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Greetings and welcome to this Florida-Bahamas Synod Update for the third week of May 2020.

As many of you know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Now, more than ever, it is important for our church leaders to care of their own mental health and take important steps to remain mentally strong. Our Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton recently reminded us that we are all under tremendous stress, and that depression and anxiety are real. If you are struggling, please talk to someone and seek the necessary resources. Mental Health issues are not a sign of sin, nor are they a sign of moral failure or weakness. Remember that your synod leadership is here to support you and direct you in the right direction if help is needed.

Speaking of Mental Health, we’re hearing more and more about a condition called ‘Zoom Fatigue’, which is stress and exhaustion caused by attending multiple video meetings during the workday. If you think you are experiencing this fatigue, it is important to take a break and step away from your computer for a while, to rest your body and your mind. Your health and wellness are extremely important to the health and wellness of your congregation as well.

I know our church leaders have many questions about reopening for in-person worship. The ELCA and the state of Florida have provided many pieces of information in the past week, including a report for phased reopening and the ELCA’s Considerations for Returning to In-Person Worship. They are posted on our website alongside the one I prepared a few weeks ago, and I encourage you to study them and share them with your leadership. These conversations are important to make educated decisions regarding reopening. These are not easy decisions; please know I am praying for you.

+ Bp. Pedro
Rev. Pedro Suarez, Bishop
Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA
New COVID-19 Resources
The State of Florida COVID-19 Taskforce recently updated their plan for Phased Reopening. You can find details on the different phases by clicking HERE. This list is on our COVID-19 Resources page on our website.

The ELCA recently released their Considerations for Returning to In-Person Worship. You can find this document on our website by clicking HERE.

The ELCA has also released helpful tips for tracking online attendance while worshipping digitally. You can find these tips on our website by clicking HERE.
Stay in the know! Visit our COVID-19 Resources page on our website regularly for helpful links and information from the ELCA, the State of Florida, and our Synod.
Your Gifts Matter!
The need is urgent.
Your help is vital.

COVID-19 has exacerbated food insecurity, isolated our senior citizens, and devastated communities. Yet through it all, our churches have not backed down from serving our communities in every possible way.

But we can't do it alone. We are called to be Church Together. And we need your help to continue to serve the people in our communities throughout this pandemic.

Your gifts will keep our churches afloat, our food pantries stocked, and our pastors equipped with the technology needed for digital worship. Please prayerfully consider the ways your generous gifts can impact the lives of those in need during COVID-19.

All gifts are appreciated!
What's New?
Boundaries Training

Boundaries training is crucial for rostered ministers, since we work closely with people and know the importance of relationships. Rostered ministers can 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.

The cost is $49 to enroll. Questions about this training or about the boundaries workshops offered in the synod can be sent to Connie Schmucker at .
Join the 75,000 More! Face Mask Challenge
The response to our campaign was tremendous, and Lutheran World Relief met its 75,000 Face Mask Challenge. To reach even more people, they’re collecting 75,000  more  masks! How many will you make to help stop the spread of COVID-19? Sign up for more info:
Support for Our Clergy

“We’ve never been here before.” We’ve all thought this in past weeks. You may be wondering if this is a new normal, or a time of “wilderness wandering.”

To support those who lead our churches during COVID-19, Rev. Dr. Rick Armstrong will offer a virtual group to explore issues you are facing.

You can choose to attend one or more of the following sessions:
  • May 19, 2020 at 1:00 PM
  • May 20, 2020 at 1:00 PM
  • May 26, 2020 at 1:00 PM
  • May 27, 2020 at 1:00 PM
Register online HERE.
Support Graduating Seniors
The graduating class of 2020 has lost many memorable experiences due to COVID-19. Most will not attend prom, graduation, or celebration parties this year.
If you have graduating seniors in your congregation, consider celebrating them! The ELCA has provided a list of creative ideas for recognizing the class of 2020 in safe, fun ways!

Get Involved in Candidacy
Our Candidacy Committee is Seeking New Members!

Are you looking for a rewarding new way to get involved in ministry? We are currently seeking nominations of lay females who evidence a strong faith, worship faithfully, are active in the life of their congregation, have a positive and enthusiastic spirit, a commitment to follow through, and would like to be a part of the formation and education of future pastors and ELCA deacons.

New Opportunities!
Are you ready to join the Florida-Bahamas Synod Staff?

Our Synod is now hiring a full-time Administrative Assistant for Leadership . The person filling this position coordinates the Call and the Candidacy processes for Rostered positions, coordinates Candidacy Committee meetings, maintains mobility and transitions files, and assists with events as needed.

For a full job description, please click here to visit our website.
Search for Global Mission Table Chairperson
Florida-Bahamas Synod 

Are you an ELCA member interested in Global Mission work? Do you have a passion for exploring other cultures and discovering the Gospel in other contexts?

The Florida-Bahamas Synod is seeking a person to chair the Global Mission Table! The work of the Global Mission Table (GMT) is to foster growth and deepen relationships with our Companion Churches in other countries. The GMT Chairperson will be responsible for overseeing the GMT, increasing awareness of Global Mission, and deepening our relationships with our companion churches.

The ideal candidate will have strong multi-tasking skills, a love of travel, the ability to delegate tasks, and the ability to learn and respect different cultural customs and traditions. You must be healthy enough to travel overseas and must possess a valid passport. Bilingual skills are a plus!

The Global Mission Table Chairperson will need to commit approximately 10-40 hours per month to the position. This time will vary depending on upcoming events and seasons. Most work will be completed at home, with occasional foreign travel. 

Ready to apply? Email your resume to Pr. Khader El-Yateem - Assistant to the Bishop at . Be sure to tell us why you’re passionate about promoting Global Mission!
Mark Your Calendars
Click on the calendar icon to see more
events on the Synod calendar
For Your Information
The ELCA Wants to Hear from You!

The ELCA is preparing a social message on government and civic engagement. Until May 27, ELCA members are invited to provide feedback on a draft of the message. This writing project was requested by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly and authorized in November 2019 by the ELCA Church Council [CC19.11.47w]. It will be considered for adoption at a June meeting of the council.

Bishop's Calendar

  • Home Office
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