The Sierra Pacific Synod is one of the geographically largest in the ELCA, and includes the Silicon Valley, extensive agriculture lands, Pacific Rim opportunities, and the capital of our country’s most populated state. This provides a large mission field whose energy can be captured for the sake of ministry. The Synod has rich educational resources, including Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union. But the geography poses several challenges as well. The Bishop and Synod staff have to serve a vast area and many congregations feel disconnected from the Synod for this reason. The sheer size of the Synod, as well as its geographic diversity, can cause us to feel fragmented from one another and can make it much more difficult for ministry partners to work together. There is a perceived need for nurturing of congregation-to-congregation connections within the conferences. The size also affects several other key issues: communications, the call process, diversity, Synod structure and financial resources.
What are the key issues facing the Synod as a result of its large geographical size?
How would you like to see the next bishop address these issues?
From the perspective of your geography, what specific changes might be made to the Synod structure to address the challenges of our large geographic size?