May 5, 2020
From the bishop's office
Congregations re-gathering
Bless your hearts, and mine, too! A friend of mine insists that southern cliché is more mannerly code for “You’re pitiful!” Jeff Foxworthy used this example: “I do believe that is the ugliest baby I have ever seen…bless his heart.” In all seriousness, we might not be pitiful, but most of us have had our share of valid pity parties of late. This whole virus and what it’s precipitated on almost every level around the globe simply stinks. This virus is pitiful…and I won’t even honor it with a “bless its heart!”

Synod worship options for May 10
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 Athena Thomasson-Bless preaching. This worship is available by Zoom for online or call-in connection. CLICK THIS Zoom link to join.   [Meeting ID: 997 5636 6561 Password: none Join by phone: +1 646 876 9923] 
AP Exam takers invited for prayer
The Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) Board will host a 10-minute prayer and blessing each night before AP exams for students from Sunday, May 10, to Thursday, May 14, and again from Sunday, May 17, to Thursday, May 21, at 9 p.m. each night. The same meeting ID and/or phone number will be used each evening. Use this Zoom link to join. Meeting ID: 625 474 6726. To join by phone (audio only) dial +1 646 876 9923 and enter the Meeting ID.
Do you know?
How is the NC Synod supporting congregations during this unprecedented time of pandemic? The bishop, synod staff, and synod council are making thoughtful decisions, providing worship opportunities, and gathering resources to support congregational ministries. Did you know?

Social Message feedback needed
The ELCA is preparing a social message on government and civic engagement. From March 20 to May 27, you are invited to provide feedback on how to strengthen the draft of the message. The draft of a “Social Message on Government and Civic Engagement: Discipleship in a Democracy” is available here. To offer feedback, please fill out this
Rostered minister transitions
All are invited to the Installation of Pastor Athena Thomasson-Bless as a pastor of Christ the King, Cary, on  Pentecost Sunday, May 31at 8:30 a.m. by Pastor Scott Anderson, dean of the Triangle Conference. All are invited to witness the installation on  YouTube during the live stream worship service.
Of mourning
Martha Barnhardt McCombs, wife of Pastor Earl McCombs, Jr. (who served NC Synod congregations: St. Andrews, Concord; Faith, Faith; Epiphany, Winston-Salem), died on April 22. We mourn with her family. Read the full obituary.
Pastor Donald R. Just (retired, Boone) died on April 27. We mourn with his family. Read the full obituary.
Marie Smith Lomax, mother-in-law of Pastor Wayne Cobb (interim, Calvary, Spencer), died on April 26. We mourn with her family. Read the full obituary.

The Breath Prayer by Sheridan Voysey
A breath prayer is a simple, short prayer said in a single breath. It’s very helpful in times of busyness and stress as it can be prayed while working or during a short break. You pray the first part slowly breathing in (1, 2, 3) and the second part slowly breathing out (4, 5, 6).

Lord God, fill me with your Holy Spirit.
I receive your love, and release my insecurity.
I receive your joy, and release my unhappiness.
I receive your peace, and release my anxiety.
I receive your patience, and release my impulsiveness.
I receive your kindness, and release my indifference.
I receive your goodness, and release my ungodliness.
I receive your faithfulness, and release my disloyalty.
I receive your gentleness, and release my severity.
I receive your self-control, and release my self-indulgence.
News from across the church
What once was empty, now is full
On April 21, we told you that Living Waters Lutheran Mission, Cherokee, provides much needed food for those living on the Qualla Boundary by serving as an emergency food pantry and that they would be out of food by the end of April. We are the church and we have responded with truckloads of love and food since then. Living Waters says, "Thank you to EVERYONE who made this happen. We are ready for the people to come and get food again. Words cannot express our gratitude to all those who have helped make this happen."

The Joy of Music
“Just because someone has a disability,” says Christ the King, Cary’s Minister of Traditional Music, Mike Harris, “doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy singing … and be very good at it.” Harris, who has served as CTK’s music minister and organist for the past ten years, recently took on a new role. He now directs the Triangle Alliance Chorus, a choir made up of about a dozen adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.

“I believe in myself now”
Savannah (last name withheld) and her two brothers entered foster care as young children. When they were adopted by a prominent South Carolina couple, they expected a stable and loving family. Instead, they suffered horrific abuse and were ultimately removed from the household.

Resources for your congregation
"Perspectives on the Border"
A "Perspectives on the Border” webinar series is being led by Rev. Dr. Jay Alanis and the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest. There are two sessions being offered for $50. 1: Theological Perspectives on Immigration from the U.S. Mexico Borderlands will be held on May 13 at 3 p.m. (CT) and 2: Living in Third Spaces: Where the Church Meets Asylum-Seekers will be held on May 14 at 3 p.m. (CT). Learn more; register here.
Online Church from PRC
Practical Resources for Churches, one of our partners in ministry, created a Facebook group, Online Church from PRC, so that they and others can share resources related to churches doing ministry online. It is also a place to ask and answer questions and share best practices for online church.
They also have an Online Church page in the Online Resource Center of their website.
We don’t know when this pandemic is going to end, but we can tap into resources to help us deal with it in healthy ways. As we are increasingly tempted to fall into our phones and ask people to wake us when COVID-19 is over, it becomes increasingly important that we maintain healthy habits. This FREE course from ChurchNext can help us ponder ways we can tap into our faith as a resource for us and others. Learn more and register today.
Did you know?
When Pastor Christy Lohr Sapp (St. Andrews, Hickory) and her family received their government stimulus check, they decided to put some of that money to good use. Sadie, 8, donated $250 to the Humane Society of Catawba County and Riley, 7, donated $250 to Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley. Read more.
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