. We spent over an hour on this check-in. For those of you who have been in meetings I have led this would be a bit of a surprise as I usually like to get into the heart of the agenda quickly. But as our leaders spoke I quickly realized this check-in was the heart of the agenda at that moment. Our leaders needed to hear from one another and be heard. And while they expressed exhaustion and some frustration with the ongoing realities of Covid-19 and doing church in such a divided age, the larger message was positive and adaptive. Leaders and communities finding ways to be creative, to connect, to support. Learning to be church in a new way and not looking back with nostalgia but clear eyed into the future.
I was ever so grateful for that time of honest sharing and encouragement. This is still an immensely challenging season for our church and it has taken a toll on all of us, especially our rostered and authorized leaders. Yet there is some freedom that has come from this experience as well. What was will never be again. We have been changed for good. The question is how will we together continue to live into that change for the sake of the proclamation of the gospel. To that end I invite you, lay or ordained, to register for our 2021 Fall Leadership Convo. This event will be hybrid, in-person and online. It will focus on this reality that we have been changed for good and invite us to live into that future with intentionality and the confidence we do so led by the Holy Spirit.
In Mission Together,
“Your God Is Too Small” Webinar
Guy J. Consolmagno SJ, director of Vatican Observatory, to present “Your God Is Too Small,” CASIRAS/LSTC webinar
When: Friday, October 1 • 5 p.m. (CDT)
Event cost: Free
RSVP required: Register at bit.ly/3mMePZ9
Location: Zoom link provided with RSVP. This event will also be livestreamed on LSTC’s Facebook page.
The contrast between “the World” and “the Cosmos” is becoming blurred, even as we are learning just how big the Cosmos is. We need to understand that all those other planets are real places, part of the same universe created by God and redeemed by the Incarnation. And God is Creator not only of other places but of other times, before and beyond the time when we exist here on Earth. In the face of this immensity in time and space, from the Big Bang to the Heat Death of the Universe, what does it means to be a creature, and to be redeemed by the risen Christ? And in that light, can we appreciate all the more the words of the Psalmist: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. Read more about the webinar.
Br. Guy J. Consolmagno, director of the Vatican Observatory, is known for his ability to communicate complex topics clearly to a general audience. He received the 2014 Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences. He is the author or co-author of four books exploring faith and science issues, including, Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? (with Paul Mueller), God’s Mechanics, Brother Astronomer, and The Way to the Dwelling of Light. Read more about Br. Guy J. Consolmagno.
Questions? Email David Glover, administrative assistant, CASIRAS, firstname.lastname@example.org
Event sponsors: The Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science (CASIRAS) and LSTC
CASIRAS is a supporting organization for the Zygon Center for Religion and Science in partnership with LSTC. It also supports Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science in partnership with the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science and the International Society for Science and Religion. Learn more at casiras.org.
The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC), a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere. LSTC recognizes that our school stands on the lands of the Potawatomi, Miami, and Peoria peoples. For thousands of years before their forced removal, this was their traditional homeland, and it continues to hold their ancestral stories and wisdom. We honor and thank the elders of these and other nations, past and present. These lands are still home to many indigenous people, and we are grateful to learn in this place. To learn more, visit lstc.edu.
MEF Seeds That Change
View the inspiring short video stories we are collecting: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE1z_uxSxKHZCCD-lV9XRtFDYazUh_KZx
See our website for additional information and how to donate: https://giftedandgiving.org/donate/
Featured Resources for September
Did you know that ELCA Coaching hosted over 60 online gatherings for leaders across the Church between March 2020 and April 2021? The informing question for each gathering: “How are we called to be church in this time?” From a range of topics and including a number of presenters from NT-NL, these weekly gatherings encouraged leaders to listen and learn and walk away with an action step. You can find the recordings (and supporting documents / links) here: https://www.elcacoaching.org/podcasts/media/series/being-church.
This week’s featured recording: What If I Said Yes? The Love That House Built, and the follow-up session: Welcome Strangers: A Timely Story of Loving Thy Neighbor
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/milesandmiles-across-nt-nl-for-all-the-staff/ – published Sep. 19)
(https://www.ntnl.org/faithful-innovation-in-west-texas/ – published Sep. 20)
(https://www.ntnl.org/redeemer-greenville-and-walnut-hill-farmers-branch/ – published Sep. 20)
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. Until we can assure everyone in attendance at a meeting are vaccinated, in order to protect those gathered, the synod staff will continue to wear masks unless preaching or presiding and sufficient social distancing can be provided.
Sep. 26: Trinity, Fort Worth, with TLU President Debbie Cottrell
Sep. 26: Mt. Olive, Dallas
Sep. 28: Churchwide Strategy Leadership Team, Online
Sep. 29-Oct. 2: Conference of Bishops, Online
Oct. 3: St. Paul, Crawford, 100th anniversary
Oct. 17: Immanuel, Killeen
Oct. 18-20: Leadership Convo (Briarwood and Online)
Oct. 24: PLMA and SSTE Graduation (@ Santa Maria, Irving)
Sep. 22: Call process orientation, Emmanuel, Granbury
Sep. 26: Holy Trinity, Irving
Sep. 27-30: Tri-synodical First Call Pastors retreat, Zoom
Oct. 3: Advent, Arlington
Oct. 6-7: Continuing education “Leadership Edge” online training
Oct. 14-20: Vacation
Oct. 31: Walnut Hill, Farmers Branch
Sep. 21: DEM’s meeting, Online
Sep. 22: NTNL Mission Developer & Redevelopers Gathering, Synod office
Sep. 23: ELCA Generosity Project Spanish team
Oct. 18-20: Leadership Convo (Briarwood and 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:
- Sep. 28: White Supremacy & Racism: Facing Reality, Taking Responsibility – Susannah Heschel, “The Slippery Yet Tenacious Nature of Racism,” Zoom
- Oct. 7: Transitional (Interim) Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Oct. 9: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- Oct. 12: White Supremacy & Racism: Facing Reality, Taking Responsibility – Cornel West, “A Genealogy of Modern Racism,” Zoom
- Oct. 16: Parish Lay Ministry Academy, Fall 2021, Course 2, Zoom
- Oct. 16: MEF Seeds That Change, Online
- Oct. 18-20: NT-NL Leadership Convocation, Briarwood and Online
- Oct. 23: NT-NL WELCA Virtual Convention, Online
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to Jason (email@example.com) for consideration for upcoming editions of our weekly news.