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    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. Our values: 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 150 congregations throughout Kansas and Missouri. We are united with Christ in Baptism. Traveling the way of Jesus. Joining God's reign of justice and radical love in the world.
    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; and a Sudanese Ministry in St. Joseph, MO. Click on New Ministries to learn more.
    The Rev Susan Candea was elected to a 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.
    The synod office is located in downtown Kansas City, MO. The staff of the Central States Synod works to resource, equip, and support congregations as they carry out their ministries. Areas addressed by the synod staff include candidacy, the call process, leadership formation and development, stewardship, evangelism, church finance, property administration, and conflict resolution. The staff also takes care of administrative responsibilities such as maintaining the roster of ministers, accounting, and communication. Just as congregations expect pastoral care, a clear vision for mission, companionship in the call process, and excellent stewardship of mission support dollars from the synod, synod leaders depend on mutual ministry with congregations and rostered leaders. Congregations are expected to attend Synod Assembly, complete parochial reports, fulfill mission support commitments, follow their constitutions, and responsibly care for their assets. In our interrelatedness, we covenant to pray for one another.
    As Lutherans, we believe that Christ has freed us from sin and death, even from ourselves, so that we love and serve our neighbors. One way we put our faith in action is by making a financial gift – an offering – to our congregation. When you give an offering to your congregation a percentage of that financial gift is designated to be shared with the Central States Synod to fund ministries we do together as ELCA congregations throughout Kansas and Missouri. This is called "Mission Support." The synod then shares 50% of what is received from congregations with the churchwide expression of the ELCA, our mission support to the larger church.
    Visit our "Supported by Central States" page.
    This video five-minute video shows how your congregational offerings support the ministries of the ELCA and the church around the world. Download a 2-pg. infographic PDF
    Go to our "Give Now" page to make a contribution by credit card
    Visit our "Mission Endowment Fund" page
    Visit our "Mission Endowment Fund" page
    Our Assembly is usually held in early June, Learn more on our Central States Synod Assembly page, or the Synod Calendar for dates.
    Rostered Ministers, Parish Ministry Associates and Congregations can be found on our Directories page.
    The purpose of the Parish Ministry Associate (PMA) program is to raise up and equip lay leaders who understand themselves to be servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries. More information is available on our PMA page.
    A Pulpit Supply list is available on our Directories page.
    Instructions and samples of contitutions are available on our documents page.
    When a congregation calls a pastor or lay rostered leader (diaconal minister, associate in ministry, deaconess), many people have responsibilities. Information about the process is available on our Resources page.
  • March 6, 2019 Introduction to Lenten Devotions: Rev. Susan Candea, Bishop's Associate"
    For the past few years, our focus as the Central States Synod has been on Hope – Sharing in Hope. At last year’s synod assembly we introduced this emphasis on evangelism, exploring what evangelism means, and how we might be people who share the hope and grace of the good news. We are now beginning another season of Lent, when we hear the solemn call to fasting and repentance as we journey toward the baptismal waters of Easter. We begin this journey by having ashes placed on our foreheads which remind us of our human mortality and frailty. The alternative first reading for Ash Wednesday is Isaiah 58:1-12 which begins with Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins. . . . . So how is this solemn call to fasting and repentance “good news?” What is the hope we share when we remind people of their mortality and frailty? Why would we want to shout the news of our rebellion and our sin? Where is the place of evangelism in the midst of this season of Lent? To hear the invitation to be real and honest instead of pretending that everything is okay when it is not; to own our baggage, our mistakes, our flaws instead of having to keep up the façade that we have it all together; to turn around, repent, from lifestyles that pull us deeper and deeper into denial and illusion is indeed good news that needs to be shared. It is when we are honest, when we own our own stuff, when we quit spending so much energy pretending, that we are able to live and share hope. It is in the freedom of this invitation that we are able to serve, to focus on caring for God’s people and God’s creation. If you read further in Isaiah 58, you will hear the prophet tell the people - If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 10 if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places,and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden,like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. 12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. Those are hopeful words. Those are words that proclaim good news, light rising in the darkness, springs of water in parched places, the rebuilding ancient ruins, the restoration of life. That is what this journey of Lent is all about. That is the hope we share. Questions to ponder: What fasting and repentance will you engage in this Lenten season? How does honesty give hope? How will you share hope through your words and actions? Prayer: O Blessed and Compassionate Friend, melt our hearts of stone, break through the fears that lead us into darkness, and guide our steps toward peace. Amen - From Psalms for Praying by Nan Merrill, Psalm 51
  • March 13, 2019, Jesus Predicts His Death: Rev. Rebecca Boardman, St. Louis Campus Ministries"
    John 12:20-29 20Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “ we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Regardless of time, culture, and identity---certain thoughts chronically bubble forth from the human psyche. Generation after generation we wonder “Who am I?” and “Why is the sky blue?” and the origins of love. “We wish to see Jesus” is a soulful request whispered, prayed, proclaimed, and lamented by millions of people. Consciously or not, most of us have muttered this words at some point in our journey. At a crossroads, facing great fears or deep in the desert we hunger for road sign (or maybe a color-coded detailed topographic map)! Some kind of indication Jesus is present with us here and our lives have not veered tragically off-course. When this group of Greeks came to worship at the Passover Feast and uttered “We wish to see Jesus” we are reminded of the great complexity of faith present for Jesus’ followers even from the earliest days. We do not know the tone and can’t quite tease out their agenda. Context tells us some but more importantly we remember in Lent that questions about Jesus’ identity haunt all of us. When students share stories of feeling distant from God, I often ask “when was the last time you got your hands dirty?” If “we wish to see Jesus” we need to get our hands dirty...often! That may mean kneading bread with your grandmother, pulling weeds in a community garden or helping repair a house for someone in need. Our world is full of hurt and disconnection and through service to others we often find our way back to God. In building relationships outside our core circles, we find new people to grapple with ageless questions like, What does it mean to “lose” my life? How can we be a servant and a leader? How do we “glorify God’s name” without disrespecting other traditions? These forty days of Lent invite deep reflection for all of us. I pray you whisper, hope, or pray “We wish to see Jesus” this week and this search for Christ’s light among your community! Prayer: Creator God, we hunger to see you more clearly yet often feel lost in cloudiness. Grant us patience & courage this Lenten season to discern your presence beyond our boundaries. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
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