SYNOD & ELCA NEWS & NOTES
January 17, 2020
We are pleased to share with you the following news, information and ministry opportunities taking place within our synod and throughout the ELCA. Our e-newsletter is distributed semi-monthly in two separate issues. One issue includes Pacifica Synod and ELCA news items, along with prayer requests. The second issue contains ministry celebrations, events and opportunities, and positions within our synod and beyond.

If you have items to share about the ministries happening through your congregation, please email Terri Robertson at  terrirobertson@pacificasynod.org. If you know of others who aren't receiving our emails, please share this with them and encourage them to sign up here.
Pacifica Synod News & Resources
Thank You for Your Mission Support
Happy New Year! Thank you for your generous gifts in 2019. As we look back over the past year, we are reminded of the many ways our congregations partner together to share in ministry, both locally and around the world. In just under a month from now, we in the Pacifica Synod will end our fiscal year. Thank you for sending in your gifts no later than January 31, so that our office receives them by February 5 and they may be recorded in the current fiscal year. We are grateful once again for all you do to support God's mission in the world!
Synod Office Closed January 20
The Pacifica Synod office will be closed on Monday, January 20 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We will resume regular office hours on Tuesday, January 21. 
Day of Theological Reflection 2020  - February 6

Lutheran Evangelism: A Crucial Conversation
Day of Theological Reflection 2020
Thursday, February 6, 2020
Faith Lutheran Church
28200 Portsmouth Drive, Menifee (Sun City)


Pacifica Synod rostered ministers and lay leaders are invited to gather on Thursday, February 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church in Menifee. F acilitators/speakers for the day will be the Rev. Dr. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen and the Rev. Dr. Gerald Sharon. Biographical information on both speakers may be found on the event website.

Registration, check-in and coffee begin at 9:00 a.m
Program Times: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

$40 Registration Fee*, which includes lunch and program
*For those needing financial assistance, a reduced registration fee of $20 is available during online registration

Register online here through February 3, 2020

Schedule for the Day (subject to change):
9:00 a.m. Check-in/Registration
9:30 a.m. Welcome/'Beginning the Conversation'
10:00 a.m. 'An Experiential Conversation'
11:10 a.m. 'A Theological Conversation'
12:00 p.m. Lunch
12:45 p.m. 'A Formative Conversation'
2:30 p.m. Head Home

To help us plan for lunch, you are encouraged to register online (see above) in advance. For registration questions, please contact Terri Robertson by email at terrirobertson@pacificasynod.org.

Mission Support Intent & Treasurer's Remittance Forms
Congregations are asked to submit their  2020 Intent for Mission Support to the Pacifica Synod by January 31, 2019. A fillable form may be downloaded here . The form can be mailed to the Pacifica Synod office or emailed to

Please help us accurately record your congregation's contributions sent to and through the Synod Office by including a Treasurer's Remittance Statement with your check each time one is sent. The statement may be downloaded here.
Pacifica Synod Grants & Scholarships
Stephen Ministry Training Scholarships 

Stephen Ministry Training Scholarships are available annually to Pacifica Synod congregational lay leaders to support attendance at the Stephen Ministry Leader's Training Course typically held in Anaheim during the month of February. This scholarship is made possible by the Cathryn W. Wright Bequest specifically designated for Stephen Ministry lay leaders. It is expected that congregations send a pastor and two to four lay leaders for the training.

The next local Stephen Ministry Leader's Training Course will take place on February 16-22, 2020 at the Doubletree Anaheim in Anaheim. The early registration deadline is January 7, 2020.

For more information about Stephen Ministries, please go to their website at www.stephenministries.org. For training course information and to receive a registration packet, click here or call Stephen Ministries at 314.428.2600.

The synod scholarship program will provide the following:

1. $800 scholarship per lay leader, available for up to three lay leaders per congregation. Additional $285 scholarship per lay leader for non-commuters will be added.

2. $1,000 per congregation toward your congregation's enrollment in the Stephen Series, if not currently enrolled. The Leader's Training Course is designed for congregations enrolled in the Stephen Series.

3. $400 travel assistance per lay person for up to three people for Hawaii congregations.

The annual application period is September 1 to January 31. Funds are distributed in January. The current Stephen Ministries Grant application form may be downloaded here.

If you have any questions, please contact Terri Robertson by email at terrirobertson@pacificasynod.org or by phone at 714.352.8732.
IRS Standard Mileage Rates for 2020
On December 31, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service issued the 2020 optional standard mileage rates as follows:
  • 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use, down one half of a center from the 2019 rate;
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down three cents from the 2019 rate;
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
For a copy of the IRS News Release, click here.
Pacifica Synod Assembly 2020

Mark your calendars for the 33rd Annual Pacifica Synod Assembly in 2020.  We are excited to be welcomed by our university, California Lutheran University and will be holding a joint assembly with the Southwest Callifornia Synod.  Pre-assembly activities will take place on Thursday, May 28.  Business will begin Friday, May 29 and conclude on Saturday, May 30.   Look for more details in the coming months.

Nominations are now being accepted for Synod Council and Committees.
For more information, click here.

Save the Dates for Anti-Racism Training


Please save the dates for Pacifica Synod's Anti-Racism Training event at Luther Glen scheduled for Monday, April 27 through Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Watch for more information to come in the months ahead.
ELCA News & Resources
From ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
"We Know the Truth"
In the January 2020 issue of Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on white privilege (reprint of her June 2108 column): "We aren't free until all of us are free." 

Read her column in English at https://bit.ly/36BvljB and in Spanish at https://bit.ly/39UNISW.


Pastoral letter on the United Methodist Church
January 9, 2020

Dear Church,
Through full communion, we have grown in unity and fellowship over the past decade with the United Methodist Church (UMC). We are receiving and sharing gifts, strengthening the body of Christ, and deepening mission and ministry for the sake of the world.
Last week, in a flurry of misleading headlines, many of us read that the United Methodist Church had split.  This is not, in fact, what happened. On Jan. 3, it was announced that an ideologically diverse group of leaders collaborated in a mediation process resulting in their unanimous support for a proposed agreement. If adopted, the  Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation would result in the separation of the United Methodist Church. At this point, it still needs to come through the appropriate legislative mechanisms in order to be deliberated by the UMC General Conference in May. The proposed agreement is just that at this time.
Many of you may be pondering the good Lutheran question: What does this mean? For the UMC? For our full communion partnership? It is simply too soon to have clarity on those questions. I assure you that there are leaders, both ELCA and UMC, who are carefully and faithfully tending to these questions. My staff colleagues and I are in regular conversation with our counterparts. As actual decisions are made by the General Conference and details become clearer, we will share information and seek to interpret it.
For now, I invite your continued prayers for, and accompaniment with, our full communion partners. Reach out to your neighbors and let them know that you are walking with them and praying for them, for the unity of Christ's church, and for God's justice and peace for all people and creation. This is a time for deepening our commitments to the relationships at the very heart of our bond as siblings united in Christ.
In Christ,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop 
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Pastoral Message on Iran Conflict
January 9, 2020

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God"        (Matthew 5:9)
The current crisis between the United States and Iran is worrisome for many of us in our church, in our nation and in the world. Our country and Iran need urgently to find ways to resolve our differences through a de-escalation of the current crisis, using diplomacy and other peaceful means.
Armed conflict and war are always tragic for those directly involved and often as well for civilians, who also may suffer under punitive sanctions. These situations are evidence of broken relationships.   
Our social statement, " For Peace in God's World", offers guidance: 
We of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America share with the Church of Jesus Christ in all times and places the calling to be peacemakers ....
 
The basis of the Church's peace-calling is in God's final peace, the peace of God's eternal reign. That calling is to proclaim the Gospel of God's final peace and to work for earthly peace.
For our part, we have a window of opportunity to stop the current conflict before it worsens. We should appeal now to our elected officials to pursue the path of dialogue and diplomacy with Iran - for our sake, for the sake of the people of Iran and for the sake of the world God so loves. 
 
In peace,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Annual Reporting Reminders for
Congregations & Rostered Ministers
2019 Congregational (Parochial) Reports
In December, the ELCA mailed the 2019 Congregational Report forms to all congregations.The mailing included Form A, Form C, the instructions, and the financial worksheet. In addition, the Congregational ID number and password for online reporting were included in the mailing. You will need these items to login and file your report online. To do so, follow this link.

The information included in these reports is vital to the ELCA's commitment to improving its efforts to spread the good news and are used in allocating the ELCA's resources to synods and congregations. Did you know that the information you submit (or do not submit) in your parochial report goes into your congregation's trend report, which is publicly available online? Seekers looking for your congregation can see not only the information you submit but also whether the congregation hasn't submitted parochial reports. 

The due date for these forms is February 15, 2020.  If you can't find your login information, please contact Carol Youngman at 714.692.2791 or by email at carolyoungman@pacificasynod.org.


Rostered Ministers Annual Report to the Bishop
All rostered ministers in the ELCA are required to complete an annual report to the bishop. Follow this link to select the applicable report from the ELCA website page. This report is a fillable PDF. To ensure that your report is saved properly before sending or printing it, please follow the instructions below. 
  1. Right-click or control-click (on a Mac) on the file you want to use and select "save file" so it gets saved on your computer in a place you can find.
  2. Close the webpage! Don't type your answers in the webpage version!
  3. Find the file on your computer, and open it in Acrobat or Preview or another .pdf reader.
  4. Fill out a couple lines of the form. Save it. Close the file. Reopen it to see that the data is being saved correctly.
  5. Finish completing the file and save it.
Once completed, please return this form to the synod office by email to the bishop (andytaylor@pacificasynod.org),  Fax (714.692.9317), or by mail to the Pacifica Synod office at 1801 Park Court Place, Bldg. C, Santa Ana, CA, 92701. 
Portico Benefit Services News

New in 2020 for the ELCA-Primary Health Plan
if you have ELCA-Primary health benefits, a suite of new online offerings provides convenient access to care at your fingertips, whether on the go, in your office, or and in the privacy of your own home. Find support to strengthen your emotional resilience, learn new skills, and save on costs:
  • Being is a holistic, faith-based, educational platform offering expert-led videos on a wide range of well-being skills - such as longevity, purpose, resiliency, and more. 
  • Learn to Live is a self-directed online mental health support program designed to help participants manage stress, depression, social anxiety, insomnia, and substance use. 
  • Text-Based Primary Care is available through a convenient app. 98point6 connects you 24/7 with U.S.-based, board-certified doctors. Receive on-demand consultation, diagnosis, and a treatment plan for $5 or less. Doctors can also prescribe medication (except controlled substances) and order lab tests.

Earning Wellness Dollars in 2020: 
Members with ELCA-Primary health benefits can earn up to $200 wellness dollars to help pay for eligible out-of-pocket expenses. Earn $100 wellness dollars each when you complete a physical health assessment or biometric screening, and when you have a conversation with a Portico Financial Planner. If your spouse is covered by ELCA-Primary benefits they can earn $200 as well. Sign in to myPortico to learn more.


Videos for Treasurers and Church/Financial Administrators:
Looking to learn about Portico Benefit Services and the practicalities of managing the benefits for pastors and church employees? Your congregation must have at least one registered EmployerLink user to pay your bill and manage sponsored employees' benefits. Note: it's important for the people who play a part in managing your employees' benefits to be registered on EmployerLink, and for those no longer involved to have their accounts deactivated. 

Invite your treasurer or financial administrator to view these educational videos:

Managing Benefits 101 (may be seen without signing in to EmployerLink)
Employer Link Tour
Understanding Your Bill

Lutheran Disaster Response Updates
Lutheran Disaster Response brings God's hope, healing and renewal to people whose lives have been disrupted by disasters in the United States and around the world. When the dust settles and the headlines change, we stay to provide ongoing assistance to those in need. Below are just a few areas that Lutheran Disaster Response is currently providing assistance for:

* In Australia, intense wildfires have been raging across the country. In New South Wales, more than 1,200 homes have been destroyed and nearly 9 million acres have burned. In Victoria, over 4,000 people were trapped by the bushfires, which forced them to take refuge along the beachfronts and in boats. The wildfire season is expected to get only worse due to the severe drought experienced throughout the country. Lutheran Disaster Response is sending a grant to the Lutheran Church in Australia so it can continue to respond immediately, providing food and other necessities.

* In Indonesia, heavy rain caused severe flooding and landslides in the greater Jakarta area. More than 60 lives were lost and close to 100,000 people lost their homes. The government opened 255 evacuation centers as temporary shelters for displaced families. Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP, the Batak Christian Protestant Church), a companion of the ELCA, opened a tent in Jakarta to provide free medical checkups to families affected by the flooding. HKBP also supplied cleaning materials to help communities remove debris and clean water-damaged homes. Lutheran Disaster Response is providing support to HKBP to continue the relief and recovery activities.

* In Puerto Rico, a series of earthquakes up to a 6.4 magnitude have killed at least one person and caused power outages and widespread damage. The earthquakes come as many residents of the U.S. territory are still recovering from the 2017 hurricanes, painstakingly repairing or rebuilding their damaged homes. Lutheran Disaster Response is communicating with the Caribbean Synod and Lutheran Social Services of Puerto Rico about the best way to support the recovery effort.


To contribute to Lutheran Disaster Response online, please click here.



ELCA 2021 Youth Gathering - Minneapolis, MN

ELCA Youth Gathering
June 29-July 3, 2021
Minneapolis, Minnesota

The ELCA Youth Gathering team announces the theme of the 2021 Gathering, "boundless: God beyond measure," based on Ephesians 3:19 CEV.  "I want you to know all about Christ's love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is."

Every three years, 30,000 high school youth and their adult leaders from across the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gather for a week of faith formation known as the ELCA Youth Gathering. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.

An important part of the Gathering's ministry are the two pre-events, the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE), a faith formation and leadership development event primarily for youth of color, and the tAble, a gathering that gathers, blesses and empowers youth with disabilities.

For more information about the 2021 ELCA Youth Gathering, go to https://elca.org/gathering.

ELCA Publications 

 


 
 
Prayer Requests
In our synod e-newsletter,  prayer requests may be shared for our synod's rostered ministers, spouses, key lay leaders and congregations.

 Prayer requests included are subject to the following guidelines:
  • Only the names of those to be prayed for will be included in our communications. Additional information (with permission) may be shared with the bishop or synod staff, but will not be publicized.
  • Those being prayed for must have provided the requester with explicit permission for their names to be shared with the synod.
  • Names will remain in the synod communications for one month, unless we are notified by the Conference Prayer Coordinator to extend the request.
  • Prayers MUST be added through your Conference Prayer Coordinator, who will submit the prayers to the synod office for distribution.
The following people are serving as your Conference Prayer Coordinators:
E. San Diego Conference - The Rev. Richard Vevia - revvev@cox.net
W. San Diego Conf - The Rev. David Nagler - pastordave@christpb.org
Harvest Conference - The Rev. David Jorstad - pastorjorstadsmlc@yahoo.com
Raincross Conference - The Rev. Linda Brown - pastor@edenlutheran.net
Big Bear Conference - The Rev. Matt Anderson - pastormatt@trinityvictorville.org
Saddleback Conference - The Rev. Marty Jacobson - pastormartyclcrsm@gmail.com
Son & Surf Conf - The Rev. Jennifer Schultz - prjenniferblclosalamitos@gmail.com
Rejoice Conference - The Rev. Cate Luehr - pastorcate@elclh.org
Hukilau Conference - The Rev. Kathryn Zurcher - kzurcher002@luthersem.edu

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