Dear Friends in Christ,
Welcome to our 2021 (Digital) Assembly. This year’s theme, We Are Church TOGETHER, has been and will continue to be lived out in ways most of us hadn’t anticipated not long ago but that still embody the reality of our common identity as children of God. In our gathering we will celebrate and reaffirm our commitment to the Gospel and to each other, hear about significant ministries, and gratefully acknowledge our partnership within our synod and as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and with our ecumenical companions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to experiment with digital platforms and tools while expanding our creativity. One of the blessings in this is that the Church has become even more accessible and welcoming. Congregations are reaching new audiences, unrestricted by geographical limitations. The digital form of this assembly will be one that is familiar (if not ideal) to us and enables us to be sensitive to those most vulnerable among us and the responsibility of advanced planning.
We will be offering inspiring and informative sessions throughout this year’s two-day digital assembly and addressing what will guide our life in the next year as we recover from the pandemic and seek to integrate the lessons we have learned as a result. I am excited to share with you my vision for our synod which is a reinvigorating of our previously approved strategic plan and is focused on our mission and guides and supports the witness of all of us as disciples of Jesus. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to hear from my bright, dedicated and hard-working staff as they report on the various missional strategies they led during this difficult year and impart their hopes and visions for the future of the synod.
We are grateful and delighted to have The Rev. Albert Starr, Director for Ethnic-Specific, Multicultural Ministries and Racial Justice Team, at our assembly, as our ELCA representative. We welcome him and give thanks for his leadership; he has been an inspiration for us in these challenging times. The Rev. Starr will share with us important information regarding the future of our church, from a churchwide perspective.
The holy ministry we share as leaders, congregations and churchwide partners is crucial to our discipleship and empowers us to live the Gospel. We have planned for and are expecting a wonderful and meaningful time together this summer. This 2021 assembly, my first as your bishop, will be a celebration of our resilience and unity as a synod and as the Church.
My prayer is that this assembly will be a reminder that we are stronger and more effective in our witness to Jesus Christ when We Are Church TOGETHER.
Yours in Christ,
+ Bishop Paul Egensteiner