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Metro e-Word

In Jesus’ Name. Proclaim the Gospel - Make Disciples - Do Justice.
September 3, 2020 Table of Contents
  • Next Week: First Year Reflection Video Address from the Bishop
  • [Not] Synod Assembly
  • Share Your Songs for the October 3 State of the Synod Video Event
  • Updating Pulpit Supply
  • Booking the Bishop or Synod Staff for Guest Preaching
  • Help Invite College Students to Lutheran Campus Ministry
  • Why I Came and Why I Stayed Story Requests
  • 9/13 Gods Work, Our Hands Sunday
  • Remote Learning Together Program
  • 9/19 Begins Fall Diakonia Program (& Postponed Graduation)
  • 9/20 Our Saviour's Candidate Forum Cancelled 
  • 9/20 Lutherans Restoring Creation Online Worship Service
  • 9/22 Stewardship Kaleidoscope Conference Begins
  • Upcoming Events at Lombard Mennonite Peace Center
  • Portico Updates
  • Giant Cross Seeks a New Home
  • COVID-19 Congregational Support Fund
Bishop Yehiel Curry's First Year Reflection

Early next week, the MCS will release a First Year Reflection video address from the bishop, to be shared both on Facebook and on YouTube. In the address, the bishop will give a brief recap of the year, give thanks, and extend an invitation to the October 3 State of the Synod Video Event.
Synod Assembly Postponed & October 3 Synodwide Video Event

After consulting with the Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and in conversation with other synods of the ELCA, the MCS Council has voted to postpone the MCS Synod Assembly until 2021. The councils of the Northern Illinois and Central/Southern Illinois Synods have passed parallel motions for their own assemblies.

The Synod Council will address any necessary time-sensitive 2020 business at their regular meeting on October 24, 2020. Any action taken on behalf of the synod will be reported by the Metropolitan Chicago Synod Secretary in November. The 2021 assembly will begin by visiting the unfinished business of 2020 before moving into the business of 2021.

We still plan to virtually gather on October 3 for a State of the Synod online video event. Follow synod publications for updates, or reach out to the Secretary of the Synod Council, the Rev. Erin Clausen ( for more information.
Share Your Songs for the October 3 State of the Synod Video Event

As we prepare for the State of the Synod synodwide video event, to be released online on October 3,  we are collecting songs and hymns of praise and thanksgiving that we might incorporate into the event.

Here's where you come in: Please share your favorite praise and thanksgiving songs, recorded for worship during this season of COVID.

We will incorporate what we are able to into this event, and we will share others on social media as, together, we celebrate God's work in this synod.

Please do not let technical quality, or perfect pitch, or seriousness be a hindrance to your submission! Whether you use a flip phone or studio cameras, an acapella app, or a cassette deck to record, whether your song is silly or stunningly transcendent, we want to hear from you! Send your song.

How do I submit our church's song? 

Please save your video file in one of the following formats: 
DV, HDV, AVCHD, Apple Intermediate Codec, Apple Animation Codec, Motion JPEG/A, iFrame, .MP4 or .MOV. If you are not sure how to tell what file extension you are using, send your video anyway. We want your song. 

Please save your file name as:
church name _ song name _ name of the person submitting.___

for example: sainterasmusthefollymaker_holyholyholy_pastorritacoleman.MOV
If you are not sure how to do this, send your video anyway. We want your song. 

You may share your video via Google Drive or Gmail to:
or via DropBox to: 

Submit your songs by September 20, 2020. The sooner, the better. 

Many thanks! We can't wait to sing along with your song!
Updating Pulpit Supply

As the new website is under construction, the pulpit supply resource has been added! We are currently adding a few names to the list. We hope this resource will prove to be helpful. To request being added to the list, please reach out to

Booking the Bishop or Synod Staff for Guest Preaching

Would you like to invite Bishop Curry or a synod staff person to preach at your outdoor, socially distant worship service? If so, you may reach out by email to the office.  Email contacts can be found here: We'd love to join you for worship and witness the creative and loving ways you are being and doing church in the time of COVID.

Why I Came and Why I Stayed: Nominate a Member of Your Church to Tell a Faith Story

In each monthly Metro Word zine since February, we have been featuring Why I Came and Why I Stayed stories of members of MCS congregations. Is there someone in your congregation you'd like to nominate? Reach out to Pastor Tom Gaulke at Include the person's name, congregation, and why you would like to shine the light on their story. We are specifically highlighting members (and not pastors), so please keep that in mind as you recommend! Many thanks. 

Remote Learning Together 

This school year is unlike any other as we jump into an unprecedented model of remote learning. It feels more remote than ever sitting in front of your computer screen all day with little to no human interaction, yet the stakes seem higher and with so much unknown, it is hard not to stress and be filled with anxiety thinking about what comes next. That is why St. Mark Lutheran Church in Chicago is starting the Remote Learning Together program which will bring students together, following CDC guidelines, in a safe environment, so that they may learn remotely from their teachers yet receive that safe physically distant social interaction that children desperately need. By bringing students together in this safe manner, we are limiting the amount of risk that comes with human interaction during this time of COVID while also allowing parents/guardians to work and provide for their families.  

How it Works: 

The church space will be measured to ensure only a certain amount of people are allowed to be in the learning space at any given time; for St. Mark this is 12 people (11 students and 1 adult director). 

Parents will enroll their students in the program. They will be responsible for drop-off and pick-up as well as providing their student(s) with the remote learning devices (these should come from CPS as they did during the Spring 2020 semester). Students will have to bring their own lunch. 

Once enrolled the students will come to the church space for their remote learning school day. 

The adult director is not their teacher and is not expected to provide educational resources. However, the director is there to provide supervision, ensure students are staying engaged with their teacher, and to provide that adult-student relationship that they will be missing by not being in school.  

My Church Would be Perfect! 

Great! Reach out to Vicar Marcus Guerra at St. Mark Lutheran Church for more details. or 312-351-1917  

I’m interested but we don’t have the ability; how else can we help? 

No problem at all. We accept help in any shape or form. The church is not the building (although in this case, we are using the building) it is the people. So, church can be done in a variety of ways: 

  • A special offering 
  • Knowledge and experience 
  • Participation at another site, not just your church space 
  • Aid with students and guardians who may not be able to get their students to the site 
  • And any other way that God has gifted you! 

9/19 Begins Fall Diakonia Program & Diakonia Graduation Postponed

This Fall the diakonia program will be hosting classes via Zoom, starting September 19.  New students are welcome to apply to the program by completing an  application which is available on the Synod's website. 

  • The following  sequence of classes are scheduled for 2020: 
  • 'Finding Meaning and Direction for Your Ministry' taught by Pastor Karl Riko
  • 'Introduction to the New Testament' taught by Pastor Josh Buzbee
  • 'Church History, the First 400 Years' taught by Pastor Soren Flessen

For more information about the diakonia program, please visit

Diakonia Graduation 
The 2020 diakonia graduation service has been canceled, due to the pandemic.  The 2021 Diakonia graduation, now scheduled for June 12, 2021, will include graduates from both years.  Please mark your calendars for this double celebration!

9/13 “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday — Service in the time of COVID-19

On Sunday, Sept. 13, congregations will observe “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday. Our church — and our world — are living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical distancing has changed the way we worship and serve. But the need is great, and God’s church is at work. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton offers ideas and encouragement for your day of service.

Acts of service can happen anywhere: you might contribute to an online project from your home or volunteer in person keeping a safe physical distance and wearing a mask. In this special tool kit, you’ll find service project ideas and considerations for safely supporting your community during a pandemic. Get ready at

9/20 Our Saviour's Candidate Forum Cancelled 



The Virtual Candidate Forum on September 20th at Our Saviour's has been canceled due to a lack of sufficient representation by candidates to provide a truly bi-partisan event.

Please go to to find a representative sample of the questions chosen for the Forum. We hope they provide a fruitful starting place for use of your community to make a faith-based evaluation of the actions and viewpoints of the candidates.  

For more information, contact

9/20 Lutherans Restoring Creation Online Worship Service

Lutherans Restoring Creation is busy preparing a creation-focused worship service utilizing the lectionary texts for Pentecost 16 (September 20, 2020) that congregations can download and use however they wish. It will include participants from all over the country including Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, The Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing, Rev. Lenny Duncan, Rebekah Bruesehoff, as well as numerous parish pastors and members of the Lutherans Restoring Creation Board of Directors. Music will be provided by Marty Haugen, the Rev. Dr. Leah Schade, and Pastor John Tirro.

More details, including a bulletin, will be available along with a free downloadable recording on Monday, September 14, at

Upcoming Events at the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center
Please join us for one of the two remaining sessions of Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders (MSTI) that are scheduled before the end of this year: October 5-9 and November 16-20, 2020.  This workshop equips participants with the skills and knowledge necessary to deal effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict.  Given that this event will be conducted remotely, participants will need a device with both a camera and microphone in order to participate fully. For details and a registration form, please consult this MSTI Brochure.  A complete list of our upcoming 90-minute webinars and our popular daylong workshops — including Conflict Transformation Skills, Healthy Congregations, and Leadership and Anxiety in the Church, which are perfect for groups — can be found on the LMPC Events Calendar.  Questions?  Call the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at 630-627-0507, or email us at

Update from Portico Benefit Services

Two ELCA-Recommended Health Plan Options for 2021

Last summer, the 2019 Churchwide Assembly passed a resolution asking the ELCA Church Council and Portico to review the ELCA health plan recommendation in the context of a changing church and look for ways to increase flexibility. Following significant analysis, the Church Council’s recommendation will include not one, but two health benefit options for next year.   If you are a sponsoring organization or a plan member, look for more information on next year’s rate and benefit changes in mid-August.

Enhancing the ELCA Retirement Fund Line Up

Today, more than 4 out of 5 ELCA Retirement Plan members invest in balanced funds, which offer a static mix of stocks and bonds in a single diversified fund, based on desired level of risk. While balanced funds have performed well for decades, this October Portico is introducing target date funds to simplify the retirement investing experience. Want to learn more? A Portico Financial Planner can help you understand how these funds can fit your retirement goals. Call 800.922.4896.

Giant Cross Seeks a New Home

An organization in Humboldt Park (called The Bloc) has recently taken occupancy of a former Humboldt Park church and respectfully converted it into an after school program. The church is the former Mission of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Bloc would like to respectfully remove and relocate the cross if possible.

The cross is about 25 ft tall and made of oak.

Emily Sajdak
Project Manager / Partners for Sacred Places
866.796.0297 x93

Thanks for Donating to the Fund! 

The MCS has received over $24,500 in donations from congregations and individuals to the MCS COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund. We have been able to share over $338,00 to fuel congregational mission and ministry in these times. Thank you for your gifts, and for helping us to share resources across the synod. We are the Metropolitan Chicago Synod together.

Gifts are welcome online at this link and are also welcome by mail, sent to the synod office.

Applications are still open for the MCS Congregational Support Fund as well as the Congregational Materials Grant. Apply today. Find more COVID-19 resources on the MCS website:
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Copyright © 2020, Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, photography and cover art are by Synod Photographer, N. Gaby Valladolid. 

Kids Singing Screenshot of Gethsemane in Cicero worship service

Synod Assembly Photo from MCS Archives.

Pulpit Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Bible Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Classroom Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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