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In the last parish I served before being elected as a synod bishop, I always looked forward to the Easter Vigil. Of all the services in our church year, it was the one with the highest attendance.  

Beginning with subdued lighting for the lighting of the Pascal Candle, hearing the ancient liturgy of the resurrection news and scripture readings, and baptisms, then church was completely darkened. The people sat in darkness, as flowers and large banners decorated the church.  

A strong rap at the door sounded and it was answered by “ Whom do you seek?” “ Jesus of Nazareth” was the reply. The response was “ He is not here. He is risen.

At that announcement, the sanctuary was lit and revealed Easter in all its glory. The choir processed to a beautiful Easter hymn and was joined with the congregation that numbered over 400.   Dramatic. Absolutely!  

The people who sat in darkness on the announcement of the Resurrection of Jesus no doubt struggled with what this meant. Today, we join people throughout the world who hear “ He is Risen” and know that the love of God and the eternal life from Almighty God has brought the faithful reason to praise God and share the Good News.

As we join in our Easter observance, may the news of Christ’s Resurrection fill our hearts and voices with love, life, joy, and hope. Through the eyes of faith, may we join our voices with the one who first saw the Risen Lord: Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “ I have seen the Lord; ” and she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20:18)

He is Risen! Alleluia!
+ Bishop Donald J. McCoid
Getting a phone call in the middle of the night is never a good thing. I remember the second time my father had open-heart surgery. It was a long procedure and a difficult one, and after it was done the doctor called us to his office and said, “ There’s been some bleeding. We’ll let you know, but you should go home now and rest.” And so going home that night, I listened for a phone call in the middle of the night and was awakened only to find out it was morning and it was birds singing, not the phone ringing. My father had made it through the night, and in fact he did recover from the surgery.

This is the joy we feel at Easter, but magnified. All of the hope that had been dashed on Good Friday, the terrible pressure of grief, the terrible pressure of knowing there was no future in the world, only on Sunday to be greeted not by the ringing of a telephone announcing death but the loud clear singing of alleluias. This is the joy we have, and it’s a promise so strong that even when we do die, even when we do confront death, we have the hope and the assurance of eternal life.

Easter makes it possible for us, even at the grave, to sing alleluia.

Christ is risen. Alleluia.
Happy Easter, dear church.

+ The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Rev. Lamont Wells
The Rev. Lamont Anthony Wells will be leaving his current position as our Director for Evangelical Mission effective May 1, 2019. Mr. Branden Dupree will serve as the Interim Director for Evangelical Mission.

Congregational Capital Improvement Challenge Grant
For 2019 Congregational Capital Improvement Challenge Grant consideration,  all annual reports are to be submitted by  Tuesday, April 30, 2019 .
Three annual reports are due each year from Congregations/Ministers:
  • 2019 Mission Support Commitment. Click here for the form. Email completed report to annualreports@mnys.org. (Note "2019 Mission Support Commitment" in the subject line.)
  • Congregational Report for the Year Ending December 31, 2018 – Form A & C (Parochial Report). This report is completed online; click here for the ELCA website link.
  • Report for Minister of Word and Sacrament. Click here for the ELCA website link. Email completed report to annualreports@mnys.org.

If you want to confirm that reports have been submitted, please email  annualreports@mnys.org . Include your congregation’s name and city, and the pastor(s) name.

The 2019 Congregational Capital Improvement Challenge Grant Application became available on  April 1.  The application submission deadline is  Monday, June 3, 2019, 5:00 pm.
Trinity Lutheran Church, LIC
TODAY! Saturday, April 20
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Join the Western Queens Conference of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the ELCA for the Great Vigil of Easter. Trinity Lutheran is hosting this celebration of the Resurrection Jesus with the participation of and an invitation to the community of faith.  For more information, click here.
Campus of Princeton Theological Seminary
April 23 - 26

Join other youth leaders, directors, and pastors for a 4-day youth ministry conference, to reinforce the faith of those who believe that lives and communities can be transformed when theological reflection meets practical application. For more information, click   here .
Good Shepherd, Pearl River
Saturday, April 27
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Pinecrest ELCA Summer Camp for young adults is hosting this evening event and welcome you and your community to join. The activity will help Pinecrest to support young people to join the 2019 summer session. For information about the camp send an  email. For more information about Pinecrest, click  here. 
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Parkchester
Saturday, May 4
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

You are invited to a celebration fundraiser of Blessings & Life's Thankfulness through classical music, some Jazz, Laughter & Dinner. This Gala features several performances by Barbara Purdy's Cabaret Jazz Combo (Jazz, Love Ballads, Classic Pop), comedy and more. Get tickets online, in person, or by phone. For more information, click here. 
Woodstock Jewish Congregation, Woodstock
Sunday, May 5, 4:00 pm

Rabbi Jonathan Kligler and the Woodstock Jewish Congregation are pleased to host guest speaker The Rev. Sonja Tillberg Maclary, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Woodstock , and beloved community chorus Ars Choralis for a special interfaith remembrance of the Holocaust. This program is free and open to all, no reservations required. For more information, click here.
ELCA World Hunger Domestic Hunger Grants accompany congregations and their partners from across the ELCA as they address local issues, such as food-insecurity, housing, job training and more, as part of a comprehensive approach that focuses on root causes to break the cycle of hunger and poverty for good. These programs bring not only care for today but also give hope for tomorrow. Grants are provided for 3 years, with a maximum award of $10,000 per year. Applications must be submitted by June 17, 2019. To learn more about the criteria and application process, click here.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church Flatlands, Brooklyn
Saturday, May 11 
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

All are welcome to this event that will help PINECREST, a community that inspires young adults in their faith formation and helps develop leaders in the Lutheran Church. You are invited to hang out for a night of games and prayer. For more information, click here.
Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church, Albany
Wednesday, May 29 
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

All are invited to attend the NY State Council of Churches Fourth Annual Awards and Fundraising Dinner. A reception with a cash bar, dinner and awards presentations. This year,   The Reverend Aaron Baughman, Pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Port Jervis, will receive the Excellence in Ecumenicism Award. To purchase tickets, click  here.
PARSONAGE AVAILABLE: Nassau County—more information here
TEACHER FOR TANZANIA: Metropolitan New York Synod—more information here

––––– CALENDAR –––––
APRIL 27 : Synod Council Meeting—more information here
APRIL 28 : Service of Holy Closure: New Hope for All Saints and Transfiguration, Bronx—more information here
MAY 5 : The Rev. Winston Bone Memorial Service—more information here.

Our work toward shaping a more inclusive church that welcomes and affirms all of God's people, specifically our  LGBTQIA+  brothers, sisters, and siblings 
• The asylum seekers who are waiting to be processed at our southern border
 Refugees and immigrants, and those who come to their aid
 Those affected by violence in their schools, workplaces, and homes 
 The unity of this church and its mission
 Peace in our world
 Peace in our nation
 The care of God's Creation 
 ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission, Oscar Alvarado and Tara Barnard, serving in Argentina and Uruguay
ELCA missionaries Gayle (Emma) Nelson and Erin Ryan, ESL teachers serving in Japan
MNYS missionary Melanie Nelson, and her husband David Kingery, serving in Bukoba, Tanzania
  Bishop Suzanne Darcy Dillahunt, the staff, and the people of the Southern Ohio Synod