Some of you may have read an article in the new issue of Living Lutheran about one of the congregations of the Sierra Pacific Synod, Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco. The pastor of Grace Lutheran, Pr. Megan Rohrer, has been offering on-line worship and Bible Study opportunities for a while, but recently instituted the distribution of communion by means of mailed/delivered pre-packaged packets for those who request them. Though the article was removed from the online version of Living Lutheran, it appears in the print version. The publication of this article may raise questions for our members and our clergy which is why I’m writing this column.
Know that this article was published without anyone checking with Bishop Eaton, Secretary Pr. Chris Boerger, the Director for Worship – Pr. Kevin Strickland, or anyone in the Conference of Bishops. Though we, the bishops of this church, appreciate the creative energies of pastors like Megan Rohrer who are trying to figure out new ways to reach the unchurched and de-churched, this is not the way to proceed. To do such is not in keeping with our “Use of the Means of Grace” documents nor our agreements with the Episcopal Church for our full communion relationship.
As you might imagine, there has been discussion in the Conference of Bishops and at Churchwide regarding distribution of communion by mail by Pr. Megan Rohrer or anyone else. I received word on Sunday, August 12th, that the practice of distributing Holy Communion by mail has been halted by the bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod and will not continue. I’d appreciate your sharing this new information with anyone what may ask.
Thank you for your partnership in the ministry of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin.
Blessings and Peace,
Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld