Congregation Information Week of January 18
Today begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. “The theme is from Isaiah 1:17, “Do good; seek justice.” The entire scriptural passage for the theme is Isaiah 1:12-18, lamenting a lack of justice among the People of God. Yet, it also promises redemption by encouraging acts of justice. The 2023 theme was developed with the assistance of a group of Christians in Minnesota, USA, convened by the Minnesota Council of Churches. Minneapolis, MN became a flashpoint for calls for racial justice and equity during the responses of communities to the George Floyd murder. This received world-wide attention. In its Introduction to the Theme, the organizers write: “Today, separation and oppression continue to be manifest when any single group or class is given privileges above others. The sin of racism is evident in any beliefs or practices that distinguish or elevate one “race” over another. When accompanied or sustained by imbalances in power, racial prejudice moves beyond individual relationships to the very structures of society – the systemic perpetuation of racism. Its existence has unfairly benefitted some, including churches, and burdened and excluded others, simply due to the color of their skin and the cultural associations based upon perceptions of ‘race’.” Calling to mind our common Christian commitment to justice and mercy, we pray that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18-25, 2023 will be full of moments of conversion of heart through our ecumenical encounters, so that “all may be one.” (Information from the website: 2023 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Theme Announcement - Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (geii.org))
Let us pray: O God of justice, God of peace, One in the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, enliven the unity of your Church on earth. Help us to see that our unity goes beyond unity in doctrinal essentials to an active unity of humanity with you and with one another. Forgive us for not remembering we are siblings in equity and justice under your law of love. Help us remember that each of us is created in your Divine image and that we share the dignity of being your children. Temper your justice, O Lord, with mercy to forgive and heal our broken relationships. Unite us in a fellowship that recalls our baptism, which has conquered sin and death, hate and division in the power of the Paschal mystery of Jesus Christ. Grant all this, O Lord, in Jesus name and by the power of your Holy Spirit, now and forever, Amen. (Prayer edited for more inclusive language).
SYNOD-WIDE WORSHIP ON JANUARY 29
A worship service of Word and Sacrament Celebrating Unity and Witness among us will happen on Sunday, January 29, at 4:00 pm in two locations: St. David’s Lutheran in Davidsville and Trinity Lutheran in State College. We gather in prayer and song around God’s gifts of Word, Baptism, and Holy Communion to remember and renew our commitment to sharing Good News with one another and the world. The same liturgy will happen in both places with different leaders; please attend the service closest to you. A time of refreshment and fellowship will follow worship in each location. You are invited to participate and invite others!
YOUTH MISSION TRIP TO FLORIDA
Youth and adults from our Synod are planning a mission trip to Florida in July to assist with hurricane clean-up. The Synod Council has provided some initial help with funding, but the group is seeking support from the whole synod. Donations can be made on the Allegheny Synod website. Click the donate button and then choose Youth Mission Trip. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Lutheran Day At The Capitol 2023
Lutheran Day At The Capitol 2023 will be held Thursday, April 27. Registration for that will go live next week.
CONGREGATIONAL VITALITY AND INNOVATION GRANTS
Thanks to all who submitted applications for the Congregational Vitality and Innovation Grants. Due to the volume of applications we received, the recipients will be announced later in January. We look forward to hearing about the ministry that comes from this initiative.
A VISIT WITH POET MARIE CAMERON
Marie Cameron, whose poetry book I Have No Name, was nominated for Pulitzer Prize for poetry, will be at St. Mark Lutheran, 850 Snydertown Rd., Howard PA at 10am Saturday, January 28 for a talk and discussion. I Have No Name was a compilation of Holocaust stories survivors told Cameron, who survived the Holocaust herself having lived in Nazi Germany. Her latest book, I Have No Name — Threads — L’Chaim (To Life), is “the final comprehensive collection of her poetry,” and in it “she explores being an observer in this rapidly changing world.” She says she will request those attending to choose particular decades, and she will read poetry from that period. She will bring copies of her book to purchase and for her to sign.
A festival-like event building on mission and community titled Well will be held June 22-25 at Camp Sequanota. More information will follow. Make plans to take part in this event and hear from speakers, musicians, artists and others about faith.
SYNOD ASSEMBLY DEADLINES
The first mailing for the Synod Assembly is being finalized. Please secure voting members and ask them to register online. Deadlines for material are as follows:
Reports for the Bulletin of Reports are due no later than March 27. Resolutions or Memorials are due no later than March 27. Nominations for Synod Council and Synod Committees are due no later than April 24. The nomination form can be found on the Allegheny Synod website in the Synod Assembly tab. Event, meal and childcare registration are due no later than May 17. If you wish to provide information for the information table, 75 copies of the information should be brought to the Allegheny Synod office no later than May 17.