Bishop Graham called the assembly back to session after lunch with a standing rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Afterward, he offered the Bishop’s Report. He offered multiple vignettes to share some of the incredibly inspiring stories he has witnessed in his ministry as bishop. He spoke of the synodical trip to Namibia and our Companion Synods there, where he was overwhelmed by the Christian forgiveness, kindness, and charity shown by one of the bishops who had lost a family member in a violent attack. Closer to home, Bishop Graham recently attended a Tamil speaking (from southern India) Lutheran congregation in the Metro D.C. Synod which, after noticing a frightening looking motorcycle gang hanging out across the street, invited them to attend worship and the fellowship meal the following Sunday. This took courage, and it resulted in the bikers attending worship and joining the congregation for a great home-cooked Indian meal! God works in mysterious and amazing ways, Bishop Graham affirmed.
The Rev. Norma Castillo de Menjivar brought greetings from the Salvadoran Lutheran Synod in El Salvador, a Companion Synod with ours. It comprises 57 congregations and ten bishops with a growing national presence. She presented Bishop Graham and the Metro D.C. Synod with a lovely traditional El Salvadoran cross. The Metro D.C. Synod worked hard to facilitate Pr. Norma’s husband (also a Lutheran pastor) and children to come visit the U.S. with her. Unfortunately, U.S. officials were not willing to give the children visas, as they thought the family would flee El Salvador. Speaking of a time in her country of excitement and challenge, she especially asked for prayer as her nation elects its next president.