Let’s Get Started…

//Let’s Get Started…

One of the great gifts of our Lutheran theology is the joyous realization that each new day begins with the sign of the Cross and Luther’s proclamation, “I am baptized!”

As we begin this new chapter in our “journey together” as the Virginia Synod, ELCA that is how I want to start… like every new day – bathed in the comfort that I am a baptized, forgiven, and cherished child of God. I will sometimes fail and fall short of my own expectations and yours. But, together, by God’s grace and power, we will also discover and create amazing new opportunities for mission and rise to address the challenges facing our congregations, synod, and world! It is an exciting time to be the church!

Let me begin by saying how grateful I am for the many gifts and blessings God has bestowed on us through the three decades of devoted leadership from Bishop Jim Mauney and his staff. May God bless Jim and Lynda as they enter this new phase of life.

We now enter a time of prayerful discernment, study, conversation, and planning. I look forward to hearing about your hopes and dreams as well as your fears and concerns. Together we will find ways to articulate a vision of where we feel God leading us.

In the meantime, while I certainly don’t expect you to recall what I said in my five-minute presentation at our June synod assembly about what I would do “If I Were Bishop,” I have found it to be a helpful touchstone during the past two months. So, as a way of getting to know me better and offer insight to some basic ideas, let me rephrase:

As Bishop…

  • I will have really high hopes and expectations of what God is up to in the VA Synod:
    • for myself, and those who serve with me on staff and in leadership at every level, (all rostered leaders, elected leaders, Deans and leaders throughout the ELCA):
      • to be faithful, joyful and growing in our own personal faith and serving;
      • to be willing to take risks; demonstrate our very best every day; admit our mistakes, and relate to others with honesty, integrity, and humility; to offer care and compassion when needed, but also willing and ready…
      • to boldly speak and act – proclaiming God’s love and mercy for ALL – especially those who are oppressed, marginalized or abused! (Micah 6:8) I’d encourage you to do the same – And, when you do – I’d have your back!

I will also have really high hopes and expectations:

  • of our remarkable lay leaders, youth and faithful members in every congregation:
    • in addition to those things, I’ve already mentioned… to work with you…
    • to break down barriers existing in our church: between the ELCA, synod, and congregations; rostered and lay members. We Are Church Together!
    • to always be looking for new and creative ways to proclaim the Gospel – by developing ever wider and deeper circles of worship, welcome, witness, education, discipleship, care, and service.

As Bishop…

  • I will do my best to build a bridge from the richness of the past to the incredible potential I believe God has in store for the future! Think about it…
    • The VA Synod has it all! From the Beach to the Blue Ridge, the Valley, to Appalachia…Incredible history, beauty, culture, and people in every conference of this synod! We are positioned for growing communities and thriving congregations and ministry sites of every size on all fronts… But, it isn’t easy, is it? Not in today’s world. So…

As Bishop…

  • I will try to help us meet the real challenges and guide the hard conversations and choices many of us, our congregations, communities, nation, and world are facing… with honest, effective strategies and genuine compassion, patience, hope, faith & thankfulness.
    • To be: Christ-centered and Mission-focused… Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, we can’t reclaim the past and frankly, we need to stop trying to do so. God is out in front of us… and right here beside us – doing a new thing through both ancient and not-yet-imagined ways – and we get to be a part of that! I’d try to lead us by responding to every challenge with more joy & excitement than sadness or reluctance -with bold faith & hope overcoming our fears & anxiety!
    • I wouldn’t try to do it all – or even much of it – by myself! There are plenty of folks far more gifted in any number of areas… ready and willing to serve! We have wise, seasoned vets and a whole new generation of leaders I would lift up and empower.

SO… LET’S GET STARTED!

May God inspire our prayerful conversations and discernment! Come, Holy Spirit! + Amen

By | 2017-09-01T10:09:58+00:00 September 1st, 2017|News|Comments Off on Let’s Get Started…

About the Author:

Emily Pilat is the Director of Communications for the Virginia Synod. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington where she earned her BA in in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and a minor in Digital Studies. If you have an announcement, upcoming event, or news story idea you would like to share, get in touch with Emily via email [email protected] or by phone (540) 389-1000