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Bishop’s Report to the Synod Council

December 9, 2021

The following is a summary of the activities of the Bishop and Synod Staff since September 10th. This report uses the list of responsibilities outlined in the Synod’s Constitution to organize the many tasks of the Synod. While the Bishop has oversight over these tasks, the work detailed below is only possible because of the faithful work of the Synod staff, council members, committee members and volunteers. We are grateful for the mission support of congregations throughout the Synod and churchwide. This work would not be possible without their generosity.

Serve as the Synod’s Pastor

Preach, Teach and Administer the Sacraments

· I have visited 67 congregations and mission partners, driving over 10,000 miles since my election.

· I led classes at first call theological education on trauma care and creative ways to fundraise in a congregation.

· Since our last meeting, I have hosted the following livestream conversations:

· Pastor Hazel let the following livestream conversations:

Synod Resource Center

Primary Responsibility for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Synod

· First Call Theological Education (FCTE): Our November FCTE was a successful gathering at Mt. Cross. Participants learned about roster requirements, anti-racism strategies, creative fundraising for congregations, church vitality and lateral leadership. Our spring FCTE will be hosted locally with participants from our Synod. Next November we will host all of the region 2 FCTE participants, bishops and appropriate synod staffs.

· Bishop’s Convocation: We are scheduling a series of free zoom trainings for professional leaders that are scheduled for 1-5pm February 2nd, 9th and 16th. The trainings will cover mandated reporting, boundaries, definitions and guidelines for discipline, anti-bias and conflict management skills. A similar training will also be provided for congregational leader.

· Resources for When A Pastor Leaves – Pastor Manda created resources for pastors and congregations for when a pastor leaves.

Ordination and Calls

· Pending successful Synod Council Call on December 11th, the ordination of Tayler Hagbo will be on the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th) at the Lutheran Church of Arcata

· Lewis Eggleston has been called as a ministry of word and service by Churchwide to serve Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. An ordination has not yet been scheduled.


· Pastor Katelyn Rakotoarivelo was installed at Resurrection, Dublin on October 30th.

· Pastor Carolyn Brodt was installed at Bethel, Roseville on November 7th.

· Pastor Ben Sandin was installed at Bethel, Cupertino in the morning on November 14th.

· Pastor Todd Bensen was installed at Bethlehem Lutheran in Oakland in the afternoon on November 14th.

· The installation of Pastor Diane Wendt is scheduled for Gaudete Sunday (December 12th) at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Sacramento.

Exercise Leadership in the Mission of this Church

Interpret and Advocate Theology of the ELCA-

· Next week I will have a livestream conversation with Dr. Kwok Pui-Lan about her new book Postcolonial Politics and Theology: Unraveling Empire for a Global World

Lead in Fostering Support For and Commitment to the Mission of This Church Within the Synod

· We participated in Chruchwide’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

· We created a draft of 2022 benchmarks for the Synod in anti-racism and anti-bias efforts

Partnership With Full Communion, Ecumenical and Interreligious Partners and Related Organizations:

o Next week I will be speaking at Manny’s in San Francisco with the pastor of Glide Memorial in San Francisco.

o I met with the new Episcopal priest who has been called to lead the campus ministry at the Belfry.

Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR):

· I hosted a Live stream on ELCA Mission Funding

· We hosted a 2 part training on Emergency Spiritual Support providing information on Psychological First Aid and a presentation on Black Grief.

Coordinate the Use of the Resources Available to this Synod as it Seeks to Promote the Health of the Church and Witness in Areas Served by this Synod

New and Additional Funding:

· Income from preaching and teaching stipends continue to be designated for the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund.

· I have donated some of my books to the Synod which are for sale on the Synod’s website.

Advise and Counsel the Synod’s Institutions and Organizations

· I hosted a livestream conversation with Lutheran Social Services of Northern California

· I visited Mt. Cross with my family and we helped fix up one of the properties during the week of Thanksgiving.

· I visited the San Francisco Night Ministry’s fundraiser.

· I have had multiple meetings with leaders from California Lutheran University and PLTS and attended a meeting for Convocators.

Practice Leadership in Strengthening the Unity of the Church

Resolving Controversies and Overseeing Discipline-

· Confidential matters are disclosed in Executive Session

Participate in the Conference of Bishops & Consult Regularly with Other Bishops

· We joined the Region 2 Bishops in Consultations meetings discussing issues of mutual concern.

· I visited our Sister Synod in South Dakota

Foster Awareness of Church in the Lutheran World Communion

· I spoke at the Church of Sweden’s Transblessing conference in October.

· I continue to prioritize conversation with youth and young adults in spaces where I can encourage diverse individuals to consider the Lutheran church.

Cultivate Relationships with Christian Judicatory Leaders Within the Territory

· We requested a meeting with the President of the local LCMS synod.

· I am beginning to meet with some of my Episcopal counterparts.

Oversee and Administer the Work of the Synod

Ensure the Following of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Synod and Churchwide are Being Followed

· The Synod Resource Center is now fully in compliance with Policy 89-003 Guidelines for Financial Accountability for the Divisions, Commissions, and the Committees of the Sierra Pacific Synod.

· I have reviewed and recommended updates for about half of the Synod’s policies. Recommended updates seek to promote transparency about the current practices of the Synod and churchwide policies and manuals. The remaining policies will be updated fore the February Synod Council meeting.

Coordinate the Work of Synod Staff-

· Outgoing Staff:

· Steve Wright’s contract expired. We give thanks for his service as Director of Candidacy.

· Pr. Bill Wong’s contract expires on December 31st. We give thanks for his service as a Call Process Assistant.

Committees and Organizational Units-

· Some of the meetings I’ve attended include CLU Convocation, Witness Discipling Team, St. John’s Trustees Meetings, Nomination Committee, Synod Assembly Planning Team, The San Francisco Pacifica Conference Meeting, the Capitol Valley Conference Meeting, Sierra Central Valley Conference Meeting and Conference of Bishops.

Leadership- Led by Pr. Manda Truchinski

· Resignation from the Roster:

§ Retired pastor Gerry Cunningham has retired from the roster in order to become rostered in the Episcopal church.

· Transfers to Other Synods:

· Pastor Daniel Shantu accepted a new call and has transferred to the Lower Susquehanna Synod

· Pastor Stephen Weisser has received a call to manage Spiritual Care Services in the North State for Dignity Health and transferred to the Sierra Pacific Synod.

Maintenance of the Roster of Congregations and Their Officers: Next week the Synod Office will be upgrading to a new database that will make it easier to store and retain records. Pastor Manda and Catherine will be leading the efforts to oversee the database upgrade and to get the database up to date with congregational information. In January we will be encouraging congregations and pastors to fill out their parochial and bishop’s reports.

Archive Documents: At the regional consultation, it was decided that closing congregations would be encouraged to scan documents in a searchable way instead of sending paper documents to the regional archive. Congregations that do not scan their documents will be asked to donate $5,000 to the archive to support the storage of their historical documents. Original copies of parochial books, insurance policies, deeds and articles of corporations should be sent to the regional archive.

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