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November 2023 Newsletter

Updated: Mar 11

Seems like only a day or so ago we sat in the glow of All Saints naming our dearly departed. We pictured them as saints gathered with all who had gone before them, a part of the diversity of nations, tongues, and tribes, unified by the light of God that flowed around them. Then Monday came and we woke from the reverie to the headlines of everyday.

We are killing ourselves for power.

Russians kill Ukrainians and Israel and Hamas kill for land, for power, for control. Trump boasts that, if elected, he will “root out communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.”

We oppress and terrorize.

And so, advent comes. We wait for Jesus to be born, again, into a world of violence, oppression and pain. We will be the shepherds, and the magi. We will carry the news of peace, of unity within diversity, of hope. It won’t be easy; it never is. The temptation to retreat into a “me and Jesus” spirituality is strong. There is good in it, but also danger.

Read “Just Jesus…Unless” and discover resources that will help.

Just Jesus? Unless...

“We need to get back to Jesus. Just Jesus” the bishop* proclaimed.


But, if the question of the day was: How can we work against racism?

I didn’t think “Just Jesus” was a sufficient answer.


Maybe that’s not what the bishop meant.

Click the button below to read more.

Blog includes links to ELCA resources.

Congratulations to the 9 congregations who completed our 18-month Vitality Process! Because of their hard work, each congregation now has a team of well equipped vitality leaders. The teams participated in 8 workshops and led their congregations through several activities. 


As a researcher, I want to know if this process was helpful or not. I don't just want the upbeat story, I want the details, I want qualitative data. So, each team documented their learning at four points along the way. In the end, I searched the documents for evidence of their attitude toward change as well as what they had to say about their relationship with God, with one another and with their neighbor.


Here's what I found in the eight congregations who turned in all four documents:


All 8 strengthened their willingness to try something new. They proved this strength by developing partnerships with neighborhood groups to do something good for the community.  


Some of the groups they partnered with include:

  • Local Youth Gay Straight Alliance and Queer Initiative.

  • Neighborhood Scout troop and local Veterans Hall.

  • Organization that supports women who are both pregnant and homeless, and local tea café.

  • Neighbors in an apartment building across the street.

  • Local organization that supports folks with intellectual disabilities.


Over the course of these eight workshops, the congregations changed the way they think. Here’s a bit of what the teams said:

  • We used to get caught up in the past, and now we, with God’s guidance, focus on the future.

  • We used to just make announcements, but now we interact personally.

  • We used to look backwards to find solutions to problems, now we are looking forward to the changing community around us to find solutions together with the community.


Congratulations to each and every one of them! I will miss them, but take great comfort in knowing they are stronger for our time together.


Special thanks to California Lutheran Homes and Community Services for funding this opportunity for the congregations of the Pacifica and Southwest synods.


If you want to how we can help your congregation or the congregations of your synod -- talk to me! (see below)


THANK YOU to the 15 Synods who are now using


Discover and Invite:

Telling the Story of Your congregation through the MSP.


We launched this product almost a year ago at a discounted price of $250 per synod. This introductory discount will expire on December 31. If you have been thinking about purchasing this great product -- do it before the end of the year!


Now through December 31 the price remains: $250 per synod, or $475 with two training sessions.


Beginning January 1 2024 the prices increases to $475 per synod, or $750 with two training sessions.

Upcoming Zoom Workshops

It was in the newsletter and the bulletin and announced in worship, but somehow people still say they don’t know anything about it.



  Come to this FREE workshop to find out and discover how to fix it.


This workshop will be held via ZOOM in two 90-minute sessions.


Choose between morning or evening sessions:

Thursday MORNINGS January 11th and 18th from 10 am to 11:30 am,


Thursday EVENINGS January 11th and 18th from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.


Don't miss the opportunity to get something for nothing! These workshops are offered with no strings attached thanks to a partnership between Living the Resurrection and California Lutheran Homes and Community Services.


Click the button and scroll to "Upcoming Zoom Events" to register.


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