Jan. 14, 2020
Living at Taize to Reflect on Climate Change
Contributed by Stephen Bryant. This is part 1 of a 2-part reflection on Stephen's experience at Taize and reflecting on climate change. Part 2 will be shared next week.

The Taize Community is located on the eastern side of France, close to the Swiss border. An ecumenical monastic community, Taize is based in the Roman Catholic Church, but is open to all--and by all, I truly mean all. The community is open to all people, so that those present can live in intentional community with one another and can have open dialogue.

Each year there is a general theme that guides that year’s conversations. The 2019 theme was “Welcoming the Stranger”. This means that the devotionals all connected to how we welcome the stranger. Along with this general theme, there are weeklong programs focusing on specific topics within this general theme.

In August 2019, I was blessed to be present in Taize for a week of discernment and discussion for young adults focusing on ecological perspectives and climate change. This means that while working, eating and sharing living spaces with people from all over the world, I was able to engage in conversations about how climate change impacts how we welcome the stranger. This all was done while participating in prayer three times a day. 

Life at Taize is characterized by prayer 3 times a day, when hundreds of people--many of them young adults--gather in the chapel for singing and silence.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Traditionally celebrated between 18-25 January (in the northern hemisphere) or at Pentecost (in the southern hemisphere), the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity enters into congregations and parishes all over the world. Pulpits are exchanged, and ...

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Order Camp Sunday Materials Today!

Our Synod recognizes Sunday, February 9, 2020 as our NovusWay Camp Sunday emphasis. Did you know people who attended a faith-based camp as a child or teenager have stronger connections to the church as an adult? Our synod values camp because of the positive impact it has on the lives of those who attend.
We invite all our congregations to celebrate Camp Sunday by ordering your supplies today! Our goal is for 80% of our congregations to celebrate Camp Sunday. It is easy and NovusWay staff will take care of everything. Click this link to order your materials now.
NovusWay offers four camp locations for children, youth and adults: Lutheridge (NC), Lutherock (NC), Luther Springs (FL) and Lutheranch (GA). Visit their new website www.novusway.org  and check out all the opportunities for a child in your life to attend camp this summer. 
January Webinars from ALOA

ALOA webinars feature a knowledgeable older adult ministry leader covering a single topic and providing information on available resources. All are free and last approximately 60 minutes. If you can't be available for the live webinar, sign up anyway and we'll email you a link to the recording and associated resources.

January 23, 2020 – Noon ET: Aging Parents and Their Adult Children with Disabilities
Mona Fuerstenau, Director of Ministry Partnerships at Bethesda Lutheran Communities, Watertown, WI, will discuss the challenges and possibilities aging parents face as they make plans for their adult children with disabilities after they are gone. Register now

February 27, 2020 – Noon ET: Nursing Homes: Quality Care & Quality of Life, Part 2
Alice Hedt, former Executive Director of the Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, provides a follow-up to her webinar on finding a quality care facility. In this session, she'll explore how family members and residents themselves can promote quality of care and quality of life once there. Register now

Find out more about ALOA webinars and check out the archive of past topics on our website .
Mark your Calendar
Click on the calendar to go to the synod calendar to learn more about these events
For Your Information
Mission Support Covenant Forms Available
The 2020 Mission Support forms are available on the synod web site. These forms help the synod office plan well for ministry priorities and programming for the next year.

>>> Click HERE to submit the form online<<<
>>> Click HERE to access the forms to download and print<<<
Parochial Reports Available on ELCA Web Site
 Forms A and C that make up the required, annual parochial report, will be available to fill out and complete, on the ELCA website, beginning this month. Each congregation needs to have its own church ID and password. The passwords for 2019 were recently sent to each congregation. The passwords are also available from the synod office.
Annual Report Covers
The 2019 Annual Report Covers from the ELCA are available on the synod web site (on the Forms page) and also on the ELCA web site (on the Stewardship page). These covers include a brief litany to open congregational meetings and a brief message from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.
We Know the Truth
In the January 2020 issue of Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on white privilege (reprint of her June 2108 column): “We aren’t free until all of us are free.”

Organ Wanted
Atonement Lutheran Church, Sebring, is looking for a used Church Organ to replace an older Allen model which is wearing out. Perhaps your church does not have an organist; or is not using your organ, due to changing music styles; or if your church is considering merging, or closing. Please consider contacting us with a description of the organ that needs a new home.
Let us know some of the specifics, and the cost.
Mary Thoresen, Atonement Lutheran Church, Sebring (863-605-1697)
Renovation/Re-imagination of Synod Resource Center
With the change in how congregations seek out, find, and use resources (books, curriculum, study material, etc), and with changes in how Augsburg Fortress is developing and sharing material, the synod staff are doing some intentional reflection on the value of the synod resource center as a 'lending library' of print material. Over the next several months, materials will be reviewed for relevance and connection to ministry priorities. Curriculum and resources that have not been checked out or used for the last 3 years will be removed. This evaluation and 'weeding out' of resources is the first phase of re-imagining the best way to offer resources to congregations and leaders.

How does this affect you?
  1. If you have borrowed materials from the synod resource center and are finished using them, please return them to the synod office. If you are still using them, please email Sr. Michelle (michellec@fbsynod.org) to let her know the materials are useful, and you may keep them.
  2. You may browse the material currently in the resource center online catalog from the web site. If there are materials you are specifically interested in the resource center holding onto, let Sr. Michelle know by Feb. 15.
  3. From Feb. 1-March 1, pastors and congregational leaders who are visiting the synod office may browse the material in the resource center and request materials that are relevant to their ministry needs.
  4. Resources and materials will be available at this year's Synod Assembly as part of a 'resource swap,' where congregations are invited to bring unwanted materials to share with others who may be looking for curriculum and materials. More information about this resource swap will be in the synod assembly information.
Bishop's Calendar
  • Synod Office
  • Staff Retreat
  • Grace, Lakeland
  • Trip to the Holy Land
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