Synod Assembly Reflections, part 1

Our Experience Attending the Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly, May 3-5, 2019 in Albuquerque, NM by Jason and Trey Sherwood

This three part series (part 2 and part 3 here) will focus on our shared experience attending the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly with the theme, “Be Transformed”. We are excited to inform you of the Synod’s “Better Together” strategic plan, share our reflections on the plenary speaker Father Richard Rohr’s message of transformational faith, and give you insight into the church’s work with migrants and refugees.

 

Part I: Better Together

 

Our assembly experience was centered on exploring what we get to do together in Christ. As a church, we are better together, carrying the unconditional love of God into the world. In 2016, the Synod Council approved their first three-year plan. Plan 2.0, presented at the 2019 conference, continues the momentum of our shared ministry as the ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod by expanding the focus to include these five key areas:

  • Claiming Our Gifts
  • Connecting in Ministry & Witness
  • Equipping all Leaders
  • Accompanying One Another into God’s Future
  • Growing in Gratitude and Generosity

 

“Claiming our Gifts”, the foundation of the plan, focuses on our heritage as the ELCA, our theology of grace, rituals and legacy. The next faithful steps in this area are:

  • Expanding our understanding of our distinct ELCA identity and witness through Claiming our Gifts
  • Explore opportunities for new ecumenical partnerships
  • Deepen our global engagement by connecting our local witness with our global relationships
  • Continue our public witness through our commitment to advocacy, integrating our ELCA theology into our engagement with current issues and contextual realities

 

“Connecting in Ministry and Witness” focuses on fostering a spirit of active collaboration and intentional connection across our Synod. The next faithful steps in this area include:

  • Continue an effective ministry of presence on the part of the Office of the Bishop and Synod Council
  • Explore new, creative, and sustainable ways to gather as Church Together in our synod
  • Strengthen current and emerging networks for connection and collaborations including conferences, lay leadership and ministry cohorts
  • Prioritize our growing partnership with the ELCA Region 2 and California Lutheran University/Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

 

“Equipping all Leaders” focuses on building health and vibrant faith communities by equipping lay leaders, pastors, and deacons for excellence in leadership. This will be accomplished by:

  • Launching the Excellence in Leadership program to form leaders and communities of faith that are courageous, resilient, and faithful amid changing times
  • Support continuing leadership initiatives such as coaching, RMS Youth Council, and ministry networks
  • Prioritize new strategies for equipping pastors, deacons and other church leaders in their local contexts

 

“Accompanying One Another into God’s Future” seeks and promotes new ways of being Christ’s Church together in the world by:

  • Aligning and streamlining synod structures for effectiveness, efficiency and innovation
  • Exploring new and creative congregational, campus and outdoor ministries
  • Accompanying congregations and ministries to increase their capacity to be adaptive, right-sized and vital
  • Raising up and supporting new public leaders for the church’s ministry

 

“Growing in Gratitude and Generosity” focuses on strengthening our financial capacity for ministry and witness relying on a spirituality of gratitude and generosity. The next faithful steps in this area are:

  • Implement a second Lilly Grant that focuses on congregations and ministers in order to transform our church’s culture related to money
  • Equip synod leadership in building a culture of gratitude
  • Support the ministry of the ELCA Gift Planner and strengthen our capacity for generous investment in ministry

 

While this is just a summary of the plan, the full version can be found online at: www.rmselca.org/sites/rmselca.org/files/media/2.0_full_rms_strategic_plan_.pdf