April 13, 2020
Pacifica Synod News & Notes
We share with you the following news, resources, information and event updates taking place within our synod and throughout the ELCA. If you have items or information to share, 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 contact us using the above email or sign up here .
Current News & Resources
ELCA eAlert
How You Can Help
Dear partner in ministry,

Weeks may have passed since you last walked in the doors of your congregation and worshiped, face-to-face, with your community of faith. To be sure, being the body of Christ looks and feels differently than it ever has before.

Despite all of this, we are called to be church — together. The ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) looks different now, but it has not stopped. Nor have the needs of our communities and the world. Our church and its leaders continue to minister to its members, to those who are hurting and searching for peace, and to those in need.

The congregations and ministries of this church rely on your weekly offerings and gifts. Without in-person worship services for many weeks or even months, the financial impact could be devastating.

Please continue to give to your congregation and give regularly. Your congregation and its leaders continue to minister to your community of faith. This ministry relies on your weekly offerings. Find out how you can continue your pledge or regular offering though online giving, automatic monthly giving or mail.

I know that, for many of us, this is a time of uncertainty and financial hardship. However, for those of you who are in a position to do more, the needs are great.

In the United States, unemployment has soared. We are already seeing rising demands on our food pantries, homeless shelters and social services. Around the world, millions of people living in poverty are facing this pandemic without reliable access to sanitation and health care.

With congregations and ministries across the country, and a network of companion churches and partners in over 70 countries around the world, we anticipate this crisis will affect us all. Your gifts to the ELCA’s COVID-19 Response Fund will provide funds to the ministries of the ELCA most in need and best positioned to help. This includes our congregations as well as local and churchwide ministries capable of reaching and assisting those in need. If you are able, please help with a gift today.


I have been reflecting on the words of Peter: “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received” (1 Peter 4:10). Now is a time when we need one another. Now is a time to live and act as faithful people of God.

Be of good courage, dear church, and remember that Christ is with us now and always.

In Christ,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Here to Serve: Being Church in the Time of COVID-19
Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders
Wednesdays, 11 AM Pacific/1 PM Central
You are invited to join this weekly meeting designed to provide encouragement and support for ELCA leaders in all realms. Participants will hear topical presentations related to how we are called to be Church in the time of COVID-19, as well as an opportunity to be in small group discussions with an ELCA group coach facilitating the conversation. All of this is designed to help us process our feelings in this strange and fearful time and to create a space where we can each name our next most faithful step forward in our unique context.

You are welcome to share this invitation with any other ELCA leader, rostered or lay. #ELCAChurchTogether #HereToServe

On April 15, our guest speaker will be Rev. Dr. Martin Lohrmann, Associate Professor of Lutheran Confessions and Heritage at Wartburg Theological Seminary.  Among other works, he is the author of  Book of Harmony: Spirit and Service in the Lutheran Confessions  (Fortress, 2016) and the forthcoming  Stories from Global Lutheranism: A Historical Introduction  (Fortress, expected summer 2020). Dr. Lohrmann will share some insights about how Lutherans around the world and across history have put their faith into action in times of crises and challenge.

You may have heard concerns around using ZOOM as a meeting platform. Upon conferring with leadership in our office and experts in the field, it has been affirmed that we are adhering to all of the recommended protocols and guidance for “safer use of Zoom.” It is highly recommended that participants have the most current version of Zoom (4.6.10, as of this mailing). You will notice a password is now required for this meeting as well. If you have concerns, please email  jill.beverlin@elca.org  for more information.
 
ELCA Coaching is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
 
Topic: Here to Serve: Being Church in the Time of COVID-19 - Weekly Gathering for ELCA Leaders
Time: Apr 15, 2020 01:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
 
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 106 856 109
Password: 648160
 
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ELCA Launches "Here to Serve"
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ELCA churchwide organization is here to support our members, congregations, synods and partners.

Call 800-638-3522 and press #4 or email HereToServe@ELCA.org for prayer, support and to ask your questions.
ELCA Paycheck Protection Program Updates
The ELCA has new resources available addressing Paycheck Protection Program loans for churches. An updated FAQ document and a video to explain the process are now available.

We are working hard to keep up with any changes or additional information on this program. In addition to our Pacifica Synod COVID-19 web page , the ELCA continues to update their Public Health web page with information on this program as well as many other COVID-19-related resources. Please check these often and contact the synod office with any questions you may have.

PLTS PrayerSpace
PLTS PrayerSpace
Thursdays, beginning April 16, 2020
4:00 to 5:00 pm Pacific Time
 
 
Join Zoom Meeting:  https://clu.zoom.us/j/813292266
 
PLTS PrayerSpace, a new venture by the Office of Seminary Relations, is an open invitation, weekly Zoom meeting to gather those who wish to pray virtually with others. The basis for the establishment of this new PrayerSpace is Jesus’ command, “Seek and you shall find.” We believe that distance of those praying from one another or from the objects of their prayers is not an obstacle for God. We have confidence in God’s desire to heal. Participants will be able to bring their own prayer concerns to the group while also praying the concerns of others. The experience is envisioned to be similar to the laying on of hands, done over the internet. PrayerSpace will be moderated by staff and faculty of PLTS, under the leadership of Pastor Brian Stein-Webber. Prayer concerns may involve individuals, groups, movements or the whole global community of life. You are invited to simply show up in PrayerSpace and/or send in your prayer requests to  pray@plts.edu . Prayers received each week by 2 pm on Thursdays will be prayed that day in our PrayerSpace.
 
If you have questions, you may contact Pastor Brian Stein-Webber at  bsteinwebber@plts.edu .

Ministry in Times of Crisis:
Pastoral Voices from New York
Join our online gathering for pastors, deacons, youth workers, church and faith community leaders (from any place and any faith community). We'll be joined by special guests who each serve as pastors in congregations in New York.
 
Ministry in Times of Crisis: Pastoral voices from New York
Date: Thursday, April 16, 11 am PST / 1 pm CT / 2 pm EST

 
Hear from pastors serving in the United States epi-center of COVID-19 who are serving vulnerable congregations, with immigrant communities, who have members who live paycheck to paycheck and some with no access to healthcare. What is a pastor’s role in advocating for people in this time of COVID-19?
 
What are beautiful things coming out of this time of crisis? How are new gifts being accessed and used for God’s work in the world?
 
Finances and congregations, how do we as pastors and church leaders model best practices in this time of sheltering in place? How do we do our jobs while modeling safety measures put in place?
 
How do we handle privacy issues with member’s health and prayer concerns? How are the people of New York really doing the week after Easter?
 
Special Guests  (ELCA pastors serving in the ELCA Metro New York Synod):
Rev. Leticia Alanis
Rev. Dr. Maritza Ortiz Cruz
Rev. Christopher Chantelau
Rev. Evelyn Patricia Avila

Lutheran Office of Public Policy - California
Advocacy in Quarantine Recap - April 8, 2020
Dear Advocates,

Thank you to all those who attended our  Wednesdays at Noon  advocacy update call. 

This week, our action item focuses on undocumented people, asylum seekers, and refugees. You can find instructions  here  to call your state reps and sign on to a letter targeting federal lawmakers.

We covered the following: 
  • All legislative dates and priorities are fluid, but at the moment the CA legisalture is set to reconvene on May 4th to pass a bare bones "workload" budget: a budget to just keep the lights on. 
  • All new budget asks are off the table except COVID-19 relief, wildfire preparedness, and homelessness legislation. These asks will be considered in August after the state has a clear picture of its revenues following the tax filing day extension.
  • Legislators are still meeting weekly virtually, so calls and letters matter even though official decisions are not being made at this time.
  • Some factions are seeking to take advantage of the crisis to roll back environmental regulations. We are watching this closely with our partners to ensure that rollbacks do not sneak through in COVID-19 related legislation. 
  • Supporting ITINs filers (visa holders and undocumented workers who file taxes) is more important than ever as peple with ITINs cannot access COVID-19 relief such as unemployment and relief checks. 
  • We are also urging federal and state leaders to designate food and farm workers as first responders. You can sign a petition here in support.

PAX,  

Regina Q. Banks 
Director
Lutheran Office of Public Policy - California

Event Updates
2020 Joint Synod Assembly
On March 18, 2020 - Bishops Andy Taylor and R. Guy Erwin issued the following statement regarding the 2020 Joint Synod Assembly scheduled for May 28-30 at California Lutheran University:

As we live into a new "abnormal" with COVID-19, social distancing, and cancelling of most events in our lives, we wish to inform you that the joint Pacifica and Southwest California Synod Assembly scheduled for the end of May has been postponed.

We are working with the Synod Assembly Planning team, the staffs of both synods, and California Lutheran University to see what options there may be to hold the assembly in August. While there will be questions on the postponement, we ask for your patience and prayers as the staffs and planning teams work out the details.
 
It seems everything is changing by the hour. But in the midst of this uncertainty, we hold on to the never changing love of God and the promise that we do not walk this untrodden path alone.

We will keep you informed as more details become available.
Pacifica Synod - ELCA
Lutheran Center for Mission & Learning
1801 Park Court Place, Bldg. C, Santa Ana, CA 92701
714.692.2791