Rocky Mountain Synod logo for the newsletter

weekly email of the
Rocky Mountain Synod

May 1, 2012     

James Gonia elected bishop

The Rev. James W. Gonia, West Dundee, Ill., was elected April 28 to a six-year term as bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Gonia was elected on the fifth ballot during the synod assembly April 26-28 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Gonia is program director for West Africa, Tanzania and Madagascar at ELCA churchwide ministries. 
On the fifth ballot, Gonia received 263 votes and the Rev. Bruce Kuenzel, Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Los Alamos, N.M., received 175. Of the 438 votes cast, 220 votes were required for an election.
On the fourth ballot Gonia received 216 votes, Kuenzel received 117, and the Rev. Steven Loy, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces, N.M., received 116.
Gonia was associate pastor of Atonement Lutheran Church in Denver from 1999 to 2009. From 1988 to 1998, he was an ELCA missionary in Madagascar, a regional evangelism co-director and teacher and director of Betela Seminary there.
Gonia received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind., in 1982; a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Northwestern Seminary (now Luther Seminary) in 1988; and a Master of Theology degree in Islamic studies at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 1997.

In the narrative that Pastor Gonia submitted to the voting members of the Synod Assembly, he wrote, "I have been privileged to serve our church at the congregational, synodical, churchwide, and global levels.... Having lived and worked among people at the margins, questions of wealth and poverty, power and privilege, empowerment and sustainability, justice and stewardship, shape how I approach decisions about commitments, priorities, and use of resources."


His term of service begins on August 1, and he will be installed as bishop Sept. 23 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
Assembly summary 

A summary of assembly highlights and actions will be available this week for you to reproduce and share with your congregation, as well as a link to photos.  In addition, videos of key portions of the assembly will be posted for viewing online. Links to these resources will e publicized when available. They just aren't ready yet!
Gratitude for assembly offerings 

Over $19,000 were received in assembly offerings for three purposes:


RMS Outdoor Ministries:  $4785
ELCA World Hunger: $9039
Seeds of Hope - Companion Synods: $5286


Thank you!
Fifth Sunday of Easter  
O God, you give us your Son as the vine apart from whom we cannot live. Nourish our life in his resurrection, that we may bear fruit of love and know the fullness of your joy, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer from Sundays and Seasons Year B 2012

Grace, Boulder, celebrates 75 years

We invite prayers of your congregation this Sunday, May 6, as Grace Lutheran Church in Boulder, CO, celebrates its 75th Anniversary in a Festival Eucharist at 10:00 a.m.

Synod Prayer Cycle: Boulder/Broomfield Conference 
You are encouraged to include the listed leaders in your Sunday prayers of the people. The prayer lists for May and June are available.

to remember in prayers on 5/6:          


Atonement Boulder, CO

     Debra Engquist, Chad Kohlmeyer

Bethlehem Longmont, CO

   Mark Peterson

Christ the Servant Louisville, CO

     Keith Prekker (interim)

Youth Ministry Network emblem

Next RMS Youth Ministry Training is in Grand Junction




Remaining Youth Ministry Training Opportunities: 

Grand Junction, May 6, American Lutheran Church 


These are a series of on-site, face-to-face Youth Ministry trainings throughout the RMS as part of the Practice Discipleship: The ELCA Youth Ministry Training Project.


Specifically, all youth registered for the Gathering as well as all adults accompanying youth to the ELCA Youth Gathering are encouraged to attend. The three-hour trainings, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., will be led by Kristen Baltrum, Gathering Coordinator and  Linda Staats, Gathering Coach and members of the synod's Core Team for the Gathering: Andy  Sprain (Sky Ranch) and Ben Larson (RTLC).

La Mansion logoCristo Rey - El Paso
La Mansión After School Enhanced by Parent and Volunteer Participation


La Mansión After School Program currently serves 25 students, from grades 1 through 6. These students, who mostly come from the neighborhood surrounding Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey in El Paso, come to the After School Program three days a week from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. The Program is specifically focused on promoting academic success and high school graduation. To this end, after a healthy and sizable snack, the children spend time doing homework or working on supplemental educational activities before participating in a fun activity.


Parents and students with the La Mansion ProgramThe work of La Mansión is greatly helped by parent involvement. Since the program is offered at no cost to parents, the program ask that parents provide a snack once a month if possible, and to help clean up the After School room once a month as well. Also, the help of volunteers is invaluable in making sure the children get fed and finish their homework! This is a good way to develop relationships between the director, church staff, volunteers, and parents.


children of La masion After School ProgramYou can help this program of literacy by first reading more information about the program and then learning how to sponsor a child. It's easy. A brochure contains the details and a sponsorship form.

Rainbow Trail Confirmation Retreat 2011
"Into the Wild" Camping Experience at RTLC  

 July 8-14, 2012


Compus Point image from Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp

Let Rainbow Trail help prepare your graduating Seniors prepare for an awesome college experience!  RTLC's experienced college guides will lead a week long Compass Points backpacking trip that takes you literally into the wild and back again as you explore the joys and challenges that are ahead of you in college.   


Explore with faithful, experienced young adults what life with roommates is like; how to balance the pressures of work, studying, and social life; taking your faith down the mountain and into school; and other questions you have; as you trek through the amazing mountains surrounding RTLC.  Check out  

the Rainbow Trail website for more information on this  

amazing opportunity. 

Green Faith logo
GreenFaith - Lutherans Restoring Creation Announce Environmental Collaboration with ELCA Congregations


GreenFaith, a national program promoting religious leadership in environmental stewardship, and Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) have announced a collaboration to enroll Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations nationwide in the GreenFaith Certification Program. This unique program helps houses of worship become environmental leaders, reduce their operating expenses, and attract new members.   


To launch the collaboration, GreenFaith is underwriting 50% of the tuition of 20 churches. Upon completing the Program, the churches will be certified as GreenFaith Sanctuaries and will contribute to strengthening the ELCA's environmental ministry.

Visit the website to participate in an upcoming webinar or to learn more.   


Restoring to Creation logoLutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) is a grassroots movement promoting care for creation in the life and mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). GreenFaith is a leading interfaith environmental coalition, serving diverse religious institutions nationwide.

GreenFaith will offer free webinars so that interested church leaders can learn more about this opportunity. The hour-long webinars will be on: Thursday, May 17th, 8:00 pm. ET and Wednesday, June 20th, 8:00 p.m. ET


Recordings of the webinars will also be available after each date. Register now for a live webinar or the recording. 

Bethel Lutheran Church-Aurora photo
Preschool Director Needed

Bethel Christian School/Bethel Lutheran Church seeks a person to be their preschool director.   

The director of Bethel Christian School manages and oversees the school and staff to ensure quality, Christian early childhood education.  Specific requirements would include but are not limited to a director's certification and a degree in Early Childhood Education is preferred but not required.  The applicant must be highly motivated with a strong Christian faith and some knowledge of the Lutheran church.  This person should have significant experience in preschool/kindergarten age ministry and possess good communication skills with both young children and adults.  Excellent organizational, management and leadership skills are a must.  If you are interested, please submit resume to Bethelchristianschool77@gmail.comResumes will be accepted through May 12, 2012.  No phone calls please.

Trinity-Ft. Colins

Position Available: Director of Faith Formation


Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Collins, CO is excited to announce that we are looking for a Director of Faith Formation. This full-time staff position will provide leadership for Trinity's vision for faith formation: "an inter-generational Christian community equipped to journey with children, youth and families in their faith formation." The Director of Faith Formation will work with our pastors, ministry team, and congregation members to offer ministry that is relational, inter-generational, and programmatic.


To learn more, please download and read our ministry description. Interested candidates are asked to email a resume and cover letter to by Friday, May 11, 2012.


If you have questions, please email or contact our church office at 970-482-1226 to be directed to our pastors or a member of the search team.


These and other open positions can be found on the Rocky Mountain Synod's website

Every Person, Every Congregation, Every Ministry, Boldly Serving God's Mission in Christ



Bishop Allan Bjornberg

Visiting with Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center, Brush, CO; Visiting with the congregation of Grace Lutheran Church, Boulder, CO; Visiting with the congregation of Cross of Hope Lutheran Church, Albuquerque, NM.   

Pastor Dan Bollman    

Visiting with the congregation of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Durango, CO; Visiting with the Call Committee at Trinity Lutheran Church, Las Cruces, NM.   


Madelyn Busse, DM

Available by email  
or phone appointment.  

Pastor Jim Hytjan

In the office this week.

Linda Staats

Safeguarding God's Children Training, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Albuquerque, NM. Discipleship Project Training, American Lutheran Church, Grand Junction, CO; Canadian Forum, hosted by ELCA Global Missions, Chicago, IL
Available by email 
 or phone appointment.


 Find us on Facebook


Follow us on Twitter 



JULY 16-18 


New Orleans, LA

JULY 18-22

ELCA Youth Gathering
New Orleans, LA



Installation of Rocky Mountain Synod Bishop

 Cherry Hills Village, CO.



Fall Theological Conference/ Bishop's Convocation

 Denver, CO. 



MAY 2-4 

2013 RMS Assembly

Loveland, Colorado


Theological Conference 

Estes Park, Colorado





submit Wyoming news or photos





submit Utah news or photos








submit Colorado news or photos   
Immanuel Lutheran Church-GreeleyImmanuel WELCA Presents: "Blessings and Blossoms" 




Immanuel Lutheran Women (WELCA) cordially invite women of all ages to their "Blessings & Blossoms" event on Thursday, May 3, 2012 beginning at 6:00 p.m. The event will take place at Immanuel Lutheran Church, located at 1865 14th Avenue in Greeley (80631).


The Women of Immanuel will present special guest speaker Terry Bowes...sharing "Blessings!"

Terry was the first president of the ELCA's Rocky Mountain Synodical Women's Organization and has served as interim executive director for the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (WELCA).


All women are welcome to come and partake of food, fellowship, music, and door prizes! Please R.S.V.P. by Monday, April 30. For reservations/tickets, please call the church office at 970-352-3003.


Dinner prices are $5.00 per person. Children 3 and under are Free

Event Catered by: Immanuel Women of the ELCA


Welca new logo
Women of the ELCA Southeast Colorado  
Cluster Retreat May 4-5

This retreat will challenge all women called to discipleship. Our theme, "Lessons for Today's Disciples," invites women to grow more deeply in their understanding of whose they are and where they are going. It will be a time of exploration and personal growth.  

  • What does discipleship mean to women?
  • How does it affect their response to God?
  • How does walking in fellowship with God become a part of us?
  • How do we walk confidently?

Registration opens at 2:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon at the historic landmark, the Abbey, near Canon City. There will be a pre-retreat reflection experience at 2:30 p.m. followed by dinner and Bible Study at 6:00 p.m. Saturday 7:00 a.m. Matins will expand our experience as we see where discipleship places us in the community of faith. The worship at 5:00 p.m. will be a moment for final reflection as we end our time together. For more information, like a list of featured speakers, lodging and registration options, please check out the brochure or visit the website of the Rocky Mountain Synodical Women's Organization (WELCA).

Saint paul Lutheran Church Denver banner
Food and Faith: Dinner with Ibrahim Kazerooni



Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni

Would you like to see real interfaith relations in action while enjoying a great meal?  


Have dinner at Saint Paul Lutheran Church, located at 1600 Grant Street in Denver,on Friday, May 4, 2012, at 6:00 p.m. Chef Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni will be presenting Middle Eastern cuisine at a fundraiser for Ansar Pantry, featuring its Executive Director, Ms. Meraj Abdul-Qadir.


Missle Eastern dish imageSuggested donation is $30 per person. The Pantry is a food bank serving the needy in Adams, Arapahoe, and Denver counties and was started seven years ago by MILA (Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism) with the help of Metro CareRing   


For more information or to register, please email church secretary, Marlene Brelsford, or call her on 303-839-1432 ext. 2. An R.S.V.P. by April 27 is appreciated. 



the Lutheran Chorale logo

Lutheran Chorale Final Spring Concert


The Lutheran Chorale will present its final concert of the 2011-2012 season at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, located at 4500 N. Wadsworth Blvd. in Wheat Ridge, CO.  The concert will feature music of Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Bach, including the chorus 'Dona Nobis Pacem" from Bach's Mass in B Minor, the 'Missa Brevis in Honor of St. John" by Haydn, and 'A Star Shall Rise Up Out Of Jacob' by Mendelssohn.  


Concert tickets will be available at the door.  Ticket costs:  Adults $15, Students/Seniors $10, Families $25.  Lutheran Chorale expresses its gratitude to its generous arts sponsors SCFD (the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District) and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.


Bethany Lutheran-Cherry Hills VillageWelcome to:
"An Evening with Herb"



Bethany Lutheran Church, located at 4500 East Hampden Avenue in Cherry Hills Village (80113), invites the community to share this opportunity to meet Herb Chilstrom, the first presiding bishop of the ELCA. The event will take place on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 with dessert and coffee with Dr. Chilstrom from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. A book discussion, conversation and singing will follow from 7:00 p.m. until 8:15 p.m. in the Great Hall at Bethany.  


A Journey of Grace book coverDr. Chilstrom's autobiography, "A Journey of Grace," was released a few months ago and has had an enthusiastic reception across the church. Tracing his life story from birth until retirement as it intertwines with the church, the book focuses primarily on the formation and early years of the ELCA. Chilstrom will share stories from the book, including humorous incidents. Interspersed with the stories will be singing of familiar hymns and songs.


Chilstrom's book will be for sale following his presentation. He will sign books. All proceeds go to the program of New Testament studies at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC).



Sponsors for Clergy Network Launch

Clergy Witness Network 1st Anniversary Celebration 


You are invited to celebrate The Clergy Witness Network's first anniversary and the incredible transformative impact their partnership between clergy and immigrants has had on the broader community this last year. You helped make visible a faith commitment to immigrants and human rights, both to immigrants themselves and to the larger community. This FREE event will take place at Grant Avenue Community Center (see map) on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 from 7:45 a.m. until 9:00 a.m.


Clergy Network Launch image

Dialogue & Goal Setting with Immigrant Partners:  

How have you been transformed by working together?
What can we do together in the coming year?


Free breakfast burritos will be provided by Centro Humanitario's Women's' Project. Please RSVP to Jennifer by email or phone (303-623-3464 ext. 5 ) by May 2 to ensure that we have enough for breakfast. You are asked to bring your reflections, spiritual grounding, and willingness to listen to the table.   

Lunchbox Express Logo

Lunchbox Express Program



...because hunger doesn't take a vacation.  



Last summer Lunchbox Express started a program to deliver summer lunches to kids, in their neighborhoods, during the traditional summer vacation. Lunchbox Express operates with the Food Bank of the Rockies as their fiscal agent; uses a re-purposed mini-school bus and have support of the Englewood school district. 6000 meals were distributed during the 11 weeks of vacation by making 4 stops at 4 Englewood school playgrounds between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. At the moment, though, only 10 out of 100 kids in Colorado that qualify for free and reduced fee lunches are receiving any food support when school is not in session.


Lunchbox Express imageTwo parks are being added in Englewood and Sheridan this summer and through a generous donor, Lunchbox Express will be operating a second bus this summer in and around the neighborhood of Westwood (Federal Blvd between Alameda and Louisiana), stopping at Munroe, CMS and Goldrick Elementary schools.


The success of this program is dependent on the support of the communities where the program operates, both in recruiting volunteers, and spreading the word that free food is available all summer at the specific sites. Pastors, ministers and other members of the community could help bring public awareness to the serious issue of kids being without access to food during the summer months; and programs like Lunchbox Express that can help get the food out into the community. 


The summer schedule is still being finalized but to get general information about the program and how it works in the community, check out the website, visit their facebook page or view a short video.       

Trinity Lutheran Church-Ft. Collins logo 

Making Malaria History through the ELCA Malaria Campaign 


Saturday, May 12 at 5:00 p.m.


Did you know that a child dies every 45 seconds from malaria?  Have you heard about the ELCA Malaria Campaign but don't know much about malaria or the work of the campaign?   


Join us for worship and conversation with Jessica Nipp, Coordinator of the ELCA Malaria Campaign on Saturday, May 12 at 5:00pm at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Collins.  Worship begins at 5:00pm with Jessica Nipp preaching.  Following worship there will be food and conversation with Jessica about the work of the ELCA Malaria Campaign.  Bring your questions and your friends!



Saint Peter GW logo

Saint Peter Lutheran Church Presents: Swingtime in the Rockies -
a Benefit Performance


Dez Rubano imageYou and the community are invited to join with Saint Peter Lutheran Church on Wednesday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. to celebrate "SWAZZ" - Swingin' JAZZ music!! The program will feature Dez Rubano and Friends and the event will take place at the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons Street, Lone Tree, CO.


Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the website or by calling 720-509-1000.





Saint Peter Lutheran Church 5K Run/Walk Event

to Benefit Selian Lutheran Hospital in Tanzania
9300 East Belleview Avenue
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Contact Carol for more Information or click here to register

Communications Staff
Rocky Mountain Synod
800-525-0462 / 303-777-6700

Announcements for eConnection are due before noon on Monday for the issue the following day. Event announcements are included for two weeks. Please submit your announcement at the time it should appear.