Visitation and Regional Gatherings

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Assembly Gatherings are turning out to be a blast!
Thank you!!

The information here is follow up from our April-May 2018 Oregon Synod Gatherings. Part of this material is from our Oregon Synod Visitation initiation described below

Every congregation in the synod should have received my now (via email) their "data". This may include a copy of your Congregational Vitality Survey is you did one; you Visitation Report if you participated in this; a summary of Vitality and Assessment work if you participate here' and an ELCA Trend Report which everybody has. The Visitation process is now concluded so that cannot be duplicated. However, Vitality Surveys continue to be available, your Trend Report can be found at (upper right hand corner link, "Find a congregation") and our Oregon Synod Congregational Life Assessment can be done be you any time. It's available here. Fill it out and give us a call if you wish. 

This video you will find here is an explanation of how to use these various tools.

A copy of the "Oregon Synod Trends 2018" slides (with notes) is available here if you wish to review that. 

Next Steps:

First of all, thank you to all who are participating in our Oregon Synod Gatherings!

  • May 19, 2018 is our one-day Synod Assembly. (Information here.) It would be wonderful if your Assembly Voting Members were familiar with both the Assessment Data send to your congregation, and the experience you or your congregation had at your Gathering. Tell them what you learned!
  • The slides above and your Gathering Notes should be shared with your congregation. Let them know what you learned and experienced! If you did the Visitation Process, your congregation has a 'Word Cloud' from what your members shared. "What do you notice?" "What do you wonder?" Do the same exercise - art walk, 1 to 1 conversations, large group conversation - that we did at the Gathering. Share the fun!

Finally, if your Trend Report is out of date fill out your Parochial Report for 2017 here. If you wish to do a Vitality Survey give the Synod Office a call, 503-413-4191. If you want to fill out the Congregational Life Assessment download it here and have at it. It's not hard.

The future is now. Embrace it!!



Basic Information on the Oregon Synod Visitation
and year of Reformation and Renewal: 

Project Manager: Katy Rustvold
Contact:; message phone 503-413-2408    

Get your Visitation Tools and Instructions here!!

Martin Luther was 33 years old when he hammered his 95 Theses to the cathedral door in Wittenberg. So began the Reformation. The date was October 31, 1517 and this year we celebrate the 500th anniversary of that beginning.

Yet, the Reformation was not a single act. It was a movement. In the years to follow the Lutheran movement would be tested and questioned, persecuted and refined. It was 1527, a decade later, when a grand visitation was undertaken – the Saxon Visitation. Luther, Melanchthon and other leaders knew it was important to get out to where the people were. They wanted to hear people’s stories, assess the faithfulness of their teaching, and stitch the growing Lutheran Movement together.

We in the Oregon Synod are likewise beginning a grand visitation. It is time!

Our Oregon Synod Visitation is part of a coming year of “Reformation and Renewal.” We undertake this journey at the suggestion of our Oregon Synod Mission Table, staff and Synod Council. Our goal is to do this all together and include as many of our ministries as possible. Here's the plan!

  1. This summer congregations will be encourage to engage in a ministry assessment. We have two tools for this and will support the effort with personal guidance.
  2. Over the summer we will also be training "visitors" for the Visitation. Deans, Synod Council members, those engaged in our Transformational Leadership Initiative, and more, will all be involved is this work. Perhaps you feel a call to be trained and participate. If so, please let us know!
  3. This fall, September-November, teams will be visiting congregations. We look forward to talking and listening together!

We are privileged to have Katy Rustvold serve as Project Manager for this effort. Katy is highly organized, motivated, trained in our Assessment tools and listening process, and she will be real gift to this effort. Katy is also a member of Bethlehem Lutheran in Portland, a congregation that has been through their own, intentional transformation! You can contact Katy at or by leaving a message are our Oregon Synod Visitation 'hotline' - 503-413-2408. This webpage, will serve as your resource center.

We're excited to engage this work. We hope you will, too. My God bless our efforts! And in the words of Martin Luther preparing for his own grand visitation in 1527, this prayer:

May God, the Father of all mercy, grant us through Jesus Christ, his dear Son, the spirit of unity 
and the power to do his will. Even though the finest spirit of unity prevails among us 
we still have our hands full to do good and be established by the power of God. 

What would happen if there were disunity and disagreement among us? 
The devil has become neither pious nor devout this year, nor will he ever be so. 
So, let us be on guard and anxious to keep (as Paul teaches) the spiritual unity 
in the bond of love and peace (Eph. 4:3). Amen”

Luther, “Preface to the Instructions for the Visitors of Parish Pastors” AE 40:273