This year the Northeastern Iowa Synod is focusing on Bold Leadership. At our Annual Day of Renewal this year Bishop Ullestad and synod staff gave brief presentations on an aspect of bold leadership that they work with.
Pastor Stephen Brackett began by talking about leaders as collaborators. We have many ways we work together in our synod, such as in geographical parishes and in working together in conferences.
Our very structure in the ELCA is a collaboration of congregations, synods and Churchwide as three expressions of the church. He also talked about the importance of working together with local partners such as social agencies, schools and businesses.
Pastor Joelle Colville-Hanson spoke on the topic of leaders as curators. In the digital age there is so much information available some of which is reliable, some of which is not. Our task in this new age is to curate, find, filter, interpret information which is useful to people. She also talked about ways we can help others in the church be good curators.
Pastor Mark Anderson talked about bold leadership and Stewardship. One of his main points seems very simple but often neglected by church leaders –the importance of saying please and thank you. We can no longer just assume people will give us their money without us asking and giving a clear vision of the mission to which we are asking them to direct their giving. We also need to find more creative ways of acknowledging and thanking people for their giving.
Bishop Ullestad wrapped it up with the topic of bold leadership in the church. He brought us back to the basics by reviewing our Letter of Call and what our ELCA constitution says about what pastoral leadership is. Pastors are often pulled in many directions with varied expectations, as well as our own hobby horses.
But the Letter of Call and Constitution makes clear what is essential to our responsibilities and revisiting those documents can help keep our priorities clear.
The Day of Renewal is a welcomed and anticipated retreat for rostered leaders in our synod. The presentations were met with interest and each topic generated good discussion. We enjoyed a hearty lunch provided by Nazareth Lutheran in Cedar Falls, followed by the Bishop’s Hour, a time to hear from the Bishop what is going on in the synod and the greater church and to ask questions. The day ended worship and Eucharist.
“The Day of Renewal provides rostered leaders in our synod a day to step away from the hurried pace of Lenten schedules and responsibilities to be refreshed”, notes Bishop Ullestad. “Mutual support and encouragement, a learning opportunity, time with the bishop and a service of Holy Communion allows our leaders time to prepare themselves spiritually for walking with our congregations during Holy Week.”