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Bishop's Newsletter November, 2013

THE WORD IS. . . .

   The president of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where I taught for thirteen years, greeted me at a meeting and said, “The word is you’re a happy man.” That word is true. The North/West Lower Michigan Synod is the place where Jesus is keeping a promise in my life: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John

10:10). I am enlivened by the work that God has given me to do, and by my coworkers in the Gospel, particularly our synod staff, deans, and synod council. The welcome Cathy and I receive as we travel our synod overwhelms me. I experience enthusiasm and energy as the Spirit makes mischief among us. In this month of Thanksgiving, it is great to be grateful. Thank you!

   Our synod desks are in place. The bishop, along with Maggie, Margie and Ann, work from St. Stephen in Lansing. Pastor Sarah Friesen-Carper’s office is at Lutheran Church of the Savior in Kalamazoo. I have enjoyed full days of visits at our desks at Trinity in Frankfort and St. Matthew in Herron. Emanuel in Mt. Pleasant is putting the finishing touches on our office there, where the Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Evangelical Mission—who we are actively, prayerfully and deliberately seeking to call— will be based. We have received applications for this position and are reviewing them as we work to identify candidates for an initial round of conversation.

   I long for unscheduled time to set up a new synod web page. My goal is to have something in place by December 1. For the short term, I am taking on the task myself, using what I know. The aim is to have something we can update easily and in house. For the long-term, the IT Task Force, which is slowly taking shape, will look at the best technology for the synod office, for connecting the synod, and for smaller congregations to use in their own ministries.

   I am still learning about synodically authorized ministers—I don’t use the term SAMs—in our synod. The role of synodically authorized ministers is an issue and question across our church. I am clear that the emphasis is on the faith community’s need for Word and Sacrament. So, when a congregation asks me to authorize someone to preside at the table, I need to know the nature of the need. I also need help understanding why an ordained minister cannot preside.

   Finally, I know that, in some places, November is stewardship time and the beginning of budget planning. Two months in this office convince me how urgently the world needs the gospel and how desperately we in our synod need each other. We can witness to Christ and participate in his reconciling work together in ways we cannot on our own. We are stronger relying on, praying for, and helping each other. I sincerely ask you to prayerfully consider participating in the new thing God is doing, the new life Christ is bringing in North and West Lower Michigan by increasing your congregation’s mission support to our synod and, through our synod, to the ELCA. I thank you in advance for doing so, even as I thank you again for the joy and privilege of serving as your bishop.

~The Rev. Craig Alan Satterlee, Ph.D., Bishop


Latvia Art Project      A ministry of the Northwest Lower Michigan Synod of the ELCA

The Lutheran Church in Latvia is one of our three Companion Synods. Pastor Douglas Ogden, of Lebanon Lutheran Church in Whitehall, recently visited there for the first time, and advised how amazed he was at the work of their Diakonal Centers of the Latvian Lutheran Church (Which uses art as a form of therapy for abused women and children). In turn, to bring attention to this artwork and provide a source of funds for the Diakonal Centers, a Website has been created to sell the art. You can view the artwork, and order it in the form of notecards or framed art by visiting www.latvianartproject.com (click on Latvian Art - on the right, under pages). Upon ordering you will be directed to a Paypal account (note that orders will be shipped directly to you). We also have a supply of notecards available for purchase at the synod office.


WHAT are the Mission Priorities of the ELCA?

   In the mission planning process called Listening to God, I state that congregations need to be clear about their priorities of mission, their goals, and objectives. This clarity gives direction to their mission or purpose as a community of faith. At a meeting last week with a congregation they asked and told me: “What are the priorities that guide the Churchwide ELCA organization in its mission? Our congregational priorities for mission might follow the Churchwide mission priorities.”

   Gladly I shared with them the Churchwide mission priorities, which are: 1) Accompany congregations as growing centers for evangelical mission, and 2) Build the capacity of this church for evangelical witness and service in the world to alleviate poverty and to work for justice and peace. (These strategic priorities were adapted by the Churchwide Assembly, our highest legislative authority.) Possibly, these two priorities for mission might be helpful in your congregation too!


~Pastor Roger Hardy


Pastor Roger Hardy is the Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop, should you need to contact him, you can reach him at: (o) 517-321-5066, (c) 517 897-0735 or rogerhardy@mittensynod.org.

   Michael Anderson is a member of the Synod Hunger team and can be reached at: mikevicki.anderson@gmail.com

 

 


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