A Reconciling in Christ synod
M adagascar: Connecting with our RMS Companion Synods

An important aspect of this year’s Rocky Mountain Synod call to Re•Formation was the recent 2017 Bishops’ Trip to Madagascar. This trip, intended to highlight the global dimension of our life as Lutheran Christians, included bishops and delegations from the four ELCA synods that have companion synod relationships with the Malagasy Lutheran Church. Those representing the Rocky Mountain Synod included Bishop Jim Gonia, Vice President Earline Bohling, Deacon Erin Power (Assistant to the Bishop for Synodical Life) and Pastor Brad Doty (St. Philip, Littleton CO and chair of the Companion Synod Committee).

The four synodical delegations were joined by three ELCA Churchwide colleagues, Rev. Themba Mkhabela (Regional Representative for West/Central Africa and Madagascar), Ms. Dana Dutcher (Manager for Companion Relationships in Asia, West/Central Africa and Madagascar) and Rev. Kirsten Laderach (Coordinator for the Madagascar Program of ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission).

This trip included several significant moments in our life together as companion churches:

  • Delegations from all four ELCA synods who are companions with Malagasy synods met together in Madagascar for the first time. (Top photo below)

  • Members of the ELCA delegation met together with both FLM President Dr. David Rakotonirina and the new national church leadership. (2nd photo)

  • For the first time ever, all 5 synod bishops (4 Malagasy presidents and Bishop Gonia) met together for a consultation to share about ministry in their contexts, and plans for the 500th Anniversary. The consultation took place at Betela Seminary, the regional seminary for the northern synods of Madagascar.  (3rd photo)

Leaders in all four companion synods expressed deep appreciation for the ongoing relationship with the ELCA in general and the Rocky Mountain Synod specifically. In two of the synods, reference was made to the way in which ELCA missionaries helped shaped the church’s story in this region. The distinctions in our cultural contexts were noted, although it was agreed that our unity in Christ supersedes our differences. From the Malagasy perspective, we truly are church better together.

Visit the Rocky Mountain Synod Facebook page for many more photos and stories. Learn more about the ELCA's global ministry by downloading the ELCA Global Church directory.

RMS-ELCA News and Events
Roman Catholic & Lutheran Prayer Services mark Reformation 500 years
Roman Catholics and Lutherans are joining together in prayer 500 years after Martin Luther’s 95 theses triggered the Reformation in 1517.

A Service of Common Prayer is taking place in conjunction with seven Roman Catholic Diocese. Bishop Jim Gonia will be present at all seven locations. The liturgy will highlight the agreements that have been reached through fifty years of dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans on topics such as the Church, Ministry, and the Eucharist.

The Common Prayer is structured around the themes of thanksgiving, repentance, and commitment to common witness. The aim is to express the gifts of the Reformation and ask forgiveness for the division perpetuated by Christians from the two traditions.

Sunday, January 29, 2017, 3 p.m. - already took place
St. Luke Lutheran Church
Albuquerque, NM

Sunday, March 12, 2017, 3 p.m.
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
Colorado Springs, CO

Sunday, March 19, 2017, 3 p.m. 
Bethany Lutheran Church
Denver, CO

Sunday, April 2, 2017, 3 p.m.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Las Cruces, NM

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 1 p.m.
Our Saviour's Lutheran Church
Casper, WY

Sunday, May 21, 2017, 3 p.m.
Pueblo, CO

Sunday, October 8, 2017, 3 p.m.
Salt Lake City, UT

Cheryl Almquist to Retire June 1 as RMS Financial Administrator
After 21 years of service, Cheryl Almquist will be retiring as our RMS Financial Administrator. We are so thankful for her dedication to our "behind the scenes" activity, keeping our finances in good order. We are, therefore, seeking a "full charge bookkeeper" to begin in early/mid May, providing the opportunity for an overlap time of training. We are seeking a bookkeeper with:
  • Understanding and appreciation for the work of the church
  • strong bookkeeping and computer skills
  • Outstanding people skills
  • Great attention to detail
  • Strong organization skills
  • Ability to prioritize and multi-task
  • Proximity to RMS Office near Highway 36 at Pecos exit
  • download the job description

Please email a letter of interest and resumé to Kent Mueller by March 15.

Christianity Today 2018 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff
The Church Law & Tax Team from Christianity Today is working on its 2018 Compensation Handbook, which helps determine fair wages in the church around the country. You are invited to participate in their work. Your response to their survey, here , is confidential.

As a "thank you" you will be invited to select one of these gifts: a download of the eBook 20 Finance Questions Churches Ask; a 6-month subscription to Christianity Today; a download of the Bible study Stewardship: Living a Life that Counts. Thank you for your partnership!
Live Webcast: stewardCast 2017

Where are the “bright spots” for stewardship ministry in your church? Recognizing the bright spots reminds us where God’s abundance is present. Across the ELCA there are many bright spots, and we want to share some of them with you through stewardCast 2017.

Join us for this special online event at:  www.elca.org/stewardship on
Saturday March 4, 2017 from 10:30 to 12 noon (CST) broadcasting live from the Lutheran Center, a flyer with more information is here

2017 Synod Assembly
Information is now available online for the 2017 Synod Assembly

Hotel Information
In addition to registering for the Assembly, you will need to make a room reservation if you wish to stay at the hotel. Rooms are reserved under a block for us. You can make your reservation for The Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel, 4 Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO at their site to receive the Rocky Mountain Synod's group rate, which you will see posted under the "Rate Applied" tab as 050417ROC. To guarantee our group rate make your hotel reservation by April 4.  

Single:  $115 (includes breakfast)
Double:  $125 (includes breakfast)

For Your Bulletin
Bulletin Blurbs
Equip, Educate, Enact - Fiscal Wellness Coach
The Lilly Endowment initiative for addressing economic challenges of our rostered ministers will utilize the skills of ten  Fiscal Wellness Coaches  positioned around the Rocky Mountain Synod. Coaches may be either lay or rostered, and will receive training and ongoing support to help facilitate conversations, help leaders choose appropriate educational opportunities, and encourage the financial health of the rostered minister and congregation. The coach has an opportunity to change lives. See the position description  here  and consider if this is a way you might serve.
Monthly Eucharist 
There will NOT be worship next Wednesday, March 8 at the Office of the Bishop. 

The next worship will be Wednesday, April 5 at 11:30 a.m.  (please note it is a week earlier due to Holy Week).

All are invited to join in this 30 minute service 

Pastor Bryce Fellbaum
unday, March 12, 2017, 10 a.m.
Zion Lutheran Church
Limon, CO
Color of the Day: Purple

Pastor Kristin Schulz
Saturday, March 25, 2017, 4 p.m.
All Saints Lutheran Church
Albuquerque, NM
Color of the Day: Purple

Pastor Paula Stecker
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 2 p.m.
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Colorado Springs, CO 
Color of the Day: Purple
RMS Prayer Cycle

March 2017
Boulder/Broomfield Conference

Week of March 5

First Lutheran, Longmont, CO
Frank Philip (interim)
Ann Maki   

Bethlehem Lutheran, Longmont, CO
Mark Peterson

Christ the Servant, Louisville, CO
Stephanie Lord

Temptation of Christ (Botticelli)
Prayer of the Day: Sunday, March 5
First Sunday in Lent
Jesus, tempted repeatedly in the wilderness by the devil, stood strong and did not surrender. Pray for the same strength of faith and conviction to resist the enticements and distractions we face daily, and give thanks for God’s unfailing love, mercy and presence that guides and sustains us in every circumstance.

Join us in daily prayer:
Download ELCA Prayer Ventures for daily prayer petitions and resources for Sunday prayers.

Around the Synod
Luther College Jazz Orchestra - Coming to Colorado!

The Luther College Jazz Orchestra  under the direction of Tony Guzmán will perform in four Colorado concerts as part of their 2017 Colorado and Midwest Tour. The concerts are open to the public with a freewill donation taken at the door. There is no charge for students.

The program features a variety of exciting jazz repertoire including works by Duke Ellington, Oliver Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Bill Holman, Astor Piazzolla, Fred Sturm, and many others. Luther jazz faculty member Jon Ailabouni will also be featured on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Jazz Orchestra, Luther’s premier jazz ensemble, travels annually and tours abroad every four years—most recently in May/June 2016 to Brazil for a three-week, 13 performance immersion in the musical cultures of the country. 

More information is also available on Facebook.

Fort Collins -
Saturday, March 18 at 6:00 p.m.
Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 East Stuart Street

Cherry Hills Village -
Sunday, March 19, 10:00 am Worship Service

Bethany Lutheran Church, 4500 E Hampden Avenue

Sunday, March 19 at 4:00 p.m.
Augustana Lutheran Church, 5000 East Alameda Avenue

Colorado Springs -
Monday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Cheyenne Mountain High School, 1200 Cresta Road

Greeley -
Tuesday March 21 at 7:00 p.m.
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 1800 21st Avenue

Our Life Together
International Women's Day -  Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day is an opportunity for ministries of the Rocky Mountain Synod to join millions around the world to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. We celebrate this day knowing the work toward gender equality still remains. For worship and education resources visit the ELCA website, where you'll find the International Women’s Day booklet, which provides fundraising ideas, including a step-by-step virtual book drive, ideas for planning an International Women’s Day worship service, and much more to help you get started, and a new bulletin insert is also available. 

More information is also available at the IWD2017 website

Rich Melheim at Rainbow Trail for  The Summit - Youth Ministry Retreat 
Monday, April 24, 11 a.m. through Wednesday, April 26, 10:30 a.m. 

This is a retreat for anyone working professionally in ministry with youth, young adults, children, and families. Designed as a time of personal renewal, professional development, continuing education, and networking with other Youth Directors, Pastors, and Christian Educators .

Join us in a peaceful mountain setting surrounded by God’s creation and wonderful people. Days will be filled with time to relax, play, worship and being engaged in conversation and learning. This retreat begins with lunch on Monday and ends with brunch on Wednesday. Early arrival options are also available. More information available here

One Year to Live Men's Retreat
April 21-23, 2017
YMCA Camp Santa Maria, Grant, Colorado
Men of all ages yearn for real friendships and a
closer relationship with Christ.
Be prepared for a spiritual boot camp.
This 45-hour experience is not for the faint of heart!

A brochure is available  here. For more information contact Peter Ewers 303-902-9009, or Bill Ernstrom 303-746-6312, or email peter@ewersarchitecture.com.
"Reforming Congregations Through Engaging in Our Community" Workshops
Friday, March 10
1:00-4:30 p.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m. 

Saturday March 11
9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Led by: Rocky Mountain Synod (Bishop Jim Gonia), ELCA Domestic Mission Unit (Rev. Susan Engh), Together Colorado, and FRESC (Front Range Economic Strategy Center)

Workshop for Congregations to learn the value of Community Organizing and how it can contribute to the renewal of your congregation. This workshop will be focused on teams from Congregations and empowering them to begin to do this work of community engagement. 

Topics for the Workshop include:
  • Charity vs. Justice
  • Relational Organizing
  • Structural Change

    Download the flyer for more information and to register!
Now Hiring: Preschool Director (part-time)
St. Mark's Lutheran Preschool, 111 Del Mar Circle, Aurora, is seeking a qualified, enthusiastic, energetic director/teacher to help manage our current program. This is a part-time position of 6 hours a day. Four hours are teaching in the classroom with a certified preschool teacher and 2 hours of designated office duties. Our current program is in session Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Our hope is to build a full-time program with morning and afternoon sessions.

Applicant must be a Christian, maintain a current director's letter set forth by the State of Colorado and willing to help grow the program. For further information, please submit your name and phone number to: admin@stmarksaurora.org. You may also leave a message with our office manager at 303-366-9702 .
Resource Corner
check back each week for a new or featured resource for your congregation
Stories from around the globe
ELCA Global Links is a monthly newsletter featuring news and stories from ELCA Global Mission and the ways we are engaged as a global church. 

A great resource for Global Mission Committees or church administrators looking for stories to share in your newsletter!

Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders

Monday-Friday, May 8-12, 2017
Memorial Presbyterian Church
4141 E Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ

This five-day training presented by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center will equip church leaders with skills for conflict transformation and mediation in congregations, organizations, and families. It includes lectures, discussion, and guided practice in role plays, and is designed to be active and practical in focus. The sessions emphasize hands-on skills training and real-life role plays based on the kinds of conflicts faced by participants. This training is useful for pastors, lay leaders, judicatory staff, and people who serve with church ministries. Learn more and register by downloading this brochure, visiting the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center website, by emailing us at Peace@LMPeaceCenter.org, or by calling 630-627-0507.

Employment Opportunities
Non-Rostered Positions Available

Preschool Director (part-time)
St. Mark Lutheran Church - Aurora, CO

Director of Service and Outreach
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church - Fort Collins, CO

Financial Administrator
Rocky Mountain Synod - Denver, CO

Office Administrator
Atonement Lutheran Church - Boulder, CO

Organist/Pianist (part-time)
St. Philip Lutheran Church - Littleton, CO

Director of Communications
Trinity Lutheran Church - Fort Collins, CO

ELCA Regional Gift Planner
Rocky Mountain Synod

Parish Nurse
Faith Lutheran Church - Golden, CO

Trinity Lutheran Church - Boulder, CO 
Office of the Bishop This Week
Bishop Gonia

  • Conference of Bishops, Chicago
Pastor Kent Mueller
  • Preparation for Candidacy Committee meeting
  • Lutheran Center administration
  • Vacation

Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM

  • Legislative session

Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-CO

  • Women and Family Wednesdays
  • LFS Board Meeting
  • National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, Washington, DC
Pastor Judith VanOsdol
  • Mission Developer/ Redeveloper evaluations
  • Christ the King, Denver, CO
  • Administrative work for Mission Sites

    Deacon Erin Power

    • Synod Assembly Planning
    • RMS communication/video editing
    • Christ the Servant, Louisville, CO
    • Global Mission Committee

      Pastor Sarah Moening

      • In-office appointments
      • Urban Servant Corps
      • St. Luke's, Buffalo, WY

      Andy Sprain

      • First Third of Life Team
      • RMS Youth Gatherings visioning team
      • North Colorado Conference Gathering

      Quick Links
      Share the News
      Erin Power   Assistant to the Bishop
      Rocky Mountain Synod
      800-525-0462 / 303-777-6700 / fax 303-339-4744

      Announcements for eConnection are due before noon on Monday for the issue the following Wednesday. Event announcements are included for about two weeks and should be submitted via the eConnection Submission link above.