BISHOP: Greetings and welcome to this Florida-Bahamas Synod Update for the last week of July, 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 for us to be with you today. Here are the latest happenings in our synod:
BISHOP: I want to take a moment and thank all the congregations that have introduced virtual fellowship, coffee hours, and Bible studies during this pandemic. I recently received a very nice email from Pat Dasler from Universtiy Lutheran Church in Gainesville, who wrote that during their church’s online devotions, “they have time to share, and it has provided the opportunity to get to know people in new and sometimes deeper ways than the Sunday morning coffee hours they have done for years.” So, I thank our leaders who continue to provide fellowship opportunities, in many creative ways, even from a distance.
AURA: We also want to thank all those who continue to donate to our United As One appeal. Your gifts continue to make a difference across our synod at ministries like Faith Food Pantry in Lehigh Acres, who have used the relief grant to operate their pantry twice a week, as well as offer hot meals to families every Wednesday throughout the month of July. If you haven’t done so yet, please donate so more ministries continue to share God’s love and care. Please, go to our synod website for more information.
BISHOP: It is wonderful to see congregations helping congregations. In the Florida-Bahamas Synod we have a missional spirit. Pastor Maryanne Kalhenbach, our mission developer at Living Faith Lutheran in Port St. Lucie is grateful to receive partnership from Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Juno Beach. Their pastor, Reverend Frank Wagner presented an offering for their new building. The Spirit is about to something good in our synod!
AURA: Lay leadership training is very important to us. Unfortunately, last week we announced that Diakonia graduation and the 2020 fall semester would be postponed until the new year and wanted to make sure the word gets heard. If you have any questions about our Diakonia program, please visit our synod website or contact Peggy Aiello, Chair of the Steering Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BISHOP: On Sunday, I was blessed to have an opportunity to meet with our youth members for our first Let’s Talk! Youth Check-In virtual event. It was so nice to connect with our young people for the first time in a long time. They have had to sacrifice so much during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we offer them our love, support, and prayers as they navigate this time.
AURA: We are excited to announce that on August 20th at 10:00am, we will be hosting a Rostered Leaders Gathering on Zoom. This will be a time for our Rostered Leaders to gather together, hear from our coaches and special presenters, and then split into small groups for some discussion. You can find more information, including the registration link, in this week’s edition of E-Spirit, as well as on our website and Facebook page.
BISHOP: These days, we all have questions about how to offer communion during a pandemic situation. On Monday, some of us partook in a Zoom meeting addressing Eucharistic practices in the church during a pandemic. I look forward to sharing what we learned from this valuable discussion with you sometime later this week. I understand the importance of Holy Communion, and the anxiety it is giving some pastors during these pandemic times. Please be sure this is a topic we will address as a synod soon.
AURA: Bishop, the people at Trinity Lutheran Church are so excited about their new missional venture. Cristo Rey Lutheran Church, a predominantly Latino congregation has join them and together they are now a new community with a clear vision. This is how their pastors feel about it…
BISHOP: Wow, Aura they sound very enthusiastic about it. Many blessings to them. Well, now were coming to the end of this Florida-Bahamas Synod Update. We would be very happy to share some of the ministries happenings in your congregation. Please send us your stories by emails, photos and videos. You can send them to our communications specialist Marina Ernst at MarinaE@fbsynod.org.
AURA: And I have to say that Bishop Pedro is the one behind the editing of these Synod Updates. I don’t know how he does it on his phone. Thank you Bishop!
BISHOP: And thank you, Aura for accompanying me to make it more dynamic. We would appreciate a like, a comment below, and if you are watching this in YouTube, please don’t forget to subscribe.
AURA: That’s it for now. Until next time be safe, stay home as much as you can, and wear your mask if you need to be out keeping a safe distance. God bless you!
BISHOP: Until next time, good bye!
+ Bp. Pedro
The Rev. Pedro M. Suarez, Bishop
Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA