Bishop Brenda and the installation team have been meeting to celebrate the successes and study the challenges of the installation. A full report of their learnings, in an effort to make synodical events more inclusive, will be offered in the coming weeks. Thank you again to all who participated in every possible way possible.
From Bishop Brenda Bos
This simple verse can be seen as a distillation of the entire Israelite identity, that God called Abraham out of his homeland and into the Promised Land, but first there was slavery, disease, war, and deliverance. The same is true for each of us; very few are natives of North America. Most of our foremothers and forefathers left their native land for the United States of America. My father is an immigrant, my mother’s family is only two or three generations in this country.
As we gather today, I honor our shared experiences. We are all children of God, most of us identify as Lutheran Christians, many of us are shaped by our immigrant story. We are bonded by these truths. I also acknowledge some of our ancestors were brought to this continent against their will, in slave ships or under oppression. These stories shape all of us and must be heard.
Joshua said, “I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.'”
Welcome to this joyful eucharist in celebration of the Installation of the fifth bishop of the Southwest California Synod, the Reverend Brenda Bos. And welcome to Angelica Lutheran Church, which was built in 1925 by faithful Swedish immigrants. Let us join together in praising God for God’s good graces.
In 2018, the voting body of the SWCA Synod Assembly passed Southwest California Synod Native Protocols, resolving that “whenever possible, formal public gatherings organized and led by the synod or its conferences and congregations shall begin with a recognition of the tribe or tribes on whose ancestral land the synod, conference, or congregation is located. Suggested language for such recognitions and acknowledgements shall be provided by the Office of the Bishop.” One resource to find more information about the indigenous peoples of the land on which your congregation or conference rests is available here.
This historic space, and the voices we will hear throughout the worship service, invite us to reflect on the stories of how we got here: stories of immigration, pursuing opportunity or fleeing violence; stories of forced migration, of colonizers stealing and enslaving people for economic advantage; stories of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Even as we name these migrant stories of hope and tragedy, we recognize that some people have lived on this land for thousands of years. We understand the role Christian churches and institutions have played in ignoring, condoning, and doing harm upon indigenous people, so we acknowledge that we gather on indigenous land to offer respect and refuse to let these stories of harm go unaddressed.
The Greater Los Angeles Area is the second largest urban region in the United States, and we acknowledge that we are on Chumash, Kizh, and Tongva land.
There are fourteen federally recognized Native American Indian tribes within the Greater Los Angeles Area, but no federally recognized Native American Indian tribes in Los Angeles. However, Los Angeles County is home to three Native American Indian tribes that predate the establishment of California Missions: the Ventureño, Gabrieleño, and Fernandeño. While these tribes are not currently recognized by the federal government, they are recognized by the State of California, and have maintained their tribal sovereignty, protected their cultural resources, and continue to resist assimilation.
We are blessed by the indigenous peoples whose stories have begun on this land, continue to prosper on this land, and will continue into the future.
Thanksgiving for Baptism in a Time of Drought
“A river flows out of Eden to water the garden.” (Genesis 2:10)
When God created this lush garden with every kind of tree, God provided for every need for the first humans who were called to tend the garden.
When God led Israel through the wilderness, the people doubted, fearing there was not enough water, not enough food. And God brought water from a rock and sent manna from heaven.
When God came to earth in the body of Jesus, the waters of the earth were sanctified through Jesus’ baptism. The heavens were opened as He came up from the river. The earth’s waters participated in the cleansing and blessing of the ministry of our Savior.
When native people settled in Baja California, they chose their homes based on abundant water supplies. Their crops flourished, their families thrived.
When white immigrants came to California, they built their cities near waterways and reservoirs.
When the rains do not come, the people doubt and despair. We blame each other, we squander our precious water. We lay claim to water, a resource which can only come from God.
The same is true of our hope and salvation. It is a gift which can only come from God.
We give thanks for the gift of baptism