Keynote Presenter: Bishop James Hazelwood

Bishop Hazelwood shepherds the New England Synod, and will present the keynote address at both Edification Days. Participants will have an opportunity to engage in a live ZOOM conversation with Bishop Hazelwood during the first forum time on both May 8 & 22. To learn more about the Bishop, check out his blog,

Everyday Spirituality for Lutherans
We see the statistics everywhere about a decline in church participation, yet we also know US Americans continue to express great interest in matters of the Holy, the Sacred and, yes, God. “I’m spiritual but not religious” is the common refrain describing the gap between church and life. How can Lutheran Christians bridge this gap, and discover again the power of a meaningful faith life that connects with those who are not yet in our congregations? That’s what we’ll explore in this keynote and Q and A.

Edification Day: Schedule (proposed)

  8:45 –  9:00 AM Registration/Log-Ins/Hospitality
  9:00 –  9:15 AM Opening Prayer
  9:15 –  9:30 AM Opening Remarks by Bishop James Dunlop
  9:30 –  9:37 AM TED Talk #1 (7-minute Encountering Jesus Stories)
  9:37 -10:17 AM Keynote Presentation: Bishop Jim Hazelwood

10:17 -10:24 AM TED Talk #2 (7-minute Encountering Jesus Stories)
10:24 -10:35 AM Break

10:35 -11:45 PM Forums: Session #1 w/Q&A
11:45 -12:30 PM Lunch Break
12:30 -12:45 PM TED Talk #3 & #4 (2×7-minute Encountering Jesus Stories)
12:45 -12:50 PM Transition from Livestream to ZOOM

12:50 –  2:00 PM Forums: Session #2 w/Q&A
  2:00 –  2:05 PM Transition from ZOOM to Livestream
  2:05 –  2:15 PM Thank-you’s and Sending Prayer

A final draft of the schedule will be sent to all registered voting members on or around April 20.

Edification Day: What to Expect

Registrants for Synod Assembly are welcome to attend either Assembly Edification Day date, as both will have a similar schedule and content. Since both days will be presented digitally, participants will need a computer, tablet or smartphone device with a stable internet connection, and with a camera and microphone if you wish to engage in real-time with the keynote presenter or forum presenters.

A majority of the programming, including Bishop Jim Dunlop’s comments and Bishop James Hazelwood’s keynote presentation, will be livestreamed. All forums will be offered by ZOOM videoconferencing. Registrants will receive a link to the livestream presentations and links for each of the forums by email in the weeks preceding the scheduled Edification Days. You will log-in to the livestream in the morning, and switch to the ZOOM link representing the forum of your choice at the appointed time. It is not necessary to pre-select or register for your chosen forum. Simply log into the forum of your choosing. All forums will be presented on both May 8 & May 22.

Edification Day FORUMS


Everyday Spirituality for Lutherans
Bishop James Hazelwood, Bishop: New England Synod, ELCA

Bishop Hazelwood will join participants for a time of Q&A and engagement, following his keynote presentation earlier in the day. Log on to this ZOOM forum if you have questions or would like to engage with the Bishop or listen-in, as he responds to others.

Towards Racial Justice: Where does our congregation begin?
Dr. Kristen Albert

In our affirmation of baptism, we promise “to serve all people following the example of Jesus; and strive for justice and peace in all the earth.” As members of a denomination populated predominantly with white individuals of European descent, we can feel challenged and even overwhelmed when considering how to begin this work towards racial justice and equity for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC).  Do we create a task force? And if we do, what does that even mean?  What actions do we take? How do we go about initiating conversations around the issues of racial justice in our congregation? We can feel ill-equipped and far from believing we are even qualified to step out as leaders in the realm of racial justice and equity.  In this session, Dr. Kris Albert and her team from the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Lancaster, will share insights into their learning and discernment since they began their journey in August 2020 and look forward to answering your questions “live” in the Zoom sessions.

Stressed & Depressed: Health, Hope & Healing in Times of COVID
Dr. Debbie Doubrava, Licensed Professional Counselor, PhD, LPC, RPT-S

We have all been impacted by the collective, ongoing trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic. This forum will highlight some of the ways the pandemic has affected socio-emotional health and functioning within our hearts, homes, and communities. We will explore the need for participants to assess their own signs and symptoms of trauma/stress as well as their self-care practices so they can continue to be a source of hope and healing within their work and lives. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in creative, hands-on activities within the forum and to identify at least 1-2 self-care practices or goals for continued health and mindfulness beyond our time together.

What to Expect as a Voting Member on Synod Assembly Business Day
Jen Lau, Synod Council Acting Vice-President

This forum will give you an overview of the business days at Synod Assembly, touching on everything from how the business days are run, voting, memorials and resolutions, and more. This forum will be especially helpful to those who may have never been to a Synod Assembly or who are serving as a voting member for the first time. Nervous about voting electronically? Wondering how to bring a resolution to the ‘floor’ of Assembly when we are not in the same room?  What is ‘churchwide assembly’, how is that different than synod assembly, and why are we voting to send voting members there? Curious about what your role involves? Jen will strive to address any concerns or questions and put you at ease as you get ready for your Assembly Business Day(s) experience.

Children’s Ministry “Stuff”!
Deacon Emily Myallis, Children’s Minister at St Paul, Lititz

Deacon Emily Myallis, Children’s Minister, will provide “practical ideas” for engaging children in the life of faith! She will describe and show some of the tools, resources and other fun “stuff” that have been effective in her congregational setting.

Being Christ for Our Neighbor:
Seeing Christ in Our Neighbor
Rev. Richard Jorgensen, Director for Evangelical Mission and Renewing Mission & Rev. Dave Daubert

“Each one should become as it were a Christ to the other that we may be Christs to one another and Christ may be the same in all, that is, that we may be truly Christians.”
Martin Luther, On Christian Liberty

Encountering Jesus in our daily relationships is essential for us as followers of Jesus.  This workshop will invite participants to be more intentional about reflecting the love and mercy of Christ to one another while also learning to recognize the face of Christ in our neighbors. Through teaching, discussion, and small groups we will offer practical tools for noticing Christ in others and also practice how we may help others notice Christ in our midst.

Rev. Dave Daubert

Rev. Richard Jorgensen

Outdoor Ministry at Kirchenwald and Nawakwa 2021
Zach Weiss, Director at Camp Kirchenwald, LCC

Camp is such a vital and vibrant part of our faith formation stories. It’s a place to plant seeds, water them, and tend them over the years. Learn about how and why Kirchenwald and Nawakwa hold such a crucial position in our synod and find out what the camps are doing, specifically this year, to keep participants and staff safe.


Our Faithful Response to Conspiracies
Rev. Matthew Best, Pastor at St. Stephen’s Lutheran, New Kingston

Conspiracy theories are not new, they just change over time – and unfortunately they are ideas that can’t be ignored.  We’ll discuss the drivers for conspiracy theories and learn about the five myths that run through all conspiracies, why they attract people, and what our faithful response is to people caught up in conspiracy theories. We’ll eplore how to faithfully navigate those conversations and relationships.

Noticed, Named. Known: Youth Ministry in the Time of COVID and in an Ever-Changing World
Chuck Bissell, Youth Director at Zion, York & ALiVE Event Director

Springtide Research Institute conducted a study of youth 13-25 in 2019 around loneliness and a sense of belonging. A major result of that study shows that one in three of our young people feel alone most of the time. Add on top of that the major disruption to our lives from COVID-19 in 2020 and we are looking at a group of young people that desperately need to connect and belong to something. Of course, it isn’t all about belonging. It is really about the youth knowing that they have caring adults in their lives that want to help them. Our youth want to be seen, our youth want someone to engage with them so they can feel known and not so lonely. Join Chuck Bissell as he presents some of the results of this study and holds an open discussion and sharing of ideas afterwards of how he is applying them to his own youth ministry and how you can as well.

Practical Tips for Strengthening Your Congregation’s Justice Ministries
Rev. Carla Christopher-Wilson, Assistant to the Bishop

Reconciling in Christ/thinking about doing LGBTQIA+ ministry and not sure what to do next? Want to support immigration reform or learn about being a sanctuary church? Ready to launch your own congregational racial justice team? Get involved in community-based outreach in culturally competent and beginner-friendly ways. A “walk out with a plan”, interactive and hands-on workshop for those ready to get started!

Moses Robson Kavishe

Gale Wenk duPont

Interrupting Racism: Becoming a Stronger Ally
Moses Kavishe, Youth Minister & Gale Wenk duPont, Outreach/Evangelism Director, St Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Carlisle

We will explore definitions of race, racism and anti-racism and provide an understanding of implicit bias and allyship. We’ll discuss the Golden Rule versus the Platinum Rule, explore the nature of identity in a cultural/societal context, and provide a scriptural basis for allyship. We’ll provide observations of bias events and discuss impressions of participants, and discuss the general principles for bystander intervention when we are witnesses to bias events. Participants will also get to practice intervention techniques and discuss their thoughts and observations in real time.

Meet our Tanzanian Partners-The Konde Diocese
Rev. Angie Hammer

The companion relationship between the Lower Susquehanna Synod and the Konde Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania is a longstanding, diverse, covenantal partnership of prayer, mission and support between our churches. The forum will provide details on our partnership including the various ministries we share, the connection between congregations, and some new initiatives being taken to strengthen the partnership.

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
Deacon Marsha Roscoe, Assistant to the Bishop

Drawing from Christian Philosophy Professor James K.A. Smith’s book, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, Deacon Marsha Roscoe explores the perspective that we are shaped by what we love the most, and we may not love what we think. Created in God’s image, we are made from love to love and worship God. Jesus’ command to ‘follow me’ is an invitation to align our loves, longings, and desires with the very things God desires. We experience gaps between what we know and what we do; gaps between loving as Jesus loves and how we love. Spiritual habits and life-liturgies help us practice loving as Jesus loves.

Marsha invites us to consider the transformative possibilities of Christian liturgies and spiritual habits as love-shaping, heart-training practices.  More than something we do; they are God’s want-making practices that open our hearts to God and our neighbors.

The Critical Role of the 2021 Synod Budget in Carrying Out Our Mission
Joseph Stepansky, Synod Treasurer

Join Synod Treasurer Joe Stepansky, who also serves as a congregation treasurer, as he discusses the important role of the budget in carrying out our mission as a church in today’s context. Helpful hints and tips on budget prep and answers to your questions.