Pacifica Synod News & Notes
July 31, 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 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
Coaching for All Seasons:
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion - "What Does This Mean?"
with Bishop Andy Taylor
Monthly Online Gathering for
Pacifica Synod Rostered & Lay Leaders
Tuesday, August 4 at 11:00 a.m. to noon (PDT)
Recently, life around us has made us more aware of the impacts of racism and privilege. In response, on June 15, Bishop Andy shared a letter with our Synod inviting us to work together for greater racial understanding. Based on 2014 data, Pew Research reports that 96% of ELCA members identify as white, 2% as black, 1% as Asian, and 1% as Latino. At the Coaching for All Seasons forum on August 4, Bishop Andy will address that great Lutheran question, “What does this mean?” in terms of our Synod’s focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion.Following the Bishop’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 August 4 forum is 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 July’s presentation. 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, 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 .
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.

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

From the ELCA & Other Partners
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 .

Update Regarding the 2021 ELCA Youth Gathering
July 22, 2020 - From the ELCA Youth Gathering Staff:

After much prayer and consideration, we have decided to postpone next summer’s ELCA Youth Gathering to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering will be held July 24-28, 2022, in Minneapolis, with the two pre-events, the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE) and the tAble, scheduled for July 21-24, 2022.

We give thanks for your prayers and patience as we have worked through the details with our partners in Minneapolis and across the country. We hope that by postponing the Gathering for a year, individuals and congregations will feel more comfortable and prepared to attend the Gathering in 2022.

For more information about the 2022 Gathering, we encourage you to visit . We will be updating our website and social media as more details become available.

We look forward to seeing you and experiencing the boundlessness of God in Minneapolis in 2022!

"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 News & Ministry Links

ELCA Advocacy Connections - July 2020

ELCA Worship News - July 2020

ELCA Administration Matters - July 2020

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

ELCA Global Links - July 2020

ELCA StewardNet - Summer 2020

ELCA "Seeds Monthly" Newsletter - July 2020
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Virtual Town Hall
Tuesday, August 4 at 1:00 pm PDT
Immigration in the United States is under attack.  The U.S. has never accepted fewer refugees. Unaccompanied migrant children are being expelled at the border without due process. And our newest neighbors have been left out of federal pandemic relief legislation.

But all hope is not lost. 

Join LIRS for our latest Virtual Town Hall,  COVID and Beyond: Actions You Can Take Now to Rebuild Our Immigration System

The virtual event will feature LIRS President and CEO Krish O'Mara Vignarajah and Director of Advocacy Ronnate Asirwatham, who will share  real, actionable ways  you can help to restore America's status as a leader in global immigration. We will also have Jennifer Quigley, Human Rights First's Director of Refugee Advocacy, who will focus on asylum regulations and the "Remain in Mexico" policy.

Register here to learn how you can raise your voice and make a difference.  

Lutheran Office of Public Policy - California
July Updates
Budget Advocacy Win
Governor Newsom signed the Budget Act into law with funding to expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit to undocumented tax filers with children under age six. We celebrate and thank the legislature and the governor for this step forward, but also acknowledge that so many people are still excluded from this essential anti-poverty policy. Along with coalition partners, we have been pushing over the last months and years to expand the CalEITC to all tax filers. Immigrant tax filers contribute $3.2 billion to state and local taxes every year, yet they are ineligible to receive aspects of the safety net proving so essential in the midst of COVID-19. 

Overarching Antiracism Value
The LOPPCA  Policy Council  unanimously affirmed a move to  center an anti-racist lens  to fuel and undergird our advocacy priorities as an organization. An anti-racist approach confronts and dismantles systems, structures, and policies which promote racism and white supremacy. White supremacy and policymaking go hand-in-hand, whether explicitly through historically segregated beaches along California’s coast, or implicitly through access to state programs such as clean vehicle rebates and tax credits. An anti-racist approach centers voices, experiences, and solutions of Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color. The Board will work in conjunction with the Director to develop protocols and guidance for how this value will be implemented and measured.

New Board Member
The LOPPCA Policy Council welcomes a new ex officio board member,  Dr. LaSharnda Beckwith , CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Southern California. Dr. Beckwith oversees the strategic direction and execution of the agency’s core mission and leads a diverse team of 150+ employees across 18 offices in eight counties to improve conditions for underserved and marginalized communities.

Local Partnership
The Board also voted to participate as a placement for a local young adult discernment organization,  Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network  (LEVN). LEVN is located in Davis, CA and provides spiritual formation, vocational discernment, financial support, and meaningful work at a non-profit placement site. The LEVN volunteer at LOPPCA will work remotely doing communications, social media, and administrative duties as assigned to support advocacy in the Capitol and engagement in our churches.

Ballot Measures
California has a robust initiative system, whereby voters have direct power to make laws and approve constitutional amendments.  Ballot measures for November 2020  include reinstating affirmative action, expanding the right to vote, updating property tax and eliminating cash bail. LOPPCA will host forums on the most important ballot measures and release a voter guide in September. 

Advocacy in Quarantine
We continue to host our weekly  Wednesdays at Noon  briefing on state and federal legislation and call to action. This month, we supported affirmative action, SNAP increases, democratic integrity, and we thanked legislators for much-needed CalEITC expansion.
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 .

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 August 5, the topic will be " Expressing and Mourning our Grief"with Pastora Irma Bañales, DEM for the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod.

How do we as individuals prepare ourselves to be leaders in this space? H ow 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?

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 5, 2020 01:00 PM Central Time
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Password: 648160

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ALOA Virtual Conference
August 4 - 9:00 am PDT
This is an opportunity to connect and share experiences. We’ll discuss a single topic in an hour-long video conference using the Zoom platform that will offer all participants a chance to share. Questions will be sent in advance to allow time for reflection and enable all participants to engage in the conversation. If you are unable to connect via video conference, you can participate by phone (audio only). Participation is limited, so register early.

  • August, 4, 2020 - 9:00 a.m. PDT
  • COVID-19: How does it impact me?
  • Reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on older adults and how we serve others in these times. Come together with other individuals to share and discuss the impacts, challenges and creative solutions leading to our “new normal.” Questions will be sent in advance to allow time for reflection and enable all participants to engage in the conversation.
  • This hour-long conference will be led by Deaconess Penny Cedel.

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. 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