“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”
Martin Luther

April 21, 2020
From the bishop's office
The church is the people!
Lent 2020 began with people gathering for the imposition of ashes, but after just a few weeks of worship following soup and sandwich suppers, the coronavirus interrupted everything.

There will be joy
Our experiences this Easter are remarkably similar to those of the first Easter. Amidst fear and anxiety and crushing disappointment, we will sing our "Alleluias" with growing hope, strength, defiance and joy, confident that God loves us completely and has brought us into eternal life. Christ is risen. Alleluia.

Synod Gathering canceled
On Saturday, March 21, the Synod Council met and decided that the May 28-30 Synod Gathering would not take place. We look forward to gathering together at a later date—as yet undetermined. All registration fees will be completely refunded. If you were already registered for Synod Gathering, check your inbox for an email detailing refunds.
Synod launches COVID-19 Relief Fund
The NC Synod Council has re-allocated funds for the purpose of sharing with our congregations, rostered ministers, and agencies and institutions during this time of financial strain with priority given to keeping the rostered minister employed at the congregation at their full salary and benefits.  Learn more and apply now. Are you able to give to the fund to help others? Use the Donate button on our website, choose "Where Needed Most" and enter "COVID-19 Relief Fund" in the notes section.
Synod worship options for April 26
The bishop's staff will provide a  video recording for worship this coming Sunday which can be accessed from the synod's YouTube channel by the end of this week. The staff will also offer  live worship this coming Sunday at 10 a.m. with Pastor CeCee Mills preaching. This worship is available by Zoom for online or call-in connection. Use this Zoom link to join. Meeting ID: 980 4120 4683 Password: none. Or, join by phone (audio only): +1 646 876 9923.
Here to Serve Prayer Initiative
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ELCA churchwide organization is here to support our members, congregations, synods and partners. Call 800-638-3522 ext. 4 or email for prayer, support and to ask your questions.
ELCA COVID-19 Response Fund
Help the ministries of the ELCA during this time of uncertainty by supporting your local congregation and making a gift to the ELCA’s COVID-19 Response Fund. Your donation will provide funds to the ministries of the ELCA most in need and best positioned to help, including congregations as well as local and churchwide ministries capable of reaching and assisting those in need. Donate today.
Boundary Training postponed
All rostered ministers are currently required to take a Basic Boundary Workshop (addressing professional ethics, finances, use of social media, and the prevention of sexual misconduct) every three years. The boundary training that was scheduled for this Thursday, April 23, has been postponed to May 2 via Zoom. Details to follow.
Of mourning
Pastor Gene W. Bruce (retired, Salisbury), died on April 6. We mourn with his family.  Read the full obituary.
Dr. Robert L. Duke, father of Pastor Dan Duke (St. Stephen, Lenoir, and St. John, Hudson), died on April 6. We mourn with his family. Read the full obituary.
Roseanna Senior, mother of Pastor CeCee Mills (Associate DEM, NC Synod), died on April 8. We mourn with her family.
Lynn Petersen Manis, mother of Pastor Jennifer Manis (Holy Trinity, Raleigh), died on April 12. We mourn with her family.

For joy in the midst of trials...
O God, may we find the joy of the Lord even in the midst of our trials. We pray that you would teach us what it means to see beyond our troubles, knowing that you are always with us, even when we see the challenges those around us are facing. We ask you to intervene, to be with those who are in need, to prompt us to participate in the care for your people, and, most of all, to restore creation and to make all things new. We pray that we would not be anxious, but that God would give us God's peace. Let us live differently in the midst of trial so that the world might see God in us. Amen.
News from across the church
Signs of Resurrection: God's faithfulness and ways to help
God's faithfulness can be seen in these four stories of ministry happening today in NC Synod mission congregations. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates about more ways help. Donate today to any of the synod's mission congregations at missionfundnc.org.
Serving the Qualla Boundary
Living Waters Lutheran Mission, Cherokee, provides much needed food for those living on the Qualla Boundary. They are serving as an emergency food pantry—moving from once a month distribution to being open three days a week. They will be out of food by the end of the April. As we walk together, we are being invited to help. Check out the list of needed items. We will host three drop-off options:
Monday, May 4, at Holy Trinity, Hickory
Monday, May 4, at St. Mark’s, Mooresville
Tuesday, May 5, at St. Mark's, Asheville

Do not drive food to Cherokee: the Qualla Boundary is closed to all non-residents. You may also choose to have food shipped to Living Waters, PO Box 2230, Cherokee, NC 28719.
From bare shelves to feeding families
Christ's Beloved Community (CBC) in South Winston-Salem was concerned for their neighbors when their food pantry had bare shelves at the beginning of April. "Thank you" to churches in the surrounding areas that dropped off food and filled not only the pantry—but the fellowship hall & conference room too! Their pantry giveaway normally feeds 35 families. They fed over 89 families this past week. CBC also received a Daily Bread Grant from the ELCA for $500 that is being matched; join the matching campaign!
Serving the homeless with showers
The Dwelling, in downtown Winston-Salem, is our synod's newest faith community and is serving its homeless neighbors. Their signature ministry is a shower trailer. Last week, The Dwelling was awarded a $20,000 grant from the COVID-19 Reponse Fund for Forsyth County. Currently their shower trailer is the only public shower access downtown. The grant allows us to expand to offer showers 3-4 times/week.
Weekly food giveaway tops 100!
South Durham Connections, a new faith community in Durham, received grants over $20,000 for their signature ministry the Parktown Food Hub. The ministry is doing food giveaways to local families every Thursday—they served over a hundred families last week. They were also awarded a daily bread grant through the ELCA.
LWR Face Mask Challenge
Join the 75,000 Face Mask Challenge! COVID-19 is threatening vulnerable communities, and Lutheran World Relief urgently needs cloth face masks to send to them. The cloth mask you sew in your living room will provide love and protection to a neighbor in need halfway around the world. How many will you make to help stop the spread? Sign up for more info.
Summer Camp 2020
Both Agape+Kure Beach Ministries and Novus Way Ministries (Lutheridge, Lutherock, Lutheranch, and Luther Springs) are constantly monitoring and evaluating what COVID-19 means for their programs, especially summer camps. Both are continuing to offer summer camp registration.
  • Summer camp at Agape+Kure Beach Ministries is set to open July 1 and you can register today with a $10 deposit.
  • Novus Way offers Risk Free Registration so you can register for summer camp now and if your camper’s school system is still in session or summer camp programs are not held due to continued health concerns in our wider community your paid registration fees can be applied to any future NovusWay program or fully refunded. 
Make plans now to send your children to camp!
Resources for your congregation
LMM Bold Gathering will be virtual
The BOLD GATHERING is a day for men to come together, to learn, to network, and be equipped to BOLDY live out their faith! The South Carolina Bold Gathering will be live-streamed on Saturday, May 23, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. We look forward to having you join us virtually that day!  Register here.
Building Community Across Distance
How can we build community when we can't meet in person? Join Renee Roederer as she offers best practices for connecting people across distance. This webinar on Wed, April 29 at 1 p.m. will focus less on technological "how to" and more on creating virtual spaces of welcome and support. Register today.
Study Revelation with Mark Ellingsen
Ever wonder about the Book of Revelation? Christ Lutheran Church in Marietta, GA, is just starting a study of this controversial book. Its message that it's not too late to change things along with its urgency applies to you and your family in this time of crisis.The study is being led by Prof. Mark Ellingsen, a long-time Professor of Church History at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and meets via Zoom each Sunday at 11:00 a.m. (Meeting ID: 427 440 4065, Password: 176176) Catch earlier sessions on Christ's YouTube page.
Free live course on Matthew
For six weeks, meet with other students from around the world for a live, online class on the Gospel of Matthew with Vicki Garvey, a respected teacher and author and former Canon for Lifelong Education at the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Vicki will teach about the author, origin, setting, and message of the Gospel of Matthew. Classes will meet Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. via Zoom from April 23-May 28 for an hour. Learn more and register today.
Did you know?
Deacon Gloria Strickert (retired, Southport) shared: The idea of a prayer tree came to me as a way to invite people to pray, borrowing from other cultures like Tibet and prayer flags. My niece is a doctor in Denver, Colorado, and she and other healthcare workers need our prayers desperately. I used strips of old fabric and used a permanent marker to write her name on a strip and tied it to my front lawn tree. I sent out word to invite others to tie their prayers to my tree to fill the air with prayer. When we feel powerless it helps to do something physical and visible to remind us that "God is in control.”
Our synod's camping ministries
Our synod has fabulous camping ministries! Check out their upcoming events here.
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