Saturday April 30, 2016 from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM PDT
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Trinity Lutheran Church 
309 W 39th St
Vancouver, WA 98660

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Allison Ramsey 
Southwestern Washington Synod 

Southwestern Educational Gathering (Vancouver location) 

Join your fellow ELCA members of our Southwestern Washington Synod for our Educational Gathering in Vancouver, WA on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-3:30pm. The day will be full of educational workshops on Congregational Leadership and Congregational Mission, plus worship together. Please select two workshops that you'd like to attend. Lunch included.



Becoming Social Media Savvy:  How can Facebook, Twitter, Texting and Instagram be your friends?  Explore the different kinds of social media and how they can help you in your congregation’s ministry with communication, relationship-building and even more!

Conceptualizing Worship   Learn about the core of Lutheran worship as defined by the Augsburg Confessions.  Relevent worship is conceptual and contextual worship.  Large and small group work included to build an authentic, relevant, inclusive and inspiring worship.

Congregation Treasurer and Financial Secretary Best Practices   The job of Congregation Treasurer can vary widely,  to fit the needs of each congregation. But the basic function, to serve as the financial officer of the congregation remains the same, no matter how big, or small the congregation.  This interactive workshop will focus on the best practices of congregation treasurers and financial secretaries from around the synod. Please bring the best practices from your congregation to share. 

Mission Interpretation and Stewardship   Not Your Parent’s Temple Talk.  Telling your story is a HUGE part of any congregation’s stewardship program (or at least it should be). But how do you tell it? And where? Is your Congregation telling their whole story – a piece of their story or no story at all? How often are you telling your story?  Join Darcy Huffman, our Synod’s Mission Interpreter Coordinator, for a workshop designed to help you get your congregation’s whole story out in a way that may enhance your congregation’s stewardship efforts.

Strengthening Church Council Roles   Workshop participants will learn specific, practical  ways in which Church Councils can lead a congregation, supervise programs and plan for the future.  Good organization and job clarity will be discussed.

Working with LGBT rostered leaders (Olympia location only)   Learn how you can help your congregation begin conversation about opening your next call process to an LGBTQ pastor or another leader from a different context or community.  Meet others who are working to building extraordinary congregations.  You will learn more about Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and their work in the post 2009 environment.  You will be introduced to resources and techniques to take back to your congregation to help them begin and have conversations about a diversity of leaders.  Learn about “minimization” and how to work through this and other barriers.  Share your own good ideas and experiences, too. 


Being Lutheran in Today’s World  We are approaching the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017.  This workshop will help participants think about the essential ingredients of being Lutheran and how living as a Lutheran Christian can address the world’s need.

Congregational Vitality and Sustainability Next Steps  

This workshop will provide tools for assessing the vitality and sustainability of your congregation. Members of the Synod Outreach Board will share approaches to congregational health that are necessary to adapt to the challenges faced in changing communities. Participants will be introduced to congregational renewal concepts and given tools for next steps. Tools include: Congregational Quick Check, Vitality Survey, Congregational Life Cycle and Jenga Theory.

Adult Faith Formation for Spiritual Transformation  Christ invites us on a life-long journey to grow in faith, love and service.  Learn how the adult members of your congregation can be guided in their faith formation process through your education program, spiritual reflection opportunities, worship and prayer life in your parish.

Faith Formation for the First Third of Life   Take a modern look at the landscape of youth and family faith formation with leaders from your synod.  We'll explore practical points of entry for your congregation's ministry, touch on available resources, and give you tools to take home.  Come with a sense of your congregation's context and vision for a more fulfilling experience. 

How to Speak with Public Officials (Vancouver location only)     You may get frustrated when officials you elected ignore (and probably don’t even read) what you send them via email or snail mail.  But, when you sit in front of them, make eye contact, and give a well-organized presentation you really can make a difference.  Long-time Vancouver City Council member Larry Smith and long-time college speech teacher and Synod Council member John Jablonski will provide theory and practice on how you can, with a well-written oral presentation, cause those you elected to give pause and more deeply consider their thoughts and actions.

Reaching Beyond Race: Building toward a multicultural church   Learn to understand diversity within your own congregation.  Start building relationships across ethnic lines. Learn takeaways to bring back to your personal life and your congregation through small and large group activities, storytelling, and vocabulary. 

Welcoming LGBT Members into your Pews  Do you want to learn how your congregation can become more welcoming to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, especially lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and queer people?  Have you wanted to start this conversation but aren’t quite sure how?  Join us for a workshop on “reconciling in Christ,” a faithful way to make our churches more inclusive.  We’ll focus on story telling, relationship building, and sharing resources so you can start and expand your welcoming ministry in your own community.

Who Really Are Our Neighbors?   Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourself, but who is our neighbor exactly? The family member that pushes our buttons? The person next to us in the pew that never sings on key? The people that live around our church that don’t go to our church and don’t want anything to do with our church? The internet trolls that post strange things on our social media pages? Using the framework of community organizing, the workshop “who is my neighbor” will work to help us answer the question who is my neighbor?, why should we want to connect with our neighbors?, and how do we connect with our neighbors that exist beyond the four walls of our church building?