April 9, 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 the Bishop
Christ is With Us
But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you."  – Matthew 28: 5-7

Dear Sisters and Brothers, Siblings in Christ,

Today we enter the three days, what in Latin is called the Triduum, the three days of Jesus’ suffering and death prior to his resurrection on Easter. We begin today on Maundy Thursday. The word maundy means “commandment,” and on this day we remember Jesus gave the great commandment to love one another as Christ loves us. Jesus embodied this commandment by washing the disciples’ feet, taking the role of a servant, and calling his followers to serve others as Christ serves us. Little did the disciples know at that time how Jesus would serve them.

That night, he was arrested and prior to dawn he was tried by the religious authorities. On Good Friday, he was brought before the political authorities, before the Roman governor Pilate who sentenced him to death. He was crucified, died, and his body was placed in a tomb. On Holy Saturday, the Sabbath, the women who wished to pay him honor by anointing his body had to wait in obedience to the law until Sunday morning. Then they heard the good news that Jesus had risen, that they would see him, that death had been conquered and new life given through Christ’s death and resurrection.

Most of my ministry, I have focused on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, giving little thought to the meaning of Holy Saturday. But I think all of us are in a Holy Saturday time. We are called to wait at home in order to protect our neighbors from possible contamination with COVID-19. Some of us wait, as the disciples did, with those closest to us, our families who similarly must stay at home. Some of us who live alone wait alone, reaching out to loved ones by telephone, social media, and other means of communication. But we wait, nonetheless. Like the disciples, we are dealing with the shock of how quickly our lives have changed. Like the disciples, we are wondering about death we did not anticipate, and may be worried that we or those we love will be next. Like the disciples, we are wondering how our lives will change, how our gatherings as followers of Jesus will be forever altered, and what the world and the church will be like for us when this is over.

The promise of Easter is that, in the midst of this worry, wondering, and waiting, Christ is with us. Whether you live with others or by yourself, you are not alone. Christ is with you. Jesus died and rose from the dead in order to take away the separation that our sin brought between us and God. Jesus is present by the power of the Holy Spirit to help us do what we are called to do now: wait. As we await our public health officials to tell us that it is safe to leave our homes, we can wait in hope, because we know we do not do so alone. Christ died and rose to be with us and will continue to be with us each day of our lives. Christ will be with us as we wait and will be with us to continue to share the good news of God’s love when our time of waiting is over.

I believe we will need to wait longer than we anticipated even a month ago. I first asked churches to abstain from meeting in person in mid-March, stating that we should stay apart at least through Palm Sunday. I amended that, following President Trump’s admonition, to the end of April. I believe we will need to wait even longer than that. Until our governor (either of Hawai’i or California, depending on where you live) and our local public health officials tell us it is safe to meet together, we must continue to practice social distancing in order to protect the lives of our neighbors. I want to encourage you in your waiting. God gives us all we need, each day, and will help us be resilient. We may even learn some things about our faith, ourselves, and our church, as we wait.

For we need not wait with nothing to do. I encourage you to take this time to deepen your personal spiritual practices. Take time for prayer, for Bible reading, for sitting in silence and listening for God. If you are unsure what can be done, contact your pastor and ask. Our congregations are so creative, and they have a variety of resources to help you take time as you wait to help you recognize that God is with you. For those with internet access, continue to worship with your congregation or, if your congregation does not have online worship, with a neighboring ELCA church, in order to nurture your connection both to God and to your siblings in Christ. Finally, while we are called to social distance, we are also called not to forget our neighbors in need. Many food banks and feeding programs need help and blood is desperately needed to aid the sick. If you can help, you are encouraged to do so. 

Always remember, you are not alone. Jesus died and rose from the dead so that nothing could ever separate you from God. And even while we have to live in physical separation from one another, we are one with Christ and one with each other through the power of the Holy Spirit.

God bless you this Easter. And God grant you all you need during this time of Holy Saturday waiting.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Bishop Andy Taylor
Joint Easter Message from the Episcopal, Lutheran,
and Roman Catholic Bishops
Our Dear Sisters and Brothers, Siblings in Christ:

As we approach the life-giving events of Holy Week our minds and hearts are drawn to the great mystery of God’s love for us. As we walk with Christ on the way to Jerusalem we are edified and united in this journey by His strength and teaching. We witness His betrayal, arrest, passion and crucifixion motivated only by His love for us. We rejoice at the hope of eternal life given to us as He overcomes all adversity and bursts forth from the tomb on Easter Morning.

During this unprecedented time in living history when the whole world is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic we walk with you on the journey to Easter. We know of the suffering you are undergoing in so many different ways, but we urge you not to lose hope in the bright promise of tomorrow which Christ won for us by the cross and His rising from the tomb.

As your bishops we urge you to remain steadfast to the call we have all received of faithful, servant discipleship. Just as the Apostles were confused and in panic at the Lord’s passion, but restored by His living presence at the resurrection, so must all of us, fearful and perhaps doubting at this time, remain faithful to Him who is our hope and our glory.

We wish you God’s blessings for this Easter Time and assure you of our prayers for you and your families.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Sincerely,

Most Rev. Robert W. McElroy
Roman Catholic Bishop of San Diego

The Rt. Rev. Susan Brown Snook
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

Rev. Andrew A. Taylor, Bishop
Pacifica Synod of the ELCA


A PDF version of this letter may be downloaded here.
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.
Payroll Protection Program Updates
Last week, we sent out an email containing information and resources about the recently passed Payroll Protection Program and its potential impact for congregations. If you missed that email, you can access it by clicking here .

As banks and SBA lenders work to provide access to this program, several items have changed or been added since last Friday. They are:


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.

Volunteers Needed
Lutheran Social Services
Project Hand Food Pantry in Chula Vista
 Our Project Hand Food Pantry in Chula Vista is in need of five volunteers to assist with our monthly food distribution. We generally have about 500 people and expect to double that number this month. The hours are approximately 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. but may finish earlier and will probably involve facilitating arrivals and departures. Please let me know if you or anyone in your network might be able to assist. In addition, we also have daily distribution opportunities that in critical need of support as well.

Best,
Kristal Shipp
Vice President, Community Engagement
p. 714-685-1800 – c. 310-751-8000 – e kshipp@lsssc.org

Project Hand – Food Pantry
Johnny Viloria
Office: 619-425-4061
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
580 Hilltop Dr.
Chula Vista, CA 91910

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00-2:00
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00-2:00
Friday 8:00 – 12:00
Monthly Distribution – 2nd Friday of Each Month
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