Christ Centered, Community Connected

By Branden Dupree
Director for Evangelical Mission
Metropolitan New York Synod, ELCA

The age old question, “Who is my neighbor?” has an ever-changing answer as the world becomes smaller. The Church and subsequently our synod is learning to live into this change through authentic relationship building and visibility of textured spaces in the world where everyone can experience the love of Jesus and grace of the Holy Spirit present in their lives.

Bishop Egensteiner and the staff of the Metropolitan New York Synod, look for the best opportunities to invest in others. Understanding that God is always doing a new thing in, through and amongst us, we spent many months searching for a holy intersection of innovation, authenticity and nuance beyond numbers – leading to our partnership with FaithX.

In order to truly answer the posed question, we as a synod, need to pay attention to the communities we serve. As we emerge from the depth of the COVID endemic, as leaders experience burnout at alarming rates and families move away from the Metropolitan area, this need became even more so true. In continued partnership, my team and I are able to discover the current demographics of the varied communities that make up the geography of our Synod and help leaders see the God’s-eye view of the communities they reside in as the Bishop’s staff accompany them into authentic relationship building and intentional change for the sake of the Gospel.

Two years – post hours of data cleaning, training and implementation led by the incredible team under the guidance of Senior Missional Consultant Rev. Mary Frances and Founder Rev. Ken Howard, The congregations of Metropolitan New York Synod have the tools, resources and support to lead missional change into the future instead of continuing to react to our ever-changing world. To date, the Assistants to the Bishop including myself have been able to serve a third of all our congregations and heighten the missional focus in all eighteen conferences. Most importantly, through the planting of new Synodically Authorized Worshipping Communities for our Latino siblings and strategic ministries with the growing Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, our synod is becoming a learning hub within the ELCA as we too strive to authentically connect on and offline and be a visible Lutheran presence encompassed of lived wisdom and younger and more diverse audiences.

The congregations of the Metropolitan New York Synod are urban and suburban. We exist in rural outposts and inner city storefronts. Our leaders fill the spectrum – single, immigrant, Rostered, Black, gay, trans, divorced, young, Lay, White, disabled, Latino, married, Asian and elder – all reflected each time we have the privilege to provide a demographic snapshot and offer context specific integrity for our congregations discerning a way into the missional future Christ is calling us into together.


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