Church Family News

“See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.” Luke 10:3-7.

Christians are people who belong to two kingdoms, one with borders and boundaries and the other that calls them to cross into foreign and strange lands. One is guarded by border security, and the other is guarded by the cross of Christ. Having to live in both kingdoms is a real challenge that compares to lambs in the midst of wolves. What’s more is that we are sent to places of danger not away from them.

The Christian call for compassion toward God’s children is not without danger and yet a few faithful people are always there to remind us our true call. And as a call we our proud of our Lutheran history:

"Following World War II, when one out of every six Lutherans in the world was a refugee or displaced person, Lutherans in 6,000 Lutheran congregations resettled some 57,000 refugees in the United States. "

"In the decade after the fall of Saigon in 1975, Lutheran congregations sponsored over 50,000 refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. During the 1980s, various congregations provided sanctuary for persons whose lives were endangered by wars in Central America."

It took about 20 years to become a US citizen going through a long and many times expensive and outright scary process of immigration. The stress that I feel when I hear the word ICE or when I cross the border will never disappear. 

At every step of the way, I felt welcomed by fellow students, teachers and people I met in different states of the U.S. I was often mistreated, put down, made fun of and frightened by the immigration process and many of its officers. I don’t have the answers why this happens but I know that I gained a deep sense of compassion toward people who were crossing to foreign lands out of hope or desperation. 

I realized that as people of faith we are often the only ones who speak the language of humanity and love amidst of fear, suspicion and false propaganda. 

After so many years living here and married here, and after taking the oath of allegiance and being given a certificate recognizing me as a citizen, I still feel the absolute miracle of being welcomed and accepted in a foreign land by foreign people. Sometimes I even forget for a moment that it’s not the place where I was born.

Jesus also purposely entered foreign territory and engaged foreigners and people unwanted by society. One of those people is me. God has walked with me just as God is walking with these refuges today because God’s kingdom has no limits of compassion towards any human being.

Maybe you are a Good Samaritan. If you are, then you are following a tradition that is older than Christ. It comes from the very nature of God who was yet to send a Son to be a stranger in a foreign land. A stranger who would teach us about the kingdom where there are no strangers only neighbors. In exercising hospitality to the stranger, many testified that they received more than they gave—as if they had welcomed angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2). 

Thank you for all at St. Mark who brought food and who was there to support family and friends of Tom last week. We want to share the message that Tom wanted everyone to hear as his final words to us: “Don’t ever let anything, anything at all, no diagnosis, no beliefs about yourself, no thoughts, resentments or excuses get in the way of creating meaningful, honest, loving friendships. It’s the most important thing.”

Emily Marbury will be graduating with honors on August 3, 2019 , from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.

She has been selected to be an officer in the U.S. Army and will leave Tampa on September 17 to begin ten weeks of basic training at Ft. Jackson in Columbia, SC.

Upon completion, she will report to Ft. Benning, GA for 13 weeks of Officer
Candidate School; and after OCS she will begin training for her specialty.
For now, you can reach Emily via her permanent address at

975 Claudius Court,
Crozet, VA 22932


Best Wishes, Emily!

Soon we will have the students returning to campus. Orientation for new students began and Pastor Viktoria is at the campus to talk to new students who might be interested joining LUMIN.

Our new leader is Nano Masters and together with Ashley Houser we will be welcoming students, starting student lunches, and providing support and fellowship.

If you see students on Sunday morning, please welcome them. They are away from home and St. Mark is their family away from family and church away from their home church.

If you are interested being a host family for a student and welcoming a student in your home or including them in activities let the office know.
Are You Shopping on Amazon?

We all do. Please remember to support your church just by checking out with Amazon Smile. It cost nothing to you but the church benefits.

AmazonSmile donates to St Mark Lutheran Church Elca of Charlottesville Virginia.

Simply shop at  
 and AmazonSmile donates to St Mark Lutheran Church Elca of Charlottesville Virginia


The preschool has installed a “Birthday Bell” on the playground.

On their birthday, each child will get to ring in their number of years.

A “Just for fun!” tradition that will be a happy memory in the making!
St. Mark Women Book Club

July 22 at 7PM

The Women's Book club will meet on 
July 22 at 7:00 

in the church library to discuss: 

In the Heart of the Sea The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. 

The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the Titanic disaster was in the 20th century. 

All women of the church and their friends are invited to read the book and come to discuss your feelings about it with us.
Confirmation Planning Meeting at St. Mark 

Parents meeting Tomorrow Thursday at 6PM.

Confirmation program (for grades 6 and older) will begin September 2019 If you would like to participate in a confirmation group please reach out to our pastor. 
Pastor: 540-840-5426 
Virginia Synod and ELCA News
Save the Date: ACTS Fall Course

Save the date! The ACTS Fall Course on The New Testament will be led by The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick on September 21 and November 2, 2019. Registration information will be released in the coming weeks! For more information about ACTS,  click here .
Download the Virginia Synod App

Keep in touch with us on our Virginia Synod, ELCA App!

Keep informed on upcoming events, stay up with the latest news and social media posts, view photos from our recent events, receive important notifications, give electronically, and so much more! Simply download the app and search “Virginia Synod, ELCA”. For more information on the Virginia Synod, ELCA App,  click here .

To download the app for an Android device,  click here .
To download the app for an Apple device,  click here .


The Rev. Alex Zuber has been called to serve as Associate Pastor of Muhlenberg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg.

You are invited to a Service of Installation Sunday, August 11th at 4:30 PM at Muhlenberg Lutheran Church, 
281 East Market St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Clergy are invited to vest and process.
The color of the day will be green.

A light reception will follow in the Gathering Area.
The ELCA celebrates

alongside this year's graduates of the International Women Leaders (IWL) initiative, giving thanks to all who have prayed for them and supported them over these four years.

We join with their families and churches in wishing them the very best as they move into the next chapter of their lives! This year's graduates join Sarah Abendanon, who graduated from Augsburg University in 2018, as the first six scholars to complete their degree programs with IWL.

Pictured, at left, from Luther College are (L-R) Yuen Ching Lee, Lutheran Church in Malaysia, Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in education; Melissa Neo, Lutheran Church in Malaysia, Bachelor of Arts in psychology; and Sthela Gun Holly Hanitrinirina, Malagasy Lutheran Church, Bachelor of Arts in social work.

Pictured, at right, from Newberry College are (L-R) Abby Lai, Lutheran Church in Malaysia, Bachelor of Science in accounting and business administration, and Elisa Perez-Trejo, Mexican Lutheran Church, Bachelor of Arts in international studies.

Make a gift to the International Women Leaders initiative today to support future IWL scholars!

On June 3, the annual debate took place in the General Assembly concerning the Implementation of the 2001   Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2011  Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS . The  UNAIDS   target of reducing HIV by 2020 is just a year away —  90-90-90  (diagnose 90% of all HIV-positive people, provide antiretroviral therapy to 90% of those diagnosed and achieve viral suppression for 90% of those treated by 2020). This target is in line with  Sustainable Development Goal 3 target 3:3   of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

As Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, chef de cabinet of the secretary general’s executive, pointed out, when AIDS was first identified more than 30 years ago, suffering and death seemed unstoppable. Years later, nearly 8 million deaths have been averted since 2000 and three-quarters of people living with the virus now know their status. Unfortunately, this progress remains uneven. Since 2010, Eastern Europe and Central Asia have witnessed a 30% increase in HIV infections.

Ten years ago the ELCA Church Council adopted the  ELCA Strategy on HIV and AIDS   and called on the ELCA to respond faithfully and effectively to this pandemic. Find information concerning the ELCA’s HIV and AIDS Ministry, worship resources and more  here .
Read  the secretary-general’s report: “Galvanizing global ambition to end the AIDS epidemic after a decade of progress”. Read the full report with short summaries of the statements   here .

(click on the blue for more)

The Sanctuary Movement is a growing movement of immigrant and faith communities in the current political climate.   Sanctuary: A Discernment Guide for Congregations   from the Presbyterian Church USA may facilitate discussion of this possible involvement in your congregation.

In the ELCA, many congregations are sanctuary congregations. Identify  ELCA  welcoming and sanctuary congregations and synods on the map.
ELCA Advocacy attended the Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB50) in June. The UNFCCC Executive Secretary highlighted four numbers in her Global Climate Briefing:  1.5 or less – the degrees Celsius to which we must limit global warming;  2050 – the year by which the world must reach carbon neutrality;  2030 – the year by which we must limit global emissions by 35-40 percent; and  2020 – when new and revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), quantifying commitment for greenhouse gas reductions, must be issued by countries. SB50, an (intersessional) meeting of the United Nations Framework Convening on Climate Change (UNFCCC), saw some progress in moving forward with the implementation of the Paris Agreement, but much work remains to be done.

The House of Representatives passed the International Affairs budget, which funds international anti-poverty programs. Compared to the Fiscal Year 2019 enacted budget, the Fiscal Year 2020 House bill increases by $2.2 billion (four percent). The House rejected President Trump’s proposal to cut this budget by 24 percent. Many of the anti-poverty programs either saw a small increase or were funded at levels similar to those in the FY19 budget. This includes funding for malaria, HIV/AIDS, child/maternal health, food and nutrition, and other humanitarian and development programs.

Federally funded Summer Meals begin this month and are served in local communities all over the country to low-income children who could lose reliable and healthy food during the school year. ELCA Advocacy will use this summer to bring awareness to the importance of the Summer Food Service Program and other hunger issues that affect our communities.
Community News

On Sunday, July 21, 2019 at 3:00 PM, the Charlottesville Tom Sox will be hosting the Front Royal Cardinals for their final Sunday afternoon game at Charlottesville High School. At that game they will also be hosting a fund-raiser for Bennett's Village . Friends of Bennett's Village will be throwing the first pitch and we'll have an informational table in case you want to volunteer or learn more about upcoming activities. The Tom Sox will donate a portion of the night’s receipts to Bennett’s Village as well as the team’s portion of the 50/50 raffle. So come support our local baseball team and help us build a playground where ALL can play.
SUPPORT THE IRC (International Rescue Committee)

Donate supplies for students returning to school

This fall, refugee students will return to school, many for the first time in the US. Help students start their school year with the right tools. Donate backpacks in gender-neutral themes and colors, school supplies, children's socks and underwear (new, please), and shoes to the IRC.  

Donations can be dropped off at the IRC office (609 E Market St) Mondays and Wednesdays 9am-12pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-5pm, or Fridays 9am-5pm. Please email if you have questions about donating.

Ever wonder what your faith has to do with climate change? How climate disruption affects different groups in your community? What work to care for Creation is being done in Harrisonburg? How can you get involved and take action to care for nature and our neighbors? 
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light (VAIPL) invites you to come find your place at the table!

On  Saturday, August 3rd from 11am to 4pm, VAIPL will host a Climate for Justice training at The Gathering Place in Harrisonburg that will answer these questions and more. 

Who: New and seasoned environmental advocates
What: Climate for Justice Training
When: Saturday, August 3rd from 11am-4pm
Where: The Gathering Place, 841 Mount Clinton Pike ( MAP )
Why: Learn about connections between climate change, environmental justice, and faith; focus on energy justice concerns and activism; and get plugged into climate justice efforts ongoing in the area.

This training is open to anyone in The Valley interested in engaging with faith and spirituality to care for Creation. It will feature a session on connections between faith and climate change, a lunchtime panel focused on energy, a workship on storytelling for advocacy, all led by experts in the region. 
Lunch will be provided at this event. To help defray costs associated with the training, there is a registration fee of $10 (free for students). If this registration fee provides a barrier to your participation, please don’t hesitate to contact Laura at

Addressing climate change and environmental justice is our moral responsibility as people of faith. We hope you (and your faith community) can join us!  RSVP now.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out Laura at  or (704) 724-5943.

Click here to spread the word  on Facebook !
Clergy are Mandated Reporters in Virginia as of July 1, 2019

As of July 1, clergy have been added to the state's enumeration of mandated reporters for child abuse. Governor Ralph Northam signed into law two bills —  HB 1659 , and companion bill  SB 1257 . The measures mandate that religious officials must report any suspected abuse to local law enforcement. The new law will add a 19th category to the list of “mandatory reporters”: “Any minister, priest, rabbi, imam, or duly accredited practitioner of any religious organization or denomination usually referred to as a church.”

The law will exempt clergy members from the reporting requirement when confidentiality is required by the religious organization, such as anything a priest hears during confession. A minister who hears about possible child abuse while counseling a parishioner, for example, would not have to tell authorities.
Moral Debt: The Legacy of Slavery in the USA: A film screening and discussion ( A Unity Days event )

Wednesday, July 31, 5:00 to 7:00 pm, Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center, 233 4th Street

Join the Charlottesville chapter of   Coming to the Table  and the DOR History Action Team for a screening of the documentary, “A Moral Debt: The Legacy of Slavery in the USA” followed by a panel discussion about the film’s themes of racial inequality, tolerance, and healing. This event is free and open to the public; light refreshments will be served. Part of Unity Days events.    More information here .

Pastor Viktoria will hold office hours any time by appointment. 

Please leave a message at 434-293-3311  
Sunday July 21

Welcome:  David Zentmyer
Greeter:  Constance Johnson
Ushers:  Ali Griffit & Lewis Horton
Crucifer/Acolyte/Chalice:   Heidi Jones / Phyllis Stewart
Assisting Minister:  Yvonne Osheim
Children Moment:  Pastor Viktoria
Lector:   Duane Osheim
Cantor:  Duane Osheim
Altar Guild:  Heidi Jones
Nursery:  Anna Bon-Harper
Snack:  Kathryn Stephenson & Amy Robbins
Coffee/Clean up:  Charlotte Owens
Counters:  Greg Wichelns & Pat Dwiggins
Sunday July 28
Welcome: Marco Escobar                          
Greeter:    Karen Love               
Ushers:  Tom & Caroline Hecmanczuk
Crucifer/Acolyte/Chalice:   Sara Bon-Harper         
Assisting Minister:   Helen Ida Moyer
Children Moment:   Tom Hecmanzuk
Lector:   Jack Milligan
Cantor:   Amanda Nelson
Altar Guild: Linda Imhoff
Nursery: Nora Giesecke
Snack:  Carolyn Rader & Kristen Wray   
Coffee/Clean up:  Caroline Hecmanzuk
Counters:  Lynn Stephenson & Elaine Oakey
St. Mark Lutheran Church (ELCA) of Charlottesville, VA
(434) 293-3311 |