On the road together

May 23, 2011 08:21 AM

Photos by Bob Williams


Click here to view a gallery of photos.


"In the church, we use words so often that we assume we understand them," said Bishop Rimbo, presenting his report to over 500 people gathered for Synod Assembly, May 13-14 at the Melville Marriott on Long Island. "One old word is of great importance to me as we gather in assembly, the word ‘synod.’ It’s a mysterious word. We are not quite sure what it means. So it is my task to try to guide your thinking as we gather for this Synod Assembly. It comes from two words meaning, literally, ‘with’ and ‘road’ – on the road with, on the way together; that’s what a synod is, or at least what it is supposed to be." Click here to download the full text of the bishop’s report.


Participants at the Synod Assembly spent two days learning what it means to be on the road together with other congregations, with chaplains, with committees, with young adults, with our myriad partner organizations, with our ecumenical partners, with our companion synods, and with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The assembly broke out in applause when Bishop Rimbo invited everyone to make "a very simple yet rich change in how we speak. It is time for us to stop talking about ‘the synod’ and speak rather of ‘our synod.’"


DianeJacobsonDr. Diane Jacobson, leader of the ELCA’s Book of Faith initiative, guided the assembly in looking at the Ten Commandments through four different lenses: devotional, historical, literary, and theological. "The commandments show that God cares about how we act and that God cares about relationships," she said. Participants overwhelmingly found the Bible studies informative and entertaining. "Dr. Jacobson is awesome!" enthused members when evaluating the event.


Over 400 voting members passed a memorial calling on the 2011 Churchwide Assembly to address the prevention of bullying and harassment. Members voted in favor of encouraging youth and young adult participation in their own congregations and in synodical ministries. Voters also asked our Synod Council to coordinate and undertake a strategic planning process by next year. During elections, two lay members were elected to Synod Council; two more were nominated for ELCA Church Council. Download the summary of actions here. In an unusual circumstance, voters heard the appeals of two congregations which had been removed from the roster by Synod Council, as well as recommendations from the Consultation Committee. The appeal of St. Luke’s, Bronx was denied; Grace, North Branch was reinstated to the roster.ThriventGrants


Awards were presented and ministries were celebrated. In recognition of ministries that feed the hungry and clothe the homeless, Thrivent Foundation presented three generous grants totaling over $29,000 to St. Peter’s, Huntington Station; Trinity, Staten Island; and Trinity Lower East Side, Manhattan. The Child Youth and Family Ministry Committee honored Trinity, Rocky Point’s youth ministry with the Heart of Ministry Award. Project Connect thanked rostered leaders celebrating anniversaries with a video recognizing their combined 2,065 years of witness and work in the name of Jesus.


FestivalEucharistOn Friday night, the community gathered to celebrate the Easter season together at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Huntington Station. Ribbons swooped, lessons were read in German and Telugu, jazz musicians led the psalm, and Bishop Rimbo preached on Jesus’ appearance on the road to Emmaus, asking congregants where they encounter the living God. "For St. Luke, the answer is: Somewhere on the road between here and Emmaus. Luke is the only gospel writer who tells us the story of what happened on that road, but everyone has walked it at one time or another. It is the road of deep disappointment, diminishing numbers, fear and scarcity, illness and disconnect…[Jesus] does not limit his post-resurrection appearances to those with full confidence in him. He comes to the disappointed, the doubtful, the disconsolate. He comes to those who do not know their Bibles, who do not recognize him even when they are walking right beside him. He comes to those who have given up and are headed back home, which makes this whole story a story about the blessed-ness of broken-ness."