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REPORT OF THE BISHOP | 2023 South Carolina Synod Assembly

By The Rev. Michele Fischer

Bishop Ginny Aebischer began her report to this year’s Synod assembly by telling about a recent picture she had seen on the maternity floor at Lexington Medical Center.

The picture was a composite mural, meaning that it uses the pictures of the over 4000 babies born at Lexington Medical Center to create a picture of one healthy, happy baby.

Bishop Ginny shared that the mural also has a tool to help families find their child’s picture within the larger picture so that the children can look and say “I can see myself in this picture!”

This mural caused her to wonder what a composite mural of the ministries of this synod and member congregations would look like. Would we see Jesus? Her prayer for us, as a synod and as congregations and believers within the synod, is that we would see Jesus alive in our midst as we love, learn and serve as Jesus’s disciples.

Bishop Ginny took a few minutes to point out some of the many “snapshots” of our ministries together that would make up this imagined composite mural of Jesus:

  • Pictures from a spiritual pilgrimage in April with brothers and sisters from Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Led by the Southeastern Synod, the group explored the history of the Civil Rights Movement with stops in Atlanta, Montgomery, Birmingham and Selma.
  • Pictures from the Synod’s Inclusiveness Network’s book study on The Color of Compromise. This challenging book brings difficult questions and robust conversation on racism around us.
  • Images of the work of the Synod Council and Staff in developing a new mission statement and core values for our synod moving forward.
  • Portraits of our candidacy committee, working with candidates for ministry, and headshots of Zach Lindler and Ben Bernstein, who have received full scholarships from the ELCA Fund for leaders for their seminary education.
  • A group photo of the delegation of South Carolinians who served as voting members to the August 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, and additional headshots of our brothers who will be serving on the church council for the ELCA, Pastor Leroy Cannon and Ethan Miller-Perez, one of our “Youth-rens.” Pastor Cannon was the first black man ordained in the South Carolina Synod and Ethan is a rising senior at Mauldin High School.
  • Headshots of Deacon Dallas Shealy, Executive Director of the SC Lutheran Retreat Centers, and Dr. Susan McArver, from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, who were selected as 2 of the 35 members of the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church.
  • Our mural would be incomplete without pictures of our missionaries and friends in our companion synods in the Evangelical Church of Japan, The Lutheran Church of Colombia, and the Southwest Diocese of the Lutheran Church in Tanzania.
  • We would have pictures from the multiple locations where Lutheran Services of the Carolinas are working with refugees and helping those who struggle with addiction.
  • Pictures of our first call pastors, gathering at Lutheridge for sharing, support and supplemental education, and new and experienced pastors, gathered to listen to authors like Diana Butler Bass at the annual Bishop’s Convocation.
  • Pictures of youth and young adults, including our campus ministries across the synod.
  • Pictures of churches celebrating anniversaries.

All of these pictures — and more — help our communities and those around us to see Jesus each and every day!

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ELCA South Carolina Synod
1003 Richland Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Telephone 803-765-0590
Fax 803-252-5558

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