Over the past few weeks, we have found ourselves navigating a new reality as we respond to the need for slowing the spread of Covid-19. We have found ourselves in unprecedented and difficult times as we work to find new and creative ways to reach and support our communities. At the same time, our congregations are seeing new opportunities for outreach, reaching homebound and busy members with virtual worship, and caring for each other in new and various ways. Many people are starting to believe that God is using this to draw new energy into the church and remind the world of the need for faith communities.

Please join the effort to support our communities, our congregations, and the Synod.

Congregations are critical at this time as we have a need for sabbath rest in the midst of busyness, need to remember God is present in our lives, and know that we are not alone in the world today. Our congregations are rising to the challenge as leaders continue to minister to members, to those in need and to those searching for peace. We are finding that more people are turning to our churches to help them through this crisis. Certainly, it is time for us to all join together to support our brothers and sisters in Christ.

All are welcome to give as church and individuals. All gifts are appreciated!
The Emmaus Road Experience
Use the links below to watch Bishop Suarez's Sunday message!
Message from the Bishop
The Emmaus Road Experience

Grace and peace are yours from God our Father and from His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

If you have lost a loved one very close to you, you will relate to my story. I was 18 years old when my mom died very suddenly. The hours and days following her death were terrible. I felt denial, confusion, disappointment, sadness, guilt, blame, and anger, all at the same time. I remember feeling like I was walking without touching the floor. I can remember people talking to me, but I did not have a clue what they were saying, and I can’t remember looking them in the eyes, nor even listening to their words. I truly don’t remember who was at her funeral or who visited us afterwards.

Unfortunately, in my despair, I stopped praying. Although I kept in touch with my church friends and community, I simply was not talking to the Lord of the church, my Master.

It wasn’t until many, many months later that my mother’s friend came to town and wanted to see me. We visited, and at the end of our time together, she began to pray.
I was waiting to hear the words: “in Jesus’ name we pray, amen,” so I could leave.

Instead she just stopped, and there was silence. In that long silence, I understood she wanted me to pray as well. But I did not want to pray; I had turned my back to Jesus. After what seemed like hours (which probably was only about ten minutes, but hey, ten minutes in silence is a lot!) I thought, ‘How hard can it be to make up a prayer? Then I’ll be free to go’. So I proceeded and said, “Dear Jesus…”

Immediately, something happened that I cannot explain...

+ Bp. Pedro

Rev. Pedro Suarez, Bishop
Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA
What's New?
The 2020 Florida-Bahamas Synod Assembly has been cancelled!
After much prayerful deliberation, the 2020 Florida-Bahamas Synod Assembly has been cancelled. 

Because our constitution does not require an assembly every year, our synod leadership will be planning and prioritizing events later in the year, which will focus on making connections with congregational leadership in alternative ways.

St. Andrew Lutheran Supports Ministry & Gets Creative with Digital Worship
Throughout our Synod, pastors continue to find new and engaging ways to connect with their congregations in digital worship. St. Andrew Lutheran in Port Saint Lucie is an excellent example of a church using digital resources to celebrate ministry success and have fun with their viewers!

Through a bequest, St. Andrew was able to offer $500 to Sarah's Kitchen, a ministry that helps offer hot nutritious meals to the hungry and homeless. Pastor Randy Kennedy highlighted Sarah's Kitchen during his April 19 digital worship service, using photos from the ministry to showcase the good work being done.
Julie Summers, the Executive Director of Sarah's Kitchen, joined Pastor Randy to discuss the ministry and thank the church for their gift. Viewers also got a peek of Sarah's Kitchen's Mobile Food Unit, which brings food directly to those in need in the Fort Pierce area.
Later in the service, Pastor Randy used his juggling talent to explain the changes being experienced throughout our church community. The pastor demonstrated that, although he could juggle many objects, the act of juggling remained the same. Similarly, although our worship experiences may change over time, the Gospel remains the same.
In Pastor Randy's words, "The method may change, but the message never does."

Thank you to Pastor Randy and the St. Andrew team for demonstrating how fun digital worship can be!
If you have a story about digital worship being done well, please submit it to the Florida-Bahamas Synod Communications Specialist at marinae@fbsynod.org.
Attention Rostered Ministers:
Boundaries Training
Rostered ministers are encouraged to attend our Synod's boundaries & sexual ethics training online during COVID-19:

The expectation of the Bishop is that rostered ministers will attend or take boundaries training once every 3 years.

Questions about  this training  or about the boundaries workshops offered in the synod can be sent to Connie Schmucker at  connies@fbsynod.org.
Right now, it's more important than ever to remain connected to our congregations in prayer and ministry.

The Florida-Bahamas Synod wants to hear about ministry success at your church during COVID-19! We especially want to see photos of ministry in action!

If you have a ministry story to share with us, please submit it to our Communications Specialist at marinae@fbsynod.org. If you've shared a ministry story on Facebook, you can also tag the Florida-Bahamas Synod Facebook page in the post!

We encourage all congregations to submit photos and stories, regardless of how big or small the successes may seem! If you have experienced ministry success during COVID-19, let us know!
Earth Day: Celebrating God's Creation
April 22, 2020 marked the 50 th celebration of Earth Day. The annual occasion serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting Earth and the natural resources created for us by God.
Deacon Steven Beumer of St. John Lutheran in Winter Park reminded our church of the importance of recognizing Earth Day and remaining committed to environmental advocacy, writing, "Recent surveys have shown that the vast majority of Americans are in support of strongly addressing the issues of climate change. What has changed is that the earliest movement to address climate change was led primarily from the secular world.  That movement is changing to one that involves significant more people of faith. They are seeing the clear connection between sacred texts and the call to protect God’s creation."

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton also issued a statement regarding Earth Day. In her written article, Bishop Eaton stated, "In this 50 th anniversary year, under the theme "Climate Action," the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is joining the  Earth Day Network  as a featured faith partner. This partnership expresses our deep love for God's creation and a Lutheran understanding of our profound responsibility for it." You can read Bishop Eaton's full article here.

So how can we in the Florida-Bahamas Synod be environmental advocates? Deacon Beumer writes, "In our Synod, many congregations have taken the lead and established Green Teams. Others have sought ways to incorporate care for creation into the life of their congregation. Churchwide has seen the development of Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) create a growing recognition of the part that maintaining creation for future generations can play in everyone’s life. Congregations have adopted the LRC developed Congregational Covenant. It is also available in Spanish.  St. John in Winter Park has also been designated as a Green Angel. Let the Synod office know what your plans are."
Join the 75,000 Face Mask Challenge
COVID-19 is threatening vulnerable communities, and Lutheran World Relief urgently needs cloth face masks. How many will you make to help stop the spread?

Attention Church Leaders:
Be Sure to Submit Forms A & C
The ELCA Office of the Secretary is reminding all church leaders to submit Forms A & C soon. The 2019 data will be used to allocate voting members for the 2022 Churchwide Assembly.

About 2/3 of our congregations have submitted Forms A & C. If you have not submitted your forms yet, please do so soon! If you need your congregation ID or password, please call the Synod office.

Mark Your Calendars
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events on the Synod calendar
For Your Information
COVID-19 Resources
Stay in the Know!

Our Synod regularly updates our website with current COVID-19 resources for leaders. Right now, you can find information on the Paycheck Protection Program, Pandemic Precautions, Tips for Kids, and more by visiting our website.
Bishop's Calendar

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