"Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us; sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; facing the rising sun of our new day begun, let us march on till victory is won."
—Lift Every Voice and Sing, ELW 841
July 7, 2020
From the bishop's office
Three Notes from the Bishop
I want to share three things with you this month:

  1. Just a reminder that our NC Synod Re-gathering in person recommendations are Phase-specific and not date-specific. So, the recommendation is still in effect since the governor extended Phase 2 through at least July 17. The only addition from the governor’s office is that masks are now required in public.

Moments with Matthew Reading Plan
It is not too late to join us for the NC Synod summer online Bible study sponsored by the synod's Engage the Bible Task Group (a Book of Faith ministry). This summer's study— Moments with Matthew—began on Sunday, July 5. You can participate by subscribing to receive the study daily in your inbox, watching daily posts on the synod's Facebook page, or by watching the synod's website for daily posts. Join us today!
Online TEC/ELCA training event
Our thoughts and prayers inform our actions. Join us on Thursday, July 9, from 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. for “Advocacy Tools for Loving Your Neighbor,” an online training event jointly hosted by The Episcopal Church and ELCA to equip you. Both Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, plus advocacy leaders from both denominations, will be part of this time of exploring the nature of faith-based advocacy, the issues to which we can speak, and the ways we can make our voices heard. Rostered ministers, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and friends are welcome to the free webinar and will leave with tools and inspiration to make a difference. Register today.
First Racial Justice Network course
Our newly-formed Racial Justice Network, now over 200 members, will launch its first course, The Hidden Curriculum of White Supremacy, led by Dr. Shanitria Cuthbertson, on July 14. The course will be live every Tuesday for six weeks from noon to 1:15 p.m. and then posted for viewing when you are able. Additionally, you will be invited into a guided discussion on central questions and three chances each week for conversation with other members. Dr. Cuthbertson is a Charlotte native and completed a MSW/MDiv. dual degree from Duke and UNC, and completed her doctoral studies in Curriculum and Instruction-Urban Education from UNCC. She currently serves as mission developer of Emmaus, West Charlotte.

Won't you join us? To participate in the course, join the network, then click on courses.
Beginning a Culture of Generosity
Are you wondering how to do stewardship and foster generosity in the time of COVID-19? Can you have a fall drive that allows people to see the church thriving even as you are not gathering? Your congregation is invited to join the program, Beginning A Culture of Generosity. Explore more in this video. The program includes six meetings live with shared recordings. The program will help you with content like bulletin inserts, intention cards, ask letters, and more. The final meeting will focus on how to make a year-end appeal as 35% of giving in our country occurs at the year's end. The cost is $450.
Generosity is a core value of the synod. God is moving among us; the synod wants to walk with your congregation in your generosity/stewardship journey. As a way to invest in you, if you sign-up and participate in the full program, the synod commits to reinvest your $450 back into your congregation as part of your appeal. Sign up by August 9; email Pastor Danielle DeNise.
Bishop Tim's sabbatical
Dear synod:
Just a note of gratitude and reminder that my three-month sabbatical will be in 2020. As is often the case with synod staff sabbaticals, I have split mine into segments. The first part was earlier this year (pre-COVID-19) and included two weeks overseas to study Spanish and several days away in spiritual retreat to begin to discern, among other things, whether I might be available along with others in 2021 for the ecclesiastical ballot for bishop in the NC Synod. The second part is the month of July and then two weeks in December. As required, I hereby appoint Pastor Sara Ilderton as Acting Bishop while I am away. —Bishop Tim Smith
ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge
Beyond statements and prayers, we are called to also act and respond to injustices. We invite you to sign the pledge, “I commit to study, prayer and action to become an anti-racist individual in an anti-racist church,” and share your participation on social media using #ELCA4justice.

Summer Worship
During the months of July and August, we will be offering worship differently. Congregations across the synod will share their recorded worship; a different one each week! We'll post the worship video on  Facebook and we'll include the link on our COVID-19 page. For worshipers without internet connectivity, they may listen to the full worship by calling 833-924-1988. Here is the calendar for Summer Worship for the month of July:
July 12: Mt. Zion, Richfield; St. Stephens, Gold Hill; Mt. Gilead, Mt. Pleasant; and St. Martin, Concord
July 19: Mt. Pisgah, Hickory
July 26: Good Shepherd, Goldsboro
African Descent Ministries
Pastors and leaders of African Descent ministries: The ELCA's African Descent Ministries Desk has been engaged in a thank-you social media campaign thanking leaders of African descent and highlighting their ministry. You are invited to share your ministry as well! Please send pictures of you engaging in ministry during the time since COVID-19 started. This might be virtual ministry via Zoom, social distanced ministry of some sort, protests following the murder of George Floyd, etc. For information contact: the Rev. Tiffany Chaney, Assoc. Dir., ELCA African Descent Ministries; 617-586-6206 .
Summer rentals at Agap é +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 in life. Due to COVID-19, there is no summer camp this year. Take advantage of our wonderful facilities for a family vacation this year. Check out our COVID-19 facility options and rates here.

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.
Rostered minister transitions
Pastor Julius Carroll transferred to the Upstate New York Synod effective May 1.
Pastor Ray Mohrmann (retired, Lewisville) has transferred from the South Carolina Synod effective June 15.
Pastor Ralph Heller transferred to the Metro DC Synod effective July 2.

Pastor Richard Goeres has been called as senior pastor to Good Shepherd, Raleigh, beginning August 16.
Of mourning
Pastor Sherrill Dion Curtis (retired, Dallas), died on June 24, in Lowell, MA. We mourn with his family. Read the full obituary.

Of healing
Deacon Liz Fisher (Kimball, Kannapolis), had back surgery on June 30 and is recovering at home.
Pastor Mary Miller-Zurell  (St. Timothy, Conover and Faith, Conover), is scheduled for back surgery today.

Of celebration
Lydia Hope Kifer, daughter of Pastor Ben (St. John's, Cherryville) and Stacey Kifer, was born on June 12. "Thanks be to God for a healthy baby and mommy! Kaylee is so excited to be a big sister!"
Madelynn Clair  Burris , daughter of Pastor Dan (Our Redeemer, Greenville) and Liz Burris and granddaughter of Pastor David (retired, Raleigh) and Sally Sloop, was born on June 21. "Madelynn, Dan, and Liz, along with older siblings, Emmett and Charlotte, plus Pops and GoGo are doing well!"

For rest for the weary...
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Dear God,
Everyone’s exhausted right now: parents, activists, cashiers, people who are just now actually learning about systemic racism, delivery drivers, the unemployed, the chronically sick, ER nurses, those who fear the police, the elderly, performers with no hope of an audience any time soon, clergy, social workers, those who can’t make their rent, and everyone who has to spray something down with disinfectant for the 1,000th time.

Teach us to rest, Lord. Help us dial back our obsession with productivity. Raise up more helpers for those who are over-extended Lord - stir up the desire to serve in those who only take. Remove barriers to napping. Quiet babies for an hour so those new mamas can sleep. Make us aware of any new binge-able NETFLIX shows that might help. Give employers the will to grant extra paid mental-health days. Quiet those voices that tell us we should be doing more right now, especially the ones that come from inside of us. Teach us not to confuse respite with laziness. Increase our compassion for one another. And while you’re at it, increase our compassion for ourselves.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. AMEN.
--Nadia Bolz-Weber, Sunday Prayers, July 5, 2020
News from across the church
June 29 marked 50 years!
Fifty years ago, on June 29, 1970, the Lutheran Church in America voted to change the word “man” to “person” in its bylaws and opened the door for the ordination of women. The American Lutheran Church achieved the same thing by resolution a few months later. The church was led by the Spirit to change. At the time it was scary for some. Fifty years later, it is now part of our heritage.

Watch this video and listen as Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton says thank you to those women who have answered God’s call to be pastors over the past 50 years. You are also invited to reach out to thank a women who is a pastor who’s touched your life, in a small way or a big way. It may be a letter, an email or another gesture. If you post it on social media, you can use the hashtag #thankyoupastor. There are more resources for celebrating here: an adult forum, Bible study, worship materials, and timelines.
LSC is a sponsoring member of PACE  
Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) of the Southern Piedmont has two new sponsoring members: Kintegra Health and Lutheran Services Carolinas, two well-established non-profits with strong ties to the area. The change, effective July 1, 2020, was announced by Renee Rizzuti, CEO of PACE of the Southern Piedmont. Participants who receive healthcare services from PACE of the Southern Piedmont will not notice any change in leadership, staffing or operations, since the corporate members primarily affect governance, growth, and strategic planning.

Hood Seminary: A Neighbor in Deed
During the second week of April 2020, President Lattimore received a call from Mrs. Kyna Grubb, the Executive Director of Rowan Helping Ministries (RHM), a regional-based human services organization that provides resources to individuals and families who are challenged by homelessness, food insecurity, and job displacement. Mrs. Grubb had a simple request. She wondered if it might be possible for the Seminary to consider housing a small group of families that had become homeless due to job loss resulting from COVID-19.

Resources for your congregation
Sparkhouse Resources Webinar
Learn about new and current curricula for faith formation from birth to twelve years at this FREE webinar on Wednesday, July 8, at 7:00 p.m. Dawn Rundman is a nationally-recognized teacher, presenter, author, and resource provider specializing in children's faith development. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Oregon. Since 2002, she's developed faith formation resources at Sparkhouse and Augsburg Fortress, two publishing units of 1517 Media. She is the author of Little Steps, Big Faith.

VBS goes online and outside
Kyla Rodriguez’s two children had a blast earlier this month at Immanuel Lutheran Church’s Vacation Bible School. Every morning during the weeklong Rainforest Explorers-themed program, 3-year-old Carson and his little sister Madison, nearly 2, prayed and sang songs. They ate rainforest-themed snacks and made tissue paper rainbows and colorful toilet paper roll parrots. And they did it all without ever leaving their home in Merrill, Wisconsin.

Old piano to donate
Tamarah Hefner (St. Mark's, Claremont) has an upright 100-year-old piano that can be donated to any mission or church in our synod who needs one; it will need to be picked up and tuned. Contact Tamarah by email or phone (828-446-8728).
Did you know?
Reopen.church helps churches reopen safely in the age of the coronavirus by providing a simple (and free) registration form that your church can customize to distribute people across multiple worship services and spaces. Check it out!
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