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Building Puentes with Carribean Synod

Building Puentes means building bridges – and is the name of a commitment between the ELCA Caribbean Synod and Metro D.C. Synod.

Every congregation in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands was affected by Hurricane Maria. Let us break through the chasms that divide and build bridges with fellow Lutheran siblings on the mainland and on the islands affected by storm devastation.

Set in motion with a synod-wide offering on Epiphany Sunday 2017, you can still make a Building Puentes offering through Online Financial Transactions (scroll down to “Designated Gifts” to find Building Puentes option) or by mail (Memo: “Building Puentes”).

Local leaders have been working tirelessly given their new reality. As part of the Building Puentes call, we will build connections and true relationship with work trips and aid. We will develop new and organic ways to connect and live into our mutual call to follow the Light no darkness can overcome. This we can do together, in Jesus’ name.

“Blessed is the one who knows that sharing a pain is to divide it and sharing a joy is to multiply it.” ~ ELCA Sínodo Caribe (@elcalcs 9/17/17)

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

  • “Recovery on the islands” – (ppt file) slide presentation introducing Building Puentes, developed for River of Grace Lutheran in Manassas, Md. by Gretchen Bonanno in Jan. 2018
  • “Visual stories from the Caribbean” – Video of the Rev. Felipe Lozada-Montañez reflecting on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria

  • “Visual stories from the Caribbean” – blog post (1/6/18) introduces new video & the videographer
  • “Building Puentes with Caribbean islands” – blog post (11/30/17) introducing initiative and synod-wide offering

Best Practices Stewardship Training Registration – September 17 Online Training

The New Connections Campaign invites your Congregation Leader for Stewardship, Stewardship Team, Council, Lay Leadership, and Pastors from our Metro D.C. Synod congregations that desire to learn more about effective stewardship techniques to a training on Monday, September 17, 2018 6:30-9pm.

The primary purpose of this training is to fully equip each congregation to lead their own New Connections Campaign. The training will also provide best practice techniques in fundraising that every congregation can benefit from using for their stewardship campaigns. Whether you have a new growth ministry you want to start or need to raise $5,000 for a youth outreach trip or $50,000 for a new air conditioning unit, the manual provided to all attendees will help you reach your goals.

In addition to the manual, congregations will receive all the materials they need to conduct the New Connections Campaign—bulletin inserts, brochure, intent cards and more.

The training is led by Rev. Mike Ward, CFRE who is guiding the New Connections campaign and working with several of our Metro D.C congregations on their stewardship and capital programs. THIS IS THE SAME CONTENT AS PREVIOUS STEWARDSHIP TRAININGS.

The training will be online. This will be repeat material from the January, February, and July training events.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/580372723
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16699006833,,580372723# or +16468769923,,580372723#
Or Telephone:
US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923
Meeting ID: 580 372 723

This is a FREE event! Register at https://goo.gl/forms/wKKok6BPKiiRUJqp2. Contact us at newconnections(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)metrodcelca.org with any questions.

Agenda
6:30 – 6:50 New Connections Update
6:50 – 7:50 Part 1 Stewardship Best Practices
7:50 – 8:00 Break
8:00 – 9:00 Stewardship Best Practices Part 2 and Q&A
9:00 Hand out Congregational Stewardship Campaign Materials

 

Building Puentes en Conjunto August 8-10

August 8-10 the Metro D.C. Synod staff along with Bishop Bill Gohl of the Delaware-Maryland Synod ELCA and Pastor Carmelo Santos of Hope Lutheran Church Annandale, VA Hope, Annandale are traveling to Puerto Rico to host Building Puentes en Conjunto, an event of rest and renewal for the Iglesia Evangélica Luterana Sinodo del Caribe – Caribbean Synod Rostered Ministers. We are excited about this time of dreaming, envisioning, and planning for future joint projects while providing a space for spiritual renewal before the next hurricane season begins. Watch for future videos from our time building bridges of collegiality, accompaniment and friendship together.

Do you want to change the world?

Do you want to make a difference? Are you ready to serve the world in need? The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, invites consideration of a call to public ministry in a short video. “God has and continues to call each of us to serve our neighbor and the world in need,” she says.

View also Show up! Through Spoken Word, persons discerning a call for service get a picture of public ministry: “The table is wide and there’s lots of food to eat. So show up. And be fed. And feed others satiating a different kind of hunger.”

Decreased seminary enrollment combined with a record number of ELCA rostered ministers who are retiring has resulted in not enough ministers to fill the open calls or to provide creative leadership in this time of rapid change in our church and in the world. The seven seminaries of the ELCA want to encourage future leaders and provide resources to promote the vocation of public ministry. More…

If not you, maybe you know someone who shows a gift for ministry. Tell them, and help mentor and foster them. Together – pastors, deacons, lay people – we can bring the word of God to the world.

Prayer for places of worship, including Bethlehem Lutheran

Bishop Graham wrote this prayer shared in many synod congregations, joining hearts with our brothers and sisters of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fairfax, Virg.

Multiple news outlets reported on recent incidents there, including sanctuary damage and graffiti that included racial and religious slurs after a break-in on June 26, 2018. On June 26, the congregation posted to Facebook a photo from a candlelight vigil and this excerpted text: “We have been encircled by the faith community, our neighbors, and friends both near and far with amazing love and support proving that love does bear all.”


Good and gracious God,
in the midst of so much we cannot understand, we turn to you and ask for your mercy.
Comfort your people at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fairfax, who grieve over damage done to the place in which they worship you.
Protect all places of worship threatened by violence and bigotry and hatred.
Turn the hearts of all who do evil.
In the name of the Prince of Peace, we ask for you send peace in our communities and around our world, so that all may praise you, the God of all hope and consolation.
To you be glory for ever and ever.
Amen.

From the Bishop’s desk: Letter to President Trump

Our Metro D.C. Synod bishop has sent the following letter to President Donald Trump. In part, Bishop Graham writes:

“Mr. President, I know that you live in the midst of difficulties that no one else in the world can really understand. As the Bible teaches us, we pray for you and our country’s other leaders every week in our churches. But we believe that, because we are free citizens in our country, God holds us responsible for our government’s actions. And so I am compelled to plead that the separation of children from their parents is a terrible mistake, that the process of law is due to everyone who comes into our country, and that just and generous immigration laws must be drafted and enacted.”

The full text of this letter follows. Print a copy from here (pdf file).


June 24, 2018

The Hon. Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I write you tonight with burning anxiety and distress. The situation confronting immigrants and refugees coming to our country has reached such a sad, confusing point that surely something must be done to calm the situation. I plead with you, as the highest elected official in the United States, to take action to reunite parents and their children and to assure the due process of law for everyone who seeks to cross our borders.

My plea comes first of all from hope for our country. All of us nearly are immigrants or descended from immigrants. The greatness of the United States has grown from the continued renewal that each new wave of immigrants has brought us. Closing our borders now, and closing them so cruelly as we seem to have done, is a betrayal of our history.

But I also write as a leader in the Christian community. Lutheran Christians like me believe that a strong government is God’s loving gift to all people, believers and unbelievers alike. Strong government is essential to everyone’s well-being. But government goes wrong when it deals harshly with the poor and weak. I am afraid that some of your advisors have used the Bible to confuse the government’s legitimate strength with arbitrary and unpredictable power.

Instead, I would refer you in the Bible to the famous passage in which God says to the children of Israel, “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” This passage is from the book of Leviticus. God’s people are being reminded here that because they were aliens, immigrants and strangers and outsiders, once themselves, they should always be just and loving with people who are in the same situation. This is the ideal we have for ourselves as God’s people today. And this is the ideal we have for the diverse and beautiful country in which we live.

Mr. President, I know that you live in the midst of difficulties that no one else in the world can really understand. As the Bible teaches us, we pray for you and our country’s other leaders every week in our churches. But we believe that, because we are free citizens in our country, God holds us responsible for our government’s actions. And so I am compelled to plead that the separation of children from their parents is a terrible mistake, that the process of law is due to everyone who comes into our country, and that just and generous immigration laws must be drafted and enacted.

Trusting that God will give you strength and insight equal to your tasks, and asking God to bless you and your family, I am

Sincerely yours,
The Rev. Richard H. Graham
Bishop
Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Cerrando nuestra Asamblea

Estamos terminando nuestra Asamblea anual, orando por los que has sido elegidos para ejercer un liderazgo en la iglesia este año.

Estamos orando con nuestro Graham para emprender nuestros regresso a casa para que Dios nos acompañe en el camino.