E-Spirit
March 28, 2017
Bold - Passionate - Faithful
Features:
  • Lent Reflection: The Gifts of Discipleship
  • Parish Paper: Multiple Roads to a Multi-Cultural Congregation
  • Connected on the P.A.T.H.: a reflection on walking a labyrinth

 Events Coming up:

  • Respite in the Wilderness
  • ALOA Adult Ministry sampler

For Your Information
  • Holy Week Daily Devotions
  • Next Lenten Visit: April 1
  • Prayer petition to mark the end of Bishop Schaefer's ministry as bishop--to be used in worship
 
March 31-April 2 - River Rat Ramble, Luther Springs
April 1 - Lenten Visit, Deerfield Beach
April 1 - ALOA Adult Ministry Sampler, Good Shepherd, Tampa
April 6 - Ordination of Ryan Gerlach, Spirit of Joy, Orlando, 7:00 p.m.
April 8 - Lenten Visit, St. Augustine
April 18-20 - Respite in the Wilderness, Luther Springs (rostered ministers and church professionals)
April 21-23 - God's Spa for Women, Luther Springs
April 23 - First Coast Conference Spring Gathering
April 25 - Caloosa Conference Spring Gathering
April 29 - Suncoast Conference Spring Gathering
April 29 - Installation of Rev. Peter Morey, St. Stephen, Longwood, 6:00 p.m.



Features
Lent Reflection Week 4:  Living Our Baptism...Serve All People, Following the Example of Jesus
These Lenten reflections are based on the ELCA's "Five Gifts of Discipleship" resource, available here. Living our Baptism...Five Gifts of Discipleship during Lent written by John and Robin McCullough-Bade. Copyright 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Read:  Philippians 2:5-11
We associate acts of loving kindness and mercy with the season of Lent.  Through art, music, preaching, teaching, and other means, the church tells the story of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  But the example of Jesus is more than his death.  Throughout his life, Jesus served.  He was a servant leader, one who was willing to get down on his knees and wash the feet of the disciples.

Listen/Watch:
Ponder:  What does it mean for you to serve following the example of Jesus?

Pray:
Gracious God, we thank you for the gift of service.  We are recipients of your love made known in Christ.  Fill our hearts with compassion, so we might serve out of a spirit of love rather than under the mantle of obligation.  In the name of Christ, we pray.  Amen.
Multiple Roads to a Multi-cultural Congregation
It is more important than ever for congregations to engage in reflection and conversation about our commitment to be welcoming to all God's children...especially those from cultures other than our own.  In this article from the August, 2016 Parish Paper, there are some helpful suggestions for thinking about multi-cultural ministry in our congregations.  

Here's how you can use The Parish Paper*
*Please read the information regarding the distribution of the Parish Paper on the web site before printing/sharing this article
  • Share it with your congregational council or church staff and use it as the devotion for your next meeting

  • Share it with your outreach/justice/service ministry team and discuss it together

  • Invite a community conversation

  • Read the article as part of your own devotional practice, and reflect on these or similar questions: This article discusses several expressions/models of multi-cultural ministry.  Which one most closely describes your congregation's approach?  What might you learn from other models?  What do you find most helpful about this article?  Most challenging?

  • Subscribe your congregation to The Parish Paper and receive these articles for yourself (or download some of the free articles).

  • Check out the additional articles of The Parish Paper on the synod web site.
  "A multicultural church is not a melting pot—a worshiping community where the unique beliefs and behaviors of different cultural groups disappear. The tendency is for the dominant indigenous group in the church to feel that the minority cultures should give up their cultural identity once they become part of the congregation. To transform a collection of people into a unified congregation requires respect for cultural identities and constructive communication that builds trust. "   (excerpt from "Multiple Roads to a Multi-cultural Congregation".)
Connected on the P.A.T.H.
a reflection on walking the labyrinth
The synod resource center lends out a prayer labyrinth that can be used for a variety of experiences and situations.  Douglas Warner, a yoga and meditation teacher who is also founder of Warner Healing Guidance (www.WarnerHealingGuidance.com) recently borrowed the prayer labyrinth as part of his work of meditation and wholeness.  He reflects below on the practice of walking a labyrinth and shares about his work.
 The root cause of our constantly escalating stress and suffering is lack of connection to ourselves, others, and the Divine.  To alleviate this suffering, and fulfill my life mission, I created The P.A.T.H., standing for Pause, Assess, Take action, and Heal.  It  is a simple four-step meditation process that teaches you to connect with your Divine Self, objectively assess your greatest imbalance, body, mind, or life situation.  It then provides the meditation tools needed to create balance and heal from the stress and suffering.

I use The P.A.T.H. on Labyrinth walks as well, for students as a preparatory, contemplative process for formulating an intention or question in relation to their loudest imbalance.  With these in mind, they walk the Labyrinth better prepared to open the connection to their Divine Self, listen more attentively for answers and take balancing action more effectively.  The feedback from students has been overwhelming.  

Combined with the Labyrinth, The P.A.T.H. provides a “quickening” to open the mind and heart, whether it is to heal old wounds, find forgiveness, or illuminate one’s life purpose.  
You can learn more about the P.A.T.H. approach to wholeness or get in touch with Douglas Warner through his web site.  He is available to share more about this 4-step meditation process with your community.

The prayer labyrinth has now been returned to the synod office and is available to be loaned out.  
Upcoming Events
ALOA Adult Ministry Sampler
April 1 at Good Shepherd, Tampa
 ALOA Florida Region Ministry Sampler & Annual Meeting  will take place
Saturday, April 1, 2017, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm  at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tampa. Join ALOA Florida Region for an afternoon of inspiration, learning and entertainment, and help us shape adult ministry for the year to come. 
  • Connect Worship & Word in a whole new way
  • Get an inspiring look at the Reformation
  • Explore a way to Find your Gifts for ministry in life's second half
  • Hear how our Virtual Village project can change how we "age in place" 
  • Enjoy a taste of "Mama Mia!" with Synchrony Arts Productions
For more information, contact ALOA Florida at 727-442-4562 or  aloaflorida@gmail.com

ALOA Florida is a region of Adult Lutherans Organized for Action, a nationwide resource to the church that strengthens ministry by and for adults in the second half of life. ALOA offers events for individuals and provides resources to encourage adult ministry in Lutheran congregations. To find out more, visit ALOA’s website at aloaserves.org

Respite in the Wilderness: an invitation to rest and reflect at Luther Springs
Pastors, deacons, synod parish deacons, and other church professionals are invited to a retreat at Luther Springs, April 18-20, 2017 (Tuesday-Thursday), providing space for deep breathing and renewal after the intense season of Lent and Holy Week.

The theme for this year's "Respite in the Wilderness" retreat is:   Praying, Preaching, and Practicing the Faith

Sometimes the Holy Spirit calls us not OUT OF the wilderness but drives us INTO it. Embracing such a time of rest and reflection, this event’s sessions will provide resources for personal spirituality and for gospel proclamation. Presentation topics will include Lutheran insights for daily prayer and spirituality, constructive principles for how to share Christian witness in a time of political divisions, and examination of preaching as both a personal spiritual practice and evangelical opportunity.

The presenter is Dr. Martin Lohrmann, assistant professor of Lutheran confessions & heritage at Wartburg Theological Seminary (Dubuque, IA). Among other publications, he is the author of Book of Harmony: Spirit and Service in the Lutheran Confessions and a contributor to The Annotated Luther, Volume 4: Pastoral WritingsBishop Marcus Lohrmann will be present for part of this retreat.  

If you have questions about this retreat, please contact Sue Mendenhall (suem@fbsynod.org, or 727-415-9887).

Here's what you can do

>>>Share this retreat information with ministry leaders in your congregations, and encourage them to attend
For Your Information
Here is a resource for you to be aware of and share with your congregation and community!
He Is Risen Family Devotions from Sparkhouse

Sign up to receive FREE daily devotionals for Holy Week. Each devotion includes a video, simple discussion questions and a printable group activity. Sign up to receive these daily emails for your own family, Sunday School, preschool chapel, etc.

Read more
news.sparkhouse.org
Next Lenten Visit: Zion, Deerfield Beach on April 1
There is still time to sign up for this weekend's Lenten Visit at Zion Lutheran, Deerfield Beach.  Pr. Jaime Dubon will be preaching and presiding, and Pr. Wally Meyer will be leading a discussion on the Small Catechism.  Stay after worship to be part of Zion's chili cook-off!   Click here for more information and to register for the Lenten vist.
Prayer Petition for Use in Worship
Bishop Schaefer's ministry with this synod as bishop officially comes to a close this week.  When pastors and deacons leave a call, congregations are encouraged to mark the end of that call with a time of prayer and thanksgiving together.  While the end of a bishop's call is slightly different, it may still be helpful for you and your congregation to include a specific petition in your prayers over the next few weeks to mark the end of Bishop Schaefer's ministry with us as bishop.  His ministry as colleague, friend and pastor is in no way ending, but the relationship changes.  Below is a suggested petition for you to include in your prayers over the next few weeks--or in whatever way works for you.  You may copy and paste it into your worship resources, or adapt it for your own context. 
Gracious God, we give thanks today for the work and witness of your servant, Robert Schaefer, who has enriched the ministry of the Florida-Bahamas Synod in his service as our bishop. Bless and preserve him at this time of transition. Prosper all that has been done to your glory in our time together; heal and forgive all that has fallen short of your will for us.  Day by day, guide him and give him what is needed, friends to cheer his way, and a clear vision of that to which you are now calling him. By your Holy Spirit be present in his pilgrimage, that he may travel with the One who is the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Bishop's Schedule 
March 28-April 11
  • Tampa Office (April 4)
  • Spirit of Joy, Orlando 
  • Memorial, St. Augustine
  • St. Mark by the Sea, Palm Coast
Florida-Bahamas Synod  813-876-7660 
info@fbsynod.org