FROM THE OFFICE OF THE BISHOP
We Are In This Together
April 15, 2020

To the Beloved Community of Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod,

Each year, on the Sunday after we celebrate the Resurrection, the appointed gospel reading finds the disciples locked together in their homes. Jesus, unable to be restrained by locks and doors and the tomb, comes to give them peace. Jesus showed up. Locked doors are no challenge for our Lord.

This Easter, more than ever, we have realized the value of being in community. Physically distanced from our friends and neighbors and congregations, we have celebrated the holiest days of the year through digital worship services, mailed bulletins, and phone calls to check in with each other. We had to lock the doors of our church buildings, give up communal singing, and chancels piled with lilies. But Jesus still showed up. Locked doors are no challenge for our Lord.
We learned again what we have always known, the Church is not a building.

As your bishop, I am grateful for you – the Church deployed. You have lived into the Church as a people, through supporting and starting feeding ministries for those who are hungry, dropping off supplies on the porch for those unable to go out, using whatever technology you had available for reaching people and staying connected.

Our congregations are staying open even as our doors are closed because we are Church together. We are Church for the sake of the world.

Ministry is continuing despite the challenges posed by this global pandemic. Your church and synod leaders are acting in faithful, innovative ways every day as they discern how best to support the needs of the community and the wider world. I have seen rostered ministers, pastors and deacons, congregations, and social ministry agencies stepping up to care for our neighbors in need. We honor the government orders that keep us safe and protect our public health. We also honor our Lord’s call to love our neighbors as ourselves.
The Church remains vital and alive, even with locked doors.

Our ministries continue and need your continued support. Your gifts make possible the important work that will continue happening through all three expressions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (congregations, synods, and churchwide) as well as through an abundance of ministry partners.

Please continue to support the ministries of our congregations and our synod. Please continue to send your financial gifts to your church if you are able. Mail your checks. Give online. (If your congregation needs assistance to setup online giving, please let us know.) Advocate for your rostered leaders to get paid for the awesome ministry challenges they have stepped up to handle.

You may also give directly to our shared synodical mission at https://ministrylink.org/about/give/.
We are in this together.

I have seen the power of relationship as so many of us engage in ministry together. During these days, we lean more heavily into our relationships to meet the challenges of a global crisis. Your synod staff remains available and accessible to help. Find our email addresses at https://ministrylink.org/about/synod-staff/

God bless you, Beloved!
The Rev. Patricia A. Davenport,
Bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA
Southeastern PA Synod, ELCA | ministrylink.org