When Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton attended the Lutheran World Federation Assembly in May, she was reminded that the ELCA is not alone in the world. In her July column for Living Lutheran, she notes that while our contexts are very different, all Lutherans have something in common—our life in Christ. Read her column here.
NC Synod Southern Seminary graduates, Class of 2017.
The NC Synod Candidacy Committee
Candidacy in the ELCA refers to the process of steps—Entrance through Approval—during which an individual seeks to discern his or her call to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament or to the Ministry of Word and Service. The “call” is often a feeling that God is directing a person toward a church vocation. The first “call” was Jesus gathering the disciples from their occupations to follow him.
The Candidacy Committee of the NC Synod consists of more than a dozen individuals who give of their time and expertise to mentor candidates on their way to a vocation.
Assembly began Friday morning with an opening worship led by assembly musicians Emily Norris (Augsburg, Winston-Salem), Matt Simpkins (Christ-South, Charlotte), Warren Keyes (Holy Trinity, Raleigh), and Clifford Badgley (Good Shepherd, Raleigh). With prayer, song, and praise, rostered ministers who entered the Church Triumphant during the last year were remembered.
Assembly attendees participated in a “Reformers Reading Romans” lesson during the Friday afternoon session. Offered as a joint effort from the Book of Faith and Reformation 500 Task Groups, the summer reading program will begin on July 9 and continue with daily readings and devotional messages reading through the book of Romans together.
Synod Council Vice-President Diana Haywood opened her remarks with heartfelt thanks to Bishop Smith and his faithful leadership. She said she loved working with the synod council and synod staff members, calling them “faithful” and “capable.”
“We are blessed, indeed,” Bishop Smith proclaimed with genuine gratitude during the Saturday morning session as he invited the CEOs and representatives of nine affiliated Agencies and Institutions of the NC Synod to join him on stage. Each were introduced by name and praised for their excellent leadership in truly “being the church” with us here in the NC Synod.
Giving thanks for the leadership and support of the congregations of the NC Synod, Pastor Paul Summer invited us to financially help North Carolina seminarians in the candidacy program. Drs. Ron and Cinde Rinn chair the North Carolina part of the campaign.
In Friday’s afternoon session, Bishop Smith led congregational conversations around Options for Congregations to Move from “at risk” to Risking for Mission. An “at risk” congregation is one where the question of sustainability and viability is raised.
The Holy Spirit blew mightily through the whole of our worship experience!
We gathered for worship at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, our ecumenical partners and gracious hosts for the evening. So, even before the first musician arrived to rehearse, the Spirit was drawing us together in Christian unity across denominations.
Bishop Tim Smith offered reflections on God’s movement in and through the NC Synod in the past year from the same ballroom where he received the Spirit’s call to serve as bishop two years ago. To begin, he offered many thanks–to God, his family, and his fellow workers who do so much of the work of the synodical expression of our church.
The Rev. Jeff Thiemann, President and CEO of Portico Benefit Services, brought greetings to assembly in the Friday afternoon session. Portico is a ministry of the ELCA that serves church workers financially and emotionally so that they are able to serve others.
Tammy Jones West, deacon and director of leadership and discipleship for the synod, invited the assembly to “be bold leaders who learn together” as she described some upcoming opportunities for book studies led by various congregational leaders.
The Rev. Heidi Torgerson, Director for Global Service in the ELCA Global Mission unit, brought greetings to the assembly from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. She leads the team that recruits, calls, trains, and supports some 230 ELCA missionaries in nearly 50 countries around the world. Pastor Torgerson shared the “Top 10 Reasons to be an ELCA Lutheran.”
The Rev. Alfredo Oviedo, pastor at Grace, Hendersonville, is serving as this year’s synod assembly chaplain. Each time the assembly prepares to vote, the chaplain has the opportunity to lead those gathered in prayer.
The atrium buzzed with excitement as synod clergy and rostered ministers, along with lay voting members of synod congregations, arrived for the first day of business of the 2017 NC Synod, ELCA, Assembly.
Peggy Hahn, Executive Director of LEAD, led a fascinating Thursday afternoon session full of book recommendations galore as she walked through the Leadership Landscape, a framework for leaders to measure faith-in-practice within congregations, and even themselves. Is a congregation/leader more complacent or courageous?
Sandra Cline, our synod’s ELCA Youth Gathering coordinator, led a pre-assembly afternoon session to prepare leaders for the upcoming 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering. Gathering questions were answered by Emily Norris, Heather Langan, Liz Fisher, and Tammy Jones West.