LIRS is becoming Global Refuge

LIRS is becoming Global Refuge

By Bishop Michael Rinehart If you don’t know what the initials “LIRS” stand for, you have already stumbled across one of the good reasons for this name change. I had the privilege of serving on the Global Refuge/LIRS board of directors from 2013-2016, the latter half of that time as chair. During that time, we hired an incredible leader in Krish Vignarajah as our President and CEO. The organization did good work, though few in the public knew who we were. We wanted to raise awareness about the...

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Rebuilding Your School Post-Pandemic

Rebuilding Your School Post-Pandemic

By Bishop Michael Rinehart The pandemic was hard on families, businesses, and the economy. Churches and their schools were no exception. Many of our schools had to shut down completely for a time due to COVID spreading through the school during the height of the pandemic. When things settled down, many schools found themselves with fewer teachers and fewer students. Now that the smoke has cleared, how do our schools get back on their feet? Before we go there: Why do Lutheran churches have...

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Lisa’s Pieces: Creation Care Tips from the Synod Lutherans Restoring Creation Team for March 2024

Lisa’s Pieces: Creation Care Tips from the Synod Lutherans Restoring Creation Team for March 2024

By Lisa Brenskelle For more information on any of the below, or for creation care assistance/information, contact Lisa Brenskelle at gcs.lrc@gmail.com or see our new website! The team is seeking additional members. If you would be willing to serve, please contact us. The mission of Lutherans Restoring Creation is to promote incorporation of care for creation into the full life and mission of the church, working in five areas: worship, education, discipleship, building & grounds, and public...

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Why A Doctor of Ministry?

Why A Doctor of Ministry?

by Pastor Mindy Roll, Zion-Houston In the fall of 2017, I began work on a Doctor of Ministry degree through Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, a seminary of the Disciples of Christ. I was drawn to a DMin for a number of reasons, but mostly because I missed being in a classroom. Much had changed in the world during my first ten years after seminary, and I felt behind when it came to questions around theology and social issues. Brite has a reputation for being ahead of the curve on such...

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Listen! God Is Calling: Courtney Lerch

Listen! God Is Calling: Courtney Lerch

by Tracey Breashears Schultz, Bishop’s Associate for Leadership The theme for the 2024 Synod Assembly is Listen! God Is Calling. We will focus on the theme of vocation and talk about the distinct gifts each of us has to offer the church and the world. Often, when we think about callings, we tend to call to mind those who are called to ordained ministry, but I have been privileged to meet and work with incredible lay people in our synod who faithfully answer their callings every day. I will use...

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The ELCA Office for Theological Ethics Seeks Feedback on Civic Life and Faith Social Statement Draft

The ELCA Office for Theological Ethics Seeks Feedback on Civic Life and Faith Social Statement Draft

by Bishop Michael Rinehart The 2019 Churchwide Assembly called for the development of a statement on civic life and faith. A draft is now ready. Proposed statements are typically made public for a period of 8-9 months. The committee requests that we read it and provide feedback between now and September 30, 2024. The Draft was posted the first of the year. Drafts are invitations for response—they do not represent official teaching of the ELCA. Hearings within synods and congregations are the...

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Good News about Seminary Debt

Good News about Seminary Debt

by Bishop Michael Rinehart You are a generous synod. A few weeks ago I had the great joy of writing thousands of dollars in checks to pay Seminary debt for some of our clergy. You made this happen. Our endowment has grown from $1 million to $4 million over the last 15 years. A significant portion of the annual interest from that endowment goes to support seminary students from this synod. Our goal is that no student incur any seminary debt. We have been successful for many years. Still, we...

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DMin Wonder

DMin Wonder

by The Rev. Jen Kindsvatter “Wait, does this mean you can give me a shot now?” This is the first question my daughter, Emma, asked when I told her I was starting a Doctor of Ministry program. At the age of eight, the prescribed immunization schedule weighs heavy on her mind. “No, I will not be the kind of doctor that gives you shots. I will be the kind of doctor that applies academic learning to practical ministry.” This answer appears to bore her, so she goes back to crafting a parachute for...

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Lisa’s Pieces: Creation Care Tips from the Synod Lutherans Restoring Creation Team for March 2024

Lisa’s Pieces: Creation Care Tips from the Synod Lutherans Restoring Creation Team for February 2024

By Lisa Brenskelle For more information on any of the below, or for creation care assistance/information, contact Lisa Brenskelle at gcs.lrc@gmail.com or see our new website! The team is seeking additional members. If you would be willing to serve, please contact us. The mission of Lutherans Restoring Creation is to promote incorporation of care for creation into the full life and mission of the church, working in five areas: worship, education, discipleship, building & grounds, and public...

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Annual Gulf Coast Synod Candidacy Retreat

Annual Gulf Coast Synod Candidacy Retreat

By Tracey Breashears Schultz, Bishop’s Associate for Leadership Candidates are those preparing for rostered ministry, or for service as pastors and deacons. In our synod, 21 candidates are in some stage of the approximately four-year process. Although the steps can take many forms, from on-line learning to in-person residency to some combination of these two, we accompany our candidates each step of the way. I am joined in this work by our synod’s candidacy committee, made up of pastors,...

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