Dear ones in the Southeastern Iowa Synod,
Peace be with you.
I write to you today to share recent communications regarding the Sierra Pacific Synod. In particular, the release of the full report from the Listening Team, appointed by Presiding Bishop Eaton in consultation with the Latiné community and Bishop Rohrer of the Sierra Pacific Synod. This team was tasked to gather information and make recommendations to Bishop Eaton concerning Bishop Megan Rohrer and events surrounding the end of Nelson Rabell-González’ call to the Misión Latina Luterana community on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December of 2021. I am aware that there has been much communication about this matter within many social media networks, but I am cognizant of the fact that not all participate in or follow social media and it is possible that not all receive ELCA news releases. If you do not, the links for the ELCA listserv and the Southeastern Iowa Synod eNews are below and I encourage you to sign up for both.
Up to this point, I have not spoken publicly about another bishop or synod and have not made any other public statements regarding this matter in the Sierra Pacific Synod with the exception of responding directly to questions at synod events. My sincere hope is that my past responses reflected the complexity of the situation, my respect for colleague bishops, respect for the congregation and larger communities affected, and mostly my sincere practice of the eighth commandment.
In Bishop Eaton’s letter on Wednesday, June 1, that included the Listening Team’s report, she says, “I encourage all members of the church to carefully review the report so that we may all continue the necessary dialogue to achieve a path forward together.” Therefore, I believe that it is important to share this report and related links with the Southeastern Iowa Synod, for your information and to request prayer for the ELCA and the Sierra Pacific Synod. I invite you to pray for our siblings who are of Latiné descent in our church, for our siblings who are black, indigenous, and people of color, for our siblings who are 2SLGBTQIA+, for the Sierra Pacific Synod, Bishop Rohrer, Presiding Bishop Eaton, our churchwide colleagues, and for all of us, siblings in Christ, in our whole church body as we experience hurt, brokenness, racism, and reckon with structures, processes, and leadership that contribute to racism in our church.
It is also important that here in the Southeastern Iowa synod we take seriously our own anti-racism efforts within synod structures, leadership, and our ongoing mission for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I invite you to join in the efforts of our synod’s anti-racism network and in the anti-racism work in your local congregations and community. I will be working with the Synod Council and Office of the Bishop to deepen our efforts toward more robust anti-racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion for our synod. I invite you to read the resolution passed at the recent synod assembly “Reaffirmation of Anti-Racism Efforts.” And the Synod Anti-Racism Network Facebook group.
And most importantly, let us not lose sight of the fact that our God is faithful, Jesus is risen, and the Holy Spirit is pouring grace upon us and all of God’s people. God is continuing to make a way for new life even, and especially, as we are hurting and broken.
Let us pray:
Draw your church together, O God, into one great company of disciples, together following our teacher Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving in Christ’s mission to the world, and together witnessing to your love wherever you will send us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (ELW p. 75)
● ELCA Listening Team Report (June 1)
● Release of the Listening Team Report (June 1)
● Statement from the ELCA Listening Team (May 28)
● Response from the Latino Ministries Association and Partner Organizations (May 28)
● Sierra Pacific Synod: Bishop’s Report to the Church (May 27)