By Carla Klawitter
We’re sliding into plenary one more time with the beautiful music of the Praise Band. Voices greeting. Voices in conversation. Voices singing. Voices together. We are church together.
Liza Fagen leads our opening prayer.
Bp. James Mauney presents one more time of learning – one more BAHHble study – about the road to Emmaus story. The disciples are telling what has happened on the road. The Lord has risen! He has been made known in the breaking of bread! This is the Good News we have when we are church together. Sharers of the gospel. Sharers of gifts. Sharers of distress. Walking with. Standing with. Building up. Giving grace. We are church together – in Christ.
One congregation in the Virginia Synod will celebrate its 300th anniversary in 2017! Bp. Mauney teaches us more about his synod. The geography. The history. Churches on battle sites. Effects of the avian flu in the valley a few years ago. Seeking to deepen the faith of people, young and old. We are church together.
Pr. John Gabrielson presents the credentials report.
Thirteen synod council members who have completed their terms are acknowledged with gratitude.
Pr. Julie Anderson presents the Endowment Committee report. Seminary student debt reduction. Seminary scholarships. The Plunge for young adults. Innovative ministry events. Funds available for 2016. Pension equity grants. Youth ministry. Global missions. American missions. Prosper, Invest, Endow (PIE). All possible because of generous people.
Amy Bigot, regional gift planner, will help congregations establish endowment funds and assist congregation members with their legacy and estate plans. The ELCA Foundation has tools to help achieve your goals. Free. Family-focused. Nothing to sell. PIE workshops. We are church together.
Budget 2016: Wendy Seefeldt moves the adoption of the 2016 budget as proposed. Voting is complete. Adopted.
Compensation Guidelines 2016: Marv Isder moves the adoption of the 2016 guidelines as proposed. Voting is complete. Adopted.
If in our congregations, if in our leadership, we don’t talk about the short, middle, and long terms, we will not know where we’re going. Equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. Old tools. New tools. Planning tools. Stewards of the gospel. Dramatic changes between the generations. Joys of the synod. Concerns of the synod. What are your hunches? What is God up to?
Jeff Kjellberg of Kairos, a consulting firm, shares what they have learned through this year’s Listening Project. Deep listening. More than 800 people respond to their survey. Summits. Meetings. Gatherings. Discoveries. You care. You care deeply. You are healthy. You are engaged. Deep level of trust. What are your yearnings? Your longings? We are proud to be ELCA Lutheran congregations in our contexts. We are open to change. It is an exciting time to be church together.
We are working to identify our assets and possibilities. Where can we make the deepest impact? Who are the “gifts of God in human wrapping” around us? We seek to make good decisions.
Clarifying aspirations and goals is important. The church is not dying. God is alive and well. The church is alive and well. It’s just re-forming. We are part of that movement. We are better together. The synod is you. We have roles. We have skills. We have assets. Next step: Equip God’s People – Embrace God’s Mission.
Kintsukuroi – to repair with gold – more beautiful for having been broken. God is making something more beautiful of us in spite of our pain, in spite of our challenges.
Theresa Endres of Portico Benefit Services reminds us that it’s better to do the right thing poorly than to do the wrong thing really well. We hear of the work of Portico. We hear of our work to be good stewards of our personal wellness. When our leaders are healthy, we are a stronger church together.
The next SW MN Synod Assembly will be June 10-12, 2016, again at the Gustavus Adolphus College campus.
Carla Hamre leads us in prayer to close the plenary.
We all move to Christ Chapel for worship, Holy Communion, and closing of the assembly. “You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth. I chose you and appointed you to bear fruit which abides. Lo, I will be with you always, to the end of time.” We are church together!