Dear Risen Lord disciples:
Last weekend I “attended” the first Indiana-Kentucky Synod Assembly since 2019. Even though most of us are fairly used to Zoom meetings and other virtual conversations and gatherings, this required an impressive degree of technology and coordination: Assemblies, after all, are not merely presentations or reports – there is voting, motions, financial charts, questions from the hundreds of attendees, and yes, at the center, bible study, prayer and worship.
Despite a few hiccups and delays here and there, the Assembly went surprisingly smoothly (Leadership Team members Fred Freeman and Carol Retz were Risen Lord’s voting members). I was grateful for the Indiana-Kentucky Synod staff that had obviously worked very hard to pull this off so well. More than being impressed with the technology and planning, however, I was struck several times by how moved I was to be connected, even if only on a screen, to all these people. I was moved by the many examples of congregations – like Risen Lord – struggling with the challenges of the pandemic, yet remaining steadfast and resilient in faith, mission and ministry. There were inspiring stories of creativity and generosity. I was particularly struck by the presentation of the ELCA churchwide representative, Dr. Javier Goitia, and both the video and published report of the ELCA itself. We are connected!
To be honest, while I was a parish pastor, busy and often overwhelmed with the work and challenges in my local context, it was often very tempting for me to forget about my ties to neighboring colleagues, or the Synod, let alone the churchwide ELCA or our ecumenical partners. Especially during the pandemic, the temptation for local congregations to be “lone wolves” or “separate silos” was particularly acute. The Assembly was an important moment to remember how critical it is to be connected to the larger church. We desperately need each other, we are stronger together; moreover, as the Assembly theme put it, we are called together…
I would imagine at times in this transitionary period at Risen Lord, some of you may have felt distant or even abandoned by the Synod and the larger church. The feelings may be understandable, but I assure you that the Synod has your back, is working in partnership with you, and that your mission and ministry matter. We are indeed connected to each other. We are called together. Thanks be to God.
Be well, friends. You are loved.
Pastor Dave Schreiber