E-Spirit
March 6, 2018

Bold - Passionate - Faithful
Features:
  • Lent 4 devotions: "The Lord Sent Fiery Serpents Among Them"
  • ALOA Receives Thrivent Grant
  • March 8: International Women's Day
  • ReconcilingWorks Celebrates 800th RIC Site (Salem, Orlando)

  Events Coming up:
  • Lenoir-Rhyne College Choir Tour
  • Combined Choirs at Peace, Ft. Myers
  • Respite Retreat, Luther Springs (April 10-12)
  • RIC Training, April 21 (All Saints, Lutz)

For Your Information:
  • Direct Thrivent Choice Dollars by March 31
  • Summer Camp Registration
  • Easter Communication Tools
Click the calendar above for more information about these events
March 9 - Lenoir-Rhyne Choir Tour (Our Savior's, Vero Beach, 7 pm)
March 10 - Lenten Visit, Salem, Orlando
March 10 - Installation, John David Bryant at Joy, Palm Bay (4:00)
March 10 - Lenoir-Rhyne Choir Tour (Christ Our Redeemer, Temple Terrace, 7 pm)
March 11 - Messiah Music Series, Messiah, Ft. Myers
March 11 - ELCA Vice President Bill Horne at St. Philip, Mt. Dora
March 11 - Lenoir-Rhyne Choir Tour (Stetson University, 7:30 pm)
March 13 - Lenoir-Rhyne Choir tour (Grace, Tallahassee, 7:30 pm)
March 17 - Lenten Visit, St. Michael's, Wellington
March 24 - Lenten Visit, Messiah, Panama City
March 27 - Scholar in Residence, St. Armands Key, Sarasota
March 30 - GOOD FRIDAY--OFFICE CLOSED
April 10-12 - Respite Retreat, Luther Springs
April 21 - BIC Training, All Saints, Lutz
April 24 - Boundaries Workshop, Emmanuel, Naples
More information on this year's Lenten Visits, along with an opportunity to RSVP, is now available. These events are free and open to all.

Features
Lent 4 Devotion:
“The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people”
Devotions shared during Lent come from the resource " Set Free by Truth ," created by ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton and bishops of ecumenical partner churches.
READ: NUMBERS 21:4-9 PSALM 107 EPHESIANS 2:1-10 JOHN 3:14-21

REFLECT: The story of the serpents in the wilderness is intriguing. The people of God had been rescued from slavery in Egypt and were making the long circuitous way to the promised land. The initial euphoria of freedom had worn off and they grew impatient. They spoke against God and Moses, trusting more in human sense than God’s faithfulness, trusting above all else their construct of reality. This never ends well.

In their panic and pain the people pleaded for deliverance. God rescued Israel, not so much from poisonous serpents, but from Israel’s own faithless and poisonous rebellion that had appeared long before the snakes. In that faithlessness, Israel had set itself against God. Israel’s rescue was a restored relationship with God, not simply escaping the snakes. The symbol of their salvation was a fiery serpent—a bronze serpent lifted up on a pole. The very image of suffering and death was also the image of life and salvation.

I have read Numbers several times and there is no indication that the serpents ever left. The plague of serpents remained an ongoing threat and the raised bronze serpent an ongoing reminder to turn to God’s healing power. This is what intrigues me, the word for fiery serpents is seraphim. Seraphim – the same angels who, with the cherubim, attend God. Could the snake angels be fiery guardian angels who bring us back to the truth that left to our own devices we are helpless and sometimes dangerous?

In the ELCA March 10th is the commemoration of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. Both women devoted their lives to dismantling the sinful human construct of racism. Harriet Tubman was called Moses. She led her people to freedom. Sojourner Truth spoke with a fiery passion that bit deep into the false world order that propped up slavery. They were seraphim. We need seraphim today.

PRAY: Ignite your refining fire, O God. Burn away both the lie of one people’s supremacy and the lie that leads another people to doubt their worth. Amen.

Devotion by: Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
ALOA Receives Thrivent Grant
APPLETON, Wis. (February 28, 2018) ̶  Adult Lutherans Organized for Action ̶ ALOA--which operates out of Clearwater, Florida, recently received a $25,000 challenge grant from the Thrivent Financial Foundation. The grant will help assist ALOA in its Equipping 21st Century Disciples program being implemented to energize and help to equip adult Lutherans for lives of discipleship and service in their families, communities and churches. 
 
"There’s an ‘Age-Wave’ before churches with people over age 50 making up a third of the U.S. population and some churches even higher. With this most-skilled, committed and healthy generation, it is more important than ever that churches and congregations band together to mobilize middle and older age laity for effective ministry," said Dr. Robert Hughes, project director and past-president of ALOA. The 25-year old organization is a Recognized Service Organization of the LCMS and an affiliated Social Ministry Organization of the ELCA.
 
"We are delighted to assist ALOA through this grant," said Laurie Wilkinson, director of Church Relations at Thrivent Financial. “We trust that this support will strengthen ALOA’s outreach and ministry to those it serves."
 
>>> Read more <<<
March 8: International Women's Day
>>>Find out more about International Women's Day and how you can support women in leadership around the world by clicking  HERE .<<<
Around the world, women are not afforded the same access to education due to social and political structures. You can change that.  Join us this International Women’s Day, March 8, as we boldly invest in the education of women and the future of communities around the world through the ELCA’s International Women Leaders initiative.

Pray  for an awakening to the power and capacity our sisters have in transforming the world.

Share  the difference education has made in your life on Facebook.com/Lutherans or Twitter.com/ELCA using #ELCAWomen.

Give  to invest in the education of women.
ReconcilingWorks Celebrates 800 RIC Communities
Salem Lutheran Church, Orlando, is celebrated by ReconcilingWorks as the 800th RIC setting in the ELCA. If you want to know more about ReconcilingWorks or becoming a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) congregation, contact the Central Florida chapter of ReconcilingWorks (Carol Dunn: cdunn@cfl.rr.com), or contact an RIC congregation in your conference.
Upcoming Events
Lenoir-Rhyne College
Choir and Brass Ensemble Tour
The A Capella Choir of Lenoir-Rhyne University is hosting a Spring Tour in many Florida Congregations:

Friday, March 9: Our Savior's, Vero Beach (7 pm)
Saturday, March 10: Christ Our Redeemer, Temple Terrace (7 pm)
Sunday March 11: Lee Chapel, Stetson University, Deland (7:30 pm)
Tuesday, March 13: Grace, Tallahassee (7:30 pm)

For more information, visit: www.lr.edu/publicevents
Combined Choirs in Ft. Myers
Peace Lutheran Church presents:
Messe Solennelle

Charles Gounod, Composer
“The St. Cecilia Mass”
Featuring the Combined Choirs of Peace Lutheran Church, Ft. Myers and St. Columbkille Catholic Church, Ft. Myers

Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 2:00pm
Peace Lutheran Church
15840 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers
Respite Retreat for Rostered Leaders
Calling all rostered leaders and church professionals! You are invited to join us for RESPITE IN THE WILDERNESS , April 10-12, 2018 (Tuesday-Thursday). A retreat of rest and renewal through prayer and study as we close out the busy season of Lent and celebrate the beginning of the season Easter. Guests are only charged for the cost of food.

RIC Training Event, April 21 (All Saints, Lutz)
Our synod is a Reconciling in Christ Synod, and nearly 20 Florida congregations are already R.I.C. Are you interested in learning more about this program? What does it mean to be intentionally inclusive? What would your congregation discuss in considering the R.I.C. program, and how would you do that?

We have a training scheduled in April. If you are already R.I.C. but would like to renew your understanding and commitment, especially with newer members and leaders, this is also for you. 

Interested people will meet April 21 from 9 am to 3 pm at All Saints Lutheran Church in Lutz, and you are invited to attend. Since you will have the opportunity to look ahead for your own congregation, we encourage you to come in groups of at least 2 or 3. Clergy and non–clergy are both valuable parts of the conversation.

Among the topics: Scripture through a Lutheran lens, One to One conversations, Storytelling, Graceful Engagement, Welcoming, Preparing a Welcoming Statement, and the Spectrum of Gender Identity.

Your donation of $10 covers both lunch and materials. Register with  Pastor Joshua Gyson at Gysonj@yahoo.com
For Your Information
Thrivent Choice Dollars
With Thrivent Choice®, you can recommend where some of Thrivent Financial's charitable outreach funds go. Since its inception, $4,550 has been directed to the ministry of the Florida-Bahamas Synod office. If you have a policy with Thrivent, direct your Thrivent Choice Dollars by March 31. Contact your local Thrivent Financial representative with questions about your particular policy.

Summer Camp Registration
Hooray for Summer! The BEST season of the whole year. And we are preparing the BEST week of each child’s summer! Activities you cannot do during the school year: playing outside from morning until night, catching fireflies, roasting marshmallows, making new friends and hating to say goodbye, silly skits, and songs, and games galore!
Who needs TV? When you have Bible stories that come to life: lessons learned by living them, New skills and adventures: make a craft or climb a mountain!

Register for LutherSprings summer camp programs by March 15th to receive the cheapest rates.

>>> Learn more HERE <<<
Easter Communication Tools
The ELCA has a variety of resources available to help your congregation promote your Easter activities: social media resources, print resources, posters, door hangers, and more.

>>> Available here <<<
Office of the Bishop
Synod Staff Activity: February
In February, the synod staff members were out and about throughout the synod doing the work and ministry of this church. That work included:
  • congregational council meetings
  • call committee and congregational meetings
  • Regional and Churchwide training/networking events
  • Congregational Vitality conversations
  • Congregational and Conference mission/visioning conversations
  • Synod Parish Deacon commissioning
  • Rostered Minister colleague gatherings
In February, synod staff traveled over 4,000 miles, visited over 15 congregations, and participated in 3 regional/churchwide events. Thanks to your mission support of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, the Office of the Bishop is able to be in partnership with congregations, leaders, and regional/churchwide ministries to be church together!
Bishop's Schedule: March
March 6-March 20, 2018

  • Tampa Office
  • Salem, Orlando (Lenten Visit)
  • Joy, Palm Bay (Installation of Pr. John David Bryant)
  • Atlanta (Region 9 Council meeting)
  • St. Michael's, Wellington (Lenten Visit)
  • Our Savior, Vero Beach
Florida-Bahamas Synod 813-876-7660 
info@fbsynod.org