From a Pastor's Desk

A series of opinion articles from rostered ministers and lay leaders from our Synod.


Our Campus Communities

May 14, 2024
I am a campus pastor, and I love my job. As director of The Vine NYC, a multi-denominational, progressive Christian campus ministry for students in New York City, I get to work with intelligent, passionate, hilarious, outstanding students from institutions across the city.

Lifting Up Song in Hope for Peace

Mar 23, 2024
Just keep on singing and you can’t die Just keep on singing and you won’t be buried Tell God to give you a song And just a keep on singing it all day long

Lord, listen to your children praying

Mar 21, 2024
Lord, listen to your children praying Lord, send your Spirit to this place Lord, listen to your children praying Send us love; send us power; send us grace.

Healing Intergenerational Trauma as the Path to the Peace of God Which Passes All Understanding

Oct 15, 2023
"God is present each moment, inviting us to lay down our swords and shields. To acknowledge the sins of our ancestors and ourselves. To tell our stories and to open the way for love, peace and justice."

From the Black Pastors Group | Juneteenth 2023

Jun 07, 2023
Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, holds profound significance in the history of the United States. On this day, we commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and recognize the ongoing struggle for equality and justice. Juneteenth should be more than just a date on the calendar; it should be a "Day of Observation and Remembrance"—a day to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and envision a future where all are truly equal.

A Call for Justice for Indigenous Women and Tribal Rights

May 16, 2023
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs, four in five American Indian and Native Alaskan women have experienced violence, and over 50% have experienced sexual violence. There are also approximately 4,200 missing and murdered women that have gone unsolved.

Palm Sunday and the NY Poor People’s Campaign

Apr 11, 2023
Today, we remember Judas, Peter, and the rest of the twelve, and we confess that we, too, betray Jesus. I betray Jesus when I sleep instead of praying. When I think it’s my job to figure out how to save myself, my family, and my church, and forget to sit there and do nothing but open up my heart and soul to receive the peace beyond understanding that comes from the Prince of Peace.

O God, Grant Courage and Hope

Mar 22, 2023
O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope. Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance. Where impossibilities close every door and window, grant imagination and resistance. Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination. All these things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Lil' Partner

Feb 09, 2023
Grief is our receipt for having loved. It is a sacred part of love. No one can take it from us and even though it gives us the most profound pain of our lifetimes, it is a reminder that we are alive, human, and the embodiment of love. As strange as it may seem, rejoice in grief. Give thanks for the love the one no longer physically present gave us.

A Reflection From the MNYS Sanctuary Committee

Jan 17, 2023
Pastor Fabián Arias, Chair of the MNYS Sanctuary Ministry, and Diaconal Fellow Erin Brown, Saint Peter’s Church, Manhattan; went to Panama in December to attend a conference for churches and Christian organizations accompanying people who are migrating. On the last day of the conference, there was a trip to the Darién Forest [...] This is their reflection on the trip:

Phenomenal Women

Oct 04, 2022
An invitation is extended to all ordained women of word and sacrament to set aside time to have fun in our busy lives and share and encourage one another. This time is open to doing what we want to do and how we want to do it!

Bridging Differences in Our Communities

Oct 04, 2022
This October 19, 2022, we invited Irish theologian, poet, and experienced leader in spaces of division and conflict, Pádraig Ó Tuama, to work with us. Ó Tuama draws from his perspectives on Scripture, faith, and poetry, especially the story of his influential poem Shaking Hands. This event will inspire leaders from the congregations around the synod on their journeys of truth-telling toward the promise of reconciliation we know in Christ, who calls us to be one in the Spirit.

Thousands of asylum seekers remain in danger in Mexican Border Towns – Who will be their Moses?

Jun 28, 2022
In this season of Passover and Holy Week, many of us remember peoples’ liberation from bondage; people crossing the sea; people witnessing the crucifixion, and standing in the hope of resurrection. And in this season, we witness the plight of today’s refugees. Our screens are filled with images of Ukraine. I am heartened to speak with my aunt in Germany as she shares of neighbors opening their homes to welcome Ukrainian strangers and thereby greeting angels unawares.

Juneteenth Observation: A Jubilee Celebration

Jun 16, 2022
The Rev. Kevin Vandiver- In Juneteenth, we celebrate the agency of a resilient people who subversively fight ever-evolving chains, and we have hope that amid it all, the Jesus we serve, upon whom the Holy Spirit rests, preaches the Gospel to the poor; gives sight to the blind; declares liberty to those who are oppressed; and proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord’s favor.

My Beloved Siblings

Jul 21, 2021


Dec 14, 2020


Nov 10, 2020

In Celebration of 50-40-10 Women's Ordination Anniversaries

Oct 09, 2020
I was ordained on Sunday, June 26, 1983. I am the first woman to be ordained in the East Coast Synod of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. I love ordained the ordained ministry of word and sacrament. I love parish ministry even with its ebbs and flows, its often tedious work, its two steps forward and one step back nature of serving congregations.


Sep 29, 2020
The President of the United States is elected to secure the safety and dignity of all human beings living in this country, but sadly, our current “Leader of the Free World” is desperately failing his people. The president, our president, is irresponsibly promoting recommendations that go against the well-being of the very people he is supposed to be protecting and caring for. COVID-19 continues to hit the Hispanic community hard.


Sep 17, 2020
Rhema Café successfully cares for our Nation’s warriors at the largest military community outside the U.S.—Kaiserslautern, Germany. God continues to co-labor alongside us and remains glorified in this place; souls are saved daily—HalleluJah!


Jul 09, 2020
This has been an exciting learning process for all of us at Hope. Each week we have learned something, and we have adapted our practices as our knowledge increases. Eventually, we will be able to worship indoors again, but we will continue to use what we’ve learned for proclaiming a message of healing and hope through Jesus Christ. That’s our mission, and we’ll keep at it for the sake of the gospel.


Jun 16, 2020

A Call for the Rights of Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors

May 04, 2020
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child declares that “immigration detention is never in a child’s best interest and therefore always a child rights violation. Remaining silent and acting as a bystander in effect colludes with the harmful practices.I leave the youth in the hands of the God they depend on, as they wait for a federal specialist to determine their fate – voluntary departure; move to a sponsor or foster care; or graduation to adult ICE detention.

Learning How To Love One Another

May 01, 2020
Get mad and angry with Chinese for bringing this virus here and spreading it around the rest of the world! Is that some kind of hate crime or just an excuse to blame the “Chinese??” I’m preaching to the empty pews, in this big empty church. Just reflecting my thoughts about where we will be going from this point on as a Clergy, and as Church. Let’s pray this horrible situation can go from segregation to unification in Christ!

Living Lutheran: An article by The Rev. Kevin Vandiver

Apr 08, 2020
The resurrection gives us hope, because in it, we see the possibility of new life beyond present sorrow.

Becoming a Tribal Citizen

Dec 11, 2019
A few days went by before I got a message sent to me from an admin- “You don’t know how rare it is to find someone with real Native heritage. Welcome to the Nation, cousin.” A week letter, the letter I had been waiting for arrived. A citizenship card with a welcome letter from the Nation’s chief was enclosed. My lifetime journey was complete. I felt validated and my life was now complete.

A Pastor/Psychiatrist is Blessed by Unaccompanied Central American Youth

Nov 05, 2019
I am a pastor and a psychiatrist who first received God’s grace among the poor. I am a child of German immigrants, my parents growing up in a country where wealth went to the war machine that spat on the non-Aryans, the gays, the gypsies, the Untermenschen. My parents grew up on the farms that Nazis. The love of the ptochos planted the seed of a call to Word and Sacrament that blossomed in the South Bronx, where I journeyed in a community mental health center.

Let the Little Children Come to Me

Oct 24, 2019
An article by The Rev. Gladys Díaz, Church Planter of "Mission Walk: An Episcopal/Lutheran Journey"

Welcoming and Caring for the Stranger

Oct 14, 2019
In addition to supporting individual cases, St. John’s has worked hard to be a place of education and awareness. Over the last year the church has hosted events, film screenings, adult forums, and special prayers on this issue and brought local community leaders and members together to discuss how our community at large can make not only the church, but the whole county a place that welcomes the stranger.

Monastic Spirituality Retreat: Leadership Development Grant Program

Aug 29, 2019
I am on a personal retreat at Holy Cross Monastery north of the City on the Hudson River. I am taking this time at summer’s end so that I can be grounded and better prepared for the busy new program year that is unleashed just after Labor Day. This kind of spirituality is for everyone, and everyone can discover in it blessings that are in keeping with who they are as children of God.

Finding Our Roots: Postcards from a Sabbatical

Aug 21, 2019
Just over 125 years later, the Amsterdam Consistory would ordain another pastor who would eventually make his way to New York. The Rev. Frederick Henry Quitman was ordained in 1783 and called to serve the Lutheran Congregation in Willemsted, Curacao. By 1795, Quitman had gone on to New York.He also served as President of the New York ministerium from 1807-1825. Today, the Oude Lutherse Kerk still stands in the lovely Spui neighborhood of Amsterdam. It is now part of the University of Amsterdam

Rest easy?

Jul 16, 2019
In the past year, I have spoken with several colleagues who have been on sabbatical. Each of them told me, in their own way, that it changed the way they do ministry and it changed them personally. The changes sabbath time makes in us restore us to whom we were created to be, for God is truly our good maker! Sabbath allows the peace and patience of grace to seep into our being, from there into our relationships and communities.

Trading Places

Jul 03, 2019

The Jericho Walk Prayer

Jun 20, 2019
Who will soothe the future? What companion can outlast this new middle passage time, this new desert journey time that leads us to devalue one another? From whom comes the liberty we need to resist Siren Songs that bind us to sin and the chaos of systemic evil? In the silence, as deep calls to deep, I sense some answers.

See the Asylum Seekers’ Wounds and Believe

Apr 26, 2019
At the border, survivors of violence present their scarred bodies as testimony.

Black History is Everyone’s History

Feb 22, 2019
"If we as a people realized the greatness from which we came we would be less likely to disrespect ourselves"—Marcus Garvey


Jan 08, 2019
The important thing to focus on is that this is about discernment together. It is not a competition, it is not about seeking a “promotion,” it is not about campaigning. It is an ongoing, mutual, conversation together, to discern together who God is calling to serve as our bishop.

Advent Apocalypse

Dec 07, 2018

Advent Blessings

Dec 02, 2018
This is why Advent is so important. Yes, Christmas is great with the lights and beautiful music, but we also need to know that HOPE and LOVE come to us in the midst of the most terrifying and scariest of places. That LOVE wanted us to know that we are never alone as we wait in that space of sorrow. This is when LOVE sits with and accompanies us. Please remember that you are not alone in the spaces of grief and struggle. Love is born among us and HOPE draws near.

The Power of Forgiveness – Roll The Stone Away

Nov 14, 2018
On Saturday, October 6th, we came together to begin the exploration of what true forgiveness looks like. We explored Forgiveness= Grace & Mercy; Reconciliation/Change; Unity in the Church; and Worship/Love.

Is Anyone "Illegal" in God’s Kingdom?

Oct 09, 2018
May we follow Jesus’ call to create a net of refuge. May protected status not be taken from those who beg not to join those who’ve been deported to their death. May we see, listen, and speak to our Salvadoran brothers and sisters whose cries still rise to heaven. May we heed Saint Romero’s cry to "Stop the repression", as we herald God’s kingdom, where all are beloved and no human being is illegal.

Pride Is Life

Jun 22, 2018
"In our family pride is life because we know all too well the implication of letting the status quo continue while promising to protect the vulnerable. We know the result of silence." —An article by the Rev. Jared R. Stahler

I’m Not Giving Up

Jun 15, 2018
"Jesus is not tired. God is still with us. The Spirit is an ongoing, loving, stubborn presence. The Incarnation of the Holy in the bodies of Rainbow folks and our families and our friends and our enemies is beyond our power to stop or alter."—An article by The Rev. Katrina D. Foster

On My Way to a Prayerful Sabbatical

May 17, 2018
"In early January of this year, our Synod’s Executive Committee approved my request for sabbatical leave in keeping with our synodical employment agreements. For that I am thankful to our elected leaders and to God! I have spent these intervening months preparing for this sabbatical. Now I am embarking on this adventure, which over the course of the next two months will take me to two different Benedictine monasteries, one Episcopal here in New York state, and a Lutheran one in Michigan."