METROLINES   February/March 2016
News for our congregations, leaders and friends
sharing what's happening in local ministry together.

Synod Focus

Does your congregation have the free, synod-sponsored Stewardship Workshops on their radar? Coming up on Sat. Mar. 12 in College Park, Md. and repeated on Sat. Mar. 19 in Springfield, Virg., a top-notch presenter will discuss the current situation for stewardship in our church, best practices, creating a culture of generosity, and implementable steps to bring home for a personalized program. Led by Mark Ward, ELCA pastor and Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), works with congregations and church institutions all across the country including in our synod. Learn more and register for the event at .
Local Info

"Drum roll, please!" begins Dorothy Sorrell, synod coordinator for the concluded ELCA Malaria Campaign. "The total giving by our Metro D.C. Synod was $383,047.70." The ELCA Malaria Campaign reached its financial goal of raising $15 million. Thank you! Working with our Lutheran companions and partners, malaria programming has taken place throughout 13 countries in Africa.
"We are trying to connect with as many local congregations as we can and provide our congregations with the tools they need to engage their own communities," says Autumn Orme, Associate Director, Development and Communications of Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA). Consider signing up for LSS/NCA's "Congregation Champion" monthly e-newsletter, specifically for pastors and lay leaders who want to stay informed about LSS/NCA's programs and events. Share the inspiring stories of our neighbors served through compassion and grace, and learn ways your group can help meet urgent needs in our community. More at .
Congregations interested in getting involved with the 2016 Amazing gRace are being sought by Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC). LVC's Amazing gRace is a fundraising and community-building event that aims to build support for the work of LVC volunteers locally and the organizations that they serve. Teams of two people who raise sponsorship funds compete against each other to solve challenges spread out across the city on May 7. "We are trying to identify members of churches who would be interested in competing in the race... paired with LVC volunteers/alumni," says Einar Olsen member of Luther Place. "We are also looking to congregations to fill other roles including hosting stops during the race where teams will undertake various challenges." Contact Olsen at or A flyer with event info is located on the synod's "Extras" page.
Resource Alert

During Lent, World Hunger's "40 Days of Giving" will encourage congregations to learn more about ELCA World Hunger program through devotions, study guides and special resources, and to give generously to support these programs. A goal of $2 million to be reached before Easter will help to start crucial work. Information about the program is at , and congregations are encouraged to register to be part of this work in the USA and around the world.

ELCA World Hunger Education and Networking Grants are available. The grants are designed to support local projects and programs in ELCA Congregations, groups and/or synods. The grant opportunity encourages ELCA congregations, groups and/or synods to think creatively about educating, mobilizing and expanding their networks to increase awareness of and engagement with the root causes of and solutions to hunger. Education grants can be used for events, programs or the development of shareable resources. For networking proposals, congregation-based and synod-wide hunger leadership events and trainings will be prioritized. More at .

Wheat Ridge Joshua Grants provide $1,000 to $5,000 in matching grant funding over a one year term. The congregation or organization requesting funding must contribute matching funds equal to 50% of the award. Grants are awarded to programs that are new and innovative, address a health or human care need demonstrated in their community, and are led by congregations/organizations/agencies with connections to the Lutheran community. Included in the award schedule are submissions being received March 1-May 31 with grants awarded in July. Learn more at .

The publication, "Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves: A Lutheran Calling in a Multi-Religious World," is a resource available from Lutheran University Press highlighted by ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations to help congregations engage in ongoing conversation about our church's inter-religious calling and commitments. Useful as individual enrichment or as part of a group study, real-life case studies in ELCA ministry contexts "challenge us to embrace that while there are a variety of responses to religious plurality, our common response is rooted in our Lutheran vocation - our response to God's love in Jesus Christ," writes Bishop Eaton in the forward. More at .

If your congregation is thinking about starting a Fair Trade ministry, Lutheran World Relief offers a free Fair Trade Leader Guide to help out. Prayers, stories, a calendar and guidance are contained in the booklet. Find it at .
Announed Churchwide

In simultaneous meetings held on their respective campuses Jan. 12-13, the boards of Gettysburg and Philadelphia Lutheran seminaries adopted identical resolutions calling for "the creation of a new school of theology and leadership formation." The boards' unanimous actions authorized the two schools' presidents and other officers to take all necessary steps required prior to their April 2016 board meetings that would launch the process of creating a unified Lutheran seminary. As envisioned, the new Lutheran seminary will be "one school on two campuses with multiple points of access." (ELCA News Service, 1/20/16)

Dr. Ulysses Burley, program associate for the ELCA strategy on HIV and AIDS, has been selected as one of the National Minority Quality Forum's 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health. Burley and other award recipients will be recognized at the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust's awards dinner in Washington, D.C. in April, which is National Minority Health Month. "This is special for me considering my difficult and prayerful decision to depart from clinical medicine fulltime and reimagine public health in this faith-based content of a more holistic approach that focuses on spirituality, relationships, community and the social determinants of health in my work with the ELCA Strategy on HIV and AIDS," said Burley. (ELCA News Blog, 2/29/16)

An ELCA initiative called ELCAvotes has been launched. ELCAvotes is an initiative to: 1) expand the role of the church in encouraging faithful and non-partisan voter participation by providing faith based resources around voting; 2) provide a framework for all Lutherans to understand and speak out about the intersection of voting/elections, racial/gender and economic justice; 3) provide young adults the tools to understand and speak about what it means to be a young person of faith who is civically engaged; and 4) engage with and equip ethnic communities to talk about voting rights and race and their connection with elections today. ELCA Advocacy, ELCA Racial Justice Ministries and ELCA Young Adult Ministry offer a tool for up-to-date information on ELCAvotes by singing up from . Learn more at .

"Almost all of us remember when it would have been inconceivable for the pope to join with Lutherans, in the birthplace of The Lutheran World Federation to commemorate the Reformation in a service of common prayer," said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA. "Yet only months from now we will be experiencing it." The Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church will participate in a joint ecumenical commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on Oct. 31, 2016, in Lund, Sweden. Pope Francis; the Rev. Munib A. Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and LWF president; and the Rev. Martin Junge, LWF general secretary, will lead the ecumenical event. The event will include a common worship based on the recently published Catholic-Lutheran "Common Prayer' liturgical guide. "Amid so much in our world that is viciously divisive, we are strengthened by this gentle example of healing," said Eaton. (ELCA News, 1/25/16)

Comprised of 10 Christian churches, Churches Uniting in Christ is committed to expressing unity and combating racism. In support of the group's work in addressing racial justice, an ELCA delegation attended the communion's January plenary meeting in St. Louis and is a group partner in mission and dialogue. (ELCA News Blog, 2/17/16)

"Concern for the financial well-being of rostered leaders was increased by the concerns about the growing debt load of Master of Divinity graduates who were about to begin their ministry in the ELCA," said the Rev. Wyvetta Bullock, ELCA assistant to the bishop and executive for administration. "Subsequently, it became clear that all ELCA rostered leaders, the congregations which call them and the members who are served, could benefit from renewed attention to financial literacy and stewardship." The churchwide organization will use a $1 million grant awarded to the ELCA as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.'s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders to create a variety of initiatives called "Resourceful Servants: Renewing the Economy of Pastoral Leadership." (ELCA News Service, 1/20/16)
Blog Post Reprise

One non-liturgical year in
From the helm of synod office administration, "I have new definitions of faithful work after witnessing the work within the synod," says our newest synod staff colleague.
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Time to get to know each other
"This isn't the first time the Lutheran movement needed a little shoring up," says the ELCA presiding bishop. "We have lost something that helped us understand God and the world and that connected us to each other."
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Storm blows in considerations
Weather alerts may not currently be buzzing, but congregations can benefit from reviewing plans to be good managers and good neighbors in a literal storm.
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#whycamp notions
Why has camping at an outdoor ministry site touched you? Tell us your #whycamp notion and see what others are saying during "I Love Camp" month in February.
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Tuesday's agenda
Sometimes you just gotta let the phone ring. Learn what the synod staff is up to when we pull up to a table on Tuesdays.
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Do a website doubletake
"In this day and age your web presence is just as, if not in some cases MORE, important than your building," writes our bonus blogger, the Rev. Joelle Colville-Hanson. Will 2016 be the year you update?
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Putting the pieces together
"With the best intentions, groups within the church see a need and develop a solution for a particular issue without considering what else might be in place or even how the solution fits in with the mission of the whole," says the ELCA presiding bishop. She invites us to clarify the big picture.

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