April 30, 2019
First Coast Conference Youth Join Together for 5K
Contributed by Rich Langston, Mandarin Lutheran, Jacksonville
For the second year in a row, various youth groups from Jacksonville participated in the To Write Love On Her Arms 5K run in Satellite Beach. This organization not only raises awareness for anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, but also gets people the help they need who deal with these issues. Our students struggle in this area more than any other affliction, so to get them involved with an organization like this is greatly helping them overcome these obstacles. The hope is that engagement and involvement in this run will continue to increase in years to come.

Additionally, in the two years we've participated, our youth and adults have taken home six medals for finishing in the top three of their age groups! While we all can't win medals in these events, exercising is one of the many tools to combat anxiety and depression that we can all do. Also, the 5k provides community for us to meet up with each other and make new friends, which in itself helps combat these issues. Relationships and fellowship--we all need to be there for each other to stay healthy. Here's to hoping that this event grows like we think it can in the future, as well as others that promote similar objectives. 

A huge thanks to Pastor Phillip Whitener and Ascension Lutheran in Indian Harbor Beach for letting us stay at their campus the night before. It provided an awesome place to stay only minutes away from the race. Much appreciated!!
Lenten Visit Leadership Notes
At this year's Lenten Visits, Bishop Suarez shared a presentation with some thoughts on healthy leadership. Several people asked for those notes for the sake of fostering additional conversation in congregations. His presentation has been re-formatted as a 2-page handout for discussion and reflection on leadership. If you were not able to make it to a Lenten visit, consider reviewing this leadership note hand-out and discussing it with others in your congregation. It includes some questions for conversation and reflection.

Resources for Children's Ministry and the Narrative Lectionary
A new resource is available for Children's Ministry that is more affordable for all congregations, and that follows the Narrative Lectionary for its reading schedule. Adaptable with ideas for large mixed age groups, as well as for small groups for PreK, K&1, 2&3, and 4-6 grade. Created by an ELCA pastor who wanted less expensive and more adaptable curriculum resources that create less paper waste and that follow the Narrative Lectionary schedule of readings. Congregations who don't follow the Narrative Lectionary in worship will still find this a great resource! Go to www.BloomInFaith.com to check it out. 
Good Grief: A Companion for Every Loss

For more than fifty years, Good Grief has helped millions of readers find comfort and rediscover hope after loss.

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diakonia Graduation Retreat

Life-long learning includes not just the content of classes and information, but what we continue to learn from past experiences as faith gives us lenses to look back on our own stories. At this year's  diakonia  retreat, Pr. Derek Hoven will be guiding and facilitating conversation and reflection about the strands of stories that are woven together into our story--personal stories, God's stories, and communal stories. The retreat is open to  diakonia  students, graduates, teachers, and anyone else who is looking for an opportunity for fellowship, enrichment, and learning. The graduation and eucharist service will be at the end of the retreat.

Dates:  May 17-18, 2019
location:  Advent (Suntree Campus), Melbourne
time:  retreat begins at 5:30 on Friday with dinner. Graduation service and eucharist begins at 12:30 on Saturday, May 18.

Mark your Calendar
Click on the calendar to go to the synod calendar to learn more about these events
For Your Information
Celebrations Throughout the Synod

Synod staff are blessed to travel around the synod for various celebrations, conversations, and commemorations. In the last few weeks, here are a few places we've been as we join the Holy Spirit in the work being done through the Florida-Bahamas Synod:

Bishop Suarez participated in the installation service for Pr. Pam O'Donnell as pastor at Faith Lutheran Church, Ormond Beach.

Pr. Rob Carlson participated in the commissioning service for parish deacon Carolyn Gresham at Epiphany Lutheran Church, Oveido.

Pr. Khader El-Yateem participated in the Broward Bahamas Conference Easter Vigil Service.

Deacon Connie Schmucker participated in the retirement celebration for Pr. Marilyn Crosby, Gloria Dei Lutheran, Leesburg.

Deacon Sue Mendenhall participated in Camp Sunday at Atonement Lutheran Church, Wesley Chapel.

These celebrations and events are among the many signs of life and vitality throughout the Florida-Bahamas Synod!
Get Ready for Synod Assembly: Special Guests and Presentations
Special guests at this year's Synod Assembly will include:
Rev. Mark Olsen, ELCA Churchwide Representative. Rev. Olsen will bring greetings and updates from the Churchwide office, and will be available throughout the assembly for conversation and fellowship. The ELCA Churchwide report to Synod Assemblies is available HERE .

Rev. John Vertigan, Conference Minister for the Florida Conference UCC will be our ecumenical guest. Rev. Vertigan will bring greetings and a brief report.

Please keep the ELCA Churchwide staff in your prayers. Please continue to keep our ecumenical partners in your prayers.

Interfaith Dialogue and Panel:
On Thursday evening, the Assembly will host an interfaith dialogue and panel. Following this panel, the documentary "Father K" will be shown. "Father K" is a documentary that depicts Pr. Khader El-Yateem's run for city council in New York City. Read a recent Living Lutheran article about this documentary. Learn more about the Father K film .
Job Opportunities
Go to the Employment page of the Synod web site to learn more about these and other positions.

Trinity Lutheran School, Kissimmee
Trinity Lutheran School located in Kissimmee, Florida is adding an Assistant Principal to our school faculty for the 2019-20 school year. The successful candidate will begin work July 1, 2019 in preparation for the opening of school in August. Our school is a mission project of Trinity Lutheran Church and serves children from the local community in Pre-K through grade 12. A daycare program will be added beginning in August to serve newborns (12 weeks) through age 3. The Assistant Principal will report directly to the Principal and assist with every aspect of our program.

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Palm City
Immanuel Lutheran Church in Palm City Florida is looking to hire a Director of Youth and Family Ministry. This is a full-time staff position who will work directly with the ministry team. The director will continue to promote the integration of our youth into the full life of the congregation. The director will work with ministry staff and existing ministry teams to provide opportunities to participate in the life and worship of our church. The Director will continue to develop programming, fellowship, and service opportunities as well as to develop relationships with families in the congregation and our early learning center.
Bishop's Calendar
  • Washington, D.C. (ELCA Advocacy Days)
  • Puerto Rico (Region 9 Bishops gathering)
  • Synod Office, Tampa
  • Advent, Melbourne (diakonia graduation eucharist)
  • St. Paul, Melbourne
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