March 2021 Message from Bishop Larry Kochendorfer
Dear Beloved of God –
Recently the Annual Study Conference concluded. During the Conference, as is our Synod’s long practice, I shared a Bishop’s Time with those gathered...this year via ZOOM.
It’s nearly been one year....COVID-19. It is incredible to note that a year has come and gone. Together we continue to seek to listen, discern and explore how we might support, encourage, and innovate for mission and ministry in a constantly changing context.
There are new opportunities and possibilities before us, including recommitting to a missional model of listening, discerning, experimenting, reflecting, and learning. And, all the while, asking the questions: where is God in our neighborhood? Our community? Our world? And equally importantly: how might we join God in God’s mission?
In this liminal time, we are seeking to wonder, reflect, pray, discern, imagining what wants to emerge, to be birthed:
What have we learned about what is most important in our life together as the body of Christ? And how can we use that knowledge to shape how we will live, work, and serve together? What might we bring into the future from this experience?
What new skills have we picked up? What other skills and gifts will we need to embrace a new future?
What relationships/collaborations/partnerships will we need to initiate or strengthen in the months ahead?
What were the things that seemed so important before the coronavirus crisis that we might give less attention to, or let go of altogether?
What is/are our greatest asset(s) now?
I believe...and what I am hearing across our Synod...is that we are discovering that we have the capacity to be more creative and flexible than we had imagined.
I believe...and what I am hearing across our Synod...is that we are discovering that we have the desire and willingness to work cooperatively, with innovation, and are learning together from our experiments, including our missteps.
I continue to be moved, impressed, and filled with gratitude during this coronavirus wilderness for rostered and lay leaders, congregations, specialized ministries, and our strengthening relationship across the synod and church. For pastoral support, connection, compassion and care offered. For creativity, ingenuity, openness, support, encouragement and trust-building.
Opportunities for imagining, experimenting, risk-taking, innovating, and learning abound in this time even in the midst of yes, anxiety and disorientation.
May our Lenten journey be one of deeper reflection, attentive listening and wise discernment as we seek to be the Beloved of God.
In Christ Jesus –
+Bishop Larry Kochendorfer
“The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)