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Bishop Dean W. Nelson


Assistants to the Bishop
AIM Nancy J. Ackerman 
Mission Support
The Rev. Laurie Arroyo
Lay Mission Leadership


AIM Agnes S. McClain
Rostered Mission Leadership


Maria Paiva
Director of Evangelical Mission   
The Rev. O. Dennis Mims
African Descent Ministry
Support Staff
Andreas Hirsch 
Melissa Onnen Chaddick
Administrative Assistant
Sherri Miller
Administrative Assistant
Courtney Bassler
Communications Assistant
1300 E. Colorado Street
Glendale, CA 91206

818-507-9627 Fax


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Synod Meetings & Events

Held at Synod Office unless otherwise noted

Saturday, January 7

Bishop's Academy


Sunday, January 8

Bishop's Academy


Tuesday, January 10  

San Gabriel Valley Collegium

10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  

Vern Jahnke's Home  


Wednesday, January 11  


9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.  


Thursday, January 12  

Central Coast Collegium  

8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  

Peace, Lompoc  



9:00 a.m. - 4 p.m.  


South Bay Collegium  

10:00 a.m. - 12 p.m.  

Resurrection, Redondo Beach


Greater Long Beach Collegium  

11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m.  

Christ, Long Beach  


Saturday, January 14  


9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.    


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Synod Council 


Vice President

 Dr. Joyce Thompsen



The Rev. Keith G. Banwart, Jr.



Dr. Jim Gilbert



The Rev. Terry Tuvey Allen

Ms. Tempie Beaman

The Rev. James L. Bessey

Mr. Robert Chillison

The Rev. Rustin Comer

The Rev. Lynn J. Enloe

Mr. Jeremy Hovland

Ms. Vickie Kropenske

Mr. Paul Muller

Ms. Kristal Shipp

The Rev. Dr. George Villa


Conference Representatives


LA Metro

Mr. Eugene Williams


South Bay

Mrs. Margarita Gonzales


Twin Valleys

Ms. Jan Smith


Central Coast

Ms. Mary Bankert


Greater Long Beach

Ms. Nancy Neyer


San Gabriel Valley

Ms. Gladys Chow 



The Rev. Glen K. Egertson



Mr. Ross McConnell


Channel Islands

Mr. Ted Jensen


Youth Representative

Mr. Caleb Arndt


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Please pray for the following:
The family and friends of Pastor Darcy Jensen who passed on Tuesday, December 20.
Aida Arroyo 
 Gladys Carlson

Jerry Frantz

AIM Barbara Hoffman & family

 Pastor Ray Kibler

George Liesenberg

Pastor Luther Olmon & family

Pastor Dan Parr
Pastor Carlos Paiva
The family of Tom and Pastor Mary Todd Pendergast
The Rev. Dr. Jarvis Streeter
Susan Tapia
AIM Gerri Wilkowski
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Important Dates!

Mark your calendars for some very important dates coming up throughout the year! 



Sunday, January 15
At 3:30 p.m. Ascencion in Los Angeles will be hosting its Martin Luther King service.
Ascension is located at 5820 West Blvd, Los Angeles, 90043. 

Tuesday, January 24
Those who are interested in being involved in Prison Ministry are welcome to attend at meeting at the Synod Office to discuss this new ministry.  The meeting is at 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.



Bishop's Colloquy 2012

 Sunday, January 29 - Tuesday, January. 31

Hilton Hotel - Pasadena

 168 South Los Robles Avenue

Pasadena, CA


The speakers for the Colloquy are:

 The Rev. Dr. David Lose

The Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching, Luther Seminary


The Rev. Brenda Smith

ELCA Director of Discipleship and Evangelism



Wednesday, February 15
Resolutions for the 2012 Synod Assembly are due.  Any questions contact the Synod Office. 


Synod Assembly 2012  

Friday June 1 - Saturday, June 2.


Hilton Hotel - Glendale

100 West Glenoaks Blvd

Glendale, CA  


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Annual Congregational Report Cover Now Available
For those of you who would like to purchase the ELCA Annual Report Cover for your congregation, click here.
Bring a spiritual and missional
message to your congregational annual meeting with the new 2012 Annual Report Cover. 
 annual report cong cover 2012
A bundle of 50 covers cost $5.50 and a $1 handling fee.
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IRS Announces Mileage Rate 
The rate is 55.5 cents a mile for all business miles driven. The rate for business miles driven is unchanged from the mid-year adjustment that became effective on July 1, 2011. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.
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Did you know Lutherans have their very own credit union?  


The Synod has had an ongoing relationship with Lutheran Credit Union of America for many years.  You may think that you need a local branch, however they are as close as picking up the phone or a click of the mouse.  They understand us and can relate to our needs, and they can relate to yours too!


Does your church need a loan?  Or do you need a great rate auto loan?  Credit Card? Home Loan?  Home Equity Line of Credit?  Free checking account?  Free bill payment?  Even a free box of checks!  Call 800.729.7307 and speak with one of LCUA's friendly, knowledgeable member service officers to find out how Lutheran Credit Union of America can help you too.


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Notary Public Services Available at the Synod Office


Should your congregation or organization need the services of a notary, you can stop by the synod office to complete the paperwork.


Sherri Miller, one of the synod's administrative assistants, is commissioned as a Notary Public and will gladly assist you. 


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Like us on Facebook!


The Southwest California Synod is now on Facebook!  Click here to find our Facebook page and like us.  Now, you will get updates about Synod events and other information to share with those that you serve!


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The New ELCA Good Gifts Catalog is Out
It's that time of the year again where everyone is making Christmas lists of what to give and where to get gifts.  Consider buying your friends, co-workers and family members an ELCA Good Gift.  These gifts are gifts that keep on giving and help those in need. 

Click here to look at the new gifts that you can be a part of!
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Quick Links:


Synod Website




ELCA Foundation


Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA


California Lutheran Homes 


Lutheran Retreats, Camps & Conferences


Solheim Lutheran Home 


Synod Giving


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Synews, the email newsletter of the Southwest California Synod, ELCA, brings you news and information from the synod office in an environmentally friendly format. Please share this information with those you serve.

Bishop's Colloquy  


Rostered leaders should have received information about the Bishop's Colloquy on Sunday, Jan. 29 to Tuesday, Jan. 31. Speakers are David Lose and Brenda Smith. Registration is due by Tuesday, January 10th. o register online please visit T


Hotel Reservations must be made seperately.  The reservation code for the Hilton, Pasadena is COLLOQ or you can use this link HILTON PASADENAGroup rate is $89 per night, after the 10th, the rate will go up.   
Living into the Future Together
Spring Conference Gatherings
 LIFT conferences to explore missional planning in congregations will be held in each of the nine synod conferences. Rostered Leaders and congregational council members should attend the event in their conference. Allot  3 to 4 hours for the conference. The location of each conference will be announced in future issues of Synews. Bishop Nelson, Synod VP Joyce Thompsen and Synod Council members will lead the gatherings.


At the 2011 Churchwide Assembly the following action was adopted:


Make support for the work of congregations one of the highest priorities of this church and requested congregations, in collaboration with synods, to begin, develop, review or redefine their unique mission plans by the end of 2012.


Central Coast:

Sunday, February 26 at 3:00 p.m.



Saturday, March 10 at 9:00 a.m.


Channel Islands: God's Work. Our Hands. Band-Aid

Sunday, March 11 at 2:30 p.m.


San Gabriel Valley:

Sunday, March 18 at 2:30 p.m. 


Greater Long Beach:

Saturday, March 24 at 9:00 a.m.


LA Metro:

Saturday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m.


South Bay:

Sunday, March 25 at 3:00 p.m.


Twin Valleys:

Saturday, March 31 at 9:00 a.m.



Sunday, April 1 at 4:00 p.m.


The Churchwide Assembly took these actions on LIFT:

  • Make support for the work of congregations one of the highest priorities of this church and requested congregations, in collaboration with synods, to begin, develop, review or redefine their unique mission plans by the end of 2012.  

31st Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Worship Service 


The Southwest California Synod and the African Descent Strategy Team invite you to celebrate the life and legacy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the theme of "Sustaining a Prophetic Ministry."


Sunday, January 15 at 3:30 p.m.

The Rev. Dr. Eugene Williams will be preaching. 


Ascension Lutheran Church

5820 West Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90043

(323) 292 - 9955

New Session of ELM Classes Begins in January
It is never too late to sign up for ELM classes!
The next three courses are "Worship as the Center of Our Life Together." They will meet January 14, 21 and 28, 2012, at the Synod Office in Glendale.
These courses will explore the basic shape and theology of Christian Worship and its expression in the Lutheran Church. It will consider historical patterns of worship as well as the shifting nature of worship in today's church.
The two key focuses of the course will be 1) skills and techniques for worship leadership, and 2) creating worship that is culturally and contextually appropriate.
The Rev. James Bessey, who will lead these courses, is pastor of Christ Lutheran, Long Beach, and chair of the Southwest California Synod's Worship Committee. He has served parishes in Los Altos, Burlingame, San Francisco, and Berkeley. Pastor Bessey has a B.A. in music from California Lutheran University as well as an M.Div. from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. His post-graduate studies were at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley with an emphasis on multi-cultural worship. Pastor Bessey also served as part of the introductory team for Evangelical Lutheran Worship in our synod.
Please contact Pr. Laurie Arroyo at for more information.

Rostered Leader and Congregation Reports Due


The Rostered Leader's Report to the Bishop, Annual Congregational Report and Letter of Internt should be filed as soon as possible. The most expeditious way to complete the reports is online.  For the Rostered Leaders Reports, click here.  And, click here for Congregation Reports. 

The Letter of Intent as well as the other reports will also be sent via US mail.

Giving Just Got Easier! 


If you attended one of the Bishop's Stewardship Events you know that the top ten list included making it easy to give. We've made giving to the Southwest California Synod even easier.

Scan our new QR - Quick Response Code - with your smart phone and you'll be directed to the Giving Page of the Synod's website.


Please don't hesitate to visit frequently and spread the word!

Global Links Header

Southeast Asia: Strong Monsoons Rains Cause Massive Flooding  Four tropical storms and heavy monsoon rains since July have caused widespread flooding throughout Southeast Asia, including in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and the Philippines, resulting in over 900 deaths and affecting an estimated 9 million people. See


Chinese Christmas: An Opportunity for Evangelism  The Rev. Dorcas Wang, ELCA missionary in China, reflects on the secular nature of Chinese society. She observes how Chinese congregations use Christmas as an opportunity to reach out to non-believers. Read the entire story at; click either the copy-ready bulletin insert or the Winter 2011-12 issue of the Hand in Hand newsletter.


Advocating With Our Companions   

Companion churches living under political oppression or danger request your public voice on their behalf to the larger church, governments and international agencies of the world. Learn how some ELCA members receive the training and motivation to do so, and how you can too! See


Ethics that Matters: African, Caribbean, and African American Sources
This new volume from Fortress Press asserts that Christian social ethics must be reframed completely around three core questions: How can moral community flourish in a global context? What kinds of leadership do we need to nurture global moral community? How shall we construe social institutions and social movements for change in the 21st century? Read more


Retreats at LRCC!

There are many retreats coming up at LRCC such as the Youth Workers, Scrapbooking, Rubies 'n Pearls  A retreat for girls and women (ages 13 and up) and Winter retreats (from January - March) for kids from 3rd grade to high school and for families too!


To register, download the form from the LRCC website, fill it out and fax or mail it into the LRCC Admin Office.


To find out more about LRCC's retreats, click here


Keeping in Touch

LRCC is getting ready to launch the LRCC Summer Staff photos for many years past.  If you or somebody you know worked at camp, please check out the pictures and help them find people that they may have lost touch with. 

Maybe you were a camper and recognize your favorite counselor.  Maybe you are a parent and see the person that helped change your child's life. You may be reconnected as well. 


To see these pictures and more, please visit LRCC's Facebook page. LRCC will work on getting them onto its website in the coming months as well.  


2012 Summer Staff Applications are Available!

If you or somebody you know would like to work at camp this summer, please check out our Summer Staff employment information below.

Apply EARLY as last year there were more applications that positions open.

We are looking for quality young people who love kids and Jesus, want to spend a summer living in Christian community and are willing to have their life changed.


To find the application and the employment opportunities, click here

A Message from the Justice Team
The California Disclose Act (AB 1148) which would require disclosure of large campaign contributions will come before the Assembly Elections Committee on Monday, January 9.  At the 2011 Synod Assembly, a resolution was passed to support this Act. 
We'll keep you posted but for more information or to get involved in the campaign.
News from Lutheran Social Services - Van Nuys
Lutherans Looking Forward Breakfast
Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 4th for the Lutherans Looking Forward Breakfast at the Woodland Hills Country Club.  This is a free breakfast (a goodwill offering is taken) for all of our churches.  Lutheran of the Year and Congregation of the Year will be announced and awarded.
Golf Tournament
Monday, May 14th, 2012 for our annual Golf Tournament.  If you are a golfer, you won't want to miss this great tournament.
Upcoming Webinars on Ending Family Violence Initiative
The Lutheran Community Foundation is sponsoring some free Webinars as part of its Ending Family Violence Initiative. 
Some topics include:
  • How to Reduce the Risk of Child Abuse in the Church
  • Stop Teen Violence Before it Starts
  • Domestic Violence 101 for Christian Clergy
  • What to do if a Registered Sex Offender Comes to Church
All of the seminars are free and open to anyone - register online.
From the ELCA Youth Ministry Network


3rd Tuesday Conversation
January 17, 1:00 p.m. (central time)


Every month we gather nationally as a community for a conversation that helps us to grow in our theological understanding and our faith skills.  It's 3rdTuesday Conversation! 


In January our special guest will be Rev. Alexia Salvatierra.  Alexia will be one of our mainstage speakers at the Extravaganza in February. 


Alexia currently serves as the executive director, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of California (CLUE-CA), Los Angeles. CLUE-CA is a statewide alliance of interfaith organizations and religious leaders who respond together to the crises of working poverty by joining low-wage workers in their struggle for a living wage, health insurance, fair working conditions and a voice in the decisions that affect them.  She has a strong commitment to ministry alongside young people in poverty.  Her work is compelling and is worth learning about. 


Join us for 3TC with Alexia!  The webinars are free for Network members.  You can register here.


"Planning for the Unexpected"
Sunday, January 8, 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Tiger McCluen
There are always surprises in youth ministry, and this session will discuss this reality.  Even with great planning, events with teenagers almost always involve surprises.  What is the role of a caring adult in the midst of these surprises-and how do we stay focused on a loving environment and discipleship in the midst of the surprise?
The Format:
This session will be presented in an online seminar.  There will be the presentation of material, and opportunities to ask questions and interact.

This webinar will be facilitated by Dawn Trautman.  Space is limited to 500 participants.  Please register early!

Practice Discipleship: The ELCA Youth Ministry Training Project 
The ELCA Youth Gathering in partnership with the ELCA Youth Ministry Network is happy to present Practice Discipleship: The ELCA Youth Ministry Training Project. This special training opportunity is being offered to all youth and family ministry professionals and volunteers at no cost.
Stories of Faith in Action Now Available
Stories of Faith in Action is a free resource full of dynamic stories of how God is changing lives around the world through the mission and ministry of the ELCA.
You'll also find information on Mission Support (the financial contributions given by synods and congregations to fund churchwide ministries), including budget numbers, and more. This is a very useful resource for the Epiphany season and for congregational meetings. 
To order your free copy of Stories of Faith in Action, call 800-638-3522 or order online at Ask for ELCAMA1008. The resource is free; you only pay for shipping.

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