Thank you for your prayers and support during my and Juan Carlos' recent trip to Nairobi Kenya for the Pan-African Catholic Theological Conference! The theme of the event was "Walking Together in Faith- Synodality and the Changing Church." Juan Carlos and I were asked to present a paper on the innovative mutual accompaniment and land genealogy work we have been undertaking together with our neighbors and as the Oregon Synod. Being in Africa, with committed, courageous and faithful Christians from all over the continent (speaking every language and wearing dozens of colorful, traditional fabrics), inspired my heart to overflowing for the hard work ahead. Everywhere we were received with a wide and joyful welcome.

We met Catholic priests and lay leaders seeking forms of worship and theology that reflect the unique beauty of Africa and not just the traditions of colonizing nations in Europe. Sr. Rosemary shared of her work with young women survivors of abduction and assault by the Lord's Resistance Army and made clear for the bishops and priests gathered that they are welcome to come and visit the community but only if they are "gender-sensitive" and know more about listening than talking. One young man who has chosen to return to Kibera, the second largest "slum" in the world, rather than seeking a higher salary in a more traditional placement, shared his story and in Moses we saw in the flesh what an embodiment of God's grace looks like for dozens of children who need it most.

The ripples of this pilgrimage will continue, God willing and Spirit flowing! God's wild web gets bigger, stronger and more interesting with every step we take, Siblings in Christ!

Mambo sawa sawa! /God will set all things right!
Bishop Laurie


IP-17 will be on Oregon's November ballot! On July 8, members of Lift Every Voice Oregon (LEVO) gathered at Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland to kick off a journey to deliver IP 17 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in Salem. 131,671 signatures were validated, more than was needed. If passed by voters, would ban the sale of magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds and would require permits and firearm safety courses to purchase any gun. Applicants would have to pay a fee, submit to fingerprinting and pass a criminal background check. You can watch the KGW video "Oregon group delivers signed petitions for gun reform initiative" The measure is also gaining national attention. Read the Religion News Service article "An interfaith group in Oregon is behind one of nation's strictest gun control measures," featuring our own Rev. Mark Knutson of Augustana Lutheran in Portland.

Our 2022 Assembly passed the resolution and memorial 2022 LEVO Support of IP17 & IP18. It is also being taken to next week's ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Ohio. Stay tuned!

How might I prepare for my own death? 
What are ways to be present, grounded,
and supportive as someone dies or grieves? 

Join with others from around the Oregon Synod as we learn more about the dying process itself, what happens shortly after death, and advance planning.  We'll also explore the legacies we want to leave, knowing our own grief, being present for others' grief, and related rituals.  This on-line course will meet on eight Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8 pm (Pacific Time) beginning September 20. We'll be joined by several guest instructors with a depth of experience in chaplaincy, palliative care, and hospice.  The course is designed with a Lutheran lens and inclusive heart; all are welcome.  Course participants and/or their congregations are encouraged to donate, as they are able, on a sliding scale between $20-$160, but donations are not required to participate.  Register here.
Are you or someone you know sensing a call to ordained ministry? Curious about the path to becoming a deacon or a pastor? Wondering about the various ways you can serve in a Christian community, chaplaincy setting, or a faith-based non-profit, just to name a few possibilities? We are delighted to start the conversation and we are here to accompany you towards fulfilling your life's purpose. Please reach out to Pr. Matta Ghaly (they/them) to begin the conversation. 

Welcome, Sarah Loose! Sarah is the new coordinator for our Disaster Preparedness & Response Team. In the face of increasingly severe and frequent disasters, fueled largely by human-induced climate change she asks:

  • How might engaging in the deeply relational work of grieving, healing & repair - of ourselves, our communities, and our planet - help us be better prepared to respond to disasters of all forms?
  • What are our responsibilities to one another - and especially to the most marginalized amongst us - in the face of disaster?
  • What can we learn from our wisdom traditions, our Indigenous siblings, and our other-than-human kin, about readiness, resilience, and recovery?
You can read her full bio on the synod staff page.
Join the Oregon Synod Constitution Review Team! Do you enjoy editing? How about accompanying Oregon Synod congregations in good governance? The Oregon Synod Constitution Review Team provides critical support, consultation, and review of draft constitutions so they can be voted on by the congregation and approved by the Synod Council. (ELCA congregations are tasked with updating their constitutions every three years following the model constitution released after the Churchwide Assembly.) If you have a computer with Microsoft Word and a few hours to dedicate (it takes about 4-6 hours per constitution to review it), we'd be grateful for your faithful participation in this work. We request a commitment to review 3-4 constitutions per year. Training and support will be provided by the committee chair, VP Greg Shea. Email Greg if you are interested.
October 16 is World Food Day and Hunger Sunday in the Oregon Synod. Your congregation is invited to celebrate Hunger Sunday by learning how we can get at the root causes of hunger and to creatively and courageously work toward a just world where all are fed. Please consider supporting ELCA World Hunger through a special offering. The Oregon Synod Hunger team will be providing service materials and Bishop Laurie will be supplying a recorded sermon. Materials will be available the first weekend in October, the sermon the second weekend in October. 
Volunteer Opportunity: The Oregon Synod looking for volunteers interested in serving as member representatives of the Pacific Lutheran University Corporation, whose purpose is to support the mission of the university through strong and vibrant connections within the ELCA community. In collaboration with other constituent communities, the PLU Corporation will represent and advocate for Lutheran higher education including its values and traditions. Interested in serving? Please contact Synod Administrator Jemae McCanna.
2023 Assembly will be online, as voted in by Type of Assembly Meetings resolution at Synod Assembly 2022.

You can find the minutes for 2022 Assembly here.
Presented by Pr. Terry Moe and Peggy Lindquist, this one-day retreat in Mt. Angel. $65 includes lunch. To register, call Benedictine Sisters, 503 845-2556 or send a check to Benedictine Sisters, 840 S. Main St., Mt. Angel, OR 97362, Attn: Sr. Dorothy Jean, by September 21. Flyer.
New 988 crisis line. People in Oregon and nationwide who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis can call, text or chat 988 to get compassionate care and support from trained crisis counselors. The new three-digit 988 number will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Wildfire season is here and it’s best to prepare for wildfire smoke before it arrives. The most effective way to protect yourself is to stay indoors when it’s smoky. It’s also important to keep your indoor air clean. Learn more about wildfire smoke and air quality from the Oregon DEQ website.


Watch and pray for the Churchwide Assembly, the highest legislative body in the ELCA, as they come together next week, August 8-12, in Columbus, Ohio for the very important and faithful work of the church. This gathering will be composed of more than 900 voting members serving on behalf of the 3.3 million members of the ELCA, including nine representatives from the Oregon Synod elected at our 2021 Assembly: Carter Poole, LaVeta Gilmore Jones, Pablo Ramirez, Christie Bernklau Halvor, Rev. Lorin Darst, Kate Bernklau Halvor, and Rev. Solveig Nilsen-Goodin. Bishop Laurie Larson Caesar and Vice President Greg Shea will also attend.

Throughout the week, the Assembly will honor and celebrate Indigenous people through various observances and presentations including:

  • On Wednesday, the American Indian and Alaska Native Lutheran Association has invited assembly participants to wear red to recognize and publicize the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
  • The assembly will recognize the Rev. Marlene Whiterabbit Helgemo, the first Native American woman ordained in the Lutheran church. who died July 22.
  • The assembly will hear the first in-person pronouncement of “A Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to American Indian and Alaska Native People” and receive an update on the work of the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery Task Force. Following the presentation, Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, will address the assembly.
  • The words and music for the service of Holy Communion are derived from a variety of Native American sources and designed with the help of Indigenous people who are leaders in the ELCA.
    • The Rev. Joann Conroy, president of the ELCA American Indian and Alaska Native Lutheran Association, will preach, and the Rev. Guy Erwin, president of United Lutheran Seminary and a member of the Osage Nation, will serve as presiding minister.
    • The worship service will begin with a prayer song offered by Imnizaska Family Drum.
    • Other elements during worship will include a prayer to the four directions, which will incorporate a gathering of waters from the four directions within the territory of the ELCA, and a time of repentance as called for in the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.
    • The worship offering will support the Pine Ridge Reservation initiative. ELCA Indigenous Ministries and Tribal Relations and ELCA World Hunger are partnering with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and local organizations to support the tribe as it addresses homelessness, housing, education, cultural preservation, livelihood opportunities, Two Spirit support and more on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation,
  • The Oregon Synod memorial, Reparations and Land Return, passed at our 2022 Assembly, will be presented to the Churchwide body for a vote! 
You can watch the Assembly live on the ELCA websitePlease pray for all in attendance. 
Interested in becoming a Creation Care Ambassador? Lutherans Restoring Creation is hosting a Connections Call on August 30, and Blessed Tomorrow which facilitates Creation Care Ambassador Training will be on hand to answer your questions.
ELCA Fund for Leaders (FFL) 25th Anniversary and August 16 Day of Giving. You can help celebrate by lifting up this important ministry in your congregation on Sunday, Aug. 14. 
Nominate young adult (under 30) delegates to the upcoming 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, November 6-18, with in-person and hybrid options for participation. COP27 aims to empower young Lutherans to act meaningfully for climate justice as people of faith and strengthen youth leadership across the Lutheran World Federation. Learn more here. Nominations close on August 15.
Webinar series: Building an Anti-Racism Team: Next Faithful Stepsa follow up series to the ELCA European Descent Lutheran Association for Racial Justice webinar on "How to Build a Congregation, Synod and/or Campus Anti-Racism Team." The first session isi Wednesday, September 7 at 4:30 pm. Register here. Open to anyone in the ELCA, specifically interested in connecting with other folks building or working at a synod, campus or congregational anti-racist team.  Learn more.

ELCA World Hunger Education and Networking Grants cycle 2 application window is open! These grants support work that: 

  • educates and engages ELCA congregations, groups, and/or synods; 
  • provides leadership development for people passionate about ending hunger; 
  • builds relationships locally, regionally and nationally;
  • equips ELCA members and neighbors to work toward a just world where all are fed. 

The work of grantees in the past has focused on a wide variety of areas, including climate change and sustainability, housing security, racial justice, worker justice, reducing food waste and economic justice. Click here for more information. To apply, register at, and submit your application by December 1. 

New hymn for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday! Written by Wayne Wold, the hymn was selected as the winning entry in the ELCA’s “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday 2019 hymn contest. Visit for the sheet music as well as planning resources including a tool kit, worship material, videos, posters, and social media graphics. Listen to the hymn below!
"All Things Bright and Beautiful? Singing a Theology of Creation." Friday, Aug. 12, 2 p.m. (Eastern time)Michael Hawn asks: Is your congregation singing a robust theology of creation, ecological care, and environmental concerns? Hymn writers through the centuries provide a record of the church's theology of creation. He will begin with St. Francis of Assisi and conclude with hymns written in the 21st century.

"A Mighty Fortress: Copyright Reporting as a Commitment to Justice." Friday Sept. 9, 2 p.m. (Eastern time). Dr. Katie M. Deaver and Sierra Ronning of ONE LICENSE address questions about worship planning and copyright concerns. They will cover some copyright basics and explain why reporting music usage is truly a justice issue. They will also share insider tips and tricks for searching and reporting through your ONE LICENSE account.

Fall 2022 National Bold Gathering, a time for men to come together to learn, to network, and be equipped to boldly live out their faith! In-person at Carol Joy Holling Conference & Retreat Center, Ashland, NE – October 7-9. Registration is open.

Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC). It's not just for new grads! Know ANY adult 21 or older who may be interested in a year of service? ️ LVC is a full-time service and leadership program operating in many cities across the United States. Volunteers are placed in full-time positions at social justice. Learn more here.
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Oregon Synod
2800 N. Vancouver Ave., Suite #101
Portland, OR 97227

(503) 413-4191

Bishop Laurie Larson Caesar-
Bishop's Associate Juan Carlos La Puente-
Bishop's Associate Pr. Melissa Reed-
Synod Office (Jemae McCanna)- 
Disaster Preparedness Team (Jan Wierima)-

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Oregon Synod, ELCA · 2800 N Vancouver Ave, Suite 101 · Portland, OR 97227 · USA