Lent is late this year. So is any hint of spring. Last year when unrelenting blizzards stranded many people on reservations without food, our Synod responded to a call for food assistance for the Northern Cheyenne. We took a risk—committing to the truckload of food before the money was raised. But you gave generously. Funds came in from across the Synod, and volunteers showed up with Dick Deschamps, our LDR Coordinator, to distribute $16,000 worth of food to hungry families. That’s meeting the future boldly.
Christikon is currently recruiting for Sojourners Camp, a by-invitation-only camping experience for at-risk 11-13 year olds. These are kids who are not yet in the juvenile justice system, but could end up there. Sojourners Camp reaches out non-manipulatively in Christian love, providing role models and positive experiences in the lives of vulnerable kids. Application deadline is April 15. Contact Christikon, www.christikon.org. That’s meeting the future boldly.
Three seminarians have been assigned to the Montana Synod, from three different seminaries. Each brings energy, enthusiasm and a love for the Gospel to serve in the Montana Synod. They eagerly await meeting their future congregation and future colleagues. That is meeting the future boldly.
Across the Synod, LPAs are leading Lenten worship, teaching confirmation, visiting the sick, and tending to the dying, despite never having dreamed they would be doing pastoral acts. But in the absence of pastors, and through the training in the LPA program, as well as licensing from the Synod office, they are doing it, they are meeting the future boldly!
Montana and Wyoming are among the states with the highest suicide rates. Pella Lutheran Church in Sidney is doing something about it. In response to the shortage of mental health professionals, the Mental Health Local Advisory Council is partnering with churches like Pella to coordinate peer-to-peer support groups. That is meeting the future boldly.
Do you want to do something about child abuse and neglect? Consider hosting a “Blue Sunday,” highlighting the work of the Children’s Trust Fund. (ChildrensTrust.mt.gov) Or find out more about Intermountain Children’s Home, a ministry that we share with other Christian denominations. (www.intermountain.org) Or volunteer with CASA CAN. Caring and advocating for children is meeting the future boldly.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (www.LIRS.org) has welcomed the stranger for over 80 years. Now, for only the second time, a former refugee has been appointed to be President and CEO of LIRS. Krish O’Mara Vignarajah is committed to seeing that immigrant families are afforded the same opportunity her family was given when they fled home and arrived in the US. LIRS is one of only two agencies that helped reunite children with parents after family separation this past summer. LIRS meets the future boldly.
Basketball is serious business in our territory. Fans and players alike are passionate. And, unfortunately, people are not always at their best when rooting for their own team against an opposing team. So kudos to the Columbia Falls girls basketball team for offering a gift of respect and sisterhood to the Browning girls basketball team, after a previous unfortunate incident. Young people reaching out to one another across racial and team divides is truly meeting the future boldly.
Lent is a time of prayer and contemplation. It is also a time of engagement. It is a time to meet the future boldly.
Jessica Crist, Bishop
Bishop Jessica Crist
Bishop of the Montana Synod of the ELCA