WORSHIP WITH US!
8:30AM, 9:45AM in the hall, or 11AM

Location:
7150 Pines Blvd
Pembroke Pines, FL 33024
The SE corner of Pines Blvd and 72nd Ave
Across the street from Broward college South Campus lake
(954) 989-1903
tlcppines@gmail.com


Join Us For Worship!

Join Us For Worship!
Sundays at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

Thursday, May 27, 2010

REMINDER FOR SUNDAY
May 30th 8AM and 10:45AM
HOLY TRINITY SUNDAY

Healing Service
Remembrance of our Veterans, both living and deceased
Flowers for familiies of Veterans

And following the 1045AM service
Dedication of Veteran's Garden
Cake and
Alternative Healthy Coffee Hour

And as a reminder:
Sunday school is on hiatus as we begin our Vacation Bible School Planning!
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, May 30, 2010:

First Reading: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Psalm: Psalm 8

Second Reading: Romans 5:1-5

Gospel: John 16:12-15

Today's Gospel reminds us of the mystical approach of John. I find the language almost tough to wade through. It makes me turn to the other readings for today. And I find a mystical theme running through all the readings today.

The chapter from Romans reminds us of our calling. Talk about suffering and endurance and building character--that's the kind of talk we might expect on a Sunday morning! Yet the more I read it, the more it seems to take on a mystical character too. We don't know exactly how these transformations will come, but come they will.

The verse from Proverbs is even more curious. It is here where we meet the first of God's creations, Wisdom. Imagine what a different understanding of the Trinity we might have had, had our early Church Fathers paid more attention to this passage. Wisdom seems to have existed long before the Holy Spirit, who seems a late addition to the Divine Package. What if the three parts of the trinity had been Creator, Wisdom, and Savior? Would there have been a 20th century Pentecostal movement if we had ignored these passages about the Holy Spirit, in the same way we ignore the passages about Wisdom most of the year? To be fair, some of the more Orthodox churches do embrace this Wisdom aspect of God more fully than we do here in the West.

In truth, there are many aspects of God that we could focus upon, but we don't. If you read the whole Bible, you get glimmers of the maternal side of God. How would life be different if we prayed to Our Mother, Who Art in Heaven? There are passages of the lamenting of a God who seems to be absent, and I understand why we don't come back to those throughout the year. We yearn for a God who is powerful.

We live in scary times, where the news of this week brought us a ramping up of tension on the Korean peninsula. We live in strange times, where atheists release scores of furious books, and American churches align themselves with African congregations. Prosperity gospels are preached from the pulpit, and yet the gulf between the super-rich and the poor widens every day. We've been warned of global warming that will swamp our coastlines with rising tides, yet this year, we're seeing oil wash upon our shores. We see bizarre political candidates make inroads (and be elected), no matter how zany their ideas. We yearn for someone of true vision and stellar character, someone to lead us out of this morass.

Jesus made us promises, and they still hold true. The spirit of Truth leads us. Granted, it's easy to be led astray, to be seduced by the passions of the world. But we know our mission--Martin Luther said that faith should move our feet. Where do your feet want to move today?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

REFLECTING
ON OUR FAITH

Where Have You Seen God Working This Week?
During the feeding program at First Lutheran
Keeping the oil and tar out of the coral reefs
In the faces of our confirmands
In my family as they love one another
The people who survived from the two aircraft crashes
Talking to my grandmother and knowing that she is doing better than expected
Everywhere!


Where Did God Use Someone Else To Bless You This Week?
At the Cancer Treatment Center
When my beautiful daughter hugged me and said, "O love you!"
I received a devotion from a friend that opened my eyes and arrived just at the right time.
Luis, whose volunteer work enabled a 100 mile relay team to be able to participate in the race
My sister-in-law called me in a moment that I needed support

Where Did God Use You To Bless Someone Else This Week?
At the Men's Ministry.
While we were feeding the homeless.
Helping my 95 year old neighbor
Visiting elderly neighbors
Helping my neighbor visit her dying sister
The young man in front of me in the store check out line who needed some change
In the portrait that I painted of my wife this past week
I found a toddler wandering alone in our neighborhood and I made sure she was safe and called the police.

Monday, May 24, 2010

LAST CALL FOR NAMES
FOR OUR MEMORIAL DAY VETERAN'S RECOGNITION

On Sunday May 30th we will be honoring all of Trinity's Veterans as we dedicate our Veteran's Garden.
During both services we will have a special Prayer for THE HONORED DEAD (Memorial Day Prayer) and special prayers of Thanksgiving and Blessing for our Veterans, both living and deceased.

If you are a veteran or family of a veteran, please EMAIL or CALL the Office and indicate your branch of service, years of service, and unit(s) so we may honor you.
If you would like to honor and remember a loved one who paid the ultimate price and gave their life in service to our country, or a loved one who served in the military and has passed on, you may email us back/call us with the same information as above for them and indicate that they are deceased.
Immediately following the second service we will be dedicating our Veteran's Garden.

Veterans present and the families who lost loved ones in service to our country or whose veteran has passed on, will receive a remembrance during worship and there will be a special cake during coffee hour.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, May 23, 2010:

First Reading: Acts 2:1-21

First Reading (Alt.): Genesis 11:1-9

Psalm: Psalm 104:25-35, 37 (Psalm 104:24-34, 35b NRSV)

Second Reading: Romans 8:14-17

Second Reading (Alt.): Acts 2:1-21

Gospel: John 14:8-17 [25-27]


It's interesting to think how different churches celebrate Pentecost. Some churches will be stressing the rushing wind and the coming of the Spirit; perhaps parishioners will be exhorted to become more Spirit-filled. Some churches will be focused upon the mission of the early church, and I predict parishioners will be asked to think about the mission of the contemporary Church, both global and local.

This is one of those years when I'm relieved to turn my attention away from Acts, to think about the Gospel of John. I want something a bit more comforting, like John, not readings that make me feel inadequate, like Acts. I know it's called the Book of Acts, not the Book of Relaxation, not the Book of Taking a Nap. Still, some years I find all the energy in that book to be a bit draining. Some years, it all seems a bit loud, a bit energetic, a bit amplified.

This is one of those years that I find myself thinking of becoming a Quaker, or joining some other contemplative tradition. That's why I find the Gospel passage so wonderful.

Throughout the whole fourteenth chapter of John, Jesus promises that we're not going to be left alone. Jesus must know how hard it will be for his disciples; it's been somewhat easy for them as they sojourn with their Savior. But once he's gone, how will they carry on?

Once again, we have Jesus saying he will pray for the disciples. He tells the disciples that they will have everything they need as they go out into the world. He suggests that the new incarnation of himself/God/Spirit will dwell inside us.

I feel like this Gospel lesson peers straight into my soul, my tired, overstretched soul. Jesus reminds us that we are not alone. The verse after the Gospel ends has Jesus promise, "I will not leave you orphaned; I will come to you" (John 14: 18). That's the Good News of this Gospel: we are not alone. We do not have to go about our Pentecostal mission alone. Jesus reminds us that it's a team effort: "Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it" (John 14: 13-14). Jesus reminds us of all that we can accomplish, if we would but call on God.

I love the way the Gospel ends, with these images of all these incarnations of the Divine, swirling in the world around us, gathering within us. This Gospel gives me hope that I will be enough. It's unlike some of those other readings that make me feel so inadequate. Speak in tongues? I can hardly get my laundry done in any given week. Help in the Kingdom mission of redeeming the world? Who will do the grocery shopping?

In our Gospel today, Jesus reminds us that we are enough because we're not all alone. It's a message that's so unlike the messages beamed to us from the larger culture in which so many of us live our daily lives. Our larger culture does not treasure teamwork. Our popular culture likes the larger-than-life leader, the one who goes it alone (don't believe me? watch T.V. for a week, watch politics, go to the movies--it's rare to see a team working together for the greater good). It's a poisonous message, one that's very useful in selling us stuff, because most of us don't feel very adequate all by ourselves.

Jesus reminds us again and again that we are more than adequate. We see disciples that are gloriously human in many of the ways that we are too, and Jesus takes a small band of these flawed humans and changes the world as he sends them out to work in small groups. Jesus can take our overscheduled selves and transform us, so that we love each other, his ultimate dream for us.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CONFIRMATION 2010
CONGRATULATIONS GO OUT TO OUR CONFIRMANDS!

Confirmation is this Sunday May 23rd at 8AM and 10:45AM
ALEX CRAIG BERGER, MICHELLE D. COLEMAN, KAYLA JASMINE FREY, and SARAH NICOLE GEARHART
MEMORIAL DAY
VETERAN'S RECOGNITION
On Sunday May 30th we will be honoring all of Trinity's Veterans as we dedicate our Veteran's Garden.


During both services we will have a special Prayer for THE HONORED DEAD (Memorial Day Prayer) and special prayers of Thanksgiving and Blessing for our Veterans, both living and deceased.
If you are a veteran, please EMAIL or CALL the Office and indicate your branch of service, years of service, and unit(s) so we may honor you. There will also be a sign up list this Sunday during both worship services.

If you would like to honor and remember a loved one who paid the ultimate price and gave their life in service to our country, or a loved one who served in the military and has passed on, you may email us back/call us with the same information as above for them and indicate that they are deceased.

Immediately following the second service we will be dedicating our Veteran's Garden.
Veterans present and the families who lost loved ones in service to our country or whose veteran has passed on, will receive a remembrance during worship and there will be a special cake during coffee hour.
BUTTERFLY GARDENING!
Dozens and dozens of butterflies out and about this morning at the butterfly garden!

Please join us Saturday morning May 22nd at 10AM as we freshen up the Veteran's Garden and place a new memorial stone among other gardening adventures. Wear garden clothes and bring gloves, gardening shovels, and sun screen if you have them. Water provided. On the left is a stock photo of a Zebra longwing - a very common species in Florida and especially in our garden. They love to lay their eggs on the Corky-Stemmed passion flower vines we have scattered about several of the plantings.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FROM THIS WEEK'S
REFLECTING ON OUR FAITH
COMMENTS
Each Sunday on our worship slip we invite folks to reflect and jot down the answers to three basic questions:
(1) Where have you seen God working this week?
(2) Where did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not)
(3) Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
We hope to share some of the responses with you here, respecting privacy as appropriate.

WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN GOD WORKING THIS WEEK?
Watching my neighbor heal after a bad accident
Watching a child who spoke no English win the school spelling bee
A clear mammogram and ultrasound test
In my son.
Through good and unexpected news about someones CT scan.
My great aunt whose blood cancer was found to be in remission
Everywhere! Relationships, creation, my life, comforting a friend.

WHERE DID GOD USE SOMEONE TO BLESS YOU THIS WEEK?
Through my wife.
Someone who provided me transportation
Through my husband supporting me.
Through my granddaughter helping me create a garden.
A friend's phone call
In friendships, family,receiving calls, rides, hugs.

WHERE DID GOD USE YOU TO BLESS SOMEONE ELSE THIS WEEK?
Visiting an elderly neighbor
Helping one of my friends who had a problem
Helping a neighbor who had had a stroke
Phone calls to friends
At my workplace where I provided care and prayer for colleagues - one whose father is dying and others who had medical and other problems
While travelling.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


TRINITY’S ANNUAL VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL


June 21st - 25th 6:30PM to 9PM.
Register Now!
Forms available in the narthex on Sundays and in the office during regular working hours.
WE WILL HONOR DADS AND GRADS
on SUN, JUNE 20th Please fill out the worship slip with your Graduate’s information
or contact SAM in the office

Don’t forget… Full names, please!

And please invite all the Fathers that you know for this special day as they are lifted up in prayer and participate in the “Blessing of Hands” helped out by the young people of Trinity!
VISITOR’S DINNER
Friday June 4th at 6:30PM. in Charter Hall


If you have been with us one week or a year or even longer
– come and eat some good food, meet some folks from the congregation, and hear about Trinity’s current and future Mission and Ministry! Sign up on your worship slip or contact SAM in the office.
And yes, of course your entire family is welcome!

Also
On Sunday June 6th: We will be blessed to receive new regular and associate members.
Associate members are those who keep their main membership at another congregation, but who spent time in worship and ministry at Trinity.
Please indicate on your worship slip if you would like to join on this day or contact SAM in the office!
SAVE THE DATES!


THE COUNT!
150 Days - Saturday, October 9th
until Trinity’s 50th Anniversary Dinner
at Tropical Acres!

151 Days – Sunday, October 10th
until Trinity’s 50th Anniversary Worship Celebration!

(have you marked your calendar yet?)
OUR ANNUAL CHINESE AUCTION…

June 27th following the late service!
First… we will have lunch for a $5 donation: mini egg rolls, meat balls, fried rice, cake, soda, and fruit followed by the Auction.

If you have any new items that you would like to donate to our Chinese Auction, please see SAM. All types of items are needed including items for children, the home, the car, etc are welcome! Remember this is a family activity and our younger children love to participate!
Rumor also has it that Pastor is donating some fresh baked bread!

The proceeds will go toward Trinity’s Special 50th Anniversary Celebration as we are trying to keep the cost of the tickets reasonable! If you are planning on attending the auction, please mark the worship slip or let SAM know in the office so we will have a count for the food.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, May 16, 2010:

First Reading: Acts 16:16-34

Psalm: Psalm 97

Second Reading: Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21

Gospel: John 17:20-26

This Gospel always inspires Trinitarian thoughts when I read it: to whom does Jesus pray, when he prays? Why does Jesus have to pray, if we really believe in what we say we do, which is a Triune God? Is it a divine version of talking to oneself?

Archbishop Desmond Tutu recounts a story of asking the Dalai Lama about his prayer life. The Dalai Lama cracked a joke about talking to himself when he prays, since, of course, the Dalai Lama is the incarnation of the deity to Tibetan Buddhists.

Lately, I've been thinking about the prayer life of Christ, which we get a glimpse of in this Gospel. I find it deeply moving to think of Christ praying for me. I think of him praying for those that will come later (in our case, much later, 2000 years later) and want to weep in amazement. To the very end, Christ prays for his followers, for those that have been and those that will be. In these last prayers, he continues to focus on his central message of showing God's love to the world.

Christ also reminds God that he wants to share the glory that God has given him. He wants to give that glory to his followers. Think on that for a minute. What if you actually were capable of being like Jesus?

Many theologians would argue that we are, in fact, capable of being Christ like. If we but believe, anything Christ could do, we could do too. Of course, that would mean we'd have to shuck off the ideas of success, the way the world defines it. We'd have to give up our comfortable habits of anger, greed, meanness, looking out for our own skins. We'd have to practice radical love. The good news: the more we practice being Christlike vessels of radical love, the better we'll become at it.

But there's a downside. If you read the chapter that comes after today's Gospel, you'll see that this image of Christ praying comes just before his crucifixion and death. Unfortunately, when Christ instructs us to pick up our cross and follow him, he's not just talking about a metaphorical cross. He may actually mean an earthly sacrifice. Many a Christian has been slaughtered by unsympathetic governments.

Fortunately, those of us in the industrialized northern hemisphere (the Western part, at least) don't have to worry about giving up our lives, not in the literal, physical sense. However, we should start thinking about re-ordering our lives. But start small. Nothing is more overwhelming than thinking that we need to give up all our treasure and go out to solve the intractable problems of poverty.

Here, too, as with any change, it's better to start with the tiniest of baby steps. Maybe this summer is a good time to increase your charitable giving. Maybe you want to donate some time to work with the poor and the oppressed. Maybe you want to remember to pray for those who aren't as fortunate as you are. Maybe you want to clean out your closets and give your surplus to those who have little.

How else can you be a Christ-like light in the world? We are surrounded by people who are poor in spirit, people who are suffering terrible blows. You could be there for them. You could be the person in the office who always has a smile and a kind word and reassurance that all will be well and all manner of things will be well (to use mystic Julian of Norwich's words). You could sow the seeds of hope and help fight despair. You could be the person that makes people wonder and whisper, "I wonder what his secret is? What makes her so capable of being happy?" Maybe they'll ask and they'll really want to know, and you can talk about your faith. Maybe they'll just be drawn to you and hang out with you, and you can minister that way.

A smile is easy. Praying for the world, like Jesus does, is easy. And it's these little changes that lead to happier habits. Eventually, you've changed your trajectory and you didn't even realize it. Maybe you'll look back from a certain vantage point and say, "That was when I started to claim my glorious destiny. That's the starting point that led me on a road to be this close to the Christian God wants me to be." Begin today.

Thursday, May 06, 2010



Women of Faith Event

Just wanted to remind you about the WOF event; the deadline for paying for your ticket is July 23, 2010.

I'm telling you it was Awesome, and I was changed in a way that I couldn’t even imagine, and that was my first time every attended. It’s non denominational and yes I was hooked! It's a weekend event and its happening at the Bank Atlantic center in Sunrise, FL, or some call it Fort Lauderdale FL., the schedule is as follows:

• 10/29 Friday 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

• 10/30 Saturday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm


There is a cost involved and it’s $89.00 per person with a group leader that’s me, and it’s for both days and you get a box lunch for each day you attend and you get to meet and fellowship with at least 500 other women and mind you I'm not embellishing enough on how many women will be there. But anyway, if you can’t go to both days then it’s still the same price. You can pay for your tickets on-line just go to the website http://gps.womenoffaith.com/,
Trinity Women of Faith in Pembroke Pines and register.

If you need help registering or if you have any question please don't hesitate to contact me @ 954-495-1075.

Oh, the most important part is that there’s a lay-away plan …yup! You can make a partial payment and pay for your ticket every month until it’s paid for; but tickets are on a first come first serve basis. Isn’t that wonderful! There is a $40.00 non refundable fee as a down payment to hold your ticket, or you can pay in full. Its up to you, the minimum amount for the partial payment to hold all tickets is still the same and non refundable.

So, please act fast, I know you want to beat the deadline!

Your sister in Christ,
Denise Payne




Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, May 9, 2010:

First Reading: Acts 16:9-15

Psalm: Psalm 67

Second Reading: Revelation 21:10, 22--22:5

Gospel: John 14:23-29

Gospel (Alt.): John 5:1-9

As we work our way through the Lectionary again and again, I'm always intrigued by what leaps out at me. Usually when this Gospel comes around, I focus on the lines about not letting our hearts be troubled or afraid. But this year, I'm zoning in on the idea of God living with us, God making a home with us.

I think of all the roommate relationships I've ever had. Even when they've been less than optimal, I have to admit that I likely knew those roommates more intimately than all my other friends. In my younger, less content years, I'd focus on the bad traits. In my later years, I've tried to focus on the benefits to communal living while not getting derailed by the disadvantages. Now, I live with my husband only, which has a kind of elegant beauty, yet I miss having the more extended community we had when we lived in a communal household. I miss the community I enjoyed when I lived in college dorms. My mother-in-law enjoyed a similar sense of connectedness when she lived in a condo.

What would it mean to have this kind of connectedness with God? What kind of roommate would God be? I imagine that God would be the kind of roommate who would make delicious meals and would make sure that there was enough to share. I imagine that God would bring scruffy people home to dinner, but we wouldn't be afraid, because we'd know that it's always O.K. when God brings scruffy people home for dinner. I imagine that God would be the kind of roommate who would go to the trouble to arrange outings for us, thinking of what would delight us and bring us all closer together.

More importantly, this Gospel lesson points to the kind of homemaking intimacy that God longs to share with us. This Gospel doesn't present a picture of God as disapproving Judge and Jury. This Gospel presents God as roommate, who knows our hopes and fears, who shares our daily journeys. This picture of God is not a God-as-Santa-Claus. God doesn't promise to fix everything in this Gospel, at least not explicitly. But we have something that might be better. This Gospel shows us a God as partner, partner in our joys and sorrows.

The idea of God-as-roommate is probably a strange concept to most of the world's religions and perhaps to many Christians. And yet, if you go back to read the Gospels, it's an idea that Jesus returns to again and again. Maybe we would prefer to have a fix-it God. Maybe we would feel better with an absent God who returns only to judge us sternly for all our failings. That idea might be less scary than a God who lives with us and thus, sees us at our best and worst. Maybe we've spent a lot of time struggling to leave home (literally or metaphorically), so the idea of a God who wants that kind of intimacy might be offputting.

I admit that the idea of a wish granting God has more pull, especially on days when life isn't going well. I understand that people who have yearned for good parental relationships (or for those of us fortunate enough to experience a good family life), the idea of God the Father (alas, so rarely God the Mother) has appeal. But the idea of God as partner has a sturdiness to it. It's the metaphor that can last as life gets tough.

Life will always get tough, and just as spouses can't always fix everything, a God who grants us free will also cannot fix everything. When life gets tough, as it always does, the idea of God as Santa Claus will shake our faith, as life's dreadful turns of events don't support that view of God.

Jesus doesn't give us this view of a God who waves a magic wand to get rid of all our troubles. Jesus shows us a God that wants to be there with us, through all of life's events, both joyous and sad. Jesus shows us a God that will help us in our troubles if we ask, but not necessarily make them go away. Jesus shows us the idea of God as a partner, a partner with tremendous resources so that we need not be afraid or troubled.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Highest Points of Synod Assembly

Last year, the worship experiences were the high points of Synod Assembly, and this year was no different. On Saturday night, we experienced a Taize service which was beautiful and soothing and quiet. I was familiar with most of the music, but the beauty of Taize music is that you don't have to be musical to pick up the songs quickly. The room was lit with low lights, all the better to focus on the banner of an Orthodox presentation of Jesus in the front and the candle in front of the banner. The only thing that would have made this service better would have been if we could have been splashed with holy water on our way out, the way Compline ends at Mepkin Abbey (a Trappist monastery in South Carolina where I occasionally go for a different kind of retreat). It was a little jarring to finish the service and to go out into brightly fluorescent hotel hallways, with people having fierce discussions about the sexuality statements.

Of course, the Eucharist services were a highlight all their own. I love communing with huge numbers of people. But even better, I got to assist with Communion during the first night's Opening Eucharist service. Apparently, the person who was going to offer the grape juice didn't show up. On his way to the serving station, Pastor Keith tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I need you."

I don't need to be asked twice. I hopped right up and the other pastor handed me the grape juice. More people preferred wine to grape juice, but it was still deeply meaningful to me to participate. I am always moved to tears by the vast variety of people within our Synod, all of us sharing some common beliefs. I am moved to tears by realizing that this sacrament has lasted over 2000 years, and it binds us with Christians that have come before and Christians who will come long after we're gone.

Most of all, I love being part of a church which tries so hard to include lay people. I love being part of a church which wrestles with the best ways to include the dispossessed. Not every church would have allowed me to be part of the Opening Eucharist service: I'm not ordained, and I'm a woman. Those two items would have excluded me from that prominent role of serving the elements in many a Protestant and Catholic service.

Our ELCA church is far from perfect. But I admire the way the church makes attempts, sometimes lurching, towards becoming a better manifestation of God's Kingdom here and now, in whatever idol-filled places we find ourselves.

Monday, May 03, 2010

SYNOD ASSEMBLY NEWS PART ONE
Kristin Berkey-Abbott and Pastor Keith attended the 23rd annual Florida Bahamas Synod Assembly.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is comprised of 65 synods or groups of congregations and each synod meets in assembly each year.

Pastor Keith serves on Synod Council which met just prior to and direrctly after the assembly and is responsible for synod business between assemblies. During the assembly he served as co-chair of the Reference and Council Committee, which processes all memorials and resolutions before they are permitted to come to the floor of the assembly. It meant some time "behind the podium," and he tried to bring the same joy and enthusiasm that he brings to preaching to all of those "resolved" and "be it further resolved" statements. During the first workshop session, Pastor Keith co-lead a workshop on stories of community-based organizing in which he was able to share some of the highlights of Trinity's work with BOLD Justice. He was also elected as the clergy delegate for  the Broward-Bahamas Conference of the Florida-Bahamas Synod to the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly which wll be meeting in Orlando. 

Pastor Keith and Kristin will  be posting more highlights from the Assembly soon.
A direct link to the official Assembly site may be found at http://www.fbsynod.com/
Synod Assembly Report #1--the ELCA in Haiti

As I think about Synod Assembly, I'm struck by how often I heard about the Lutheran Church in Haiti. Before I went to last year's Synod Assembly, I didn't realize we even had a Lutheran presence in Haiti.

The Lutheran church is blessed to have an energetic pastor, Livenson Lauvanus, a native of Haiti, serving the country. He spoke in several different venues (a workshop, the opening plenary session, informally) about the work being done there and of course, about the rebuilding work that must be done after the earthquake. We also heard from some lay people who work in the country, and we saw a film that was very moving.

The offering from our opening Eucharist service was destined for Haiti, with Thrivent matching part of the offering. I found the people who spoke about Haiti so inspiring that I gave every scrap of cash I had to the opening offering. I no longer travel with my checkbook, so that's why I was scrounging together all my cash.

I confess to being guilty of dismissing the entire country of Haiti as a lost cause. I feel blessed to be reminded that there are no lost causes. We are Easter people who believe that even in the midst of bleakest death, life can return. The words of the people on the ground in that country give me hope that rebuilding can happen.

Our Florida Bahamas is early in a process that we're calling Together in Mission, where we give money to individuals, groups, and congregations that are doing exciting work. One of those missions first to get support is the Lutheran Church in Haiti. Hopefully, we can do more consciousness raising in our local churches to help people discover the vitality of our Lutheran expression in Haiti. Hopefully, we can also do some fund raising. One of the things that we know about doing justice in the developing world is that our dollars often buy more. And we're lucky that we have people like Pastor Lauvanus who understand the situation(s) on the ground and can guide the larger church in the best way to spend those funds that we raise.