Morning of inspiration and aspiration

We learned about several initiatives of the InterFaith Conference from Rabbi Serotta.

It was lovely to hear from some of our interfaith partners, such as Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Executive Director, InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington; and Father Charles Cortinovis, Ecumenical Officer, Archdiocese of Washington. It is always encouraging to remember brothers and sisters from other traditions and to partner with them in God’s work.


Speaking of connections: Christy Hartigan, the Rev. Karen Brau, the Rev. Joe Vought and the Rev. Phil Hirsch introduced the New Connections Campaign. The New Connections Campaign is an outreach campaign with the goal of expanding relationships—not just within congregations, but within the synod, and between congregations and their communities.

Books to help our congregations think about making new connections were distributed.

Not only do we want to expand relationships, but we want to grow excitement. We want to share the joy and the Good News with those around us, which is really just the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The synod provided a copy of the book, Growing Young*, to assist congregations in achieving these goals.


Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton addressed the Assembly. She thanked the Assembly for the synod’s generosity and support, and noted how excited she was for our synod’s New Connections Campaign. She went on to speak about some of the goals that the ELCA has set for congregations, and the future of congregations and congregational leadership.

Before addressing us, Presiding Bishop Eaton and Bishop Graham shared a cup of coffee.

She shared news from the churchwide expression of the ELCA, including some statements on the upcoming anniversary of the Reformation, the ELCA’s relationship with other faith traditions and our relationship with minorities and vulnerable populations. The ELCA is preparing several guiding statements, such as a statement on racism, on interfaith relations and on social justice.

The work of the church can be seen on all levels, from individual, to congregations, to synods… to worldwide ministry, service and growth. The ELCA has changed over the years and will continue to change as we look to the future. Bishop Eaton gave a wonderful overview of just a small portion of the things that the ELCA is doing, both globally and in small communities. We were happy to welcome her and to hear her encouraging words.


Wow! So much packed into one morning. Then the Assembly took a break for lunch and to attend one of the four workshops of the day.

* Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church by  Kara Powell, Jake Mulder and Brad Griffin (2016)


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