The Report from the ELCA with The Rev. Kevin Strickland
(video note – there were some difficulties with the stream while during this session. The full Churchwide portion of the video is shared below.)
By the Rev. Michele Fischer
“Thank you. Thank you, people of the South Carolina Lutheran Synod!” These heartfelt words were spoken by the Rev. Kevin Strickland, our ELCA churchwide representative this year. Pastor Strickland was raised and nurtured in faith by this synod, and so when he offered words of thanks to the synod from the Churchwide expression of the ELCA, he was also speaking form his own heart.
Pastor Strickland grew up at Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church in West Columbia. He attended Newberry College and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. During his youth he was active in the Lutheran Youth Organization. He was mentored and guided by many pastors and lay leaders within the South Carolina Synod. Through all these people he encountered in his youth, he learned wholeheartedly what it is to be a child of God and to be loved by God.
Now working at the ELCA Churchwide offices, and being Bishop Easton’s representative at our assembly, Pastor Strickland offered thanksgiving for the many ways we have supported the whole church.
In the past year, the South Carolina Synod gave 42% of the income sent to the synod, totally $985,640.
Pastor Strickland reminded us that every dollar we place in the offering plate helps to change lives all around the world. Through the offerings forwarded to Churchwide, we are helping people near and far through our world hunger program; through camp and campus ministries; through scholarships and through programs to fight for justice in the world. Almost $20,000 came back to the South Carolina Synod through the ELCA’s World Hunger Grants.
Lutheran Disaster Response served communities in 15 states or US territories and 21 countries. $197,000 of the funds sent out to help those recovering from disasters came from the South Carolina Synod!
Pastor Strickland expressed deep thankfulness to the SC Synod for being a leader in racial reconciliation. The tragedy at Mother Emmanuel AME church in Charleston was something no one expected. And yet, through this, we have found resurrection. Other synods across the ELCA are using the model of the Selma events that we have developed here.
Finally, thanksgiving was offered for all we do for our congregations and for whole church.