Report of Bishop Yoos: “The Life and Work of the South Carolina Synod”

By Pastor Lisa Isenhower

Bishop Herman Yoos opened with the question that the lawyer asked Jesus: “Teacher, who is my neighbor?” Since our assembly theme is “Joining God in the Neighborhood,” it’s a question worth asking as we begin our work together. Bishop Yoos noted that often our neighbor looks and acts different from the people we encounter in our congregations.

He noted that our synod has been blessed in recent years with the addition of five Latino congregations. At Christo Rey in West Columbia, there have been 77 baptisms in the past two years, a wonderful sign of growth and vitality in this new congregation.

The bishop also noted that the synod is partnering in Christo Rey’s building project, and said that the offerings from this assembly will go toward that project. He also lifted up the Sagrada Familia congregation, which worships in a building given to them by Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Columbia. In the upstate, the Nuestra Salvador congregation worships at Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Greenville. Nuestra Salvador’s pastor, Alejandro Mejia, hosts the most popular Latino radio program in the upstate, an important witness to Christ’s love.

Bishop Yoos lifted up the synod’s racial reconciliation ministry. Pastor Leroy Cannon has led numerous “Selma” movie conversations around the state. During the past year, a busload of SC Lutherans traveled to Washington, DC for an “end racism” gathering. This coming summer, Lutherans from South Carolina will have an opportunity to join in a pilgrimage to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, the cradle of the civil rights movement.

The bishop also noted several efforts in the synod to help those who are recovering from brokenness and addiction. He mentioned a new synodically authorized congregation called “Recovery Church,” which is a congregation for those who are recovering from broken relationships, addictions, and other challenges. A partnership between several congregations in the synod will provide a group home for men recovering from addictions.

Efforts to improve public education in Allendale also continued, involving partnerships between churches, both Lutheran and United Methodist. Dr. Rich Melheim led this effort to improve schools in Allendale, making a positive difference in education in our state.
Bishop Yoos noted three new paths of partnership for congregations seeking greater vitality, led by Mark Tidsworth, Dwight Zscheile, and SC Synod Director of Evangelical Mission, the Rev. Rick Carter. All three of these men are leading efforts to help congregations grow in vitality and in relationship with God, neighbors, and the world.

The bishop also lifted up the work of SC Synod Secretary Ozzie Herlong in encouraging good stewardship in our congregations. Herlong works to provide information about electronic giving and to train congregational leaders in the “new consecration” model of stewardship. Bishop Yoos reported that giving to the synod is 15% ahead of last year’s first-quarter giving. Further, 40% of the synod’s congregations give 10% or more to the work of the synod.

Finally, Bishop Yoos expressed gratitude and appreciation for the Synod staff and the work they do for our synod.

This is Christ’s Church. There is a place for you here.

We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person–questions, complexities and all. Join us as we do God’s work in Christ’s name for the life of the world.

Contact Information

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

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