Saskatchewan synod is a cooperative of congregations. Our congregations and ministries and rostered leaders are remarkably independent and resourceful in taking up the mission of the church of Christ. But just as a congregation as whole can do more together than any member individually, so congregations in synod can do together what no one congregation could do alone. Imagine the parts of a bicycle wheel.
The tire: Congregations and ministries of our synod are the places where the “rubber hits the road,” where the gospel is proclaimed in word and sacrament and service. Congregations and ministries through the contributions of their faith community members call rostered leaders and raise up lay leadership, secure a meeting space, and proclaim the gospel both as a community and as individuals in their daily life. Faith communities by their nature, contribute with generosity to the world far beyond their local areas.
The spokes: Congregations and ministries contribute to the synod cooperative in a number of ways. Community members serve on synod council and its numerous committees. Congregations set aside a percentage or a given amount of offering to the synod cooperative (what we have commonly called “benevolence”). Financially gifted congregations and congregations with fewer financial resources contribute what they are able to the synod cooperative in an intricate network of “spokes” for the support of the whole.
The hub: The synod office with the Bishop’s Administrative Team and the Bishop’s Pastoral team is in place to receive, convert and return the contributions of the congregations and ministries into support where and when it is needed. This takes place currently in a number of specific ways.
Our synod cooperative provides for the formation and training of leadership:
Our synod cooperative provides the training needed to shape and educate pastors, diaconal ministers, and lay leadership. Our synod cooperative, in partnership with the British Columbia Synod, the Synod of Alberta and the Territories, and the Manitoba-Northwestern Ontario Synod, actively, prayerfully and financially supports our Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon. Our synod’s Candidacy committee plays an important role in supporting candidates for rostered leadership. When candidates have completed the formation requirements, The Western Examining Committee, (a committee of our four western synods), examines candidates who have completed their training and are seeking a call to serve in our church. Western Synods’ First Call program gathers pastors/deacons in their first three years of ministry for a three day time of support and learning with the Western bishops.
Our synod cooperative provides support for congregations and ministries:
At times in our life as faith communities, our congregations and ministries need support from the synod cooperative. The Bishop’s Administrative Team provides administrative support for congregations and ministries. The Bishop’s Pastoral Team works on the ground to listen to congregations and ministries, to explore with faith communities where God may be leading in the future. One of the key support roles of synod office is to assist congregations in calling a rostered minister.
Our synod cooperative provides support for rostered ministers and lay leadership:
Our synod cooperative seeks to provide support to our local leadership.
- The Bishop’s Pastoral Team provides support on the ground for rostered ministers. The Pastoral team provides a listening ear and counsel as needed and makes provision for support through referrals to support staff.
- Bishop’s Administrative Team provides administrative support to rostered ministers.
- Annual Leadership Conference: Our synod office annually gathers its rostered leaders for a study conference. For three days, rostered leaders gather for education, mutual support and encouragement. Speakers over the years have included: David Goa, Mary Solberg, Mark MacDonald, and many others.
- Area Clusters: Our synod rostered ministers gather for mutual support and cooperation.
Our synod cooperative fosters connectedness to inspire our sense of mission:
Our synod calls congregations to mission: to see each local congregation and ministry as a place of active mission for Christ; to envision a mission beyond the doors of our local faith communities into the communities in which we are placed; to envision the possibilities of mission when we find ways to work cooperatively.
In this area our synod is a part of a wider “wheel,” our national church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). With the four other Canadian synods, our synod supports our national church in prayer and with a significant percentage of our financial resources. Our national church fosters a sense of connectedness beyond our synod: provides a broader identity as church, enhances the unity of the church across the regional expressions of our church, and challenges us all to a vision of what it is to be church in our world in the 21st century.