Pacifica Synod News & Notes
August 7, 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
Southwest California Synod Bids
Farewell and Godspeed to Bishop Erwin and
Welcomes Interim Bishop Finck!
In early June, we learned that the Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin, who was elected in 2013 as the fourth bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and elected to a second term in 2019, will be leaving the bishopric as of July 31, 2020 and, beginning August 1, will serve United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia, PA as its next president. While we will certainly miss Bishop Erwin and his husband, Rob Flynn and are grateful for their partnership with our synod, we are excited for them and hold them in prayer during this time of transition and new adventures. Bishop Erwin’s farewell message may be found here.

We are pleased to share that Pacifica’s Bishop Emeritus, the Rev. Murray D. Finck, has accepted appointment by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to become interim bishop of the Southwest California Synod beginning August 1, 2020. We congratulate Interim Bishop Finck and look forward to working together in ministry once again during this interim period. We know that the Southwest California Synod is in good hands! Interim Bishop Finck shared greetings with the Southwest California Synod on August 1, found here.
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
During the August 4 Coaching for All Seasons forum, Bishop Andy addressed that great Lutheran question, “What does this mean?” in terms of our Synod’s focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. If you missed the presentation, you can view it here.

This forum was the second 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 both the July and August 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 short 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
If you are interested in participating in this gathering or would like more information, Deenna Eley, Pacifica Synod Coaching Coordinator at
Synod Work Towards Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The May 2016 Pacifica Synod Assembly adopted a “Resolution to Confront Racism and White Privilege.” This work was initiated with the formation of the “Pacifica Synod Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group” to:

  1. “Identify and share high quality educational tools and events to raise awareness of racism, white privilege, and Christ-centered paths to liberation of oneself, church and society”;
  2. Guide “the Pacifica Synod of the ELCA to offer support for multicultural and multilingual ministry to engage and integrate congregations and leaders with nearby populations and to commit itself to provide accessible and affordable synod assembly and education events to less affluent leaders and congregations”;
  3. Support the Pacifica Synod to “bear persistent public witness in solidarity with oppressed people in this and other countries for the transformation of society toward the domination-free reign of God in Christ.”

Since then, we have held workshops at synod assembly and half-day seminars for church leaders to hear first-hand stories of our synod and regions and to grow awareness of racism and white privilege among the unique populations whom we serve. Since the pandemic led to a disruption of in-person events in 2020, we are in the process of developing online resources and rescheduling of the April 2020 in-person anti-racism training, tentatively planned for summer or fall of 2021.

On 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
Postponement of 2020 Theoasis Leaders' Event
Theoasis 2020 was scheduled to take place this October. Since it is unclear if we will be able to gather in-person, the planning team has decided to postpone this year's Theoasis event until October 2021. 

Please save the dates of October 18-20, 2021 to be with us for Theoasis at the Embassy Suites in La Quinta! Speakers scheduled to appear are the Rev. Dr. Joy J. Moore (Associate Professor of Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary, St. Paul) and the Rev. Wilbert "Wilk" Miller (retired pastor, now living in Connecticut, and former pastor of First Lutheran in San Diego). The 2021 theme will revolve around preaching. 

More details will be available early next year and will be updated on our Theoasis web page.

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 in August. They will be sent out by email and posted on our website to download.

From the ELCA & Other Partners

From the Presiding Bishop
"Dark Works"

In her August column for Living Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton says, “Darkness and blackness and night are too often contrasted with lightness and whiteness and day, and found deficient.” She wants us to “consider the beautiful dark works of God.” 

Read her column in English at and in Spanish 

ELCA Social Message on Government
and Civic Engagement in the United States: Discipleship in a Democracy
The ELCA has adopted a social message on government and civic engagement titled “Government and Civic Engagement in the United States: Discipleship in a Democracy.” This writing project was requested by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly and was adopted in June 2020 by the ELCA Church Council [CC20.06.17].

A study guide will be released by September 2020. A Spanish translation is being prepared as well. Printed copies will be available this fall in English and Spanish

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. ELCA social statements are more comprehensive documents developed via a five-year process led by a task force and adopted at churchwide assemblies. To read more about the upcoming work toward a social statement on church and state, click here.

ELCA and Lutheran World Relief Partner
to Fight COVID-19 Around the World
CHICAGO (Aug. 4, 2020) — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has worked with Lutheran World Relief (LWR) to repurpose $160,000 in project funding for emergency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
In Latin America, the funding will be used for food assistance in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, which have been hard-hit by the coronavirus and the resulting economic disruption that is causing increased hunger. In Africa, the support will provide improved water, sanitation and hygiene, along with personal protective equipment, to displaced communities in South Sudan. And a project in Nepal will ensure that quarantine facilities are hygienic and comfortable, and that households economically affected by COVID-19 are able to cultivate their crops and sustain their small-scale businesses. 
“Thanks to the flexibility and rapid action of our ELCA partners, Lutheran World Relief has been able to quickly ramp up these emergency responses to COVID-19,” said Daniel Speckhard, LWR president and CEO. “This is so important because COVID-19 is a major threat to the resilience and well-being of the communities where we serve. Lives will be saved as a result of this support.”
“The ELCA has a tradition of standing with our global neighbors in good times and in bad,” said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA. “Our partnership with Lutheran World Relief is a reflection of that strong commitment and allows us to deepen and extend it in this time of extreme crisis.”
The ELCA and LWR share a long, historical relationship and a mutual commitment to companionship in mission. Through its ELCA World Hunger program, the ELCA has provided $1 million in annual support to LWR for projects that serve people and communities in various regions around the world, including Latin America, Asia and Africa.
"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.

Lutheran Wilderness Retreat (Holden Village)
Seeking Volunteers and Employees
Holden Village serves as a remote, faith-centered retreat founded in the ELCA with easy access to the wilderness and a slower pace of life. It is majority volunteer run, with a few employee positions. Our volunteers commit anywhere from two weeks (short-term) to several years, and we ask our employees to commit to two years. Our total Village population ranges from around 60 people in the winter to a max of around 420 in the summer months.. All staff receive free food & housing. Long-term volunteers also receive a stipend and health care, and employees receive a salary and benefits. Holden has been closed the summer of 2020 in order to take precaution against the spread of COVID-19. For more information about what life at Holden looks like, feel free to visit our website.

Descriptions of the specific positions are below.

The Medic is a long-term volunteer position, full-time in the summer months and half-time in the winter months. Responsible for providing the basic medical care of the village staff and guests. Works with the village Incident Command Team and First Response Team in medical emergencies, organizes the aid station and medical records, and works with our offsite medical director as needed. RN or above is preferred, however we may consider a paramedic in some cases. We also are open to commitments for less than year, depending on the candidate. 

Accountant Lead
The Accountant Lead is an employee position and works with the Business Manager to maintain accurate financial records, prepare the annual budget, and prepare for audits. Responsibilities include maintaining accounts receivable and payable, processing payroll, preparing employee W-2 and 1099 forms, assisting Village revenue centers with cash outs, and cashing checks for guests and staff. Must have knowledge of basic accounting and bookkeeping procedures, good computer and organizational skills, and Quickbooks experience.

To apply, visit our volunteer page. Questions? Email

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 12, the topic will be "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black Servants of God" presented by Pastor Mary Martha Kannass with young adults of Hephatha Lutheran, Milwaukee.

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 12, 2020 01:00 PM Central Time
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Password: 648160

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Password: 648160
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, ELCA Coaching and New Story Festival, for three Indigenous-centered Zoom workshops with our founder and director, Vance Blackfox.

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

More information will be available soon on how to register. We look forward to this opportunity for learning and listening with you!"

For those connected through ELCA Coaching, it is highly recommended you watch the presentation from July 8, Truth and Healing for the Sake of Indigenous People, prior to these workshops.

Click here for a flyer with full details.
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
Registration is now open for both sessions of our Mediation Skills Training Institute scheduled for this fall: October 5-9 and November 16-20, 2020. 

This popular and practical workshop helps clergy and other church leaders deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict. Registrants will attend remotely via Zoom. A $200 discount is available to those who register by the discount deadline. 

To register online, go to We also offer a variety of 90-minute webinars on timely topics, such as Grief In the Time of COVID

For more information about these and other outstanding events, please consult our MSTI Brochure,  Clergy Clinic Brochure, or LMPC Events Calendar, or visit Questions? Email the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at or call 630-627-0507.

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