Issue #366

ELCA Offers Worship Resources in Response to Boston Marathon Bombings 

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has made available prayer and worship resources in response to the April 15 explosions during the Boston Marathon. The resources are available here


The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, offered the following prayer:


"Oh God, in Jesus' name we renounce the forces of evil and the disruptive power of violence. With all those who suffer, we cry out for mercy and healing, by your spirit join us together into one community of compassion and courage. Do not let fear hold us captive. Give us faith to trust your promise that nothing in all creation will separate us from your love in Christ Jesus. For all who care for the wounded, we give thanks and pray that you will give them strength. For all who mourn, give the comfort of your peace. In the name of the risen Christ we pray, amen."


The ELCA New England Synod, based in Worcester, Mass., is a member of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, which offered a statement in response to the bombing in Boston. The statement is available here.

Bishop Gordy Participates in LIRS Immigration Summit
Lutheran leaders including Bishop Julian Gordy gather in Washington D.C. to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.  
WASHINGTON, DC April 16, 2013--Living out their scriptural commitment to welcome the stranger, Bishop Julian Gordy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Rev. Floyd Blair, Esq. visited Capitol Hill as part of a Lutheran leadership group delivering the message that economic security and personal responsibility start with strong families and citizenship, and that America would be foolish to rebuild its immigration system on any other bedrock. Click here to read more about their Capitol Hill visit and about LIRS' stance on comprehensive immigration reform on our website. 
Approaching Deadlines - 
Please Read & Act

April 22: Interim Pastors Conference

Southeastern Synod LogoIf you are, have been, or are interested in beginning interim ministry, this conference at the synod office on April 30 is for you! 
RSVP to Jeanette Burgess, Administrative Liason for Leadership by email or at (404) 589-1977, ext. 232.
April 30: Portico Health Assessments


To date, only 76 (33.5%) of eligible plan members have completed the survey. We need 54 more people to take the survey by April 30! Here's the link. Please take a few minutes to complete this assessment. It's a great check of your own health and wellness, and opportunity for significant financial savings, and a chance for our Synod to earn more money that we can invest in the health of our congregations and leaders. You'll also earn a $150 credit to your personal wellness account to offset out-of-pocket medical costs!




May 1:  Synod Assembly Registration Deadline




May 10 at 5 pm:  Synod Resolutions Submission

Around The Synod

May 31, June 1 and 2, 2013
Chattanooga Convention Center
"Always Being Made New" 
Register online here

Remember to...

1.  Register online if you have not already done so.  
     Deadline is May 1.
2.  Bring a banner and stand to display in the worship
3.  Make and bring a quilt for LWR.
4.  Send photos or videos of your congregations in 
     action to Michelle Angalet or Abby Koning.
5.  Check the Assembly webpage for posting of 
     Assembly materials and videos coming soon.
Partners in Celebration

The Southeastern Synod's Partners in Celebration Program provides an intentional way for interested individuals and congregations to support new church starts and redevelopment efforts through "targeted" financial contributions. It is a very realistic goal for 100 Partners in Celebration to each contribute $100+ three or four times each year to a featured ministry. We have the potential for these gifts to easily generate additional, unbudgeted income of $10,000 or more which would be an enormous blessing for any size ministry.

Our highlighted ministry for the quarter of 2013 is the Christ the King Lutheran Church in Tupelo, MS. The staff and church members of CTK are working hard to be a "light on the hill" for the surrounding community in an effort to reconnect their congregation's ministry with their neighbors. Their primary areas of focus embrace youth and families that live in the church's extended mission field.

For more information on Christ the King or the Partners in Celebration program, visit our website
Beyond Christian Folk Religion

Edward A. Beckstrom's newest book Beyond Christian Folk Religion: Re-grafting Into Our Roots (Rom 11:17-23) is now available from major online booksellers or by order in the stores: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Wipf and Stock Publishers, and most Christian book outlets. As the Christian church moved from its inception in an Eastern/Oriental culture westward across Asia Minor (Turkey) into Greco-Roman culture with primarily a Western philosophy, theology, and values, Jesus' message and Paul's teachings began to be interpreted according to those culture norms. Beyond Christian Folk Religion brings the reader back to Jesus' roots, as seen in Romans 11:17-23, and to the core of Paul's message. Click here for more. 

The Rev. Beckstrom is a retired Lutheran pastor in the Southeastern Synod and a retired Air Force chaplain. He is the author of Toward a Ministry of Families (1981) and King of the Jews: Jesus and the Messianic Age (2001). He has also authored numerous articles for the Pulpit Digest, Minister's Annual, and most recently the Biblical Theology Bulletin (2012). 
Authors and Artists Reception

Director of Music Ministries Position

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (ELCA), Kingsport, Tennessee has an opening for a full-time Director of Music Ministries. The position requires Baroque Pipe Organ, piano, and choral conducting skills. Experience in worship planning, administrative skills and knowledge of the Lutheran church are desirable. A complete job description is available upon request along with more detail on the church's unique organ. Typically, two Sunday services, one traditional and one more contemporary, are held. Average Sunday attendance between the two services is 150. Benefits include health insurance, pension, paid vacation, survivor benefits, and continuing education. Compensation consistent with skills, education, and experience. Candidates should submit resume to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 800 Broad Street, Kingsport, Tennessee 37660; email: [email protected]
Mission in the Southeastern Synod

Last week we began a new "blog" series to lead us into our 2013 Synod Assembly.  As we prepare to celebrate where we've been in 25 years of being synod together, we will also think about where we are being called to go. As we are called into mission for the sake of the world, we do so mindful that in Jesus, God is always making us, the church, new. With that in mind,  here are a couple thoughts on this new series.
First, I use quotation marks around the word blog for a reason. What originally started a few years ago as a weekly reflection intended to generate some online discussion did just that, for a while. While there are, occasionally, some online comments or sharing that happen in response to the "blog", it may be that these pieces might better be referred to as reflections or devotions, at least as we use them in our weekly E-News bulletins. We hope that this series might spark some online conversations or perhaps some mission-focused conversations in your congregations, clusters and conferences. 
The Rev. Dr Joy Blaylock
Second, we intentionally used The Rev. Dr. Joy Blaylock's reflection last week to kick-start this new series. Combining a reflection on Douglas John Hall's Waiting for Gospel with her recent experience as part of a missional conversation with others from around our synod, she asks a compelling question, "... how do we find gospel, good news?"  
That the church, as we have known it, is in decline is a reality. To paraphrase The Rev. Pam Driesell, Senior Pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA, who spoke at the Day 1 Prayer Breakfast hosted at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta this morning, "The church should not in the business of selling itself." It seems we, the church, have come to believe that this is something we have to do in this consumer-oriented, "church-shopping" society to "compete" for members.  "The church (the people)," she said, "should be in the business of proclaiming and living gospel."  
To change who we are and how we have gone about being church together will not happen overnight.  And it will not happen until we begin listening, in love, to one another and the experiences that we all bring to this thing we call church.  And it will not happen within the walls of buildings which, too often, are referred to as "the church."  
Part of the good news is that these important conversations about what it means to be church are happening around our synod.  People in our congregations and in our agencies are talking about what it means to find gospel, to find good news happening in their midst.  They are working on what it means to proclaim gospel.
In this time leading up to Assembly, we've invited some of our leaders to share their stories about mission and finding gospel with us.  We invite you to join in this conversation. Share your thoughts and your stories about what it means to find gospel.

Cultivating Mission Mindedness

Mission mindedness is cultivated over a period of time
The Rev. Patti Axel
Nativity Lutheran Church
Bethlehem, GA
through conversation, worship, Bible Study and an intentional focus outside the walls of the buildings in which we gather. It doesn't happen automatically. We church folks are so used to thinking of Church as a building, a noun, that we have to be challenged to think of church as a verb, an active verb that suggests a living, breathing organism, constantly adapting to new conditions and people as they flow in and out of the places we gather to share our faith.

New starts (new worshiping communities that we used to refer to as "Mission starts") have an advantage in some ways over established worshiping communities. The act of worshiping in folding chairs and temporary spaces gives one a sense of moving forward.  It is challenging to get too comfortable in a setting that doesn't suggest centuries of worshiping a certain way in a certain space. It is difficult to cultivate a "pew sitting" attitude if you have no pews.  If people get too comfortable, just rearrange the seating in the worship space. You can't own a seat you can't find.  The point is not to be unkind but to lovingly push people to the edge of their comfort zones and let them see how freeing it can actually be.
From the beginning, as a Seminarian apprentice Mission Developer, I challenged the people of Nativity in Bethlehem to think action..... 

Learn more about thinking action on our synod blog
Earth Day April 22, 2013

On April 22, people around the world will celebrate and commemorate Earth Day with events intended to raise awareness about environmental concerns. The ELCA recognizes caring for creation as one of the ways we do God's work with our hands in this world. For the next few weeks, we will be sharing resources and opportunities for you and your congregation to participate in Earth Day.
ELCA Living Earth Reflections

Living Earth is a monthly reflection series on the environment and our relationship with God's creation. In the March 2013 issue, ELCA Director for Environmental Education and Advocacy Mary Minette reflects on wilderness as a place where "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed..." (Isaiah 40). What, then, does that mean for how Christians should respond to wild places today? Click here to read past issues or here to subscribe. 
Cool Congregations with Interfaith Power & Light 
Interfaith Power & Light is a campaign uniting people of faith to be stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. IPL provides resources and opportunities for action for communities of faith throughout the United States. The Cool Congregations program is designed to help congregations engage their members in caring for Creation by reducing their individual greenhouse gas emissions. Cool Congregations express their love of Creation and their concern for global warming by being part of the solution. Click here to get started on becoming Cool. 
World Malaria Day April 25, 2013

World Malaria Day is approaching! Consider planning an emphasis in your congregation during this week. With World Malaria Day landing on a Thursday, we encourage you to observe World Malaria Sunday on April 28, 2013. We join with others all over the world in celebrating the positive progress related to malaria, and standing in solidarity with those that suffer. For resources to help you plan your World Malaria Sunday, watch our synod e-news, visit the ELCA World Malaria Day webpage, or contact Jonathan Trapp, Chair of the Southeastern Synod's Hunger, Poverty, and Justice taskforce. 
Back from Southern Africa
Credit: Matt Jeppsen
During March, the ELCA Malaria Campaign staff had the opportunity to travel to Southern Africa and see community-based malaria programs in Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. They met the local staff members who are implementing programs on the ground, saw the healthcare facilities where testing and treatment occurs, and engaged in educational programming alongside community members. The ELCA Malaria campaign will be featuring stories and photos from the trip in the months to come, especially on the ELCA Malaria blog
Prayers of the People
To help congregations participate in World Malaria Day the ELCA Malaria Campaign has suggested prayers, litanies, hymns, and service ideas on the ELCA website. Below is a section of a suggested prayer. Click here for more.
Compassionate God, you call doctors and nurses and health care providers into lives of caring and service. Strengthen the hands of those who do your work of healing--both at home and in faraway places--so that they may minister to others with courage and strength. 
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 
ELCA Malaria Campaign News

Last month, the ELCA Malaria Campaign mailed its first official newsletter to individuals and congregations around the country. Full of stories, opportunities for participation, and updates on giving, the ELCA Malaria Campaign Newsletter is a great resource for ELCA congregations looking to combat malaria around the world. If you would like to order the most recent newsletter, contact Allison Beebe
Resources, Retreats, & Learning Opportunities

Social Media Webinar: Best Practices for Congregations and Teen Ministries

Social media--including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube--is an effective way to interact with your congregation and others in your community, but it is not without risk. To help you safely use this growing medium, Church Mutual Insurance Company will host a free webinar entitled Social Media: Best Practices for Congregations and Teen Ministries. Kristen Blanford, an attorney with Hermes Sargent Bates, LLP will use her experience in professional liability and the knowledge she has gained through years of working with religious organizations to lead the webinar. She'll provide critical information for leveraging social media for ministry, including a social media policy that you can adapt for your own use. 
This 30 minute-webinar will take place on April 25 at 11:00 a.m. CDT and will be followed by a 15-minute question and answer session. These webinars fill up quickly, so reserve your spot right away by clicking here. 
Lifelong Learning at Columbia 

Columbia Theological Seminary's Center for Lifelong Learning provides non-degree courses and events--opportunities to learn with and from others for faithful discipleship. Led by seminary faculty, the Center's offerings are biblically and theologically grounded, with a practical focus to help participants identify and address specific, real-life needs. Click here to view upcoming courses and events. 
Learning Opportunities 
Festival of Homiletics: May 13-17, 2013, in Nashville, TN. Click here for more. 
21st Century Faith Formation Training: May 14-16 in Atlanta, GA. Visit the website for more or click here to view a flyer.  
Israel Study Tour: June 1-14, 2013 with Lenoir-Rhyne University and Newberry College. Click here or call Dr. Luker at (803) 719-2057.
Heaven, Hell...and Purgatory?: June 10-12 at Loyola University Maryland. Click here for more.  
The Book of Revelations and American Apocalyptic: July 9-12, 2013, at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. Click here for more.   
Stewardship with Adults Under 40--Possibilities Abound: July 29-31, 2013 at Luther Seminary. Click here
Raise Your Voice - Opportunities for Advocacy

To learn more about the ELCA's approach to advocacy and important issues for 2013, visit the ELCA website.  
LIRS Leadership Toolkit #7: The Leadership Toolkit is Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services' Bi-monthly Resource Newsletter that gives congregations the tools and resources they need to welcome refugees and immigrants into their communities. The April toolkit includes: 
  • Redefining Welcome, LIRS President LInda Hartke's new blog with insights, news, and analysis
  • Information on the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act
  • Invitation and resources for your congregation to host a Stand for Welcome Sunday
Voice What's Important To You!:  The advocacy ministries of our church want to hear from you now! Your responses to the short four-question ELCA National Advocacy Priorities survey greatly help the church facilitate this active and growing network of Lutherans speaking out for policy that advances the common good and reflects your commitments to serve and love our neighbor. Get started now!
Oregon Synod Creates 5 Short Videos on Israel/Palestine: The ELCA Oregon Synod has been very intentional and proactive in raising awareness about the Palestinian/ Israeli people and situation in preparation for their synod assembly, during which they will vote on a synod resolution. They created five short videos you can use that tell the stories of the ministries and challenges facing ELCA companions. View or download the videos here

Bread For the World National Gathering: The theme of the National Gathering is "A Place at the Table," matching the theme of the 2013 Offering of Letters and the new feature-length documentary about the persistence of hunger in America--and the achievable solution. The National Gathering will take place on June 8-11, 2013 in Washington, DC. Click here for more information. 


E-Advocacy-Take Action Now!: Become a part of the ELCA advocacy effort by signing up for the e-Advocacy network. 
In This Issue
Boston Marathon
LIRS Immigration Summit
April Deadlines
2013 Assembly
Partners in Celebration
Beyond Christian Folk Religion
Authors and Artists Reception
Open Position
Missional Conversation
Earth Day
World Malaria Day
Social Media Webinar
Lifelong Learning
Learning Opportunities
Raise Your Voice
Ordinations & Installations

 Quick Links  

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Share Your Story
What is God up to in your congregation or community?  Share it with us so we can share it with others!  Are you looking to spread the word about an upcoming event or opportunity for ministry? The E-News Weekly is open for congregations to share news, stories, photos, announcements and more. Send your stories to Michelle Angalet. Michelle can also be reached at (404) 589-1977, ext. 235. Submissions are due Mondays by 5 pm. The Synod E-News Weekly (usually) goes out on Wednesdays.  

Ordinations & Installations


April 18: The Rev. Laura Shally will be installed as Pastor at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church, Loudon, TN today at 
6 pm CST. Rostered leaders are invited to vest and process.
April 27: The Rev. William Flippen will be installed as Pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Atlanta, GA at 2 pm.


April 28: The Rev. Bridget Piggue will be ordained in the ELCA at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Atlanta, GA. More details to come. 
April 28:The Rev. Pat McLaughlin will be installed as Pastor at Lutheran Memorial and Salem Lutheran, Parrottsville, TN. 
May 9: The Rev. Jeff Crim will be ordained in the ELCA and installed as pastor in one service at 7 pm at Ascension Lutheran Church, Chattanooga, TN. 
SES Young Adult & Youth Ministry Spotlight
ELCA Youth Ministry Network
 The ELCA Youth Ministry Network exists to strengthen and empower youth ministry leaders in service to Christ. The Network's website includes resources and webinars to support youth ministry leaders and encourage stronger faith formation in youth and adults throughout the ELCA. Click here to renew, educate, and connect!
All-Georgia Youth Gathering
Don't forget to register your youth group for the All-Georgia Youth Gathering April 19-21. Registration materials can be downloaded at the website here.


Novus Way Ministries

Summer Camp

Space is still available for summer camp! Don't miss out on a fantastic summer at Lutheridge, Lutherock, or Luther Springs! Staff have been hired and are excited to meet your camper. You can also still sign up for our payment plans.
Scholarships are still available for those requiring financial assistance. Through the generosity of donors, we are able to provide the faith-camp experience to many. We do not want a camper not to be able to come to camp because of finances.
Visit our website to learn more about program opportunities available for youth of all ages. We are looking forward to seeing you soon! 

LSG Spotlight
Siongkoua's Story
During When Strangers Become Neighbors: Immigration and the Church Today, the Rev. Robert Strickert from the Florida-Georgia District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod introduced one of his friends to speak about his experience as a refugee in the United States. Singkoua Vachiasong arrived in the U.S. in 1976 from a refugee camp in Thailand and was resettled in Georgia through Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service (LIRS). To learn more about Siongkoua's journey, visit the LSG blog by clicking here.
Atlanta Golf Classic 2013
 Calling all golfers! Please join Lutheran Services of Georgia and tee off at Heritage Golf Links on Monday, May 13 for the 19th annual Atlanta Golf Classic. Play this challenging and scenic course while benefiting refugees, foster care children, adopted babies, adults with disabilities, and others in need. Book your place now for $110, which includes breakfast, lunch, a golf cart, green fees, and an invitation to the 19th Hole Party. Contact Lorraine Dorough by email or at (678) 686-9613 to pay online or request more information. Click here for a registration form. Deadline to register is May 1. 
Living   Lutheran   Spotlight  
Boston, Bombs and the Scandal of God's Criminal Justice

In the midst of the Boston tragedy, Brian Konkol reflects on God's shocking love for victims and perpetrators alike. "Can God actually love those responsible for the recent bombings in Boston?" he asks. "As shocking and troubling as it may sound, and as tormented as it might make us feel, we affirm in Jesus' name that God can (and does)." Click here to read more. 
The    Lutheran Spotlight  
It's Crowded, but Children are Learning: Lutheran-run Schools Offer Hope in South Sudan 
 Yusuf Batil is a sprawling U.N. refugee camp in South Sudan, across the border from Sudan's Blue Nile State. Here, Lutheran World Federation runs a school for refugee children to continue learning far from their homes. As more refugee children enter the camp, LWF plans to expand its work to include community-based sports, English language literacy, and vocational skills. Click here for more.
Excerpts from
The Lutheran
are available on their website. To read the issue in its entirety, consider purchasing a one-year online subscription for only $11.95. 
The Update 
 News Flash! The Senate immigration reform bill, S. 744, was released this Wednesday morning! Click here to read about how S. 744 aligns with the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) principle on alternatives to detention, and here for analysis of its wider contents and implications for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States!
Who to Contact 
Do you have a question or a comment for a member of the synod staff, but aren't sure who to contact? Check out our regularly updated contact page on the synod website.
Synod Calendar

Coming Up...

Apr. 20
Setting the Table II
Savannah, GA

Apr. 22
Earth Day

Apr. 25
World Malaria Day

Apr. 30
Interim Pastors Conference
Synod Office
Atlanta, GA

Apr. 30
Portico Health Assessment Deadline

May 1
Synod Assembly Registration Closes

May 2
Roots and Wings Tour Registration Closes

May 10
Synod Assembly Resolutions Deadline 


View the entire synod calendar

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ELCA Southeastern Synod
100 Edgewood Ave. NE, Suite 1600
Atlanta, GA 30303