"When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up.
You have to say something; you have to do something." —John Lewis
July 21, 2020
From the bishop's office
Born from the pandemic—something new!
“When I was a child, I had the cutest yellow dress made out of a flour sack,” Barbara Smith shared with her pastor, Vern Kinard, “and although we had many sack clothes growing up…we never had to worry about food because we lived in this community. That’s how it should be and that’s how we hope it stays.” Pastor Vern Kinard serves as the pastor at St. Luke’s in the rural community of Tyro, in Davidson County. He shared, “St. Luke’s has a passion for feeding people. We gather every Wednesday, year-round, for a potluck dinner that’s open to all. 

Thrive: Share your videos
2020 has been a challenging year so far, and it can sometimes be hard to see how congregations are thriving during a crisis. But this is also a time where we've seen God's love and mercy shining through. We want to know how you continue to thrive! Record a video to tell a short story or provide an example of how your faith is currently thriving. Then post it to social media using the hashtags #ELCAChurchTogether and #SynodHappenings. We may share your video on social media. Film videos in landscape and keep them shorter than one minute.

ELCA Regional Gift Planner intro
From our ELCA Regional Gift Planner, Stephanie Burke, comes a brief video that serves as an introdction to gift planning through the lens of COVID-19 for congregations to use on their websites or as they see fit. Also, learn more about the ELCA Foundation from their quarterly newsletter, INSIGHTS. This edition asks the question, "Where do I start?" when considering a planned gift; it's the perfect way to start the conversation. Have additional questions? Email Stephanie.
Becoming a Trauma-Informed Faith Community
Please join Partners in Health and Wholeness for the next part of our Sacred Conversations series on Friday, July 24, at 11 a.m. This will be part two of our two-part series titled “Becoming a Trauma-Informed Faith Community.” This will be a continuation of part one, from June 26 (recording available on our YouTube page here), where we defined what trauma-informed care and ministry is. We will learn from Dr. Dawn Baldwin Gibson, who pastors trauma-informed ministries in Eastern NC.

Thank you to Beka Forst of Holy Comforter, Belmont, and Lauren Knight of St. Paul’s, Dallas, along with other contributors, for developing "Summerama:
Discovering Faith in your Backyard!" and sharing it with the whole synod. Summerama is hybrid. It is VBS but it’s not. It's new, but it's not. Summerama requires very little screen time, as little as possible, actually! There are Facebook posts and graphics that can be used to make this week a success for your families. Enjoy and thanks again Beka and Lauren!

Rostered minister transitions
Pastor Naomi Carriker will be installed as senior pastor at Nativity, Arden, on Thursday, July 30, via Zoom. More details will be coming, but save the date!

Pastor Jason Heubner has been called as pastor to St. Peter's, Southport. He will begin his ministry and be installed there on August 16 at 2:00 p.m.
Of mourning
Pastor William J. McCabe (retired, West Palm Beach, FL), died on May 10. We mourn with his family. Read the full obituary.
Rachel Moretz Jones (Hickory), widow of Pastor John R. Jones III, died on July 10. We mourn with her family. Read the full obituary.
Mary Louise Cuthbertson, grandmother of Dr. Shanitria Cuthbertson (Emmaus, West Charlotte), died on July 10. We mourn with her family. Read the full obituary.

Of healing
Pastor Carrie Bishop (Lutheran Chapel, China Grove) had cataract surgery on Monday, July 20.
Eric West, husband of Deacon Tammy Jones West (assistant to the bishop), is now under the care of Hospice. The family is thankful for your continued prayers.
Sharon Stancher, mother of Pastor Laura Henrik (St. John's, Salisbury), remains in stable but critical condition following several planned and emergency procedures two weeks ago at Duke. On Monday, she was moved to UTMC, Knoxville (home), and her family asks for prayers for movement, eyes opening, and God’s guidance.
Sandra Lewis, mother of Pastor Judy Drysdale (Old St. Paul's, Newton), and mother-in-law of Pastor David Drysdale (Zion, Hickory), is in ICU not successfully breathing on her own due to a chronic condition. The family asks for prayers as they make difficult decisions.

For a new day
On this day, we bring our best selves to the new day. On this day, we ask for patience. On this day, we promise our faithful service. On this day, we follow your teachings of acceptance. On this day, we rely on your amazing grace. On this day, we pray for all of those in need. On this day, we center ourselves on Your love. On this day, we lean on you for forgiveness. On this day, we pledge to love one another. Amen and Amen. 
News from across the church
CTK Virtual Benefit Concert
You are invited to a virtual YouTube live benefit concert to support Agape+Kure Beach Ministries on Sunday, July 26, at 7 p.m. Sponsored by Christ the King, Cary, the concert will feature your favorite A†KB songs as well as other popular worship songs. The concert will also include testimonials of several past and present members of Christ the King as they share how A†KB has touched many lives along with a special appearance by Randy Youngquist-Thurow.

Global Mission reflection
Shared by Daudi Msseemmaa, ELCA regional representative for East Africa

Rural people are accustomed to cycles of plenty and poverty. Livestock keepers, like the Maasai who live in my region, are even more so. During a severe drought in 2008-2009, I spent time in villages where the carcasses of livestock littered the ground and hungry children fainted in class. There was lots of suffering. But I did not encounter hopelessness — even among malnourished mothers who couldn’t provide enough breast milk for their infants. They had a saying, that God is far but he is very near.

Godly Play
Last fall, a preschooler named Thomas, in line at the grocery store with his mom, struck up a conversation with the woman behind them. “Do you know a man named Noah?” he asked her.

“She was a bit confused at first,” said his mother, Jennifer Hoemberg, “but Thomas continued with great gusto to explain that ‘God called on a man named Noah to build a giant boat. It is called an ark! And all the animals came. And there were two of every kind! And that man, Noah, his boat saved them! Boy, am I glad Noah listened to God!’”

Resources for your congregation
Faith Voter Reflection Guide
Interfaith Power & Light and Faith in Public Life have partnered to create a multi-issue faith voter reflection
guide, Democracy, Values & the 2020 Election: A Reflection Guide for Faith Communities. The guide will help faith communities consider moral issues from the climate crisis to racial justice. The guide also addresses other urgent issues in the election, including voting rights, systemic racism in the criminal justice system, healthcare, peace, LGBTQ rights, and immigration.

Summer rentals at Agapé+Kure Beach
With two sites, Camp Agapé (near Raleigh) and Kure Beach (near Wilmington), offer beautiful escapes from the hustle of everyday life to focus on what is truly important. Due to COVID-19, there is no summer camp this year. Visit our wonderful facilities for a family vacation or small group retreat.  Check out our COVID-19 facility options and rates here. Both locations offer family rates for rostered leaders and small group rental rates.

For Camp Agapé inquiries,  email Kyle, Guest Services Coordinator/Registrar; (919)777-4335. For Kure Beach inquiries,  email Lynn, the Kure Beach Faith Center Registrar, or call (910)458-0783.
Free Vibrant Faith@Home activities
All of the Vibrant Faith@Home activities are now online for free. This includes hundreds of activities for children (and families), teens, young adults, and adults. The activities are short (usually only 5-10 minutes) and include Bible Stories, Conversations, Learning about Faith, Prayer, Ritual & Tradition, and Serving. They are in PDF files with a simple formatting to make it easy to download and use for programming, in an e-newsletter, on social media, etc. You have permission to use these activities in a print or digital format.

Job opening: Oaks Indian Mission Executive Director
Oaks Indian Mission, in Oaks, Oklahoma, is searching for a new Executive Director. F undraising and development are the primary emphases of the position. For more information email: Bishop Michael Girlinghouse , Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod.
Job openings: Lutheran Wilderness Retreat (Holden Village)
Holden Village, in Chelan, WA, is a remote Lutheran retreat center in the midst of the Cascade Mountains. We are currently in search of an Accountant and a Medic to join our long-term community. For more information or to apply, visit our volunteer page. Questions? Please send an email to Marta Vegdahl-Crowell or Becca Carcaterra.
Did you know?
An ELCA Gathering for leaders will be held on Wednesday, July 22, at 2 p.m. Eastern on the topic: Preparing Ourselves to Lead Conversations on Anti-Racism. Led by our own Heidi Kleine (CTK, Cary) and Emilee O'Brien. Use this Zoom link to join the conversation.
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