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

Living Our Mission

God’s Work. Our Hands.

By: Marcia Brown, Mission Interpreter

Hopefully you have heard about the ELCA Day of Service September 8th, recognizing the 25th anniversary of the ELCA. One day of service, can you manage that? Something as simple as passing out water bottles to joggers. Or visiting a nursing home. Or taking a meal to someone homebound. Whatever you do is as boundless as your imagination. One request-after your service, please share your experience with me, or with Pr. Debi Turley at Lord of Life, who is coordinating the Niagara Frontier in this endeavor, so we can include it in this fall’s conference assembly program. By the way, the event isn’t limited to Sept 8th, or even to one time. Be creative! God Bless you in your Service!

God’s Work. Our Hands.

Sweater Weather

434By: Marcia Brown, Mission Interpreter

The Rev. Michael Fonner and Leslie Weed-Fonner are ELCA missionaries in Kenya. Michael is the pastor of the Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation, which supports a knitting school for local women. Here’s their story:

The Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation has three wonderful schools: a nursery school and a sewing school, and a knitting school.

The knitting school has about 25 students. They are young women, many of whom bring their children to school and most live in the area close to the church. They are training so they can knit warm clothes as both a service to their communities and, importantly, as a way to support themselves and their families. Teacher Rebecca is not only highly skilled in knitting and as a teacher, but she is also a mentor figure for the students, leading daily prayers and Christian singing.

As a program of the congregation, the knitting school is both an outreach to the local community and an “income generating activity.” These are important to the Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation and the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church, as we work toward self-reliance and financial independence.

Through your mission support and the work of the wider church, together, we are participants in the life-giving ministry of the Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation knitting school. Women are trained in a vital way to support themselves and their families while warm clothes are provided to homes where there is little heat during the cold season. We thank you for your commitment to ELCA Mission. This is “God’s work. Our hands!”

Summer Reading

By: Marcia Brown, Mission Interpreter

189Pastor Amy Walter-Peterson has just returned from her seventh consecutive summer in Egypt, teaching English at a Coptic seminary. Her trip was cut short this year by the coup that removed President Morsi from power. She has written a blog about her experiences over the years, and it is filled with the Holy Spirit, cultural lessons, a little political commentary, and, this year, front seat reporting of the uprisings. It is a really good read. We give thanks for people like Amy who are willing to go outside their comfort zones to preach and teach the Gospel.

Pastor Walter-Peterson is serving as the Coordinator for Area Ministry Strategies for ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission (CSM), as Pastoral Leader at Resurrection, Rochester, and she was formerly an Assistant to the Bishop here in the Upstate New York Synod.

God’s Work. Our Hands.

Moving Forward in Mission: Question for August

By: Rev. Marie C. Jerge, bishop

You are invited to share what’s happening in your congregation, cluster, conference, or ministry by e-mailing a response to Neal Fischer at or sharing directly on Facebook. Here’s the question for August”

In What Ways are you connecting with God and God’s Word?

Last month’s question was “Where do you see God’s resurrection hope being lived out in your congregation/cluster/conference?” Here are some of the responses:

Redeemer Lutheran in Binghamton NY is a resurrection story in herself. Going from 25 worshipers on Sunday to nearly 60 is one part of that story. She has also resurrected the original call of the church, to be a missionary presence in Binghamton. As we reach out to those around us we are missionaries in a hurting and hungry community. We were built on the corner of Chapin and Main St for such a time as this! Thanks be to God!

A couple who visited the congregation just once had a serious medical emergency. Many folk never met these people but have been praying and sending cards to the young man to support his recovery.

St Mark Lutheran Church in Kenmore, NY is offering meals to the community once per month. Along with the meal, we are giving our guests a bag of groceries to take home. We are also offering a lending/giving library where our guests can either borrow or take bibles and/or books. Since we began this three months ago, we have served an average of 28 community members each month. Some are repeat guests but each month we have seen new faces. Two of our guests are now helping with the meals and attending our worship service. Praise be to God!

Grace Lutheran Buffalo, a congregation with an average Sunday attendance of 75-80 has managed to send 19 kids to LCLC this summer, all with some financial aid, and many with full scholarship, thanks to the generosity of some members, and the fund-raising efforts of others. God’s work, our hands.

Proclaiming Hope: Campus Ministry

rit-worshipAcross the synod we support five mission outposts within college communities. Together they are Lutheran Campus Ministries (LCM).

At the University of Buffalo, LCM of Western New York exists to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to students and young adults. In The House, where students live in intentional Christian community, leaders help students make choices in light of their vocational calling and challenge students to integrate their faith into everyday life. Peer ministers are a centerpiece of this mission.

LCM at the Rochester Institute of Technology is the only mainline Protestant campus ministry on campus. Student involvement and leadership is growing, including three peer ministers who assist in leading worship. They are also launching a new web discussion forum called Meals after Sunday evening worship services are provided by area Lutheran congregations.

In 1913, Rev. Samuel Trexler traveled by train to Syracuse and Ithaca to found Lutheran Campus Ministries at Ithaca (now St. Luke’s) and Syracuse University. They were the second sites of LCM in the United States. Today these ministries help young people put God in the equation as they think about their gifts, talents, and career path. They nurture leaders for the work place, our homes, our neighborhoods, our congregations, and our global community. This is a place where minds and hearts are changed, new friends are made and the gospel is experienced in word and deed.

At the University of Albany, Cornerstone Protestant Campus Ministry offers worship, fellowship, Bible study, and learning opportunities in order “to bring students together to make a difference in the world.” Together they engage in mission and community service both locally and in the wider world. Eight to ten peer ministers lead the way as Bible study leaders, mission coordinators, administrative assistants, and worship facilitators. We support this ministry as an extension of LCM.

Proclaiming Hope

This mission magazine tells the stories of just a few of the many ways lives are being made new by the power of the Holy Spirit through the ministries of the Upstate New York Synod. We hope you will be inspired by te work we do together in Jesus' name.

Questions Regarding Mission
New Mission
Lutheran Disaster Response
Social Ministry
Outreach with Young Adults
Congregational Renewal
Congregational Redevelopment
Growing Disciples
Companion Synods
Missionary Support
Theological Education
Outdoor Ministry
Campus Ministry

Download a PDF file of the entire magazine.