"Awake! Awake, and greet the new morn, for angels herald its dawning. Sing out your joy,
for soon he is born, behold! the Child of our longing."—ELW 242
December 1, 2020
From the bishop's office
Hope Is Stronger Than Memory
This time of year is so very nostalgic, even sentimental for those of us so charmed or privileged. We long for what was, for our ghosts of happy Christmas Past to visit sooner rather than later with its flood of happy memories. We long for them, cling to them, count on them to affirm and renew what we thought we always knew and even deserved. Good things, like family, relationships, childlike faith, and wonder. For the privileged, there’s no feel-good, fail-safe panacea like Christmas.

From Bishop Tim: Assembly 2021
To be clear, the Synod Council, Assembly Planning Team, and Bishop’s Election Committee have made no formal recommendations yet about the 2021 NC Synod Assembly, but what I can tell you is that at least a dozen of the 65 ELCA Synods have already decided that their 2021 Synod Assembly will be online only, and many more are likely to follow suit in the next two months.

"Stars and Promises" Christmas Concert
In the first-ever ELCA event of its kind, ELCA World Hunger presents an online Christmas benefit concert featuring Peter Mayer, a longtime Lutheran and the lead guitarist for singer Jimmy Buffett. The concert will premiere on the ELCA Facebook page on Wednesday, December 9 at 8:00 p.m. The concert is a gift to you this Advent! Donations to ELCA World Hunger are encouraged. Register now to receive a free Peter Mayer Christmas album download.

Other Advent/Christmas concerts that may be of interest:
LDR Hurricane Relief
On Nov. 2, Hurricane Eta, a powerful Category 4 storm, hit Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. Just two weeks later, Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua, 15 miles from where Hurricane Eta had landed. Lutheran Disaster Response is engaging with many companion churches and ecumenical partners in the region to accompany devastated communities from immediate relief through long-term recovery. Your gifts ensure that our church will be able to provide help and hope for those whose lives have been devastated by hurricanes Eta and Iota.

You can afford LTSS!
When the Spirit nudges and tugs, and you begin to consider a call to ministry, an important question is: Can I afford theological education? We want you to listen to God’s call, knowing you can afford the master’s degree program required for rostered ministry in the ELCA. Therefore, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary offers up-to-full tuition grants for all ELCA students. Another important funding opportunity comes from ELCA Fund for Leaders, which provides full-tuition grants for ELCA students in candidacy. LTSS students who earn a Fund for Leaders full-tuition scholarship receive a housing scholarship which covers all or most of your on-campus housing expenses.

Questions? Want to talk about seminary? E-mail Jennifer Shimota or call her at 803-461-3297.
ELCA Good Gifts
Shopping for someone who has everything they need? Shop ELCA Good Gifts and choose from 50 charitable gifts to give in honor of friends or loved ones this Christmas. From goats to water wells, there’s something for everyone on your list. Each gift makes a difference in the world and shares the love of Christ with our neighbors in need.

Young Adults in Global Mission
In these three new videos, Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) alums reflect on their international service year. YAGM alum, Tony Yang, learned how to work in a spirit of accompaniment. “You just show up and...share what the people around you ask of you.”
Watch the three YAGM videos here:

If you are a young adult ages 21 to 29, you can apply for an international service year with YAGM. The deadline to apply is Jan. 15, 2021, for service beginning in August 2021. Spread the word!

Rostered minister transitions
Pastor Vernon Kinard has been called as Associate Pastor at St. Mark’s, Mooresville, beginning December 20, 2020.

All are invited to the Installation of Pastor Richard Goeres on Sunday, December 6, at 11:00 a.m. at Good Shepherd, Raleigh. Please join us via livestream.
Of mourning
Robert Lee Brisbin, grandfather of Tobi Fleck (NC Synod candidate awaiting call) died on November 15. We mourn with his family. Read the full obituary.
Pastor Maurice Staley, died on November 19. We mourn with his family. Read the full obituary.
Deborah Mae Mielke, sister of Pastor David Mielke (St. John's, Lenoir), died on November 21. We mourn with her family. Read the full obituary.
James "Jim" Fredrick Kearney, father of Pastor Doug Kearney (retired, Arden) and grandfather of Pastor Micah Kearney (Holy Comforter, Belmont), died on November 22. We mourn with his family. Read the full obituary.
Ruth Conrad, widow of Pastor Dwight Conrad (formerly Bethany, Hickory), died on November 26. We mourn with her family. The obituary is forthcoming.
Pastor Brady Faggart (retired, Greensboro) died on November 29. We mourn with his family. The obituary is forthcoming.

Of healing
Moses DeNise, son of Pastor Danielle DeNise (ELCA Director for Evangelical Mission, NC Synod) and Michael DeNise (NC Synod Director of Finance & Administration), will have his third surgery this fall on Friday, December 4.

Of celebration for our synod's centenarians
Nell Brown Coon of Daniel’s, Lincolnton, as of last week is 102.5. (Pastor Dave Fox reports that she counts the half, now.)
Mary Ward, of Bethphage, Lincolnton, turned 100 on March 30, 2020.

For World AIDS Day, December 1
God, open our eyes to the systems around us that oppress, hold down, and disadvantage the most vulnerable in our society, so that we may increase and abound in our love for one another and for all people. God, open our ears to the myths, stereotypes, and lies that keep these systems going, so that we may increase and abound in our love for one another and for all people. God, open our mouths to challenging conversations about race, sex, and differences, so that we may increase and abound in our love for one another and for all people. God, open our hearts to the understanding that we are all affected by HIV/AIDS, so that we may increase and abound in our love for one another and for all people. Amen. —from the United Church of Canada.
News from across the church
I'm a Lutheran: Susanna Black
Get to know Susanna Black (Calvary, Concord), weekend anchor and reporter at WSOC-TV (Charlotte) and member of Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s advisory council, in this month's "I'm a Lutheran" feature.

Filled with the Holy Spirit
"I did not want to be the first woman bishop. If I said 'yes' to this synod where I did not know anyone, I would not get elected. But I could look my clergy sisters in the eye and say, 'I took my turn.'"

A legacy of opportunity
New scholarships honor Elizabeth Platz, the first woman in North America ordained by a Lutheran church body, and Earlean Miller, the first Black woman ordained in the Lutheran church.

Resources for your congregation
Living into a Culture of Abundance
Join Pastor Mike Ward, Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) and author of "Abundance: Creating a Culture of Generosity" for a practical, deep dive into how to develop and live into a culture of abundance in your congregation at the 2021 Virtual Stewardship Symposium on Friday, January 29, at 10:00 a.m. You will learn that stewardship is significant ministry and is far more about the hearts of your members and the impact of what God is up to in your setting than it is about money.

Ignite the Church Conference 2021
Ignite the Church Conference 2021 has gone online! Join us in Adapting to a New Reality: Living into a Fresh Vision for God’s Church. We will host monthly webinars focused on key areas:
  • January 21 – Encouragement Beyond Fatigue
  • February 18 – Justice and the Common Good
  • March 18– Hybrid Community: Virtual & In-Person
  • April 15 – Creative Expressions of Church
All the encouragement. All online. All free.

Christ in a Time of COVID-19
COVID-19 is a new and complicated illness, with long-lasting effects for many patients. Our bodies are the living science, writing guidelines for things like religious services, worship, gatherings, and more. Join us on Wednesday, December 9, at 1 p.m. for a webinar led by the Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath on how the church can offer care and support to "long-haulers" and those living with COVID-19.

Did you know?
Creation Justice Ministries' December ideas include an Advent devotional and "Green Ways to Celebrate Advent & Christmas" from Presbyterians for Earth Care.
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