Bishop Zeiser’s Remarks (excerpted)
I am pleased to be gathered here with you at the 28th Annual Assembly of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod. Assembly 2015 is the first in a three-year process that will culminate with Assembly 2017, the year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The goal of the unleashed assemblies is to nurture in us the spirit of being set free in Christ to do ministry and mission that matters to God. Assembly 2015 is meant to direct us to consider what it means to be unleashed in our commitment to live out the baptismal relationship we have to God and to one another.
It is important for us to be aware that, while we gather here, there are people and places in the U.S. that are suffering the effects of severe weather conditions. Likewise, around the globe, there are trouble spots where people suffer innocently. May your time here bring occasions for new and renewed desire to pray and act in ways that extend the love of God in Jesus Christ through you to those who suffer.
I want to emphasize that Always Being Made New: Campaign for the ELCA seeks your support for ten extraordinary ministries that offer avenues for being unleashed for the sake of the gospel. Finding a way for your congregation to support the campaign is an easy first step in being unleashed. Thank you to the over 67% of synod congregations that have already supported the campaign with over $300,000. Campaign resources, in my opinion, make it possible to strengthen your congregation in spirit and in ministry.
Dr. Karl Krueger is Director of the Krauth Memorial Library and Professor of the History of Christianity at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.
During two presentations he showed how Martin Luther was unleashed. As a young man Luther suffered an existential crisis. His discovery that the righteousness from God is given as a free gift, unleashed him to proclaim this good news to the church of his time. Using cutting edge technology of the early 16th century, Luther’s message went viral and spread throughout Europe.
In this same spirit Henry Melchior Muhlenberg was unleashed two hundred years later, coming to America to oversee three Lutheran churches and going on to found many more churches in Pennsylvania and other states.
Carlos Peña, ELCA Vice President. VP Peña told the Assembly that they are marked with the cross of Christ. Along with the entire ELCA, we show our love through service and ministry to others. He congratulated our synod for contributing over $547,000 during 2014 to Always Being Made New: Campaign for the ELCA.
Ken Medema. Though blind from birth, Ken sees and hears with heart and mind. He has performed for over 40 years. He led singing throughout the weekend, ending with a concert Saturday afternoon. His artful musicianship and infectious enthusiasm inspired everyone to praise God with voices, clapping, and even dancing in the aisles!
At each end of the Arena floor was an area designated as God’s Playground. Congregations and organizations shared their ministries, and offered opportunities to play games, make things, and have fun!