The Role of Bishop

By Bishop Michael Rinehart

What is a bishop? What does a bishop do? You would think after ten years I would have a snappy answer. Actually, I have several. “A player who moved diagonally.” Sometimes that gets a chuckle, but it turns out that these days, people know more about the church than chess. “I care for a little over a hundred churches and their leaders.” This has turned out to be the shortest answer that connects.

bishops past and present

At the ten-year mark, it seems like a good time to reflect on this role. I have found, how I describe this, often depends on who is asking. Sometimes the question comes from folks who have no relationship with a church. They genuinely have no idea. Other times, it comes from Lutherans who know what a bishop is, sort of, but are really asking what kinds of things I find myself doing from day to day.

This article is an attempt at a more nuanced answer to the question for those reading Connections, who I assume have a deeper than average understanding of the church.


The Greek word for bishop, episkopos, simply means overseer. It can also be translated “superintendent.” You can see the word “scope” in there. An episkopos literally looks over or watches over something. Luther says, if the Bible hadn’t mentioned bishops, the church would have had to invent them for the sake of order.

In the small first century church of the Bible, bishop is virtually interchangeable with pastor. In Philippians 1:1, Paul greets all “Bishops and deacons.” 1 Timothy 3 describes the qualifications for bishops and deacons. Titus 1:5 ff appears to use presbyter (elder) and bishop (overseer) interchangeably.

Jerome (347-420 AD) said that Presbyters appointed Bishops to provide leadership and to prevent schism in the church. In other words, bishops were to provide leadership and unity.

Fast forward to the Reformation, and Bishops are a very different thing. The office of bishop is a public office that is often combined with the civic power and responsibility of a prince. This mixing of church and state is highly problematic. One who must lead with the accoutrements of secular power, has great difficulty shepherding a flock into a life of prayer, simplicity and humility. The Reformers bemoaned how the bishops had neglected the churches and the gospel to tend to civic affairs. So, their context is also much different than ours today. In both contexts, the early church and the Reformation, its apples and oranges.

How could anyone be a bishop if he does not ride a high horse and does not let himself be called gracious lord, which is enough by itself to create a bishop? But here one can see that St. Paul calls all those who offer the word and sacrament to the people “bishop,” just as ministers and curates do now. —Against The Spiritual Estate of the Pope and Bishops (LW 39:281-282)

Nevertheless, the Lutheran Confessions are helpful. They say that the function of a bishop is to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments in accordance with the gospel. In other words, Melanchthon says, the roles of bishop and pastor are nearly identical. “What does a bishop do,” says Melanchthon, “that pastor does not do?” Confirmations and ordinations. And even those, he says, can be delegated out. So, for the reformers, a bishop is simply a pastor with a different kind of parish and a different call.

So, Bishops should preach the Gospel, administer the Sacraments, provide leadership, and work for unity. That’s all.


Fast forward to today. Episkopos is translated and understood differently in the various churches. Presbyterians have a General Presbyter. Some churches have superintendents. Some have presidents. Some have bishops. Even those who use the same word have differing roles. Some bishops assign pastors to churches. Others, like in our polity, oversee the screening and selection of candidates, so that congregations can elect. Some chair boards of religious schools and hospitals.

In our polity, the role of bishop is laid out in the synod constitution. If you want a detailed, technical list of the bishop’s duties, here you go. The list is dizzying:

†S8.12. As this synod’s pastor, the bishop shall be an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament who shall:

  1. Preach, teach, and administer the sacraments in accord with the Confession of Faith of this church.
  2. Have primary responsibility for the ministry of Word and Sacrament in this synod and its congregations, providing pastoral care and leadership for this synod, its congregations, its ordained ministers, and its other rostered leaders.
  3. Exercise solely this church’s power to ordain (or provide for the ordination by another synodical bishop of) approved candidates who have received and accepted a properly issued, duly attested letter of call for the office of ordained ministry (and as provided in the bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).
  4. Commission (or provide for the commissioning of) approved candidates who have received and accepted a properly issued, duly attested letter of call for service as associates in ministry; consecrate (or provide for the consecration of) approved candidates who have received and accepted a properly issued, duly attested letter of call for service as deaconesses; and consecrate (or provide for the consecration of) approved candidates who have received and accepted a properly issued, duly attested letter of call for service as diaconal ministers of this church.
  5. Attest letters of call for persons called to serve congregations in the synod, letters of call for persons called by the Synod Council, and letters of call for persons on the roster of this synod called by the Church Council. f. Install (or provide for the installation of):

1)  the pastors of all congregations of this synod;

2)  ordained ministers called to extraparish service within this synod; and

3)  persons serving in the other rostered ministries within this synod.

  1. Exercise leadership in the mission of this church and in so doing:

1) Interpret and advocate the mission and theology of the whole church;

2) Lead in fostering support for and commitment to the mission of this church within this synod;

3) Coordinate the use of the resources available to this synod as it seeks to promote the health of this church’s life and witness in the areas served by this synod;

4) Submit a report to each regular meeting of the Synod Assembly concerning the synod’s life and work; and

5) Advise and counsel this synod’s related institutions and organizations.

  1. Practice leadership in strengthening the unity of the Church and in so doing:

1) Exercise oversight of the preaching, teaching, and administration of the sacraments within this synod in accord with the Confession of Faith of this church;

2) Be responsible for administering the constitutionally established processes for the resolution of controversies and for the discipline of ordained ministers, other rostered leaders, and congregations of this synod;

3) Be the chief ecumenical officer of this synod;

4) Consult regularly with other synodical bishops and the Conference of Bishops;

5) Foster awareness of other churches throughout the Lutheran world communion and, where appropriate, engage in contact with leaders of those churches;

6) Cultivate communion in faith and mission with appropriate Christian judicatory leaders functioning within the territory of this synod; and

7) Be ex officio a member of the Churchwide Assembly.

  1. Oversee and administer the work of this synod and in so doing:

1) Serve as the president of the synod corporation and be the chief executive and administrative officer of this synod, who is authorized and empowered, in the name of this synod, to sign deeds or other instruments and to affix the seal of this synod;

2) Preside at all meetings of the Synod Assembly and provide for the preparation of the agenda for the Synod Assembly, Synod Council, and the council’s Executive Committee;

3) Ensure that the constitution and bylaws of the synod and of the churchwide organization are duly observed within this synod, and that the actions of the synod in conformity therewith are carried into effect;

4) Exercise supervision over the work of the other officers.

5) Coordinate the work of all synodical staff members;

6) Appoint all committees for which provision is not otherwise made;

7) Be a member of all committees and any other organizational units of the synod, except as otherwise provided in this constitution;

8) Provide for preparation and maintenance of synodical rosters containing:

  1. a) the names and addresses of all ordained ministers of this synod and a record of the calls under which they are serving or the date on which they become retired or disabled; and
  2. b) the names and addresses of all other rostered persons of this synod and a record of the positions to which they have been called or the date on which they become retired or disabled;

9) Annually bring to the attention of the Synod Council the names of all rostered persons on leave from call or engaged in approved graduate study in conformity with the constitution, bylaws, and continuing resolutions of this church and pursuant to prior action of this synod through the Synod Council;

10) Provide for prompt reporting to the secretary of this church of:

  1. a) additions to and subtractions from the rosters of this synod and the register of congregations;
  2. b) the issuance of certificates of transfer for rostered persons in good standing who have received and accepted a properly issued, duly attested, regular letter of call under the jurisdiction of another synod; and
  3. c) the entrance of the names of such persons for whom proper certificates of transfer have been received;

11) Provide for preparation and maintenance of a register of the congregations of this synod and the names of the laypersons who have been elected to represent them; and

12) Appoint a statistician of the synod, who shall secure the parochial reports of the congregations and make the reports available to the secretary of this church for collation, analysis, and distribution of the statistical summaries to this synod and the other synods of this church.

You’d have to be crazy to let your name go forward for something like that, right? Sometimes people say to me, “I wouldn’t have your job for the world.” I respond, “That makes two of us.”

Pastor to the pastors

One final thought. My dad always said the bishop was “Pastor to the pastors.” I believe this is true, though not always in the way people think. Our mental picture of the pastor is often the small church pastor making all the house calls and hospital calls. The bishop is pastor more like a a large church pastor. My first call congregation had 4,000 members. Pastor Bill Waxenberg didn’t visit everyone. Couldn’t possibly. He oversaw (episkopos) pastoral care through a network of hospital visitors (lay and clergy), Stephens Ministers and small groups. There was no way to be present for every surgery, home communion and so on. This kind of care can be superb. The whole body works together, as Paul says, rather than running the wheels off one person.

In a synod that has 77 counties/parishes in two states, a chaplaincy model would be impossible. If someone is rushed into the emergency room in New Orleans, it’s hard to be there. Giving homebound communion to retired pastors is not in the cards. Practically, pastoral care for retired pastors is carried out by the pastor of their home congregation, who they see every Sunday. The synod is a congregation of 112 congregations with 160 pastors.

Actually, the constitution never says the bishop is Pastor to the pastors. It says the bishop is “this synod’s pastor.” This means the bishop is pastor to the pastors and to the congregations. A pastor is not just a caregiver, but also a protector. The shepherd’s staff is used to ward off predators. At times in my tenure, I have had to protect pastors from congregations. At other times, I have had to protect congregations from pastors. It’s part of the job. My least favorite, but an important part.


I remind myself frequently that I’m a pastor with a specialized call. It is a joy, a privilege and a challenge. I’ve lost count of the mistakes I’ve made and dumb things I’ve said. I apologize.

I take comfort that my role is pastoral: Preach the Gospel, administer the Sacraments, provide leadership, work for unity. I find great joy in this work. Most of the time I can see through the barrage of tasks to the heart of things. My energy is high, even in the tough times, like hurricane recovery assistance and a death in the family. I am deeply grateful for your prayers and the prayers of your congregation. They mean more than you can know.

Leaders Supporting Leaders – We need your Prayers and Gifts

recovery aheadThe heroic stage of Hurricane Harvey has passed and the disillusionment stage is here.  While many have gone back to life as normal, we have pastors and church professionals who are deep into recovery efforts in their neighborhoods – and they need our support.

We have a list of over 60 leaders who are engaged in daily recovery work. That includes 33 people in critical situations. This is a long-term effort that has the potential to totally burn out these leaders without your prayers, care, and resources.
These are our leaders and we are beside them all the way.

The synod’s Short-term Disaster Team has made leadership care the #1 priority. So far, the team has been able to offer small financial gifts, regular phone support, and face to face visits – but this is just the beginning. As the weeks go by, leaders will be dealing with their own struggles as well as the rising challenges in their community.

We can expect spiritual struggles of faith and a sense of abandonment by God and community, a rise in divorce, suicide, physical and mental illnesses, severe fatigue, increased drug, alcohol use and domestic violence, and huge financial setbacks. As we head into the holidays, this will get worse.

We can surround our leaders with support so that they can stay healthy, get time away, and manage the needs in their own setting. Being in a long-term disaster recovery situation and coming out more resilient on the other side will take all of us to support these courageous leaders.

The Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod and LEAD are working together to be The Courageous Community. You can join this community too. Your financial gifts and prayers are the primary needs now.

The goals of The Courageous Community are to:

  1. Give 100% of the funds received to leaders recovering from Hurricane Harvey. (Over time we may be able to support other disasters.) We use a triage system, ranking needs as #1 urgent, #2 somewhat urgent, and #3 needs support. To date, we have only given resources to the #1 people on our list which means that the needs of some on the #2 and #3 lists may be escalating.
  2. Provide a place for people who want to support church professionals to give. God uses people to do God’s mission. We have a responsibility to care for our leaders who are serving in natural disasters. If you want to help your peers, join now. (For full transparency, we will provide a full report at the six-month and one-year marks to everyone in The Courageous Community and to the Synod Council. Names of recipients will not be revealed.)

We are grateful for those of you who have been praying for our hardest hit congregations and communities. Please continue this throughout the year ahead. In fact, experts tell us this will be a 5-6 year journey.

If you have ideas or resources to offer and want to talk with someone about this, please contact

Heartfelt Gratitude

Wow, wow, wow! You were so very generous. We are deeply thankful for your help. Thank for your prayers too. I believe it has really helped us to keep positive.

I can’t believe you would invest in me.

Thank you for the Harvey help! Thank you so much for supporting us during this weird time! It is so wonderful to know that we have people like you watching our backs. It is a caring community that makes the difference between a difficult time and a disaster.

Thank you so much for this gift. I feel guilty accepting it because I know there is massive need out there. I am grateful for the help—it is indeed healing—and I am grateful that I can share some of it with a family I know that is hurting. 

harvey response

The TX-LA Synod has made the decision that taking care of our leaders is our number one job. To date, we have received about $250,000 from people across the country who want to support our recovery. About one-third of this money is going directly to support leaders of congregations who have been personally impacted. Another one-third will be made available to congregations that qualify, for a grant process. (These congregations have been notified that they can apply for funding by December 31, 2017 with awards being given in early January.) The remaining third is being split between staffing Ele Clay, who will coordinate volunteer teams from around the country, as they come to help with recovery, as well as care and support for others recovering from Harvey. The needs are huge and our church is engaged in this important recovery.

We are aware of five congregations that were significantly flooded, and of course, many, many more that are serving people whose homes have flooded. This is an important time and your partnership is making a difference.  We want to say a big thank you on behalf of those whose lives are blessed by your gifts.

Oct. 32 and beyond

By Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

This is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. For the past year it has been “All Reformation All the Time!” Everything Martin Luther. The really observant have branched out to Philipp Melanchthon and Johannes Bugenhagen. True believers will dress their children up as Martin and Katie for Halloween, or if they tend toward the fear factor, Johann Tetzel.

Bring in the extra brass. Fire up the choir. Sing the fight song (“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”). Dress in red. Binge-watch every Luther film and documentary. (I particularly liked Joseph Fiennes as the young, hot Luther.) This is our year!

Oct. 32.

Now what?

When I am out and about the church, I like to ask people what it means to be Lutheran—what is distinctive about the Lutheran movement. Grace is almost always mentioned, along with justification. Some will say we are ecclesia semper reformanda—the church always being reformed. Others point to our work for disaster relief, ELCA World Hunger, advocacy and other work for justice. Most of this is part of the Lutheran experience, but not unique to us. What then, did Luther uncover and what relevance does it have now?

Interestingly, Luther did not give his greatest emphasis to reform or to reforming the church. Semper reformanda—always reforming—was actually coined in 1947 by Karl Barth, a Reformed theologian. Liberation in Christ through faith was the freedom that transformed Luther. This freedom is what he wrote about most frequently and most passionately. The Freedom of a Christian, a short and accessible treatise, is probably most familiar. I commend it to you. In this brief work and in others, Luther makes the case that liberation in Christ is both a freedom from and a freedom for.

Freedom from is liberation from all spiritual bondage. We are set free from being trapped in ourselves, consumed by ourselves, from the belief or terror that we can and must save ourselves, that our self is the center of the universe. Life in Christ is not an inward-dwelling experience. We are free to get over ourselves. Freedom from is liberation from the law’s accusation and judgment. We are liberated from terror and despair, which are soul-crushing. We are liberated from the incessant and impossible task of measuring up. Freedom from liberates us from estrangement from God and God’s creatures. Caught in sin and standing before a God who demands righteousness, when we believe we are responsible for our salvation, breeds resentment toward God and the objectification of others.

Freedom for means that in Christ we are set free for loving and serving others. Freedom is a relationship, not a new set of activities or the demands of a new law.

Luther put it this way: “Faith, however, is a divine work in us which changes us and makes us to be born anew of God. It kills the old Adam and makes us altogether different people, in heart and spirit and mind and powers; and it brings with it the Holy Spirit. O, it is a living, busy, active mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly. … And this is the work which the Holy Spirit performs in faith. Because of it, without compulsion, a person is ready to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God who has shown them this grace” (Luther’s Works, 35:370-1).

No longer is God transactional and others a means to an end. This freedom is scandalous because it is based on unconditional grace. It is a gift. Think about it—do we feel the burden being lifted? Think about it—do we feel the complete love of God? Think about it—do we now see others through God’s eyes, free and beloved children?

On Reformation Sunday we will hear Jesus’ promise: “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).

On Oct. 32 and beyond let us live in that freedom.

A monthly message from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her email address: This column originally appeared in Living Lutheran’s October 2017 issue. Reprinted with permission.

Lisa’s Pieces:  Creation Care Tips from the Synod Lutherans Restoring Creation Team

By Lisa Brenskelle

Lutherans Restoring CreationThe mission of Lutherans Restoring Creation is to promote incorporation of care for creation into the full life and mission of the church, working in five areas:  worship, education, discipleship, building & grounds, and public ministry/advocacy.  For some timely tips in these areas, see below:

Worship Get inspired by this Christmas sermon & this Christmas Eve sermon. A creation-focused prayer is posted weekly on the synod leaders Facebook. Consider these creation-focused prayers for Advent & Christmas in year B.  Creation-focused commentaries on the lectionary are available.

Education Consider attending a Going Solar talk at Christ the King in Houston on Dec. 10 at 9:45 a.m. Several books may be of interest as educational materials: Behold the Lilies, Toward a Better Worldliness and You are There. The online Sunday Evening Conversations on Creation on  Nov. 26 addresses Connections between People and Nature from the perspectives of both scripture & science.

Discipleship:  Make use of the “Bulletin blurb” eco-tips (+ verses & quotes) on the synod leaders Facebook page each week. A devotional for the Climate conference (Dec. 3 – Dec. 14) will be available from the synod Lutherans Restoring Creation team.  Consider Celebrating with Simplicity this Christmas. Or these sustainable holiday ideas from TX Impact. The GreenFaith pledge encourages discipleship in any season.

Building & Grounds:    Still using T-12 fluorescent bulbs? Convertor kits for light fixtures to go to T-8 are available and inexpensive (& save energy). Conduct a waste audit and see how you might reduce waste.   Consider these water conservation resources. Another way to conserve water is to install a rain barrel. The City of Houston (and certain other municipalities) periodically have these on sale. Consider using printer/copier paper made from recycled paper or other waste materials.

Public Ministry/Advocacy:  The weekly Opportunities to Care for, Learn About, and Enjoy God’s Good Creation features volunteer events in the greater Houston area (see upcoming opportunities link). Now that the weather is getting cooler, keep an eye out for outdoor fundraisers or hands-on stewardship events that benefit local environmental non-profits.  One example is the Fall 2017 Interfaith Environmental Stewardship Event on Nov. 19. Advocate to preserve National Monuments or to protect both people and wildlife from wildfires.

For more information on any of the above, or for creation care assistance/information, contact the synod Lutherans Restoring Creation Team by writing to Lisa at The team is seeking additional members.  If you would be willing to serve, please contact us.

Synodwide Harvey Work Day

By Pastor Chris Markert, OLF, Assistant to the Bishop – Mission Catalyst, ELCA Director for Evangelical Mission

After the devastation left behind in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Gulf Coast Synod hosted a synodwide workday on Saturday, September 9, 2017.

In the end, we had 316 volunteers deployed out of four sites around the synod, working in 33 work crews that helped more than 40 homes.

Volunteers from Christus Victor – League city

Several congregations have continued to serve and assist their neighbors by mucking out homes and helping with debris removal.

Thanks to Living Word- Katy, Faith- Bellaire, Christus Vistor- League City and Kinsmen- Houston for being deployment sites.

The debris pile outside Faith Lutheran in Dickinson.

We have recently formed a synod short-term recovery team to oversee the synod disaster fund, coordination of continued volunteer efforts, and the spiritual care of our pastors, deacons and congregational leaders in our congregations. Pastor Chris Lake (of Tree of Life Lutheran-Conroe) is the Chair of this Team. You can contact for more information.


Pastor Chris Lake, Tree of Life -Conroe, at the synodwide Harvey clean up day. Sept 9, 2017
Salem in Houston flooded
Salem Evangelical-Houston during the storm (majority of the property was flooded).
Kinsmen volunteers
Volunteers from Kinsmen-Houston also helped out with the clean up. Sept 9, 2017

Mission Companionships Make a Difference!

By The Rev. Chris MarkertAssistant to the Bishop – Mission Catalyst and ELCA Director for Evangelical Mission

Recently Gethsemane in Chalmette, one of our synod’s redevelopment congregations, decided to become a mission companion (also known as a mission partner). So, they approached another of our redevelopments, Bethlehem in New Orleans, who accepted their invitation!

Gethsemane God's work our handsThe weekend of September 10, 2017 members of Gethsemane joined Bethlehem for worship and God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday. They also surprised the congregation with a $1,000 donation as a sign of their companionship in ministry.

Being a mission companion is simple. It requires the following minimum commitments:

1)    Pray at least once a month for your mission companion during worship

2)    Plan an opportunity for your two congregations to worship, fellowship and/or serve in the community together at least once annually.

3)    Give a financial gift to your mission companion. This can be as simple as a special one-time offering during worship or adding the mission companion to your budget, The amount does not matter; it’s the relationship that matters.

To learn more or to sign up as a mission companion click here or contact the synod mission catalyst Chris Markert at



At the Table Together

By Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA

Elizabeth Eaton
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Old recipes are precious things. They give instructions about how to prepare a dish, but they are so much more. They are filled with memories. They connect families as they are passed from one generation to the next. They bring events and people from long ago right into the present.

I am looking at a recipe card that has that effect on me. It’s my mother’s recipe for stuffing for turkey. It’s written in her neat hand—a skill I never mastered. It’s a basic recipe, just bread and butter and onions and celery and poultry seasoning. I don’t even have to read it now when I make stuffing, but I like to look at it because it puts me right back into Thanksgivings past.

Thanksgiving in our family was an event. The Eatons have been gathering for Thanksgiving dinner for nearly 70 years. We traded off between our house and my aunt and uncle’s home. When it was our turn we got up early and started cooking.

Out came the recipes and equipment. There were no food processors in those days. We had a cast iron food grinder that clamped on to the edge of the kitchen table. It was kept in its own special box. It only made an appearance once a year and its emergence signaled that Thanksgiving had arrived. Grinding the celery was no problem. Onions were another story. My brothers and I spelled each other at turning the crank until we were overcome by the fumes.

My parents and my aunt and uncle established this tradition shortly after World War II. We have always had three and sometimes four generations present. A lot has gone on in our family and in the world these past decades. Marriages, children, moves, deaths, war, recession, elections, the ’60s. We are a lively bunch and none of us lacks an opinion or the ability to express it. Conversations were spirited and sometimes heated. My father and my uncle served in the army during World War II. My older brother and older male cousins didn’t support the Vietnam War. We belong to different political parties. We are Lutheran and Catholic and members of the Unification Church and unchurched. We are liberal and conservative.

But no matter what, when my mother or my aunt announced, “Supper’s ready,” we all came to the table together. We were family, we shared our lives, we loved each other.

A lot is going on in our church and in the world right now. We are a changing church, which brings its own tension. We live in a wired world where news is instantaneous and continuous. We don’t agree on everything. We belong to different political parties. We have varied ethnicities. We’re liberal and conservative and everything in between. We’re in an “either/or” world. And we are contending with cultural forces that exacerbate division. But by the tender love of God, by this ceaseless pursuit of the Spirit, we are members of the body of Christ. We are family. We share our lives. We love each other.

Here is another simple recipe: flour, water, wine, the body and blood of Jesus. A meal of healing, forgiveness and thanksgiving. No matter what, when our Lord tenderly and urgently invites, “Supper’s ready,” we all come to the table. There in our common brokenness we meet each other in Christ.

A monthly message from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her email address: This column originally appeared in Living Lutheran’s September issue. Reprinted with permission.

Sunday Evening Conversations on Creation Continue…

The synod Lutherans Restoring Creation Team invites you to attend Sunday Evening Conversations on Creation, an environmental education web meeting series whose theme in 2017 is Connections between People and Nature.

Sunday, Oct. 29, 6 pm:  Connections between People & Nature: Scripture & Science I

Sunday, Nov. 26, 6 pm: Connections between People & Nature: Scripture & Science II

Conversations on CreationAt the October & November web meetings, Lisa Brenskelle, leader of the Creation Care Team at Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church, leader of the Lutherans Restoring Creation Team for the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, member of the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston planning committee, and a research and development project manager with a PhD in Chemical Engineering, will address the connections between people and nature from the perspectives of both scripture and science. Her talk will investigate the relationships and similarities between people and nature highlighted in scripture and then give examples of how these relationships and similarities have been observed by science. Learn some exciting newer science of which you may not be aware, and marvel at the connections between people and nature! After Lisa’s talk, there will be time for Q&A. If you would like to join either of these online conversations, please register (October and/or November) and you will receive an invitation to the web meeting. For more information about either talk, contact Lisa Brenskelle at