The theme of our morning Bible Study (what Bishop Ullestad likes to call our Assembly Sunday School) is “What is God Up To?” and that is the theme of my final reflections of the 2014 Synod Assembly.
What is God up to in the Northeastern Iowa Synod?
The work of God through the folks in our synod shone through brightly this weekend. These are just a few of the highlights that impressed me.
The Conclusion of our three Year Malaria Campaign
Three years ago we were challenged to raise $250, 00 for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. A colleague told me that at the time he thought that was a crazy goal. It was a crazy goal. But with God, nothing is impossible. We didn’t raise $250,000. We raised nearly $450,000.
Keynote Address by our Own Minna Quint
I gotta be honest. I could not have gotten up in front of an assembly and spoken like that when I graduated from seminary. I couldn’t help wishing we could keep her in our synod, but we need to think of her as our gift to the larger church.
25 Youth Voting Members
We were the first synod to invite congregations to send high school students as fully voting members. These young people were attentive, focused and engaged.
Rev. Dr. Wyvetta Bullock, our Churchwide Representative
She led the bishop’s election process with a calm and sure presence. Originally from a small town in Tennessee and now a resident in Chicago, she showed in her sermon this morning that, city or rural, we have the same fears and worries about the future of our congregations but we are also all children of the same God and followers of the same Christ who sends us out with his love and grace.
Sharing Stories of Mission
This is always a favorite time when people go to the mike, not to argue for a resolution about their favorite cause, but to share stories of what God is doing in their congregation. It is a time to affirm one another, share ideas and encourage us all to see how we have been strengthened for service and witness.
Pastor Joelle Colville-Hanson
Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA