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By Sue Brandt, Director of Finance, Administration and Grant Management

The Synod's Grant Programs are an excellent example of how funds can have a direct impact on leadership, congregational health, innovative thinking, and the wider church.

Today, I write about the Congregational Capital Improvement Challenge Grant. Now in its fourth year, it is a great and popular program because it’s a relational program—the synod and a congregation working together to see a project to fruition. The relationship begins as congregations confirm they have made a Mission Support Commitment to the Synod, that they have completed their Annual Report to the ELCA (Forms A & C – Parochial Reports), and that pastors have completed their Report for Ministers of Word and Sacrament. The information these reports provide to the ELCA – Churchwide and the Synod help us to see who we are, make plans as we move forward, and confirm that congregations are accountable to their members by keeping historical information. The Report for Ministers of Word and Sacrament enables pastors to share their hopes, dreams, and concerns with the Bishop. All relational information; all partnership-thinking.

This year’s grant projects include roofs, hot water tanks, furnaces and boilers, sewer hookups, parsonage repairs, and adding accessibility. Not exactly projects that excite worshipping communities, but foundational work, to be sure. As I get to know the members of congregations that receive grant funding, I hear that they are not only working on the literal foundation, but on their spiritual foundation as well. One congregation that received a small grant to relocate and rewire a music/video room said this in its grant application: Our desire is to better lead God’s people and to advance God’s Kingdom. We understand that our method of sharing the Gospel may need to look different than it did years ago. We recognize the need for intergenerational worship. Our goal is to increase our youth and young adult membership. This congregation has a mission plan for a project that will be hidden behind drywall! I love that. 

As the synod’s grant manager, I am blessed to receive the thanks that are due you—partners with the Synod. Here are some comments received from
those who were awarded grants:

"The Synod’s grant will help us continue being a church and school of excellence that glorifies God in our worship and educational programs."

"We will start to use these funds to make much-needed improvements to our property and to better serve and reach out to our faith-based community".

"We are so grateful for the generous support the Synod has afforded us. Only with this support are we able to make the much-needed repairs to our church."

"Thank you for the CCIC Grant that was awarded. I offer this thank you on behalf of many individuals who utilize our church, God’s house. It is not just
worshippers who use this building. We already have many community partners and this money will help us make the needed repairs, so we can grow our mission of “Sharing God’s Welcome” to even more individuals and groups. Our Focus Areas of Hunger/Homelessness, Diversity/Equality, and Campus Ministry bring us in contact with many who hunger for God’s Word and desire a spiritual renewal. Our church provides a resource to these individuals. The repairs we will be able to make assist us in our robust efforts of having more individuals and groups learn of the many wonders and gifts that God makes available to all. The grant helps to take care of that [property] issue, so we can focus on other areas of mission and ministry."

Another responsibility of mine is to record all gifts the Synod receives. Each month I tally the Mission Support and other gifts received supporting ELCA programs, partnership organizations, etc. I then take 51.5% of the Mission Support received and forward that to ELCA Churchwide. That means the Synod gets to keep 48.5% of the gifts received! Each year, the Synod increases its share to Churchwide by one half of a percent. I remember fondly a stewardship sermon on tithing, when a pastor said, ‘We get to keep 90% of all gifts received.’ I remember the joy—the excitement when she said that—we get to keep 90% of everything God provides for us. We are truly blessed. You can find the 2019 Mission Support Commitment form, here. Please prayerfully consider your giving to your congregation and your congregation’s giving to the Synod and ELCA Churchwide.

May God continue to bless you and all ministries in this Synod.

"Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed." —1 Timothy 6:18-19
2018 Mission Support
The mission support of our congregations makes it possible for us to walk together with others in the mission and ministry of the Metropolitan New York Synod and to support ministries of the ELCA. 

All mission support for the fiscal year 2018 (ending on January 31, 2019), should be received in the synod office by February 8, 2019.
Make a Pledge!
In 2019 , the Metropolitan New York Synod will send 52% of what is received for mission support to the ELCA Churchwide administration in Chicago, which supports new congregations, missionaries, seminaries, colleges, universities, campus ministries, early childhood centers, elementary schools, outdoor ministries, social ministry organizations, advocacy, and community development on a national scale.
Partnership dollars come back to synods and congregations from the ELCA via grants, services, programs, staff, and resources. All mission support, including subsidized congregations, is a sign of our partnership in the Gospel.

In addition to helping us stay connected, completing this form makes your congregation eligible for synod grants.
From a Pastor 's Desk
Mission Support: The Lifeblood of the ELCA

I’m always surprised when people say back to me, ‘I didn’t know we did all that! I didn’t know that was what Mission Support does!’ ”— An article by The Rev. Robert C. Blezard, Assistant to the Bishop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod, and editor of Living Lutheran ‘s study guides.
Dear Pastor, Parish Officer or Parish Administrator:
In the coming days, your congregation will receive a number of our new “2018 Stories from Our Synod” magazine. We invite you to include them in your worship bulletins and talk about the wonderful things happening in our synod. If you need more units, please let us know by sending an email to info@mnys.org .  

God bless you for your help in allowing us to be Church Together!
The Meaning of Christmas 
MNYS' very own Pastor Heidi Neumark, along with Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop Michael Curry will be discussing the meaning of Christmas with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's Good Morning America, on their Christmas morning show.

An edition not to be missed!!
The Migrant Journey
The migrant journey is an interactive experience designed to learn about the factors driving people to flee their homes in the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) and seek refuge in the United States. As people go through the migrant journey, they learn why children and families are fleeing from their homes and the obstacles they face finding protection in other countries, including the United States.  Learn more, here.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton invites Lutherans to commemorate World AIDS Day. Learn more, here.
ELCA Good Gifts
ELCA Good Gifts resources are back in stock, and now is a perfect time to order your congregation’s supply of catalogs, cards, ornaments and more. Supplies are limited and selling out fast. Order now!
Serving Separated and Reunited Families: lessons learned and the way forward to promote family unity

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services , and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service dedicate this report to the approximately 2,600 children who were traumatically separated from their parents who endured the unknown about their child’s well-being.
Enjoy our new site-search engine!

With this sensational new tool, you will be able to find the right information you are looking for—faster and easier than ever!
Go ahead, visit mnys.org and find what you are looking for!
Sower’s Project

The  Sower’s Project is a synod-wide initiative to seed grassroots ministries in our communities, and encourage them to grow and thrive. Anyone in the synod may nominate a community in which they think a new ministry is needed, or a leader equipped to “sow” a new ministry.
Iglesia de Sión, Manhattan
Martes, Diciembre 11
7:00 pm Misa

Estás cordialmente invitado a recibir a los peregrinos viajeros de la caravana desde el Bronx a Manhattan, celebrando la Fiesta de la Vigilia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Tonantzin. Auspiciada por el Comité SENT del MNYS y el Grupo Mazarte. La caravana llega a las 11:00 pm. Para más información, haz click aquí.
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church, NYC
TODAY! Saturday, December 1
7:30 pm

Save the date and attend the 13th annual FIRST SONGS OF THE SEASON concert! An evening of song, caroling, and storytelling of beautiful music, with world-class talent and inspiring tales. For more information, click here.
First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Poughkeepsie
Wednesday, December 5
12:00 pm

Lunch ‘n Listen FREE Concert Series presents: James Fitzwilliam, Seasonal Organ Favorites. All are welcome to their 33rd season, presented monthly from September to June. A reception will take place at 12:45 p.m., following the concert. For more information, please click here.
St. John's Lutheran Church, Poughkeepsie

We are excited to announce that we have a new permanent pastor at St. John's: Rev. Jeffrey Koenig. We are happy to welcome his leadership at our church and to partner in mission with him! To learn more, click here.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Bronx
Sunday, December 9
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

This project addresses issues related to the challenges of living in rural areas of western Kenya, the lack of food and water security, and the serious risk of diseases for children. The event will feature a Q&A session immediately following. For more information, click here.
First Lutheran Church, Albany
Saturday, December 15
10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Worship, Pray, Learn. Bishop Donald McCoid from MNYS, Bishop John Stanley Macholz from Upstate New York Synod, and the ELCA Revival Team, invite you to a day of spiritual discernment, understanding change, and invitation to discipleship. For more information, click here.
DIRECTOR OF YOUTH MINISTRY: Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Rocky Point—more information here  ▶︎
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS: Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries —more information here  ▶︎

––––– CALENDAR –––––
TODAY, DECEMBER 1: Start the Holiday Season with Music!—more information here ▶︎
DECEMBER 3: Financial Management Committee Meeting—more information here ▶︎
DECEMBER 3: Gathered Committee Meeting —more information here ▶︎

• Synod Deacon Muriel Ryan, who died in Christ on Sunday, November 25. See the obituary, here.
Victims of the California wildfires
• The asylum seekers who are waiting to be processed at our southern border
 For our work toward shaping a more inclusive church, which welcomes and affirms all of God's people, specifically our  LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters
 For refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers, and those who come to their aid
 Those affected by violence in their schools, workplaces, and homes 
 The unity of this church and its mission
 Peace in our world
 Peace in our nation
 The care of God's creation 
 ELCA Young Adult in Global Mission, Abigail Mandris, serving in South Africa & Swaziland
ELCA missionary April Trout, serving in Tanzania
MNYS missionary Melanie Nelson, and her husband David Kingery, serving in Bukoba, Tanzania
  Bishop Michael Rinehart, the staff, and the people of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod