February 13, 2018

Bold - Passionate - Faithful
  • Lent 1 Devotions: "An Appeal to God for a Good Conscience"
  • ALOAfest to feature Rev. Tom Hafer
  • 6 Questions for a diakonia Site Coordinator
  • 2 Synod Staff Positions Posted
  • 8 Reasons to Create an Annual Report

  Events Coming up:
  • Synod Assembly Registration
  • Invitation to Travel to Guyana
  • "Rising Star" Organ Concert, Advent, Melbourne

For Your Information:
  • Lent devotions from Ecumenical Leaders
  • Synod Assembly 2018 Theme: "Grounded in the Gospel"
  • Reports Due Feb. 15
Click the calendar above for more information about these events
Feb. 13 - Scholar in Residence, St. Armands Key, Sarasota
Feb. 16-18 - EQUIP Senior High Leadership Retreat, Luther Springs
Feb. 24 - Lenten Visit, Peace, Ft. Myers
Feb. 23-25 - Master Builders Retreat, Luther Springs
Feb. 25 - "Rising Star" organ concert, Advent, Melbourne
March 3 - Annual Fundraiser/Auction, Faith, Lehigh Acres
March 10 - Lenten Visit, Salem, Orlando
March 11 - Messiah Music Series, Messiah, Ft. Myers
March 17 - Lenten Visit, St. Michael's, Wellington
March 24 - Lenten Visit, Messiah, Panama City
March 27 - Scholar in Residence, St. Armands Key, Sarasota
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.

Lent 1 devotions: "An Appeal to God for a Good Conscience"
Devotions shared during Lent come from the resource "Set Free by Truth," created by ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton and bishops of ecumenical partner churches. Scroll down to the "For your Information" section of this newsletter to find out more about this resource.
Read: GENESIS 9:8-17 PSALM 25: 1-10 1 PETER 3: 18-22 MARK 1: 9 – 15

Reflect : In the midst of two stories we know so well, the story of Noah and the flood and the story of Jesus and his baptism we hear in the First Letter of Peter some teaching about the nature of our baptism. He speaks of it “not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience through Christ.” (1 Peter 3:21)

Lent is a time for us to be especially mindful of any and every arrogance reflecting the thought that some peoples are superior to others. I speak of the sins of racism, ethnic cleansing, and government-enforced policies of assimilation designed “to remake others in our image”. (The Anglican Church of Canada’s Apology to the survivors of the Indian Residential Schools in Canada, 1993)

Lent is a season to confess these sins against our brothers and sisters. It is a time to correct attitudes, words, and actions, blatant or subtle that perpetuate them. It is a time to forge new relationships grounded in our baptismal vow to strive for justice and peace among all people. To quote First Peter, Lent is a season of “appeal to God for a good conscience”, cleansed of the sins of prejudice, and cleared for respect and affection, one for another in accord with the Gospel we proclaim.

Prayer “For all false judgements, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbours and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us, Accept our repentance, Lord.”

devotion by: Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Anglican Church of Canada
ALOAFest to feature Rev. Tom Hafer

Adult Lutherans Organized for Action is 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...

Read more
6 Questions for a diakonia Site Coordinator
The following interview was posted in the Feb. 5 "First Monday" e-newsletter from diakonia . Lynn Harmening-Marlowe is now a candidate for rostered ministry in the Florida-Bahamas Synod. Find out more about diakonia HERE .
This month: Meet Lynn Harmening-Marlowe

Tell us a little about yourself: I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was baptized and confirmed in the same Lutheran church where my father had been baptized and confirmed. From the age of 15, I was often teased that I should just put a cot in the church since I spent the majority of my waking hours there. In 1997, when I met my wife at church, we found we both had the dream of living in Florida. In 2005, we decided to abandon cold winters, make that dream a reality, and move to sunny Florida. 

I always felt I was called to ministry and during the diakonia "Visitation" class my main excuse was dissolved. I had been using the excuse of having severe arthritis to not begin seminary. In the "Visitation" class we had a speaker who was a quadriplegic chaplain. Right then and there I knew I was out of excuses and applied for Candidacy. I now attend Luther Seminary through the Distributive Learning (DL) program. The DL program allows me to live in Florida and take most of my classes online as I prepare for the ministry.

How did you come to know about diakonia ? I was attending the Florida Bahamas Synod Assembly when I stumbled upon the diakonia booth during a break. There I met Kathy Richardson. Kathy was quite enthusiastic about the program and that excitement was contagious. I soon found myself enrolled in the diakonia program.

>>>Read more about Lynn's reflection on diakonia <<<
>>>find out more about the diakonia program in the Florida-Bahamas Synod<<<
A2B/DEM Position Descriptions Available
Two synod staff positions have been posted on the ELCA Careers page and are open to all qualified applicants. These posts are for the positions of Director of Evangelical Mission/Assistant to the Bishop for the Florida-Bahamas Synod. Since the DEM is an ELCA Churchwide position, applications will be filtered through the office in Chicago. But Bishop Suarez and his team will be reviewing and interviewing applicants.

Please feel free to share these links with those who are qualified and interested. Please submit interest and inquiries through the ELCA web site.

Notice: Rostered ministers and lay leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who apply for a position in the churchwide organization must have completed Rostered Minister Profile papers on file.
8 Reasons to Create an Annual Report
The following article was recently posted in an e-newsletter from Surface To Soul Coaching Ministry. The author, Jim LaDoux is a ministry coach and author of the book Surface to Soul . Find out more about ministry coaching HERE .
Most churches create an annual report but few think about using the report strategically before, during or after a congregational meeting. I’d like to suggest that you view it as a powerful communication tool by using it in the following ways:

1.Use it to celebrate what God has done in and through God’s people.  View your annual report as writing a thank you note to God. Use the report to honor God and point people to Jesus.

2.Use it as an "excuse" to cast vision.  Use it to tell people who you are, what matters most, to share where you’re going, and describe how you’ll get there. 

3.Use it to reflect on your ministry’s impact and reach. . Use your report not only to celebrate what God has done in and through God's people, but also to rethink ways to invest your time and energy for the coming year. Use it as a springboard toward moving your congregation into God’s preferred future.

4.Use it to retell your best stories.  Hopefully you've been sharing stories of transformation throughout the year. Now tell them again. What are the God sightings and stories that are worth sharing over and over? Think about which ones should be videotaped and posted on your website or YouTube.

5.Use it to follow through on your commitments.  Review the annual goals of your staff, board members and ministry teams in light of your report. Discover if you did what you said you’re going to do. If your actions didn’t align with your intentions, then list you need to do differently in the future to get a better result. Learn from your successes and failures. 

6.Use it to build trust and credibility with people.  Use your report to build transparency around goals, financial information and ministry impact. Share WHAT, WHY and HOW you do ministry. Show people why your ministry is worth investing in.

7.Use it to showcase the gifts and talents of members. Find people who have an artistic eye and some graphic design experience and invite them to create a look and format that is user-friendly and engaging for members and friends of your faith community. Use the creation of the report as a vehicle to honor people's gifts and passions. There's no reason your report needs to look boring!

8.Use it as a promotional tool and a handout to first-time guests and new members.  If it’s well-done, it will help new members understand and appreciate how God is using your congregation to serve and bless others. Your annual report should answer these questions, “Why does our congregation exist?” and “What would people miss if our faith community no longer existed?”

What are some ways your report could be repurposed to make it more impactful?
Upcoming Events
Synod Assembly Registration and Information
More information about this year's Synod Assembly is now available on the web site . Find out about the theme ("Grounded in the Gospel"), hotel (Embassy Suites, Kissimmee), the keynote speaker (Dr. David Lose), and more. Watch this page as more information gets posted in the next few weeks.

Registration for Synod Assembly opens on March 15th.

Invitation to Travel to Guyana and Suriname with FBSynod Global Mission Committee
Come join the Florida Bahamas Synod Global Mission Committee from May 5-12, 2018 as we travel to 2 of our Companion Churches in Guyana and Suriname. We will be attending the annual convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana (ELCG). We will then spend time with the other part of a trilateral companion relationship as we travel to Suriname and visit the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Suriname (ELKS). Contact Pastor Kit  pastorobison@gmail.com  or 786-351-5869 for more details. 

Registration for this trip closes March 1st. Please complete the Travel Application forms and Orientation process on the Synod Website under the Global Mission Travel page.
Advent, Melbourne--Rising Star Organ Concert
All are invited to the next "Rising Star" organ concert at Advent, Melbourne (Suntree campus) on Feb. 25 at 3:00 p.m. to hear Monica Czauscz--a rising star among organ performance luminaries.

The concert is free

Advent Lutheran Church
7550 N. Wickham Rd
Melbourne, FL 32940

For more information, visit Advent's web site .
For Your Information
Lent devotions from Ecumenical Leaders
The bishops of the Lutheran, Anglican and Episcopal churches in the U.S. and Canada have prepared Lenten devotions on the theme “Set Free by Truth,” which reflect upon truth-telling and racial justice. Each segment presents Scripture, a reflection and a prayer. 
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 14. 

>>> Download devotions <<<   
Synod Assembly 2018 Theme:
"Grounded in the Gospel"
"I came that [you] may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b)

Abundant life is life for the sake of the other. Abundant life is more than material and social achievement or accomplishment. Abundant life flows from a deep rootedness in truths that strengthen and sustain life in the midst of changing seasons. Abundant life results in growth, vitality, fruit, and generosity. Abundant life is bold, creative, innovative and open to possibilities. Abundant life embraces and engages all aspects of diversity. Jesus came so that we might have life…and have it abundantly.

In our baptismal liturgy, we hear these words: “By water and the Word, God delivers us from sin and death and raises us to new life in Jesus Christ. We are united with all the baptized in the one body of Christ, anointed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and joined in God’s mission for the life of the world” (ELW, p. 227). Rooted and grounded in this gift of life, we are called, gathered and sent through the Holy Spirit into the world. 
As the gathered Assembly of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, you are invited to participate in God’s abundance as we are grounded in the Gospel. Learn and be nourished. Celebrate and be refreshed. Connect and be encouraged. Rest and be renewed.  

>>>Registration for Synod Assembly opens March 15<<<
Reports Due Feb. 15
Thank you to all who have submitted Rostered Minister reports, Parochial Reports and Mission Support Covenants. That information helps the Office of the Bishop better prioritize, equip, support, and encourage ministry throughout the synod. The links to these reports are:

>>> Annual Parochial Reports (to be filled out by congregational leaders and submitted through the ELCA portal)<<<

>>> Annual Rostered Ministers Reports (to be filled out by active and retired pastors and deacons and sent to Ileana Sardinas (Ileanas@fbsynod.org)<<<

>>> Mission Support Covenants (to be filled out by congregational leaders and submitted through the synod web site)<<<
Bishop's Schedule 
Feb 13-27, 2018
  • Deerfield Beach
  • Luther Springs (Synod Council)
  • Good Shepherd, Tampa
  • Tampa Office
  • Houston, TX (REDIL gathering)
  • Peace, Ft. Myers (Lenten Visit)
Florida-Bahamas Synod 813-876-7660