"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put
together that overwhelm the world."—Desmond Tutu
October 6, 2020
From the bishop's office
Church & State 101
A month from now, the 2020 election will be over. As with every election before and yet to come, some will be satisfied, and some will be disappointed. Truthfully, with the extreme polarization that marks our day, some will be ecstatic, and some will be devastated. So it goes in the democratic election process.

Synod Gathering Virtually
Workshops are continuing through October!
  • Thursday, Oct 8: The Importance of Engaging Questions around Faith & Science
  • Thursday, Oct 15: Adaptive Leadership in Action - Moving to Change
  • Thursday, Oct 22: The Rule of Love - A Reverse Confession of Sin
  • Tuesday, Oct 27: Attitude Impact Outcome - Moving Beyond COVID-19 Fears to Greater Faith & Congregational Vitality
Visit our website to register, view all events, and review content from previous sessions!
From Racism to Racial Healing
An event for Rostered Ministers only...

The ELCA-Southeastern Synod is offering a time for rostered ministers to continue our work on combatting racism. We are honored to have Dr. Catherine Meeks lead us in this conversation. Dr. Meeks will speak about the current state of racism in our country and how we as Christian leaders are called into racial healing and justice. There are two options for this conversation: Monday, October 12 at 1 p.m. or Monday, October 26 at 6 p.m.

2020 Christian Unity Gathering
As racial injustices plague the country, the pandemic rages nearly unchecked, and an economic crisis plunges millions into poverty, we find ourselves at a point from which we can fall into an abyss of further division, destitution, and despair, or from which we can move by faith to a place of justice, restored hope and healing. The National Council of Churches invites you to explore online the ways churches might turn back the tide of chaos and embrace Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of the Beloved Community. Join us for Breathing New Life into our Nation: Repentance, Re-formation, Reparation, the 2020 Christian Unity Gathering on Oct. 12-13.

Daily Bread Matching Grants
In response to COVID-19 and the increasing need for direct support of communities facing hunger, ELCA World Hunger officially launched Daily Bread Matching Grants this past spring. They are happy to announce another round of Daily Bread Matching Grants for this fall! Applications will be accepted beginning Oct. 1, with the fundraising event scheduled for November. More than 300 Daily Bread Matching Grants will be available for ELCA congregations on a first-come, first-served basis. Apply by October 18.
Did you know? The first-ever online benefit for ELCA World Hunger took place on September 24 and over 1,000 people from across the country joined Rick Steves, Bishop Eaton, and others to raise almost $270,000 for World Hunger. It's not too late to give! Make a donation today to support Hunger in the Time of COVID-19.
Seminary Snapshot Day
Join us on Wednesday, October 21, for an online snapshot of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary life! We’ll begin our day talking about discernment and God’s call to ministry. We’ll attend chapel together, and you’ll have the opportunity to sit in on a class. We promise lots of breaks and opportunities for conversation. Because you would normally take time out of your usual schedule to come in person to our campus, we hope you will carve out the day to spend with a sense of retreat. Create a comfortable space to dwell for the day, a place conducive to deep conversation and listening to what God is saying about your life and your call.

Phase 3 Restrictions in NC
from Bishop Smith on Facebook:
On September 30, Governor Cooper announced that at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2, NC would enter Phase 3. It might not be what you were assuming Phase 3 would mean. "Mass gatherings" numbers remain at 25 indoors and 50 outdoors. Movie theaters can open at 30% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. More later from the NC Synod, but so far we've gone with the numbers the governor gives, which in Phase 3 will still be 25 indoors and 50 outdoors. Any gatherings require masks for everyone 5 and over. This Phase 3 will last for 3 weeks, that is, through 5 p.m. on Oct. 23.

Email Scams and Helpful Hints
Unfortunately, scammers are at it again. Several folks have received emails claiming to be from Bishop Smith. A close inspection will reveal that the emails are, in fact from an email address that is NOT Bishop Smith's. Scammers seem to be making the rounds across the ELCA and other denominations. Please note:
  • None of the synod staff will ever send an email to you directly asking for a personal donation of money or gift cards.
  • In addition, no one from the synod staff will ever send an email asking you to send gift cards, perform "some tasks," or vaguely ask you for a "favor."
  • NC Synod staff email addresses have the ending of "nclutheran.org."

Attention AOL and Yahoo users:
If you have tried sending emails to synod staff (or have been expecting replies you haven't received), we have learned that AOL and Yahoo are both blocking email from synod staff as spam. Check your Spam and Trash folders and contact your ISP to whitelist nclutheran.org addresses. Call 704-633-4861 if you continue to experience issues.
A Pastoral Word on the Grand Jury Decision in Louisville
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. ― Ephesians 2:14

In response to the grand jury decision in Louisville, Ky., we offer a word of prayer and healing following the decision not to charge police officers for Breonna Taylor's death. As a nation, we are struggling with and divided by the decision. It has affected so many of us in so many ways. We grieve the brokenness of the criminal justice system. We are tired and weary of the violence. Has not God created all of us to have inherent dignity, value and worth?

Oldest North Carolina Synod Lutheran?
Calling all centenarians! We would like to hear from congregations with members 100 years or older. Send name, congregation, and birthdate to Catherine Fink by Nov. 1.
Rostered minister transitions
Pastor Grace Gravelle was installed as senior pastor at Holy Trinity, Raleigh, on September 27. Watch the worship service here. Or, see pictures here.
Pastor Paul Myers was installed as pastor at Church of the Abiding Savior, Durham on October 4.
Of mourning
Susan Rendleman, wife of Pastor Henry Rendleman (retired, Hickory) died on September 14. Read the full obituary.
Vernie Lewis, mother-in-law of Pastor Benjamin Kifer (St. John's, Cherryville) died on September 19. Read the full obituary.
Eugene Pedersen, husband of Pastor Audrey Pedersen (retired, Bolivia, NC) died on September 25. Read the full obituary.
Sandra Lewis, mother of Pastor Judy Drysdale (Old St. Paul's, Hickory) and mother-in-law of Pastor David Drysdale (Zion, Hickory), died on September 29. Read the full obituary.

Of healing
Pastor Paul St. Clair (St. Paul's, Statesville) had outpatient surgery on September 23 to replace a pain control pump for back pain.
Pastor Jeff Hoffner (Luther's, Richfield) had two hernia surgeries on September 22. He is doing well.
Sally Sloop, wife of Pastor David Sloop (retired, Raleigh), will have her aortic valve replaced on October 15 at Rex Hospital, Raleigh.

Of celebration for an ordination
Dr. Shanitria Cuthbertson was ordained on Saturday, September 26, at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom. The Rev. Dr. Cuthbertson will continuing serving as pastor at Emmaus, West Charlotte. Watch the worship service here.
For peace...
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.—St. Francis of Assisi
God's Work. Our Hands. Stories
With God We Can!
In spite of challenges because of COVID-19, the partnership of With God We Can! has continued its commitment to feed people in our community of Rocky Mount, NC whose bowls are empty.

We started canning on Sunday, July 19, 2020, about three weeks behind our 2019 start date. To date in 2020, we have canned 277 quarts of tomatoes—in 2019 we canned a total of 245 quarts of tomatoes.

Joyfully Gathering to Serve
The people of the NC Synod could easily have opted for the comfortable (even understandable) choice of curling up on our sofas with Netflix instead of participating in God’s Work. Our Hands. this year. But I celebrate that instead, Lutherans across the state chose to act with holy defiance by serving in our communities during the strange era of COVID-19, boldly living out our faith and proclaiming the radical message of God’s abundant love in a hurting world.

The congregation of Morning Star Lutheran Church in Matthews safely and carefully shared two days of inspiring servant experiences; however, our activities certainly looked different from a typical God’s Work. Our Hands. weekend.

News from across the church
LWR Quilts for Refugees Found Intact
Three 40-foot shipping containers filled with humanitarian aid that included thousands of handmade quilts and baby-care items, which were reported as destroyed in the August 4 explosions at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, have been found intact and are ready to be distributed to victims of the blast and refugees.

National Faith & Blue Weekend
National Faith & Blue Weekend (NFBW) is a collaborative initiative that builds bridges and breaks down biases through activities and outreach amongst law enforcement professionals and the communities they serve. This year's NFBW will be held October 9-11.

Love Feast: Music for Worship
Love Feast is a collection of worship songs Pastor David Eck (Abiding Savior, Fairview) has written over the past few years. He shares, "Originally, I intended it to be a group project, adding the musical talents of members of Abiding Savior. However, the coronavirus had other plans, so I decided to go solo!"

Resources for your congregation
Facebook Changes Terms of Service
Facebook made a change to their terms of service that might impact your recorded or livestreamed event. Any church, school, individual, or organization that uses music of any type for livestreams, should educate themselves about Facebook’s new terms of service (effective October 1). Even if your church has a CCLI license or OneLicense, you may be impacted.

Advent Resources from World Hunger
New resources are now available from ELCA World Hunger to enrich the life of your congregation this Advent season. As congregations across the ELCA creatively find new ways to worship online and in person, and continue to support the work of important ministries including ELCA World Hunger, we want to equip leaders with useful resources this season. You'll find
  • A new Advent calendar that members can enjoy with their families at home.
  • A weekly Advent study that can be used in groups (as they meet online or in person) or individually at home.
  • An action guide for congregations, full of ideas for how to engage your members in the work of ending hunger.
  • Reproducible stories to copy and paste into digital or printed bulletins, or to use as inspiration for sermons.
  • ELCA Good Gifts catalogs and resources to inspire unique seasonal-giving ideas that help fight hunger and poverty around the world.

Cradle Roll: Ministry with Babies and their Families in a Pandemic
Jesus loves the little children and so does the church! How do we share the love of God with babies and families when nurseries and play groups are functioning differently? Join PRC on Thursday, October 22 at 7 p.m. for a webinar full of great resources for families that will work in all seasons.

Did you know?
October 6 is the day in 1683 the first Mennonites arrived in what would become the U.S. Francis Daniel Pastorius, a German lawyer and teacher, founded Germantown in Pennsylvania. In 1688, he wrote to slave-holding Quakers in Germantown, urging them to free their slaves—the first formal abolitionist protest by European immigrants in the American colonies. —from SALT’s “Theologian’s Almanac”
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