The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’ - Ezekiel 37 (NIV)
Nineteen of 21 Lutheran leaders from the North American, Latin American and Caribbean regions met together in May for the first time in three years in Santiago, Chile, for The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Leadership Conference of the Americas. Pastor Karen Castillo from the ILAG was one of the participants in the conference and was part of a small group that planned and led the closing worship. During the previous three years, all the leaders had experienced the uncertainties of COVID, sickness and death in their congregations, challenges that were exacerbated by the pandemic, and, in some countries, natural disasters.
Elected in June of 2021, LWF General Secretary, Rev. Ann Burghardt, connected the scripture above to the conference theme, I Breathe the Breath of Life Upon You, saying, “Your fellowship is sinew and flesh that unites the bones, into which the Spirit of the Triune God can breathe this life-giving Word.” From May 9-13, Pastor Karen shared stories, learned from her peers, reflected on leading during crisis, worshiped, prayed, reconnected in person with colleagues and breathed.
In her ILAG leadership role, Pastor Karen values The Lutheran World Federation’s work in uniting Lutherans across the globe, inspired by God’s word and Spirit to move faith into action. She commented, “As the conference concluded, leaders committed to continue:
Pastor Karen continues to be grateful for the gifts that are given to the ILAG to continue its work and to fund leadership opportunities, like this conference, for the ILAG staff to learn, gain new perspectives, and hear God’s Word in new ways.
P.S. To learn more about the Leadership Conference of the Americas, visit these links: