Workshops at Synod Assembly

This year's Synod Assembly will feature a series of workshops that will help inspire, educate and guide your ministry. Workshops will be held in the afternoon on Thursday, June 2nd and Friday, June 3rd and each workshop will be around 1 hour long.

2022 Synod Assembly Workshops

Below you'll find a list of workshops that will be offered at the 2022 Synod Assembly. This list will be updated as more workshops are confirmed, along with a description of the workshop and who will lead them.

Military Chaplaincy

Rev. Joshua Semovoski, Ch, Capt, USAF

Rev. Jason E. Bense Ch, Capt, USAF

This workshop will provide a general overview of the ELCA Federal Chaplaincies, find ways to support the military chaplaincy and a chance to explore ministry questions.

What I Wish I Had Known: the Mechanics of Disaster Preparedness and Response

Katie Swartz, Christian Education Coordinator at St. James Lutheran Church, Redding

Is your go bag packed? Whether your answer is "of course!" or "I've been meaning to do that..." or "what's a go bag?," we all now live in a world where disaster affecting our communities is not a matter of "if" but "when." What can your congregation do to respond when a fire, mudslide, or earthquake occurs, and how can you start preparing now to most effectively serve before, during, and after a disaster? Join us as we share some learnings and best practices.

Bloom Where You're Planted: Congregational Vitality from the Empire State to the Golden State

Rev. Ben Colahan, Faith Lutheran Church, Chico

Rev. Amy Kienzle, St. John's Lutheran Church, Sacramento

How do we measure congregational vitality? Maybe there is more to vitality in the church than can be demonstrated by numbers. Pastors Ben Colahan and Amy Kienzle first crossed paths in 2013 in Brooklyn, NY, where they were both Mission Developers in adjacent neighborhoods. For the last few years they have been colleagues serving in the Sierra Pacific Synod. In this workshop they will share stories of their unique ministry experiences and what they have learned about what makes a ministry vital. And they will encourage you to reflect on your own ministry sites and what makes them vital in the larger mission of God.

Clergy Support Groups

Rev. Linda Boston

Rev. Barbara Caine

Rev. Paul Theiss

The pandemic added stress to pastors. Many have quit or are planning to. Lay leaders feel the pressure too, as some in smaller congregations are taking over pastoral duties. But God gives us a way to encourage our church leaders: clergy support groups. Jesus gathered the disciples in small groups and sent them out together. Several clergy support groups thrive in our Synod, finding resilient strength from God in each other’s company. Pastors Linda Boston, Barb Caine and Paul Theiss will share their stories at this workshop. Clergy can find out how to join a group or start one. Laypeople who care about their pastor or who find themselves in pastoral leadership are also welcome.

Serving on Church Council: How to Run your Council Meeting & Other Duties

Gail Kiyomura, Synod Vice President

Jeff Pennington, Synod Secretary

Pr. Sharon Amundson, Synod Treasurer

You've just been elected to serve on your church council - what does this mean? Join our Synod officers to talk about how to be an effective officer of your church council or a member of your church council.

What do Young People want at Church?

Dani Vogel, Director of Family Life, Faith Lutheran Church Chico

Makayla Smith-Stabler, Synod Council Youth Representative

Members of the Sierra Pacific Synod Youth Committee (SPSYC)

Ever wish you could sit down with young people and hear their honest feedback about what they enjoy in church? Curious how to get more young people into your church? Come to this panel-style discussion, moderated by Dani Vogel, where youth and young adults will share about why they enjoy attending church. Bring your questions as there will be time to ask the panel questions yourself!

Who's My Neighbor?

Carol Roberts, CEO of Lutheran Social Services Nor Cal

Jerry Metzker, Development Director of Lutheran Social Service Nor Cal

Carol Roberts, CEO, and Jerry Metzker, Development Director, of Lutheran Social Services of Northern California, will provide basic information about the causes and experiences of being homeless in Northern California. In this workshop, we will begin with a presentation about the tragedy of homelessness in our region. What is homelessness? Who is experiencing homelessness? How does this happen? How do people exit homelessness? How do people remain housed after they have experienced homelessness? Then we invite our workshop participants to share their experiences of homelessness, launching a conversation about what the Sierra Pacific Synod and its member churches can do to end homelessness in our region...for good.

Climate Change - Making Wholeness through Art

Rev. Jill Ross, Christ the Good Shepherd, San Jose

The participants will be empowered to use the visual arts as an invitation to begin reflection and action on climate change in their individual contexts. Artists and non-artists alike will reflect on their entry into the conversation of climate justice by making a small piece of art, then sharing in small groups about the realities of their communities. Finally, Pastor Jill will lead the group in a lesson and discussion on how to take what they learned back to their home churches. Pastor Jill Ross is both a theologian and a visual artist. This past year she was selected to be part of an international cohort group of pastors and educators through Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Lutheran World Federation. This workshop has grown out of her participation in this group.

Blending the Physical and Digital: Church Online in a Post-Covid World

Derek Nance, Livestream Extraordinaire, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Reno

Rev. John Bost, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Livermore

James Myers, Digital Equity Team Member

Dave Birdsall, Digital Equity Team Member

The biggest communication shift in 500 years is happening right in front of us! Join John Bost from Holy Cross, Livermore, a tech-savvy-congregation, Derek Nance, the Technology Director for Good Shepherd, Reno, and Dave Birdsall and James Myers from the Synod's Digital Equity Team to explore creative ways to leverage emerging technologies to engage folks who may or may not ever step foot on our physical campus on Sundays.

Creative Worship Planning: Beyond the ELW

Rev. Susan Strouse, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Burlingame

Michael Strelo-Smith, Director of Music and Media Arts at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Burlingame

Rev. Charlane Lines, Faith Lutheran Church, Meadow Vista

Join us as we will consider creative ways to enter into worship. Time will be spent discussing and experiencing inclusive liturgy, meaningful music and multi-sensory experiences accessible to all congregations no matter the size.

Mechanics of Merging Congregations

Rev. Dawn Roginski, St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, San Mateo

Rev. John Kuehner, Unity Lutheran Church, South San Francisco and Millbrae

The process and specifics of congregations sharing a common future together can seem difficult when the word merger is mentioned. Come explore this topic in a unique way that balances what it might mean to be Church as the body of Christ and as a 501(c)3 organization. Not one or the other, but both, in a spiritual and practical way. How do we navigate change taking into account a church’s past, present and future? How do we manage conflict (ranging from subtle to severe) with the gospel of love and reconciliation, yet also equally, with accountability and authenticity. This workshop will include candid and supportive dialogue, including concrete examples of faithful mergers. We’ll incorporate your questions around both the challenges and benefits of having congregations come together to lead to new expressions of Church together.

Considering Holy Closure

Rev. Julie Kelly, Episcopal Church of the Saviour, Hanford

Rev. Peggy White

Enter the conversation around Holy Closure; “Is it time?” "How do we begin?" "What happens when…?" Share in conversation with Pastors Peggy and Julie who have experienced Holy Closure in different congregations as we explore resources, process, and examples of Holy Closure.

Re-Tire-Men-T: It's Not What You Think

Thomas Stoffregen

The four parts of the word have nothing to do with retirement. We will discuss what a handbook Jesus could easily have used with the disciples. Re-create and re-emerge will get the workshop started. Tire has nothing to do with growing weary. Yes, Jesus called men - fundaMENtal, MENial MENtors to serve. This workshop should Tee up your discipleship game.

The Role of European Christianity in Native American Genocide: Healing and Reconciliation in Christian Mission

Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbbard, Grace Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, McKinleyville

This worship will examine the notions the "Doctrine of Discovery" and "Manifest Destiny" and their profound effects on the exploitation of Native American Communities. It will also offer suggestions as to how the Church can and should develop a post-colonial understanding of Mission, as a preliminary step in creating a multicultural and interfaith spirituality.

The Salvadoran Lutheran Church through Art

Rev. Christian Chavarría, Salvadoran Lutheran Church

Workshop participants will learn about the Salvadoran Lutheran Church´s life with Pr. Christian Chavarría, the faith, the struggles and the hope of the people in El Salvador. All participants will have the opportunity to paint a cross in the Salvadoran style.

Coaches: Who are they and What can they do for you?

Synod Coaching Ministry Team

What is coaching? How can we use it? Who is available to coach me/us? Hear from members of the Synod Coaching Ministry Team and learn how coaching works and how coaches can guide congregations and clergy to accomplishing desired outcomes. Coaches are also available to help congregations in specific areas like stewardship, discipleship, etc. and to work with church planting/mission development. Increase your personal growth and congregational vitality. Come and see what this ministry resource has to offer.