Pacifica Synod News & Notes
October 2, 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
2020 Bishop's Gatherings
Let’s Do Church Together is the theme for the 2020 Pacifica Bishop’s Gatherings. What better time to collaborate than now, as we are all learning new ways to share the gospel with others in due to the pandemic. We are meeting online by Zoom to discuss congregational and synod plans for ministry in the year to come. We will unveil Pacifica’s Strategic Plan for the work we can do together, highlighting the Ministry Result Areas and the Goals approved by Synod Council. We will listen to one another to see how we can support each other as Christians, congregations, the Pacifica Synod, and the ELCA. We will celebrate our unity, while giving thanks for our diversity, and ask God to guide us confidently into the future. 
We are gathering by Conferences, and invite each congregation to attend with their pastors, their deacons, and at least two key lay leaders, but all are welcome! The dates and times for each Conference are listed below and will last for 75 minutes. Pre-registration is required using the button below to receive the Zoom link in advance of each gathering and to ensure we have enough room on our Zoom feed to accommodate everyone. You may join by video using a computer, tablet or phone or call in from your phone using audio only. If you cannot attend your own Conference meeting or missed it, we invite you to Zoom in with another Conference. We hope you can join us! 

Below are the dates and times of each remaining Gathering:
Saturday, October 10
Saddleback Conference
10:00 a.m.
Sunday, October 11
Rejoice Conference
1:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 14
Hukilau Conference
9:00 a.m. (HT) / 11:00 a.m. (PT)

If you need assistance with the registration process, please contact Terri Robertson at 714.352.8732 or by email at
Coaching for All Seasons:
How to Talk about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Your Congregation 

Monthly Online Gathering for
Pacifica Synod Rostered & Lay Leaders
Tuesday, October 6 at 11:00 a.m.
Even when we’ve decided to start a conversation about a sensitive topic, we frequently don’t know how to begin. Many of us are at that point with the subject of equity, diversity, and inclusion, which well-known speakers and writers are calling by names like white supremacy and anti-racism. One useful approach is gathering a group that shares a common characteristic (affinity) to create a space for open and honest dialog. Heidi Kleine and Emilee O’Brien recently partnered to lead a series of conversations on racism for an affinity group of white women. They will share the story of why they feel called to this work, the importance of partners, and what you might expect if you form an affinity group. 

Heidi is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) and ELCA Coach with specialty training in Discipleship and Mission Development/Congregational Vitality. She currently serves as the Director of Faith Formation at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cary, NC. 

Emilee is a recent graduate of Georgetown University with an M.A. in Educational Transformation. She previously served as the Post Baccalaureate Fellow for Social Justice and Community-Engaged Learning at Furman University in Greenville, SC, where she developed an intergroup dialogue program.  

To register for the October 6 gathering and receive the link to join by Zoom, click here.

The October 6 forum is the fourth in the monthly series Coaching for All Seasons that began in July 2020. 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 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. 

 If you would like information on having a coach, please contact Deenna Eley, Pacifica Synod Coaching Coordinator at
COVID Pandemic Creates Collaborative Grief Ministry
PRESS RELEASE - Grand Canyon Synod and Pacifica Synod – ELCA

Reformation Lutheran Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Carlton Hills Lutheran Church, in Santee, California announce the formation of a collaborative Zoom ministry for those surviving the death of a loved one. Beginning Tuesday, September 29, and continuing through December 22, 2020, these two ELCA congregations are co-hosting a Zoom cycle of the 13-week faith-based ministry, “GriefShare.” The sessions will be held on-line (ZOOM) from 6:30-8:15 PM Pacific Time.

GriefShare is a Christian support group and seminar program produced by Church Initiative. Used by 15,000 congregations globally, it leads those grieving through weekly sessions that provide comfort, answers to their questions, and hope on their grief recovery journey. The weekly seminar topics include:

Is This Normal? 
Challenges of Grief
The Journey of Grief – Part One
The Journey of Grief – Part Two
Grief and Your Relationships
Guilt and Anger
Complicating Factors
Lessons of Grief – Part One
Lessons of Grief – Part Two
What Do I Live for Now?

“As a parish pastor, I found GriefShare to be an essential partner in the grief recovery process for my parishioners,” shared co-facilitator, retired ELCA pastor Marta Poling Schmitt. “Then, when my husband died six years ago, my daughter and I participated in several groups to help us through the pain of his death.” Having been on both sides of GriefShare, Pastor Poling Schmitt believes that it is a very helpful part of the grief recovery process for Christians and a vital ministry for congregations to offer in their communities. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic already taking the lives of 200,000 Americans, Reformation Lutheran Church and Carlton Hills Lutheran Church wanted to provide extra support to those who’ve lost a loved one to death. Co-facilitator, Joseph Rhome, a lay leader at Carlton Hills Lutheran Church is especially concerned about those grieving the death of a child. “I know what it is like to lose your child. It is devastating. When my daughter was murdered 20 years ago, it took me a long time to work through the grieving process. God is the Healer who can make that happen.” 

Those interested in registering for this new GriefShare group should visit: Click on the “find a group” button and enter the location of “Las Vegas, Nevada” or zip code “89104.” It is listed under “Reformation Lutheran Church” in Las Vegas, Nevada. The cost is $15 to register and includes a Participant Book. For more information, contact: Pastor Marta Poling Schmitt at:
Matthew 25 Grant Application Period Open
The purpose of The Matthew 25 Fund is to honor Christ as he spoke in Matthew 25:35-40. Jerry and Lynda Engelhardt established this fund through a strong desire to help people as in the verse.
The primary criteria for making awards shall be Matthew 25:35-40. A secondary criterion shall be to evaluate if the proposed project will help establish or maintain congregational outreach and unity as in the spirit of the verse. 
The fund is intended for Pacifica Synod congregations. However, awards may be given to other well-managed organizations not in the Pacifica Synod that meet the spirit of the text.
Grant applications maybe downloaded here or obtained by contacting Terri Robertson in the Synod office at 714.352.8732 or by email at Be sure to click "enable editing" to complete the fillable form.
The deadline for applications is October 15, 2020 and grants will be awarded by January 15, 2021.
Please keep in mind that if you have received a previous Matthew 25 Grant Award, you MUST have submitted a written report on the use and outcome of the previous award in order to be considered for a future award.
From Lutheran Retreats, Camps & Conferences
El Dorado Fire Update
The El Dorado Fire is now 92% contained, but earlier resulted in a 6 day evacuation for the Luther Glen staff and animals. We are back at camp, but still see small flare ups and smoldering on the hills behind us. The scenery has changed but we are grateful the retreat center, farm and camp have not. 
Thank you to so many who have donated to the fire relief efforts. We will be purchasing generators for both camps and the retreat center and hope to have those installed soon.

Synod Work Towards Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
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
The AmazonSmile Foundation recently surpassed $200 million in donations to charities worldwide! Our thanks go out to you, Pacifica Synod supporters, and every supporter who shops at

You can help increase AmazonSmile donations to Evangelical Lutheran Church in America PACIFICA Synod by clicking here or on the Amazon Shopping app.

From the ELCA & Other Partners

LSS Riverside Virtual Walk to Fight Poverty
October 17 & 18
This year our Walk to Fight Poverty goes virtual! Participants are invited to “choose their own walk”, whether socially distanced with friends or around the block with family. No matter your route, each step you take offers the invaluable gift of Peace to a family or individual in need. Won’t you join us? Start your page or support an existing team member today!

You can decide exactly when your walk will take place, but we encourage you to walk on either Saturday or Sunday, October 17 or 18, 2020. You can get active however you want – go for a walk, run, cycle, or play! Do you have a favorite walking trail or would you like to get active with your family taking part? This is a great opportunity to explore your neighborhood with your family and pets!

Click here to learn more and to register for the virtual walk. Download a PDF flyer to share with others here.

Examining Whiteness in the ELCA
5 Thursdays in October, 9:30-11 am PST
(Attend one or all five)
Links to the five Facebook events:
RSVP required to for pre-registration and Zoom link.
This is a brave space to uncover our whiteness and process racism in ourselves. We will do the personal work, in community, necessary to show up as more effective co-conspirators and change agents for racial justice in our church. Share a flyer here.
Anti-Racist work for:
  • ELCA Regions 1 & 2
  • White people
  • Those who benefit from White privilege
  • Those who want to explore whiteness with others
Questions? Contact Desta Goehner, Director of Congregational Relations, California Lutheran University,
ELCA Youth Gathering 2022
Join the ELCA Youth Gathering on Tuesday, October 6 by wearing your favorite T-shirt from the Gathering, MYLE or the tAble and sharing a selfie on social media.

Tag us and be sure to use #GatheringTShirtDay and #ELCAYG2022 so they can see your awesome selfies.

There just might be some giveaways...

For the latest edition of the ELCA Youth Gathering gNews, click here.
ELCA World Hunger Daily Bread Matching Grants
Application Period October 1 to 8
Daily Bread Matching Grants supporting congregations with feeding ministries are back by popular demand as part of the ELCA's continued response to supporting neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This fall more than 300 grants are available to eligible ministries. Applications are being accepted between October 1 - 8. Once your application has been approved, you will be able to invite your congregation, networks and friends to donate. To kickstart your campaign, the funds you raise will be matched by ELCA World Hunger with a grant of $500. 

Register and apply today!
Have You Filed Your 2019 Congregational Report?
Data from your church's congregational report is an important ministry tool for your congregation, the Pacifica Synod, and the Churchwide body.

Completing a statistical report is a constitutional requirement of the synod, and a congregational report must be on file in order for a church to be eligible for most synod and ELCA grants. 

2019 congregational reports were due February 15, 2020. While most Pacifica Synod congregations have completed their reports, there are a number that have not been submitted. Please take a moment to check that your congregation's Form A and Form C have been submitted - if you're not sure, please contact Carol Youngman in the synod office at

You can access the Churchwide Congregational Report portal, which will be open for a short time, by following this link. If you can't find your login information or are missing your Congregational Report forms, Carol can help you with that as well. Thank you for complying with this reporting requirement!
Portico 2021 Benefit Information Now Available
Portico’s Board of Trustees has approved health plan and benefit changes for 2021, featuring the continuing expansion of personalized and online programs for ELCA-Primary members, and a new hearing benefit for members with ELCA Medicare-Primary health benefits. You can read more here.

This month, Portico is inviting sponsoring organizations to visit the 2021 Enrollment Center on EmployerLink, where a Decision Guide and the Custom Comparison Report and Spreadsheet is available to registered users. Please download these resources and share them with decision-makers in your organization. The Decision Guide was specifically created as a visual overview of the two ELCA-recommended options. These documents have been formatted to be easily shared during any online meetings as your organization reviews your options. (Plan members will complete their individual Annual Enrollment after their sponsoring organizations have completed their selection process.)

For 2021, the Pacifica Synod Council is recommending two health benefit options — Gold+ or Silver+ paired with a Level A health savings account (HSA) employer contribution.
Between October 12 and October 30, your organization will need to make your 2021 health benefit selection and enter it on EmployerLink. Your sponsored members will make their benefit selections in November. If you have questions, Portico's Customer Care Center is ready to assist, at 800.352.2876 or
Welcome to Gather: Afghanistan 2020!
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is excited to announce the launch of our new fall program, Gather: Afghanistan 2020. This program equips families, congregations, and community groups with tools to learn about the history of conflict in Afghanistan, explore the culture through worship, food, and music, and learn more about LIRS’ work through the incredible story of the Abdullah family. 

As part of the program, we've launched two toolkits: one for congregations and one for communities. Each toolkit provides a unique action guide to host a virtual worship service or family dinner that focuses on the rich history of Afghanistan, complete with great learning opportunities and tangible ways to support migrants and refugees.
Though we have to be apart, we're all in this together. Together we honor the journey of the migrant and the refugee. Together we seek to understand the global realities that our brothers and sisters face. Together we respond to fear, pain, and persecution with compassion, generosity, and open arms to welcome the stranger.
Supporting the Work of Lutheran Disaster Response
Lutheran Disaster Response brings God’s hope, healing and renewal to people whose lives have been disrupted by disasters in the United States and around the world. When the dust settles and the headlines change, we stay to provide ongoing assistance to those in need. In addition to their work around the world, LDR is currently assisting with two recent disasters response efforts.

California Wildfires
Fueled by a heat wave and unfavorable winds, devastating wildfires are raging across California, Oregon, Washington and other western states. At least 20 people have died, hundreds of thousands of people are under evacuation orders and more than 3.5 million acres have burned across the three states. Some evacuees face the difficult decision of whether to stay in a shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lutheran Disaster Response is engaging with at least three Lutheran social services agencies and five synods to assess the situation and determine the best ways to respond. We expect immediate needs may include food and other necessities, as well as emotional and spiritual care for those who have been traumatized.

ELCA & Other Partners
News & Ministry Links

Lutheran Social Services of So Cal - August 2020

ELCA Advocacy Connections - August 2020

ELCA Worship News - September 2020

ELCA Administration Matters - September 2020

ELCA Disability Ministries - September 2020

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

ELCA Global Links - September 2020

ELCA StewardNet - Summer 2020

ELCA "Seeds Monthly" Newsletter - September 2020

ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) - September 2020

Job Postings

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

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

The next gathering will be held on Wednesday, October 7 at 11:00 a.m. PDT. The topic will be "The Sacred Work of Grief, Part 2", presented by the Rev. Solveig Nilsen-Goodin

We understand a number of folks are unable to make this day and time each week. We record the main session and debrief time and share each recording with supporting documents here, typically by the following week:
You can also find a list of upcoming topics and presenters on the home page of our website:

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: October 7, 2020 11:00 a.m. PDT
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Password: 648160

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+16699006833,,180439412#,,1#,648160# US (San Jose)
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    +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
 Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Password: 648160

Basic Training in Transitions
Education in the Practice of Intentional Interim Ministry
So. California Training / Fall 2020 (live, online)
May 10-14 (in-person, on-site)
LuTMA (formerly NALIP)
Lutheran Transitional Ministry Association

  • Do you desire to become a more effective transitional leader and agent of the Gospel? Are you considering intentional interim ministry as a possibility for your future? 
  • As the world continues to change, we confront both profound grief and tantalizing possibilities. How can we better equip ourselves to guide congregations through difficult transitions and into new life?
  • Lutheran Transitional Ministry Association (LuTMA, formerly NALIP) touches this reality, encouraging curiosity and professional growth. Since 1997, we have worked with thousands of pastors and multiple partners nationwide. Our name change reflects our own ongoing process of transformation.
  • Taking this six-month course in “Basic Training in Transitions” will help you navigate congregational dynamics and aid you in being a transitional leader. Because all ministry is essentially transitional, this course is appropriate for both settled and interim pastors.

Offering a total of more than 60 contact hours of continuing education equivalency plus field practice, this course consists of three, interrelated components:

  • Congregational Dynamics and Transitions (live, online)
  • Field Practice in Transitional Leadership (independent study and online cohort meetings)
  • The Transitional Leader (face-to-face, residential week)

During the COVID-19 crisis, the first two components (CDT and FPTL) will be offered in continuity, online, between October 2020 and May 2021. The live, online sessions for “Congregational Dynamics and Transitions” will be twelve 90-minute sessions on the following Tuesdays at noon: October 13, 20, 27; November 3, 10, 17; December 1; January 12, 19, 26; February 2, 9 (12 sessions)
Anticipating face-to-face possibilities in the Spring 2021, the third component (TTL) will be held at the Pacific Southwest District Offices in Irvine, California, and will begin at 1:00 pm on Monday, May 10, and conclude at noon on Friday, May 14.

For detailed information about the training, the tuition, and what to expect may be found here. Enrollment in this training is limited and will not be offered again for another year for any location.

Other training sites across the nation and detailed course descriptions are also listed on The training provides for and will also benefit deacons, deaconesses and lay ministry leaders who are working in the field of transitional ministry.

For more information contact:

Rev. Terry Tuvey Allen
Assistant to the Bishop, Pacifica Synod

Rev. Peter Alexander
LuTMA Dean of Faculty
Lombard Mennonite Peace Center Workshops
Multiple sessions of the following workshops will be available online from now through the end of the year. For a complete list of learning opportunities, including 90-minute webinars and multi-day seminars, please visit our website at Registration forms can be found on the brochures; otherwise, you can register online at BrownPaperTickets.

Conflict Transformation SkillsAlthough a normal part of life, conflict is usually seen as something negative. Acquire the knowledge and skills to transform conflict into a force for positive change and spiritual growth. Attend this 7.5-hour event online via Zoom on Oct. 23, Nov. 7, Nov. 21, and Dec. 5, 2020.  Register as a group, using this CTS Discount Coupon, and save up to $50 per person.

The last session of Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders for this year will be November 16-20, 2020. This outstanding 5-day event helps participants deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict. The tentative dates for next year are March 1-5, May 3-7, June 21-25, August 2-6, October 4-8, and November 15-19, 2021. No decision has yet been made with regard to returning to an in-person format, so attendees will need access to a device with both a camera and a microphone. Questions? Contact the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at or 630-627-0507.  To receive a $200 tuition discount for the November 2020 session, register no later than October 16. 

Healthy Congregations: Could your congregation use a wellness check? Attend this 8-hour workshop and learn ways to minimize or prevent destructive conflict, manage negative reactivity, and help your church stay focused on its true mission and purpose. Attend this 8-hour event online via Zoom on Oct. 30, Nov. 13, or Dec. 8, 2020. Register as a group, using this HC Discount Coupon, and save up to $50 per person.

Leadership and Anxiety in the Church: Participants will look at the challenges presented by the rising levels of anxiety experienced in churches today, as well as the role that self-differentiated leadership plays in calming such anxiety. Works of fine art are integrated at various points to facilitate theological reflection. Attend this 7-hour event online via Zoom on Dec. 3, 2020.  Register as a group, using this LAC Discount Coupon, and save up to $50 per person. 

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

ALOA Monthly Webinar
Thursday, October 15
ALOA (Adult Lutherans Organized for Action) offers monthly one-hour webinars on specific topics meaningful to older adult ministry leaders in congregations, as well as interested individuals. Each will include an interview with a thought leader working with older adults, and will be archived for future viewing. Webinars are offered free of charge. Information about their next webinar is listed below. You can also find the archive of previous webinars here.

Strengthen Relationships by Staying Connected
Thursday, October 15, 2020 – 9:00 a.m. PDT

During the pandemic, limited face-to-face visits and not being together to recognize life's milestones has taken its toll. Debbie Streicher of Milestones Ministry will address ways we can be creative during these times and reach out to one another to reinforce existing relationships and build new ones through faith-related connections.

Silent Saturday - November 21
For a downloadable PDF flyer and the link to register, 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 the Rev. H.G. "Skip" McComas
  • The family and friends of the Rev. Carlton Monroe
  • The Rev. Lee Rozen
  • All affected by the wildfires in California, Oregon, Washington and other western states, as well as those fighting the fires.
  • The Rev. George Johnson and his wife, Vivian
  • Cindy Jorstad
  • The family and friends of the Rev. Laura (Laurie) Line
  • Ron and Lisa Higginbotham
  • 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