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The Installation of Bishop Brenda Bos

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

A wandering Aramean was my father…(Deuteronomy 26:5)
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.
Download PDF of program here

Land Acknowledgement

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

Our Creator promises, “To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.” (Revelation 21:6)
We give you thanks, Maker of rivers and oceans; we give you thanks, Quencher of Thirst and Cleanser of Souls, for the gift of baptism, the water of life.
We give you thanks for the gift of baptism, your holy sacrament, which unites all people of every nation and tongue.
We give you thanks for the Lifespring we find in you. We trust and hope that we will eternally praise you on the banks of the river of the water of life, with all the saints of every time and place.

Thanksgiving for Baptism

Art of the Installation

The worship space included a massive runner (the creation of  Sam LaDue, a seminarian at PLTS and a member at Mt. Olive, Santa Monica). The runner is a collage of mediums and artworks submitted by many of our Synod’s artists, bordered by fabric portraying water. It celebrates creation and our ancestors. Whether it’s the work of the bees (often unseen, but so important) or the many works of individuals and the ripple effects of that work, the aisle runner asked us to see and physically stand among our interdependent stories.
The runner started outside of the building, leading all the way to the altar—the implied lines going beyond the bounds of the physical church. We stand with and in history, our present and God’s future simultaneously. Time and space are an everywhen as much as everywhere.
The Bishop's vestments were hand-painted by Pastor Joseph Toni Casteñeda Carrera. They feature California botanicals, the fruits of our synod, woven together with a trinitarian chain.
The pink background celebrates femininity, but also suggests the blood of Christ, which unites us all. The crozier is hand carved cherry, created by Pastor Glenn Anderson. The words “Do you love me? Feed my sheep” appear on the shaft.
The bishop’s cope and crozier symbolize the bishop as traveler, moving around the territory offering hope, help and God’s word. The rainbow stole was created by Constance Berg, a member of Our Savior’s, Long Beach.

Telling Our Stories

Liturgy of the Word

Migrant Stories
Just as scripture tells the story of our experiences, these migrant stories are told by immigrants, some in their native language, about their experience leaving home and coming to the United States.
Reading: The Call of Abram
Genesis 12:1-7
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan.
When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh.
At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

Yu Jen Dai: “O Living Breath of God”

Children’s Sermon

Gospel Reading
Luke 9:57-10:9
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.
He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.
Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ "

Installation Offering


Informed by our Lutheran faith and decades of experience with migrants and refugees, Lutheran Immigrationand Refugee Service (LIRS) is the largest faith-based nonprofit dedicated to serving vulnerable immigrants,asylum seekers and refugees in the U.S, resettling refugees, reuniting children and parents, and rekindling theAmerican Dream. Their legacy of compassionate service has made a difference in the lives of more than500,000 people who have sought safety and hope in America’s communities.
Donation link
In Spanish, “amparo” in Spanish means the protection of a living creature from suffering or damage. Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO) was envisioned after witnessing the plight of children who are forced to flee their communities because of complex and interrelated reasons, including chronic violence,  poverty, environmental  displacement  and lack of opportunities in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The ELCA seeks to pray for, advocate for, and accompany vunerable children through a connection to companion churches in the region - including companion synod relationships - and existing ministries in the U.S.
Donation link