Synod Council Approves Watershed Resolutions to Implement Strategic Plan
Actions to Support Congregations
Bishop Robert Alan Rimbo announced that the Synod Council of the Metropolitan New York Synod, ELCA passed six significant resolutions at its February meeting, implementing the synod's bold, comprehensive ten-year strategic plan.
Maria del Toro, Vice President of the synod and chair of the Synod Council, reports the actions taken will further enhance the Lutheran church's emphasis on empowering ministries at the congregational level.
Closely watched by its national church body and other local faith traditions, the implementation of the "Claimed, Gathered, Sent" initiative clearly positions the MNYS as an innovative pioneer in addressing the church's role in an ever-increasing secularization of today's society so that it may continue to serve as a reminder that Christ remains relevant and rooted in our communities.
In her role as the council chair, Ms. del Toro also serves as the chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. The resolutions adopted were researched and developed by more than 50 volunteers serving on several of the strategic plan committees. Additionally, the formation of proposals were developed and approved according to existing budgetary sources, as determined by the synod's Financial Management Committee. Ms. del Toro said, "These decisions represent a watershed moment for our synod, second only to the meeting when the council voted to adopt the strategic plan. I was moved to tears as we confirmed through action the decisions made to address the issues facing the synod 'for such a time as this.'"
Leadership Development Grants
Up to $50,000 will be made available annually to rostered leaders in the form of challenge grants to supplement continuing education funds provided by individual leaders and their congregations or ministry settings. The grants are intended to assist our leaders to continue meeting the expectation to engage in intentional life-learning for their ongoing education and formation for leadership in ministry and mission, especially in today's ever-changing, fast-paced society.
Rostered Leader Mobility
The synod affirms the constitutional provisions of this church outlining specific expectations of rostered leaders related to mission support, record-keeping, and annual reporting. Before activating leadership mobility for transitions, all required reporting documentation will be validated to ensure proper and responsible care of our ministries.
Capital Improvement Challenge Grants
Up to $1 million over the next six years will be made available in the form of challenge grants to congregations seeking to improve their property or make capital improvements. These grants will support our viable congregations and help them grow in mission and ministry, rather than allowing unexpected major repairs to take attention and resources away from ensuring that word and sacrament ministry remains our focal calling.
Innovative Ministries Project
Up to $1 million over the next six years will be made available as seed money for the innovative ministries project (IMP). This new initiative recognizes that innovation thrives when given supportive distance from the institution, and creates structures that balance freedom and accountability to support new ministries. The plan will approach the development of new ministries from the ground up and not from the top down by seeking visionary leaders, successful grassroots groups, and multicultural expressions who are already responding to the hungers they have perceived in their local communities, or by commissioning a capable leader to respond.
Western Nassau Conference Pilot Project
The Western Nassau Conference was identified as one of three pilot project areas selected for study for future ministry initiatives throughout the synod. This particular study area will explore a model for shared ministry, where stronger and weaker congregations work collaboratively in offering word and sacrament to the collective communities served. The Reverend Dr. Richard Hill, who recently completed sabbatical study on shared ministries in the UK and other areas in our nation, was selected to serve as the consultant/coordinator for this study project.
Pastoral Care for Bronx Conference Pilot Project
At an earlier Synod Council meeting, a consultant/coordinator was selected to assist in leading a study in the Bronx Conference regarding the need to enhance social ministries from existing and potentially other sites within the community. Recognizing the need and importance of the mission, the appointed strategic plan Pastoral Care Team, Rev. Amandus Derr, Rev. Emilce Erato, Rev. Brenda Irving, Rev. John Jurik, and Rev. Ernst Mossl, will be eligible to receive compensation consistent with our synod's supply pastor rate for visits to congregations within the conference.