Starting to Make New Connections

Group 236

by Christy Hartigan

The New Connections Campaign has officially kicked off, and I want to share a few things!

First of all, what is it? New Connections is a campaign to help congregations of the ELCA Metro D.C. Synod connect with 3,000 new people in the area over the next three years – that’s 10% growth – by investing new financial resources in developing church leadership, growing existing congregations, planting new ministries and supporting church growth throughout the U.S.

  • This gathering at the home of Bishop Graham helped introduce New Connections to synod leaders.

    This gathering at the home of Bishop Graham helped introduce New Connections to synod leaders.

    We’ve held three New Connections Campaign gatherings where we have spent time together socializing, eating and learning about the campaign. We previewed a dynamic New Connections Campaign video, had great discussion and discerned a request to give to the campaign.

I would like to publicly thank the following hosts and attendees of the events:

    • Bishop Graham and Nancy Ann Graham and their wonderful Christmas dinner for the Synod Council and New Connections Committee members and spouses;
    • The Rev. Anna Anderson and the Rev. Margrethe Kleiber and their fabulous homemade soup supper for deans of conferences (those are groupings of congregations);
    • The Rev. Michael Wilker and Judy Wilker opening their fabulous Lutheran Church of the Reformation parsonage to the D.C. Conference rostered ministers.

As of January 31st, 20 pledges and gifts thus far have been received, resulting in over $164K towards our $2.25M campaign goal.

Over the course of the next six weeks, the remaining rostered ministers and their spouses are invited in their conference to learn more about the New Connections Campaign and start thinking about how this can be a part of their individual and congregational evangelism and financial goals for the next three years.

  • Coaching is a way encouraged by the ELCA to enhance one’s skills and the gifts of others for mission. The Rev. Nathan Swenson-Reinhold, Coaching Coordinator in our synod, has held two coaching training sessions which will help equip lay and rostered ministry leaders to reach our New Connection Campaign aims.
  • newconnections200To help us work through the nuts and bolts of how to engage the campaign in our congregations, we are also about to set in motion two congregational New Connections Campaign pilots. Broad congregational participation will be launched after the Synod Assembly in June 2017.

A small group of us in the synod are doing much of the legwork now for future success. Bishop Dick Graham is our leader of this campaign with direct support from the Rev. Phil Hirsch, the Rev. Mike Ward, the Rev. Leila Ortiz, Katharyn Wheeler, Karen Krueger, the Rev. Tom Knoll and myself. We have been focusing on the structure of the campaign and have held gatherings with our synod leadership.

We are excited to intentionally open our hearts and minds to new ways of embracing Jesus’ call in one of my favorite passages, Matthew 28:18-19, to go and make disciples, and that new connections will further God’s kingdom.

I can be reached at

Christy Hartigan is the new Campaign Director for our synod. She is a member of Good Samaritan Lutheran in Lexington Park Md. and has been consulting for corporations for the past seven years after a career in the U.S. Navy. She is finishing a MA in Organizational Development & Leadership at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif. and has recently obtained her Associate Certified Coach certification through the International Coach Federation.