Jesus Calls & We Have Responded

Our DNA as a faith community needs to stem from Jesus’ identity.

June 6, 2023 |

Credit: Tod Godwin, St. John’s, Salisbury member, for the NC Synod

Beginning her reflections by giving thanks to God for leading and guiding her as our vice president, NC Synod Vice President Diana Haywood informed us that her mantra, “North Carolina is the place to be!” was fulfilled this assembly. Utilizing our core values as a lens to reflect upon this year’s theme of “Who Do You Say I Am?,” we discovered that across our synod we are Christ-Centered, we are Generous, we are in Relationship, and we strive for Reconciliation.

Vice President Haywood reminded us that we continually remain Christ-centered in our ministries. We heard about the Generosity shown through Mission Support, the ELCA Youth Gathering registration offering, and collaborative efforts in our congregations. We conducted the business of the assembly including voting on synod council and churchwide assembly voting members, passed budgets and compensation guidelines, and affirmed constitutional changes and resolutions. We embraced Relationship as we voted to receive Christ’s Beloved Community as our newest congregation in the synod, as we celebrate milestones, and as we engage in ministry with our partner agencies and institutions. During devotions and reflections, we were reminded that we are all called to proclaim the identity of Christ across our communities, in our congregations, and even in our personal lives.

Closing out her remarks, Vice President Haywood invited us to imagine that we heard a voice. This voice was the voice of Jesus. This voice asks, “Who do you say that I am?” The assembly was invited to imagine our individual and congregational responses to that question. She then invited us to consider a second question asked by Jesus: “Who are you in relationship to me?” Vice President Haywood declared that our response gives us DNA to be people of God—gives us “Jesus DNA.” Our DNA as a faith community needs to stem from Jesus’ identity. Our response as a faith community comes from proclaiming Jesus’ identity. Vice President Haywood declared, that for her: “Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the one that provides the way, the truth, the life.”

For Vice President Haywood, North Carolina is the place to be because Jesus calls and we, as a synod together, have responded. Our DNA and identity as a Synod rest in Jesus. Our ministries share bold statements of who Jesus is. As we depart from this assembly, Vice President Haywood hopes that we continue to reflect upon who Jesus is to us, our congregations, and the ministries we participate in. We are called to respond. Are we ready?

Vice President Haywood’s final remark was “I am called, and I am inspired. North Carolina is the place to be.”

Indeed, North Carolina is the place to be, and thanks be to God for the ministry of Vice President Diana Haywood!


Synod Staff

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