Stories from the Synod

The Sierra Nevada Foothills Conference 4 gathered this weekend for their Fall Conference Gathering! On Saturday, the eastern part of the Conference gathered at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, CA, and on Sunday they traveled over the mountains to Lord of Mercy Lutheran Church in Sparks, NV. Special thanks to Rev. Christian Schweter, Rev. Charlane Lines, and Rev. Sarah Johnson for helping host this weekend.

Over the past couple of months, St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco, CA has witnessed their outdoor mural come to life! This newly completed mural "All Creatures Great and Small", will be celebrated next Sunday, November 6th at 10:00am.

It's been a busy October in the Sierra Pacific Synod! Harvest Festivals, Trunk-or-Treats, Reformation Sunday Celebrations, Preparations for Día de los Muertos, and more.

Churches pictured here are Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Auburn, Coastside Lutheran Church in Half Moon Bay, Faith Lutheran Church in Castro Valley, Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Reno, Hope Lutheran Church in Fresno, Messiah Lutheran Church in Redwood City, St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Pleasant Hill, Santa Maria y Santa Marta Lutheran Church in San Francisco, and University Lutheran Chapel in Berkeley.

Earlier this month, Young Adults from Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Sacramento, CA traveled down to Hume Lake for the Fall Retreat. Blessings to these young adults on a faith-filled weekend outdoors!

Happy Halloween! Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Vacaville, CA has been welcoming hundreds of children and families to their campus to celebrate over the past couple of weeks! The congregation hosted the "Pumpkins on the Hill event, where pumpkins and other goodies are sold at cheap prices, with proceeds distributed to Opportunity House and the Feed the Hungry program". The event was recently featured in a local newspaper, read more here

Photo courtesy of The Reporter.

Lutheran Church of the Incarnation in Davis, CA recently remodeled their sanctuary, and this weekend, welcomed folks from across the Conference to a Sanctuary Dedication Service yesterday! Rev. Manda Truchinski had the pleasure of joining LCI for this celebratory service.

Send your ministry pictures to or (650) 302-0364 be featured in the Synod Newsletter!

November Fall Conference Gatherings

Our final three Fall Conference Gatherings are almost here! A full itinerary and RSVP information for the three conference gatherings can be found here.

Conference 8 will gather on Saturday, November 5th at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Modesto, CA from 10:00am-2:00pm.

Conference 9 will gather on Sunday, November 6th at Christ Lutheran Church in Visalia, CA from 2:00-5:00pm.

Conference 6 will gather on Saturday, November 12th at Advent Lutheran Church in Morgan Hill, CA from 10:00am-3:00pm.

SPSYC Elementary & Middle School Retreat

November 18-20, 2022

at Mt. Cross Ministries, Ben Lomond, CA

The Sierra Pacific Synod Youth Committee (SPSYC) invites elementary and middle school aged youth to attend the Retreat this November! Gathering around the theme "God's Love: Inside Out", the retreat will stay rooted in 1 John 4:19. Some events at this retreat will be combined, and others will separate elementary and middle schoolers, but all are welcome! Join us November 18-20, 2022 at Mt. Cross Ministries for an incredible weekend.

Learn more and register to attend here.

Updates and Resources from ELCA Churchwide & Beyond

PLTS Founder's Day Keynote Lecture

Thursday, November 3rd at 6:00pm PT

In-Person at PLTS and Online

All are invited to celebrate Founder's Day with Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary this coming Thursday, November 3rd. PLTS will welcome Dr. Larry L. Rasmussen whose lecture will center around, "The Planet You Inherit: A Re-Founding Catalyst?" "This Founder's Day Lecture looks at each of these three - climate, governance, and religion - to ask whether today's planetary emergency requires re-founding our way of life."

Click here to register for both the in-person or online gathering.

Lutheran Social Services Holiday Gift Drive

Make a difference in the lives of your vulnerable neighbors this holiday season by participating in the Lutheran Social Services of Northern California annual holiday gift drive. This year, they are providing gifts to 4,500 adults, children, youth and seniors who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness.

Learn about how you can participate in this year's Holiday Gift Drive here

Spirit-Centered Moment

A poem based on Luke 20.27-38, 2 Thessalonians 2.15 & Job 19.23-27

Written by Rev. Lori Keyser-Boswell

Pastor of Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, Yreka, CA

It seems, during his ministry, religious scholars and power brokers often ask Jesus trick questions such as the hypothetical seven-timed widowed woman of Luke 20. I am choosing to offer these searchers a bit of grace and recognize that, although I do not seek to trick Jesus or catch him in a conundrum, I, too, struggle with hypothetical “what ifs”.

Pondering my own temptation to run down the rabbit hole of debates over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin and the like, I am stopping to pray:

What if

What if, Dear Holy One?

My mind is a flurry with “what ifs” and “what abouts”

What if I haven’t ENOUGH faith?

I DOUBT your promise?



What about those who REFUSE to accept you?

the call for REPENTANCE?

faith being dead without WORKS?


How can I be sure?

be sure there IS resurrection

be sure I am LOVED unconditionally?

be sure the brokenness of this world will be REDEEMED?

Then I hear your voice


We parents listen to all our children’s “what ifs” and “what abouts”

we listen, and sometimes our answer is an EMBRACE and

“I cannot explain it to you yet... TRUST me”

So Dear Holy One

may I FALL deeper into your embrace

may I TRUST your promises

may I HOLD fast to all you have taught me

may I BELIEVE (even if only a little) that what I can see and imagine now are not all there is

that all my “what ifs” will be answered

that I will be lead out of the maze of “what abouts”


I am your child

we are your children

You give LIFE and


Connect with Synod Staff & Your Conference Dean

Bishop Claire S. Burkat

Interim Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod

JJ Godwin

Executive Assistant to the Bishop

Debbie Cook

Finance Assistant Contractor

Rev. Manda Truchinski

Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership & Strategic Organization

Catherine Slabaugh

Communications & Connections Coordinator

Rev. Dr. Dawn Roginski

Interim Assistant Director of Evangelical Mission

Rev. Ben Colahan 

Dean, Redwood Mountain Conference 1

Rev. Dave Miller

Dean, Bridges Conference 2

Rev. Dr. Gabriele Schroeder

Dean, Capitol Valley Conference 3

Rev. Charlane Lines

Dean, Sierra Nevada Foothills Conference 4

Rev. John Kuehner

Dean, San Francisco Peninsula Conference 5

Rev. Cristina Beauchemin

Dean, El Camino Real Conference 6

Rev. Dr. John Valentine

Dean, Mt. Diablo Conference 7

Rev. Mark Price

Dean, Sierra Central Valley Conference 8

Rev. Jodi Golden-Lund

Dean, Central San Joaquin Conference 9

Rev. Cindy Beck

Dean, Interim Ministry

The Sierra Pacific Synod Office resides on the unceded land of the Ramaytush Ohlone People.
To learn more about their tribal history, we encourage you to click here.
The Sierra Pacific Synod is a Sanctuary Synod and a Reconciling in Christ Synod.
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