The NEPA Synod Resource Center
2354 Grove Road
Monday – Thursday
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
HOW TO BORROW RESOURCES
— Visit the resource center. Resources can be checked out with Laurie.
— Use our online resource catalog, following the directions on the search page. It is not necessary to complete every box. Sometimes a key word is all that you’ll need. When your search items pop up on a new page, you can click on the resource code number (ResCode) in the left hand column to get a description of the item and add it to your cart.
If you would like to have the printed materials mailed to you, you will be charged only for the postage. If you choose to borrow rented materials, you will be charged $3.00 for digital materials (CDs, Videos, DVDs) to cover the cost of processing.
Please keep in mind that most of the resources are copyrighted. Permissions need to be sought in order to use them for groups (Videos, Curricula, etc).
BRING YOUR COMMITTEE
Hold your committee meeting in our resource center.
Whether it is your congregation’s stewardship, faith formation, world hunger, worship, personnel, property, outreach, or youth ministry committee. We have resources available for most congregational ministries.
The new law requires these two background clearances for ALL mandated reporters every 5 years.
FBI Fingerprint Record Checks are additionally required for all employees (including rostered leaders) and for any volunteers who have not lived in PA for 10 years. This is done through IdentoGo. When you seek an appointment for the fingerprinting and to submit your background information, you will need a “Service Code” in order to complete the information.
Volunteers Code – 1KG6ZJ
Employees Code – 1KG756
PA CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES LAW
At the end of 2014 new laws took effect that required all employees and volunteers working with children to receive background checks. Laws were amended in 2015 that changed the requirement from every three years to every five years and made some of the background checks free for volunteers. If you just began this process in 2014 it is time to think about renewal of these checks.
The laws that came about in 2014 also put into place the new reality that our church volunteers became mandated reporters if they became aware of or suspected abuse or neglect toward a child. If your employees and/or volunteers have not been informed or trained in what this requires now is as good a time as any to make that happen.
Finally, if your congregation does not already have a policy that outlines how children and youth [all members] will be kept safe in your church you should be working on one. If your insurance carrier has not yet required you to do so, they probably will in the near future. Our website has some model policies that will help you get started.
The new laws expand the definition of “mandatory reporters” to include all rostered leaders, paid church employees who work with children, and also volunteers over age 18 who work with children in activities and programs. For churches this means ALL Sunday school teachers, nursery attendants, VBS volunteers, youth group leaders, etc.
Mandatory reporters are those who, when they have reasonable suspicion of child abuse, are required to call the state ChildLine. The new law puts the burden on each mandatory reporter to notify state authorities. They are required to follow up with a written report. Willful failure to report is punishable by law.
ELCA social statements are teaching and policy documents that provide broad frameworks to assist us in thinking about and discussing social issues in the context of faith and life. They are meant to help communities and individuals with moral formation, discernment and thoughtful engagement with current social issues as we participate in God’s work in the world. Social statements also set policy for the ELCA and guide its advocacy and work as a publicly engaged church. They result from an extensive process of participation and deliberation and are adopted by a two-thirds vote of an ELCA church-wide assembly.
Mission Interpreters tell members of congregations the story of the ministries of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in an effective and compelling manner
Provide a vehicle for two-way communication between congregational members and the wider church
Thank the people of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod for their mission support
BENEFITS TO CONGREGATIONS
Members are helped to look beyond the congregation and see how they are connected personally to mission and ministry around the world.
Members understand their identity as partners in the wider church, becoming strong advocates for the mission and ministry we share beyond the congregation through the synod and the church-wide organization.
“Mission-minded” congregations grow in membership and in spirit!
The Mission Interpreter Program Provides
- Training workshops
- Resource materials
- Annual gatherings to share ideas and information
Mission Interpreters Are Asked To
Present at least one talk per quarter. This may be a Temple Talk, Sunday school lesson, conversation with a congregation council, or other kind of presentation.
Communicate with congregations through newsletter articles, bulletin board announcements, updates in the worship bulletin, or other means. Serve as a resource for at least one congregation other than your home congregation.
Attend one training workshop and, if possible, one annual gathering per year. These gatherings enable attendees to convey ideas and experiences and to learn new ways to share stories.
Commit to serve in the Mission Interpreter program for two years.
Mission Interpreters Do Not
- Raise funds.
- Promote local activities.
For more information on the mission interpreter ministry or to have a mission interpreter visit your congregation:
Contact Georgia Suranofsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or Charlotte Gross at email@example.com
DOING WHAT MATTERS TO GOD
Mission Support (previously known as benevolence) describes the portion of weekly offerings given by your congregation that is shared for synodical and church-wide mission and ministries beyond the local congregation. These offerings provide more than 76% of the resources that are used to fund the mission and ministry that we do together in partnership.
“I will bless you—so that you will be a blessing.”
The Synod Assembly of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod adopted Blessed to be a Blessing as our stewardship approach for the coming years.
Blessed to be a Blessing is designed to open our eyes to our blessings and to help us grow in our grateful response to God’s abundant love. The goal of Blessed to be a Blessing is to ground us in a biblical understanding of stewardship.
Biblical Stewardship is not about raising money to pay the church’s bills. It is about offering some portion of the material resources God has given us to others as a way of thanking God for these resources.
Biblical Stewardship is not convincing people to volunteer to do jobs for the church. It is helping disciples discover the talents and abilities God has given them and then figuring out how God is calling them to use those gifts in the church and in the world.
Blessed to be a Blessing is a faith-based stewardship emphasis that recognizes our call to share our God-given blessings of time, talent and money. Sharing our blessings with others reflects our unity in Christ as Christ’s Church.
God’s call to Abraham is the model for God¹s call to us. God promises to bless us so that we might be a blessing to others, giving back a part of what we have received.
Stewardship is the grateful offering of all that we have and all that we are to God’s service. We trust that everything is the gift of a loving and generous God. The gifts we return to the church can be a sign of both God’s grateful offering to us and our trust in God.
While the world around us teaches us to fear scarcity, God calls us to trust in God¹s abundance.
God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)
Heeding the call to trust in God’s abundance, our synod will be guided by the following principles as we invite congregations and individuals to support the mission of the church:
- We will recognize how God has blessed us abundantly.
- We will acknowledge that we need to give back what we have received as a way to grow in faith.
- We will recognize that we are the stewards and not the owners of everything that God has entrusted to us.
- We will give proportionately, thankfully offering our first fruits.
- Our giving will be significant, so we experience that God provides all we truly need.
- We will give joyfully, in grateful response to our generous God.
DOCUMENTS / FORMS / POLICIES
PLACE (Professional Leaders' Aid for Continuing Education)
RESOURCE OF THE MONTH
Resource of the Month – July 2023
“Embracing God’s Future Without Forgetting the Past: A Conversation About Loss, Grief and Nostalgia in Congregational Life” by Michael K. Girlinghouse
Everyone who attended the synod assembly this year had the opportunity to hear the keynote speech, and the Resource Center has the speaker’s book for anyone who would like to learn more about the subject. The author leads the reader through the process of loss and grief, the different ways that congregations deal with the loss of members and how they may express that grief, and how congregations can move forward into the future. Interested in learning more? Contact the Resource Center at the Synod Office to order the book. This is only one of the thousands of resources that are available to borrow. View this web site’s on-line catalog to check everything out.