May 15, 2018

Bold - Passionate - Faithful
  • YAGM News: Kelsey Johnson, Holy Land
  • Consider Seminary!
  • Age and Experience--Gather Magazine

  Events Coming up:
  • Rethinking Stewardship--Luther Seminary
  • Houston, We Have a Gathering

For Your Information:
  • Information needed: Financial Peace University host congregations
  • Synod Assembly Service Project
  • Hurricane Season: Be Prepared
Online registration for Synod Assembly has closed. Anyone still wishing to register for Assembly will need to register on site . Registration opens at 8:00 on Friday, June 1. Please make sure to secure your hotel room on your own. While Embassy Suites has no more available rooms, there are hotels in the area with available rooms.

Please download the Guidebook app and search for this year's Assembly Guide before getting to Assembly, to make sure it works on your device.
Click the calendar above for more information about these events
May 19 - Tampa Conference Spring Gathering
May 19 - Pinelands Conference Spring Gathering
May 20 - Miami-Dade Conference International Potluck (Grace, Miami Springs)
May 27 - Relay for Life Benefit Music Festival, All Saints, Port Orange
May 28 - Memorial Day SYNOD OFFICE CLOSED
May 30-June 1 - Caribbean Consultation
June 1-3 - Synod Assembly
June 18-21 - Interim Ministry Network event (St. Louis, MO)
June 27-July 1 - ELCA Youth Gathering (Houston)
Conference Spring Gatherings
Pinelands Conference --May 19 (location: St. Matthew, Ocala)
Tampa Conference --May 19 (St. Paul, Tampa)
YAGM News: Kelsey Johnson, Holy Land
Kelsey Johnson is a YAGM serving in the Holy Land and being supported by the Florida-Bahamas Synod Global Mission Committee. Below, Kelsey shares some reflection on her experience. Learn more about Kelsey and the YAGM program HERE .
A School of Hope
b​y Kelsey L Johnson​ on April 21, 2018 

It seems all my newsletters have started the same way… “I can’t believe it has been another two months!” As the school year comes to an end, I again echo this sentiment, and feel myself steeped in moments of sadness, love, and deep appreciation for this experience. Before coming into this year of service, I had been considering teaching as a career path, and planned on enrolling in a masters program once returning stateside. Serving the School of Hope has been both a blessing and a curse in this regard, and has helped me continue my passion serving youth, and has helped discern a passion for justice and ministry in a non-traditional setting. I could go on about each of the classes I work with, and each of the students… how they have shared their stories about growing up in Palestine and the way it impacts every aspect of their daily lives. Please meet some of my students, as they share their hopes for the future, and thoughts on where they live.

Consider Seminary!
The ELCA is a facing a dire leadership shortage. Please consider attending seminary. Jesus called his disciples one or two at a time. Perhaps you’re being called. Even if you’re merely thinking about ministry, please contact Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and start a conversation with your synod representative. Thanks to generous donors and alumni, qualified ministry candidates studying at LTSS can receive up to full-tuition scholarships if they are full-time students. 

LTSS students are preparing for a variety of ministries, so even if a Master of Divinity isn’t a part of your perceived call, there are other options. The newly launched MA in Religious Leadership – a fully online program – is aimed at students who want to enhance their theological ability so as to strengthen their vocation and ministry in a place they may already be serving. The Certificate in Lutheran Studies is aimed at students who want to deepen their understanding of Lutheran theology or who are thinking about a seminary degree program but who are not quite ready to make that full-time commitment. If you’re curious, and want to follow Christ into leadership, please contact Deacon Justin Rimbo at Justin.rimbo@lr.edu, or start the application process online at https://www.lr.edu/admission/graduate/apply.

Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. David Ratke
Dean, College of Theology
Lenoir-Rhyne University / Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
Age and experience - Gather Magazine

by Sarah Carson Well dear readers, it's May again which means it's time for Gather's annual intergenerational issue. One year ago I wrote to you in this column about family-about whether I'd ever have one of my own and what I'd learned about it...

Read more
Gather is the online magazine of the Women of the ELCA. Learn more about this magazine HERE .
Upcoming Events
Rethinking Stewardship--Luther Seminary
Are people in your synod giving more out of a sense of duty or obligation?
   What is motivating people to give outside the church rather than inside?
     What does contextual stewardship look like in your synod? 

In our role as steward leaders today, we have to ask the difficult questions, and be prepared to engage others in conversation about them. Sometimes this involves rethinking our approach to stewardship. Sometimes it means accompanying others in their efforts to rethink their approaches to stewardship. Come join scholars, practitioners and leaders for three days of conversation, exploration and discernment. For more information go to www.luthersem.edu/rethinking .  

Opening Worship begins at 9AM on Wednesday, July 25 . We will then hear from several speakers each day, including DEM Larry Strenge on the first day. There will be breakout groups with keynote speakers and workshops introducing fresh approaches to stewardship, including The Generosity Project by Linda Staats. There will be tables highlighting specific ministry opportunities, including ELCA Stewardship Coaching. Free coaching sessions will be available at this event and in the weeks that follow. A complete schedule for this event is available on the synod calendar.
Houston, We Have a Gathering!
Over 475 youth and adults will be traveling to Houston at the end of June for the 2018 Youth Gathering. As we prepare to support these youth and adults, consider lifting up the Youth Gathering and all involved in your prayers over the next month. Consider praying for:

  • Planning and logistics, for safety and smooth operations throughout the whole event;
  • for youth who are attending, that their eyes and hearts would be open to the Holy Spirit and to each other;
  • for adults who are traveling with youth, that they would have patience and energy, and that they would engage in relationship with youth in ways that are transformational
  • for volunteers and leaders working the Gathering, that they would be touched and encouraged by the event;
  • for all the congregations sending youth, either directly or indirectly (through prayer and financial support), that they would be eager to hear the stories from those who attend, and that local ministry would be strengthened by the witness of the Youth Gathering.

The ELW offers this prayer for young people:
Lord God of our ancestors, we thank you for what you have done and will continue to do with our daughters and sons. Walk with them in life, and keep the evil one from obstructing their path. You see all; you know where the water is deep. Keep them from danger. Order their steps and guide their feet while they run the race of faith. May the good work that you have begun in them be brought to completion at the day of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
For Your Information
Financial Peace University
If your congregation is offering a Financial Peace University class in the near future, please email michellec@fbsynod.org and let us know. The newly formed Stewardship Table is looking for this information.
Redeemer, Winter Park , is hosting an open Financial Peace University class on Tuesdays starting June 5 th – July 31 st 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Tuition is $109.00 and interested individuals can register on the FPU website.  https://www.financialpeace.com/users/sign-in  
Synod Assembly Service Project
There is still time to collect items for this year's Assembly Service Project benefiting Harbor House, Central Florida. Learn more about the service project HERE .

A truck will be available to collect items between 11:00-2:00 pm on Friday, and from 8:00-10:00 am on Saturday. There will also be an opportunity to donate cash.
Hurricane Season: Be Prepared
The average life of a hurricane is nine days and is most destructive during its first 12 hours onshore. A typical eye measures 20 miles (32 kilometers) across.
- National Geographic
It is time to make sure your family and your congregation are prepared for Hurricane Season. Below is a quick-reference guide that is useful for congregations and personal property. Click on the links below to access additional information to post and distribute. Feel free to share this information with food pantry clients, preschool parents, and others in your ministry community.
Hurricane Preparedness: Quick Reference Guide
If your congregation property is damaged - remember to assess, document, and report them to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Step 1: Protect property
  • Invest in and install shutters or plywood in order to protect windows and doors from wind borne-debris.
  • Have the roof of your building evaluated to ensure it can withstand a storm.
  • Remove any branches or trees adjacent to your building that could potentially fall and damage it.
  • Sandbag any area that is subject to flooding.
  • Anchor and brace any large furniture (bookcases, shelves, filing cabinets) to wall studs.
  • Relocate any valuable or fragile possessions.
  • Secure all utilities including water heaters, gas tanks, and heaters and if necessary, raise them to higher locations to avoid water damages.
  • Secure electronics such as computers and other office equipment with straps or Velcro.; unplug if possible.

Step 2: Protect important documents and information
  • Create a list of important contacts to save that are crucial to church operations, such as employees, banks, lawyers, accountants, suppliers, insurance agent etc.
  • Review all member information and update as needed.
  • Review current disaster plan and update as needed.
  • Back-up documents that are not easily produced such as insurance documents, legal contracts, tax returns, and accounting statements to avoid water damage.
  • Seal these documents in waterproof containers onsite.
  • Save all your designated contacts and documents in an alternate, accessible off-site location.

>>> Download the 2018 Synod Disaster Response Plan <<< (pastors, congregational presidents, and office administrators should have a copy of this plan handy) 
Office of the Bishop
Bishop's Schedule
May 15-29, 2018

  • Tampa Office
  • Austin, TX (LSP of the Southwest Graduation)
  • Assembly Prep and new staff orientation (Tampa Office)
Florida-Bahamas Synod 813-876-7660