Feb. 4, 2020
MDivX: The Holy Experiment
 Contributed by Esthel Marie Kane
In June 2019, 27 student committed themselves to the MDivX program. Since then, all 27 students have completed a year of seminary in 6 months as of December 2019. 2 of those seminarians, Lori Fuller and Esthel Marie Kane, are from Florida.

January 2020 found seminarians Lori and Esthel going north to St. Paul, MN for the winter term. As they were in Minnesota for 2 weeks of intensives classes, they were able to participate in a dynamic service opportunity. On Saturday January 11, some of the MDivX students and MDiv Distant Learners united to volunteer at Feeding My Starving Children (FMSC) in Minnesota. FMSC is a Christian non-profit that uses donations and volunteers to hand-pack meals that are donated to FMSC food partners around the world, where kids are fed and lives are saved In a hour, our group and other volunteers that attended, packed 60 boxes. The boxes packed in 2 hours by this group of seminarians was the equivalent of 23,040 meals. This means that 63 children will have a hot meal everyday for a year.

Please keep all the students of MDivX in your prayers as they continue in this Holy Experiment.
First Coast Conference Invites You to "Run for It" in April
Contributed by Rich Langston (Mandarin Lutheran, Jacksonville)

For the third year in a row, the First Coast Conference is putting together a team to run in the "Run For It" 5K run in Melbourne on April 11. This is put on by a great organization called To Write Love On Her Arms. TWLOHA gets help to those dealing with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, etc., and it's probably the most effective organization to help students dealing with these issues.

We have created a team called Race For Grace and you can signup at the link below. The password to sign up is "synod." Cost is only $24 plus fees. We plan to come down to Melbourne Friday the 10th and stay overnight at Ascension Lutheran which is only 5 minutes from the race. All are welcome to come stay with us or just come to the run Saturday which starts at 8AM. This is during Holy Week--between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We will have a short devotion Friday night concerning why we're running.

Here's something extra. We've got some really accomplished runners participating. There are many individual and team awards given out. We have shots to win many of these as long as everyone stays healthy. I'd really like to have these runners pushed by others to see how well we could really do. Many walk this event so if that's what you'd rather do, you're more than welcome as well. More importantly, we could also raise a lot of money if we reach out to the entire synod. Overall, this is a great event that helps our young people deal with the biggest issues they're facing. It can bring many of them together to further build relationships. If you want further details, please reach out to me at langston.rich@gmail.com .

To learn more and/or register:

Compensation Guidelines Review Survey
The synod's Rostered Leader Compensation Committee is inviting feedback from pastors/deacons, congregational presidents, and office administrators regarding the effectiveness and use of the compensation guidelines and annual review tools. If you are involved with compensation review in your congregation and did not receive the email sent out on 1/22/2020, please fill out the survey using the button below. If you received the email but have not yet completed the survey, please give us your feedback. The survey will be open through Feb. 10. This feedback is instrumental in our commitment to evaluate and strengthen healthy leadership in this synod.

Questions about the survey or this committee can be sent to Michele Hilton (micheleh@fbsynod.org).
Mark your Calendar
Click on the calendar to go to the synod calendar to learn more about these events
For Your Information
Vitality Process Events in the North

The future dates for the Vitality Process for each conferences in the North Region of FL are as follows. Please note that locations are yet to be decided. Rostered leaders will receive specific information emailed to them in time to make plans. Again, please bring your leaders and people committed to prayer.

Feb 8 – Gulf Coast
Feb 15 – Flagler-Volusia
March 14 – Panhandle
March 21 – First Coast
March 28 – Pinelands
April 4 – Space Coast
April 18 – Sun Coast
April 25 – Flagler-Volusia
May 2 – Heart of Florida
May 16 – Gulf Coast
ELCA Benefit Plan Updates from Your Portico Regional Representative: January 2020
New in 2020 for the ELCA-Primary Health Plan
If you have ELCA-Primary health benefits, a suite of new online offerings provides convenient access to care at your fingertips, whether on the go, in your office, or and in the privacy of your own home. Find support to strengthen your emotional resilience, learn new skills, and save on costs:
  • Being is a holistic, faith-based, educational platform offering expert-led videos on a wide range of well-being skills — such as longevity, purpose, resiliency, and more.
  • Learn to Live is a self-directed online mental health support program designed to help participants manage stress, depression, social anxiety, insomnia, and substance use.
  • Text-Based Primary Care is available through a convenient app. 98point6 connects you 24/7 with U.S.-based, board-certified doctors. Receive on-demand consultation, diagnosis, and a treatment plan for $5 or less. Doctors can also prescribe medication (except controlled substances) and order lab tests.
Earning Wellness Dollars in 2020:
Members with ELCA-Primary health benefits can earn up to $200 wellness dollars to help pay for eligible out-of-pocket expenses. Earn $100 wellness dollars each when you complete a physical health assessment or biometric screening, and when you have a conversation with a Portico Financial Planner. If your spouse is covered by ELCA-Primary benefits they can earn $200 as well. Sign in to myPortico to learn more .

Videos for Treasurers and Church/Financial Administrators:
Looking to learn about Portico Benefit Services and the practicalities of managing the benefits for pastors and church employees? Your congregation must have at least one registered EmployerLink user to pay your bill and manage sponsored employees’ benefits. Note: it’s important for the people who play a part in managing your employees’ benefits to be registered on EmployerLink, and for those no longer involved to have their accounts deactivated.
Invite your treasurer or financial administrator to view these educational videos:
Managing Benefits 101 (may be seen without signing in to EmployerLink)
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).
Insurance Premiums Increasing
Congregations that have insurance with the "synod pool" through Brown & Brown need to be aware of the increase in premiums. Congregations with different property insurance can likely anticipate similar increases. If you have questions about your insurance policy, please contact Michele Hilton (micheleh@fbsynod.org).

From Brown&Brown: I want to advise that we are seeing an increase in property rates on all renewals.
The Property market pricing is based on the “re-insurance” market, (i.e., insurance companies buy insurance for their own overall/global catastrophic losses) and the re-insurance market is driving up the pricing due to catastrophic losses in the industry year over year.
From a budgeting standpoint, we are seeing on average of 15-20% increase on this line of business.
We will continue to market the account and work to drive down pricing as we do on every renewal to provide the most competitive pricing for the synod. That being said, any building updates, electrical, roofs, plumbing or improvements helps drive these costs down.

Please let Michele Hilton know if you have any questions.
Bishop's Calendar
  • Synod Office
  • Holy Trinity, Ft. Walton Beach (installation of Pr. Tim Johnston)
  • St. Paul, Niceville
  • Deans Gathering, Luther Springs
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