Welcome! Thank you for allowing us to inform you!
I want to begin this update by saying “Thank You” to the many, many leaders and teams throughout our synod who continue to serve during this time of pandemic. My staff and I would like to thank all of our pastors, our deacons, our ministry and team leaders, and our volunteers who continue to work hard every day.
I also want to take a moment to thank my synod staff. They are working tirelessly to serve our synod, continue our missions, and support our leadership. Thank you to our Assistants to the Bishop, Pastor Khader, Pastor Rob, Deacon Connie, and Michele, and to the rest of my staff, Ileana, Jim, Marina, Yuliet, Kim, and Tina. Thank you for your continued support and hard work.
In the past few weeks, we have had four Zoom encounters with our synod. On June 5th, we had a conference for Synod Rostered Leaders. On June 12th, I gave my Synod Address and hosted a Q&A. On June 23rd, we held a Racial Justice Conference with Judith Roberts, which has since inspired the formation of our Racial Justice Team, which will be coming soon. And last week, on July 9th, we held a Vigil of Lament and Prayer, to mourn together and support one another as we navigate this difficult time.
We have another Zoom encounter coming up soon! On July 26th, we will host our Let’s Talk! Youth Check-In event. This will be a special time for our youth to gather, talk, and worship together. Please share this event with any youth in your congregation. You can find the Zoom registration link on our website, on our Facebook page, and in E-Spirit this week.
Thank you to everyone who continues to respond and comment on my Sunday Messages. These comments make me feel connected to you, even from a distance! Pastors, if you’re sharing worship online, remember to read the comments and connect with your viewers. Connecting with people online can be an evangelism moment for your church!
Speaking of connecting, our synod staff are connecting daily with rostered leaders around the synod and with our Conference Deans. Remember that your synod staff is here to support you! If you have questions or need resources, please reach out to your deans, or call or email our office to be connected with a staff member who can help.
Now for an update on our United As One appeal. So far, our appeal has helped 40 congregations and has provided $100,000 in relief grants. Thank you to everyone who continues to give to this relief appeal. If you’d like to donate, please visit our website fbsynod.com.
As our pandemic situation continues to evolve, I have received many questions about reopening for in-person worship. Some congregations that have reopened for in-person worship have returned to online worship only due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in our state. Worship spaces rate among the top 3 spaces with a high risk of infection. My recommendation remains the same: to carefully reopen for in-person worship in Phase 3 and without physical Holy Communion.
I would like to thank the synod teams and committees that have remained very active from a safe distance during this pandemic. I especially want to thank the Consultation Committee, Discipline Committee, Candidacy Committee, Synod Council Executive Committee, Listening Team, Youth Team, United As One Appeal Team, First Call Team, Stewardship Team, Vitality Team, Global Mission Teams, and Interfaith Teams.
Next, I want to share some good news! First, I’m excited to announce that Rev. Katie Carroll will serve as our new Global Missions Team Chair! She has been appointed to the position as P.J. May prepares to retire from the role. I want to sincerely thank P.J. for her excellent years of service to the Global Missions Team. P.J. laid the foundation of our Global Missions and built this team from the ground up! She has been a true blessing to our synod and I am so appreciative of her hard work.
And finally, in the midst of this current pandemic situation, we are celebrating the continued Mission Partners that are stepping up to the plate to support our plans for the new mission development in Babcock Ranch. We specifically want to thank Holy Spirit, St. Armand’s Key, Peace of Fort. Meyers, and George Frank who, together, have contributed $41,000 to this project. Please pray for these partners and for others who may be discerning their own partnership and support of Babcock Ranch. For more information on this project, please contact Assistant to the Bishop Pr. Khader El-Yateem.
I want to conclude by reminding you all that the Office of the Bishop Staff is here to support and assist you. Please contact the office if my staff can help you or your congregation in any way.
Please keep safe and thank you for reading!