Pastor Sara Cutter, ELCA Senior Director for Operational Effectiveness in the Christian Community and Leadership
Photo Credit: Katherine Nagy
Although we had expected Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton to join us for our gathering, preach at the opening worship, and share the churchwide report with us, her plans changed about 48 hours before the gathering and Pastor Sara Cutter, Senior Director for Operational Effectiveness in the Christian Community and Leadership Home Area of the ELCA churchwide organization, offered the 2022 ELCA report.
Pastor Sara, who lives in Hickory and is called by the ELCA, explained that Bishop Eaton had to attend the Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly to begin the repair and healing process in that synod; Pastor Sara asked us to continue to pray for that synod, its pastors, congregations and members, and the entire church as it moves forward and rebuilds trust.
Pastor Sara began by confessing that “I am not okay” and “frankly, I would be surprised if you are.” However, the good news is that “in the church, it’s okay to not be okay” and although the world has changed, the Gospel has not. People are looking for meaning, belonging, and love—gifts that we, the church, have to offer. Pastor Sara shared a video greeting from Bishop Eaton who challenged us to discover the million people who need to hear the message of Jesus and to share that message with them. Now, more than ever people are looking for connection, and the church, established on the love of Jesus, has the unique opportunity to provide those connections by telling the old, old story in a new and relevant way. God is calling us to do the next most faithful thing.
Pastor Sara thanked the NC Synod for our continued generosity to ELCA Mission Support (over $1 million in 2021), ELCA World Hunger ($420,234), and Lutheran Disaster Response ($352,401) as well as our support of churchwide initiatives, programs, and committees.
We are grateful to claim Pastor Sara—along with her husband, Pastor Todd Cutter, Lenoir-Rhyne University Campus Pastor and Director of Spiritual Life—as part of the NC Synod. We are indeed partners in ministry!