March 27, 2018

Bold - Passionate - Faithful
  • Holy Week Reflections from ELCA Worship Newsletter
  • Living Lutheran Article Featuring FBSynod Youth Action
  • Musicians Needed for Assembly

  Events Coming up:
  • Free Summer Music Clinics from Augsburg Fortress
  • Respite Retreat, Luther Springs (April 10-12)
  • God's Spa for Women, Luther Springs (April 27-29)
  • Cross+Gen Life Conference Registration Open

For Your Information:
  • Synod Assembly Registration
  • Online Text Study for Rostered Deacons
  • Security Protocols
  • Portico Wellness Dollars
Click the calendar above for more information about these events
March 27 - Scholar in Residence, St. Armands Key, Sarasota
April 8 - Messiah Music Series concert: an American Experience
April 10-12 - Respite Retreat, Luther Springs
April 15 - Organ concert, Advent, Melbourne
April 18-20 - "True to Myself" Retreat by Portico (at Lutheranch)
April 21 - BIC Training, All Saints, Lutz
April 21 - Installation of Pr. Terry Courter, Living Lord, Bradenton
April 24 - Boundaries Workshop, Emmanuel, Naples
April 27-29 - God's Spa, Luther Springs
Thank you to Pr. Tom Holdcraft (pastor and Conference Dean) and the community of Messiah Lutheran, Panama City, for hosting the March 24 Lenten Visit. Thank you to all who participated in this years' Lenten Visits. What a joy it was to hear the God-moments, meet one another and share in the listening to the Holy Spirit together.
Holy Week Reflections from ELCA Worship Newsletter
The following reflection was included in this month's ELCA Worship Newsletter. You can subscribe to this newsletter by clicking HERE .
Dear friends in Christ,
As a parish pastor, I always looked forward to Holy Week. It is a week filled with worship and lots of it. It is a week that we invite the world into the holy three days. It is a week that we once again are invited into the awesome mystery of the tree of life.

As the hymn states:
Tree of Life and awesome mystery, in your death we are reborn; though you die in all of history, still you rise with every morn, still you rise with every morn.

We remember truth once spoken, love passed on through act and word; every person lost and broken wears the body of our Lord, wears the body of our Lord.

Christ, you lead and we shall follow, stumbling though our steps may be; one with you in joy and sorrow, we the river, you the sea, we the river, you the sea.

God of all our fear and sorrow, God who lives beyond our death, hold us close through each tomorrow, love as near as every breath.  
(Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery, ELW #334)
We are a church that embodies and reminds the world that, through the mystery of the cross, God in God’s great goodness loved the world with outstretched arms that have encompassed the world for all eternity. The message of the cross remains that God continues to love the world even through our doubt and suffering, our sorrow and joy, our life and in our death.

God holds each of us closely in a loving embrace. We do not know what tomorrow will bring, but we know who holds tomorrow. God holds us close through each tomorrow and loves as near as every breath. We walk through this journey of Holy Week: from the palm parade, foot washing, service of the cross, a vigil where we hear of God’s great love story through salvation history, and then are led to the proclamation of Easter, “Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!”

May you know and may you proclaim to the world: Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.

The Rev. Kevin L. Strickland
Assistant to the Presiding Bishop
Executive for Worship
ELCA Youth Raise Their Voices Against Gun Violence
Susan Barnes, a Tampa-based free-lance writer, submitted the following article to Living Lutheran, mentioning and lifting up stories from youth throughout the synod who are participating in action in response to the Parkland shooting.
The Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students, faculty and staff, ignited a nationwide gun-control movement led by student survivors. The students will amplify their calls for gun control on March 24 through the  March for Our Lives  demonstrations they organized in Washington, D.C., and across the nation. ELCA youth and their parents will be among them.

“I want to march so that our politicians can hear us and hopefully never let this happen again,” said Bruce Elkins, a 15-year-old student at Somerset Academy in Deerfield, Fla. “It doesn’t matter the age, religion or ethnic background—America needs to protect [its] kids. We are citizens of the United States too.”

Bruce and his father, Drew Shimkus, attend Zion Lutheran Christian Church in Deerfield Beach. Shimkus will accompany Bruce and his friend Jamal Jackson to Washington, D.C., to raise their voices at the march. Marjory Stoneman Douglas is about 10 miles from where Bruce attends school.

“As a dad, I want to stand and support my son; I want to be an ally to our children,” Shimkus said. “Tragedies like the one in Parkland have happened too many times. … I believe if you see something wrong, you have to have the courage to stand up and speak out. If no one speaks, how can change happen?”

Musicians Needed for Assembly
Seeking music leadership and support musicians for worship services at this year's Synod Assembly
June 1-3, 2018 

Song leaders, choral singers, and instrumentalists (guitar, bass, drums, strings, brass and handbells) would be desirable as volunteers during opening (Friday afternoon) and closing (Sunday morning) worship. We are also seeking a Spanish-speaking song leader. A volunteer choir will be assembled for opening worship and if you have singers in your congregation that are interested in this they will need to prepare mostly in advance (the music will be sent out by the end of April to each interested congregation).

Although we are flexible in our planning at this point, we are currently envisioning these ideal needs:
  • Opening worship: Keyboardist (to play organ parts on a synth), choir, cantor/s, brass, handbells (upper octaves only), guitar and strings.
  • Closing worship: Singers (worship band-style group), song leaders, guitar, bass, strings, percussion, etc.

Again, we are flexible on our instrumentation and will make creative use of musicians in your congregation or on your staff that would like to volunteer at the Assembly. Although we will try to find some practice time in our worship space, this time will be limited so please note that any interested musicians should be able to prepare mostly on their own, be excellent sight readers or be fluent in improvising accompaniments.

If you are interested or have questions about this, please contact Rebecca Kasang (Lutheran Church of the Cross, St. Petersburg): rkasang@mylcc.com or 727-525-8364 x228.
Upcoming Events
For Church Musicians:
Free Augsburg Fortress Summer Music Clinics
Augsburg Fortress looks forward to seeing you at one of our six free summer music clinics ! This is your opportunity to read through new seasonal music, attend workshops led by clinicians Wayne L. Wold and Zebulon Highben, participate in a hymn festival and more. These clinics give you a first look at the exciting new things coming from Augsburg Fortress and a chance to browse and shop a collection of music resources selected for these events. Find the location nearest to you and save the date. Go to augsburgfortress.org/music-events  to sign up to be notified when registration goes live!
  • July 20-21: Columbia, S.C.
  • July 23-24: Twin Cities, Minn.
  • July 27-28: Seattle, Wash.
  • July 30-31: Chicago, Ill.
  • Aug. 2-3: Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Aug. 6-7: Columbus, Ohio
Respite in the Wilderness:
Retreat for Rostered Leaders and Church Professionals
April 10-12, 2018

Luther Springs and NovusWay Ministries wants to say thank you to all our Rostered Ministers and Church Professionals for all that you do. Come, take a deep breath, and enjoy a time of rest and renewal as we close out the busy season of Lent and celebrate the beginning of the season of Easter. Rev. Rick Malivuk, BBA, MBA, MDiv., CFT will address how God calls for us to care for ourselves while caring for others and Bishop Pedro Suarez will be with us to share about a time of new life in our Synod. Spouses are welcome.

Feel free to arrive anytime on Tuesday after lunch, during which time you can rest in your room, walk to the lake, explore the property or relax on the back porch with a friend or a book. Our event will begin with dinner at 6:00 PM, followed by our opening session. We will begin Wednesday with Morning Prayer after breakfast, followed by continued discussion of how we care for ourselves while caring for others. After lunch, is your time. Want to play? We will have a variety of activities available, including but not limited to: canoeing, archery, swimming or walking the trails. Want to rest? Enjoy the beautiful weather while rocking on the porch, take a nap or spend some time in solitude at the Stations of the Cross or walking the Prayer Labyrinth. After dinner we will spend time with Bishop Suarez followed by a Healing Service. We will close on Thursday at 11:30 following wrap up with the Bishop, worship and brunch. 

Spouses welcome!
Fee for the event is $100, which covers the cost of food. Scholarships are available. 

Please contact Jessica at 828-209-6329 for registration questions or Sue Mendenhall, ELCA Deacon at 727-415-9887 for program questions. 

God's Spa for Women
Soak in the beautiful scenery and solitude of Luther Springs, relaxing your mind, body and spirit. Activities may include: faith filled conversation, devotions, music, journal time, guided meditation, relaxing and spa-type activities such as facials, manicures, pedicures and massages and time with your sisters in Christ!

April 27-29, 2018 at Luther Springs

Cross+Gen Life Conference Registration
We are pleased to announce the Cross+Gen Life Conference website is now LIVE!
What happens when the wisdom of the elder and the wonder of the child collide in the same sacred space every week?

Promise. Hope. Joy. Depth. Fun.
Cross+Gen Life.

Faith Inkubators invites you to join with people from across the globe and across denominations to hear from some of the most passionate and gutsy trailblazers in cross+generational faith formation.
  • Case Studies – Enjoy a dozen “Ted Talk-ish” Case Studies presented by Cross+Gen pioneers. Experience the stories of those currently leading change in their own settings. After their presentation, you will have the opportunity for an in-depth Q&A session to discover how their experiences and insights might influence your own ministry.
  • Workshops (New in 2018) – Choose from a variety of skills-based workshops led by Case Study presenters from our three previous Cross+Gen conferences. Hear from these national leaders – what they have learned from implementing Cross+Gen ministries and what do they now know for sure?
  • Vision Sessions – Be inspired by Dr. Rich Melheim, founder of the Cross+Gen movement. Catch a vision of the church we call Cross+Gen – a church for all ages and stages together.

Learn how these Cross+Gen practitioners have succeeded, how they have failed, and how they are failing forward for the sake of the church. Go forth with a plan, a passion and a posse to support you in your own designs for Cross+Gen faith formation.

We are thrilled to be back at the YMCA of the Rockies for the 2018 Cross+Gen Life Conference. We look forward to the multiple benefits of all conference attendees and presenters staying and eating onsite together:
  • relaxed fellowship
  • meeting friends old and new
  • time for in-depth discussions
  • no need to drive to a hotel at the end of the day!

Surrounded by the breathtaking majesty of the Rocky Mountains, the setting is sure to nurture and refresh body, mind and soul.

REGISTER NOW to secure your spot at the conference. We strongly encourage reserving your Room & Board Package as soon as possible as Faith Inkubators has reserved a limited number of rooms. When reserving your room & board package, you have the option for your credit card to be charged now or on September 5.

Remember, the earlier you register for both the conference and your room & board, the more you’ll save.

We look forward to seeing you in Colorado!
For Your Information
Assembly Registration
Synod Assembly Registration opened on March 15th. You can access synod assembly registration HERE .

Please remember to book your hotel room AFTER you register for Assembly. Hotel room registration is NOT part of assembly registration. The link for the hotel is available at the end of the registration process.

For questions about synod assembly registration, please contact Yuliet Garcia in the synod office (yulietg@fbsynod.org or 813-876-7660, ext. 221)
Online Text Study for Rostered Deacons
Rostered Ministers of Word and Service are beginning to gather and explore community together as a new unified roster. Rostered deacons are invited to join the Facebook group "ELCA Ministers of Word and Service," and engage in conversation with other deacons throughout the church. A pilot project for online text study is being done through two Zoom meeting times each week. Participants gather throughout the country for a conversation on the texts for the upcoming Sunday. The purpose of these online gatherings is to be a space for deacons who may be preaching to reflect on their unique diaconal voice in relationship to the texts. Those not preaching are also welcome to join the conversation. If you are not part of the Facebook group but are a rostered deacon (active or retired) and interested in joining these online text study times, contact Sr. Michelle Collins (michellec@fbsynod.org) for the Zoom meeting information.
Security Protocols
The synod office has received several calls with questions about whether or not 'the synod' has developed protocols regarding security, active shooter, people with concealed weapons and other invasive situations that might arise. Michele Hilton is actively engaging in conversation with experts to develop recommendations and policies around these topics. In the meantime, the recommendation for congregations who are wondering about protocols and policies is to consult with your congregation's property insurance company. Their web sites are a great place to start in looking for resources.

In terms of the synod office's own response, the Synod Office purchased and underwent ALICE active shooter training and found that to be a good resource. We also reviewed and evaluated current entrances and exits and added security measures where appropriate.

Please call Michele Hilton at 813.876.7660 ext 222 if you can’t find the resources on your provider’s website and she will send you what is available from the Synod’s insurance provider.

>>>For information about a training event "How to Create a Safety Plan for Your Church," hosted by the ELCA's Christian Education Network in North Charleston, SC on April 28, click here <<<
Portico Wellness Dollars
Rostered leaders and others receiving benefits through Portico Benefits have access to wellness dollars each year. These wellness dollars can be used to supplement health, dental, or prescription costs.

This year, Portico changed what must be done to receive wellness dollars. Instead of a series of different tracking, record-keeping, or reflection activities, wellness dollars are easily earned in two steps:

  1. Complete your biometric screening through a blood test (scheduled through the Portico web site, administered at a local Quest Diagnostics center in your area)
  2. Review your retirement financial plan (tool for reviewing, beginning or adjusting a retirement savings plan through Portico is available on the web site)

After these two steps, $400 in wellness dollars is deposited into the member's HSA account.

If you have questions about Portico Benefits or about these wellness dollars, contact Portico directly through their web site .
Office of the Bishop
Bishop's Schedule
March 27-April 10, 2018

  • Tampa Office
  • Dallas, TX (Ecumenical Stewardship Event)
  • St. Armand's Key, Sarasota (50th Anniversary)
Florida-Bahamas Synod 813-876-7660