Three notes from the bishop

I want to share three things with you this month:

  1. Just a reminder that our NC Synod Re-gathering in-person recommendations are Phase-specific and not date-specific. So, the recommendation is still in effect since the governor extended Phase 2 through at least July 17. The only addition from the governor’s office is that masks are now required in public. Until we get to Phase 3 (which we don’t know when or what that will look like yet), we still recommend no gatherings of more than 10 indoors and no more than 25 outdoors for our congregations. Whenever congregations do gather, we have guidelines for doing that as safely as possible. Those recommendations can be found on our re-gathering page.
  2. You may recall that I was graciously granted a sabbatical in 2020 by our Synod Council. It was supposed to be for three months, with part 1 being Jan. 6-Feb. 17. That happened. Part 2 was supposed to begin June 4 and go through July 16. That didn’t happen due to, well, several pressing realities. At our Synod Council meeting in late May, it was approved by the council that I complete the remainder of my sabbatical during the month of July and for 2 weeks in the middle of December. That means I’ll be out of touch for this month, and Assistant to the Bishop, Pastor Sara Ilderton, will be Acting Bishop of the NC Synod in my stead. What will I be doing? Whereas Part 1 involved a good bit of travel and study, Part 2 for July will include family time with grandparent camp—all four at our house for five days, time away at one of our camps renting out facilities to individual families, some end-of-life planning (funerals, wills updating, living wills, etc.), reading several books that have been waiting, and general discernment. And, of course, I wouldn’t want to miss #3 below.
  3. Every summer the NC Synod Engage the Bible Task Group (now there’s a novel idea!) focuses on a book or theme of the Bible for a mid-summer devotional/study with writers connected to the NC Synod. This year it’s “Moments with Matthew.” It begins Sunday, July 5. I’ll be reading, and I hope you will, too. We intentionally recruited all female voices for the devotional/study in keeping with our celebration of the 50th anniversary this summer of the ordination of women in the ELCA and its predecessor bodies. You can participate by subscribing to see the daily study in your inbox , watching daily posts on the Facebook page , or by watching the synod’s website for daily posts. Invite your congregation to join in. Catch the first three readings using the links above. Join me as we explore what is arguably the most Jewish and the most Catholic of the four Gospels. I’m looking forward to it. As the 16th century reformers reminded us that during a crisis or uncertainty that our hope is in “Ad Fontes!” or “Back to the Font/Source,” so we in this time of uncertainty and crisis reground ourselves in the scriptures where God in Christ is revealed.

See you in August! Blessings in the meantime.

Walking with you,

Tim signature

Bishop Tim Smith

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