Jan. 29, 2019
Journey to Jamaica
submitted by PJ May, Global Mission Committee Chair

At the 3rd Caribbean Consultation, Rev. Dr. Oral Thomas, Acting President of the United Theological College of the West Indies (UYCWI) issued and invitation to the FB Synod to do an “immersion” journey to Jamaica. Plans immediately began to develop for a group to travel to Jamaica in January 2019, stay at the seminary, and be “immersed” in the culture. Morning lectures and presentations by seminary and neighboring University of the West Indies professors on church history, the history of Jamaica and the culture of resistance, Rastafari, and the impact of...
>>> read more <<<
Parish Paper as Resource
In light of the recent shooting in Sebring, the anniversary of the shooting in Parkland last year, and other tragedies regularly reported in our communities and around the country, this Parish Paper from June, 2017, might be a helpful resource to individuals, families and congregations. The Parish Paper can be printed and distributed to members and friends, used to begin devotions or reflection at council or committee meetings, sent to families for discussion, or used by individuals for reflection and devotion. Find the Parish Paper on the synod web site HERE .

From June, 2017: Ministry in the Midst of Tragedy
Additionally, when violence affects the whole community, a second layer of mourning begins that runs parallel to the event’s impact on individuals. “Collective trauma” results from wounds to an entire community. When violence damages our sense of “we,” our bonds of attachment to the community weaken. Community members experience fear and their feelings of well being deteriorate. This collective trauma can last longer than any single individual’s trauma and requires specific rituals and strategies to help the community process the events...

After tragedy, some congregations experience “missional” trauma. They may need to discern a new mission, vision, and ways of being the church. Congregations in the midst of tragedy remain assured that their individual and collective life belongs to God. As the psalmist sings in Psalm 30:11-12: “You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.”  >>> read the whole article <<<

Other helpful Parish Paper topics include:
  • How to balance hospitality and church security
  • Making the nursery a place of belonging
  • Mistakes Churches Make During an Interim
  • Equipping Volunteers
  • Don't Disagree, Deliberate--how to lead community conversations in your church
Continue Praying for the FBSynod's
Young Adults in Global Mission
Courtney Noya: YAGM serving in Mexico
It’s probably okay to hate seeing children missing school in order to ride on top of a train in hopes that they might have a better life/opportunities when all is said and done. It’s probably okay to sometimes hate the feeling of not being enough to solve all of their problems.
Stephen Bryant: YAGM serving in Rwanda
Imagine having to make the decision between cooking, or having something to drink. Imagine deciding whether you should wash your clothes or take a bath. These might seem like far fetched decisions but I thought about them on Saturday.
Pray for Courtney, Stephen, and Sean as they continue their year of service through the ELCA's Young Adult in Global Mission.

Specifically, pray for:

  • physical and mental health
  • spiritual strength and discernment
  • relationships and community
  • moments of joy and laughter
  • open minds, eyes, and hearts to see God at work in and through them and their communities

Here are words to a hymn that could be lifted up as a prayer for these young adults (and all global mission personnel and staff serving around the world). Change the 'me/my' language to 'they/them/their' language:

Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways (ELW 772)

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways to keep his statutes still
Oh, that my God would grant me grace to know and do his will!
Sean Bryant: YAGM serving in Tanzania
from his December newsletter:
Above is my host father's family taking photos of the kids after church, where there were 90 kids baptized. No, that was not a typing error.
Do you or someone you know have an interest in being a servant leader, living and serving alongside an ELCA's global companions? ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) is a one-year international service-learning and faith-formation opportunity for young adults, ages 21 to 29. Applications are open now through February 15. Learn more and apply today .
Mark your Calendar
Click on the calendar to go to the synod calendar to learn more about these events
Jan. 28-30 - Transition Training, Luther Springs
Jan. 30 - Ordination of Pam O'Donnell, Christus Victor, Naples (6:00 pm)*
Feb. 1-2 - Synod Council Meeting, Tampa
Feb. 3 - Advent, Melbourne, Organ concert: From Bach to Ragtime (3:00 pm)
Feb. 6-8 - DART Clergy Conference, Orlando
Feb. 12-14 - Dean's Retreat, Luther Springs
Feb. 15 - Community Conversation with Pr. Stephen Bouman (St. Armand's Key, Sarasota, 6 pm)
Feb. 16 - Installation of Pr. Anna Figueiro, Mandarin, Jacksonville (11:00 am)*
Feb. 17 - Flute Ensemble, Prince of Peace, Largo (3:00)
Feb. 19-22 - Ignite the Church Conference, Orlando
Feb. 19-22 - Academy of Parish Clergy Conference, Oviedo

*rostered ministers invited to vest and process (color is red for ordinations, color of the day for installations)

For Your Information
Needed for Synod Assembly: Election Committee Members

Planning on attending Synod Assembly and like working with numbers?  
You are needed to help with Elections at our Synod Assembly - verifying electronic or counting paper ballots, determining election results and generating reports for the Assembly.  Our work is throughout the Assembly where we handle all elections and other votes, if needed. We will begin our work with a meeting at 11:00am Thursday, June 6th.  Come give it a try this year…we have a lot of fun crunching numbers while doing God’s Work!  

Contact Tracy Moffatt if you are interested in joining this great team or would like more information: tracymoffatt@aol.com or 239-597-8383.
DART Clergy Conference
Feb. 6-8, Orlando

We invite you to join us on February 6—8, 2019 at The Florida Hotel in Orlando for the DART Clergy Conference, the annual gathering of nearly 200 clergy and denominational leaders from throughout the DART (Direct Action and Research Training) Network. Here, clergy strengthen relationships and sharpen their skills in building powerful justice ministries.

During our Wednesday opening sessions, The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, will address the group about justice as an essential aspect of Jesus ministry and our faith.

Each day, Rev. Dr. Raymond Pickett, Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California, will lead text studies “from the margins.” Through this lens, clergy will view Biblical passages in their historical and social contexts and will reflect on what scripture says about our role in shaping our public systems in order to heal the wounds of injustice.

In addition to our guest keynotes, clergy will give testimonies on their experiences and successes in building strong justice ministries in their congregations. Register for the Conference by clicking https://airtable.com/shreMWB93Qo0mqahe or complete and email the attached registration form to our training director, Leah Wiley, at leah@thedartcenter.org .
Community Conversation-St. Armand's Key, Sarasota
On February 15th at 6 pm St Armand's Key Lutheran Church, Sarasota, will be hosting “Living Faithfully in these Times.” Please join us for a conversation over the changing face of America. How do we (or can we) engage as communities of faith, providing safe spaces for dialogue, in today’s polar and emotionally charged environment. This event is free and open to the public (all of our communities of faith). Our conversation leaders/presenters will be Pr. Stephen Bouman, Bp. Pedro Suarez, and Pr. Khader El-Yateem. 
Bishop's Calendar
  • Synod Office
  • Christus Victor, Naples (Ordination of Pam O'Donnell)
  • St. Matthew's, Ocala
  • Orlando (DART Conference)
  • Ascension, Indian Harbour Beach
  • Gloria Dei, Leesburg
  • Luther Springs (Dean's Retreat)