*This script has been transcribed directly from Bishop Suarez’s video. The video was produced as a conversation between Bishop Suarez and Deacon Aura Suarez. The format of this written update maintains the original format of the production script.*
BISHOP: Greetings and welcome to this Florida-Bahamas Synod Update for the last week of May, 2020. I am Pedro Suarez and I gladly serve as your Bishop.
AURA: And I am Aura Suarez, serving as a Deacon of the ELCA. It is a pleasure to be with you today. Here are the latest happenings in our synod:
BISHOP: Did you know that to care for ourselves as leaders during this time of crisis, we are recommended to…
- Connect with our best friends regularly
- Keep good humor alive
- Practice any cardio activity 3 times a week
- Practice our favorite hobbies
- Imagine and plan for the future, be willing to fail, and stay positive
- Deepen our spiritual daily life by reading the scriptures, meditating, and praying
- Being generous, kind, and showing love to others
AURA: Did you know that while we care for ourselves, we must also care for our pastors? We should:
- Encourage others to understand that there is no real need to rush the reopening of our churches
- Understand that reopening won’t really improve our offerings
- Protect our leaders’ health, because if they get sick, we will have a hard time finding substitutes
BISHOP: Did you know that many of our leaders, especially our pastors, are experiencing something called Emotional Labor? Emotional labor is the invisible and often undervalued work involved in keeping other people comfortable and happy. During difficult times, emotional labor can be very stressful. Our pastors especially should be using vacation time if possible. Remember: it is not selfish to take a break. In fact, taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for your congregation.
AURA: Did you know that our leaders should take time to recognize their church staff and their spouses? Last week, the synod office had a virtual Happy Hour on Zoom. We were even joined by the fantastic comedian Al Ernst! It was a great way to be together as friends and take a break after working so hard for the last several weeks.
BISHOP: Did you know that, just because we can reopen our congregations doesn’t mean that we should?
- There is no problem in waiting until Phase 3 as I have recommended
- Being creative “online” has created so many new opportunities
- It is always best to be respectful and kind to those that are reopening, as well as to those that are not reopening yet
AURA: Did you know that our synod’s United as One Covid-19 Appeal has helped 18 congregations so far? This appeal helps our synod and congregations maintain their ministry, afford new technology, and operate mercy ministries. Please prayerfully consider supporting our congregations and our synod by contributing to the COVID-19 appeal.
BISHOP: Did you know that the Latino Leaders in our synod began a weekly pericope study group as part of their preparations for their Sunday worship? The experience has been very valuable to all.
AURA: Did you know that Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary had its graduation ceremony virtually this past Saturday? Our own Izzy Bango-Sanchez graduated from the TEEM program and serves at Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Haines City. Congratulations Izzy!
BISHOP: Did you know that 5 Judicatory Bishops met this past week to coordinate efforts on reopening our churches in Florida? Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists and Lutherans all met having similar issues and with very diverse responses by parishes.
AURA: Did you know that the document “Visions and Expectations” has been removed as the guide for expectations of Rostered Leaders? We are currently reviewing the “Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline” as the normative of conduct of Rostered Leaders and candidates. Please go to the ELCA.org to fill out the survey with your feedback on this document.
BISHOP: Did you know that there is more information on Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s sermon for June 7th? Bishop Eaton will release her sermon recording on May 31st. Our DEMs will send the video link to our rostered ministers, so they can share it with their congregations on June 7th.
AURA: Did you know that NovusWay has cancelled all summer camps at their 4 retreat centers this year? – You can read more about this decision in this week’s edition of E-Spirit.
BISHOP: And finally, did you know that we will have a Synod-wide Zoom webinar with yours truly Bishop Pedro Suarez, on June 5th at 1:00 p.m.? I’ll spend this time presenting my Synod’s address and answering questions. A Zoom link will be released soon, along with a password for the meeting. Stay tuned!
BISHOP: Now we’re coming to the end of this update. If you find usefull us informing you of what’s happening in our Synod and in the ELCA, please let us know. We would appreciate a comment below, and if you are watching via YouTube, please Subscribe!
AURA: Thanks you for the chance of letting us inform you. Have a great week!
BISHOP: We wish peace and health to all. May God bless you!
+ Bp. Pedro
The Rev. Pedro M. Suarez, Bishop
Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA