October 14, 2020
A Reconciling in Christ synod
Power, Privilege, and the Intersection of Identities
Addressing Social Issues as People of Faith
Living Faith: Church in Society,
Race, Ethnicity, & Culture
The RMS Office of the Bishop in partnership with leaders across the synod has created a community discussion guide to engage challenging topics as people of faith. Each week we will share a personal reflection on that week's featured social statement.

The Hard Work is Still Ahead
The Rev. Wes Dunbar

In 1988 when the ELCA was birthed one of our original commitments was: 10% diversity in 10 years. “What a fantastic idea!” I thought. We were woefully inadequate at connecting with people of color. By 1993 the Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture Social Statement was approved, calling us to look more carefully at ourselves, and to repent of our faltering. We had a long way to go. Were we up to the task?
During my Lutheran year in the candidacy process (1994-5) I searched for something fresh in my studies of Lutheran theology and its importance for today. What hit me like a ton of bricks was “Reconciliation”. I set out to study, write, and commit myself to the ministry of reconciliation. Ephesians 2:14 and 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, were my foundations. Once ordained in 1996 I recognized how great we were doing in the ELCA with ecumenical relations and even with inter-faith dialogues. But in race relations we were still stuck in our old ways.

eConnection Spotlight:
RMS in the Neighborhood
Daily Bread Matching Grants - applications being taken NOW!
With gratitude for the strong positive response by participants and donors to the ELCA’s COVID-19 Response Fund, ELCA World Hunger is happy to announce another round of Daily Bread Matching Grants taking place this Fall! The application window is open now, with more than 300 Daily Bread Matching Grants available for ELCA congregations on a first-come, first-served basis. The fundraising event will take place in November.

Congregations that have previously received a Daily Bread Matching Grant are not eligible to reapply. If your congregation has already benefited from a Daily Bread Matching Grant, please share this opportunity with a neighbor or partner congregation! Priority will be given to congregations that were unable to participate in the last cycle due to capacity, and to congregations that are members of ELCA ethnic-specific and multicultural ministry networks or are priority congregations as identified by synods.

How it works:
RMS & ELCA News and Events
2020 Hein-Fry Book of Faith Challenge
"The Bible - Word, Not Weapon"
In an increasing polarized world, biblical citations do not always serve their primary intent of reflecting God's love. Under the theme "The Bible - Word, Not Weapon," the 2020 Hein-Fry Book of Faith Challenge will address how Bible verses taken out of context can become weapons that discredit others or justify cruel treatment of those portrayed as different.

Presented by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the annual Hein-Fry Book of Faith Challenge seeks to enliven the biblical engagement of the whole church by encouraging the development of faithful, innovative and effective ways to teach and learn Scripture. The event is sponsored by the seven ELCA seminaries, the Hein-Fry planning team and the ELCA Book of Faith Initiative.

Every year, one student from each seminary is invited to develop and present a class or series for people both familiar and unfamiliar with biblical texts. In follow-up, the students are invited to report their findings.

This year the challenge will comprise four online events:

  • Jennifer Garcia from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., will present "Sharing Our Faith in a Time of Social Distancing" on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 2 p.m. Pacific time.
  • Taylor Berdahl from United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa., will present "Biblical Responses to COVID-19: Lament, Bodies, Breath" on Monday, Oct. 26, at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.
  • Karl Anliker from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago will present "Look for the Women: A Virtual Bible Study in Search of Hope" on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 2:30 p.m. Central time.
  • Christopher Shealy from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University, Columbia, S.C., will present "How Scripture Is Weaponized, and What We Can Do About It" on Friday, Oct. 30, 2 p.m. Eastern time.

The public is invited to attend these free online events, but registration is required for each of them. Registration information is available here.

Read full article here: https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8071
A new series brought you to by the Office of Congregational Relations at California Lutheran University
Thursdays in October, 9:30-11:00 a.m. PDT (come to one or all)
Links to the Facebook events:
RSVP required to Leblanc@CalLutheran.edu for pre-registration and zoom link.
This is a brave space to uncover our whiteness and process racism in ourselves. We will do the personal work, in community, necessary to show up as more effective co-conspirators and change agents for racial justice in our church. Share a flyer here.
Anti-Racist work for:
  • ELCA Regions 1 & 2
  • White people
  • Those who benefit from White privilege
  • those who want to explore whiteness with others
Questions? Desta Goehner, Director of Congregational Relations, California Lutheran University, Desta@CalLutheran.edu
For Your Bulletin

Rev. Dione Stepanek
Trinity Lutheran, Boulder, CO
Sunday, Oct 18, 2:00 pm
Color of the Day: Green
Trinity Zoom account

* * * * * * *

Rev. Catherine Lemons
Trinity Lutheran, Las Cruces, NM
Saturday, Nov 14, 10:00 am
Color of the Day: Green

Ordination and Installation

Katherine Kline
Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, CO
Saturday, Oct 31, 3:00 pm
Color of the Day: Red

RMS Prayer Cycle


- Week of October 18-


U.S. Air Force- Columbia, SC
Kristoffer Cox

U.S. Air Force- Fort Belvoir, VA

U.S. Army- Lawton, KS
Christian Nisonger

Presbyterian Health Care - Albuquerque, NM
Janet Morse

Sky Ridge Medical Center - Centennial, CO
Laurie Jeddeloh

Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center - Lafayette, CO
Jennifer LaVie

Mercy Regional Medical Center - Durango, CO
Josh Magyar

Penrose-St. Francis Health Services - Colorado Springs, CO
Julie Britsch
Sunday, October 18
Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost

Prayer of the Day
Sovereign God, raise your throne in our hearts. Created by you, let us live in your image; created for you, let us act for your glory; redeemed by you, let us give you what is yours, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

In God's Hands:
Ecumenical Prayer Cycle from the World Council of Churches
18 - 24 October: The Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago - Intercessions and Prayers

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.
Around the Synod
Conversations for Connection: Supporting Mental Health
Thursdays via Zoom, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

"So, what are we going to do about it?"
Thursday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
How to focus on the good things and hear practical tips on how to survive this challenging season in human history. Contemplation, exercise, cooking, organizing, reading, thrifting, mending- connect with others and hear how to carry on and stay inspired and focused on a life of meaning and purpose even in a pandemic.

Rev. Nicole Lamarche, a spiritual creative, a community organizer and a public faith leader and pastor of Community United Church of Christ in Boulder. Committed to building a just world for all beyond the walls of sacred spaces, Nicole was a member of the Interfaith Tent at Occupy Oakland as part of Occupy Wall Street and a member of People Acting in Community Together for the Black Lives Matter movement in San Jose, CA. In 2003, she won the title of Miss California.
Hosted by Atonement Lutheran Church and Interfaith Network on Mental Illness.
"Wisdom from our Animal Companions"
Thursday, October 22, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Spending time with animals can help us recharge, slow down, and have fun in these chaotic times.
Jackie will share a video (or 2) she made of interacting with her horses and how it helped her. How can animals help you with stress reduction and emotional awareness? Jackie Hibbard is the Pastoral Associate at Community United Church of Christ, Boulder, and the Owner/Coach with Dancing Spirit Equine Facilitated Learning and Coaching. In her practice, she offers personal and spiritual growth opportunities in partnership with her horses for people wanting to deepen their self-awareness and expand into their most authentic self and state of being.
Hosted by Atonement Lutheran Church and Interfaith Network on Mental Illness.
Our Life Together
Rainbow Trail Senior High Retreat
November 20-22, 2020
Join us as Pastor Steph from Christ the Servant Lutheran in Louisville, CO leads through a weekend of fellowship and exploration!

Using scripture as a springboard, Christians throughout history have imagined heaven and hell and expressed it through art and literature. Our language and popular culture continue to reflect these enduring images. Most of the time, we don’t think a lot about heaven or hell, but there are moments that bring the topic of the afterlife into sharp focus like the death of a loved one or a critical word from a fellow Christian. We’ll invite students to examine their beliefs about heaven and hell and to root themselves in what scripture offers us about the afterlife. This is also a time to use the lens of the Lord’s Prayer to learn about what it means for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven. What we think about heaven and hell–who “deserves” it, how we get there, whether it exists at all–shapes our choices and life right here and now. Let’s look at this matter of life and death more closely.

For more information email daniel@rainbowtrail.org or visit our website:
Discussion/Readings group on "After Whiteness" 4-sessions, begins October 21
Hosted by: Pr. Rich Gianzero.
RSVP for interest: rgianzero@iliff.edu

We will begin each 60-minute session with a short Gospel reading and prayer.

Reading and discussion of After "Whiteness: An Education in Belonging," by Willie Jennings. Jennings “shares the insights gained from his experience” as Dean of Duke Divinity, one of the only African Americans to hold that role. “He reflects on the distortions wrought by whiteness – and its related constructs of masculinity and individualism – but holds onto an abundant hope. Jennings discusses how theological formation can position itself at the front of a massive culture shift away from white, Western hegemony. The book is part poetry, memoir and a decolonial analysis which calls us from isolation to intimacy – calls us to belonging. Reading commitment is about 60 pages for each of three (3) sessions, one final open discussion. (Overview and schedule here)

Goals: Engage collegially among ministry leaders in examining what “whiteness” means from a theological and cultural hegemonic identity formation. Discussion of how whiteness distorts identity, theological imagination and practical ministry. To engage with three short excerpts from Reggie Williams, James Cone, and James Baldwin alongside After Whiteness. We examine “whiteness” as a constructed identity.

One book to purchase:
  • After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging. Willie James Jennings, ISBN 978-0-8028-7844-1. Also available on Kindle.
Other Readings (provided as PDF)
  • “The Racial Script,” Christian Century, Reggie Williams
  • “On Being White & Other Lies,” The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings. James Baldwin.
  • Chapter 2 excerpt, Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody, James Cone
Resurrection & Resistance: The Gospel of Mark
Four Thursdays – Oct. 29, Nov. 5, 12, 19
12 noon - 1:45 p.m. Mountain Time
Pam Faro, Professional Storyteller, and Richard W. Swanson, Professor, Augustana University

Four Thursdays – Oct. 29, Nov. 5, 12, 19
12 noon - 1:45 p.m. Mountain Time
(Other locations use time zone converter)

In this four-session workshop, we will explore Mark’s story. Pam Faro, a professional storyteller with world-wide experience, will tell key parts of Mark’s story, and Richard Swanson, director of the Provoking the Gospel Storytelling Project, will guide our exploration of Pam’s performances. We will experience the story together and we will join in exploratory thinking about this old, audacious story.

The cost for this opportunity to join Pam and Richard’s exploration of Mark’s gospel is $160(USD) per person.

Special Rates Available:
  • Church Staff Group Rate (for 2-3 individuals) is $280.
  • Full-time Student Discounted Registration is $100.
Discipleship in a democracy
How should Lutherans be involved in politics?
from Living Lutheran, by Michael Cooper-White October 9, 2020
“Pastor, I was really upset by Sunday’s sermon. You’re meddling in politics, which you have no business doing. I also hear that you participated in those recent protests. Don’t you understand the separation of church and state?”

 “Some of us are frustrated that our church won’t take a stand. Aren’t we named for a protester, Martin Luther? Don’t we point with reverence to martyrs like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who took a very political stance?”

 “As a young person, I am deeply concerned about social justice, and I find little to no support for my convictions in my church.”

 “I don’t want my church to tell me how to vote, but I would welcome some guidance on how to prayerfully cast my ballot.”

Each of these wide-ranging views represents the stance of some members in a typical ELCA congregation. It’s little wonder, then, that much of the conflict we experience in the church today is generated by differing views about the proper relationship between church and state, faith and politics.

Resource Corner
check back each week for a new or featured resource for your congregation
Get your Sky Ranch Advent Box!
Christmas is just around the corner! Join Sky Ranch as we celebrate the Advent season!

Advent Box includes: all supplies to build Advent Tree with daily bible verses, daily prayers, and a Pay-It-Forward daily activity; supplies to make candy nativity set; Activity Book including coloring pages, full time staff's favorite Christmas recipes, word search, worship to do as a family with a box of crayons; 2 tree cookie ornaments for you to paint or wood burn; and a 20% off store coupon!

Pre-order your Advent Box through October 31 and boxes will be shipped in early November. Boxes can be ordered at: https://www.skyranchco.org/product/advent-box/92?cs=true
Online tools for congregational fundraising
Even in a year when the needs can seem overwhelming, ELCA Good Gifts provides an easy way to make a real impact. Your gifts share the love of Christ one goat, water well or school uniform at a time.

One of the best ways you can help is by sharing ELCA Good Gifts with your members. Our social media graphics are perfectly sized for Facebook posts.

If you’re planning a congregation-wide fundraiser for ELCA Good Gifts and would like to track your giving as a group, be sure to take advantage of our new online tools ― like “wish lists” and “group gifts” ― to make collective giving a breeze. Learn more with our new how-to guide for online fundraisers.
Employment Opportunities
New Listings
Director of Children, Youth, and Families
St. Andrew Lutheran Church - 5607 NE Gher Rd, Vancouver, WA 98662
St. Andrew Lutheran Church, an active, service-oriented ELCA congregation in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, invites individuals who are passionate about sharing God’s good news with others, particularly children, youth, and their families, to apply for the position of Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry.
Office Coordinator
Christ Lutheran Church - Highlands Ranch, CO
Christ Lutheran Church is seeking a friendly, outgoing, and detail-oriented individual to fill the role of Office Coordinator. In this important role, you will be the face of CLC to our members and the public by being the first point of contact for the church. In addition, you will provide office services for church staff and various committees, organize communications, act as a receptionist for the church, and keep church records. We are looking for someone with strong organization, computer, and communication skills. This is a part-time position that will average 30 hours per week.

Resumes should be sent to, and job descriptions can be obtained from, Executive Pastor Gail Mundt, Christ Lutheran Church, 8997 S. Broadway, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126, pastorgail@clchr.org. *Covid restrictions are in currently in place. Please contact Pastor Gail Mundt at pastorgail@clchr.org for additional information.
All Non-Rostered Listings 
Director of Children, Youth, and Families
St. Andrew Lutheran Church - Vancouver, WA

Office Coordinator
Christ Lutheran Church - Highlands Ranch, CO

Preschool Staff
Joy Mission Preschool - Parker, CO

Faith Formation Coordinator for Children and Families
Atonement Lutheran Church - Boulder, CO
Office of the Bishop This Week
 Bishop Jim Gonia
  • CLU Convocation
  • Pastor Dione Stepanek Installation
  • Dean's Meeting

Pastor Dana Peterson
  • RMS Campaign Team Meeting
  • 1-1 Meetings

Kurt Rager
  • Stabilization & Tax Policy Committee 
  • NM tenant/housing legislative Coalition

Peter Severson
  • Colorado Social Legislation Committee
  • Zions, Trinidad, CO
  • CSU Campus Ministry

Tina Kvitek
  • 1-1 appointments
  • RMS Campaign Meeting
Pastor Sarah Moening
  • Congregation Transition
  • Excellence in Leadership
  • Ascension, Cheyenne, WY

Pastor Kent Mueller (1/2 time)
  • RMS Campaign Meeting
  • Dean's Meeting

Deacon Erin Power
  • RMS Communications
  • Bethlehem, Los Alamos, NM
  • ELCA Committee on Appeals

Pastor Leslie O'Callaghan
  • CLU Convocation
  • 1-1 Appointments
Quick Links
Share the News
Erin Power,  Assistant to the Bishop
Feel free to contact Andrew Nakatani, 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

Past issues of eConnection may be found here.