The Upstate New York Synod is a Resurrection People who Pray First, Walk Together, and Change Lives. We believe that the power of God that raised Jesus Christ to new life on Easter is alive in us and in our world today. We prayerfully seek to live with Christ at the center of our lives; to journey together in and with Christ; and to participate in and bear witness to the ways in which God changes lives.
Feed the Roots supports sharing and growing this faith with our young people through outdoor ministry programs offered at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center, Vanderkamp and the coordination of camping programs with Camp SonRise and Camp Fowler in the eastern area of the synod. The campaign will address significant capital and program improvements.
The campaign will ‘feed the roots’ of campus ministry programs across our synod as they nurturing discipleship among faith-filled students and seek to proclaim God’s unconditional love to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ. Funds will strengthen campus ministries in Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany, and Ithaca, New York.
Feed the Roots campaign also supports Seminary Education at our ELCA seminaries as they identify, gather, teach, educate and nurture the church leaders of the future. Scholarship dollars will also support seminarians in our companion synods - the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa).
1 Corinthians 3:6 St. Paul writes: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth."
In the cold of winter with the snow covering the ground, the roots of the plants are nurtured with moisture that will foster their growth in the spring. Trees rest in their dormant state storing up strength for the growing season. Winter is also the time of year we celebrate Epiphany and then make our Lenten journeys - a time to strengthen our faith, to drink in words of scripture and contemplate our relationship with God. It is also a good time to nurture and build a stronger Feed the Roots of Leadership campaign that we may help to grow strong church leaders through our outdoor ministries, campus ministries and seminaries.
We invite all congregations to prayerfully consider taking a step to help strengthen this mission outreach all over our Synod between Epiphany and Easter. Consider holding a special event - a dinner, wine and cheese party, brunch or just taking a special offering one Sunday during this three-month time period designated for Feed the Roots. Campaign materials are available to share at your event and in advance of the date including brochures and a DVD as well as a speaker's bureau if you would like someone to come and speak with you about how the dollars from Feed the Roots are already making an impact in cultivating our future leaders. You can find fundraising ideas, campaign information and pledge forms on the synod website. For more information you may contact Rev. Wendy Buckley, Rev. Jeff Hedin, or Patsy Glista, AIM.
Lutheran Campus Ministry of WNY is in full swing. The eight Peer Ministers (paid interns that each have a specific leadership ministry focus along with their own personal discernment) gathered for their opening planning and group building retreat at LCLC on the first weekend of August. While half of the Peer Ministers will be offsite leading ministry projects, the other half of the group has moved into The House where they will live in intentional Christian community and lead devotions, worship gatherings and missional outreach projects from this home base. They'll also keep the House open and running for other students to stop in for conversations, a place to study or some space to refuel and get some free food or coffee.
Your support of Feed the Roots of Leadership will continue to allow these current Peer Ministers and the future expansion to twelve PM's for 2013-2014, to touch the lives of more and more college students and young adults in WNY. LCM of WNY is a unique blend of ministry that has brought together the best of campus ministry, seminary discernment and camp community into their vision of bringing the joy and love of Jesus Christ into the lives of college students and young adults in WNY.
Thank you for your support of this critical mission in an important phase of its rebirth.
LCLC recently installed 116 solar electricity panels on St. John's Hall. Through a unique nonprofit solar lease agreement with Solar Liberty Electric Company of Buffalo, LCLC is expected to cut its yearly electrical bills for St. John's Hall by over half. In addition, the solar panels at LCLC will reduce greenhouse gas emissions around Chautauqua Lake by 17 tons of CO2 per year. This is equivalent to planting about 700 trees every year or driving a small car 56,718 miles less a year.
Please consider a donation to the Feed the Roots of Leadership campaign to continue to support the work of our outdoor ministries as they help shape and grow the leaders of tomorrow.
Courtney Weller, a member of Good Shepherd, Glenville is serving in Bethlehem in Palestine as part of the Young Adults in Global Mission program through the ELCA. Read about her latest adventures in her latest newsletter here. Courtney has completed her first year at Gettysburg Seminary and is a candidate for ministry in the Upstate New York Synod. She participated in a Project Connect internship with Pastor Amber Malone and was Upstate New York's first "Fund for leaders" Scholar in 2010.
The Fund for Leaders provides scholarships to seminarians to attend any ELCA seminary. Upstate New York Synod has its own Fund for Leaders account. One goal of the Feed the Roots of Leadership Capital Campaign is to increase its principal so that more scholarships are available. Please consider supporting this appeal today.
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name - John 15: 16
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Last May, the Candidacy Committee approved my entrance to seminary, and from that point my life changed forever. I had been hearing God’s call for a long time, and now this call was actually being affirmed. Much had to be done in order to prepare for seminary. There were applications to fill out, essays to write, not to mention the introductory visit/to the seminary. It was during the seminary visit that I was told that I was accepted as a seminarian at LTSP. I truly felt affirmed that God has chosen me.
Speaking of preparations, I worked hard to pay off bills so that I could enter seminary with no debt. Let’s face it, at 57 years old, it didn’t make sense to go to seminary part-time with online/distance learning. It would just take much too long. So I decided that I would resign my job in Syracuse NY and go to seminary full-time. I thank God for the foresight to pay down debt prior to seminary.
So, as I reflect on this past year, I realize how much God has blessed me. I am receiving an education that is world-class, at a beautiful seminary with professors that are personable and who truly care about each student. The lectures and classes are engaging and relevant to practical ministry. I’ve met colleagues with whom I will continue contact well beyond seminary. I am serving on the Education Committee for the seminary, as well as serving as an auditor for the Student Body books. One of the gifts God has blessed me with is the gift of music, so I enjoy singing with the Chapel Choir. The first year field education rotation to 10 different churches over the year has been eye opening and so valuable to my seminary education. This coming summer, I will be doing my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at St. Luke’s in Bethlehem, PA. There’s never a dull moment!
However, there is one thing that makes me pause, and that is the staggering cost. Tuition, books, living expenses, car and health insurance are just a few things that tend to distract me from the main goal. Even after a scholarship from the seminary, I am facing debt building up over the next four years that will be around $20,000 for each year at the seminary. Unfortunately, my home congregation has not been able to subsidize a portion of the load, and the synod provided only a very modest scholarship which incidentally will almost pay the tuition for this summer’s CPE program.
I am so grateful for the help I have received. I am also humbled that Bishop Marie, the Candidacy Committee and the entire Synod staff hold each of the Upstate NY seminarians in prayer. This inspires and energizes me on so many levels. I am thankful to those who support the “Feed the Roots of Leadership” appeal by contributing to the capital appeal of the Upstate NY Synod. Supporting this program is so vital for the raising up of new leaders for the church by helping them to discern God’s will and to learn and grow. For those of you who are on the proverbial fence trying to decide whether or not to share your gifts, I hope that this testimony will demonstrate how much your contribution will impact a seminarian’s education.
This year has changed me. As I read chapter 15 of John, I am reminded that God is preparing me to bear fruit. This is a time of growing and cultivation as I gain a deeper understanding of the Good News of Jesus Christ. God is so extravagant with love, and wants us to share that love with one another. When the Rev. Mary Lee Johnson visited the seminary just before Thanksgiving, I told her that the seminary experience has made me come alive. God has indeed chosen me to learn, grow and share the Word that I might bear fruit, fruit that will last. I pray that you too will be moved to share the gifts with which you have been blessed.