July 1, 2021
Dear friends in Christ:
Grace and peace to you from God our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
As more people are vaccinated and COVID cases decrease, our in-person interactions are increasing and the outlook is improving. I am so grateful for the ways in which you have cared for one another and for your neighbors during these past 15+ months and for all the ways in which you continue to adapt to an ever-changing reality. The world has certainly changed for good, and in order to help equip you for the future we hope you’ll engage in the free five week webinar series called “Hybrid Church,” beginning on July 26th.
As the Office of the Bishop, we are also thinking about how to become a hybrid synod office. When the pandemic began, the staff shifted to fully working from home, and we have discovered that there are some things that we would like to keep doing via Zoom. This includes meeting with church councils and other small groups online, potentially hosting synod assemblies online every other year to reduce costs, and offering both in-person and online meeting options for those who can't convene in the same physical space. We also plan to continue hosting free/affordable online learning events so that more people can access quality resources.
As you know, Pastor Judith Spindt retired at the end of April, and I have made the decision not to call another full-time bishop’s associate to replace her. Shifting work priorities and new financial realities have affected us too. In order to adapt, we are modifying some responsibilities and adding part-time staff/staff hours to support leaders and congregations.
This will continue to evolve. Here is our new staff configuration, including some specific responsibilities:
Part-time Contract Staff
Interns (through August 31, 2021)
Our synod staff will continue to work primarily from home, as we are scattered around the synod, with most of us coming together in the office in Seguin fairly reliably on Mondays and on other days as necessary. Therefore, if you would like an in-person appointment, please contact us via email/phone, and we will set up a time either at the synod office or somewhere out and about in the synod. Our office telephone system automatically routes voicemails to our individual emails.
The full-time senior staff (myself, Pastor Allyson, Deacon Darcy) are available upon request for coming to preach during worship at your congregations as we have in the past. Our part time staff (Pastor Lisa Hoelscher, Pastor Lea Walker-Clark) are available based on their schedules, and they would need to be compensated as you would other supply pastors.
Thank you for your patience as we are living into this new staffing and hybrid model of being church together. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Bishop Sue Briner