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2016 Leadership Convocation

Southeastern Synod Leadership Convocation
Lutheridge Conference Center
Arden, NC
October 11-13, 2016

      Lord, listen to your children praying:
    A communal conversation and action
            on racial reconciliation

A message from Bishop H. Julian Gordy

The September 2012 edition of the Harvard Business Review had an article titled “Are you solving the right problem?’ It quotes Albert Einstein who said: “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,”

One of those problems with dealing with race in America is the conflation of racism and white supremacy as being the same thing; they are not the same thing. White supremacy is the notion, belief, or ideology that white people are innately superior to people of color. And for supporting the notions of white supremacy they are rewarded with power, prestige, and privilege.

Racism is the power dynamic and construct that allows white supremacy to remain intact. Racism keeps white supremacy alive. At the heart of white supremacy and racism lies bigotry. Bigotry is more than prejudice it is hateful prejudice and is the fuel that keeps the engine that is racism going.

I believe that racism in America is reversible if we address bigotry, a disease of the heart that is at the core of these problems. By engaging in honest conversations with others, we will move the needle forward for resolving racial issues in America and the world.

The excerpts above are from the Reverend Ronald Bonner’s newly published book, No Bigotry Allowed: Losing the Spirit of Fear. Pastor Bonner, who serves at Atonement, Atlanta, GA, provides an important distinction between three very different realities that are alive both here in the United States and around the world. Racism, bigotry and white supremacy are lived experiences for millions of people today. Some feel oppressed by these realities. Others, knowingly or unknowingly, perpetrate and perpetuate these realities. Many of us lament the division, death, and pain that these realities cause. The truth is racism, bigotry and white supremacy impact all of God’s children, some more deeply or more obviously than others.

As people of faith, we recognize that when one part of the body of Christ suffers, we all suffer. As followers of Jesus, we believe that loving one another is the greatest witness we can give to the presence of Christ in our communities. As Lutheran Christians, we believe that God calls us to be church for the sake of the world. At our synod’s 2016 Leadership Convocation, we are calling the leaders of this synod, rostered and lay, to come together to discern through communal conversation, worship and prayer, what it is that we can do to enter into the important gospel work of racial reconciliation in our congregations and communities.

I have asked several wise leaders to join me in leading this important conversation. They are Pr. Bonner, the Right Rev. Robert C. Wright, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, Ms. Judith Roberts, ELCA Program Director for Racial Justice, Dr. Catherine Meeks, Chair, Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, and the Rev. Cliff Bahlinger, pastor, St. Luke, Cordova, TN and a member of the Southeastern Synod Anti-Racism Committee.

Unlike recent leadership convocations, our agenda will not be based around the presentations of a keynote speaker. Instead, our leaders will facilitate faithful conversation and discernment through Bible study, small group work, worship, prayer, workshops, and informal conversation. Because engagement with others is critical to this work, our leaders strongly encourage all participants to be present for the entire convocation, which begins Tuesday in the early afternoon and concludes on Thursday at noon. Registration for Convo 2016 is open now. Please reach out to other pastors and rostered leaders and to lay leaders you know and invite them to participate. Most importantly, make sure that you are there. We cannot have this conversation for the sake of healing and reconciliation if everyone is not at the table and able to be heard. For the sake of God’s beloved world, for the sake of Christ’s church, please join me and your sisters and brothers across the Southeastern Synod as we gather to talk, to pray, and to discern what the Spirit is calling us to do.


Click the link above to read about the 2016 Leadership Convocation leaders.

Online registration is now closed!. You may register as a Commuter (lodging not provided) by calling the NovusWay registrar assistant, 
Ms. Megan McDonald, at 828-209-6302.

                             Register after 9/15

Commuter                                   $210
Child/Youth (4-18)                        $ 50

Interim Pastor's Gathering - The Interim Pastor's Gathering begins Thursday afternoon at approximately 1:00 p.m. EDT and concludes at noon on Friday. The cost is $80 per interim and an additional $80 for a spouse. Questions? Contact Ms. Jeanette Burgess.

First Call Gathering – The First Call Gathering begins at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Monday afternoon. You will receive details, including the agenda, separately. Questions?  Contact either the Rev. Ben Moravitz or Ms. Jeanette Burgess.

An event schedule and agenda are posted above. It will begin at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, October 11 and conclude at noon on Thursday, October 13. Because conversation with others will be an important part of this event, all attendees are strongly encouraged to stay through to the convocation's conclusion.

All workshops at this year's Convocation will be related to the theme of racial reconciliation and will be facilitated by the event leaders. If you wish to share information with other convocation participants, please request a display table by completing the "Additional Information" section during the registration process.  A limited number of tables are available.  Please email Ms. Carolyn Davis if you have questions.

Subpages (1): About the Leaders