"I forgive you" —Nadine Collier, daughter of Ethel Lance, one of the Emanuel 9, to killer, Dylan Roof.
June 16, 2020
From the bishop's office
Finding new ways
“I’ve heard some people say that they aren’t having church, but the truth is, we are the church. It is true that we cannot go to the building and worship corporately, have our spirits lifted in prayer, in song, in word, in communion. But we can certainly worship as the church together, apart.

Commemoration of the Emanuel 9
As part of the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, voting members adopted a resolution designating June 17 as a commemoration of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9—the nine people shot and killed on June 17, 2015, during a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. Three opportunities are available on Wednesday, June 17, for this commemoration in our synod:

A note about synod worship
The worship provided by the synod will make a shift starting July 5. We will still be providing a recorded worship option. Instead of being led by synod staff, the worship will be created by a congregation in the synod and shared. Details will be posted on the synod Facebook page each Friday. We will no longer host a Zoom worship on Sunday mornings. Know that our phone system—which allows callers to listen to the complete recorded worship—will be updated on Saturday evenings so that the recorded worship will be available for calls-ins on Sunday mornings. That number is 833-924-1988.
Witnesses to the transcendent
In her June/July column for Living Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton notes that the “restrictions imposed by the pandemic have made it clear that people are searching for hope and meaning and love.” As those restrictions are eased, she urges us to assess the ways our congregations are witnesses to the transcendent, keeping in mind all those who worshiped with us online but may not walk into our churches.

Sharing God's free gift of grace
Ascension Lutheran Church in Wilson held its second annual Oktoberfest Celebration on October 13, 2018, which turned out to be a beautiful day weather-wise, making for a wonderful event. The first Oktoberfest was done as part of the 500th Reformation Anniversary Churchwide Celebration and was so well received we decided to do it again.

There's still time to apply for 2020 Peeler/Casey grants! The deadline is June 30. Learn more.
Spam from Bishop Tim?
Have you recently received requests from Bishop Tim asking you to buy gift cards or call quickly? Rest assured, those emails are NOT coming from him. His account has not been hacked, rather, his account is being spoofed. (Emails look like they're coming from him but they're not.) It's annoying but there's absolutely nothing to be done about them. Except, we encourage you to be vigilant in two ways:
1. Always look closely at the From: of the email to confirm that it's from tsmith@nclutheran.org.
2. Don't reply to or click on anything in these emails. 
When in doubt, call the synod office: 704-633-4861.
Join us for Moments with Matthew!
It is that time of year again! 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—begins 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. Invite your congregation to join in this effort!
ELCA World Hunger gifts matched
As the coronavirus continues to tear around the world, people who were already living on the brink of hunger are now vulnerable to starvation. ELCA World Hunger is uniquely positioned to respond and
we have an opportunity to reflect Christ’s light to the world in hope and love. Act now, and your gift will go twice as far; all gifts to ELCA World Hunger will be matched—dollar for dollar—until we reach $101,000.

Lutheran Campus Ministry @UNC-CH
From Pastor Mark Coulter: Here at UNC Chapel Hill, we have an active campus ministry that has been a place of refuge and belonging for students as they navigate the experience of college. Stress and anxiety are serious issues among students; developing resilience and healthy relationships is crucial to long-term success. UNC's Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM)—as do LCMs on other campuses—provides a place of belonging and community that can help students through their collegiate experience. We ask all rostered leaders, youth workers, and lay leaders to help us and other campus ministries by referring your young adults so that we can reach out to them with invitations to our ministries. Campus ministries are the seedbeds for leadership in our church both rostered and lay! Refer students using one of these links today:
Rostered minister transitions
Pastor Amanda Highben has been called to St. Paul’s, Durham as Associate Pastor/Duke Lutherans starting June 8.
Pastor Jonathan Gantt transferred to the Florida-Bahamas Synod effective March 1.
Of mourning
Pastor Clarence E. Sifford, Jr. (retired, Lincolnton) died on Tuesday, June 9. We mourn with his family. Read the full obituary.

Of celebration for an ordination
German Santana  was ordained on Friday, June 12, at 6:30 p.m.via Zoom. German has been called to serve as pastor at Arbol de Vida, Durham. (They had masks on during worship and held their breaths for this photo!) Watch the worship here.
For justice and reconciliation during the month of Pride
Compassionate Jesus, on the days where this work of justice and reconciliation feel like too much, help lighten our load. Soften our hearts to welcome people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions, in all of the bodies in which they encompass. Teach us to learn and relearn, with humility and excitement. In your mercy. Hear our prayer. from Reconciling Works  
News from across the church
Conover church rings bell for COVID-19 victims
The bell at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Conover rang more than 1,000 times on Monday [June 1] to honor and remember those who died from COVID-19 in the U.S. Pastor Mary Miller-Zurell of St. Timothy
[and Faith, Conover] said each bell toll represented 100 deaths. As of Monday, 104,396 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, according to the CDC's website. “It’s hard to get your mind around that number,” she said. The bell sounded for nearly 90 minutes.

Being church while the neighborhood burns
Ingrid C. A. Rasmussen and Angela Khabeb are pastors at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis. When protests, violence, and property destruction erupted after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer, Holy Trinity quickly emerged as an organizational center for volunteers, medics, and wounded protesters.

"Our Pastors and People"
From the Region 9 Archives’ Spring 2020 newsletter: Among the editorials published in “Lutheran Church Visitor” is a column titled, “Our Pastors and People.” In the score of updates submitted by Lutheran pastors from SC and NC, one stands out this season. It was written by the Rev. “G.H.Cox,” pastor of St. John’s, Concord, and was published January 23, 1919: During a ministry of nearly forty-eight years, this past year has been the most difficult in church work for me that I have ever experienced…” Finish reading on page 4.

Resources for your congregation
Virtual Choir free webinar
In this FREE webinar on Thursday, June 18, at 1:00 p.m., you will learn how to create a virtual choir including: what hardware and software you will need, what platforms are available, what your choir members will need to do, and basic audio mixing technique.

Stream 'Just Mercy' for free in June
From the New York Post: While the protests over George Floyd’s death rage across the nation, Warner Bros. has reacted by making its 2019 film "Just Mercy"  available to stream for free for the month of June on a number of platforms for racial justice education. The courtroom drama tells the true story of lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), who appealed the 1988 murder conviction of an innocent black man, Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx).

What does your church really believe about racism and justice? 
Do you have any idea how your church is thinking through the question of racial justice and equality? Not everyone has the same viewpoint on issues, including issues of race, and many leaders (including black leaders) are feeling both beat up and heavily lobbied right now. So... what exactly do your people think? Barna and Gloo have created the "Race & Faith Check-In" that you can send directly to your congregation. This 11-question check-in will help you understand what your congregants believe and feel about race and faith and benchmark your church's attitudes against national responses.

Job opening: Minister of Contemporary Music
Christ the King, Cary is seeking a full-time Minister of Contemporary Music to join their ministry team. Find the job description here.
Did you know?
Sojourners has been convening Zoom calls where pastors can find hope, inspiration, and solidarity. This month that space may be needed more than ever. We will reflect on the senseless and tragic killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd; the response from our nation; and the role of the church in the call for real police reform and racial justice. Pastors, join us on Wednesday, June 17, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. EST. Register here.
Synod E-News | NC Synod, ELCA | 704-633-4861 | nclutheran.org