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A Letter from Rev. Tita Valeriano

“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