Brad Wood announces his resignation as advocacy director in Colorado


Below is a letter from Brad Wood, who has served as the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry - Colorado director since 2009:


Dear friends and colleagues in ministry,


On Tuesday, September 3, I announced to the Bishop and staff of the Rocky Mountain Synod my decision to resign as the Director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry - Colorado effective Friday, September 13, 2013. 


I am sad because I have truly enjoyed my time with the Rocky Mountain Synod and working with all of you. This work has been a pleasure in so many ways, but mainly because of the relationships I have built over the years.  But I am excited about the next step in my career.  I will be the Principal for Business Development and Operations with Colorado Impact: Center for Economic Prosperity.  Colorado Impact is a new nonprofit that is being created by me and my colleague/friend Tracey Stewart that represents the next step in effective policy development to reduce poverty through increased community engagement in the policy making process. The mission of CICEP is to strengthen the assets of the community and build economic prosperity for all through community engagement, research, education, advocacy and increased social capital. You can learn more about Colorado Impact at


After September 13, you can reach me personally at and professionally at and on my cell phone at 303-884-8837.


It truly has been a blessing to work with each and every one of you.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions.


Peace, Brad


"Thank you, Brad" for your ministry!


Brad began his career as the Director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry - Colorado in 2009 after having served on the Church in Society Board and the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry - Colorado Board. During his time with the ministry Brad was an effective advocate for those living in poverty and communicate the need for the ministry within the congregations of the Rocky Mountain Synod. 


Highlights of accomplishments during his tenure include:


Payday Lending Reform - Brad was one of the lead advocates for a bill that reduced the amount borrowers must pay in interest and fees by 67% and created a six-month loan product with a more reasonable time to pay back instead of the traditional "payday" loan which needed to be paid back in 2 weeks. 

Hunger - Brad worked on bills to eliminate the reduced pricecategory for school breakfast (allowing those children to eat free) and a "breakfast after the bell" program where in schools where over 70% of the children are on free or reduced lunch all students eat for free after the first bell. 

Health Care - Brad supported efforts to expand the funding to cover more Coloradoans through Medicare and supported the efforts to build a Colorado-centric Exchange to sell health care through the Affordable Care Act. 


Immigration - After seven years Colorado passed a bill to allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition in Colorado. 


State TANF Reform - Brad was one of two advocates who participated in a three year process to review and rewrite all the rules for the Colorado Works (TANF) program, resulting in rules that are more client friendly and providing stability for families. 


Volunteers - Brad created a volunteer advocacy program that in its second year had over 10 volunteers tracking legislation, attending coalition and committee meetings and testifying before the legislature. 

We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to Brad for his commitment to the important work in areas of hunger and poverty and for his service to the Rocky Mountain Synod.  We wish him luck as he begins this next chapter.  Thank you, Brad! 

Reflections from the 2013 Churchwide Assembly

From August 12-17 in Pittsburg, PA, fifteen voting members
from the Rocky Mountain Synod joined together with fellow ELCA members for the 2013 Churchwide Assembly:  


"It was a joy to be a part of the Rocky Mountain Synod delegation. We were fifteen strong and dedicated to the idea that we were God's hands at work."

Read more reflections from our voting members in Bishop Gonia's most recent Blog Entry.

A summary of actions from the assembly and full reports can be found the ELCA website.

Border Immersion Program in Cristo Rey has new coordinator

Gretchen Curry is now serving as the coordinator for both the Border Immersion Program and the after school program at la Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey in El Paso, TX, for this coming year. 

The program allows for participants to explore the complexities, challenges, and unmistakable beauty found on the US/Mexico border. Gretchen is originally from West Hartford, CT, and she graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in Women's and Gender studies in May 2012. "During my senior year of college, I studied abroad in Nicaragua. Although I had been interested in Latin American studies prior to my experience in Central America, this six month trip solidified my desire to learn more about US/Latin American relations," she said. She is drawn to El Paso specifically because of its unique location and history.

Several groups are already scheduled for an immersion 
program. Please consider scheduling an immersion so that the Border Immersion Program can continue to educate, challenge, and support those who wish to learn more about life on the US/Mexico border.



Mark your calendar for this year's Conference Gatherings


Gifted to Grow

God is on a mission of grace, compassion, forgiveness, and justice in the world. As the body of Christ, the church has been invited and gifted by our Creator and empowered by the Holy Spirit to join that work. During this year's Conference Gatherings, Gifted to Grow, we will discover together how we can join in that work by ministry from a gift based approach through asset mapping.


Please bring 6-8 people from your congregation to the missional gathering for your conference. We strongly encourage a diverse group of participants to represent each church, especially middle and high school youth. Your presence is important as we gather to be church together.


Join Bishop Gonia and our new Vice President, Earline Bohling, for conversation and connection around the theme, "Gifted to Grow." Online registration is now available for the September events. Please register 5 days prior to each event so arrangements may be made for meals or snacks.


Download the bulletin insert for North New Mexico Gathering  


Below is the list of dates. Mark your calendar!


Sept 14
10:30 am
North New MexicoSt. Luke,
ThursdaySept 19
6:30 pm

Metro SouthPrince of Peace, Denver
to be rescheduled due to conflicts

SaturdayOct 19Metro West (west)Good Shepherd, Glenwood
SaturdayOct 26
11 am
Southeast ColoradoFirst, Colorado Springs
SaturdayNov 2Metro West (metro)Holy Cross, Wheat Ridge
SundayNov 3Metro East
SaturdayNov 9BorderNew Hope, El Paso, TX
SaturdayNov 16Utah
SaturdayJan 11Boulder-Broomfield
SaturdayFeb 1North Colorado



Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost
September 15, 2013
O God, overflowing with mercy and compassion, you lead back to yourself all those who go astray. Preserve your people in your loving care, that we may reject whatever is contrary to you and may follow all things that sustain our life in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Synod Prayer Cycle:
Metro South Conference

You are encouraged to include the listed leaders in your Sunday
prayers of the people. Many congregations print the listing in the Sunday bulletin and/or monthly newsletter.
Remember in prayer this coming Sunday: 


Faith Golden, CO 
Peter Morin, Jane Jebsen 
Holy Shepherd Lakewood, CO 
Richard Thompson, Michael Tekrony 
Holy Trinity Littleton, CO 
David Palma-Ruwe


Travis Johnson-Esparza to be ordained September 14th at St. Luke, Albuquerque, NM


Travis Johnson-Esparza has received a call to be the pastor of St Luke Lutheran Church in Albuquergue, NM.  The ordination, followed by the installation, will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 14 at St Luke Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, NM. The color of the day is red, and pastors are invited to vest, arriving at 1:30 p.m. Refreshments following. All are invited!



Leadership Retreat
& Theological Conference
September 23-26, 2013
YMCA of the Rockies,
Estes Park, CO


Some Thrivent funds just came available to support those who cannot otherwise attend.  We are able to provide $200 towards the fee. Also, note that travel equalization funds are also available to support travel costs.  If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please email Erin Power.


Gifted to Grow will be the overarching theme of the 2013-2014 year. We will gather in the prime season of golden aspen, just outside Rocky Mountain National Park, as a time for spiritual renewal, connected community, prayerful worship, and engaging dialogue. We will consider what it means to be a spiritually-vibrant leader within the context of a changing and challenging ecclesiology.


Retreat leaders and guests are:


The Rev. Louise Johnson, Vice President for Mission Advancement, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, PA.


The Rev. Craig Mueller,
pastor, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 
Chicago, IL.




Carrie Newcomer, singer/songwriter, 

Bloomington, IN.




Tammy Devine, 
Diaconal Minister and

 ELCA Wellness Manager



The event begins on Monday, September 23 with an optional pre-gathering opportunity with Tammy Devine at 1 p.m. and the start time overall at 4 p.m. The event concludes before lunch on Thursday, September 26.



What are your Strengths?

1 to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, September 23

We have uniquely been blessed with gifts, some we may wish we didn't have, others we covet as did the people of Corinth as recorded in 1 Corinthians 12-13, others believe their gift is the coolest. Paul writes: "Fools, Every godly gift is necessary, and nobody has all the gifts! Everybody gets some gift from God; nobody gets them all." We all have been blessed with gifts to share. Through the use of story, we will listen, share, and identify your most dependable strengths (gifts). Living from our strengths we are most fulfilled and together we complete the Body of Christ.


Who should attend? Rostered leaders most certainly, but also other leaders in the church: leaders of faith formation, youth directors, seminarians.   


Registration Questions? Send an email to Erin Power, our diaconal ministry intern.



All are welcome! All are welcome!


more information


Portico Benefits Manager logo

Learn about how ELCA Primary Health Benefits 
are Changing 


Important changes are taking place in Portico health care benefits, the health care program of the ELCA. View why ELCA-primary health benefits are changing in this helpful four-minute video:


Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow
Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow




The "Gold-Plus" option is the closest to the benefit plan currently offered and is encouraged in the new plan options.
Key Dates:
  • Now - September 15: Discuss new health benefit options
  • September 16 - October 14: Organizations select one health benefit option
  • November 1 - 22: Members enroll in, or waive, health and additional benefits.
Each member received a mailing to begin learning about the new options. Learn more on the Portico website.
At the upcoming Theological Conference an extended time period (90 minutes) has been set aside to learn about the new benefit options and to ask questions.








A training event
for all who care about hunger

Please publicize in your church newsletters!

Saturday, October 5 
9:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church
920 Kipling Street
Lakewood, Colorado 

online link to page with poster, article, bulletin insert: information

Register Online (preferred)or complete the paper Registration Form




World Week for Peace 

in Palestine Israel

September 22-29, 2013

Week of Prayer, Advocacy Education and Action
"Jerusalem, the city of  Justice and Peace"
  • Pray with churches living under occupation, using a special prayer from Jerusalem and other worship resources prepared for the week.
  • Educate about actions that make for peace, and about facts on the ground that do not create peace, especially issues related to the city of Jerusalem.
  • Study the message from Palestinian Christians, "Kairos Palestine"
  • Advocate with political leaders to promote peace with justice.
For more information contact the Rocky Mountain Synod Peace Not Walls working group, Jan Miller:




Year of Jubilee




2013 marks the 50th Anniversary
of Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp!
Celebrate 50 years of Ministry with Altitude.                   





Remember, Experience, Imagine yourself up at Sky Ranch for the 50th Anniversary All-Camp Reunion - Sept 13-15! Everyone is welcome.


Weekend activities will include hiking, arts & crafts, high & low ropes, several worship opportunities, campfire sing-a-long with s'mores, and guest musician and storyteller Jonathan Rundman.


Register by calling the office at 970-493-5258.  Adult weekend rates, including lodging/meals/programming, are: $115 in the lodge; $105 in a cabin; $90 in the campground. Call for child rates.  Cost for the bus is $45 per adult and $35 per child under 12 with a $150 family maximum. Deadline for bus reservations: : 9/9/13..


A one-day Bus Excursion sponsored by the Thrivent Community- Sky Ranch Network will be Saturday, September 14th. Luxury coach transportation to Sky Ranch is available with several stops along the Front Range. Enjoy lunch and a variety of camp activities including a concert by Jonathan Rundman ( Fun on the bus includes Sky Ranch Trivia with fabulous prizes.     


Drive up on your own for lunch and the concert on Saturday for $35/adult and $25/child.


Visit the Sky Ranch website. 






Join Pastor Nadia  Tonight at 7:30 pm at the Tattered Cover in downtown Denver for the launching of her book, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of  a Sinner & Saint, described as a "messy, beautiful, prayer-and-profanity laden narrative about an unconventional life of faith".

 The annual Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM advocacy conference will be on Saturday, October 19 in Albuquerque from 9 am to 1 pm at All Saints Lutheran Church. Watch for more details and plan now to attend.  




Mediation Skills Training Institute

October 7-11
University Park Methodist Church, Denver, CO



TheMediation Skills Training Institute  offers mediation and conflict transformation training for both pastors and lay leaders.The institute includes lectures, discussion, and guided practice in role-plays. Active and practical in focus, the sessions emphasize hands-on skills training and real-life role-plays based on the kinds of conflicts faced by participants.  Register by September 13th and save $100!   
The Office of the Bishop has (3) $300 scholarships available for this event.  Contact Bishop Gonia to apply.


The Centered Life: Education, Counseling & Spiritual Care
The Behavioral Covenant Workshop for pastors and lay leaders is at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Denver on Saturday, September 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $70 per congregation with lunch available for $10 each.


During anxious times human beings tend to forget how to speak the truth in love.  Everyone in the congregation needs increased understanding about appropriate communication. This workshop will be a fun and important opportunity to learn together how to  interact in faith communities in appropriate and life-giving ways. Leader is the Rev. Pam Roberts of Centered Life. Register by calling 719-471-2500.  Download the flyer.

Church Development Institute 
tracks begin October 2013


Along with the Episcopal Church, USA, the Rocky Mountain Synod is offering the Church Development Institute (CDI), a leadership training program focused on the ministry of developing the spiritual community and organizational life of congregations. We equip leaders to serve in the congregation, in the synod and as consultants.  CDI is a highly integrated training experience that engages participants in the issues and dynamics faced as leaders and consultants. More information including registration. 


Senior High Youth Gathering is November 22-24!


Registration is now open for the Senior High Youth Gathering:  The Wonder of it all.  Visit the website for details and downloads.  Registration deadline is November 1. 

Middle School Youth Gathering is January 17-19!

More information coming soon!




Custodian (Part Time)

Lutheran Church of the Master


Lutheran Church of the Master in Lakewood, CO is seeking a part-time church custodian (20-25 hours per week).  The position entails weekly cleaning of the church facility to include sanctuary, classrooms, offices and restrooms.  Duties also include periodic minor maintenance on plumbing, electrical and structural systems.  The custodian also has some responsibility for grounds maintenance.  Resumes will be accepted until Sept. 30, 2013.  Questions and resumes should be submitted to Karl Feth 


Link to RMS job postings 




Bishop Jim Gonia 

  • Saron, Strasburg, CO
  • Faith Formation Network
  • Executive Committee
  • North New Mexico Gathering, St. Luke, Albuquerque, NM
  • Ordination of Travis Johnson Esparza, St. Luke, Albuquerque, NM
  • Christ, Sante Fe, NM

Pastor Ron Roschke

  • St. Mark, Aurora, CO
  • Trinity, Laramie, WY
  • Vacation

 Pastor Sarah Moening   

  • Christ the King, Colorado Springs
  • Faith Formation Network
  • Centennial, Englewood, CO

Pastor Stephanie Quick Espinoza

  • Camino de Vida, Albuquerque, NM
  • North New Mexico Mission Gathering, Albuquerque, NM
  • Ordination of Travis Johnson-Esparza, St. Luke, Albuquerque, NM
Pastor Kent Mueller  
  • Administrative Team Meeting
  • Building Project oversight meeting
  • Theological Conference Meeting
  • St. Paul, Cheyenne, WY
Brad Wood
Lutheran Advocacy Ministry CO
  • All Families Deserve a Chance Coalition
  • EOPR Workforce
  • Hunger Team Meeting
Ruth Hoffman 
Lutheran Advocacy Ministry - NM 
  • Medicaid Coalition
  • Child Well-Being Campaign
  • North New Mexico Mission Gathering, Albuquerque, NM
  • Ordination of Travis Johnson-Esparza, St. Luke, Albuquerque, NM
  • Wage-Theft Task Force



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 Year of service molds ELCA young adults  
"I'm truly transformed by it," says Stephanie Berkas, an alumni of the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program, referring to her work in South Africa from 2009 to 2010. In August, 64 new young adult volunteers began their year of service abroad. For more testimonials from former participants, see For photos from the program, see





website calendar




Leadership Retreat / 

Theological Conference 

YMCA of the Rockies
Estes Park, Colorado



Senior High Youth Gathering

YMCA of the Rockies
Estes Park, Colorado


Middle School Youth Gathering

Elegante Hotel & Conference Center
(new name for the Crowne Plaza!)
Colorado Springs, Colorado

MAY 8-10

2014 Synod Assembly

Marriott Tech Center
Denver, Colorado


submit Utah news or photos


submit Wyoming news or photos 





Border Servant Corps

Community Nights
Border Servant Corps volunteers will open their homes to community members for a potluck at 6:30pm on the third Monday of every month. Come, bring a dish to share, and be a part of the community.  The date this month is Monday, September 16th.


 Casa de Paz: 1003 Upson Dr., El Paso, TX 79902
 Janaan's House: 1101 Branson Ave., Las Cruces, NM 88001
 Casa Palomas: 1289 S. Espina, Las Cruces, NM 88001






Faith Formation Network Meeting
September 12, 10am- noon
Office of the Bishop 
how we do this church thing in more real ways!
Join Bishop Gonia for a   conversation about Shifting Ecclesiology. Anyone interested in faith formation is welcome to attend. The group is a support network for those working or volunteering in faith formation, Christian education or youth ministry. For more information about this particular meeting or the Network in general, please contact Sarah Moening in the Office of the Bishop.
Best Ever Parent Training Event
September 28, 9am-1pm
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Longmont

Nationally known Youth Ministry Speaker, Author and Youth Minister, Brock Morgan will guide us through two topics on every parent of a teen's (or soon to be teen) must know list. We will dive into the inner workings of the teen brain and then learn about what Christianity looks like for teens in a culture that feels post Christian to many.  This event is hosted by Longmont, CO congregations:  Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Longs Peak United Methodist, First United Methodist, and Central Presbyterian

Cost: $10 for Individual or $15 for Couple.  Deadline for Registration is September 22, 2013

Cash or check only made payable to:  


350 11th Ave., Longmont, CO 80501

Attn: Best Ever Parenting Training


Questions? Email to or call 303-956-6609 


Addressing the Challenges of Christian Zionism: Accompanying Our Sisters & Brothers in the Middle East  
October 19-21

Denver & Fort Collins, CO  

Peace Not Walls invites you join them for a weekend with Dr. Robert Smith, Area Program Director for the Middle East & North Africa in the Global Mission unit of the ELCA.  Come hear Pastor Smith speak about the historical roots and current political implications of Christian Zionism, issues he explores in depth in his recently published book More Desired than Our Owne Salvation: The Roots of Christian Zionism. Come, ask questions and engage in a discussion of this highly controversial and often misunderstood subject.Download the flyer for more information 

An Evening with Carrie Newcomer
at Bethany Lutheran Church


A benefit concert for Habitat for Humanity takes place Saturday, September 28, 7:00 p.m. aBethany Lutheran Church. Singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer's music has always explored the intersection of the spiritual and the daily, the sacred and the ordinary. Over the course of her career she has become a prominent voice for progressive spirituality, social justice and interfaith dialogue. Tickets are available at Adults: $15.00 Children 12 and under: $5.00. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.



12th Annual Second Wind Fund Walk/Run
Sunday, September 22
Jefferson County Fairgrounds


Approximately half of Colorado's youth struggle with thoughts of suicide by the time they're 20 years old. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for this age group in Colorado. To date, Second Wind Fund has referred over 3,200 youth at-risk of suicide to professional mental health therapists. Support our mission by becoming a corporate sponsor through donations or sending teams of members to walk, run, enjoy the food and music. 


If you would like further information on how to partner with Second Wind Fund please contact Mary Wylie, Faith Committee Chair at or Dawn Anderson, Events Director at 

Click here for more information or to register for the event!


Celebrating 15 Years: Ministry Behind Bars

taking place at Holy Cross Lutheran Church

Wheat Ridge, CO


Join us for a dinner and silent auction celebrating 15 years of ministry behind bars at New Beginnings Church on September 28, at 5:30 p.m., at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. There will be a freewill offering for the cost of the buffet dinner, and music by Apostles Creed. Thrivent has committed to match the funds raised in the auction.


Please RSVP to Kathy Melies at 303-831-7023 or by email at


Holy Cross is located at 4500 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033



7th Annual Grace Race

October 5th, 4pm

Sloan's Lake, Denver, CO     


RAINBOW TRAIL is hosting its 7th Annual Grace Race to benefit world hunger.  All proceeds and donations will be given to ELCA World Hunger. This is a 5K run/walk around beautiful Sloan's Lake in Denver.  There will be food and refreshments for all participants following the race.  The entry fee is $30 before September 27th and $35 after that date.  You don't have to be a runner to make a difference.  They had parents with baby strollers, grandparents with grand kids, and runners and walkers of all types last year.  Come join us for a great afternoon in the park for a great cause. To learn more and to register, go to




ALDE Colorado Fall Conference

Friday, October 18, 9am-3pm

Bethany Lutheran Church



Join us for great workshops!  For more information or to register visit: 


A Taste of Romania! 
Saturday, September 21,  3-7pm
Highlands Lutheran Church, Denver, CO  

A fall festival of food, folk music & dance and lots of fun for the entire family!  Download the flyer.

Synod Minister for Connected Community
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 about two weeks. Please submit your announcement at the time it should appear.