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Assembly Workshops

View workshop descriptions below, or view as a PDF document or Word document.

Spiritual Foundations of Council Leadership
Rev. Conrad A. Braaten, Retired ELCA Pastor

Church and Culture; Then and Now—What is Happening in Our World?
Deacon Dr. Janice Zimbelman, Board Member, The Lutheran Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations Network (LEIRN)

Criminal Sentencing Reform and the Death Penalty
Michael Valder, Social Justice Chairperson, Faith Lutheran Church, Phoenix

Communicating the Lutheran Identity
Allison Beebe, ELCA Churchwide Representative, ELCA Director of Communications

A Heritage of Welcome: Refugee Resettlement and Asylum Seekers
Connie Phillips, MSW, President and CEO, Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest
Rev. Sharon Baglyos, Assistant Director for Outreach, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Standing with Martin Luther in Public Witness, as faithful Lutherans
Sarah Payne Naylor, Member of New Journey Lutheran Church in Fountain Hills, AZ; First Director of the Lutheran Office for Governmental Ministry in Arizona; Assistant Director, Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs in Washington, DC

Purple Christians: Politics and Polarization in Pulpit and Pew
Rev. Brad Munroe, Presbytery Pastor for Grand Canyon and de Cristo presbyteries; and has served three PCUSA congregations in Texas and Colorado before moving to Arizona. 

Singing the New Song – Healthy Change
Rev. David Drach-Meinel, Pastor, Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, Henderson, NV
Rev. Jason Adams, Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Las Vegas, NV

Global Engagement: For the Sake of the World
Rev. Karn Carroll, Pastor, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Phoenix, AZ, Chairperson of the GCS Global Engagement Team

Synodically Authorized Worshipping Communities of the GCS
Rev. Miguel Gomez-Acosta, Grand Canyon Synod Director for Evangelical Mission and Bishop’s Associate for Congregational Vitality

Advocacy: Loving Our Neighbor in a Big Way
Bill Ledford, Advocate for Lutheran Engagement and Advocacy in Nevada (LEAN)

How to Talk About Money
The Rev’d Canon Timothy Dombeck, Canon for Stewardship & Planned Giving, The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

Congregational Security in an Unsecure Time
Rev. Joe Dillon, Interim Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Phoenix

Spiritual Foundations of Council Leadership

  • Rev. Conrad A. Braaten, Retired ELCA Pastor

Are Robert’s Rules of Order sufficient? This workshop will explore ways of understanding Council leadership from the spiritual perspectives of congregational Identity, call of pastor and Council member, the work of the Holy Spirit and ways of working as a Council community that are sometimes forgotten or even neglected. Congregational leadership is unique, intentional, learned and dependent upon relationships. It can be one of the most meaningful things we do in our Christian journey. In our work together we move from assumptions that can be hurtful to common understandings that enhance effectiveness and joy in a covenantal way of working.

Church and Culture; Then and Now—What is Happening in Our World?

Have you wondered how to do ministry when current programs no longer seem effective; or, where is the next generation of faithful people? Using current research, this workshop will explore the cultural pressures that are now shaping the 21st Century and the Church’s role in society. Together, we will move from the question “What can we do?” to “What is God up to?”. Participants will leave with new ideas for re-framing ministry within their own congregation and with a sense of hope of how to be The Church for the sake of the world.

Criminal Sentencing Reform and the Death Penalty

Michael Valder, Social Justice Chairperson, Faith Lutheran Church, Phoenix

Using a policy statement just adopted by Faith Lutheran Church (Phoenix), we will explore how current public attitudes of revenge and retribution that support excessive sentencing and the death penalty are being converted to rehabilitation and recovery. Speakers include Mike Valder of Faith Lutheran Church, Khalil Rushdan with the ACLU’s Smart Justice project, Bethany Lambrecht of Valley Interfaith Project, and Marilyn Rodriquez, a lobbyist for the bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform Coalition which has been working on state legislation. We will all be explaining how church people can be involved in the movement.

Communicating the Lutheran Identity

  • Allison Beebe, ELCA Churchwide Representative, ELCA Director of Communications

How do we communicate our identity as Lutherans, and why does it matter? This workshop will include a toolbox of tips for communicating Lutheranism – from social media, to media relations, to personal relationships. We’ll review ELCA resources that support congregational communications, think creatively about voicing our personal stories of faith, and learn where to access Lutheran articles, videos and audio content. Whether our communication is spoken, written, visual or experiential, Lutherans have engaging stories to share! Together we can build awareness of our church and the work we do in God’s name. 

A Heritage of Welcome: Refugee Resettlement and Asylum Seekers

Presented by Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest in collaboration with the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service 

This workshop will focus on the Lutheran ministry of welcome. It will explain what it means to be a refugee or asylum seeker, the countries from which refugees and asylum seekers come today, and how refugees are selected to be resettled or accepted for asylum in the United States. The difference between refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigration categories will be explored. Attendees will learn of the national ministries of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and local work of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest.

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Standing with Martin Luther in Public Witness, as faithful Lutherans

  • Sarah Payne Naylor, Member of New Journey Lutheran Church in Fountain Hills, AZ; First Director of the Lutheran Office for Governmental Ministry in Arizona; Assistant Director, Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs in Washington, DC

This workshop will use the newly published The Forgotten Luther – Reclaiming the Church’s Public Witness (Fortress Press) to explore how Martin Luther understood the public witness of advocacy for justice and peace to be a significant role of Christian discipleship and church practice. Through ELCA Public Policy Statements we will take a look at how our church goes about the ministry of advocacy. Participants will learn how they might use “The Forgotten Luther”, which was purposed for use in congregational study groups, as a resource for the understanding of public advocacy witness in their own congregation.

Purple Christians: Politics and Polarization in Pulpit and Pew

  • Rev. Brad Munroe, Presbytery Pastor for Grand Canyon and de Cristo presbyteries; and has served three PCUSA congregations in Texas and Colorado before moving to Arizona.

This workshop will explore the minefield that is cultivating justice in a politically polarized culture. How can one preach, listen, teach, listen, facilitate, listen, respect, listen, invite respect, and listen to brothers and sisters in ways that honor the Gospel’s call to do justice and see in the “least of these” the face of our Lord Jesus? We will engage one another in dialogue regarding best practices for living the second and third parts of Micah 6:8 while seeking to lead our churches in fulfilling Micah 6:8’s primary call.

Singing the New Song – Healthy Change

Resistance to change in your church can be strong. Some will confuse the unchanging nature of God’s love with a prohibition of anything new in church. We are called to minister to the world as it is now, not as it was in the past. We will address how to honor meaningful tradition while strategically moving into the future in a rapidly changing culture. We will address your own hesitation to change, from singing new songs in worship, to restructuring your leadership, to amending your constitution.

Global Engagement: For the Sake of the World 

As church, when we work together, the world begins to change. Come and find out about the exciting work your church is doing with our companion church, L'Eglise Lutherienne du Senegal and Young Adults in Global Mission. Learn why accompaniment is such a valuable ministry and what you can do do get involved.

Synodically Authorized Worshipping Communities of the GCS

  • Rev. Miguel Gomez-Acosta, Grand Canyon Synod Director for Evangelical Mission and Bishop’s Associate for Congregational Vitality

Come and experience how the Holy Spirit is working through our Synodically Authorized Worshipping Communities. This session will be divided in two parts due to the number of communities sharing their experience. The morning session will focus on SAWCS in ethnic communities (NAUM, Emmanuel Sudanese, Santa Trinidad, La Fe, Pan-Asian Ministry), while the afternoon will focus on SAWCS for young adult, rural communities, and multi-site  minisitries (The Forge, Open Space, Covenant, Crossroads). This session is ideal for those congregations interested in mission and/or exploring creative ways of outreach.

Advocacy: Loving Our Neighbor in a Big Way

Jesus calls us to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” We often think of caring for our neighbor in need through donations of food or support of Lutheran Social Services or ELCA World Hunger. This help is necessary, but we can also make a great impact by using the gift of our citizenship to bring change that can make a difference for vulnerable people on the big scale. We will share experiences of the impact the church can have in the public sphere at the state and national level and how you can get involved.

Hill visit with Senator McSally about climate and natural disasters. #preparedtocare #elcaadvocacy #churchtogetherforsakeoftheworld

How to Talk About Money

During this workshop, participants will learn why churches must provide an alternative voice to the messages the culture “preaches” about money, and what it means to be a “steward” in life; also, learn fresh ways to report pledge/giving data that is broader, more accurate, holistic and truthful of a congregation’s overall financial picture.

Congregational Security in an Unsecure Time

We live in a time when one of our haunting questions ought to be: How do we better protect our parishioners from possible harm and the congregation from lawsuits? In this workshop we will present what one congregation did in the area of security, protection of children and youth, and emergencies that occur from health issues during worship and meetings of the parish. Handouts will include a comprehensive Emergency Procedure Manuel covering such things as stalkers on campus, etc.