Christmas Greetings from Synod Staff: As your Bishop, I am grateful for your faith and witness this past year. You are precious and important. Out and about our synod, especially on Sunday mornings, I know firsthand how God's gift of faith has worked in your lives as a blessing to others. God made a commitment in sending Jesus to the world and to you. To love, live, die and rise for you and the world. I thank you for your commitment to Christ, to our synod ministries, to our church's wider ministries and to the love and discipleship that the Prince of Peace, Jesus himself, has called you into. Keep this faith - share this faith!
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for see-I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people... Luke 2.10
It seems like so much of our world reacts and responds to one another with fear and uncertainty - with anxiousness and distance placed between us. But God has come near to all people in Christ. The gift of love has been given to all the earth! May you be blessed by the gladness of Christmas which is hope; the spirit of Christmas which is peace; the heart of Christmas which is love. And may you find great joy - the joy of our God of love who is with us now and always, Pastor Amy Odgren
"Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." Matthew 1:23
Down through the years that include a myriad of life experiences - both joyful and sorrowful, I have come to appreciate the depth of promise given in the gift of Jesus as Emmanuel, God is with us. God is indeed with us in all of life's situations in our personal lives as well as in the lives of our congregations. We are not alone when facing difficult decisions, empty pews or empty chairs at the table. God is with us. In this holy season, may you be blessed by the presence of Jesus, our Emmanuel, gifting us with strength, new life and a well-spring of hope.
A blessed Christmas to all, Deacon Brenda
My faith is constantly stretched, renewed, and strengthened by the unexpected ways in which young people live out their faith. At the Middle School Gathering in November, youth wrote "text messages" to God. You might expect messages asking for things or wondering "why" about any number of issues in their lives. But by far, the notes shared a version of, "Thank you God for all you do!" Thank you. An unexpected message, in an unexpected way, from an unexpected group of teenagers. This Christmas, may you be stretched, renewed and strengthened by the unexpected message of love from God...sent in an unexpected way in the baby Jesus...and shared by unexpected messengers starting with shepherds and continuing through you and me.
Merry Christmas! Smiles, Catherine =)
Merry Christmas to all, and wishing you a blessed New Year! As I look back over the past 20 years serving on synod staff, I am grateful. It gives me JOY to see first-hand the gifts that are given from congregations and individuals through Mission Support and other various gifts that come into the synod office. Another part of my work is to receive and file the Annual Parochial Report from congregations. I look forward to receiving them again for 2016 and I pray for 100% participation this year!
I have been blessed to be a member of the Synod Staff this year, updating the website and being in communication with everyone has brought me great joy. I am also happy to have met so many of the church leaders in the synod this year.
I pray you and your families have Peace, Love, Comfort and Joy throughout the holiday season and into the years that follow.
Merry Christmas to all, Tammy