"I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things."—Vincent Van Gogh
March 16, 2021
From the Bishop's Office
Partnering for Hunger and Health
The Hunger and Health Coalition is an organization committed to addressing the needs of vulnerable people in Watauga County, North Carolina through pharmacy and food assistance. This year, their work is assisted by an ELCA Domestic Hunger Grant and a partnership with Grace Lutheran Church in Boone.

“We’ve been working on our fresh food initiative for several years, and that’s what we received a Domestic Hunger Grant for,” says Ben Loomis, Grants and Programs Manager.

Register—2021 Synod Assembly!
Join us for the 2021 NC Synod Assembly, June 3-5. For the first time ever, Assembly will be held online using the Zoom platform. Each voting member will need their own device—preferably a computer—in order to participate fully in this assembly. Look for an Assembly 2021 Special e-News coming this week.

Some things will be the same: we will worship together, do the business of the synod, and hold elections including electing a bishop. Using the theme of "Strength for the Journey," we will also hear about ways we are church together through our collaboration with various ministry partners.

Some things will be different: every voting member will need to enter their own email address to register, all voting members must be registered by May 1; visitors will watch via Facebook or YouTube.

Read this FAQ for registration help this year. Visit the 2021 Assembly webpage to learn more and register.
Will You Consider Serving?
The NC Synod's Nominating Committee is currently seeking nominees for several positions to be elected at our upcoming synod assembly.
Nominees are needed for SYNOD COUNCIL in several categories: lay male, lay female, rostered male, and rostered female. These will be 4-year terms beginning in August 2021. Synod Council is the governing body of the synod between the times when the synod is gathered in Assembly.
Nominees are also needed for VOTING MEMBERS to the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in several categories: lay male, lay female, rostered male, and rostered female. We will elect 13 voting members. Churchwide assembly is the primary decision-making body of the church.
For all nominees, the committee will address the balance between laypersons and pastors, gender, status of youth/young adult, ethnic background, and will work to achieve geographical diversity of nominees. You may only nominate one person per position. The deadline for submission of the completed form & photo is March 31, 2021.
Click the button above to nominate someone else or yourself. Once the nomination form is submitted, the nominee will be contacted to submit additional information and a photo for the nomination booklet. This will allow their name to go forward for election.

God Will Transform This Church
In her March column for Living Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on the meaning behind “evangelical” in our name and the future of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “I believe God will transform this church.”

Read her column in English or in Spanish.
Day of Lament—Anti-Asian Racism
The Asian and Pacific Islander Association of the ELCA recently issued a statement, affirmed by the ELCA Conference of Bishops, calling on the church to declare a day of lament during Lent to express solidarity with, help in healing, and support Asian American victims of violence. Sunday, March 21, has been named as the date, though worshiping communities may choose a different date as needed.

A Much-Needed PPP Loan Becomes a Reality
At a challenging time, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church knew where to turn. The local bank said it was pointless for the suburban Detroit congregation to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. So Good Shepherd’s pastor reached out to the ELCA Federal Credit Union, which, thanks to its partnership with the Mission Investment Fund, was poised to be just the resource Good Shepherd needed. Read more or watch the video.

Applications submitted to the ELCA Federal Credit Union by March 22 will be processed in time to meet the March 31 federal deadline. Learn more; apply.
Creation Care Sunday Resources
The NC Synod’s Environmental Justice Task Force has created an environmentally-focused liturgy for your congregation to use on April 18 (the Sunday before Earth Day) or another day you choose. Sunday school curriculum is available also—for students of all ages complete with activities, Bible studies, discussion questions, and additional ways to supplement continued learning. The resources are free to use and easy to customize to your needs. If you use these resources or have questions, please complete this form.

What Makes Us Lutheran?
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton writes:
Lent is a time when we, as Christians, reflect on our life together in Christ and the ways in which our identity in Christ is reflected in the world. As part of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), we seek to contribute our North American Lutheran perspectives to the larger Lutheran tapestry, made up of 77 million members across 99 countries! In 2019, the LWF launched a study process to explore the ways our global Lutheran identities are lived out through biblical interpretation, worship, and the work of justice, peace, and reconciliation.

Of mourning
Martha Lee Townsend Yount, the mother of Pastor Royall A. Yount, Jr. (retired, Durham), died on March 3. We mourn with her family. Read the full obituary.
Charles L. Bond, father-in-law of Pastor Dave Hinkleman (Advent, Spindale) died on March 5. We mourn with his family. Read the full obituary.
Pastor Robert Q. Beard (retired, Blowing Rock/Mooresville) died on March 8, We mourn with his family. Read the full obituary.
Pattie (Petry) Vaught, sister of Pastor John Petry (retired, Raleigh), died peacefully on February 14 after a short battle with Alzheimer’s Dementia. We mourn with her family.

Of healing
Pastor Carl Fisher (retired), was hospitalized last week following a bad fall and is now in rehab at Matthews Glen in Matthews.

Even as (we hope and pray!) the pandemic’s end begins to come into view, here we are at the one-year anniversary of when it truly took hold all over the world. Let us pray. Read the prayer here.
News from across the Church
The Soul-Parched Journey of Lent
I opened the door of the Catholic church where I had worshiped for the past several months, and when I habitually put my fingers in the small vessel that held holy water, I felt sand. I stared at my fingers, wondering what on earth was this. Every time I had attended mass, I enjoyed touching that water, remembering my baptismal identity and feeling refreshed. Now I felt dry, empty, thirsty—even a bit resentful.

Servants in the time of COVID-19
As the coronavirus pandemic has swept the globe, it has brought pain and loss, disrupted lives and pushed many to a breaking point. But this health crisis has created something else too—a call to service, a spirit of helping others, a renewed appreciation for what truly matters.

Southern Seminary earns 10-year Accreditation
The Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) of Lenoir-Rhyne University announces accreditation has been reaffirmed by the Association of Theological Schools. LTSS received the maximum 10-year term from ATS, which oversees more than 270 graduate schools in theology and ministry in the U.S. and Canada. The seminary has been accredited by ATS since 1944. As part of Lenoir-Rhyne, the seminary is also accredited by the Southern Assoc. of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Resources for Your Congregation
Science Matters to God
Made to Flourish has partnered with Science for the Church to offer pastors and congregants a three-part virtual workshop on science and the church. Each 75-minute session will explore how God cares about science, what the Bible says about it, and practical tools pastors can implement to better equip those in these industries within their churches.

Video Tips & Tools
We are still in unprecedented times, so Red River Worship has put together an 11-part video series to offer some basic best practices, tips, and tools to help you shoot videos, get your church online and connect with your church well during these times and into the future.

Rise Against Hunger Virtual Options
You or your organization can impact lives around the world, even without meeting in person! Rise Against Hunger offers a variety of virtual engagement opportunities for individuals and groups to get involved in their mission. Virtual engagement options include a Gather for Good online game show, a virtual visit to partners in Tanzania, employee giving campaigns, the Meet the Need Market, and a Virtual Rise & Stride 5K Run/Walk which takes place in May.

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