It was a busy and vision fulfilling weekend Feb 22-23rd across NT-NL Synod, ELCA and at Briarwood Retreat Center/Briarwood Leadership Center. On Saturday the Leadership Center at Briarwood was full with NT-NL leaders engaged in two different opportunities for leadership formation. Pastors and lay leaders from four of our congregations continued their work with the faithful innovation process partnering us with Luther Seminary. These congregations have been involved in this process now for 2 years, learning how to design and execute ministry experiments and change processes beginning with clergy and synod staff and now with lay leadership.
They receive coaching and encouragement and we heard stories this week of real change happening. Reports of increased involvement in the congregations, financial results of increased generosity and pledges, as well as members being added through the new ministries they are trying. Most of all the good experience it is to have coaching and be intentional about leadership. It is good to hear how intentional work in partnership between congregation, synod, and seminary can bring measurable and tangible results.
Down the hall on Saturday in the Davis Chapel our NT-NL Secondary School of Latinx Theological education was also engaged in learning. This is a ministry developed by NT-NL leaders in partnership with ELCA Churchwide and LSTC and Wartburg Seminaries to offer further theological and ministerial training to lay leaders. Currently it is focused on Spanish language learners. However, in time it can and will be expanded for all our communities. In developing and supporting this ministry NT-NL is on the cutting edge of lay theological education.
The vision of a leadership center at Briarwood was to provide space for ministries like these two flourish. This past weekend was tangible evidence of that vision becoming reality through partnerships and engagement that then has generate tangible results in our congregations. In March we will be beginning at LEAD: Living every day as disciples cohort that will also be based out of Briarwood. We have space for more congregations to join this cohort and would love to talk more about it with your community.
Sunday February 23rd another vision was fulfilled in a bi-lingual installation liturgy at First Sagrada Familia, Garland. Pastor Moises was installed by myself and our Eastern Conference and Conferencia Latina NT-NL ELCA deans. A packed to overflowing sanctuary singing in English and Spanish gave witness to our oneness in Christ despite the divisions of our times. So grateful for all our leaders who took time to come out on a rainy afternoon.
Briarwood was also being lifted up Sunday morning at Advent Lutheran Church/ Iglesia Luterana Adviento as our community engagement coordinator Avery Hawley visited to do a Briarwood Sunday. She gave the children’s message and shared all the opportunities this spring and coming summer for youth and young adults at Briarwood. They are now hiring summer staff and the upper elementary retreat will be March 27-28th. Contact Avery if you or someone you know is interested or if you want to schedule a Briarwood Sunday.