Resources for effective church leaders
+ May 26, 2022
How Long, O Lord?

God, our hearts are broken, again and again, by the scourge of gun violence in our nation. Buffalo. Laguna Beach. Deadly weekends on the streets of Philadelphia. Now the massacre of 19 elementary school students in Uvalde, Texas. God, comfort that families that are grieving right now. God, make us angry at the sin of gun violence and the culture we have created that continues to accept repeated tragedies and then move on without making change. Turn our hearts, God, to work for a society in which children can go to school, worshippers to church, people to their Saturday grocery shopping without fear of being gunned down. Help us, Lord, to turn our thoughts and prayers into actions that protect the innocent and make daily life safer for everyone. Amen.

We invite you to take time to honor the memories of those taken by gun violence in Philadelphia at “From Sanctuary to Street; From Lament to Action” on Thursday, June 9 at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, 1723 Race Street, Philadelphia 19103.

Join the Religious Leaders Council of Philadelphia, Heeding God’s Call, and local faith institutions to honor the memory of those taken by gun murders and work to end the sin of gun violence. Events include an interfaith service honoring those taken by gun violence in 2021, consecration at a gun murder site, a Witness Walk in center city, and display of the Memorial to the Lost t-shirt display.
Synod Office Move In Process

We are now in the process of moving our offices across campus to Brossman Hall. We expect to be fully operational in our new offices on Monday, June 6. 

Staff members will have limited access to phones and email during this transition, and some messages may not be delivered. Please resend messages on or after June 6.

Generosity Event Cancelled
Due to low interest in the June 18 Generosity in the Now Normal event, the planning team has made the difficult decision to cancel the June event and to reschedule the event in January 2023. If you’d like to be among the first to hear about the rescheduled event, please fill out this form.

Changing COVID Conditions
As of May 24 the CDC moved all of our counties into the “high” community (impact) level.” All five SEPA counties are experiencing high community transmission of the virus, according to the CDC.

In obedience to Christ’s command to love our neighbors, we urge congregations to take this (hopefully brief) surge seriously and consider requiring individuals gathering indoors to mask. At present the synod requires masks at events and in the synod offices at all times. United Lutheran Seminary currently requires anyone singing at worship to be masked. We pray that this rise in cases will be brief, and we urge you to combine wearing of masks, keeping people distant, and increasing air circulation/fresh air intake until our community levels are low once again.

Community levels (above, left) are a measure of how the spread of cases affects the healthcare system and causes serious illness and death. The CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask indoors and on public transportation in communities where the community level is high. The agency also recommends staying at home if you feel sick and getting tested if you experience symptoms, staying up-to-date with vaccinations and boosters, and taking additional precautions if one is at high risk for severe illness.

There is much confusion about the differences between the two metrics, which can produce conflicting results. (In recent weeks our counties experienced high community transmission but showed low community levels.) In his May 19 podcast, Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota said that when there is high transmission the community levels metric can provide incorrect guidance. Experts suggest making a risk assessment from both data sources.

Get On the Bus for Moral March on Washington

From Pastor Violet Little of Welcome Church: We need 36 more folks to make the bus from United Lutheran Seminary (7301 Germantown Ave.) a go for the June 18 Poor Peoples Campaign and Mass Rally. A generous grant from ULS and SEPA Synod of the ELCA can help cover your travel cost. Please go to and under the event register for the United Lutheran Seminary Bus to join. Contact me for financial travel assistance while funds are still available. Philly buses also leave from West Philly, the Northeast, and Upper Darby as well.
  • What: Poor Peoples and Low Wage Workers Assembly and Moral March in Washington and to the Polls
  • When: Saturday, June 18, leave 5:43 am
  • Where: from United Lutheran Seminary, 7301 Germantown Ave (also stops in West Phila and Northeast)
  • Cost: $45 per person, with assistance available from a grant provided by SEPA and ULS
  • Register: (when you get to location page click United Lutheran Seminary, Philadelphia)
  • For more info: Violet C Little, 215.370.1204

Vitality Moments

Co-Director for Evangelical Mission, Pastor Bryan Penman, shares these examples of vital ministries:
  • Lower Bucks held a conference for learning and service while also electing a Dean - they donated items to Ukrainian refugees
  • Emmauel Souderton dedicated their Parsonage last weekend as a transitional housing for people affected by sex trafficking
  • Neuva Creacion dedicated their Spiritual Pharmacy last weekend (A Forward Together in Faith Grant) and they are a strategic ministry of our synod
  • Grace Broomall hosted a Wellness Fair this weekend as part of establishing their new Wellness Center - they are participating in the Anchor Church model of redevelopment.
  • diakonia graduated the classes of 2021 and 2022 students. 


Feast of Justice, a charitable, faith-based non-profit organization whose mission is addressing hunger, meeting needs, and inspiring hope as we work toward abundant justice in Northeast Philadelphia and beyond, seeks a Volunteer Engagement Manager. Learn more.

Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania, part of the ELCA
Service and Justice Unit, is seeking applications for the role of Advocacy Engagement Manager. Learn more.

Child Care Technology Access Award 

If your church has a Pennsylvania Department of Human Services certified child care program, check your email for a message from Kaplan Early Learning Company about access to a $4,500 grant for technology tools. This email contains personalized credentials to access the grant website. If you need any help while navigating the website, you can: 
 - Contact Kaplan Early Learning Company via telephone at 1-800-334-2014 
 - Contact Kaplan Early Learning Company via online form at 
 - Chat Live with a Kaplan Early Learning Company associate at 

Support synod youth programs by purchasing tickets to Lutheran Night at the Phillies on Saturday, June 11, at 4:05 p.m. vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ordering your tickets is simple:
2.   Use password: LUTHERAN
3.   Select available tickets
Please contact Jen Dornbusch in the Phillies Sales Office at 215.218.5112 with any questions


Meagan Esterby will be ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament on Saturday, June 11 at 11am at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion (2110 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19103). She has been called to serve University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation. A light reception will follow.

Vicar Brandi Hebert will be ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at 10 a.m. at Lutheran Church of God's Love (791 Newtown Yardley Road, Newtown PA 18940), where she is being called as associate pastor. A light reception will follow in the fellowship hall.


Pastor Stratford Cuthbert “Bo” Bannister V will be installed as pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, 505 North York Rd., Hatboro, PA 19040 on Thursday, May 26th, 2022, at 7 p.m. Bishop Patricia A. Davenport will preside. The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Phelps will preach. Masks are required for the service. A dessert reception will follow the service.

The Rev. Sarah Jean Aasheim will be installed as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church Wyndmoor, on Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 4 p.m. The Rev. Chris McKinstry, Dean of the Upper Montgomery Conference, will preside. The sermon will be delivered by The Rev. Bryan Penman, Pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Conshohocken, PA and Co-Director for Evangelical Mission, Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) Synod.
         Masks are required inside the church building. If you plan to attend the Installation Ceremony and Reception, please call the church office 215.836.2366 or email:

The Rev. Gary E. Costa will be installed as pastor of Peace-Tohickon Lutheran Church (100 Old Bethlehem Road, Perkasie PA 18944) on Sunday, June 12 at 4 p.m. The Rev. Matt Thiringer will preach and The Rev. Erika Wesch, Dean of Upper Bucks Conference, will preside. Rostered ministers are invited to process. The color of the day is white/gold. A dinner reception will take place after worship. Please contact Peace Tohickon's church office for further information and to RSVP: or 215.257.3294.

The Rev. Kathleen Harkness will be installed as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Pleasant Valley (2170 PA-212, Coopersburg, PA 18036) on Thursday, June 23 at 7 p.m.. Bishop Davenport will preside. 

Applications are now open for the 2023 cohort of the Executive Program in Faith and Social Impact, a collaboration between Penn's Center for Social Impact Strategy and Interfaith Philadelphia.  Join us for an info session to learn more! 
This 8-month online certification is for leaders and innovators working on social impact projects in religiously diverse environments. 

Questions?  Please contact Bronwen Mayer Henry at
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The Rev. Bob Fisher, assistant to the bishop for mission interpretation/communications / 267.323.3743

Ms. Cynta Outterbridge, communications assistant / 267.323.3742