God has a plan… We’re it!

2009 SEPA Synod Assembly

God’s work. Our hands.


“I’m convinced from my sense of call and from watching and listening to congregational and synodical leaders that God does have a plan—and that you and I are it!” said David Swartling, Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Churchwide representative to this year’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Assembly.

Swartling pointed out that we actively engage in God’s plan for us when we do ministry together through the three expressions of the ELCA: our congregations, our synods, and the churchwide organization.

“When the church is working at its best, we can learn from each other so that our work together has a multiplier effect,” he said.

Swartling highlighted the new ELCA tagline: God’s work. Our hands.

“These few words capture so poignantly what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and to be in ministry in the 21st century,” he said. “It begins with God’s work. Indeed, although the word “work” is a noun, what we are really talking about is God working—God working today and tomorrow, God working through you and through me, God working with our hands, yours and mine.”

Swartling shared the story of Anthony Ulibarrai who is a member of Steadfast Love Lutheran Church in Seattle and a volunteer in a community food bank.

“I like to help people. I like how volunteering makes me feel closer to Jesus,” says Ulibarrai. “I really want to give. I like how volunteering makes me feel closer to Jesus.”

“Steadfast Love Lutheran Church is providing Anthony Ulibarrai with both a community and opportunity, said Swartling. “God is working through you and me and Anthony because we are all part of this ELCA!”

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