May 7, 2024

Rev. Bryan Penman Elected Next Synod Bishop

The Rev. Bryan Penman, pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Conshohocken and co-Director for Evangelical Mission in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, was elected Saturday as the synod’s next bishop. Bishop-elect Penman received 203 votes on the fifth and final ballot for bishop. The Rev. Karl Richard, pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Springfield...

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May 9, 2024

Pastoral Letter on the United Methodist Church General Conference

May 8, 2024 Dear church, In 1 Corinthians 12:26 the apostle Paul reminds us that “if one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.” For 15 years we have accompanied our full-communion siblings in the United Methodist Church (UMC) through joyous and challenging times. We...

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October 12, 2023

Anti-Racism Education Starts in November

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod’s Anti-Racism Team announces a new offering of anti-racism education, this time for both lay and rostered participants. The format consists of: One 90-minute Zoom meeting to introduce the curriculum, planned for Monday, November 6, 2023, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Nine online modules outlining the historical context of the systemic racism embedded...

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October 10, 2023

“The Fruit of Justice Will Be Peace”

This message from the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb is shared with us by The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. Rev. Dr. Raheb is a Palestinian theologian, former pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, and founder and president of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem. Just days before the bombs began...

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August 7, 2023

Ideas to Encourage Your Peoples’ Vocations

When laity and pastors meet weekly on the SEPA “Now Normal” Zoom you never know what will be discussed. This week, participants explored ways to support and encourage laity in their daily vocations. [Join each Thursday at 11 am at https://bit.ly/sepacomms] Vocation was an important concept to Martin Luther as he believed that each person...

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July 13, 2023

LDR Responds to Berks, Bucks Flooding

An update from Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA:   What LCS is doing and what you can do On Sunday July 9, 2023, heavy storms impacted parts of eastern PA over the weekend, causing extensive flooding, especially in Berks and Bucks Counties. Right now, Lutheran Disaster Response – Eastern PA, a program of Liberty Lutheran and...

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June 4, 2023

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February 1, 2023

Urban Ministry Task Force Formed

The 2022 SEPA Synod Assembly adopted “Fortifying Ministries in Underserved Urban Areas – A Resolution to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod.” A similar memorial was also sent to the 2022 ELCA churchwide assembly and approved there. The full text of the resolutions can be found at https://ministrylink.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/3-resolution.pdf Briefly, the resolution points out that many of SEPA’s...

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January 18, 2023

How to Talk to Strangers and Why It’s Good for You

By Rev. Bryan Penman Co-Director for Evangelical Mission Last month a few of the Synod staff were out for a visit to a potential location for Synod Assembly. As we made our way down the corridors of the hotel, I suddenly heard the voice of Bishop Davenport, “Good morning, how are you all doing?” As...

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May 20, 2022

Pastoral Message on Buffalo Racially-Motivated Killings

“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?” —Jeremiah 8:22 Our hearts grieve for those who have been killed and our souls cry out against more lives lost to the hatred birthed by racism. As we mourn those lives lost...

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January 13, 2022

As COVID Surge Continues, Stay the Course on Mitigation

A Message From Bishop Davenport January 13, 2022 Dear Beloved, As we enter the depth of the winter season, I want to remind you how important it is to hold fast to our COVID mitigation protocols for the safety of our leaders, worshippers, and communities. We encourage you to find safe ways to gather in...

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December 24, 2021

Christmas Message from Bishop Davenport

Watch the video Greetings beloved. I know that it’s been another challenging year. COVID and current CDC guidelines cautioning against in-person gatherings at this time is dispiriting. However, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them, the light has shined says...

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October 1, 2021

Answers to Your Questions From Dr. Babinchak

Dr. Tim Babinchak, an infectious disease specialist and member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Phoenixville, has been offering guidance for responding to COVID to SEPA Synod this year. Here he answers some current questions from SEPA leaders. If you have a question for Dr. Babinchak, please send it to Pastor Bob Fisher at .  ...

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September 23, 2021

Ideas for Adapting Worship and Congregational Life

Ideas:  Adapting Congregational Life In September 2021, 40 SEPA Synod congregations responded to our informational survey regarding changes to worship in the midst of the current Delta variant surge. Most of the congregations report requiring or strongly suggesting the wearing of masks inside their buildings. Some have agreed to stop worship if attendees do not...

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September 23, 2021

Ideas for adapting worship and congregational life to high risk of community transmission

August 3, 2021

‘Substantial’ Virus Seen in SEPA

As of August 1, the CDC reports that Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties are experiencing “substantial” community transmission of coronavirus. The CDC recommends that all people, vaccinated or not, wear masks and maintain physical distancing in indoor public or multi-household gatherings. See this article explaining CDC guidance. Unvaccinated persons, including all children under 12...

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July 12, 2021

Prayer and Encouragement from Bishop Davenport

In a video message, Bishop Patricia A. Davenport offers prayer for our leaders and congregations as together we continue to press through to the other side of the pandemic. In this pastoral word of encouragement, the Bishop asks Lutherans to be gentle with one another as individuals and congregations have varying feelings about returning to...

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May 15, 2021

What’s Next? Being Digital Church After the Pandemic

The widespread use of COVID vaccines and the lessening of restrictions on gatherings are ushering us into our latest “abnormal” – a hybrid church that holds on to the best of its pandemic digital presence and rekindles in-person community. How might we do both sustainably? Why might digital be a better platform for some types...

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May 12, 2021

Infectious Disease Expert Shares COVID Update

COVID Considerations for Church Leaders COVID is not going away, yet we now have effective vaccines and effectual therapies to reduce the incidences of infections and deaths, infectious disease specialist Dr. Tim Babinchak told SEPA leaders in a Zoom conference May 11. Dr. Babinchak, a  member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Phoenixville, and retired head...

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April 21, 2021

Communications Ministry Highlights

Who knew in early 2020 how important communications and technology would be to our ministries? In this video, Pastor Bob Fisher, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Communications, shares how the synod — like congregations — leveled up to provide new services and support for congregations.