Pastor Phil Tonnesen hosts the Ministry Partner Fair

Being Church together with ministry partners

Being the Church together means being in relationship together. The Reverend Philip Tonnesen, assistant to the bishop, shared with the assembly the way partners in ministry across synodical, churchwide, and community organizations are proclaiming the Gospel to those in need across our communities as well as in our companion synods of Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica. In our partnership with these ministries, we become connected with each other; caring for each other through service, financial support, and prayer.

Twelve ministry partners shared stories of compassion, support, and love because they have formed relationships with the congregations our synod and with those whom they serve.

Camping ministries such as Agape+Kure Beach Ministries (AKB) and Novus Way Ministries not only provide unique summer camp experiences, they also provide means to create lasting relationships that extend beyond a week of camp. Deacon Randy Youngquist-Thurow, Executive Director of Agape+Kure Beach Ministries, shared their goal to send 100 homeless children to camp this summer. Visit the AKB website for more information about Reach 100. Deacon Chandler Carriker of Novus Way Ministries shared summer and fall opportunities at the four sites of Novus Way: Lutheridge, Lutherock, Luther Springs, and Lutheranch. These camping opportunities provide children, teens, and adults with a place apart to experience the story of God’s love.

Through the ministries of Twin Lakes Retirement Community, Portico Benefit Services, the ELCA Foundation, Lutheran Services  Carolinas, the North Carolina Council of Churches, the James R. Crumley, Jr. Archives, Lutheran Men in Mission, and the North Carolina Women of the ELCA relationships have been formed in communities across the world. These ministries provide our communities in need with wellness, financial, spiritual, emotional, justice and advocacy, and vocational support.

The institutions of Lenoir-Rhyne University (LRU) and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) create relationships that shape and form leaders for our communities through education, experiences, and faith formation. In its 128th academic year, LRU enrollment continues to rise. President Fred Whitt spoke of Lutheran Identity, Vocational Call, and commitment to the education and leadership formation of students. At LTSS, a strong commitment to provide an affordable seminary experience exists through the Open Doors Campaign. Deacon/Rector the Reverend Mary Hinkle Shore and Campaign Co-Chairs the Reverend Ronald A. Rinn and Dr. Cinde Rinn spoke about how the Open Doors Campaign can alleviate financial stress on students so that candidates are not burdened with rising debt. Currently the campaign stands at $1,480,000 of the $2,000,000 goal; visit the campaign website to give.

Our partnership ministries are vital to this synod as we continue to be church together. We are church together as we proclaim God’s word through service, action, financial contribution, and participation with our partner ministries. Will you work to form relationships with others so that the story of God’s grace and love can be heard and seen? Thanks be to God for those who bear witness to the Gospel by loving, serving, and joyfully proclaiming God’s grace to all those in need.

Story:  Deacon Susan Jackson serves as the Youth and Family Coordinator at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Wilmington.
Photograph:  Ray Sipe–pastor, chaplain, and techno-geek.