Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Sierra Pacific Synod    
Weekly E-Newsletter  

Pentecost Flames

  Sierra Pacific Synod
                June 7, 2012  




Freed in Christ to Serve - in the midst  of persistent poverty, the effects of economic recession, overheated partisanship, and political gridlock


The primary election is over (many new legislators will be headed to Sacramento in December), last week was the deadline for legislation to pass out of its house of origin, and California's continuing budget woes - a deficit that has ballooned to over $15 billion - come into sharper focus with a June 15 deadline for legislative action. There have been and will be real consequences for those who struggle to meet basic needs or depend on a public safety net because of unemployment, under-education, health crisis, addiction, domestic violence, age, disability, or other factors.  The November "direct democracy" ballot is shaping up to be long, confusing, and divisive.  The Lutheran Office of Public Policy - California (LOPP) bears witness to suffering; encourages policy solutions that minimize harm and promote well-being; practices hospitality, accompaniment, and solidarity with those who are hurting; and supports congre-gations and members in their own witness.


Participation in three synod assemblies in the last few weeks has reminded me of the rich and varied gifts of caring, compassion, and prophetic witness of our congre-gations, pastors and other rostered leaders, and lay members and friends. Initial response to the LOPP Asset Inventory has been good, and if you have not completed the survey, please take it so that a more complete picture of our collective mission is available not only to LOPP, but to the Sierra Pacific Synod and its Justice, Advocacy and Mercy Discipling Team.


General priorities for 2012, guided by the LOPP Policy Council within the framework of ELCA Social Statements and ELCA World Hunger guidelines, include the state health and human services budget and replacement of the death penalty (November ballot measures), as well as other legislation related to poverty and care for creation, and cooperative work with the ELCA Washington DC Office on matters such as the Farm Bill and immigration.  Churchwide support for LOPP staff comes from ELCA World Hunger, and operating expenses are funded by synods in California and congregational and individual contributions.  Second Mile gifts in the Sierra Pacific Synod enable LOPP to gain greater visibility in the Capitol, through sponsorship and participation in nonpartisan events, travel support for Lutherans who bring their experience and expertise to Sacramento, and hospitality at St. John's Lutheran Church for groups with shared purposes.  LOPP was the site host for ENACT Nutrition and Physical Activity Lobby Day recently.  I was blessed to be a team leader for Immigrant Day in May, as immigrants shared their stories and concern with legislators and staff.  As this synod newsletter is sent out, I will be concluding Early Learning Advocacy Day - and giving thanks for the conversations I had with Lutheran early childhood educators who not only helped prep me, but help prepare the future of church and society every day.  A child poverty rate in California of about 25% cries out for our attention.  With public subsidies (threatened with cuts), some congre-gational child care centers are able to help low-income families keep "children learning" and "parents earning."  Next week, another effort to shape a healthy, equitable future occurs as LOPP hosts California Interfaith Power & Light Lobby Day, bringing voices of faith leaders to discussions of climate change and energy policy.


Thank you for your witness to God's love for all that God has created, and for your prayers and expressions of support.  Your voice and your gifts make a difference!


God's peace and grace,

Mark Carlson, Director





Please click here for an evaluation form.


For Assembly photos, please click here 

are available;
please click here 


For information regarding use of Pastor Trudy Franzen's "Quadratos Tree" mosaic in publications, please email her.  The mosaic was featured as the backdrop for our recent Synod Assembly at the McEnery Convention Center in San Josť.


We remember in prayer:     


Pastor Carl Hoppman (St. Luke, Sacramento), family and friends, grieving the death of his father


Pastor Bob Hutson (Synod Assembly Parliamentarian from Carefree, AZ) and his wife, Nancy, mourning the death of Nancy's mother


These synods and bishops as they gather in Assembly this weekend:


The Allegheny Synod

and Bishop Gregory Pile


The Indiana-Kentucky Synod

and Bishop William Gafkjen


The Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod

and Bishop Ralph Jones


The Central States Synod

and Bishop Gerald Mansholt


The Central/Southern Illinois Synod

and Bishop S. John Roth


The Upstate New York Synod

and Bishop Marie Jerge


The South Dakota Synod

and Bishop David Zellmer


The Northeastern Iowa Synod

and Bishop Steve Ullestad


The Virginia Synod and

Bishop James Mauney


The Southwestern Minnesota Synod

and Bishop Jon Anderson


The La Crosse Area Synod

and Bishop James Arends


The Southern Ohio Synod and

Bishop Callon Holloway, Jr.


This synod and bishop as they gather in Assembly and elect a bishop this weekend:


The New England Synod

and Bishop Margaret Payne


Position Opening:  Director for
Evangelical Mission, Sierra Pacific Synod


The Sierra Pacific Synod is pleased to announce the posting of the position of Director for Evangelical Mission.  This position represents the Congregational and Synodical Mission (CSM) unit in the territory of the Sierra Pacific Synod, and is responsible for engaging synodical leaders, structures and strategies in the formation and development of evangelical congregations which reflect the purposes, principles and commitments of the synod, CSM and the ELCA as a whole.  Please click here for the job description.  For infor-mation about applying for the position, please click here (application info will be available on or shortly after June 1.) 




Backpack Drive for Homeless Students


  Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and SF CARES are organizing Bay Area congregations to participate in a backpack drive for the homeless students of the San Francisco Unified School District.  The goal is to collect 1,000 backpacks that will be given out at the July 27th Project Homeless Connect family event in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood.  Backpacks with school supplies and financial donations for this project will be received by participating congregations until July 11th.  For more information, please click here or send an email to Pastor Megan Rohrer.


Lutheran Social Services CEO

Hits the Ground Running


Lutheran Social Services of Northern California has announced the appointment of Carol Roberts as its new CEO.  Carol brings with her a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and extensive experience in management of programs serving the disenfranchised and under-served. She has led other nonprofits with multi-million dollar budgets.  She has extensive experience in fundraising and she is very comfortable working in the faith community.  To read the entire article, please click here.



Rev. Clayton Schmit Named

First Provost of ELCA Seminary   


The Rev. Clayton J. Schmit, rostered in the Sierra Pacific Synod and former pastor of Elim Lutheran Church in Petaluma, has been named founding provost of the new School of Theology, which is to be formed when Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC, and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC, merge July 1.  As the founding provost, Schmit will be the chief administrative officer of the seminary.  He succeeds the Rev. Marcus J. Miller, who will retire this summer as the seminary's president.  To read the entire news release, please click here.


In This Issue

A Message from the Lutheran Office of Public Policy - California

Synod Assembly Feedback Wanted - And More!

We Remember in Prayer

Position Opening: Director for Evangelical Mission

Backpack Drive for Homeless Students

Lutheran Social Services CEO Hits the Ground Running

Rev. Clayton Schmit Named First Provost of ELCA Seminary

Second Mile Giving

Synod Resource Centers Featured in The Lutheran


Luther Academy of the Rockies

Upcoming Events ... Dates to Hold

Mile 2


Second Mile Giving

for June:

Lutheran Office of Public Policy - California


Quick Links
Quick Links

June 22-23  Synod Council,
     Sacramento Office of the Bishop

July 18-22  ELCA Youth Gathering,
     New Orleans, LA


August 13-14  Pre-Retirement
     Seminar, San Damiano Retreat
     Center, Danville

August 17-18  Candidacy Committee,

August 30  Discipling Team Chairs,
     Location TBD

September 8  "Planning for Advent,
     Christmas and Epiphany"
     Workshop, Our Savior's, Lafayette

September 15  Cultural Humility
     Workshop, Emanuel, Modesto

September 22   District B Gathering,    
     Peace, Grass Valley

September 28-29  Synod Council,
     Location TBD

September 29  Anti-Racism

     Introduction, Faith, Reno 


October 4-9  Conference of Bishops,
     Lutheran Center, Chicago

October 8-9  Council of Deans,
     Granlibakken Resort

October 8-9  Rostered Women's
     Retreat, Granlibakken Resort

October 9-11  Professional Leaders
     Conference, Granlibakken Resort

October 12-14  SPSYC High School

October 19-21  Anti-Racism Training,
     Location TBD

October 26-27  Candidacy Committee,

October 27  Hunger Network
     Workshop, Lutheran Church of
     the Incarnation, Davis

November 9-11  SPSYC Middle School
     / Junior High Retreat

December 8  Synod Council (tent.) 



January 2-7  Bishops' Academy
January 11-12  Candidacy
     Committee, PLTS

January 16-17  Council of Deans
     Retreat, Christ the King Retreat
     Center, Citrus Heights

January 19  All Discipling Teams,
     Location TBD 
January 25-26  Synod Council,
     Location TBD

February 22-24  SPSYC 3rd-6th
     Grade Retreat

February 28 - March 5  Conference
     of Bishops

March 4-5 Retired Clergy/AIMS/
     Spouses/Widows & Widowers

March 9  Rwanda Connections
     Committee Annual Meeting,

May 1  Synod Council, Fresno

May 2-4  Synod Assembly, Fresno

August 12-18  Churchwide Assembly
     Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania    

October 3-8  Conference of Bishops,
     Lutheran Center, Chicago

January 2-7  Bishops' Academy
February 27 - March 4  Conference
     of Bishops


October 2-7  Conference of Bishops,
     Lutheran Center, Chicago

March 5-10  Conference of Bishops

October 1-6  Conference of Bishops,
     Lutheran Center, Chicago 


Staff Listing


Synod Resource Centers Featured

The latest edition of The Lutheran Magazine
included an article about Synod Resource Centers - and included our own Sierra Pacific Synod Resource Center in Fresno!  See page 36.





Synod Hunger Network Workshop

Saturday, Oct. 27

Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, Davis


Staff Formation Event -- Nov. 12-15

Head of Staff Event -- Nov. 15-18

Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center

Carefree, Arizona



Luther Academy of the Rockies

June 18-28


Luther Academy of the Rockies is Wartburg Sem- inary's premier LifeLong Learning educational pro- gram for rostered leaders and their families.  Meeker Park Lodge in Colorado is an old time, rustic mountain lodge surrounded by housekeeping cabins.  The daily rhythm of worship, mornings filled with scholarly lectures and forums, afternoon free time to explore the scenery, and evening fellowship opportunities structures the time together.  This year's speakers are Drs. Paul Scott Wilson, Stanley N. Olson, and Ann Fritschel; they will address the theme "Reading, Teaching, and Preaching the Biblical Message in the 21st Century."  You may contact the seminary for more  information by clicking here.



Upcoming Events - Dates to Hold

Luther Academy
of the Rockies
Allenspark, Colorado
June 18-28
Berkeley - June 25-29


California Lutheran University -- Aug. 2-4
Staff Leadership Events
Staff Formation Event
November 12-15
Head of Staff Event
November 15-18
Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center, Carefree, AZ
claimed . . . gathered . . . sent
The Sierra Pacific Synod 
PO Box 276648, Sacramento, CA 95827-6648
916-756-1665    800-275-3522 

Contact Information 

Cindi Eckert, Newsletter Administrator                            Pr. Jim Goldsmith, Synod Communicator