“It is with both sadness and excitement that I say goodbye as the Synod’s Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop. I accepted a new call to be the Program Director for Asians and Pacific Islanders (API) in the Service and Justice home unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. My journey with you all that started in March 2018 is ending on August 21, 2022. I have been blessed to learn and grow in my own passion and commitment to God’s mission through witness, discipleship, evangelism, justice work and stewardship. I am very grateful for all of you who walked alongside me in collaboratively birthing new mission communities, in stirring the spirit of vitality and renewal in challenging realities, in discerning missional vision and goals no matter how difficult the mission fields are, in saying yes as a committed response to our baptismal call in building and strengthening relationships, and in mutual sharing of honest counsel for areas of growth for our synod and myself. I am humbled for the meaningful experience and our collective witness to the gospel of Christ. I especially want to thank my colleagues in the Synod staff, the members of the Witness Discipling Team, ACTS for Vitality, Digital Equity Team and others with whom I partnered in various ministries. And, of course, the amazing mission developers and leaders of our Synodically Authorized Worshipping Communities, both new starts and long-term, and many mission partners and congregations who support our new church plants around the synod.
I have always returned to my ordination gospel story, John 4, in times of discernment. “Come and see!” was the unnamed and marginalized Samaritan woman’s bold invitation and witness of a freed human being to the people, mostly Samaritan like her, she encountered upon returning to the city after a mutual transformational encounter with Christ. I shared with and received this invitation from you and will now carry it with me as I continue to serve the wider church. This transition to my new call feels like “going home” to me, for it is not only about serving with my fellow Asian and Pacific Islanders and the wider community, but also to be able to amplify our collective voices for justice and advocacy in ways that would impact API and the rest of our communities.
I will continue to live in the Bay Area and keep my roster here in Sierra Pacific Synod, hence, our paths will cross. Finally, may I leave you with the chorus of a sending song, by Shirley Erena Murray, I first learned when I transitioned back in serving the ELCA after years of serving in the Lutheran World Federation: “God is in the other place, God is in another’s face. In the faith we travel by, God is in the other place.”
Maraming salamat po and pagpalain nawa kayo ng Dios! (Many thanks and God bless you!”
Rev. Tita Valeriano
2018-2022 Synod Vice President Gail Kiyomura and newly elected Synod Vice President Simon Wong share their remarks of gratitude on behalf of the Sierra Pacific Synod Council. “Thank you, Pastor Tita, for your years of service and pastoral care to our Synod. I know you will continue to bring forward our Asian leaders in your new role as the Program Director for Asians and Pacific Islanders Ministry and so glad you will still be here in the Bay Area. Good luck and blessings on your new role in our Church,” shared Kiyomura. “Thank you for what you have done for the community, especially to the people of the Sierra Pacific Synod. We will not forget your care, your passion, and your support and prayer with one another. As part of the AAPI community, congratulations to the new role as the Program Director for Asians and Pacific Islanders Ministry for the ELCA. You will for sure be in my prayers! Blessings and may God be with you, give you peace and courage in your new role,” wrote Wong.
“Thank you Tita for the work you have done and the times we have shared in ministry here in the Sierra Pacific Synod. Blessings on the journey ahead,” shared Synod Treasurer Rev. Sharon Amundson.
Rev. Manda Truchinski, jj Godwin, Bishop Claire Burkat, Diana Barrios and Catherine Slabaugh share their well wishes with Rev. Tita saying, “Over the past four years, our beloved Rev. Tita Valeriano has graciously served as Director of Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod. Rev. Tita has been instrumental in planting new church communities, walking with congregations through revitalization, gifting the synod with her musical talents and passionate preaching, and served as a mentor to many mission developers, pastors, and lay leaders. Rev. Tita brings laughter, authenticity, and passion to every relationship. She has taught us the deep value of being in community with others and her wisdom has been a gift to learn from. We will miss having her as a member of the synod staff, but are grateful that she will continue to reside in this synod and be a part of our community. We are excited to support you in this new call, Rev. Tita!”
Chair of the Witness Discipling Team, Rev. Dawn Roginski, whom Rev. Tita worked closely with shares, “Rev. Tita, thank you for being a wonderful colleague and partner in the work of the Witness team. You are clearly passionate about your work and that passion inspires others. You have many great ideas and the skills to implement them; finding partners and working out the details. The work of the Witness Discipling Team has expanded along with the number of people involved. You are leaving a legacy of important work that will further the mission of the synod and will continue to inspire us to spread the Good News of the gospel. Many blessings to you as you enter your next ministry. You will be a blessing to them like you were a blessing to us!”