Synod Assembly 2022

First, we would like to thank the congregation for the opportunity to attend the Synod Assembly. It was a great experience to witness and participate in shaping the Church as we move forward in these challenging times. This was the first in-person assembly since the start of the COVID pandemic and it was clear the roughly 350 attendees were very happy to be able to meet in person not only for the business at hand but also for fellowship.

The theme this year was “Collaborate for Christ’s sake.” Given the divisiveness in this country, this was an appropriate and welcome focus. Given the decline in church membership over the past decades, it is more important than ever for us to work together within the ELCA, with other denominations, local businesses, and non-profit organizations to continue our mission in Christ.

The assembly was introduced to the council which included our fearless leader, Pastor Kyle, as Synod Secretary, recorded the official minutes. His fingers were flying as discussions of the memorials and resolutions were debated extensively. The first was resolution, 22-01 was a memorial calling for reduction of greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030. Although the baseline for emissions was debated, this resolution passed and will be forwarded for consideration by the national church body.

The second resolution, 22-02 was a memorial calling on the ELCA to call on the President and U.S. Congress to oppose legislation criminalizing support for non-violent protests and sanctions on behalf of Palestinian human rights. This resolution passed and will be forwarded for consideration by the national church body.

Resolution 22-03 was to ban non-disclosure agreements and passed easily.

Resolution 22-04 was submitted late and was the most extensively discussed and debated. This is to form an intentional, anti-racism community within the New England Synod. Although it was widely agreed that this is necessary, the specifics were debated at length and a decision was made to table the resolution and it would be addressed by council.

There were various workshops that related to collaboration with various groups, including immigration, antiracism, approaches to youth ministry, creation care, collaborative worship, in addition to leadership and money matters. While the workshops were interesting, they were so brief as to only give a taste of the topic with limited, tangible information. One small take-away concerning worship was to consider everyone who attends the service is a collaborator. We were called to answer the questions: why do we worship the way we do and who do we not listen to when shaping the service.

There were also several panel discussions highlighting various ministries in our Synod, including youth and campus ministry.

The worship service on Thursday night was quite memorable. It was held at the beautiful Trinity Lutheran Church. It felt like we were in a cathedral and there were many pastors assisting in the worship service which integrated Spanish language, beautiful choir and organ offerings, and various stations for blessings, such as, remembering loved ones who have gone before us, and to commit to denouncing racism. As we sat in this gorgeous church, we felt the evening would have been even better with the space filled with the sound of handbells!

In all it was a fulfilling weekend with one of the best parts being spending time with Pastor Kyle and sharing stories of the use of fire in worship. It was remarkable that every pastor at the table had an out-of-control fire story! Pastor Kyle’s was still the most impressive.

Kent and Trudy Roberts

REF: https://www.nelutherans.org/assembly

Opportunities to Put Your Faith in Action

Sign up to Volunteer at Cover – Outdoor Projects Every Week!  The COVER Home Repair program relies on the participation of community volunteers like you. By lending a hand with home improvement projects, you can help greatly improves the quality of life for local families, the elderly, and the mobility challenged.  It’s a great opportunity to learn new skills.  View volunteer opportunities and sign up here!

Advocate for Others: As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. God uses our hands, through our direct service work and our voices, through our advocacy efforts, to restore and reconcile our world. Through faithful advocacy, the ELCA lives out our Lutheran belief that governments can help advance the common good. Get involved by visiting the ELCA Advocacy Action Center.

Donate Additional Pantry Items:  Current Top Needs:  Canned beans, shelf-stable milk, canned tuna, instant oatmeal, and pasta sauce.  Always Needed: peanut butter, pasta of all kinds, canned vegetables, pasta sauce, soups, macaroni and cheese, canned tomatoes, and canned fruit.  Also needed, School Supplies: single-subject notebooks, colored marker sets, colored pencil sets, blue/black ink pens, No. 2 pencils, erasers, and rulers. Personal Items: shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products.  You can learn more about the Upper Valley Haven here.  You may bring donations directly to the Haven or bring them to worship on Sunday and we’ll make sure they get there.


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Response to the School Shooting in Uvalde, Texas

Response to the School Shooting in Uvalde, Texas

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

Gracious God, news of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, has ripped our hearts and torn our souls. We are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. In the depths of pain and anger, we come before you, O God, our rock and our refuge. You are our only comfort. You are our only hope. Merciful God, you know the depth of our suffering. We have only begun to mourn those we have lost.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America grieves with the families of the 19 students and two teachers killed in Tuesday’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Mass shootings in this country over the past two weeks have deepened the wounds of grief and sorrow. This follows the racially motivated shooting of 10 people in Buffalo, N.Y.; the shooting in Laguna Woods, Calif.; and the 27 other school shootings that have occurred in 2022. Many of the shooters have targeted children and older adults — some of the most vulnerable in our society.

We reaffirm our commitment in calling for greater gun safety, including preventing easy access to assault-style weapons and strengthening our federal system of background checks for all gun sales. As people of faith, we hold on to our belief in caring for our neighbors and striving for justice and peace in all the earth. We ask for continued support for all first responders that arrive at a moment’s notice and place their lives in harm’s way for the sake of others. We ask for continued support for those providing medical, mental and emotional support as we grieve over this tragedy. We lament for those who have perpetrated violence against others. We thank the leaders of the Southwestern Texas Synod responding to the shooting in Uvalde and for ecumenical and interreligious partners committed to accompanying this community for the long term.

The ELCA social message “Community Violence” (1994) calls on our church to continue partnering with other religious and community groups in anti-violence initiatives that offer vital spiritual and moral resources, and that replace the fear and violence plaguing our homes, schools, communities and nation with hope and reconciliation. We join with others in pushing to stem the proliferation of guns in our streets, schools and communities, and to end the culture of violence that pervades our media and society.

https://www.elca.org/News-and-Events/8146

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
Public Relations Manager
773-380-2877
Candice.Buchbinder@ELCA.org.

ELCA Statement on the Buffalo Mass Murders

“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?” —Jeremiah 8:22

Our hearts grieve for those who have been killed and our souls cry out against more lives lost to the hatred birthed by racism. As we mourn those lives lost as a result of the racially motivated killings in Buffalo, we ask God to ease the continued suffering and trauma of our Black siblings throughout the nation and in our church. We are one body in Christ, so when one part suffers, we all suffer.

We of the ELCA acknowledge our complicity in the ongoing cycle of violence that grows out of white supremacy. “Through colonization and slavery, the United States of America helped to create and embrace a system of valuing and devaluing people based on skin color and ethnic identity,” the National Council of Churches declared in 2020. “The name for this system is white supremacy.” As a predominantly white church, we benefit from this system, and we must double our efforts to dismantle it.

In 2019 the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted the social policy resolution “Condemnation of White Supremacy and Racist Rhetoric.” Through this action we committed to pushing back and speaking out against racist ideas that divide God’s children and perpetuate white supremacy in our church and society. At the Heidelberg Disputation of 1518, Martin Luther reminded us that “a theology of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theology of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.” Calling a thing what it actually is can be a first step toward healing the wounds of God’s people, but not the last. We must take real and lasting action now—through education, relationship-building with Historic Black Churches, ongoing anti-racism education, advocacy, and self-reflection. Churches have a foundational role in eradicating racism and white supremacy in society.

The ELCA’s European Descent Lutheran Association for Racial Justice (a network of white leaders committed to anti-racism in our church) calls upon all ELCA members, especially white congregations and leaders, to join their communities and other congregations in prayer, study and actions utilizing many churchwide and ecumenical resources. The association will host a drop-in Zoom call on Tuesday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. Advance registration is required at bit.ly/DropInGathering.

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.3 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

2022 Bread for the World Offering of Letters

As Christians, we are called to seek justice, care for those experiencing hunger and poverty, and embrace our Creator’s vision of hope, love, and peace. We are called to embody it in public as we commit to live in solidarity with those who are made vulnerable by the inequities that drive hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.

Letters are a strong witness of community concerns and personal testimonies. Over the years, letters and emails from congregations, campuses, and community groups have helped inspire our leaders in Washington, D.C., to pass legislative victories that reduce hunger in the U.S. and around the world.

This year, Bread for the World is asking for your help urging legislators to permanently expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Expanding the CTC permanently would do more to reduce hunger and poverty among our nation’s children than any single policy has in decades.

Here’s how you can make a difference:

  1. Read this fact sheet to learn about the impact of the Child Tax Credit.
  2. Watch the brief video below from Bread for World.
  3. Act – click here to take action by emailing your members of Congress to help end hunger today! If you prefer to handwrite your letter, you can find a sample letter here and addresses here. Bring your written letters to church and we’ll offer them in worship on Sunday, May 29th before mailing them.
  4. Contact Paul or Wendy Manganiello, OSLC’s Offering of Letter organizers, to let them know you’ve submitted your letter.