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2024 Synod Assembly

Informe de la Asamblea del Sínodo del Obispo 2024

Bishop’s Synod Assembly 2024 Report

The 2024 Southwest California Synod Assembly, “The Unity of the Church” was two days of celebrating the ministries of our synod, renewing friendships and learning much about how to be the church in Southern California.

On Friday, May 31, nearly 200 people visited the Lutheran Center for a day of workshops and ministry fair. They were greeted by musicians from First Inglewood filling the courtyard with song. We offered sixteen different workshops on topics like presenting interesting Bible studies to Anti-racism work to senior ministry to the state of Lutheran seminaries. Bishop Brenda Bos presented her report in three separate Q&A sessions, including one online. Treasurer Michael Metzger led a budget workshop in person and online.
You may watch those two reports here:

There was plenty of time and space for conversations and reunions. Friday evening featured a concert with musicians from Pueblo de Dios, American Burbank and St. Matthew’s North Hollywood. A reception followed for former bishop Guy Erwin and his husband Rob Flynn.

Saturday began with a festive worship with Bishop Brenda Bos preaching, Pastor Cesar Gogorza presiding. Carlos Cortez, Viv Vega and Victoria Villa served as lectors. “Pentecost Peace,” a new liturgical setting written by Paul Heatley from Hill Avenue Grace, was premiered.

If you are interested in using Pentecost Peace at your congregation, you must license it through CCLI. Most of your congregations already have a license in place with CCLI, and you simply need to tell CCLI you are using this music. The attached bulletin insert includes the licensing information to report this appropriately. Please remember all music used in worship services must be licensed.

Bishop Erwin addressed the assembly as his formal farewell and was named Bishop Emeritus. Lisa Curtis, Vice President, and Michael Metzger, Treasurer, presented reports. Pastor Maria Elena Montalvo introduced the assembly to some of the Mauritanian refugees housed at her church. TEEM Pastor David Lin and Grace Hsu highlighted the journey of Chinese migrants.

We passed three resolutions: one calling for clear discipline processes for rostered leaders, another calling for our presiding bishop to write to national government officials to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and multiple humanitarian supports, and a resolution calling for climate justice and education around climate justice and peace. We passed the 2025-2026 fiscal year operating budget, and treasurer Michael Metzger presented a plan to invest our monetary assets.

Mary Campbell, the director of AMMPARO, was our ELCA representative and thanked us for over $400,000 in benevolence to the ELCA.

Bishop Bos celebrated the completion of the Youth Gathering Scholarship fund. Over 75 young people will be attending the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans in 2025. Your gifts to the synod fundraiser will assist 38 young Lutherans to participate. Our original goal was to raise $125,000, most of which was raised in our congregations to send their own youth. Eleven congregations requested $35,000 in scholarships, and because of the generosity of many donors, including the assembly offering, we are able to fill all requests. You may still send gifts as requests for assistance continue. Praise God for the generosity of our donors, and the young people of our churches!

The following people were elected to offices:

Synod Council At-large: Autumn Beveridge, Kathleen Chillison, John Halbert and Pr. James Boline

Synod Council Conference Representatives: Pr. Roderick Hines, LA Metro; Pr. Rick Hall, Foothill; Pr. James Mericle, San Gabriel; Dennis Schmidt, Central Coast

Consultation Committee: Pr. Douglas Barclay, Carolyn Foster

Discipline Committee: Pr. Caleb Crainer, Robert Grosse

Churchwide Assembly Voting Members: Grace Steele, youth; Shawntelle Augustine, Frances Hale, lay

It was necessary for each person elected to receive more than 50% of possible votes. No one in the Churchwide Assembly Voting Members Ordained received more than 50%. There was no quorum present for the second ballot. This election was referred to synod council for decision.

Thank you to synod staff and volunteers Viv Vega and Karen Tomlinson for running the assembly team, John Halbert for workshop coordination, Carlos Cortez and Samuel Nieva for worship design, Joyce Opjorden as parliamentarian and Nolan Green as sacristan. The African Descent Lutheran Association returned as our registration team and Julie Jensen was the registrar. Melissa Maxwell Doherty was scribe and Scott Maxwell Doherty was the show director. Big Dog Sound was the flawless tech crew.

In closing, there were:

  • 350 attendees (cumulative) over two days
  • 78 congregations represented
  • 3 Bishops
  • 20 vendors14 store bought coffee carafes and 18 on-site brewed coffee pots
  • 500+ sweets, pastries, and donuts

Thank you to all attendees for the post-event reviews. The feedback we received will be considered in planning next year’s Synod Assembly.

Save the dates! May 30 and 31, 2025 for our NEXT SYNOD ASSEMBLY!


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