December 29, 2016
Dear Friends in Christ Jesus,
I hope you had a blessed Christmas and are looking forward to 2017 with hope and great expectations. I know you have heard that the word “synod” means “walking together,” and now is the time to put on the athletic shoes and get to it.
We need your help now and I know that many times your congregation has needed help from the Northern Great Lakes Synod. Most often we see these interactions when there are transitions in our congregations like when a pastor leaves or a new one installed, but there are many more subtle ways the synod helps congregations every day with news from the ELCA, opportunities to apply for grants, the many activities and retreats at Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp, and many more.
With the coming retirement of Bishop Thomas Skrenes, we are moving to plan our future. You have an opportunity to help in this process. We want your congregation (the pastor and 2-3 lay members) to sign up to come to either Crystal Falls or Marquette on February 18, to participate in an interview with representatives from the ELCA Office of Research and Evaluation Team (ORET) from Chicago. Questions that would be asked by the researchers include but are not limited to: What has gone well with the synod? What has not? What dreams do your congregation and the synod have for the future? What needs tending in the Synod in the next years? What do we need to celebrate?
The results of these interviews and data already collected by ORET will be put together as a Self Study which will be used to guide us and any potential candidates for Bishop to match our wishes for qualities in a new Bishop to their gifts and strengths.
We want your pastor and 2-3 lay members of your congregation to commit to a one hour appointment with a member of the ORETeam at either Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette or United Lutheran Church in Crystal Falls on February 18. One hour interviews will be scheduled at each location from 9:00-noon and 1:00-4:00 p.m. Two interviewers from ORET will be at each site so there is an opportunity for 24 congregations. You may choose either morning or afternoon and choose which site you will go to and we will select a specific appointment time for you (remember Crystal Falls is Central Time and Marquette is Eastern.)
You can arrange an appointment for your congregation by calling the synod office at 906-228-2300 or by emailing the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need your commitment by Feb 1, 2017, but the sooner, the better! Please take this opportunity to help shape the future of our synod.
And yes, we know that the weather in mid-February can be a factor in travel plans, but please make this commitment and then attend if you can without putting yourselves in danger and let us know if you can’t attend. We believe this will be a great way for the people of this synod to begin the work of planning for our common future.
God bless you!
Pamela Long Vice President, Northern Great Lakes Synod