News and Resources from the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


Can Tabs are Back!!

Our aluminum can tab collection continues to be a successful and easy project for all congregation across the Synod to participate in.  The Synod Assembly Planning Team has decided to offer this project for the 2017 Synod Assembly.  Start collecting can tabs NOW, and bring your collected tabs to the Synod Assembly in June.  It has not yet been decided where the proceeds from the collection project will be sent.  An announcement of the decision will be made by the Planning Team at a future time.  Your questions can be referred to Gary Roller at

Hats for Seafarers International House

Seafarers International has been a part of our assembly Mission Expo for several years.  Seafarers International House is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, where a Harbor of Hospitality is provided to seafarers, sojourners, and people on the way.  Whether in the ports of New York, New England, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, or at their guesthouse on Union Square in Manhattan, Seafarers cares for people because nobody should be isolated or forgotten, whether at sea or ashore.
Our Assembly planning team invites congregations to help us knit and crochet hats and scarves for Seafarers.  Bring your finished items to Synod Assembly for distribution to this important ministry serving those on the sea. Below are links to help you with your projects.
Learn more about Seafarers at:
Lutheran Advocate for Maritime Ministries facebook page.
Seafarers International House –
Hat and Scarf Instructions are available at the links below and are also posted on the synod website under “Assembly.”
Hat looms (Just the extra-large size.  You can also order a set of four in different sizes.).  Thrivent has accepted the purchase of these as an action team. Order hat looms

What does Accompaniment mean? 

Global Mission is about being in accompaniment with others.  What exactly does that mean?
Accompaniment-literally, walking together side by side-is a mutual relationship and journey where the presence of God is revealed.
Central Africans have their own expression for accompaniment: maboko na maboko¸ which means “hand in hand.”
The biblical roots of accompaniment are found in the incarnation of Jesus when God walks with us. One of the stories that unfolds this presence is in Luke 24:13-35, the Easter story of the friends walking on the road to Emmaus. The disciples on the road, the accompanying stranger, the dialogue and examination of scripture, the extending of hospitality and a meal, and finally, the revelation of the risen Christ in the breaking of bread, all provide images of our journey together in God’s mission.
The Upstate NY Synod practices accompaniment through a companion synod relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa).  Local congregations practice accompaniment when they meet mission partners as equals and build relationship along with providing support.  View a presentation on Accompaniment.
Community Reads
Two books are suggested as community reads to support the theme,
Building Bridges, of the 2017 Upstate NY Synod Assembly.  These books address how charity is typically enacted by religious organizations, how we sometimes hurt when our intent is to help, and how we can re-envision mission.
Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help
(and how to reverse it) by Robert D. Lupton (2012).

Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like if We Cared About the Results by Robert D. Lupton (2016).  Available on Amazon for around $10
While everything in these books may not apply to your congregation and while you may not totally agree with all the ideas, take time to read, reflect and discuss within your congregation and with others in the synod about how ministry and mission is enacted, where the power lies, and how relationships are developed.

Synod Assembly 2017: Building Bridges

Building Bridges
is the theme for the 2017 Synod Assembly which will be held June 8 – 10, 2017 at the Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center ( in Rochester, NY.  Accommodations will be at the Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside  Building Bridges lifts up this year’s focus on Global Mission and will incorporate a Churchwide Glocal event providing assembly participants with a wonderful opportunity to be immersed in all things global.   In addition to the usual opportunities to participate in synod business and attend workshops, you can look forward to a Global Café on Thursday afternoon, worship that includes instrumentalists and Churchwide Glocal musicians to add an African and Hispanic flavor, dedicated Mission Expo time with a significant global flavor and many opportunities for not only voting members but guests of all ages.  Attendees will also hear from our keynote speaker, the Rev. Stephen Bouman, Executive Director, Domestic Mission for the ELCA.
Registration will open on April 1, 2017 with registration costs announced closer to the opening of registration.  Hotel and food costs are in addition to the registration fee and will be listed when the on-line registration opens.  Synod Assembly is open to persons of all ages who want to attend, not just rostered leaders and congregational voting members.  Child care will be offered.   Watch for regular assembly information and documents announced in the Upstate Update beginning in mid-March.
Encourage your congregation to elect youth and young adults as voting members to the June 8 – 10, 2017 Upstate New York Synod Assembly.  Please mark the appropriate places on the registration forms so we can keep accurate records.  Our synod constitution states that it is the goal of this synod that at least 10% of the voting members of the Synod Assembly, Synod Council, committees, and organizational units of this synod be youth and young adults.
Our Synod Assembly Planning Team volunteers are working diligently to offer an exciting and energizing experience at our 2017 Assembly under the leadership of planning team chair, Joanne Lembach, Incarnate Word and Synod Assembly Coordinator, Mary Osgood, Bethlehem, Fairport.
Mark your calendars NOW to join us in Rochester.  In the rest of this issue you will find ways to begin preparing for Building Bridges now that provide ways your whole congregation can be engaged in global mission, now and at Synod Assembly.  Be sure that your congregation’s voting members are signed up for the synod’s Upstate Update where beginning March 15 you will be able to find all the information about the 2017 Assembly.   Sign-up on the synod website, bottom right corner.