Our 2017 Synod Wide Ministerium was held on March 13. Over 80 of our clergy and pastoral leaders gathered for a day with worship and conversation with each other at Gloria Dei, Huntington Station. The day’s program was created by a group of five conference deans.
The worship itself was a collaboration between two pastors, Pr. Joel Brandt of Gloria Dei and Pr. Frank Nelson of St. Peter’s, both in Huntington Station. Less than half a mile from each other, these two congregations have started developing new partnerships and ways of working together in the same neighborhood. Bishop Rimbo preached on the story of Nicodemus and the questions we have about Jesus.
The rest of the day was spent in conversation with one another. Rev. Wm. Chris Boerger, Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was on hand to help answer questions and underscore the interdependent nature of our church. We began with a brief discussion of the document, "Called Forward Together in Christ."
This document outlines five goals and priorities for the church that we are becoming:
- A thriving church spreading the gospel and deepening faith for all.
- A church equipping people for their baptismal vocations in the world and this church.
- An inviting and welcoming church that reflects and embraces the diversity of our communities and the gifts and opportunities that diversity brings.
- A visible church deeply committed to working ecumenically and with other people of faith for justice, peace and reconciliation in communities and around the world.
- A well-governed, connected and sustainable church.
It was especially noted that this is a document with our church’s aspirations. These are goals that dovetail with our own synod’s strategic planning. In response to this Bishop Rimbo remarked, "Our hope for congregations is to increase their vibrancy by rising up and working together."
In relation to these goals and the things we already know of our church, the planning team had compiled questions that had been raised within their conferences for discussion. The topics ranged from the call process in the ELCA, our ongoing anti-racism efforts, and how to nurture stewardship and evangelism, to recruiting leaders, supporting seminaries, and the reception of our new compensation guidelines for pastors. Pastors asked questions throughout and at their tables discussed their own call stories, the marks of successful pastors and how they are equipping congregation members to be public witnesses to their faith.
View an album of pictures from the day here.
Read Bishop Rimbo’s sermon here.
Learn more about Called Forward Together in Christ: ELCA Strategic Directions 2025 here.