Bishop Suárez: This weekend we celebrate Independence Day here in the United States of America! And this is your Synod Update for the first week of July, 2020. Welcome and thank you for allowing us to inform you.
Aura: Over thirty years ago, my husband, now Bishop Pedro and I decided to leave Venezuela in a faith journey that brought us to this beautiful country where many have found a land of opportunities, a land to call home. A land for us to raise our children. A land of freedom.
Bishop Suárez: It was precisely the pursuit of that freedom, with choices in the way we longed to live our faith, that landed us not just in this wonderful country, but to the openness and diversity of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. As we celebrate in our quarantine, very different than last year, let us never forget the many that gave their lives for us to live in this freedom and safety, even if it means the safety of our homes.
Aura: We wish for you a great and safe 4th of July!
Bishop Suárez: May God bless our world and may God bless the beautiful United States of America!
We know that many of our congregations had plans to reopen for in-person worship within the next few weekends. However, the recent spike in COVID-19 cases has complicated those plans. My recommendation remains the same; to wait until Phase 3 of reopening to return to in-person worship.
Aura: If your congregation is returning to in-person worship, please be sure to adhere to all CDC, state, and local guidelines for hygiene and safety. You can find these guidelines on our website under COVID-19 resources.
Bishop Suárez: If you would like personalized recommendations on how to keep your congregation safe during reopening, please contact our Director for Disaster Response Jim Habermehl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know that these recent months have been extremely difficult for everyone in our synod. First, COVID-19 locked us in our homes, cancelled our important events, and took many lives. Then, our nation was confronted with the reality of racism and prejudice, and our communities mourned the loss of more innocent black lives. We’re all hurting, tired, and in need of support from one another.
Because of this, on Thursday, July 9th at 7:00pm, we will be holding a special Vigil of Lament and Prayer for our synod. This will be a time to gather as one community, to mourn together and uplift one another, and to offer prayers for peace, justice, and unity in our nation.
Aura: Everyone is invited to attend this prayer vigil. You will need to register in advance. You can find a registration link on our website and in our recent issue of E-Spirit, as well as on our Facebook page.
Bishop Suárez: Now, I want to celebrate an important milestone! On June 29, we celebrated 50 years of the ordination of women in our church! In 2020, we also celebrate 40 years of ordination of women of color in our church, as well as 10 years of the ordination of LGBTQIA+ ministers. I want to say a special thank you to the women who have answered God’s call to ministry and have strengthened our church with their gifts and dedication.
Aura: If racial justice issues and COVID-19 were not enough, we are entering hurricane season and scientists are predicting a very active season. On our webpage fbsynod.org you will find several resources on how to prepare yourself, your family, and your congregation for hurricane season.
Bishop Suárez: Well, we’re coming to the end of this Synod Update.
Aura: We would appreciate just a like, a small comment, and your subscription to our YouTube channel if this is how you are watching.
Bishop Suárez: Again have a happy Fourth of July weekend and may God bless you!
Aura: Good bye!