The title of ELW Hymn #726 certainly reflects the Good News in Jesus Christ that
congregations proclaim during the coming seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.
Dear Friends –
Our world is weary! We’re weary of living in the pandemic and the death, illness, and complications it has brought to daily life for all of us. We’re weary of violence in our society, and how divisions are rippling through our communities. We’re weary of the challenges of being the church in a time of such sudden and drastic change.
We believe this means that the Light of Christ you share has never been more important. Your local congregation’s ministries bring this Light to transform individual lives every day through your ministries. Your congregation shines as a beacon of Light in the communities where God has planted you and far beyond. It is our honor as synod staff and leadership to continue to support you during this time of transition and change so that you “let it shine, let it shine.”
- Pastors, staff, and congregations quickly made the leap to adding online worship. Many congregations conducted special appeals to upgrade their technology so they can reach people who are homebound, across the country, and around the world.
- The gift of technology allowed us to conduct a fully online Synod Assembly, Fall Theological Conference, and continue gatherings and trainings with congregational presidents and rostered ministers.
- Congregations are equipping their own lay members in new ways to visit those who are homebound or isolated by the pandemic.
- Transition Synod Ministers have worked hard to assist congregations in transition, and in seeking interim and settled-call rostered ministers.
- Staff have convened conversations with congregations who look forward to new vitality by partnering with neighboring congregations and imagining ministry opportunities never tried before.
- Synod staff and leaders have been able to identify and call two new staff members who will strengthen our capacity as they come on board this winter, and we are excited to welcome them!
As wearying as life has been this year, we see how the Light of Christ is shining even brighter in new ways across the cities, farmland, and towns of our synod. You are “letting it shine!”
As we enter the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, this letter comes to invite your special financial partnership that will allow us to end this year and begin the next with strength. We are so grateful for the Mission Support gifts that congregations have shared over this year. For many, however, the economic stresses of being the church in a pandemic have led to decreased congregational giving, and therefore diminished Mission Support. Life is complicated for everyone. For some, the weariness of daily life in the church may have diverted attention away from Mission Support, and this is one area that may have been forgotten.
The Advent Appeal comes to you this year inviting you to share an over-and-above gift to sustain and further the ministries of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod.
You can share a gift by:
- Sending a check. Make your check payable to SW MN Synod with Advent Gift in the memo line and mail it to: SW MN Synod, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283.
- Giving online by clicking here or at: www.swmnelca.org – “Quick Links” on the home page – where you can make a one-time gift or set up a recurring gift (ACH debit). Here you can give by checking, savings, credit card, or a direct ACH debit.
Thank you for generosity. We pray that Jesus, the Light of the world, shines upon you and yours,
and that you shine that Light in a weary world.
“…. Rejoice, rejoice believers, and let your lights appear….
With hearts and hands uplifted, we plead, O Lord,
to see the day of earth’s redemption that sets your people free!” -ELW 244
+ Grace, Peace and Light in Jesus,
Mr. Ferman Woodberry, Vice President of the SW MN Synod
Rev. Dee Pederson, D.Min., Bishop of the SW MN Synod