Pacifica Synod News & Notes
July 15, 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 News & Resources
From the Bishop - A Call to Abide by
California Governor's Public Health Directive
July 13, 2020

The woman said to him, "Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."  John 4:19-24

Dear Rostered Ministers and Lay Leaders of California’s Pacifica Synod Congregations,

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom issued  new public health directives  to 30 counties in the state of Calfornia, including Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, where all of Pacifica’s California congregations are located. The directives require that congregations cease meeting indoors for worship for the time being.

This does not mean that we are not to worship. Many of our congregations are continuing their good work of providing online worship services. Others may hold outdoor worship services, provided masks are worn, physical distancing is maintained, and other measures are taken to ensure, as much as possible, that the virus will not be spread during the outdoor service. I urge you to worship, but I also urge you to comply with the law, a law that protects your neighbors from the virus. Indoor worship should cease for now until California public health officials have deemed it safe to being again.

It is difficult, after waiting so long to be together, to hear that we may not meet for worship inside our sanctuaries. But Christians are used to doing what is difficult in service to our neighbor. As long as the virus threatens to overwhelm our health care system, we need to do all we can to slow its spread so that the sick may obtain life-saving treatments. By doing this, we are showing love not only to those who worship with us, but also to our neighbors who serve as doctors, nurses, and other health care workers.

From the beginning, I have asked our congregations to abide by directives from public health officials. Please see  my letter  about reopening congregations that was sent out on June 3. This short letter continues in that vein. Please abide by the directives of California’s governor.

In John 4, Jesus was asked a question by a Samaritan woman who wondered if it was permissible to worship away from Jerusalem, particularly away from the temple, the sanctuary where people were commanded to worship. Jesus responded by telling her that those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth. The place is not as important as the Spirit who calls us to worship and who blesses us as we turn to God in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. That God will be with us wherever we worship—in our homes, outdoors, and, in time, back in our sanctuaries. Until that time comes, please know that God is with you, and do God’s important work of caring for your neighbors.

Yours in Christ,

Bishop Andy Taylor/he, him, his
Pacifica Synod of the ELCA

Together in Christ we equip, accompany, and serve boldly so all may experience God’s boundless grace.
2020 Pacifica Synod Assembly Postponed to 2021
The following announcement was shared with our synod on June 17. 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 early August. They will be sent out by email and posted on our website to download.

Dear People of the Pacifica Synod,

As you know, the 2020 Synod Assembly scheduled to take place at California Lutheran University at the end of May was postponed due to COVID-19. We thought about rescheduling to August. However, we believe that the best advice will continue to deem it unwise to gather together in large numbers.
At a special Synod Council meeting held on Saturday, June 13 for the sole purpose of discussing this issue, the Synod Council passed the following motion:
Due to the extraordinary circumstances of a global pandemic, Synod Council votes to postpone the 2020 Pacifica Synod Assembly to May 2021 and combine it with the
regularly scheduled 2021 Pacifica Synod Assembly.

What Does This Mean?
(An excellent Lutheran question.)
During this time of physical distancing for the sake of the health of the neighbor, an assembly of the voting members of the Pacifica Synod is not possible in person. 
We considered holding our assembly via Zoom. While this platform is being used successfully for smaller meetings, the expertise to conduct a synod assembly, in which everyone can hear and be heard to conduct the business of the synod is currently beyond our expertise. We need time for the synod staff and Assembly Planning Team to acquire the knowledge, skills, and technical equipment to successfully host an assembly on-line.  The Synod Council has decided that the best way forward would be to plan now to hold the 2021 Pacifica Synod Assembly on Saturday, May 1 online either via Zoom with individual voting members attending from home, or at different satellite locations where smaller groups could gather (if allowed by public health regulations).  If we use satellite locations, the locations will be connected with each other either through Zoom or another platform. This plan will allow time to obtain the necessary tools, expertise, and training for staff and voting members. 
This decision was not made easily. We thank the Synod Council and staff for many hours of deliberation to find the best solution to a problem none of us could have foreseen.
Frequently Asked Questions are listed below. For additional questions, please reach out to your pastor, conference dean, or the Office of the Bishop.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Andy Taylor (he/him/his)                               Lori Herman, (she/her/hers)
Pacifica Synod Bishop                                               Pacifica Synod Council Vice President
Coaching for All Seasons
Monthly Online Gathering for
Pacifica Synod Rostered & Lay Leaders
1st Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. to noon (PDT)
In mid-March, we all began a journey that’s starting to feel like 40 years in the wilderness! Join your colleagues to explore how we experience change and transition…and how we can make that experience easier. Together we will watch a video based on William Bridges’ groundbreaking work on navigating external changes and the often-unsettling, internal transitions they cause. Following the presentation, we will break into small groups for a coach-led conversation relating this information to your unique circumstances. We will conclude with a debriefing to share the small groups’ experiences.     
The event on July 7 inaugurated a new monthly gathering. Click here to view our Synod Coaching web page and view the resources from July's gathering. Our Pacifica Synod Coaching Team has designed a 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, August 4, 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 .

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 .

Portico Announces End of
Retiree Support Charge to Employers
Greetings from Portico,

Reducing the cost of benefits is always welcome, especially during these tumultuous times. Portico is pleased to announce that the ELCA Benefit Contribution Trust is now adequately funded.  You will no longer be charged 0.7% of sponsored members’ defined compensation for retiree support,  which means you may re-purpose those funds toward other needs.

The church remains steadfast in its commitment to provide retired members and their eligible family members with affordable health care — which is a key element of the community-based health plan administered by Portico. A  news article  about this change has been published on myPortico and EmployerLink. I invite you to read it for further background and details.

Please be sure to closely examine your next monthly bill from Portico. You will see that the retiree support line item is no longer reflected, and that your total amount owed will have decreased. If your treasurer or office personnel are accustomed to paying bills based on historical or previous amounts, remind them of this upcoming change so they can adjust their processes.

If you have any questions regarding this billing change, please contact the Portico Customer Care Center at  800.352.2876 , Monday — Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Central).
Racial Justice Statement of the Pacifica Synod Council
The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon (Sean) Reed, and George Floyd are among the most recent in a long history of too many similar tragedies. In June, we also joined in remembrance of the Emanuel Nine, nine African Americans killed by a young, self-professed white supremacist during Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015, and we recall, with sadness, that their killer was once a member of an ELCA congregation. And we clearly see that some people are more likely to be stopped or killed by police, to suffer from illnesses including COVID-19, and to be denied loans, housing, or a greater income, and to face other discrimination because of the color of their skin.

Christ died and rose again to make all people one with God. As Ephesians 2:13-14 reminds us, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” If we are all children of God, then it is a sin against God and our neighbors to stand by, indifferent to a society that causes some to suffer more than others, and that unjustly benefits some more than others.

We are called to repent. As Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton said in her  sermon  for Trinity Sunday, “Until the white majority feels within their soul that the pain and suffering of black and brown people is our own pain and suffering, it will not be safe to be black or brown in America.” And we are called to act. We must change ourselves and our society. We are called to join in God’s work of breaking down the dividing walls in our society and making us into one.

We ask each person in our synod to personally commit to the difficult and necessary work of repentance and change. To learn about the history of racial discrimination and its lingering effects, and to take steps to change them. To be better citizens and to better manifest our love for our neighbors and God. We also ask each of our synod’s congregations to commit to this work. To develop an anti-racism plan and to partner with racial justice organizations. To be God’s church in the world.

Please join us in taking the ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge . Our churchwide and synod offices have resources to help us, which may be found at  and . Our synod’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Working Group will add more resources over time. Bishop Andy Taylor recently sent a  lette r  inviting us to work together for racial justice, which we echo.
We, the members of your synod council, have committed to doing this work in the synod, in each of our own congregations, and in our lives. The Office of the Bishop’s staff has joined us. Will you join us, too?

Bishop Andrew Taylor
Lori Herman
Angela Jackson
Tom Pankow
Dámaris Allen
Maura Beland
The Rev. Linda Brown
The Rev. Pongtep Chutimapongrat
Jeff Cours
Becky Draper
Anthony Eder
Mark Fornwall
Freya Hendrickson
Greta Hobson
The Rev. Jeff Lilley
Gerald Marecek
Daneen Pysz
Nicolette Rohr
The Rev. Maria Santa Cruz
The Rev. Jennifer Shaw
The Rev. Brian Taylor
The Rev. Terry Tuvey Allen
The Rev. Tom Goellrich
Rachel Line
Terri Robertson
Carol Youngman
The Church and Disability Online Conversation
August 1 and August 5
Ramping Up - The Church and Disability
Saturday August 1 at 1:00 p.m. PDT/10:00 a.m. HST
Wednesday, August 5 at 5:00 p.m. PDT/2:00 p.m. HST

As the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 30, how are we doing at welcoming and incorporating people with disabilities into God's Church?

What have we learned?
What have we done?
What can we share?
Where are we headed?

You are invited to join the Rev. Cyndi Jones in a working conversation on widening the welcome for all. Please RSVP with Rachel Line by phone at 714.692.2791 or by email at . Be sure to indicate which of the dates you plan to attend. The Zoom link will only be sent to those who RSVP.

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 the Rev. Cyndi Jones, Synodical Pastor for Disability Ministry at
Season of Creation Devotions
Offered by Four Heads of Communion
 T he Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and leaders from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have prepared a series of devotions to observe the Season of Creation 2020, Sept. 1–Oct. 4.
The season, which begins with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, is a time to join with the global Christian community in renewing, repairing and restoring commitments to God, to one another and to all of creation. For the four churches, it is also a time for strengthening relationships with one another. Through Scripture, hymns, advocacy and action, the weekly devotions, which begin Sept. 6, invite people to live out their vocation as stewards of creation.
“We pray that our actions as stewards of God’s good creation will continue to deepen not only in this season, but for all time,” said Eaton. “Even as our relations as churches are not bound by national or ecclesiastical borders, neither is our witness to the One who came to redeem all of creation.”
In addition to Eaton, the devotions were contributed by the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate, The Episcopal Church; the Rev. Susan C. Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; and the Most Rev. Linda Nicholls, archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.
“I pray that these reflections will open hearts and minds to experience our relationship in and with all of creation in new ways,” said Nicholls.
In the opening devotion, the leaders stress the significance of a collective responsibility in caring for creation. “Waking up to matters of climate justice and environmental stewardship are among the most important callings people have today. Over many years, through many voices, our churches have come to a growing conviction that loving our neighbour includes loving Mother Earth as a neighbour.”
“It is timely, relevant and exciting for our churches to join together in prayer, worship and reflection during the Season of Creation,” said Johnson. “With open hearts, minds and souls may we discern new actions and practices to show love for God’s creation.”
“In this season of activism as we seek God’s liberating, life-giving love for all, may these prayers and devotions inspire us to care for a world in which all creation can flourish,” said Curry.

The relations among the four churches have moved more closely toward “mutual recognition,” bringing into mutual relation the two churches of “Called to Common Mission” in the United States and those of the Waterloo Declaration in Canada. One notable feature of the agreement is that it cites the experience of Indigenous people “not divided by national borders established by colonialist power” as grounds for expanding shared life among the churches. A Memorandum of Mutual Recognition (MMR) was approved by both Canadian churches in July 2019. The 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted constitutional changes embracing the Anglican Church of Canada, and in November 2019 the Church Council adopted the MMR. Once The Episcopal Church acts, the mutual recognition of the four churches will come into full effect.
The Season of Creation devotions are available  here .

Care Connections Network
Empowering Adults, 50 and Better
Care Connections Network is a nonprofit membership organization which strives to empower adults, 50 and better, to age well in their own homes and communities. We strive to empower older adults to age in their communities safely and comfortably. We offer educational opportunities to help our members age with confidence, social and cultural events to keep them connected with the community and referrals to vetted service providers.

To learn more about upcoming events, click here for CCN's July newsletter.

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

On July 15, we are honored to have Rev. Dr. Lawrence J. Clark, II and Rev. Dr. Richard N. Stewart present with us to share The Untold Story of Black Lutheran History.

Rev. Lawrence (Larry) Clark is unashamedly African American and unapologetically Lutheran. He earned a BA in United States History from San Francisco State University, an MDiv with an emphasis in Urban & Youth Ministry from Trinity Lutheran Seminary (Columbus, OH), and a DMin with honors from the historic Interdenominational Interdenominational Theological Center (Atlanta, GA). Rev. Clark is known as one of those singing preachers and is both honored and humbled to serve as the Senior Pastor of St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chicago, IL. He is one of three chaplains with the Chicago Fire Department and an active ELCA Coach, while also serving on the Leadership Team for ELCA Coaching. Rev. Clark is married to Darlene Gibson-Clark, the First Lady of his life and of St. Mark Lutheran, and they are the proud parents of four children.

Believing that the leader in congregational ministry is primarily a communicator,   Rev. Richard Stewart   has shaped his ministry and studies around communication and congregational ministry. "As congregational leaders plan, teach, preach, and administer, they focus on sharing both information and the skills for others to pass on information. That information in written and oral speech, music, the pictorial arts, the theater, dance, and in all sorts of human behavior are ways we share the Word of God." Rev. Stewart is Adjunct Professor and Graduate Advisor in Administration, Evangelism, Stewardship, and Communications at United Lutheran Seminary (Philadelphia, PA). He earned a BA from Wittenberg University and an MDiv from Hamma School of Theology (both in Springfield, OH). Rev. Stewart also earned a DMin from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, where he was an Associate Professor for 33 years. He has also been researching African American Lutheran History for nearly 35 years!

How have we  been  church, with individuals and with communities?  How are we  being  church? H ow are we  called to be  church with all people, with creation, and in an ever-changing world?

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: July 15, 2020 01:00 PM Central Time
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Password: 648160

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Lutheran Retreats, Camps & Conferences
Virtual Summer Banquet - July 25

Each summer ends with a big party! Campers, donors, counselors, parents and church leaders all come together to celebrate the hard work and passion the summer staff brings to Southern California. 

For everyones safety, we are hosting our first ever VIRTUAL Summer Banquet on  Saturday July 25 at 5 p.m.

It is our desire to gather friends and supporters of camp, family and friends of our summer staff, campers and their families, pastors, youth workers, and YOU for a night online to connect, hear and see what God is doing in our ministry. Hearing the camp staff sing will lift your spirits!

Join us for LRCC's 11th Annual Summer Banquet. We will be singing your favorite camp songs, sharing our faith stories, fundraising money for summer and celebrating joy!

All are welcome. We hope to see you there!  
Click HERE to learn more!
California Lutheran University
Fifty and Better Summer Session
“Fifty and Better” is designed for members of our community who are 50 years of age and older and want to continue learning — just for the enjoyment and stimulation of pursuing knowledge and social engagement through interactive courses and extracurricular activities. 

For more information or to register, visit their website here . To download a PDF version of the flyer above, click here .
We Remember in Our Prayers
We ask that you hold the following people in your thoughts and prayers:

  • The family and friends of Bill Aanestad, husband of former synod staff member Dorothy Aanestad, as they grieve his death.
  • 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