Synod Vitality

The Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod Assembly met in Boise May 17-19 and one of the best parts of Assembly was sitting at the Synod Vitality Coalition table. Coalition team-member Pastors Matt Erickson and Meggan Manlove presented on the hopes and dreams of the Coalition Friday evening. It was a pleasure to listen over the next few days as people told us about the exciting ministries happening across our synod.

Nancy from Faith Lutheran in Leavenworth told us about work they are doing around immigration and earth keeping. She also talked about how they are spending time on fellowship this year. Why the latter? Parishioners have to have relationships with one another and be able to trust one another if they are going to take on the heavy work of caring for immigrants and caring for creation.

Don Short serves as pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Othello, WA. He told us about the Ecumenical Music Ensemble that formed in his community. One congregation had a trumpeter and flutist. Another congregation had a trombone and clarinet. The fruits of collaboration are now heard regularly around Othello.

Lori Morton, pastor of First Lutheran in Sandpoint, Idaho, told us about how one of the public school teachers involved at First brought an exciting curriculum, Design for Change, from the schools to the church. Now it is the centerpiece of a small vibrant high school youth group. Another fun fact: Pastor Morton came to Assembly after a training with the founder of Worship Design Studio.

Dave Olson, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, Otis Orchards, talked about his blog reaching people beyond the congregation and extending the ministry of the congregation.

Carolyn Hellerich, pastor Central Lutheran Church in Yakima, WA told me that all three ELCA congregations in Yakima are currently doing their Wednesday evening programming together. One of those congregations, Tree of Life/Arbol de Vida, is a bilingual congregation that also worships in Central’s building. The third congregation is Christ Lutheran, just six minutes away by car.

Joel Skindlov, pastor of Peace Lutheran in Spokane, was excited to tell us about the Summer Pops Concerts they host and that they are building a fruitful relationship with the Neigborhood Association, which meets regularly at Peace.

Dennis from American Lutheran Church in Newport, WA shared that their congregation is exploring new ways to connect with and minister to seniors and other adults who are not able to make it to church.  He expressed that it would be exciting for congregations to work together in exploring ways of using technology to bring worship experiences to those outside of the Sunday worship service.  Use of technology involves inherit struggles with having people who know how to use the technology and knowing what the best options among many.  Collaborative efforts might help navigate the see of options.

Seth, pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Chewelah, WA is exploring possibilities for engaging lay preachers within the congregation.  He is aware that there are other congregations that are already doing this, including Calvary Lutheran in Post Falls, ID and would like to explore collaborative efforts to equip and empower lay preachers.

The Treasure Valley Cluster (Boise area) hosted its third cluster council/leadership retreat this February. Pastors, Deacons, and lay leaders participated in large group sessions, worship, prayer, and workshops led by professionals and volunteers. Representatives from Ontario, OR to Twin Falls, ID attended this year.

-Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod Vitality Coalition

Who we are: Our Synod Vitality Coalition is a team of people working on identifying and promoting strategies, relationships, and opportunities which foster the experiencing of God’s vital abundance.

Members: Matt Erickson, Dave Haven, Dave Kappus, Meggan Manlove, Phylis Stromme,  Assistant to the Bishop Phil Misner, Synod Administrator Cathy Steiner, Director for Evangelical Mission Mary Marrow, and Bishop Kristen Keumpel

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