Lenten Blessings
March 3, 2021
A Message from Lutheran Campus Ministry
Greetings!

Campus Ministry, a Year Later

A year later and students remain mostly off-campus. Instead of living in dorms or apartments near California State University Monterey Bay, or one of the other five campus ministries in our synod, they are scattered all over the state, the country, and the world. 

Zooming in for classes from their childhood bedrooms is not exactly what most of our students had in mind for their higher learning. As a former biology major, I want to know how does one complete a biology lab online? But more than that, I recognize how painful it has become for these young adults to have all their social contacts limited to a screen. The electronic screens project images of friends, but they also “screen” out part of the human experience, filtering out some of the flavor and joy of life.

An important part of campus ministry has been simply to provide support to students and staff during this trying time. Through our drop-in chat times, discussion groups, and times of worship, we have striven to encourage and give hope. 

Campus ministry always needs to adapt: every year brings a new group of students and fresh issues on campus. The pandemic has forced more change upon us and we, like congregations and other ministries, are looking to where God is leading us. The question is not if we will get through this pandemic, but what will we learn from it?

We know there will be successes and failures. The collaboration with Campus Health Services on a Celebration of Gratitude was a great success. The declining interest in engaging at our weekly lunch gathering probably suggests the need to change something. The ongoing challenge of limited contact with new students perplexes us, but the ongoing ministry to Mandarin-speaking students at UC Santa Cruz excites us.

Overall, I believe the greatest learning for campus ministries and for all of us is that we are better working together. Working together, we can serve and love and share the Good News of Christ so much more. I hope that we bring this lesson out of this COVID-19 time and with it we may see a resurrection of the church and of community life.

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a campus minister and to work with students, faculty, and staff. I am also thankful for the ongoing support of the synod in this important mission work. On behalf of all of the campus ministries, I thank you for your prayers and financial support. 

Pastor Clark Brown
CSUMB Campus Minister

To all Rostered Leaders – Save the Date! A “Renewal of Ordination Vows”

An online service for Pastors and Deacons will be offered on Thursday, March 25th at 10 am. This service will be held during the week before Holy Week, in lieu of our more usual Chrism Mass celebrations. Seminarians and Interns are welcome to join the service. Information about this service will appear in the newsletter and will be sent to Rostered Leaders one week before the service.
It’s here - the Synod’s year-end video. COVID made 2020 an unusual year so watch the video
to see how we remained church through
your work and stewardship. 
A special thank you to Pastor John Bost, Holy Cross in Livermore, for producing our year-end video.
Annual Reports

For those of you who watched the year-end Synod video, you might remember the conversation on report season. If you did not view the video, this is your time to let the ELCA and your Synod know what you’ve done over the past year and help us provide the “census data” the ELCA will use to determine support to our Synod.
 
  • Completing the Parochial Reports Forms A & C for congregations will show your collaborative effort of rostered and lay leaders in our congregations and how your good work serves the community. Please make every effort to work with your leadership to complete the report and submit it by the date requested. You should have received information, including your congregation's ID number and password, from the Churchwide Offices of the ELCA. If you have not, please contact the Sacramento Office of the Bishop at info@spselca.org for assistance. You and your leadership can complete this report here.

  • And what would report season be without our Synod’s Plan for Mission SupportThe Plan for Mission Support is also available in Spanish. COVID has made our Mission Support journey different and unique. We ask that you discern how your mission support brings life to our ministry partners like PLTS, Mt. Cross, Lutheran Social Services, Lutheran Campus ministry, and many others.  Online, fillable reports for your congregation's plans for mission support to the ELCA and the Sierra Pacific Synod in 2021 are now available. Your commitment to give beyond your congregation’s ministry also gives life to your ministry -- please consider how your offerings reflect that calling.
 
In closing, you may ask "why does the ELCA want all this information?" The information you provide is similar to the census - it provides information to the ELCA on how many congregations and congregants are in our Synod which helps with support we receive from the ELCA. Last year, our Synod had a 50% return rate of our congregational reports and the numbers provided had our Synod congregant numbers drop enough to lose one voting member for our next Churchwide Assembly. This is how the Bishop’s alter ego, Captain James T. Kirk, responded to the news of the 50% return rate:
Please turn in your forms so that our work in the Sierra Pacific Synod is recognized by the ELCA and we can continue our good work with our ministry partners.
 
Thank you for your partnership in the ministry we share. 

Gail Kiyomura
Vice President, Sierra Pacific Synod
Here to Serve: Being Church in the Time of COVID-19

Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders
Wednesdays, 11:00 AM Pacific

You are invited to join weekly meetings designed to provide encouragement and support for ELCA leaders in all realms. Participants will hear topical presentations related to how we are called to be Church in the time of COVID-19, 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 #HereToServe

The Zoom link each week will be posted on the home page of ELCA Coaching.
Recordings from each week are posted here: https://www.elcacoaching.org/covid19.
Make sure to see the ENTIRE newsletter. 
If needed, click "View Entire Message" at the bottom of your email!
33rd SIERRA PACIFIC SYNOD ASSEMBLY - ONLINE
The 33rd Synod Assembly of the Sierra Pacific Synod will be held online using Zoom and Lumi Online Voting
May 6 - 8, 2021

Thursday, May 6 – 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Friday, May 7 – 10:00 am – 3:30 pm
Saturday, May 8 – 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Due to the online nature of this year’s assembly and the need to prepare online voting credentials, you must register no later than April 1, 2021.

NO REGISTRATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER
APRIL 1, 2021

#SPS21

Check the Assembly Page on the website for all of the latest information,
downloads and updates!
Important Information

This is a online assembly. Each voting member will need to arrange for access to and familiarity with an internet connection and a certain amount of technology.

Voting members will need:
  • an email address unique to each voting member. Every voting member must have their own email address to receive their own voting credentials.
  • a quality and stable internet connection.
  • a desktop or laptop computer with a microphone, built-in or external speakers, and camera (optional).

Visitors:
  • Visitors/observers are invited and encouraged to view the assembly via live streaming. Visitors DO NOT need to register. Information on how to view will be provided closer to assembly.
Registration
     
Registration opens February 17, 2021.

Voting Member Registration cost is $100 per Voting Member.

Only voting members should register! See above for information about visitors.

Payment may be made by credit card through PayPal or by mailing a check. If paying by credit card, you must pay for each voting member separately during registration. If paying by check, you may send one payment for all voting members.

Registration requires a unique email address for each registration. You will not be registered or able to vote if you do not have a unique email address.

Registration closes April 1. There will be no further registration available in order to prepare the online components of the assembly.

Donations

All donations will be given to the following organizations, one-third each:
  • Sierra Pacific Synod Candidacy Scholarships
  • ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response
  • Mt. Cross Ministries

You may make your donation anytime by clicking on the link below.

Resolutions

Resolutions are Due by March 6, 2021 in order to be considered at the Synod Assembly. 

Please submit by them email to resolutions@spselca.org.
COVID-19 RESOURCES

Our information page includes a list of congregations offering digital option for worship, general resources and Financial/Administrative resources.
Paycheck Protection Program Resumes with New Application Forms and Revised Eligibility Criteria

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal for new loans available under the terms of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020.

Loan applications will be accepted until March 31, 2021. 




A new in-depth resource of safe practices for worship during the pandemic has been created by an ecumenical consultation of representatives from several denominations in the United States, as well as scientists and medical professionals.

Spanish Version of this resource is now available. Additional materials will be made available on the supporting website in the coming weeks.
ELCA offers Considerations for Returning to In-person Worship

Our ELCA Churchwide Offices are offering information for congregations and leaders to consider as questions of returning to in-person worship services become more a part of conversations in the weeks and months ahead. We strongly encourage its use as part of your ministry’s discernment on such questions. The resource can be found here: Considerations for Returning to In-person Worship
Mental Health and Safety Resource List

The Sierra Pacific Synod would like to share important information and hotline numbers available for those in and around our communities. Please consider sharing this document with those you know and on your social media accounts. We encourage you to print and place in a visible location within your home and save to your personal computer device for easy reference should it be needed in the future. Download the list here.
Financial/Administrative Information for Congregations

Our page includes resources for you to upload and view – the current information is primarily about the Paycheck Protection Program. As other events/issues arise regarding financial/payroll/administrative matters, we will post them here.

Google Drive folder for Rostered Ministers Parenting in a Pandemic

Newsletter Quick Links
We Remember in Prayer
Rejoicing in the risen life of Christ, let us pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
We pray for the church.
Chaplains who provide spiritual, emotional and material support to those who are sick, imprisoned, deployed, in public service and in care homes – as well as families and the staff in these facilities.

Houses of worship that have been visited by violence and threats of violence. We pray that all sanctuaries would be places free of violence and fear.

We pray for the earth. 
Those affected by natural disasters of all types. We remember those places without power or access to clean water, and for those who have lost homes and/or property. We pray especially for those who work in the areas of rescue, relief and clean-up.

We pray for the nations.
Those with the Migrant Caravan who have travelled from Central America through Mexico and who are still waiting at the border seeking asylum and justice. May our response to the presence of these migrants be a reflection of the call of Jesus to care for those who are being threatened with violence and in need of food, shelter, and hope. May our leaders respond with integrity and accountability to the laws of our country pertaining to asylum.

Leaders of all nations, states, provinces and municipalities. That they may be guided by principles of equality and the equal value of all of their residents. That they may keep in mind the needs of all of their residents, especially the marginalized and easily overlooked.
Acknowledging and lamenting the sin of racism that scars our country, we hold in prayer those who are profiled, discriminated against or seen differently because of their ethnicity or race. Open the hearts of those who are held captive to the sin of white privilege, granting humility and the willingness to listen. Inspire all to engage in the work of anti-racism, as well as identifying and dismantling systems of white privilege; center the voices and experiences of People of Color; and commit ourselves to the work of justice for all.

Those affected by gun violence. Help us to continue to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ – that all are beloved in God’s sight and that no one is above another or more inherent of worth.

Places and people living in areas of violence and uncertainty, especially Ethiopia. We pray for the people of Palestine and Israel. Heal us from our feelings of powerlessness and transform us to work together for just and sensible legislation. Empower us to stand up against corporate greed that fuels violence around the world. 
Those around the world who are fleeing terror and violence; that they find compassion and welcome as they seek refuge.

In this time of social distancing and learning to live in new ways, help us all to continue to be aware of the needs of our neighbors and to help as we can; to act out of love and not fear; and to rest in the certainty of God’s presence with us and love for us.

We pray for those in need.
Continued comfort and healing for Pr. Dani Fey and Pr. Bob Brohm.

Pr Susan Scott (retired), needing healing and a return to health.

Leslie Lapp, spouse of Pastor Jim Lapp (Saint Stephen’s, Santa Cruz), recovering from severe injuries after being struck by a vehicle while walking. Special prayers are requested for her recovery from brain injury.
Synod Events and Meetings
All Synod offices remain closed to visitors.
Staff are working remotely and are receiving emails and voicemail messages.
Youth and Family Ministers
Resource Sharing

A Google Drive has been established for resource sharing. There is a document for sharing of web site links – add to the document or upload and share files and resources that you have found helpful. 
News from Around the Synod and Beyond
Installation

Pr. Janet E. Blair - Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 3:00 pm - Thanksgiving Lutheran Church, 1650 W 3rd St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 and via Zoom. (For Zoom information email Thanksgiving Lutheran.)
The service will be held outdoors.
A reception will follow.

**********************************
Do you have other celebrations (installations, ordinations, retirements, book publishings, etc...) that you would like listed in this column? 
Feel free to submit them to our newsletter editor, Kathye Hamm.
Word and Service Zoom Call 

You are warmly invited to join a Zoom call for the ELCA Word and Service community! It has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, beginning at 10:30 PM PST. The pertinent Zoom information is attached at the end of this notice.
 
If you are a candidate, an active leader under call, on leave from call, or retired, you are welcome to participate in this online gathering!
 
The primary goals for this meeting are for there to be intentional gathering, positive and Christ-centered connections, and prayerful space for those who are part of the wider Word and Service community. The call will include some full-group interactions, as well as small-group breakout sessions, to allow for more personal sharing and prayer time.  
 
The call will be about an hour and a quarter in length. If you can only participate for part of the time, you are still welcome to join the conversation. It will be a blessing and a joy to gather together, so we hope that you can take part! May God’s peace, grace, and hope be with you, as we continue our Lenten journeys.  

Dial by your location
       +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
       +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 864 7966 4325
Passcode: 487322
This mini-retreat is designed to introduce folks to the work EDLARJ has been doing. We will introduce you to our partners and with your help and insight expand the work we are called to do.
Mark your calendar for Sunday, Sept. 12, when congregations of the ELCA will come together for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday. Our church continues to live 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. 

We’re not sure what the impact of this crisis will look like in September, but we continue to be church together. We are witnessing the outpouring of love and concern that God’s people have for one another. Our congregations continue to maintain feeding ministries, serve communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 infection and assist people who are financially burdened by the economic downturn. 

Service in the Time of COVID-19 was developed to offer service project ideas and considerations for safely supporting your community in this time of pandemic. 

As we gather together in service to our neighbors, we are reminded of one of our most basic convictions as Lutherans: All of life in Jesus Christ — every act of service, in every daily calling, in every corner of life — flows freely from a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Be sure to save the date and visit ELCA.org/DayofService for updates to our resources. 

You work every day to make your community a better place. We look forward to working together with you on “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday.
Passing of the Oldest ELCA African Descent Female Pastor

Our sister Rev. Louisa Groce went home to the Lord early this morning (03/01/21) at the glorious age of 102. We ask your prayers for her family. We share her words from the Living Lutheran article from three years ago - Called and Chosen.
Luther Reading Group 2021

The Luther Reading Group begins its 5th year of study, discussion, learning, and community, on Thursday, March 11, at 1 PM, via Zoom. All interested folks are welcome. This year we're reading selections from The Annotated Luther, Volume 4, Pastoral Writings, and on March 11 we're discussing "Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague, 1527." Please purchase or borrow a copy of Volume 4 for your use. There are funds available to assist you with the purchase of the volume -- just ask.

The group meets on the second Thursday of the month, March through November, at 1 PM, via Zoom. We'll continue to meet via Zoom for the foreseeable future. Reading assignments are 20 pages or a few pages more.

The pastoral writings are more accessible than some of Luther's other writings and useful in ministry and daily life. Pastors are encouraged to consider taking part in the Luther Reading Group as an element of your continuing education. 

For any questions, and to be added to the email list for the group and receive the Zoom link, please contact Diane Bowers. We look forward to welcoming you to the group!
Women Play a Major Role in the Lutheran Church in El Salvador

The first Lutheran churches in El Salvador did not allow women pastors, however when the ELCA became involved they began to ordain women. The first woman pastor ordained in 1992 was Pastor Abelina Gomez, the current Bishop’s wife. As a pastor she has had an influence on many women as they serve the church both as lay people and as pastors.  Today there are 39 pastors in El Salvador and 18 of them are women. Being a pastor in El Salvador is a real dedication to God’s work as most pastors receive no pay, have no retirement plan and no ‘expense account’ for ministry expenditures such as travel, vestments, etc. They must hold down a job to earn monies for living expenses in addition to their pastoral duties. Following are stories of three women who heard the call to be of service to the Lutheran church in El Salvador.   

Urgent: Texas Severe Storms

Beginning Feb. 14, a polar vortex descended over the United States. Subfreezing temperatures and heavy snow swept across the country, impacting millions of people. The harsh conditions severely impacted Southern states, such as Texas, which lack the infrastructure to handle the freezing temperatures and record-setting snow and ice. This has led to power, food and water shortages throughout the region. At its peak, 4.5 million homes and businesses in Texas were without power. With bursting pipes and broken water systems, around 10 million Texans are facing water disruptions. As temperatures rise, melting ice and snow is expected to cause more water damage.

Lutheran Disaster Response is collaborating with the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, the Southwestern Texas Synod, the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, and Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response. Congregations are already conducting relief efforts such as supplying water, food and generators to those in need and opening their doors to serve as shelters. Long-term recovery may include repairing water-damaged homes, disaster case management and supporting vulnerable populations.

Please give today. Your gifts ensure that our church will be able to provide help and hope for those whose lives have been devastated by the severe storms in Texas. Gifts designated for “U.S. Severe Storms” will be used entirely (100%) for direct response.

March 8 is International Women’s Day! This is a wonderful time for your congregation to celebrate women leaders around the world while doubling your impact for the next generation. 

The ELCA celebrates this day by uplifting the International Women Leaders (IWL) program. On the Sunday before International Women’s Day on Monday, March 8, your congregation can take an offering for IWL that will go twice as far. Thanks to generous IWL supporters, your congregation’s gifts will be matched dollar for dollar until we reach $50,000. Your support makes it possible for emerging women leaders from our companion churches to study at ELCA colleges and universities, ELCA seminaries, and other institutions around the world. 


Thank you for investing in the future of women leaders!
Next up for Cal Lutheran's Fifty and Better courses, lectures

FAB’s six-week Spring Session begins April 5, and registration will open March 2. Online offerings include Art of the Belle Époque, The Beach Boys in the Studio, The American Civil War: History and Meaning, and more. Individuals 50+ are welcome; please share with friends and family.

FAB also will host several lectures in March. Daniel Newman-Lessler will survey Jewish (Mostly) Sacred Music, Christine Maasdam will uncover Hidden Messages in the Sistine Chapel, Cary Ginell will discuss Politics on Broadway, Wesley Tierney will introduce us to the World of Neuroscience, and Herb Gooch will unpack California Politics. Lectures are open to all. 
 
For more information, visit the Fifty and Better website.
As ReconcilingWorks continues to strive to support you and your faith community in deepening and expanding the welcome, inclusion, and celebration of people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions we are happy to provide you with “An LGBTQIA+ Stations of the Cross Lenten Journey” devotional. This new resource is one you can download for free and use in your personal life or in community with others.
 
This resource is intended to be a way to live into knowing how God has gone before us. It is up to us, as the hands and feet of the Divine, to allow our hearts and minds to be transformed and in so doing, we transform the world as it is in this moment into a place where all are truly welcome and celebrated. Just as God has already gone before us to prepare the place, as we walk through the journey of Lent toward Holy Week, let us be reminded that the experience of faith, hope, and love, lived out in our everyday lives, is not only the promise God has made to us, but the promise we make to one another as we live into, celebrate, and become our most authentic selves.
 
Click HERE to find the new resources!
Admission & Residence Life Coordinator

PLTS is searching for a friendly and organized individual to join our team as Admission & Residence Life Coordinator! Learn more and apply here: https://careers.callutheran.edu/postings/6763
National Lutheran Choir Winter Virtual Program with guest artists, the Keith Hampton Singers & Friends
 
Hope Lives! As we approach the one-year anniversary of the world shutting down due to the pandemic, we are slowly finding glimmers of hope: hope that vaccines will allow us to come back into the daylight of life and interactions with others!
 
People of faith are among those who long to fully come together. They have missed gathering weekly for services, and they deeply miss singing hymns together.
 
Join the National Lutheran Choir and guest artists, the Keith Hampton Singers & Friends, in singing well-known hymns that highlight the joy of an ever-growing hope, and new hymns that speak to our time, from the ELCA's new hymnal supplement All Creation Sings. All are welcome and invited to sing with joy together “…as all the world in wonder echoes shalom”.
 
Sunday, March 14 @ 2:00 pm (Pacific Daylight Time) @ NLCA.com
This online presentation is FREE for all. For a Virtual Subscription to exclusive content ($10/month), visit NLCA.com
Paycheck Protection Program loans available through the ELCA Federal Credit Union

With partnership and support from the Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA, the ELCA Federal Credit Union (FCU) is now offering the second round of Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans to congregations and ministries. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, these PPP loans offer much-needed relief by covering a congregation or ministry’s payroll and operating expenses. Congregations and ministries can apply for a first-time PPP loan, and some may be eligible for a second loan. The FCU can assist any eligible ELCA congregation or ministry, even if it received its first PPP loan though a different lender. Borrowers will be able to apply for loan forgiveness following the terms of the loan.
 
To review eligibility requirements and apply for a PPP loan, please visit the ELCA FCU’s website, www.elcafcu.org/PPP. The ELCA FCU will be accepting loan applications through March 31, 2021, or until funding is exhausted. 
Attend Mediation Skills In-Person from the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center

Please join us for the training event that a previous attendee described as “the Golden Globe winner of conflict resolution programs”! The summer session of Mediation Skills Training Institute for Churches will be conducted in person in the Chicago area on August 2-6, 2021. The exact site has yet to be determined, but it will be within driving distance of O’Hare Airport. Should circumstances force us to revert to an online-only presentation, registrants will have the option to attend remotely, apply full credit towards a future LMPC event, or receive a full refund. A final decision will be made by the end of May. Online registration is now open at https://lmpeacecenter.org/ticketspice/. Additional sessions in May, June, October and November will be offered remotely or as hybrid events. For more information call the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at 630-627-0507, email us at Admin@LMPeaceCenter.org, or visit https://lmpeacecenter.org/. Acquire 32 contact hours of instruction, enjoy Christian fellowship, and learn skills that will help transform destructive conflict into an opportunity for growth and renewal – register today! 
News from the Synod Resource Center
Questions?  Contact the Resource Center.
Interested in ending systemic racism?  
News from the ELCA
The Vaccines are Coming
ELCA COVID-19 Response Fund

Weeks may have passed since you last walked in the doors of your congregation and worshiped, face-to-face, with your community of faith. To be sure, being the body of Christ looks and feels differently than it ever has before. 

With congregations and ministries across the country, and a network of companion churches and partners in over 70 countries around the world, we anticipate this crisis will affect us all. Your gifts to the ELCA’s COVID-19 Response Fund will provide funds to the ministries of the ELCA most in need and best positioned to help. This includes our congregations as well as local and churchwide ministries capable of reaching and assisting those in need. If you are able, please help with a gift today.

If you have a change of address please notify the ELCA AND the Sierra Pacific Synod.


ROSTERED MINISTER UPDATES

Fill out our online form with up to date information. This information will go directly to the Synod office and be kept for our confidential records.



At the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly the social statement Faith, Sexism and Justice: A Call to Action was presented and overwhelming passed into being an official social statement of our church.

The Churchwide Assembly also marked the 50th Anniversary of the ordination of women, the 40th anniversary of the ordination of the first woman of color, and the 10th anniversary of the policy change and opening of the roster to our LGBTQIA+ siblings. As part of that the ELCA has developed some resources for use throughout the church. We commend them to your use.
Donations to Lutheran Disaster Response make a difference!

Through the above link, you can donate to continued support for recovery work.
We are a Reconciling in Christ Synod
Quick Links
The Sierra Pacific Synod
9985 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95827-6628
 916-756-1665 · 800-275-3522 · 888-789-6434 (fax)