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                                                                                MARCH, 2020
                         The Virginia 
~Bringing you news of the Virginia Synod since 1921~

Youth offered Bishop's Day

Youth in grades 7-12 have an opportunity to learn more about a call to ministry in the church at the annual Bishop's Day when they will meet with the bishop's staff and other rostered ministers at St. Mark, Charlottesville, on Saturday, March 14, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Adult leaders, mainly pastors, have been invited to accompany youth to the event. Call stories, reflection on gifts of pastors and deacons and an orientation to the candidacy process will be offered, said Pastor Dave Delaney, Synod director for youth and young adult ministries. For planning, Delaney asked that those planning to attend notify him at the Synod office: or 540-529-6893.
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
A report from an El Salvador trip
Roanoke addiction summit planned
Pastor George Handley dies at 89
St. Michael has big tree
Roanoke College students witness history
Why Lent?
Faith talk Extravaganza planned
David Ignatius, Fowler speaker:...Civil discourse is "truth-hungry"
Camp is "inclusive of everyone"
Lakeside will build addition
Lutherans in the news

               Pastor Christine Wulff (right), a former Ph.D researcher at the University of Kentucky, and a graduate of Southern Seminary, has accepted a call to Peace, Charlottesville, effective May 1. She comes from seven years of service at Cross and Crown Lutheran, Indianapolis, IN. Wulff, a New York native and a graduate of Cornell University, worked in equine research and microbiology.She has been a hospital chaplain and she has spent time on a red motorcycle with a Bible and a communion set in her saddlebags. At  Peace, she follows Pastor Lauren Eanes, who was called to Muhenberg, Harrisonburg.
            Pastor Wanda Childs and Pastor Terry Edwards have in effect traded pulpits.
Pastor Childs, who has been serving at Our Saviour, Christiansburg, has accepted a call to the Floyd-Willis Parish. Retired Pastor Edwards. who was in interim service at Zion, Floyd and St. Mark, Willis, will move to interim service at Our Saviour, Christiansburg. Childs formerly came from West Virginia and Edwards formerly served at Immanuel, Bluefield, before he was called to an Ilinois church where he retired.
            Holy Trinity, Lynchburg, is holding its third annual Celebration of Art and Music, featuring musicians and visual artists from the congregation on Sunday, March 1 at 5 p.m. Zephyrus, a chamber choir based in Charlottesville, presented "North German Lutheran Vespers: The Reformation in the Renaissance" at Holy Trinity on Feb. 23. Also, the congregation had a Mardi Gras jazz brunch on Feb. 23.
            At St. Stephen, Williamsburg, Jeffrey C. Pugh, distinguished professor at Elon University and a Bonhoeffer scholar, will be the annual theologian in residence on April 17, 18 and 19. Pugh wrote "Religionless Christianity , Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Troubled Times (2008)" on the 75th anniversary of his death. In preparation for these lectures, Pastor David Hindman, a retired United Methodist pastor, will lead a six-week study of Bonhoeffer's classic, "The Cost of Discipleship." Dr. Mary Williams Anderson, former faculty member of Southern Seminary and now an interim pastor in South Carolina, will lead a women's retreat on the theme, "Not Your Mama's Church," on Saturday, March 14.
            At Epiphany, Richmond, Pastor Joseph Bolick reported that Sunday Shepherds are welcoming those arriving for worship, Medical Shepherds can be contacted for emergencies and Roving Greeters welcome newcomers. Members of Epiphany are sending care packages to Navy units served by Chaplain Nate Huffman, a son of the congregation.
            Members of Christ, Roanoke, are joining St. Elizabeth's Episcopal, Heights Community, Raleigh Court Presbyterian, Westhampton Christian and Raleigh Court United Methodist in sending teams of two people with welcome packets to visit new residents of the Raleigh Court community.
            At St Mark Yorktown, Joel Newberry, a Missouri musician and song writer, opened the congregation's Sine Nomine concert series on Feb. 22. Collectors of two refrigerators and other scrap metal for a metal company said this was about "sharing God's love through appliancesand miscellaneous items one load at a time." Choir members from the Peninsula Conference will present "Seven Last Words" by Michael John Trotta at St Mark on Sunday, April 5, at 4 p.m., directed by Greta Melso, director of music.
            The Auxiliary of Brandon Oaks will hold its annual luncheon and fashion show on Tuesday, March 10, at noon. A Spring Boutique will feature women and men's clothing. The cost $15. Reservations are needed.
            Sunday, Feb. 20, was designated as Come and See Sunday at Christ the King, Richmond, when members invited friends, neighbors or family to "come and see where Jesus is staying and what it means to put our trust in him today." As the congregation continues its growth to become inviting, materials were distributed to help members identify those who were invited.
            At Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, a midday recital series will be held on Thursdays during Lent. Instrumentalists will play tuba, cello, piano and bass. Jill Duffield, editor of the Presbyterian Outlook, will give reflections on her book, "Lent in Plain Sight," at Muhlenberg on Wednesday, March 11, at 7:15 p.m.
            A Community Conversation on "Human Trafficking, common signs and how to identify them" at Southminster Presbyterian Church, North Chesterfield, March 19, at 6:;30 p.m.
            Volunteers at  Trinity Ecumenical Paris h serve at Lake Christian Ministries where 10,000 pounds of pantry products were distributed last year in a Simple Gesture program. Donors give a reusable bag of items for neighbors in need four times a year.
            Youth in 6th through 12th grades at Our Saviour, Warrenton, participated in an annual World Vision's 30-hour famine on Feb. 28.Their theme was "Help change the world by going without." The famine is followed by a "Release the Feast" potluck.
Most importantly, participants were urged to "pray and ask God to bring us together and to help those in need every day."
            Tim Jones, a leading layman at St. Mark's, Roanoke, has retired as chief of Roanoke Police Department after 39 years of service.  He was commended by city  leaders for his service in nearly every post in the department. He led the department to go out and serve in the community.

A report from an El Salvador trip
     by Pastor Chris Carr

Richmond volunteers worked in El Salvador
I write today with profound gratitude for the opportunity to be able to represent Christ the King and participate as a part of the El Salador mission team 2020 on our annual Habitat for Humanity/Thrivent Builds trip.
    It has been a while since I have been on this type of trip and I want to take the opportunity to highly recommend it to you. Whether you contemplate El Salvador or some other opportunity, I'm reminded how much we get back in the process of giving to others.
   Relationships were deepened and strengthened, most especially with our sisters and brothers at Cristo Rey Lutheran Church. We had the opportunity to help them decorate on Saturday for their big anniversary worship service on Sunday (46 years as a congregation and celebrating five years of their new building). The festival service was two and a half hours long and included three baptisms and lots of Confirmations and First Communions.
    One of the most interesting practices for us was that the Bishop dipped his thumb in a bowl of salt and placed it on each confirmand's tongue, while reminding them, "You are the salt of the earth." We wondered how that would go over at home!
     It is a good reminder, though, that Jesus calls us the "salt of the earth." How might we be called to humble ourselves and be at work in the background? Salt flavors a whole dish and its absence is noticeable far more than its presence when a dish is seasoned well.
     In Ahuachapan, we were able to spend a week in service, doing something important that no one will ever see when the building is finished---the foundation. What foundations are we laying in our faith lives? What foundations are we helping to lay in the lives of our children and youth, and each other? Does every word we say and every email we send lay a foundation that seeks to build each other up? Do our communications season the body of Christ in a complementary way? Or do we salt the wounds of others?
      As we prepare for the beginning of Lent in a few short weeks, we are reminded that we follow the one who did humble himself, even to the point of death, even death on a cross. Jesus didn't choose to prove he was right, he chose to put us in a right relationship with God. Jesus didn't choose power and prestige, he chose a criminal's death---capital punishment on a Roman cross. And in doing so he laid the foundation for God's love to build relationships with humankind.
       May we and the whole church continue to deepen and strengthen relationships with each other, with Cristo Rey and new friends we've met through Habitat/Thrivent and with our neighbors in Richmond and around the entire world. Now, would someone pass the salt?

Pastor Chris Carr wrote this column for Logos, 
the newsletter of Christ the King, Richmond.

Roanoke addiction summit
planned for Thursday, March 12
Roanoke area churches has been invited to a Faith & Grace in Recovery Summit to discuss the problems of addiction at St. John's Episcopal Church on Thursday, March 12, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 Featured speakers are Niles Comer, project director of Newhaven, who experienced addiction and recovery, and Walter Wood, retired senior pastor of New Life Christian Ministries, who has 68 years of pastoral service.
  Communities and families "are being torn apart by addiction," according to promotion for the Summit, to be sponsored by the Rescue Mission and Gentle Shepherd Hospice. The purpose is to help church leaders become informed about "the crisis of addiction facing the greater Roanoke Valley." Topics for discussion will be the impact of addiction, its root causes, the role of faith communities in substance abuse prevention and recovery and resources available.

Pastor George Handley dies at 89

  Rev. George E. Handley, former Synod secretary, archivist and author  of two historical publications, died Dec.20 at the Village at Orchard Ridge, Winchester, after a brief illness. He was 89.
Handley (right), a native of Newburgh, N. Y., graduated from Wagner College and Philadelphia Seminary. After serving at Grace, Waynesboro, 1964-1974, he was administrative assistant to Bishop V. A. Moyer and Synod secretary, 1977-1987. He wrote "Biographical Sketches of Lutheran Pastors in Virginia, 1829-1987" and two volumes, "Lutherans in Virginia, 1962-1987." He later served as coordinator for Region 8, ECA, 1988-1995, and as president of Lutheran Archives Center, Philadelphia, for 10 years.
    Surviving are his children, John Handley, Falls Church, and Sarah Handley, Charlottesville, and four grandchildren. Miriam Handley, his wife of almost 40 years, lives at Staunton. A service celebrating his life was held Dec. 27, at the Village at Orchard Ridge. A committal was at Grace Lutheran, Waynesboro.

St. Michael has big tree

A Korean Evodia tree on the grounds of St. Michael, Blacksburg, has been recognized as a champion tree by the Virginia Big Tree program. The measurements: 66 feet tall, 46 inches in circumference and a canopy of 40 feet wide.  Trees earn points based on height, trunk circumference and canopy diameter.
Another Blacksburg Evodia tree with similar measurements is a co-champion. The Evodia tree, native to China and Korea, flowers profusely in July so it is sought after by bees when some other trees are not blooming. Its seeds are hard and spherical, like BB shot, so some call it the Bee Bee Tree.

Witnessing history
Two Roanoke College students attending the Lutheran College Washington Semester program in the nation's capital this spring semester have had up-close-and-personal seats at the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump.
 Tessa Walsh and Walker Phillips, both juniors, have internships on Capitol Hill - Walsh in the office of U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, of Virginia, and Phillips with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia. Both students sat in on the first and second week of the Senate impeachment trial.
"History is being made, and I'll be able to say that I was there," Phillips says. "I get goosebumps every time I think about it."
  For Walsh, "being in a room with so many political superstars while history is being made was an experience I will never forget," she says.
   Dr. Todd Peppers, professor of public affairs and the College's on-campus coordinator of the program, marvels at the historic opportunity.
   "Every semester, the Roanoke College students who attend the Washington Semester Program have the privilege of exploring the cultural and political history of our nation's capital," Peppers says. "But to be able to attend an impeachment trial, an event which has only occurred two other times in our nation's history, is truly a rare and special experience."
   Walsh's love for the world of politics has only grown during her time at Roanoke College. Interning in Sen. Warner's office has given her the opportunity to learn the inner workings of the office of a member of Congress. Walsh describes the internship as, "the perfect match for my interest in policy-making.
      Phillips shares a similar sentiment and is using his time to, "network, experience the culture of D.C., and see what types of jobs are out there in the D.C. area." With senior year approaching, he is using the Washington Semester internship to explore a range of future career options. Interning on the Hill also has meant experiencing the law-making process firsthand.
      Lutheran College Washington Semester is a small, personalized internship program through which students can pursue academic and professional opportunities in the nation's capital. Other Roanoke College students participating in the Lutheran College Washington Semester program this spring semester include: 
Jenna West '20, a literary studies major/sociology minor who is interning at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Meredith Albright '20, a sociology major with a crime, deviance & social control concentration, who is interning at Offender Aid and Restoration of Arlington County, Inc.

Hannah Wilk '20, a criminal justice major/communication studies minor, who is interning at Rising for Justice.

Olivia Samimy '21, a literary studies major, who is interning at Generation Progress.

Nicole Hooper '21, a political studies major/sociology minor, who is interning at the Federal Judicial Center.

David Kuiken '21, a communication studies major/art minor, who is interning at the Federal Communications Commission.

Morgan Reamy '21, a history major, who is interning at the National Museum of American History.

Ryan Denholm '21, an international relations major/Spanish minor with a concentration in Latin American & Caribbean Studies, who is interning at the U.S. State Department.

Seth Foster '21, an environmental science and political science major, who is interning at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Why Lent?
     by Pastor Chris Price

Even though the word, "Lent" has to do with the season of spring, I think you know what I mean. Why "Lent"- this church season of somber reflection on things like mortality, sin and sacrifice? The days are getting brighter, the air warmer and the lawns greener.
  Flowers will begin to blossom and the sap to rise in the trees. It's the time for the birds and the bees..and St Patrick's Day! So why Lent during this happy-go-lucky time of the year? The "ill-timed-ness" of it all!
  Right during the time of spring's heady beauty, he was executed. Right as the land became lush and verdant, he was a rough-hewn cross. Right as the sap was rising, our sins drained the life right out of him. It was all so ill-timed. And right as his popularity was cresting and ascending, he kept harping about us needing to take up our cross and follow him into tough and terrible things. And that's why there's Lent...Because of Jesus and the difference he has made in you and me.
   Perhaps it is ill-timed and its's certainly counter-cultural. But a Lenten observance is fraught with a compelling importance: when it comes to your life and destiny, some things had better not be denied! Things like sin, mortality and loss. And things like His painful forgiveness, His tough love and...God! Ill-timed though Lent seems, I hope you'll take the time for its awesome journey.

               Pastor Chris Price wrote this column for the Weekly Update 
                    of First English, Richmond, where he is interim pastor.

Faith talk Extravaganza planned for March 28

  A One-Day Extravaganza on tools to be used or steps to be taken to encourage faith talk beyond church walls will be held by the Synod's Roots & Wings ministry at Grace, Waynesboro, on Saturday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  The event will be led by Debbie Streicher, co-director of Milestones Ministry and past president of the Christian education Network of the ELCA. She has helped congregations develop faith formation programs for almost 38 years.
   Discussion is planned for resources being used and concrete, realistic steps that can be taken to encourage faith talk between all ages in daily life.

David Ignatius, Fowler speaker:
Civil discourse is "truth-hungry"

  "I'd choose democracy over twitter any day," said Washington Post columnist David Ignatius in a Henry Fowler Distinguished Public Speaker program at Roanoke College on Feb. 19. Speaking on "Can We Talk? Civil Discourse and Democracy," he said, "As we feel truth-starved, we're going to get truth-hungry."
   Ignatius, a 40-year reporter, had a dim view of the future of journalism. "As media resources diminish and become less reliable, the value of truth and reporting is going to become more fleeting."
   "The media is at the heart of the problem of civil discourse," he said. "We are in a world where throwing red meat to partisans on each side is rewarded. Rant is what gets viewers." The newsman said, "People don't want to be challenged. They want to be informed. The media has a responsibility to offer perspective. We (readers) have responsibility because we click on partisan material.
   "We are information consumers. We will get the media we deserve...As bad as the problems are now, they will get worse...What's happening in the U.S. is shared with others as a populist revolt against the elites" Germany, Italy and France.
     Ignatius spoke of Henry Fowler and his father, Paul Ignatius, as "two people who embody an era of civility that is missing today." Fowler, a Roanoke graduate for whom the annual lecture is named, was "confident, modest and unassuming." Paul Ignatius, once a railroad fireman, rose to become secretary of the Navy.    

Camp is "inclusive of everyone"

  The board of Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center has approved a welcome statement saying that "we celebrate, affirm and value the diversity present in our communities: diversity of ethnicity, culture, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, faith, belief, ability, age, identity and any other classification."
  The statement has been in draft for some time and was added to the camp's website in conjunction with an ELCA announcement of a new initiative, "Total Inclusion: Widening the Welcome at ELCA Outdoor Ministries."
That program is a collaborative effort between the ELCA and Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, an association of camps and retreat centers such as Caroline Furnace, and others affiliated with the ELCA.
The announcement from Chicago said the program is "designed to equip and empower outdoor ministry organizations as they move toward more intentional welcome of people who historically have been marginalized in the church---especially people of color, people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQIA+.
The impact of the statement at Caroline Furnace is "welcoming and encouraging," said Tom Powell, executive director. The statement was reviewed at a "Power the Future" retreat, through online meetings and a survey, he said.
The Caroline Furnace statement adds, "We aim to live out this ministry by following the greatest commandment Christ has taught us---"to love our neighbors as ourselves. We understand this teaching as being inclusive of everyone, with no exceptions. We believe that God declared all plants, animals, life and creation as 'good' and has blessed us all."
This statement "has been the expected culture here since camping and retreats began by Lutheran families, starting in 1949. We stand with our local ecumenical partners, community organizations and the ELCA to reclaim our history, recognizing our past (good and bad) and strive to always be a welcoming host.
"We do not profile our guests and do not track ethnicity, faith or belief of guests and program participants. Registration does track gender and age of summer campers to plan for lodging and activities and to comply with child protection laws."

Lakeside will build addition

  Lakeside Lutheran, Littleton, NC, has signed a contract to build a fellowship hall in an addition approved by the congregation in November. Groundbreaking is scheduled for May and construction is to start this summer. The church will be adding classrooms, Christian education work space, a pantry for the food program and space for fellowship and community activities.
  The congregation reported so many programs and ministries in the community that someone told a newcomer who asked about Lakeside, "Don't go there, they'll put you to work." One new project is a group called Loving Needles, who will meet on the fourth Thursday to knit, crochet or stitch items like chemo hats, lap blankets or prayer shawls for individuals or agencies.




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