WHO WE ARE, WHAT'S A SYNOD?
We are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); a church that shares a living, daring confidence in God's grace. For us this faith comes through the good news of Jesus Christ and gives us the freedom and courage to wonder, discover and boldly participate in what God is up to in the world. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person – questions, complexities, and all. We believe we are freed by Christ to serve and love our neighbor; with our hands at work restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus Christ's name throughout the world.
We are a church that belongs to Christ. There is a place for you here.
We are a church whose unity is in Jesus Christ, who gathers us around word and water, wine and bread.
We are a church that believes Jesus is God's "yes" to us. Our lives can be a "yes" to others.
We are a church that believes God is calling us into the world – together.
We are a church that rolls up our sleeves and gets to work.
We are a church that is a catalyst, convener and bridge builder.
We are a church that is energized by lively engagement in our faith and life.
We are a church that is deeply rooted – and always being made new.
As the Central States Synod of the ELCA, we are one of 65 synods (geographic areas) in the U.S. that connect its congregations with one another and with the larger denomination. Our synod includes 174 congregations throughout Kansas and Missouri. We live in and are grounded in "HOPE" as we seek to lead (as rostered ministers and lay people), give generously, grow as disciples of Christ and share the good news of Christ so that we can participate in God's mission in the world. We understand we are church together for the sake of the world, and that together we can make a greater difference and more faithfully live out our call to be the body of Christ. As the Central States Synod we "walk together" in hope.
WHAT MAKES UP THE CENTRAL STATES SYNOD?
Our synod covers the entire states of Kansas and Missouri. The synod is divided geographically into five conferences each represented by a dean who serves as a liaison between the bishop's office and the congregations in that conference. There is great diversity throughout the churches in our territory. Parishes range from small rural churches to inner-city churches, with a good number of mid-sized suburban congregations as well. Ethnic diversity also spans the synod — from Hispanic ministries in Garden City, Dodge City and Wichita, KS; a Laotian Ministry in Olathe, KS; an Oromo Ministry in Kansas City, MO; and a Sudanese Ministry in St. Joseph, MO. Click on New Ministries to learn more.
WHO LEADS THE CENTRAL STATES SYNOD?
The Rev. Susan Candea was elected to her first six-year term as Bishop in 2019. She oversees the ministries of the congregations in the synod; she also oversees the work of the synod's rostered leaders and Parish Ministry Associates.
The highest legislative body of the synod is the Synod Assembly Voting members from each congregation and all rostered leaders gather annually for this meeting. Between assemblies, the Synod Council serves as the "board of directors." The Synod Council is made up of voting members from the five conferences, as well as four officers: The Bishop, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
WHAT IS MISSION SUPPORT
Mission support is the portion of your congregation's regular offering that is shared with your synod and the churchwide organization. In 2016, of the $1.75 billion given by ELCA members in unrestricted offerings, $52.5 million was stewarded by the 65 synods and $45.2 million was stewarded by the churchwide organization.
As partners in ministry, we invite you to make a Statement of Intent to the Central States Synod and churchwide ministries. A Statement of Intent is mailed to each congregational treasurer at the end of September. Through the spiritual practices of invitation, reflection, and response, we faithfully consider how to share God's abundant grace. In this way, we act as church together for the sake of the world. You can find stories of our work together to download and share in Stories of Faith in Action at www.elca.org/SOFIA.
HOW DOES MY CONGREGATION BENEFIT FROM MISSION SUPPORT?
Congregational vitality is enhanced through active participation in our church's mission to share God's love for the world. Stories of Faith in Action is filled with examples of how lives have been changed because of the generosity of ELCA members and congregations through Mission Support. This money funds the work of the synods, and some portion of Mission Support that is shared with the churchwide organization comes back to your congregation and synod in the form of services, programs, resources, and grants. Typically, more than 90 percent of a congregation's offering remains in the congregation to help pay for ministries, outreach, and the building – supporting your congregation's vital presence in your community.