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January 4, 2023
Bishop Sue’s 2023 Sabbatical – Part 1 begins January 8th

Greetings friends in Christ!

I am planning to take a multi-part sabbatical, which I’m calling “Moving to the Margins” in 2023. I will be spending significant time on the margins or fronteras, encountering Jesus, praying, learning more deeply about our context and other multi-cultural contexts and hopefully dwelling more deeply in our synod vision to be(become) a network of Spirit-empowered communities of disciples, called and sent to live out the radically inclusive gospel of Jesus through the promises of baptism. This will inform our synod priorities in 2023 and beyond, both with congregations and on the border, where we are dreaming, not only of continuing to provide direct services for migrants, but also to have an immersion center that will transform those who come as well as help to sustain the Word and Sacrament ministry that we have in Eagle Pass.

The first part of this sabbatical begins next week – January 8-23. I will be taking a continuing education class at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, which will include a border immersion to Brownsville. During my time away I will not be answering emails or phone calls. If you have urgent needs, please contact Deacon Darcy Mittelstaedt or Ms. Deanna Zitelman.

I am deeply grateful to have this opportunity and I covet your prayers for myself, for the synod staff and for the whole synod during this time.

In Christ,
Bishop Sue
Epiphany Worship with Presiding Bishop Eaton

Friday, January 6, 2023
7:00 pm

The ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will be leading a candlelight service of Holy Communion on Friday, Jan. 6, at 7:00 pm to celebrate the arrival of the magi to the newborn Christ. Epiphany signals the end of the 12 days of Christmas and the beginning of a season of light that lasts until Lent. 

This service will be livestreamed here.
Congregational Vitality Learning Community Taster Event

Monday, January 9, 2023
7:00 pm on Zoom

Through a grant from the ELCA Christian Community and Leadership Home Area, we are partnering with several organizations that specialize in facilitating learning communities to offer opportunities for congregations to strengthen their ministry and witness in the areas of discipleship and community engagement, stewardship and generosity, strategic planning, and faith in daily life.

We invite you to join with leaders across the Southwestern Texas Synod for a virtual taster event on Monday, January 9, at 7:00 pm on Zoom to discover ways to nurture vitality in your congregation by participating in a learning community.

Solidarity, Racial Healing, and Narrative Change with
Dr. Cornel West

Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Noon – 2:00 pm
San Antonio College McAllister Auditorium

The Alamo Colleges District will host author, activist, and educator, Dr. Cornel West to speak to the San Antonio community about the role of solidarity, racial healing, and narrative change in galvanizing social transformation.

Through a moderated discussion, Dr. West will offer wisdom and poignant commentary rooted in concepts of peace-building and racial justice.

ELCA Disability Ministry Now Accepting Grant Applications

The process for accepting ELCA Disability Ministry grant applications is now open! The application process closes on February 15, 2023.

Applications are open to congregations, synods or other ELCA organizations. 

We will accept for consideration the first 30 grant applications we receive through the application process in GrantMaker. Once that number is met, correspondence will be sent out
through our newsletter and blog. Please note that this may happen before the February 15 deadline. Of those 30 received, our review team will approve up to five grants of up to $10,000 for projects.

Interested in Serving on the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church?

The Synod Council will nominate 2 people to potentially serve on this commission that will begin its work this year.

For more information about this commission, click here. To submit an application to be considered as one of our synod nominees, click here.

DEADLINE – January 25, 2023.
Trinity Leadership Fellows

Trinity Church Wall Street, an Episcopal parish in New York City, invites you to apply to be a Trinity Leadership Fellow and join a diverse cohort of emerging leaders on a two-year journey of faith-inspired, values-driven, and community-oriented learning and mentorship.

This non-residential, free program will prepare professional and community leaders who are people of faith, as well as ordained leaders across faith traditions with the mindsets and practical skills they need to energize and empower their congregations and communities in ways that heal divides and disrupt injustice. 

Applications are due by January 31, 2023.

Mission Support Year-End Reminder

Congregations’ year-end mailed contributions must be received at the synod office by January 13, to be included in the 2022 contributions. 

Please be sure to indicate that it is for 2022 contributions. Also, please be sure all checks sent to the synod office are made payable to: Southwestern Texas Synod.
Annual Congregation Report Process

For 2022 parochial reports, all ELCA congregations, SAWCs, and new starts will receive a report packet through the mail (during the second week of January). It will contain paper copies of Form A and Form C, instructions, and the password used to file online.

This year there will also be an email from ELCA describing the process, key dates, and a link to blank Form A and Form C, so congregations that wish to begin compiling their data can do so. This email will not contain the password for the online system.
The online system for Congregation Report Forms A & C for 2022, accessible at elca.org/congregationreport, will open during the second week of January.

As in previous years, the Office of the Secretary will also send the passwords to the synod office, so contact info@swtsynod.org or 830-379-9900 for password assistance.
Join Us for a Free Webinar 

Digital Ministry and Leadership in Today's Church

A Webinar for Pastors, Faith Formation Leaders, and All Ministry Leaders

Tuesday, January 10, at 1:00 pm (ET)

The Webinar: Digital Ministry and Leadership in Today’s Church introduces the key themes and practices in the new book written by a team of experienced leaders who bring years of experience in utilizing digital tools, methods, and media in church life and especially faith formation. The Digital Ministry and Leadership book and webinar will provide you with practical ways to (1) bring digital approaches, tools, methods, and media into church ministries (worship, faith formation and learning, prayer, spiritual formation) and (2) extend the ministry of the local church into online spaces and communities where more and more people gather to nurture, explore, and share their faith today.

Resources, Webinars, & Calendar