Dear Friends and Colleagues,
In this first year of my call as your Bishop, I have had the pleasure of meeting representatives from our Companion church relationships in Guyana, Suriname, and Haiti. They attended both my Installation in January and the recent Caribbean Consultation and Synod Assembly in June. I also met with the Acting-President of the United Theological College in Jamaica, the Rev. Dr. Oral Thomas. These relationships, along with the one in Cuba – are precious and important to us as a Synod and as the church, as we reflect on our mission and calling to be “the church together” in the world.
While you may think we are very different from our brothers and sisters in these places – where sometimes even basic necessities of life and resources we take for granted every day are scarce – in my conversations with our Companions, I’ve discovered we have more in common than not, particularly when it comes to the church. Our Companions in Suriname are developing strategic plans for their congregations – asking the same critical questions our congregations are asking: How are we connected to God? each other? and the world? The church leaders in Guyana continue to seek a path for Leadership Development that would address the declining number of ordained clergy – sound familiar? They also are focused on developing projects involving youth – to attract and identify future leaders of the church.
The Global Mission Committee has deepened the relationships between the Synod and our multiple Companions through various programs and projects – none of which would be possible without the generous support and faithful participation of individuals, congregations, and conferences in the Florida Bahamas Synod. Your financial gifts so far this year have provided:
- A cistern, being built this summer in Savanne-Zombie, Haiti – to provide potable water for a community of 6000
- Funding for the renovation of an unused parsonage in New Amsterdam, Guyana into a Community Youth Center
- Bringing a youth from Suriname to the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston
Currently, we are looking to increase our support for the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program, deepen our relationship with a new Lutheran Church body in Cuba, and fund much needed renovation and technological support for the seminary in Jamaica.
So it is with joy and gratitude for your continued generosity, I share that Sunday, October 7th is declared as “Global Mission Sunday” within the Florida Bahamas Synod. As in the past, we are asking that congregations and conferences generously support this important work of the church. Donations will be gratefully accepted in the Synod office for supporting projects and consultations with our companion churches and global relationships. Please send checks made out to “Florida-Bahamas Synod,” with “Global Mission Sunday” on the memo line. You can also make an electronic donation through our web site.
What a joy it is to be in partnership with you and with God’s people in our companion churches as we seek to embrace God’s mission in the world.
Bishop Pedro Suárez