Brandon and Sarah Bowers had very different experiences at their first South Carolina Synod Assembly. While Sarah had participated in ministries of the larger church through National Youth Gathering, serving as a Young Adult in Global Mission, attending a Lutheran Seminary, and serving as a delegate to Churchwide Assembly, Brandon had not. Brandon grew up at St. John’s in Columbia, SC. His only experience with the larger church was participating in Lutheran Campus Ministry at Clemson.
“Brandon and I were dating, and because I was going to assembly in 2013, he decided to go for the first time as his congregation’s youth delegate,” Sarah shared. Seeing Brandon learn about the wider church for the first time at Assembly struck Sarah in a way that it has remained with her.
“Why don’t people know about all this work we are doing?” he asked. “If people knew!” At his first Assembly, Brandon learned about the ministries of the South Carolina Synod – ministries like the farms in Tanzania, World Hunger, Foster Care at Lutheran Services Carolinas, and more. “Now, Brandon is one of the church’s greatest advocates for mission support,” Sarah said.
“It probably should have hit me then that we aren’t telling our story well,” reflected Sarah. “He didn’t get to take any of the opportunities to see the larger church the way I did, and so the church was only St. Johns for him.”
Sarah, now a Deacon, is serving as the Creative Director for the South Carolina Synod Assembly. She is taking what she learned from Brandon’s experience and working with others in the synod to transform how we do our assembly in 2022.
“While some people may come to assembly out of obligation,” she shared, “there are some people who choose to be there. Regardless of their reason for being there, it is an opportunity to share with them what God is up to through this church – through its people. We have this opportunity, and I don’t want to waste it. I want to use it to tell our story – God’s story! I want to share with them what God is up to and how the work we share is impacting the lives of others. I want them to feel just like Brandon did and see the church the way he did – with new light and life.”