Sept. 24 2019
Bishop Suarez Visits The Bahamas

On Friday, Sept. 21, Bishop Suarez and Aura were able to make a one-day trip to Freeport to visit the island and see the impact of the hurricane for themselves. Bishop and Aura met with Pr. Cliff Lewis and the community at Our Saviour Lutheran Church to hear their stories and to see the ways they have already been responding to the needs. He also was taken on a driving tour around the island, where he saw the devastation of the storm to homes and lives. There is a lot of work to be done, but the island is not ready yet to receive volunteer delegations. The airport traffic is very limited, and there is nowhere to stay. We are working closely with Lutheran Disaster Response International and Gobal Global Missions, ELCA to strategize the efforts going forward.

Below are some pictures from this visit. More information about the ongoing plans for relief, the needs of the community and how congregations can respond will be coming soon.
Thanks be to God, the church building was not damaged. Our Saviour has an ability to be a staging area for other relief services.
Bishop Suarez meets with several members from Our Saviour Lutheran Church. No one from the congregation lost their life, but family members of congregation members did.
These pictures of collected debris from the initial 'muck out' of homes is only part of the story of devastation experienced by so many.
Super Service Sunday--a GWOH Testimony
story submitted by Pamela Schuetz, Shepherd of the Hills, Clermont

On an oppressively hot, but sunny day, the members of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (SOTH) in Clermont, Florida, gathered together for worship, enjoyed a bite of lunch together and ventured out into the community for service together.  Donned in their yellow T-shirts, 55 people from the church, who had previously signed up for various age-appropriate service projects, either stayed at the church or converged upon four cities in Central Florida: Clermont, Tavares, Groveland and Kissimmee. No matter where they went, it was quite clear that “God had a hand” in “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday!

  Pastor Dennis Schmidt and his wife, Rita, began their journey at the Clermont Police Station to deliver homemade chocolate chip cookies and a thank you card. After a nice visit with the police officers, they returned to the church and Pastor told us those policemen wolfed down those cookies so fast that they thought they’d come back to see if there were any cookies left to supplement the officers’ original allotment. Unfortunately, all the cookies were accounted for, so Pastor “suggested” we make more cookies next year. Other homemade cookies and cards were delivered to the four fire stations in Clermont by two other groups of people from the church. While on the subject of cookies, one group of ladies were our “bakers” and another group of ladies (and one man) were our cookie “baggers” and “bag labelers.” Occasionally, a stray cookie ended up in someone’s tummy!

Upcoming Vitality Training Retreats for Conferences

The Vitality Kick-off is an invitation to congregational leaders to gather for a day of learning, fellowship and renewal as we center ourselves on God’s dreams. Acting on God’s dreams, leaders will gather tools and resources that will create a pathway to a deeper sense of vitality and mission. Surrounded and supported by others, congregations invested in the vitality process journey together into a deeper awareness of God’s presence and action, a deeper commitment to their own discipleship and faith formation, and a deeper understanding of the communities they serve.

In the South Region , each retreat will be from 9:00-4:00 (unless otherwise specified) and include worship, brief conference business, and lunch. Details from conference deans coming soon. RSVP to conference deans to assist with planning.

10/12 - Mid-Gulf Conference (Emmanuel, Venice) **this retreat is from 10:00-3:00
10/26 - Caloosa Conference (Emmanuel, Naples)
11/2 - Tampa Conference (Good Shepherd, Tampa)
11/16 - Miami-Dade and Broward-Bahamas Conferences (St. John, Hollywood)
1/4/2020 - Lake Conference (Lamb of God, Haines City)
1/18/2020 - Tradewinds Conference (location TBD)
In the North Region , retreats will run from 9:00-2:00 (unless otherwise specified). Confirmed locations coming soon.
10/12 – Sun Coast (Trinity, St. Petersburg)
10/19 – Panhandle (St. Paul's, Niceville)
11/2 – Gulf Coast (Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Palm Harbor)
11/9 – First Coast (St. Mark's, Jacksonville)
Mark your Calendar
Click on the calendar to go to the synod calendar to learn more about these events
For Your Information
Save the Date for Synod Assembly 2020

June 5-7, 2020
NEW LOCATION: Caribe Royale, Orlando

This all-suite hotel is Family Friendly, Pet Friendly, and ‘Green’ conscious. With several pools, a fitness room, and several restaurants, this hotel is set up for your whole family.

NEW IN 2020: childcare will be available for infants and toddlers, and LutherSprings staff will be offering a daycamp experience for elementary and middle-school children/youth. High school youth are welcome to attend all workshops. More information coming. With an emphasis on workshops, we want this assembly to be uniquely set-up for multi-age and family learning. Registration for childcare and daycamp will be part of assembly registration.**

RESERVE HOTEL ROOMS SOON. At this hotel, in addition to King-size and Queen-size single rooms, there are s everal 2 bedroom villas (separate bedrooms with their own baths , an eat-in kitchen and living room) available. These 2-bedroom villas have a master bedroom with a King-size bed, and a second room with 2 queen-size beds. With the full-size pullout couch, these villas can sleep up to 8 people comfortably. The Florida-Bahamas synod is receiving an incredible deal on these rooms, offering a saving of about $45 per night over the cost of 2 separate rooms. There are also a selection of rooms that are pet-friendly.

Visit to take a virtual tour

You can reserve your hotel room anytime between now and the Assembly.

To make reservations:

*This link does not require a group or attendee code to book. Just click on the dates and you will receive the contracted group rates   
Synodical Women's Organization Invites Scholarship Applications

From Tracy Moffatt, President of the Florida-Bahamas Synod Synodical Women's Organization of the Women of the ELCA

Calling all Seminarians…

Our Florida Bahamas Synodical Fund for Leaders in Scholarship wants to help with your seminary expenses!!!

The Fund for Leaders Scholarship Application for the 2020-2021 academic year is available on our website, The deadline is midnight, January 1, 2020. Applications should be submitted to Tracy Moffatt, SWO President, 1944 Crestview Way, Naples, FL 34119 or electronically to 

The scholarship will be awarded by the decision of the FL-BA SWO board at their Spring Board Meeting each year using the following criteria: 

  • The applicant must be a student in the candidacy process attending one of the eight ELCA seminaries in either the Master of Divinity or Master of Arts program, or a student in an approved extension program of one of the ELCA seminaries and be enrolled in an approved program, such as the Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) program. 
  • Preference will be given to residents of the Florida-Bahamas Synod. 
  • Preference will be given to female applicants. 
  • Preference will be given to an active member of a congregational unit of the Women of the ELCA. 
  • Applicant should exhibit faith qualities that empower others. 
  • Applicant should demonstrate leadership qualities in church and the community. 

Thank you, Florida-Bahamas Women of the ELCA, for your generous support of our Fund for Leaders Scholarship! It is your financial support that allows us to make scholarships available which, in turn, reduce the amount of debt our recipients will have after leaving seminary. If you would like to donate to the Fund for Leadership Scholarship, please send your donation to our Treasurer, Laurie Nelson at 22223 Buffalo Ave Port Charlotte, FL 33952. Be sure to indicate that it is for the Fund for Leaders Scholarship.
Announcing New ELCA Accessibility Reinvestment Grants
From the Sept. 9 ELCA Disability Ministries Fall 2019 Newsletter

We celebrate that at Churchwide Assembly 2019 there was overwhelming support by ELCA voting members offering guidance and solidarity for the future direction of the denomination.

Accessibility Reinvestment Grants
Authentic diversity and being a sanctuary body demonstrate our care and concern for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. While we are saddened that individual racism exists, we are acknowledging that ignoring the past is painful and that our collective sin can do substantial harm in systemic ways that are uncalled for. I’m thankful for our practice of corporate confession and believe the entire church will benefit.

In response, ELCA Disability Ministries introduces a new grant opportunity for ELCA congregations in diverse and divested communities for an Accessibility Reinvestment Grant. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 15, 2019, at for up to $25,000 for small-scale property and large-impact programmatic plans. Questions can be directed to

Bishop's Calendar
  • Synod Office
  • Council of Bishops (Chicago)
  • Atlanta (Installation of Bishop-elect Pr. Kevin Strickland)
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