2018 Bishop’s Report
By the Rev. Lisa Isenhower
Bishop Herman Yoos began his report by quoting from Thomas Merton’s book Seeds of Contemplation, and he went on to name and give thanks for a number of new seeds God has planted in our South Carolina Synod during the past year.
Bishop Yoos spoke of new seeds of reconciliation that were planted and nurtured through last August’s Bishop’s School at Camp Kinard. Thirty-five high school students, including five students from the Japan Evangelical Synod, one of our companion synods, attended bishop’s school. These young people wrestled with the topic of reconciliation and formed new friendships and relationships as they did so.
Second, Bishop Yoos lifted up the work of the synod in planting seeds of growth and enrichment in our public schools. He pointed to last summer’s RICH Learning, an educational experience held last summer for children in Allendale County. This year, the SC Synod’s goal is to offer a 7-week camp for preschool-aged children to help them become ready for kindergarten in the fall. Using data collected from this pilot venture, a model may be developed to aid educators and communities in better preparing children for learning. Bishop Yoos also expressed gratitude at being able to advocate for our public educators and their students with our legislature.
Bishop Yoos mentioned a number of special observances of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, including a joint Reformation service between the North and South Carolina Synods in Charlotte (where Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton was the preacher), a trip to Wittenberg for the actual anniversary on October 31, 2017, and a joint prayer service with a Roman Catholic bishop.
Bishop Yoos expressed great joy at the growth of our Latino congregations, where 49 people received the sacrament of Holy Baptism during the past year. This fall, he said, we will break ground on a new church for one of these congregations. He expressed gratitude for the work of the conference deans in providing conversation around the topic of immigration.
He also mentioned the work of Rev. Dr. Mark Tidsworth, who is working (along with DEM Rick Carter) to develop cohorts of congregations who wish to become vital centers of worship and mission.
On Friday, the SC Synod will welcome Christ Mission as a congregation of the synod. Bishop Yoos pointed to this congregation as a seed to celebrate in our synod.
Finally, Bishop Yoos reflected on some of the painful and difficult experiences of the synod staff during the past year, including the death of beloved staff member Julie Koon, the illness of Assistant to the Bishop Ginny Aebischer and DEM Rick Carter. Bishop Yoos also offered gratitude for the good work and gifts of the synod staff and volunteers, for new staff member Tiffany Pieters, and for the birth of a daughter to Assistant to the Bishop Eric Wolf and his wife Lauren.