Dear friends in the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the ELCA, welcome to this Synod Update for the first week of September 2020.
First in our news, we want to update you on our United as One COVID-19 relief appeal. As of today, we have helped many congregations meet their needs and improve their ministry during this pandemic. Pastor Daniel Locke at St. Mark’s in Jacksonville shares his experience. Let’s take a look! (Watch the synod update video to see this message from Pr. Daniel.)
Thanks Pastor Daniel! We always love to see and hear about how the Synod’s United As One relief is helping our congregations. Bishop, we also have another message from Trinity in Pembroke Pines. (Watch the synod update video to see this message from Trinity.)
If your congregation has been helped by the United as One grant, please remember to send a short 30-second video of stories about how God is impacting the life of the people you serve. Please send it to our Communications Specialist at email@example.com. We would love to see them!
In other news, last Sunday, we hosted our Let’s Talk! Youth Check-In for the youth in our synod. It was great to gather with our young people and have some thoughtful discussion. We will be having another youth event on September 27th, so stay tuned for more information!
Speaking of Zoom events, we will be having another Rostered Ministers Zoom Gathering, on September 17th at 10:00am. This gathering will cover the topic of Holy Communion during a Pandemic, particularly Covid-19, and will include special guest speaker Professor Timothy J. Wengert. All Rostered Ministers are encouraged to attend. You can find a link to register in E-Spirit and on our website.
We will also be having a special Service of Remembrance on September 11th at 10:00am. Zoom service is open to everyone who wishes to attend and will also be streamed on our Synod’s Facebook page. You can find a link to the event in E-Spirit and on our synod website as well.
If you’ve been tuning into Bishop’s Sunday messages, you’ve seen members of his Executive Staff. Pr. Khader El-Yateem and Pr. Rob Carlson, the two Directors of Evangelical Mission, as well as Pastor Rob Rose have already been his guest and have contributed messages. Deacon Connie Schmucker will also share a reflection very soon. We encourage you to watch on Sundays and get to know better our awesome synod staff!
Speaking of Deacon Connie, she and I would like to remind all our Rostered Ministers about the importance of Boundaries Training. More information on online Boundaries training can be found in E-Spirit and on our Synod website.
In the midst of this pandemic, we continue to seek ways to strengthen our relationships with our global companions and the seminary in Jamaica. We are staying in close touch with them and invite you to pray for them. Today we would like to share with you some updates about the Lutheran church in Cuba. Bishop Ismael Laborde constantly updates us on the progress of their work and literally building churches in Cuba. With help from the ELCA and our synod, in El Dajao they just finished reconstructing the small worship place, which also serves as a shelter during hurricanes and storms. The whole community comes to help Bishop Laborde.
Meanwhile in our own synod we have an update from Living Faith in Port St. Lucie. This congregation has purchased new land and will begin their building project soon. As a synod, we now have the opportunity to support Living Faith as they start their build project. If you are interested in taking part of this, please contact our Director for Evangelical Mission for the South, Rev. Khader El Yateem or Pastor Maryanne Kehlenbach directly.
Let us keep in our prayers the victims in Hurricane Laura’s path. Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Lake Charles was severely damaged. If you would like to contribute just contact the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod directly.
Together with our Synod Council, I want to say “thank you” to our congregations for your continued Mission Support during these trying times. You probably saw the Thank You photo from our Synod Council in E-Spirit last week, but I wanted to share it again. Your faithful stewardship is keeping our church strong through this pandemic, and I can’t thank you enough for your generosity.
Until next time may God continue to bless you!
+ Bishop Pedro Suarez
Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA