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December 2022 Newsletter

Updated: Mar 11

Too much fun for Advent?

If Advent is only for contemplative waiting and yearning, then we're doing it wrong. But, if Advent is a time to prepare for the coming (again and again) of Jesus -- then....

Advent has been full of such preparation for the Living the Resurrection Team. The photos above and the words below reveal just a bit of what we've been up to. It's mostly Marj's stuff- but this newsletter ends with a BIG new thing from Bishop Mike - so don't stop scrolling before you get there!

May the season of Advent prepare you for the Joy of Christmas.

Mike, Conrad and Marj

Here are my explanations for the photos above.


This Advent started with a Strategic Planning session. Many congregation experience low attendance and kind of a quiet start to the Advent season on Thanksgiving weekend. But Trinity Lutheran in Hawthorne CA was ready to live into why they exist and to claim their part in the mission of God. 


See photo tagged "Strategic Planning" plus the one with three folks standing in front of a full white board. That's Pastor Kevin Bergeson, me and President Ellen Brewer.


Learn more by clicking the button below.  

The women of Mt Carmel Lutheran in San Luis Obispo had gone on retreat every year for – forever. Except for the last three years. They asked me to lead their first retreat since the pandemic.  When I suggested the Hopeful Frustration topic,  one of the leaders said: “Well, I’ve got the frustration part down, so you’ll have to help with the hopeful part.”   God worked through our time and hope was reignited. 


I photo bombed a few women enjoying down time at a Hopeful Frustration retreat. They didn't mind. See photo of women sitting on a bed -- with my head sideways.


I’ve put together a few ways of exploring the hope in frustration: a 1 hour conversation, a 3 hour workshop and a 3-4 session retreat. If any of those seem like they would help your leaders, click the button below to learn more.

The Advent workshop of our Congregational Vitality Process marked the half-way point for both the Pacifica and SWCA synod Learning Communities. So far, they have discovered and articulated the core values of their congregation and begun to discover the values of their neighbors.

Since this process is funded by California Lutheran Homes and Community Services – folks are holding up the CLH newsletters in these photos! The photo of the two folks walking and laughing was taken during a workshop as the teams returned from practicing a neighborhood prayer walk.

If you are considering this process for your synod in 2023 – talk to me SOON!

Don’t take my word for any of this – check out the endorsements for each of our offerings.

Who says Lutherans don’t testify😊

If you haven't had a chance to read the latest blog -- and you want to strengthen your relationship with God, this might help. Click the button below.  

The Good News is that the brilliant Beth Gaede is working on this project! She is a recently retired editor from Fortress – and a longtime member of the ELCA. Beth is going beyond reigning in my wordiness, and fixing punctuation errors. She is so “into” this project that she’s helping me polish the “confusing” bits so that it is all as clear as can be!

My hope is that Beth and I finish up in the next couple of weeks and I can send it to be copywritten by the end of the month. Look for a mid-January announcement of its availability!

If you haven’t seen the “Brief Outline” of this project yet, download it here.

Brief Outline of the Discover and Invite Process
Download PDF • 108KB

Church World Service is hosting a four-week webinar in January based on Bishop Mike's book (see above)


Many congregations today are dealing with changes that have led to decline and significant loss. Until a congregation comes to terms with its perceived losses through a healthy process of grief, it will be paralyzed in the present and unable to think creatively about the future.  Mike will discuss how clergy, church staff, and lay leaders can work through the experience of loss and grief, both personally and in their congregation.


The Webinar will be in one-hour sessions from 10-11 AM, January 17, 24, 31 and February 7.

Don't forget to follow us on Social Media! 

we're kinda fun!


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