SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA SYNOD | ELCA
Resources for effective church leaders
+ May 1, 2020
Synod Assembly Cancelled
We are in the midst of difficult times. Governor Wolf has issued “Stay at Home” orders across the state and has banned non-essential businesses from operating until further notice. Even with the upcoming exceptions anticipated mid-May, churches do not yet fit that designation. Because of this, the Synod Council unanimously adopted the following resolution at its April 28th meeting:

Therefore, be it resolved that, in light of Governor Wolf’s orders closing public gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic, and in conformity with the practice of most synods in the ELCA, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Council approves the cancellation of the May 2020 meeting of the Synod Assembly.

We as a Synod need to take our lead from our Governor and from the guidance of the CDC. Our priority is the health and safety not only of our faith community but also of the broader communities in which we live and serve. We have also heard from our host site, Franconia Mennonite Church, that they are closed and will not consider hosting any events until it is clear that the virus has passed.

Re-Opening Resources for Churches
In a letter to Synod leaders and rostered ministers, Bishop Davenport writes that the question of when and how to reopen our church buildings is on the minds of many. The bishop notes that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for all churches. During the coming weeks churches are encouraged to follow the guidance of our governor, CDC, and local health officials.


We have been monitoring many channels for resources that church leaders can use to make decisions and plans for returning to gathering when the conditions are appropriate. Please consult these resources as you wish in your decision making process.

Questions: Contact Bob Fisher at rfisher@sepa.org

ELCA Youth Gathering Informational Meeting
Thrivent Webinar: Leadership in Times of Crisis
Join Thrivent as they host a Pastoral and Ministry Leaders Educational Event on Thursday, May 7th at 12 noon EDT. Thrivent will welcome Dr. Ed Stetzer to teach on the topic of Leadership in Times of Crisis. Join Ed as he walks leaders through how to lead well in the midst of crisis so that churches might not only thrive, but breathe life in our communities. Please click here to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Thrivent has two more upcoming webinars of particular note to church leaders more details are found on our Thrivent Member Network-Mid-Atlantic website at this link: Thrivent Events
  • Thursday, May 14, 8:00 pm. “Pivot…Don’t Panic” with John Acuff (author of 5 books, including the book and blog Stuff Christians Like)
  • Thursday, June 4, 8:30 p.m.  Multigenerational Generosity for Christian Leaders

For more information for other virtual workshops that might interest you contact:
Carolyn Schnizler Wilt
Community Engagement Leader
Mid-Atlantic Region
Thrivent Financial®
31 Estates Drive, Reading, PA 19606
Office: 484-388-0858
Grief Coaching Opportunity
On Tuesday May 5th from 12-2pm (Central) there will be a webinar on Grief Coaching tools and techniques led by Don Eisenhauer. Don is a trained coach who specializes in Grief Coaching and this venture is a mutual work between ELCA Coaching, Briarwood Leadership Center, and NT-NL.
All are most welcome to join. You do not need to be certified coaches or have any coaching experience to gain value from this. Click the following link to register: https://www.ntnl.org/event/learning-coaching-skills-for-grief-and-loss/
Paid Family Leave
During this unique period of pandemic, the institution of family is playing a crucial role in society. Families are caring for children at home while schools and other community sites are closed, caring for the sick, and mourning those lost. Importantly, the biblical stories of family embrace a time such as this. A public justice perspective recognizes that the institution of family is one in which its members are nurtured and the image of God is respected. Pope Francis has described family as a “sanctuary of respect for life.” From God’s charge at creation, to the wedding at Cana to Jesus at the cross, scripture depicts families that are formed and strengthened in hardship, as well as joy.

It is with this framing, as well as within the context of the current COVID-19 economic and health crisis, that CPJ Resident Fellow and Families Valued Program Director Rachel Anderson spoke on the topic of paid family leave. Anderson was hosted by Faith and Law, a valued institution to many on Capitol Hill, which brings together Capitol Hill staffers and members of Congress across partisan lines for Bible study, discussion groups, and current event lectures.

While originally slated to speak at a lunch on Capitol Hill on March 12, Anderson instead presented by video on April 10 due to COVID-19 restrictions. In what arguably became even more timely and pressing, Anderson shared how federal policymakers had acted swiftly in the intervening month to protect families through emergency paid sick and family leave, and discusses the potential implications for family and government in the days ahead.

Thank you
for taking the time to read this edition of MinistryLink.  Tell fellow church members and colleagues to subscribe by clicking here.

The Rev. Bob Fisher, assistant to the bishop for mission interpretation/communications
rfisher@sepa.org  / 267.323.3743