“God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but God does what is still more wonderful: God makes saints out of sinners.”— Sören Kierkegaard
May 4, 2021
From the Bishop's Office
Love Your Neighbor: Vaccinate!
What do diphtheria, smallpox, hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus, tuberculosis, and yellow fever have in common? They have all been eradicated or brought under control by global vaccination programs. The jury is still out on COVID-19. The problem with viruses, in particular, is that they mutate, change, adapt. If our country were fully vaccinated against current strains, yet the disease was allowed to be transmitted freely anywhere else on the planet, it could mutate to the point where those who are vaccinated are no longer protected from the new strains. Even before we bring Jesus and love of neighbor into the equation, it’s good for everyone not only to BE vaccinated but also to see that OTHERS are vaccinated.

New Re-Gathering Guidelines
The synod's Re-Gathering Task Force under the direction of the NC Synod Council has been faithfully considering guidelines for congregational life in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking into account Governor Cooper's Executive Orders, these new guidelines are based on Executive Order #209 effective April 30-June 1, 2021.

Important Assembly News
The 2021 NC Synod Assembly, happening June 3-5, is fast approaching. Here is important info:
  1. The deadline for registering has passed.
  2. All those registered will receive a confirmation email on Wednesday, May 5.
  3. Documents and reports are being added to the assembly webpage. Watch for updates.
  4. Registered attendees will receive weekly emails with helpful information beginning this Thursday, May 6, and continuing through the week of assembly.
  5. Those not registered may join by watching via Facebook or YouTube.

Emmaus Road Preaching Series
In the NC Synod, we know that the voices of our black, brown, and indigenous leaders throughout the synod matter not just on a designated history month, but all the time. The Emmaus Road Series introduces us to Jesus in new ways through the voices of our rostered ministers of color here in NC. Every second Sunday, the synod-provided sermon will be from one of these leaders. Please consider using this sermon in worship or as further reflection for your congregation as a devotion throughout the following week. This week's preacher is the Rev. Dr. Alfredo Oviedo, Grace, Hendersonville.

March 2021 Synod Council Highlights
The NC Synod Council gathered via Zoom on March 12-13, 2021. Read highlights of the minutes from that meeting using the link below. This great group of folks serves on your behalf, giving their time to listen, discern, and make good decisions. The next council meeting will be held Thursday, June 3.

Small Church Websites Webinar
Looking for a beautiful, functional website that is easy to build and update and also within a small church budget? Join PRC—Practical Resources for Churches as we investigate web hosting platforms, templates, and website basics to help your small church maintain a strong web presence on Thursday, May 20, at 7:00 p.m. Free!

Rostered minister transitions
All are invited to an outdoor service of the Installation of the Rev. Anna Carter as pastor at Holly Grove, Lexington, on Sunday, June 6, at 3 p.m. The Yadkin Conference Dean, Pastor Cassie McIntosh Overcash, will install, and Pastor Scott Anderson will preach. Social distancing and masks covering both the nose and mouth are required for the entire service. Bring your own lawn chair or watch via Facebook live.

Pastor Daniel Dahl (retired) has transferred to the Southeastern Synod.

Pastors Andrea (Our Saviour's, Welcome) and Kyle Bates (Wittenberg, Granite Quarry) have transferred to the SC Synod (effective 4/29/21) and will be serving at St. Michael, Greenville, SC.
Of mourning
Barbara Eloise Yount “Bobbie” Rudisill, grandmother of the Rev. Dave Keck (St. Mark's, Mooresville), died on April 23. Survivors include Bobbie's step-daughter, Diana Keck, wife of Pastor David Keck, Sr. (retired, Mooresville). We mourn with her family. Read the full obituary.

All are invited to the memorial service of the Rev. Frank Perry, Sunday, May 16, at 4:00 p.m. through the Holy Trinity, Chapel Hill, YouTube page. We give thanks for his life, witness, and ministry. Memorials can be made to the Holy Trinity Lutheran Campus Ministry Endowment named in Pastor Perry's memory, or the Pastor Frank Perry Racial and Social Justice Memorial Fund.

Of healing
Pastor Volley Hanson (St. Andrew, Andrews) was recently hospitalized with Prinzmetal's angina and is recovering at home.

Of celebration for an ordination
Tobin Lynn Fleck was ordained on Friday, April 30, at Lutheridge. Pastor Tobi will serve as associate pastor and mission developer at The Dwelling, Winston-Salem. Watch it!
For our neighborhood
God, our creator, by your holy prophet Jeremiah you taught your ancient people to seek the welfare of the cities in which they lived. We commend our neighborhood to your care, that it might be kept free from social strife and decay. Give us strength of purpose and concern for others, that we may create here a community of justice and peace where your will may be done; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(from ELW prayers, sundaysandseasons.com)
News from across the Church
Three Generations Preaching
Sunday, April 25, was a red-letter day for the Conrad family—and for the NC Synod! A longtime, faithful synod layperson, Dr. Kay Conrad, reported, “Yesterday our family had three generations preaching on the same text at three different locations and three different approaches to the good news.

Webb Honored with Service Award
Pastor Chris Webb (Holy Trinity, Hickory) recently received the Legion of Merit award for his service as a reserve chaplain for the United States Air Force. The award is issued to members of the eight uniformed services of the U.S. as well as to military and political figures of foreign governments for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. It is the highest award given to reservists. The presentation was held in Washington, D.C., where Webb currently serves his duties as an assistant to the Chief of Chaplains and on the Armed Forces Chaplain Board. On average, Pastor Webb serves a few days a month in this capacity.

Photo: Chaplain, Brigadier General Randy Kitchens (Deputy Chief of Chaplains), left, pins the Legion of Merit award on Pastor Webb's uniform at the ceremony last week.
Sardis Women Collect Food
The Women of the ELCA of Sardis, Hickory, hold a yearly food drive in February. Their goal is to show love for others by collecting food supplies for Eastern Catawba Christian Cooperative Ministry (ECCC) in Newton. They planned their first drop-off the Sunday before Ash Wednesday and held three more drop-offs in March, concluding with Palm Sunday. The total pounds of food collected was 982! Sardis members are always incredibly supportive of this ministry!

Submitted by Jill Bledsoe and Nena Babb of Sardis, Hickory.
Resources for Your Congregation
Training Opportunity—ACEs & Addictive Disease
In this day-long, online training on Thursday, May 20, participants will gain insight into addictive disease through stories of individuals who have battled addiction and are now on the front lines assisting others in recovery. Additionally, speakers will share techniques for empowering communities to make long-lasting changes to promote overall health and resilience.

"Mere Science and Christian Faith"
Could "science and technology make our faith obsolete?" Many leaders, pastors, and people of faith are wrestling with this vital question. Come explore this question and many more on WednesdaysJuly 7, 14, 21, 28—via Webcast in this online course and continuing education event sponsored by Faith+Lead of Luther Seminary and led by Dr. Greg Cootsona of Science for the Church.

ELCA World Hunger VBS
"River of Life" is a Vacation Bible School program that guides children through learning about the work to which God calls us in the world. This year’s VBS will focus on the importance of water, highlighting how ELCA World Hunger is working with our neighbors around the world in projects related to clean water. This five-day program includes large-group gatherings, small-group activities, games, crafts and ideas for snacks.

Did You Know?
Nearly 19,000 children and teenagers crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in March without a parent...whatever the cause or causes, federal agencies have been scrambling to find appropriate housing for them. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Lutheran Services Carolinas have been part of that system of care, finding families to house and care for the children until they can be connected with relatives in the U.S. Listen as NPR shares one family's story.
Synod E-News | NC Synod, ELCA | 704-633-4861 | nclutheran.org