March 31, 2020
A Message from Bishop Suarez
Bishop's Greetings for the 5th Sunday in Lent

Lenten Greetings in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit! Amen.

The Holy Gospel according to St. John, the 11th chapter.

Glory to you, oh Lord!

“Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. “So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God's glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus,” after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

 “Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world.

After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

The Gospel of our Lord.
Praise to you, oh Christ!

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

According to Florida Health's webpage, as of yesterday, we have had over thirty-seven hundred cases of Covid-19 and fifty-four deaths. This could grow fast, but there is tremendous cooperation from the people staying home. This gives us lots of hope. We had to stop our daily routines in order to lower the curve as fast as possible.

Dear church,

The last couple of weeks have been trying ones for everyone across this church. Our synods, congregations and ministries are facing challenges that they’ve never faced before. Being church together means more now than ever before. 

The churchwide office is launching a comprehensive Covid-19 response across the ELCA beginning today. We have three new approaches designed to provide several levels of support for our most vulnerable congregations and ministries. These three approaches are Daily Bread Grants, Here to Serve, and the Covid-19 Response Appeal. 

ELCA World Hunger is announcing the immediate launch of Daily Bread Matching Grants. Through these grants, ELCA congregations can raise funds for their feeding ministries using an online fundraising platform and will receive a grant of $500 from ELCA World Hunger. Up to 100 Daily Bread Matching Grants are available for ELCA congregations on a first-come, first-served basis, with the possibility of more grants becoming  available in the future. Apply or donate  here . Continue Reading . . .

Pastor Peter Morey, St. Stephen, Longwood has figured out a way to extend their online ministry to their Early Childhood Center.

We host chapel for our 50+ Stepping Stones Early Childhood Center students, staff and any family who want to attend every Wednesday morning. We light candles, we say our "words," we sing and dance, we lead a lesson and pray. At the end, each child receives a blessing before returning to class. 

With COVID-19 necessitating the campus closing down for safety, we wanted to find a way to provide some normalcy for our kids and families. So, we announced that we would be hosting a "Facebook Live Chapel Party" on Wednesday mornings for the kids and their families to experience and enjoy.

We got creative and found some candles and set up a space to host from. We said our "words," we lit our candles, we sang songs and dances and while the connection failed half way through and we didnt get to have the lesson, prayers and sending, the kids loved it and so did I.
Youth Ministry
PLAN-IT: May 9

Join Lyle Griner and other Florida youth leaders for a day of PLAN-IT! 
      Work smarter and faster, knowing why you do what you do. 
      Leave with a framework for next year's ministry. 
      Structure a relational team to lead your programs. 
      Borrow, exchange, even steal! – ideas from other participants. 
      Personalize self-care keep-you-in-ministry goals.
      Learn some tools you will teach over and over to your leaders.

This is a guided day of planning resulting in a ONE YEAR OUTLINE FOR YOUR MINISTRY! This will be adapted for our times so portions of the day will be guided planning on ZOOM and portions will be PERSONAL COACHING! Lyle Griner brings proven planning techniques through Peer Ministry. You won’t want to miss it!

DATE: May 9, 2020 

TIME: 9:00 a.m.—3:30 p.m. 

      $43 per church (most helpful and appreciated!) 
      $23 per church (all my church can afford) 
      $ 0 per church (budget presently frozen) 

GO TO and go to the “store!”

ELCA is a Census 2020 Partner
Funding for over 100 federal programs, many of which combat poverty and hunger and support people in need, are distributed based on population. ELCA is a Census 2020 partner, encouraging an accurate count that impacts more just resource distribution and representation in the political process, as census data determines electoral maps. For your neighbor and yourself – encourage your community to be counted! Start Here

Synod Assembly 2020
June 5-7

Registration is open .

For more information check out our website or
Mark your Calendar
Click on the calendar to go to the synod calendar to learn more about these events
For Your Information
How Mission Support Adds Vitality
to Congregational Life -

Perhaps you were not able to join us for StewardCast 2020. Here are the links. Learn how synods and congregations are discovering  How Mission Support Adds Vitality to Congregational Life .  The first link is the complete 70 minute event. The following links are individual presentations. 
These are all posted at Feel free to pass these links on to others in your synod or networks. 

Stewardcast 2020

Stewardcast 2020 – Nick Kiger – Mission Support

Stewardcast 2020 – Faith Simonieg – Western North Dakota Synod Story

Stewardcast 2020 – Rob James – How Mission Support enhances Congregational Vitality

Stewardcast 2020 – Danielle Denise – North Carolina Synod Story

Stewardcast 2020 – Dana Dutcher – How Mission Support enhances Global Mission

Brown & Brown of Florida, Inc
655 N. Franklin St. Suite 1900
Tampa Fl, 33602
P -813-472-7002
F -813-226-1313

Dear Congregation members of the E.L.C. A.:

Brown & Brown Insurance will be handling the 2020-2021 Property & Casualty Insurance renewal for the congregation. (Workers Comp, Property, GL, Crime, Etc.) 
Brown & Brown is the  largest  insurance intermediary in the state of Florida and the volume of premium we handle provides us  preferred  access with a wide array of domestic and foreign insurance companies. Brown & Brown has served Florida for over 80 years and is committed to providing the best service and professionalism.  We currently insure over $100 billion in property values in Florida.   We continue to successfully meet the challenges of placing insurance with quality carriers and provide creative solutions to our customers.  

For the current members in the insurance pool we will continue to provide the competitive rates and advantages of being a part of the congregation’s insurance pool. For the members looking to take part in the congregation’s pool, we are more than happy to transition your current insurance into the congregation’s pool in order to provide you with the competitive advantages the pool provides. 

An update of the state of the market place: 
As an industry we are seeing rate increases across all lines of coverage except workers compensation. With the natural disasters that have taken place over the last 3 years, this is leading us into a “hardening” market. Resulting in an average of 15% increases in property rates. Understand we will do everything we can to negotiate the most competitive rate the market will offer. However, please be prepared/budget for rate increases as we approach this renewal.

Please feel free to email  with any questions in regards to the congregation’s pool, your current insurance, any personal lines insurance questions (Home, Auto, Umbrella, Etc.) and any other additional questions. 

I look forward to continue to work with you all. Thank you. 


Jason Ferguson                                                                                     
Commercial Insurance Advisor                                                  
Brown & Brown Insurance                                
Tampa, FL 33602                                  
Direct (813)-472-7002                                       
Attention Rostered Ministers--Boundaries Training
Rostered ministers who are unable to attend free boundaries/sexual ethics training offered by the synod twice a year can use the following online training instead. 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 .

Bishop's Calendar

  • Tampa Office
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