Pacifica Synod News & Notes
August 14, 2020
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 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 Synod News & Resources
The Church & Disability Online Conversation
Resources for Congregations
In early August, Pastor Cyndi Jones, Synodical Pastor for Disabilty Ministry led two online working conversations on widening the welcome for all. Following the conversations, she shared a document containing resources helpful for congregations. You may download a PDF of those resources here.

The Rev. Cyndi Jones is the Pacifica Synod Pastor for Disability Ministry. As Director of the Center for an Accessible Society, Pastor Cyndi led an effort to improve coverage of disability issues by national agenda-setting media and created What’s Next?, a mentoring program matching high school students with physical disabilities with adults with similar disabilities who are living successful lives. She led a multi-year effort culminating in the Voluntary Accessibility Housing Ordinance for the City of San Diego, implemented in 2010. She published Mainstream Magazine from 1982 until 1999 and met with President George H.W. Bush to discuss disability issues prior to the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act thirty years ago on July 26, 1990.

For questions, please contact Pastor Cyndi Jones at
Safe Gatherings and CongregationU
Online Background Checks and Training
The Pacifica Synod is committed to ensuring that we provide safe places of worship and fellowship to everyone we serve. As part of that commitment we are providing information on Safe Gatherings as a resource for you in this important area.

Safe Gatherings is an online abuse prevention program that screens and educates staff and volunteers to help prevent abuse of children, youth, and vulnerable adults in group settings. When employees and volunteers are trained to identify potential abusers, recognize the signs of abuse, and know how to handle reporting, they are better equipped to prevent abuse.

CongregationU provides more than 40 online courses on practical topics relevant to your church or faith-based organization. Topics include human resources, security and safety, risk management, health and wellness, and more. Several courses are also available in Spanish.

To learn more about both of these programs, please visit our synod web page for more information.
Coaching for All Seasons
Monthly Online Gathering for
Pacifica Synod Rostered & Lay Leaders
As Lutherans, we learned early the pivotal question, “What does this mean?” Recently, life around us prompts us to ask that question in the context of racism and white supremacy. Bishop Andy shared stories that helped define his journey toward greater racial understanding and introduced members of the Synod’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Working Group.

Members of this group will join us for our next gathering on September 1 to share resources with us to help us examine the historical beginning of these issues. If we are to effect real, lasting change, we must all understand the origins of the problem. Where, when, how and why did it all begin? We must work and reason together to be a part of the necessary changes. You are invited to join us in this great effort to confront racism in our country. Do not let this movement of change leave the Church behind. Participants who register ahead of time will be emailed supplemental resources to help dig deeper into the history of race and white supremacy in America. Following the Working Group’s presentation, we will break into small groups for coach-led conversations relating this information to your circumstances. We will conclude with a debriefing to share the small groups’ experiences.

The September 1 forum is the third in the monthly series Coaching for All Seasons that began in July. Click here to view our Synod Coaching web page and access the resources from previous presentations. Our Pacifica Synod Coaching Team designed this forum to provide encouragement and support to Synod leaders as we navigate the unknown. Each month, participants will hear a brief presentation related to how we currently are called to be Church. Then they will have an opportunity to be in a small group discussion facilitated by an ELCA coach. We are creating a safe space for processing our responses to uncertain times and for discerning steps forward in our unique contexts.

Pacifica Synod has invested in training coaches to work with rostered and lay leaders one-on-one or in groups. Coaching provides an opportunity for rostered and lay leaders to experience a partnership focused on the unique objectives they want to achieve. A coach’s role is to support a leader in naming challenging issues and identifying constructive responses to them. Pacifica Synod coaches are volunteering their time to create presentations and coaching opportunities that provide a hands-on resource for addressing your challenges.

Our next meeting will be via Zoom on Tuesday, September 1, 11:00-noon Pacific Time. Mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of each month and look for future announcements.

 If you are interested in participating in this gathering or would like information on having a coach, please contact Deenna Eley, Pacifica Synod Coaching Coordinator at
Synod Work Towards Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
n June 15, Bishop Andy shared a letter with our synod, inviting us to work together for racial justice. If you missed this, you may read the Bishop Andy's full letter here. The Pacifica Synod Council has released a Racial Justice Statement and encourages congregations and individuals to join them in taking the ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge.

We also have created a synod web page with information and anti-racism resources for individual and congregational use. We will continue to add resources, so check back often. If you have resources to recommend or would like to share stories about how you or your congregation are currently working towards equity, diversity and inclusion, please contact Pastor Lara Martin at
2020 Pacifica Synod Assembly Postponed to 2021
On June 17, a letter was shared with the synod, with information about the postponement of our 2020 Assembly to May 1, 2021.

For a printable version of this letter, along with Frequently Asked Questions about this postponement, please click here. We will be publishing a compilation of some of the usual Synod Assembly reports, financial and statistical information by the end of August. They will be sent out by email and posted on our website to download.

From the ELCA & Other Partners

Region 2 Community/Parish Nurses Event
RSVP for an email Zoom link to

Learn more about ELPNA on their website or Facebook page.
Hunger in the Time of COVID-19:
Life for Today and Hope for Tomorrow
Rick Steves, guidebook author and travel TV host; the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); and the Rev. Shelley Bryan Wee, bishop of the ELCA Northwest Washington Synod, invite you to an online benefit — the first of its kind — for ELCA World Hunger. Our goal is to raise $250,000 to confront hunger in the time of COVID-19.

When: Thursday, Sept. 24, 5:00 p.m. PDT
Where: Zoom virtual event

We are in a historic moment, facing a once-in-a-century pandemic and a global change in hunger unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. Domestically and internationally, hunger is increasing at alarming rates. At this event, you will learn about the unique ways ELCA World Hunger is responding. Our hosts will also discuss the ongoing root causes of hunger and poverty addressed in Rick Steves’ recent special Hunger and Hope: Lessons From Ethiopia and Guatemala. And you will hear from ELCA World Hunger partners on the front lines of the current hunger crisis, who will tell you firsthand how your gifts make a difference.

We are called by God to share hope in this time of challenge. Join us to face this global hunger crisis head-on and to continue moving toward a just world where all are fed.
Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California
Ballot Measure Events
Racial Equity Now: Yes on 16!
Tuesday, August 25, 3:00 p.m.
For Pastors, Deacons and Lay Leaders*

What can your church can do to support Black liberation? Regina Q. Banks, Director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy - California, will address this pressing question by way of policy analysis. In 1996, CA voters passed Proposition 209, banning affirmative action in California’s public institutions. Twenty-four years have passed, and now Proposition 16 will allow California voters to decide whether this ban should end or continue to stand.

During the forum, we will dig into the text of both propositions and reference ELCA social statements. Attendees will leave with the skills to do a policy analysis training with their own congregations.

*By registering, you affirm your commitment to work toward racial equity and agree to dialogue with respect and readiness to roll up your sleeves and get to work. This is not a space where the value of racial equity or the issues faced by people of color will be debated. 
Expand the Vote: Yes on 18!
Wednesday, August 26 at 4:30 p.m.
For high schoolers, young adults and youth leaders

Who gets to vote in our country and why? Should the vote be expanded to include more young people? In this policy discussion with Advocacy Fellow Nicole Newell, we will dig into the history of voting rights and the statements of our faith with respect to Proposition 18, which would allow some 17-year olds to vote some of the time. Prop 18 will be on the November 2020 ballot. 
Adult Bible Study Explores
Foundation for Sanctuary
A new study, titled “Transformed Community: Freed and Empowered for Radical Welcome,” will be released as a collaborative effort of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, and the ELCA/AMMPARO.

In six sessions, participants will explore their relationship with immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in relation to biblical stories of generosity, inclusion, compassion, justice, and forgiveness. Centered on Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds,” the Bible study will assist groups to:
  • Recognize how transformed understandings of generosity, inclusion, compassion, justice, and forgiveness make Christian community an agent of God’s love;
  • Be encouraged in the experience of community and inspired to trust in the countercultural ways of God’s will, especially with regard to the realities of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers;
  • Commit to engagement and action to energize the community as God’s agent of change in the world with respect to refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers.

The study is designed to prepare congregations to discern how being part of a sanctuary denomination can shape their life in community.

Although we live in a time of change, we know that the mission and work of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has been a constant for over 80 years. We hold true to our identity: grounded in the gospel, LIRS has been and will continue to be about bringing hope to the world by serving vulnerable refugees and migrants.

Lutheran World Relief
Responds to Beirut Explosions
Lutheran World Relief recently learned that three 40-foot shipping containers filled with thousands of handmade mission quilts and school, personal and baby care kits were destroyed in the devastating August 4 explosions at the port of Beirut, Lebanon.

The shipment was destined for refugees living in Lebanon, principally from Syria and the Palestinian territories. The containers were part of a shipment to be distributed by Anera, an NGO and longtime Lutheran World Relief partner that serves refugees and other vulnerable communities in the Middle East. The total value of the lost shipments was approximately $624,000.

The loss of more than 22,000 quilts, sewn by individuals and members of Lutheran congregations across the U.S., could mean a more bitter winter for thousands of refugees. “Our quilts are made with love by those who painstakingly craft them, and they’re deeply appreciated by the people in distress who receive them, both for the warmth and the message of care they provide,” said Melanie Gibbons, deputy director, outreach and engagement at Lutheran World Relief.

For more information or to donate:

ELCA Youth Ministry Network
2021 Extravaganza Update
Dear Network friends,

The shape of the Extravaganza for the next two years has been reworked!
The continuing pandemic and the shift of the ELCA Youth Gathering from 2021 to 2022 has moved the Network in new and exciting directions. Here's the quick snapshot:

Extravaganza 2021 will be held has a hybrid (in-person and online) event from February 4-6, 2021 at the Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis. The theme is "Holding Loosely." In-person attendees will be limited to 100. We are working closely with the Hilton to create a safe experience. The live stream of the event will be February 5 & 6. More details can be found at the Extravaganza 2021 website.  

Extravaganza 2022 will also be held at the Minneapolis Hilton from February 10-14, 2022. Our theme will be "Boundless." Intensive Care Courses will be held February 10-11, and the main event will be February 11-14. Over 1,000 will gather live for this event and in addition to our normal focus on spiritual renewal, continuing education and networking, there will be opportunities to learn about and prepare for bringing young people to the youth gathering the following summer. You can learn more about this event at the Extravaganza 2022 website.

To learn more about our revised plan, we encourage you to read the Network Director's blog, or watch the video announcement on our YouTube channel, where the details are outlined in more detail.

God's blessings!
Todd Buegler
Executive Director
ELCA Youth Ministry Network
ELCA commemorates 500th anniversary
of Luther’s The Freedom of a Christian
CHICAGO (Aug. 5, 2020) — This year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s treatise The Freedom of a Christian. To observe this milestone, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), invites the church to read, study and reflect on this Lutheran witness of the Christian faith.
In his work, Luther spoke of how God liberates us in Christ to live generously and courageously in service of our neighbor’s liberation, confident that God’s mercy will free us all.
“Christian[s] … do not live in themselves but in Christ and their neighbor, or else they are not Christian,” Luther wrote. “They live in Christ through faith and in the neighbor through love. Through faith they are caught up beyond themselves into God; likewise through love they fall down beneath themselves into the neighbor — remaining nevertheless always in God and God’s love.”
To commemorate the anniversary, the ELCA has developed a study guide and other resources, available at, to deepen readers’ engagement with the 500-year-old text. As a partner in this project, Fortress Press has generously made available a complimentary download of the treatise, available through 2020.
In her introduction to the study guide, Eaton writes, “In this treatise, Luther describes a ‘happy exchange’ wherein Christ sets us free by taking upon himself humankind’s sin, pain and judgment, and in return giving us his liberating life. … We are empowered in turn to use our freedom to serve our neighbors, whoever they may be. This message remains timely when voices that marginalize certain people, or preach contempt, hatred and violence, dominate our public discourse. How do we hear and trust this word from God today, and continue to serve God’s life-giving work?”
Luther’s purpose in writing The Freedom of a Christian was to present the core of his teaching about the Bible and the Christian faith to Pope Leo X. With an impending split between Luther and the official church, the treatise was a last attempt at reconciliation to prevent the fracturing of the church.
The Freedom of a Christian is such a beautiful, deep and simple exposition of the Christian faith that it is no surprise that, 500 years after Martin Luther first wrote it, we are still learning from it,” said the Rev. Dr. Carmelo Santos, director for ELCA theological diversity and engagement. Santos led the development of the ELCA’s initiative. “I pray that this study guide and case studies representing a wide diversity of perspectives will help many to rediscover the awesome freedom that we have in Christ and the joy of using that freedom to serve our neighbors. We also hope that people will feel inspired to contribute their own reflections inspired by The Freedom of a Christian.”

“Today, as in Luther’s day, our faithful response to the uncertainty and death-dealing forces in our world is to proclaim that which is sure and life-giving for all,” Eaton writes in her introduction. “Freed in Christ, we resist the temptation to turn inward in despair by turning outward in love and service to the world. Siblings in Christ, rejoice! We are no longer captive, but free.”
The Freedom of a Christian treatise, study guide, case studies and information about submitting contributions are available at

"God's work. Our hands." Sunday
Service in the time of COVID-19
On Sunday, Sept. 13, congregations will observe “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday. This year our church — and our world — are living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical distancing has changed the way we worship and serve. But the need is great, and God’s church is at work.

This year, we encourage you to participate in acts of service in compliance with local health guidelines. Acts of service can happen online, or you can contribute to a project from your home or from a safe physical distance while wearing a mask. As church, we are guided by our life in Christ to share the love of Jesus and serve our neighbors — even if these acts of service look different this year.

Get ready at

The Christian Education Network of the ELCA has also put together a list of ideas for adapting "God's work. Our hands." Sunday in a Pandemic. You can find that information (and other ideas) on their website here.
ELCA & Other Partners
News & Ministry Links

Lutheran Social Services of So Cal - August 2020

ELCA Advocacy Connections - July 2020

ELCA Worship News - July 2020

ELCA Administration Matters - July 2020

ELCA World Hunger "Go & Do News" - July 2020

ELCA Global Links - July 2020

ELCA StewardNet - Summer 2020

ELCA "Seeds Monthly" Newsletter - July 2020
Care Connections Network
Aging. Better.
Care Connections Network is changing the face of aging in Orange County. We are dedicated to helping older adults, 50 and over, age in their own homes and communities. We connect our members to the community programming and expertise they need to continue living lives of purpose and promise. We strive to empower older adults by offering educational opportunities to help them age with confidence, social and cultural events to keep them connected with the community, referrals to vetted service providers and a volunteer program providing additional support and assistance.

To find out more about upcoming events and other services, click here for the Care Connections Network August newsletter.

Available Positions & Opportunities

Youth and Family Coordinator
St. Paul Lutheran, Fullerton
St Paul Lutheran Church (SPLC) in Fullerton is seeking an enthusiastic, creative and energetic individual for a position leading our Youth and Family Ministries. The Youth and Family Coordinator (YFC) will be responsible for designing programs that engage, guide and mobilize the gifts of others to develop multi-faceted programming that includes spiritual formation, education, mission, service, fun and outreach. This position will require flexible hours including Sunday morning worship, weeknights, weekends, and potentially full weeks for retreat/mission trips.

Candidates will have a heart for youth, a passion for Christ, a faith perspective in agreement with the teachings of the ELCA Lutheran Church that includes both a personal and social understanding of faith, an awareness of the struggles and faith questions of modern youth and young adults, and create a safe space of inclusion and diversity.

A complete position description may be found here. In addition, those interested are asked to complete and submit this application.
Director of Faith and Community Relations
Habitat for Humanity of Orange County
Habitat for Humanity of Orange County is seeking a Director of Faith and Community Relations. The Director of Faith and Community Relations creates opportunities and strategies to build relationships that secure faith and community-related support for the mission of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. 

A complete position description may be found here. Interested applicants are asked to send a resume and cover letter to

Webinars and Other Events
Here to Serve: Being Church in the Times of Crisis
Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. PDT
You are invited to join this weekly gathering designed to provide encouragement and support for ELCA leaders across the church. Participants will hear topical presentations related to how we are called to be Church in times of crisis, 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

How do we as individuals prepare ourselves to be leaders in this space? How are we as individuals called to be church with all people? How does this internal work transform us as leaders? How can we utilize our platform within our congregations to create space for dialogue that leads to action?

On August 19, the topic will be Holy Three-Ring Circus: Faith, Parenting, and Work in a Pandemic - Jessica Harris Daum (Parent, Coach, DEM) and Kendra Mohn (Parent, Pastor, Spouse of a Bishop).

Below is the link for each Wednesday's Zoom meeting. For a list of upcoming topics and recordings of prior meetings, go to

ELCA Coaching is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Being Church in Times of Crisis - Weekly Gathering for ELCA Leaders
Time: August 19, 2020 01:00 PM Central Time
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Password: 648160

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Registration Now Open for
Workshops to Continue Learning from
"Truth and Healing for the Sake of Indigenous People"

August 19 - Indian 101
September 16 - Movements in Indian Country  
October 14 - Indigenous Thought and Theology 
Wednesdays, 5:00-6:30 p.m. Pacific

Please join Other+Wise and our promotional partners, ELCACoaching, New Story Festival, and Briarwood Leadership Center, for three Indigenous-centered Zoom workshops with our founder and director, Vance Blackfox.

These sessions will be the perfect follow-up to the webinars you attended with Vance previously – especially for those of you looking to grow your solidarity with Indigenous peoples.

Indian 101
Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. PDT
The general population knows very little about the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island – even the most basic topics are often grand mysteries. This is, of course, by design, as the colonial project prioritized the complete erasure of Native peoples. Indian 101 will be a time to learn some of these basics and to cultivate a foundation for standing in solidary with Indian people across the United States.
Movements in Indian Country
Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. PDT
There are countless challenges facing Indian Country today, and Native-serving organizations are constantly working to keep up with the frontline Indigenous leaders, activists, and movements that are responding to these challenges. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), these movements are usually unknown to the general population because non-Indigenous people either haven’t had to care or don’t know they should care. And those who do care often don’t know where to begin learning and engaging. Movements in Indian Country will provide you with a starting point for supporting a range of justice efforts in Indigenous communities.

Indigenous Thought and Theology
Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. PDT
Indian people have unique and beautiful ways of understanding and interacting with the world. Indigenous wisdom – as it relates to being in relationship with other created beings, Mother Earth, and Creator – should be centered in the work to provide better care for our home and relatives. Indigenous Thought and Theology will be a helpful introduction to this wisdom and ways of understanding.

These workshops are provided at no cost. Attendees are invited to offer a financial gift in appreciation for our time of learning and listening together at

For a downloadable PDF flyer, click here. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Vance at

PLTS Founders' Day 2020
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
of California Lutheran University
invites you to attend

Founders’ Day
Online via Zoom Webinar
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

9:00 a.m. - Gathering of Community
9:30 a.m. - Welcome and Distinguished Alum Awards
10:00 a.m. - Lecture with Q&A
11:00 a.m. - Worship
 Zoom Link Coming Soon

Climate Justice, Racial Justice and Divestment: The Call of the Church

Our moment in time is pivotal. Movements around the globe are aligning for powerful action toward climate justice, holding racial justice at the heart of the struggle to protect Earth’s fragile climate. Bill McKibben is recognized around the globe as a foremost leader in that struggle. His address will draw the links between racial justice, climate well-being, divestment/reinvestment, and the call of the church.

For speaker information, please visit the event web page. This event is free and open to the public. If you are able, please make a gift to the PLTS Seminary Fund to support our events and educational programs. 

Please contact Khushali Sharma at or (510) 559-2732. 
Models of Older Adult Ministry Conference
Monday, September 21
Register online at
To download a printable PDF of this document, click here.

Lombard Mennonite Peace Center
Mediation Skills Training Institute Fall Session
Please join us for one of the two remaining sessions of Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders (MSTI) that are scheduled before the end of this year: October 5-9 and November 16-20, 2020. This workshop equips participants with the skills and knowledge necessary to deal effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict. Given that this event will be conducted remotely, participants will need a device with both a camera and microphone in order to participate fully.

For details and a registration form, please consult this MSTI Brochure. A complete list of our upcoming 90-minute webinars and our popular daylong workshops — including Conflict Transformation SkillsHealthy Congregations, and Leadership and Anxiety in the Church, which are perfect for groups — can be found on the LMPC Events Calendar

Questions? Call the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at 630-627-0507, or email us at

We Remember in Our Prayers
We ask that you hold the following people in your thoughts and prayers:

  • The family and friends of the Rev. Laura (Laurie) Line
  • The family and friends of the Rev. Dr. Albert Stott
  • Ron and Lisa Higginbotham
  • Reverend Robert Freistedt
  • 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 -
W. San Diego Conf - The Rev. David Nagler -
Harvest Conference - The Rev. David Jorstad -
Raincross Conference - The Rev. Linda Brown -
Big Bear Conference - The Rev. Matt Anderson -
Saddleback Conference - The Rev. Marty Jacobson -
Son & Surf Conf - The Rev. Jennifer Schultz -
Rejoice Conference - The Rev. Cate Luehr -
Hukilau Conference - The Rev. Kathryn Zurcher -
Pacifica Synod - ELCA
Lutheran Center for Mission & Learning
1801 Park Court Place, Bldg. C, Santa Ana, CA 92701