By Char Leone

Attending the 2017 Synod Assembly was a joyful and enlightening experience for so many reasons, not the least of which was the opportunity to see how our Synod and its many (90) congregations are at work in this current era of change.  At a time when many see the churches of the Reformation as shrinking in numbers, the vitality of renewal is palpable in this 500th Reformation anniversary year.

The theme of the Assembly and an on-going campaign for renewal is “Deep Roots, New Life”. This project will lead Synod congregations forward in funding theological education for new ministry candidates as well as contributing to the “Imagine Project,” an outreach for new and renewing congregations and ministries. You can experience more of what “Deep Roots, New Life” is about at the website:  or find it on Facebook @deeprootsnewlife

I personally enjoyed the Bible studies on both days, lead by PLU professors, Doug Oakman on Friday, and Marit Trelstad on Saturday, outlining the treasure and gifts of some key Lutheran theological understandings. Workshops provided more opportunities for enlightenment, and I attended those relating to the 2018 National ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, TX, which St. Mark’s is always supportive of our youth attending, as well as the workshop on the “Imagine Project”.

It was a pleasure to be in attendance with other St. Mark’s voting members and staff and retirees. The Assembly honored Rev. Dick Rodning and Rev. Herman Diers for their ordination anniversaries and it was fun to hear Dick & Elaine’s stories of beginning his ministry in the Pacific Northwest 70 years ago!  Our Pastors Shjerven and Rue were also included in anniversary commemorations at this Assembly.

In two days we were filled up with statistics and stories, with wonderful worship, with workshops and informational displays, with lunch and laughter, with visions and business—I thank the  congregation for the privilege of attending.  Another meaningful moment for me was to be elected to a 3-year term on our Synod Council, a privilege I accept humbly and with gratitude.