A Reconciling in Christ synod

From Bishop Jim Gonia:

I am asking all ELCA congregations in the Rocky Mountain Synod to share the following statement by our Presiding Bishop with congregants, and to encourage all people in your communities of faith to take action with respect to our church's long-standing commitment to accompanying refugees in this country.

Christ's Church, Better Together! 

Presiding Bishop Eaton Addresses Refugee Executive Order

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Yesterday, we heard these words in the Gospel reading from Matthew 5:1-12, the beginning of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. In the Beatitudes, Jesus lays out a vision for life in God's realm, characterized by seeing those who are often most disregarded, including the meek, the mourning and the peacemaker, as bearers of God's blessing. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to hear this Gospel, including Jesus' call for his disciples to be carriers of God's light and hope and reconciliation to a world deeply in need of them.

In this spirit, earlier last week I communicated with the Trump administration asking that it not stop the U.S. refugee admissions program or stop resettlement from any country for any period of time. The Bible calls us to welcome the stranger and treat the sojourner as we would our own citizens. I agree with the importance of keeping our country secure as the administration stated in its executive order last Friday, but I am convinced that temporarily banning vulnerable refugees will not enhance our safety nor does it reflect our values as Christians. Instead, it will cause immediate harm by separating families, disrupting lives, and denying safety and hope to brothers and sisters who are already suffering.

Read full statement

Information and Resources:
Cristo Rey El Paso Opens Its Doors to Refugees
For the past 2 weeks, Cristo Rey El Paso has opened its doors to offer hospitality to refugees. Their ministry is in partnership with Annunciation House in El Paso and they receive overflow when Annunciation House is full. ICE brings the refugees to Cristo Rey on Tuesdays. The congregation and volunteers provide clothing, showers, food, a place to sleep, and coordinate their travel arrangements with their families that live in the USA. They are open from Tuesday to Thursday. Pastor Rose Mary Sanchez Guzman shared about their experience and the support from local congregations:

"What I can say is that we saw the face of Christ in everyone we encountered and the Holy Spirit touched the lives of both the guests and the volunteers. I experienced sadness as I heard their heartbreaking stories, but I also had tears of hope as I realized that Cristo Rey and several churches from our Downtown Coalition, and others in El Paso area are responding to this urgent need. We have received donations of food, clothing, and other needed items from Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces, Peace Lutheran Church in El Paso, First Baptist Church, St Clement's Church, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), St Mark's Catholic Church, The Border Servant Corps, and others that left donations by our door. Our members have been cooking, cleaning, and bringing food as well. Some had the chance to eat and fellowship with our guests. A few of our members told their experience last Sunday, and it was amazing how they were touched by the refugees that came from Guatemala and Honduras. Many of our people had to cross one border, but our guests had to cross several to get here."

Their hospitality was not needed this week, as only 50 refugees were released from the detention center. Cristo Rey asks for your prayers for the refugees they are serving and those that remain detained, as well as support of donations as the need arises. The Rocky Mountain Synod Facebook page will post updates from Cristo Rey and Pastor Rose Mary as we receive them.

We are Christ's Church, Better Together!
RMS-ELCA News and Events
Thank You from Your Companions in Madagascar!
Rev. Albert, director of Betela Seminary in Madagascar shares his gratitude for the companion synod partnership and support of the Rocky Mountain Synod.  Share this video in your ministry setting to offer a glimpse into church in Madagascar.  

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

Assembly Deadlines

Registration deadline is Friday, March 24
Registration will be available online in early February. The on-line request form for exhibitors is available now.

Nomination deadline is Friday, March 24
The only election this year will be for Synod Council Vice President. The nomination form and information is posted on the assembly webpage. 

Ministry Booklet Pages and Display Requests are due Friday, March 24
The on-line request form for exhibitors and ministry booklet pages is posted. The deadline for submitting requests will be March 24. Exhibitors must ALSO register for the assembly in addition to submitting a exhibitor request.

Hotel Reservation deadline is April 4
 ****Hotel Reservation Link will be available next week****

Assembly Volunteers Needed 

(3-4 people)

Registration volunteers should be be available from 10:30-3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 5. Volunteers should not be voting members from their congregations. 

(2 people; will serve through 2018 Assembly)

A Reference and Counsel Committee, appointed for each Synod Assembly by the bishop in consultation with the Executive Committee, shall review all proposed changes or additions to the constitution and bylaws and other items submitted which are not germane to items contained in the stated agenda of the Synod Assembly (S7.32.11). 

The Reference and Counsel Committee will meet as needed via Webex and email prior to Assembly to review submitted resolutions and memorials, and propose recommendations prior to there being received by the Assembly floor.  The Committee will be present at Assembly to present resolutions and memorials to the Assembly floor as well as review any resolutions and memorials brought forth at the Assembly.

(3 people- Denver Metro/Front Range preferred, due to location of 2017 & 2018 Assemblies; will serve through 2018 Assembly)

The Rocky Mountain Synod Elections Committee is responsible for the administration of elections specified in Chapter 9 of the Constitution, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions of the Rocky Mountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Elections Committee consists of an Elections Chair appointed by the Assembly Manager and committee members who self-identify or who are recruited because of their interest in, and aptitude for, administration of elections. Committee members shall be appointed for a term of two years, generally beginning in January. The Committee normally meets 2-3 times per year, and Committee members attend Synod Assemblies as non-voting staff.
Full Election Committee description

Email Erin Power if you are interested in serving in this capacity. 

Portico Seminars and Webinars:
Pre-Retirement and Retirement Planning Made Simple

Portico is offering Pre-Retirement seminars (various dates) and a webinar series (Feb. 9, 16, 23). If you're over age 50 and within 15 years of retirement, these are a great way to get planning off to a strong start or keep the momentum going. You can find information, schedules, and links to registration here.
On February 21, there will be a webinar called, “ Retirement Planning Made Simple,” which is designed for members and employers to learn more about Portico’s new, simpler approach to retirement planning. It features the new financial planning tool, planning team, wellness program, upcoming education opportunities, and Portico’s renewed focus on financial education. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the reasons for these changes and the new benefits. This is a great event for bishops and synod staff members who are interested in a deeper look at the “what,” as well as the “why” of retirement planning. Register here. There will be a webinar recording available for viewing after the live event. 
2017: Time to Launch an Eco-Reformation
Check out events, resources, and ideas at Lutherans Reforming Creation  on observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. New Resources include: 
  • "Eco-Reformation: Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril", ed., Lisa Dahill and James Martin-Schramm
  • "Celebrating with Creation: Songs in Support of the Eco-Reformation in 2017" by Norman C. Habel.
  • "Reformation 2017: Re-Fermenting the Church", YouTube series by Ron Rude, Lutheran campus pastor
And More!
For Your Bulletin
Bulletin Blurbs
Include These for Global Church Sunday, February 12!
Peace Not Walls
An ELCA campaign working for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel, through
  • Accompaniment – travel to the Holy Land; meet Palestinian Lutherans
  • Advocacy – support peace with justice by contacting our elected officials
  • Awareness-raising – plan an adult forum in your church; invite a speaker

Companion Synod: Madagascar

The Rocky Mountain Synod is companion synods with four of the twenty five synods in Madagascar: Mahajanga Synod, Antsiranana Synod, Avaratra Atsinanana Synod, and Sofia Synod. 

In 2016, the Rocky Mountain Synod purchased four motorcycles for pastors to get around to their multiple churches in Madagascar. We also helped Betela Seminary repair their solar to have electricity!

Bishop's Trip to Madagascar February 13-24
The bishop's from the 4 ELCA synods that are companions with the Lutheran Church in Madagascar (FLM) will be making a joint trip to visit church leadership and ministries in our companion synods.  Joining Bishop Gonia from the Rocky Mountain Synod is Assistant to the Bishop Deacon Erin Power, Synod Council Vice-President Earline Bohling, and Pastor Brad Doty, chair of the RMS Companion Synod Committee.

During their trip the delegation will meet with newly elected FLM President David, as well as with the synod presidents from our  four companion synods, at Betela Seminary. The RMS delegation will be visiting all four synods during their visit. We invite your prayers for all ELCA members going on this trip, for their conversations with our companions, and for the strengthening of our relationship as Church Together. 

We invite your prayers during worship February 11-12!
Please note corrected date & color!

Pastor Stacy Dougherty
Tabor, Pueblo, CO
Saturday, February 4, 5:00p.m.
Color of the Day: Green
RMS Prayer Cycle

February 2017
Border  Conference

Week of February 5

Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey  El Paso, TX
 Rose Mary Sanchez-Guzman

Mount Hope  El Paso, TX
  Matt Barnhouse

New Hope  El Paso, TX
 Jeff St. Clair
Light of the World - Peace
From the Peace Wall in Hamilton, New Zealand
Prayer of the Day: Sunday, February 5
Give thanks for all people - and during Black History Month especially for those of African descent - who are participating in God's work of building a multicultural church and restoring and reconciling communities in the name of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

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

Around the Synod
Global Church Sunday Celebration!

4500 Wadsworth Blvd., Wheat Ridge, CO
Sunday, February 12

The Rocky Mountain Synod is celebrating Global Church  Sunday  and the Holy Cross Health Cabinet invites you to join in for our annual outreach fundraiser lunch at  12 noon  in Asel Hall. Pulled pork is on the menu.

The recipient of our free will offering will be a Global Health Ministry (GHM) project in southern Madagascar, the renovation of Ejeda hospital. Special guest for that day will be the Rev. Doug Cox, Minneapolis, executive director of GHM. He will preach at both services (8:15 and 10:45), conduct the adult education forum at 9:30, and also host a special Global Poverty Experience suitable for all ages following lunch from 1:30-3:00 p.m.

This will be a very special day! We hope you can make time to participate. Please RSVP to Mary Kvamme at 303-421-8392 by Feb. 5 if you plan to attend.

New Mexico Youth Retreat
Friday, February 10 through Saturday, February 11
"The Amazing Race Borderlands: Season 3" 

Congregations in the Northern New Mexico and Border Conferences are invited to create teams of youth (and adult drivers) for an event like no other! If you are familiar with the popular tv show The Amazing Race then you have a little bit of an idea of what this event will entail. This year's event will be hosted by Peace Lutheran in Las Cruces and will include community building activities, food, fun, fellowship, worship, and, of course, a race like no other! Are you ready to RACE?

Registration will take place online (by congregation). Visit HERE for more information and a link to the registration page.

Contact Deacon Laura Carson, Border Conference Faith Formation Coordinator, for more information or call 575-522-7119 ext. 17.
The Solar Eclipse is Coming to Casper, Wyoming!
Grace Lutheran Church would like to invite you, your youth group or intergenerational group to join us as we celebrate this celebration of light and absence of light.  We have room for 40 people to stay in our church (which does not have showers) and join the parking lot party on  August 21 , the day of the eclipse.  For more information, or to make reservations, please call Kim at  307-235-6329 .  
Our Life Together
Host a Reformation 500 Bookstore!
Get over 15 free books on the Reformation for your church!

Host a Reformation 500 Bookstore at your church this spring. Introduce your congregation to engaging and affordable resources about the Reformation while growing your church library! Educate your church on the history of the Reformation, Martin Luther’s writings, and their impact on Christianity today.

Sign your church up to host a Reformation 500 Bookstore—
it’s simple, educational, and FREE!

Hurry, SIGN UP NOW, the deadline is February 15!
"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!
Resource Corner
check back each week for a new or featured resource for your congregation
An Opportunity to Grow In Your Congregation's Stewardship

Educate, Equip, Enact (funded by a Lilly grant) is pleased to invite you to participate in Stewardship for All Seasons, a service designed to teach congregation leaders how to carry out effective stewardship development throughout the year. A cohort of congregations will begin on May 4, and will work with a consultant, as well as support each other through the year.

For more information, contact Janice Kibler, program director for Educate, Equip, Enact, at jkibler@rmselca.org.

Employment Opportunities
Non-Rostered Positions Available

Office Administrator
Atonement Lutheran Church - Boulder, CO

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

ELCA Regional Gift Planner
Rocky Mountain Synod

Executive Office Manager (temporary)
Saint Paul Community of Faith - Denver, CO

Director of Faith Formation
Christ the Servant Lutheran Church - Louisville, CO

Parish Nurse
Faith Lutheran Church - Golden, CO

Trinity Lutheran Church - Boulder, CO 

Youth Leader
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church - Littleton, CO

Church Organist/Accompanist 
King of Kings Lutheran Church - Pueblo, CO

Chancel Choir Director
King of Kings Lutheran Church - Pueblo, CO

Office of the Bishop This Week
Bishop Gonia

  • NM Rostered Minister's Retreat
  • Synod Council
  • Installation for Pastor Stacy Dougherty, Tabor, Pueblo, CO
  • Christ the King, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Wyoming Conference Retreat
Pastor Kent Mueller
  • Candidacy meetings
  • Synod Council

Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM

  • Bishop's Legislative Luncheon & Issues Briefing
  • Synod Council
  • Legislative session

Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-CO

  • Legislative Session
  • Synod Council 
  • Hunger Free Colorado
Pastor Judith VanOsdol

  • Latino Ministry West Denver
  • Nueva Vida Prison Ministry 
  • New Beginnings Prison Ministry 
  • Messiah Community Lutheran Church
  • Mustard Seed House Churches
  • Synod Council meeting
  • Mission Developer Evaluations

Deacon Erin Power

  • SE Colorado Conference Meeting
  • Global Mission Committee
  • Synod Council
  • Colorado Council of Churches
  • Out of Office: Continuing Education

    Pastor Sarah Moening

    • In-Office Appointments
    • Synod Council

    Andy Sprain

    • First Third of Life Meeting
    • Synod Council
    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.