Thanks to all who made it a successful Synod Assembly and Theological Conference this past weekend. From the workshop leaders and worship planners, to the staff and the voting members, all worked together to make it a time of learning, sharing, worshiping, discerning, all under the theme of “Strengthening Congregations.”
Keynote speakers Linda Bobbitt and Brenda Smith gave presentations on Congregational Vitality and Faith Practices, weaving in their own stories. Resources from their presentation will be available on the Montana Synod website. Mark Gravrock gave a Bible study on Sunday that caught the imagination of the assembly.
Twelve workshops provided participants with many opportunities to find ways to strengthen their congregation. Linda Bobbitt gave a workshop outlining some of the details on the Congregational Vitality Project she directs for the ELCA. Brenda Smith spoke about Prayer as a Faith Practice. Peggy Paugh Leuzinger presented Stewardship Challenges and Resources. Jason Asselstine shared resources on Family Systems in the congregation. John Mundinger offered a workshop on Peace in the Congregation. Julie Long presented creative ways to Use Your Worship Space.
Beth Adams, gift planner, offered a workshop on Congregational Endowments. Seth Nelson talked about his research for his book and addressed Where are the Young People? A group who first met in March to talk about surviving in small congregations gathered under the banner of We do not lose Heart. Tony Rhodes offered a workshop on congregational administration and constitutional matters. Miriam Schmidt led her group through the ELCA’s proposed Declaration on Interreligious Relations. Laurie Jungling guided participants through a workshop on Engaging the Congregation in Difficult Conversations.
For more information on any of these workshops, contact the Synod Office, or contact the presenter.
Worship was a highlight. Friday night’s opening Eucharist was based on a Native American liturgical celebration, and has many elements from indigenous expressions of Christianity. Saturday morning included the recognition of 20 new LPAs, and Sunday morning included the installation of Kathie Larson Aasheim as MSU Campus Pastor. Sunday’s closing Eucharist began with the Baptism of Emmitt William Lefevre, part of the New Hope congregation.
The Synod elected a Vice President, Tom Gossack, and a Secretary, Amanda Liggett, as well as Synod Council members and Churchwide Assembly Voting members and nominating committee members. The Assembly also passed a 2019 budget, and sent a memorial to the Churchwide Assembly on covering seminarians’ tuition.
On Saturday the Assembly moved to the Synod House and dedicated the new building, thanking all who had been involved in the building in any way, and praying for the Synod’s ministry. We also dedicated a tree as a companion to a tree donated by the Montana Synod to the Wittenberg Germany’s Luthergarten’s 500 trees.
Our Assembly is set for May 31-June 2. Come join us!
Jessica Crist, Bishop
Bishop Jessica Crist
Bishop of the Montana Synod of the ELCA