April 21, 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
From Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
Earth Day Message
April 2020

Sin and captivity, manifest in threats to the environment, are not the last word. God addresses our predicament with gifts of ‘forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation’ (Luther, Small Catechism ). By the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God frees us from our sin and captivity, and empowers us to be loving servants to creation.
—ELCA social statement Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice, p. 5

As I work from home at our dining room table, I look out the front window and see the wildlife at my husband’s feeders. God created such beautiful creatures. As Christians we are guided by the promise expressed in our social statement that we are empowered “to be loving servants to creation.” It is our duty to care for God’s earth.

Established in 1970, Earth Day launched the modern environmental movement, spurring development of landmark policies for a creation in crisis and defining a path toward a more sustainable planet. In this 50th anniversary year, under the theme “Climate Action,” the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is joining the Earth Day Network as a featured faith partner. This partnership expresses our deep love for God’s creation and a Lutheran understanding of our profound responsibility for it. The social statement describes our commitment this way:

Humans, in service to God, have special roles on behalf of the whole of creation. Made in the image of God, we are called to care for the earth as God cares for the earth. God’s command to have dominion and subdue the earth is not a license to dominate and exploit. … [It] should reflect God’s way of ruling as a shepherd king who takes the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7), wearing a crown of thorns ( Caring for Creation , pp. 2-3).

We accept that caring for and protecting creation is central to our holy calling, yet we acknowledge our shortcomings in this regard. Our action and inaction are exposed by the despoiling and degrading of the environment. Affected by human activity, our changing climate has brought more severe weather patterns and ensuing destruction. Our waters, land and air are being polluted, and we are alarmed by the devastation. Ecological systems are strained to the point where some species cannot adapt, and face extinction.

Globally, we are dealing with two interconnected crises, the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing climate change. Both demonstrate the profound consequences of our disrupted, broken relationship with the natural world. According to scientists, species disruption caused by global warming has combined with human encroachment on the natural world to drive wildlife into greater and deadlier contact with people. The COVID-19 outbreak is an urgent warning that our behavior opens the door to transmission of new diseases, with devastating consequences.

Our distorted relationship with the earth is borne most heavily by the most vulnerable and marginalized among us, who are ill-equipped to withstand the impact of climate change or implement remedies. COVID-19 and the climate crisis heighten existing racial inequity, economic disparity and social injustices. Our call to care for creation is also a call to right these wrongs.

As Earth Day partners and stewards of creation, we have many ways to lovingly serve the earth:

Looking past this anniversary, we gladly accept the monumental assignment of refocusing, renewing and raising our efforts as we embrace our role as stewards of creation and look with hope and promise toward years to come.

A Prayer From Lutheran Disaster Response:

Prepare us, Lord, for what lies ahead. Give us the strength and dedication that we will need in order to serve others unselfishly. Give us the energy we will need to follow through with the task. Give us strength to face our assignment, and put before us people who will support us. Open our ears and eyes and heart, so that we can sustain others and [help creation to recover from this crisis]. Bless those who are suffering and give them hope, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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, 11:00 a.m. Pacific
You are invited to join this weekly gathering designed to provide encouragement and support for ELCA leaders across the church and throughout society. 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.

The Zoom link each week will be posted on the ELCA Coaching's home page, located at https://www.elcacoaching.org/ .
Recordings from each week are posted at https://www.elcacoaching.org/covid19 .

This week's session
April 22, 2020 - 11:00 a.m. Pacific
Grief and Hope: Societal Chaplaincy For and Beyond COVID-19
This session will explore the concept of “societal chaplaincy” in order to provide tools for responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. This global crisis is producing layers of grief and trauma beyond what most people are anticipating. Religiously informed leaders have particular callings to respond not just to their defined communities, but to society as a whole, helping others name their grief while pointing to paths forward. The insights of social analysis, grief coaching, and chaplaincy each have contributions to make as we move forward together. In preparation for this week's gathering, we highly recommend you read this article in advance:   https://www.ntnl.org/societal-chaplaincy-preparing-for-the-storm-to-come/ .

On April 22, our guest speaker will be Robert O. Smith (Citizen, Chickasaw Nation), an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament serving as Director of Briarwood Leadership Center and Associate to the Bishop in the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod of the ELCA.  Previously, he served as Director of the Jerusalem Global Gateway of the University of Notre Dame and Area Program Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the Global Mission Unit of the ELCA. He holds a PhD in Religion, Politics & Society from Baylor University, along with an MDiv and an MA in Islamic Studies from Luther Seminary. He is the author of several academic articles on the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and several books on American Christian responses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

ELCA Coaching is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Being Church in the Time of COVID-19 - Weekly Gathering for ELCA Leaders
Time: Apr 22, 2020 01:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Password: 648160

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Lutheran Social Services of Southern California
Announces New President and CEO
Lutheran Office of Public Policy
Events & Updates
While COVID-19 has turned our world upside down in unprecedented ways, our advocacy work continues to be essential in developing coordinated and inclusive responses that support all Americans.  

Mark your calendars for this week's Advocacy in Quarantine call on Wednesday, April 22 at noon (Earth Day). During the call, we will discuss current state and federal priorities around COVID-19. We'll then ask you to make a phone call or two to policymakers to advocate with us. See Zoom links below to participate or join  here .
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 389 725 625
You can watch last week's call  here

We have an opportunity for our members to meet virtually with federal California lawmakers about immigrant rights and COVID-19 relief. Details will be discussed in a training on April 24, 2020. Meetings with members will take place over April 27-May 1, depending on scheduling. We are partnering with the Dolores Huerta Foundation and GRACE  to conduct these trainings with the support of ELCA Advocacy .

Please email regina.banks@elca.org if you want to participate. 

Join us for a conversation on the latest ELCA draft social message  Government and Civic Engagement: Discipleship in a Democracy  with the Rev. Roger A. Willer, Director of Theological Ethics in the ELCA.  Register here. A link for the virtual meeting will be sent prior to the event for all who register.

Social messages are teaching documents of the ELCA focused on particular social topics. They are intended to focus attention and urge action on timely, pressing matters of social concern to church and society.

This writing project was requested by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly and authorized in November 2019 by the ELCA Church Council [CC19.11.47w]. From March 20 to May 27, ELCA members are invited to provide feedback on a draft of the message. It will be considered for adoption at a June meeting of the council.
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.

If your congregation is having a difficulty locating a lending source, please contact the synod office for a potential resource. You can also search lenders on the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program page on their website. The Senate is working to approve additional funding for this program.

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.

Congregational (Parochial) Report Filing
The ELCA continues to process 2019 Congregational (Parochial) Reports, Forms A & C. To date, they have received forms from approximately two-thirds of ELCA congregations.

The 2019 data included in these reports will be used to allocate voting members for the 2022 Churchwide Assembly, so it's important for all congregations to be included. If your congregation has not yet submitted your reports, we encourage you to do so online through May 31 at at  www.elca.org/congregationreport .

If you can't locate your congregational ID number or password to file online, please contact Carol Youngman in the synod office at carolyoungman@pacificasynod.org .
World Hunger Daily Bread Matching Grant Recipients
ELCA World Hunger's Daily Bread Matching Grants support congregations and their partners as they work toward a just world where all are fed. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations with feeding ministries are eligible to participate. 

These congregations will be able to invite their members, networks and friends to donate. To help drive their campaigns, the funds they raise will be matched by ELCA World Hunger with a grant of $500.

We are pleased to announce that eleven of our Pacifica Synod congregations are recipients of these matching fund grants, as follows:

King of Glory Lutheran Church - Fountain Valley
St. Olaf Lutheran Church - Garden Grove
St. John Lutheran Church - Palm Desert
Community Lutheran Church - Rancho Santa Margarita
Hope Lutheran Church - Riverside
Trinity Lutheran Church - Riverside
Christ Lutheran Church – San Clemente
Calvary Lutheran Church – San Diego
First Lutheran Church – San Diego
Messiah Lutheran Church - Yorba Linda
Faith Lutheran Church - Yucaipa

The current round of grants has reached capacity, but we hope to offer more Daily Bread Matching Grants in the future. Follow ELCA World Hunger on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for the latest updates. More information may be found on their web page .

Adult Lutherans Organized for Action
Monthly Webinar
ALOA offers monthly one-hour webinars on specific topics meaningful to older adult ministry leaders in congregations, as well as interested individuals. Each will include an interview with a thought leader working with older adults, and will be archived for future viewing. Our next webinar is listed below.

Elders Rising: Ministry with Older Adults on the New Frontier of Aging
April 23, 2020 – 9:00 a.m. Pacific

An “age wave” of huge proportions and life-changing impact is washing over us, dramatically changing both the number and the quality of older adults among us. Roland D. Martinson, emeritus vice president and dean at Luther Seminary, will explore this new frontier of aging and the opportunities and challenges it provides for ministry and the revitalization of congregational life and mission. There will be opportunity for questions. Register now.

Check out our past webinar archive at aloaserves.org.
We Remember in Our Prayers
We ask that you hold the following people in your thoughts and prayers:

  • Reverend Robert Freistedt
  • Family and friends of Rev. Joe Ramnarine
  • Reverend Ron and Paula Rennegarbe
  • Those affected with the COVID-19 virus and those who have lost loved ones
  • Our healthcare providers, first responders, essential workers and all who continue to serve so that others can remain safely at home

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
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