April 1, 2020
A Reconciling in Christ synod
Generosity and Our Life Together
Beloved in the Rocky Mountain Synod,

ELCA Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton, said at our Churchwide Assembly in August: “We are not a dying church. We are a changing church.” The threat of COVID-19 has pushed the church into an unsettling place of change over the last several weeks. Suddenly, we understand that “church” does not mean “building.” It means people. And we are connecting in ways never before imagined.

Because of COVID-19, we are grieving what we treasure most as church: gathering together as the embodied people of God, who are the hands and feet and voices of Christ, made alive in the world. We long for the time when we can gather together again to sing, and to pray, and to embrace as people who genuinely greet one another with the peace and presence of Christ.

Yet this we already know: that the church remains vital and alive, even while our buildings are silent. We are, all the more, better together .

As people of faith, what might it mean to practice generosity in the midst of a pandemic? As a synod team, we acknowledge that the uncertainty of this time may impact your household’s capacity to give financially to your congregation. We also know the ministries in our synod will continue and need our continued support. Our Rocky Mountain Synod Executive Committee has made a commitment to continuing their generosity through regular giving to their congregation. Monetary giving is one of many ways to practice generosity. Prayer, spiritual practice, and extending care to others in appropriate ways are all important expressions of faithful stewardship.

Indeed, ministry is continuing through your congregation in spite of the challenges posed by COVID-19. Your church and synod leaders are acting in faithful, innovative ways every day as they discern how best to support the needs of the community and the wider world. Your financial gifts make possible the important work that will continue happening through all three expressions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (congregations, synods and churchwide) as well as through an abundance of ministry partners. The Gospel is still being proclaimed in many and various ways during this pandemic.

Please identify one of the following means through which you can facilitate continued generosity at any level in your ministry context.

  1. Mail a check to your congregation on a consistent basis.
  2. Contact your bank to set-up automatic financial giving that comes out of your banking account and is mailed to your congregation on a regular basis.
  3. Connect with your church leaders and request that online giving be an option. We as the ELCA have partnerships with both Vanco and Tithe.ly, who both offer special rates for ELCA ministries.

We do not know how long the threat of COVID-19 will interfere with our ability to gather together in person. But we do know that Christ is present nevertheless: yesterday, today, and forever. As you live out these challenging times that are marked by grief for what has been, be gentle with yourself as you embrace the gifts of grace and gratitude that are already ours.

In faith,

Bishop Jim Gonia
Earline Bohling, Synod Vice President

Bishop Gonia issues pastoral letter on Holy Communion in a digital age
Beloved in Christ,

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been conversation across our church and in our synod about how congregations and communities of faith would address the practice of Holy Communion when in-person gatherings were no longer safe. We have reached that point. At this time, no one knows how long the recommendation to remain apart will last; my advice to pastors and deacons has been to prepare for the long haul, knowing that we can adjust quickly if the “all clear” sign is given earlier than anticipated…


eConnection Spotlight:
RMS in the Neighborhood
A Pandemic Prayer Project at Christ the King, Durango, CO!
One of the most significant challenges for any congregation or ministry at this time is figuring out how to stay socially connected and spiritually healthy while being physically distant.

At Christ the King Lutheran Church, we brainstormed several ideas that would engage people spiritually AND would allow them to feel connected to others in a non-electronic kind of way. Doing a communal prayer / art project seems like a perfect way to accomplish those goals. Watch our video! The strips of paper with written prayers that people send into us for this Pandemic Prayer Project will be transformed into a work of art which will greet our congregation upon their eventual return to our next in-person worship service. Everyone is welcome to join us in this prayer project. Share the video widely!
RMS & ELCA News and Events
Dear church,
 
The last couple of weeks have been trying ones for everyone across this church. Our synods, congregations and ministries are facing challenges that they’ve never faced before. Being church together means more now than ever before.
 
The churchwide office is launching a comprehensive Covid-19 response across the ELCA. We have three new approaches designed to provide several levels of support for our most vulnerable congregations and ministries. These three approaches are Daily Bread Grants, Here to Serve, and the Covid-19 Response Appeal.
 
DAILY BREAD GRANTS
ELCA World Hunger is announcing the immediate launch of Daily Bread Matching Grants. Through these grants, ELCA congregations can raise funds for their feeding ministries using an online fundraising platform and will receive a grant of $500 from ELCA World Hunger. Up to 100 Daily Bread Matching Grants are available for ELCA congregations on a first-come, first-served basis, with the possibility of more grants becoming available in the future. Apply or donate here.
 
HERE TO SERVE
The churchwide organization is inherently a resource in support of the members, congregations, synods and partners of the ELCA. During this time, Domestic Mission will pivot to a project-based, service-oriented structure so this church knows we are here to serve. By the first week of April, we will launch a chat function on ELCA.org along with an 800 hotline for prayer, support and questions that will be answered by our staff. As soon as these channels are live, we will let you know.
 
COVID-19 RESPONSE APPEAL
It’s more important now than ever to support our church across the country through these difficult times. We will begin to raise funds to support our congregations, ministries and synods. This effort will launch the week of March 30 via email and social media with a special form online to donate.
 
In addition to our new three-pronged response, our work continues in providing and updating resources on ELCA.org/publichealth. We are also still at work in the world. Our global mission work continues and grows in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are working with our global companions to provide support where we can. Learn more about that here.
 
I am proud to say that even during challenging times, we continue our service in living out the mission of this church: Together in Jesus Christ we are freed by grace to live faithfully, witness boldly and serve joyfully.
 
Peace and be well,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Mission Investment Fund is ready to help
As the investment and lending ministry of the ELCA, the Mission Investment Fund has resources that can provide much-needed help to congregations, ministries and members experiencing financial hardship at this time.  As your financial partner, the Mission Investment Fund is able to provide assistance for the congregations and ministries that have MIF loans as well as individuals and congregations that invest with them.
 
If your congregation has special needs at this time, please reach out to Amelia Dawkins, MIF’s Vice President for Lending. You may reach her by email at Amelia.Dawkins@elca.org . Or please feel free to Eva Roby, MIF President & CEO, at Eva.Roby@elca.org .
 
ELCA Federal Credit Union is also prepared to offer assistance to its members. Credit Union member pastors and congregations that are facing hardship may contact the Credit Union by email at info@elcacu.org . You can also reach out to the Credit Union’s President and CEO Luis Reyes at Luis.Reyes@elcacu.org .

Weekly Conversation for Ministry Leaders
Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m
This will be a weekly conversation, with a new topic each week. Please use this link to register. You can register once and then join any weekly meetings. You are welcome to share that link with anyone in your ministry who would like to be part of these ZOOMS. We are simply adding another level of authenticating attendees since this link will be shared on our website and social media.


Wednesday, April 1, 3:30 p.m.:
Self-care, Trauma Response, and boundaries.
For all church leadership. Join us for a conversation around self-care, how we sustain and manage ourselves as leaders through trauma, and what patterns are sustainable as this time of physical distancing looks to be prolonged.

Wednesday, April 8, 3:30 p.m.
Open space for council leadership and conversation around connecting and outreach.

Wednesday April 15, 3:30p.m.
Our long-term response as a public church.
Knowing there will be long-term economic effects of this global pandemic, what shifts in our ministries may need to take place to serve God' people in our world? What direct service and advocacy work could we be invited into?
Online Giving and Resources for Navigating Financial Challenges
From Tithe.ly:
Ten Ways To Keep Your Church Healthy and Discipled During the Outbreak

Posted by Vanco:
COVID-19: eGiving in Times of Crisis
Rainbow Trail and Sky Ranch Lutheran Camps coming to you!
Join us for some live faith formation! Rainbow Trail and Sky Ranch will be on your Facebook live 4 days a week on the Rocky Mountain Synod, ELCA Facebook page! See ya there!
#CreationCareAmbassadors training invitation
Register HERE.

The Lutheran World Federation recently shared this Lenten prayer: "Make us attentive to the wounds of the earth and willing to work for the healing of the whole creation, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord."

With a passion for the healing of the whole creation, an upcoming #CreationCareAmbassador Training hosted by ELCA Advocacy and Blessed Tomorrow is available for congregation representatives and individuals. This webinar on Saturday, April 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET can be a great time to vision and strategize about how to effectively discuss climate change, how climate change impacts the church, and how to be advocates for climate solutions both locally and nationally. 

Activities of the 50 th anniversary for Earth Day this April are being shifted because of globally felt impacts of the outbreak of COVID-19, but our need to raise awareness of our interconnectedness and what we can do together remains compelling. Register for the webinar here .

Share this invitation in your networks from:
Instagram - @ELCAadvocacy
For Your Bulletin
RMS Prayer Cycle

APRIL 2020
WYOMING CONFERENCE

- Week of March 29 -

Ascension - Cheyenne, WY
Rebecca Johnson Aardahl

Covenant - Wheatland, WY
Joshua Bruns

Faith - Lander, WY
Kris Trahnstrom

Join us in daily prayer:
Download  ELCA Prayer Ventures  for daily guides to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world. 
Sunday, April 5
Sunday of the Passion,
Palm Sunday

Prayer of the Day

Sovereign God, you have established your rule in the human heart through the servanthood of Jesus Christ. By your Spirit, keep us in the joyful procession of those who with their tongues confess Jesus as Lord and with their lives praise him as Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

In God's Hands: Ecumenical Prayer Cycle from the World Council of Churches

05 - 11 April : Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania - Intercessions and Prayers
Our Life Together
Guide for Christian Funerals during COVID19
For Christians, gathering to mourn the dead, celebrate their life, and proclaim the hope of Resurrection are essential practices of our faith. During the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID19 outbreak, our usual mourning rituals have been interrupted. We think of the women on that first Easter, who went to follow their familiar mourning ritual to anoint Jesus’s body, to find it disrupted. We remember their initial shock and confusion and feel this, too. We’re waiting to feel the hope of Resurrection. In times of trial like the death of a loved one, we turn to the familiar practices from our faith and ancestors. And so, we know that this disruption for a grieving community is doubly hard. We grieve this disruption with you.

“Earth Day” turns 50 this April. Is your church ready?
Only one day a year is devoted to celebrating the common home God entrusted to us, but our churches across the country are working to restore and protect earthly gifts throughout the year. What have you done (or could you commit to do) alongside the priorities of your congregation?

Find out how you can (1) affirm your care for earth and neighbor and (2) act on action steps for every facet of the church life to engage in this calling.  Download our free Lutherans Restoring Creation congregational kit  here and tell us what you are planning to do, so we can help!
Resource Corner
check back each week for a new or featured resource for your congregation
From Women of the ELCA -
Download the winter 2020 issue of interchange
The spring 2020 issue of Interchange is available for you to download, print, and share. In it, you will find information about a Women of the ELCA/AMMPARO border immersion trip, a report on our February Conference of Presidents, and news about the 2020 triennial convention and gathering.

Please note: The churchwide executive board is monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and will make a decision by April 25 regarding the possible postponement of the triennial convention and "Just Love" gathering.

Interchange is now digital only. You can download it, print it, and share it. Forward this email to your friends and ask them to sign up here .
Employment Opportunities
New Listings 
Facilities Manager
Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church - Lakewood, CO
Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church is hiring a Property Manager for our facility. Skills needed: Basic handyman, good communicator, able to create a facilities management manual, works well with volunteers and church staff. Pay: $30/hr, 20-30 hours per month. Please go to here to see the full job description and to print an application. Application deadline is Sunday, April 8.
Non-Rostered Listings 
Facilities Manager
Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church - Lakewood, CO

Organist/Music Coordinator
Trinity Lutheran Church - Fort Collins, CO

Lead Servant for Financial Resources
Abiding Hope Lutheran Church - Littleton, CO

Office Administrator (part-time)
St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, Centennial, CO

Director of Youth & Family Ministry
Christ Lutheran Church - Highlands Ranch, CO

Minister of Music (full-time)
Augustana Lutheran Church - Denver, CO

Missional Youth MInistry Leader (part-time)
Faith Lutheran Church - Golden, CO

Bookkeeper (part-time)
Christ Lutheran Church - Highlands Ranch, CO
Office of the Bishop This Week
  Bishop Jim Gonia

ELCA DIRECTOR FOR EVANGELICAL MISSION
Pastor Dana Peterson (3/4 time)

LUTHERAN ADVOCACY MINISTRY NEW MEXICO
Kurt Rager

LUTHERAN ADVOCACY MINISTRY COLORADO
Peter Severson

ELCA REGIONAL GIFT PLANNER
Tina Kvitek
ASSISTANT TO THE BISHOP FOR CONGREGATIONAL LIFE
Pastor Sarah Moening

ASSISTANT TO THE BISHOP FOR LEADERSHIP SUPPORT
Pastor Kent Mueller (1/2 time)

ASSISTANT TO THE BISHOP FOR SYNODICAL LIFE
Deacon Erin Power
  • RMS Communications
  • Assembly Planning
  • Excellence in Leadership
  • Available by email: epower@rmselca.org

ASSISTANT TO THE BISHOP FOR FAITH FORMATION & CANDIDACY
Pastor Leslie O'Callaghan
Quick Links
Share the News
Erin Power ,   Assistant to the Bishop
Feel free to contact Andrew Nakatan i , Communications Assistant, with your questions and comments about eConnection and our website!

Rocky Mountain Synod  
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
800-525-0462 / 303-777-6700 / fax  303-733-0750

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