Feb. 18, 2020
We are Broken
A column by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

In the February issue of Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reminds us of our uniquely Lutheran understanding of the gospel and renews her call for studying Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. “Luther said he needed to study it every day—and he wrote it! Let’s do the same.”

Read her column in English at https://bit.ly/2uhqshX and in Spanish at https://bit.ly/2vXv90F .
FBSynod Global Mission Table Invites Support for Classroom at Seminary in Jamaica

The Jamaica Team of the Global Mission Table invites your partnership in supporting the United Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI) in Jamaica. Classroom 3 at UTCWI needs new equipment to continue to thrive as an ecumenical theological training institution. The Seminary is a global mission partner of the Florida-Bahamas Synod. The seminary has provided the following list of needs for their classroom.
During the season of Lent, consider joining with the Jamaica Team in collecting funds to furnish the classroom in Jamaica. Your congregation, group, Sunday School class or family may choose one or two items to 'sponsor' with your donations. Funds collected from throughout the synod during the season of Lent will be combined and sent to the seminary.

Download and share THIS PDF with those in your congregation, and help us renovate this classroom in Jamaica.

How to donate:
Send donations to the Florida-Bahamas Synod Office (3838 W. Cypress St, Tampa, FL 33607) with “Global Mission—Jamaica Seminary” in the memo)

Questions about this global mission project can be sent to PJ May (pjnrusty@yahoo.com)
The Feb, March and April editions of The Parish Paper have been added to the synod web site. Excerpts are below. Find the full articles on the web site . Use these articles to generate conversation at a council or committee meeting, as an adult forum topic, with a confirmation or high school youth group, or for personal devotions and reflection.
Get to Know the Community Through Mapping
...Church leaders hoping to raise awareness of collaborative work might consider sponsoring a mapping party. Use the event to train volunteers in developing digital maps. Volunteers could learn how to download aerial photos and alter them using web browser–based editing software. Volunteers who prefer to explore the neighborhood themselves could go out for a walk, a bike ride, or drive around the community using GPS units to mark their location and notepads to write down the information, coming back later to record the data on a computer. Read the whole article

What is the Emerging Church?
...Emergent communities might use any number of ancient practices, mixing and remixing them in ways unique to their own congregation. As one participant said, “If you bring all these elements together (i.e., prayer labyrinths, art, different types of music, different types of expression, etc.) and mix them up . . . then you’ve created a path for someone to follow in their worship of God.” Read the whole article

Enlist Specialists to Improve Outreach Ministry
...Leading a congregation often demands the skills of a generalist, whether it’s the pastor or a team of lay leaders. Yet expert knowledge has its place. Specialists such as social workers, economists, city planners, and rural sociologists can help to navigate a complicated world filled with systems and technologies requiring professional knowledge. If used correctly, their knowledge can deepen church leaders’ understanding of patterns that shape our lives. Read the whole article
Synod Assembly 2020: Open Channel

At the center of our faith narrative are two images that appear contradictory. Through the waters of baptism we are cleansed and claimed by Christ as children of God. Through the flame of the Holy Spirit we are anointed and sent into mission for the sake of the world. Flame and water--seemingly opposing forces, and yet they represent central themes of our faith: that through Christ all that separates us from right relationship with God and neighbor has been eliminated.

At this year's synod assembly, we will reflect together on what God does in and through God's people when we open ourselves up to ideas and perspectives that at first appear contradictory. Through workshops, a keynote speaker and fellowship time, we will discover together what Peter discovered in Acts 11 when his perspectives were challenged and his vision of God's abundance was expanded--"who are we to hinder God?" (Acts 11:17)

Check out the Synod Assembly 2020 page of the web site for information about this year's Synod Assembly. We will be in a new location and intentionally finding ways to include children and youth throughout the assembly. This page will be updated over the next several weeks as information is finalized. Registration for synod assembly opens March 15th . Hotel reservations can already be made (link available on the Assembly 2020 web page).
Mark your Calendar
Click on the calendar to go to the synod calendar to learn more about these events
For Your Information
Annual Reports are Still Welcome!

THANK YOU to the many who have filed annual reports on or before the due dates. These reports help us in our work together.

21% of congregations have filed their parochial reports (due Feb. 15th). These reports give the office of the bishop vital information about the priorities and health of your congregation, which informs our strategic visioning and informs our time and priorities.

25.5% of congregations have filed covenants--also requested by Feb 15. These covenants are vital for us in informing the synod's spending plan, which is prepared and reviewed extensively before being presented to the synod at assembly. These covenants give us helpful information about what to expect, so that we can responsibly project spending plans.

Thank you RETIRED Rostered ministers! We have already received 31% of your Retired Reports to the Bishop.

We are still waiting for reports from active rostered ministers. Only 8% of these reports to the Bishop have been received. While the constitution requires these reports be submitted at least 90 days before Assembly (March 6, 2020), the sooner we receive them, the better. These reports give us important information about the wellness and well-being of our rostered ministers, which informs our ministry and mission together.

Please file your reports. Links and information are below. They are so important for the work we do as church together.
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, ARE NOW available to fill out and complete, on the ELCA website . 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.
Annual Ministers' Reports to the Bishop
Rostered Ministers, please submit your annual rostered minister report to the Bishop by March 15th. Reports are available on the  ELCA web site  and can be saved and sent to Ileana Sardinas (ileanas@fbsynod.org).
Bishop's Calendar
  • Synod Council, Luther Springs
  • Tampa Office
  • Conference of Bishops (Chicago)
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