We are resurrection people who pray first, walk together and change lives. This mission is accomplished through God's grace alive and active in the lives of individuals and congregations throughout the synod. Living Our Mission provides a place to share the stories of how God's work is being done in the world with our hands.
At Synod assembly we heard "how beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of the messengers who bring the gospel." When I write these monthly mission messages, I am spreading the word of how God's work is being done with the money you and your congregations send as mission support. That work tells people who may not know Jesus that we believe part of our commission is to care for others. That's how simple mission interpretation is. Would you like to be a part of spreading the good news? There is a fully paid for conference for new mission interpreters in Chicago, August 24-26. Its areas of focus are:
Introducing the 2013 issue of Stories of Faith in Action and related resources
Exploring the biblical acts of giving
Celebrating God's presence in worship
Engaging in missional stories about God's work through the ELCA
Developing the perspectives, practices and skills of interpretation
Equipping individuals to be coordinators and interpreters in their settings
Preparing a plan to advance mission interpretation in ELCA synods
Sound interesting? This same conference in 2010 is what got the fire lit under me. Reservation needs to be made by August 7th, so be in touch with me (email@example.com) if you would like to join the mission interpreter team.
By Rev. Judith VanOsdol, Director for Evangelical Mission
We are excited and thrilled to have a delegation of around twenty mission minded leaders, both clergy and lay from every conference of our synod who will be attending a "Train the trainer" event in August sponsored by the renewal movement of the ELCA's Churchwide expression.
These leaders will be a part of our "Synodical Mission Dream Team"-a group helping to plan and focus on mission around the synod. Each of these facilitators will be working in mission teams around the synod for a renewed sense of call, discipleship, mission and purpose in our congregations and conferences.
There is far too much hopelessness in this unhappy world. Our faith communities are called to be centers of hope. There are tools and skills that facilitate a move toward a more effective model of mission and discipleship: each baptized believer as a missionary, each congregation a mission station, each pastor a mission director. The first step is a deep listening and hearing God's call to us in Christ Jesus.
Expect God to do great and amazing things: in us, through us and within our communities.
Project Connect hosted a dinner for young adults during the Synod Assembly. On Friday night 38 young adults from across the synod gathered at Dinosaur BBQ for some dinner and conversation about how God is at work in the world and in their lives. Through conversation and good food we began to explore how God's presence is in our lives and we began to talk about the connections that we shared. There were many laughs and there was a sense of hope that we are connected, that together we are the body of Christ. Sometimes it may seem like we are alone, because our synod is so big. However, there is a renewed sense that with the help of God and one another we all can celebrate the gifts God has blessed us with. Project Connect continues to be active and alive. In the coming months you will hear about more young adult dinners throughout the synod, about a mission trip later in the fall and a young adult retreat at Vanderkamp Center in Cleveland, NY (www.vk.org). For more information about what is happening please contact Pastor Amber (firstname.lastname@example.org), Pastor Shawn (email@example.com) or Pastor Joe (firstname.lastname@example.org).
...now what to do with the kids all summer! The Upstate New York Synod supports two campgrounds, Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center in southwestern New York, and Vanderkamp in the central part of the state. In the east confirmation camps and senior high weeks are held at other facilities. All provide summer programs under the supervision of Christian counselors. Rest assured that our kids are having fun in a safe, wholesome environment. You can find out more about our camps on the synod website, upstatenysynod.org. Scroll down the right side to "links", and you'll find an alphabetical list of many organizations and missions, the camps among them. Your mission donations help keep these wonderful outdoor ministries going. Thank you!
By Beth Walker, Upstate New York Synod, Global Mission Committee Chairperson
Part of our stay in Utica was with Ed and Carole Grove whose connection to Zimbabwe is more personal than for most of us. In 1997, Zimbabwe Bishop Moyo visited the Upstate NY Synod and spoke at the Synod Assembly. Matt Grove, Carole and Ed’s son, was 18 at the time and heard the Bishop speak. Matt was so moved by what he heard, that by September he was on his way to volunteer at a Lutheran hospital in Zimbabwe. Matt would stay for a year, living with a local family, learning how to run the x-ray equipment at the hospital, and doing whatever needed to be done. Carole and Ed traveled to visit their son while he was in Zimbabwe and brought stories back to motivate our Global Mission Committee during a time when our companion synod relationship was just being formed.
Carole and Ed’s hospitality was special because of this connection. Matt’s joy at being part of that hospitality was evident. (See the video of the Dubes coming home to music at Grove’s house after a day on the road below).
It is the personal connections that make the relationships between our synods full of life and love. That is why visits, in both directions, are so important, why the Bishop and his fellow travelers stayed in homes while they were here, and why their schedule was organized to meet and greet as many people as possible from our synod. While the companion relationship is maintained across the synod, twinning helps to make our companion relationship real in memories, personal letters, pictures, and stories at the congregation level. The challenge is how to begin and maintain that contact when you haven’t had a face to face visit. Some of us have seen, heard, touched, and hugged. Others will have to step out in faith, believing that the relationship is possible. (For more information on the twinning process, contact Beth Walker at email@example.com)
From Utica, we traveled to the Synod Assembly where the theme revolved around global relationships. Folks had a chance to chat with the Bishop Dube, Mrs. Dube, and Mr. MM Dube at the Global Café on Thursday night while sipping Fair Trade Coffee, viewing goods from One World Goods (a store that sells fairly traded goods in Pittsford), anticipating Pastor Gail Wolling’s (Luther Memorial, N. Syracuse) trip to Zambia, hearing about Dr. Peter Liljeberg’s medical trips to Guatemala, talking with Dave Ekimoff from Immanuel, Webster about Immanuel’s grant to Zambia for rice fields, and many other wonderful stories of relationship and adventure. Over 100 people partied heartily until devotions at the end of the evening.
The Dubes participated in many parts of the assembly, the workshop “Walking with Zimbabwe” and Bishop Dube leading devotions, and you can view some of these interactions on youtube as part of the 2012 Assembly Playlist at here.
The Dubes stayed in the hotel, and I drove back and forth from home, sleeping in my own bed, and catching up on laundry and mail. It was the first time in over a week that we had not spent all day, every day, together. I heard people asking them at assembly how much longer they were staying; when they would be leaving. The emotions that I felt were a microcosm of what the companion synod relationship for the two churches could be. I felt how precious our time together was. I knew I would miss them terribly when they returned home. I also knew that we were one body, and because of that, whatever joy they felt, I did, too, and their pain would be mine as well.