Dear Trinity Friends
by Pastor Jocelyn Carson | December 4, 2009
Dear Trinity friends,This month I am sharing with you portions of a pastoral letter from the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in which he addresses some of the joys and sorrows of our common church. If you would like to read the entire letter you may go to this website: http://www.elca.org/faithfulmission . There will also be full copies of his letter available in the Fireside Room.
As a congregation, we are partners in ministry with the ELCA. A portion of our Synod benevolence is sent on to the ELCA to help fund essential programs of the church such as missionaries, seminaries, and feeding the hungry. We receive back from them resources that strengthen our ministry in Everett, including consultations with our synod’s new director of evangelical mission, the Rev. Jerry Buss. Thank you for your faithful gifts to Trinity and for your participation in the mission of Jesus Christ.
Moving forward in hope,
“Sisters and brothers in Christ of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Where does the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) stand today?
We stand together in God's grace, but we are not standing still. We proclaim Jesus Christ and are fully engaged in this mission by actively caring for the world that God loves. God's mission is serious work that calls for serious commitment. We bring all that we are -- especially our rich diversity, our shared tradition and even our disagreements -- in service of God's mission.
We go forward in this mission trusting that "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us" (Romans 5:5). Evidence abounds of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon us and through us:
Our new directors of evangelical mission, based in synods, are trained and ready to serve ELCA congregations that they might continue to grow as evangelical centers for mission.
ELCA chaplains Michael Lembke, Richard Brunk and Paul Dirksmeyer bore witness to God's mercy at Fort Hood, Texas. They ministered to families, friends and an entire nation grieving the tragic shootings at the nation's largest military base.
Think of the signs of the Holy Spirit being poured out in your life and in your congregation! Thanks be to God for this continued outpouring of the Spirit among us. When the ELCA Church Council faced the reality of reduced financial resources for mission, it made a difficult but necessary 10 percent budget reduction. The decision, however, does not diminish our resolve and commitment to engage together in God's mission for the life of the world.
We will engage Christ's mission with everyone who stands together in God's grace, using the rich gifts that the Holy Spirit has poured into our lives:
The apostle Paul wrote that where the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us, hope abounds and hope does not disappoint us (Romans 5:4-5). What a wonderful promise this is as we now enter the season of Advent! With our hope in Christ, we face the future together as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, serving the world that God so loves. Amen. Come Lord Jesus!”
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America