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                                                                                             MARCH 2017
                         The Virginia 
Bringing you news of the Virginia Synod since 1921.

Bishop calls for leaders
to attend the Synod Assembly

Bishop Mauney
           Bishop Jim Mauney has urged congregation leaders to participate in the forthcoming June 9-11 Synod Assembly when a new bishop will be elected. As he travels around the Synod, Mauney said he hears pastors pleading for volunteers to attend the Assembly.
            "Wouldn't this be the year for presidents, vice presidents, secretaries of congregations to be present?" he wrote. "Wouldn't this be one of those years every 12 or 18 when voting members are more carefully selected and elected as the constitution describes in your congregational constitution?"
            For this significant synod assembly, "It isn't just the candidates for bishop that need a strong understanding of the needs of congregations and the synod and church. It is also maybe more important that the voting assembly has a strong understanding of the needs of their congregation, synod and the church as they listen to speeches and the answers to questions."
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
Bishop's column-The Good Samaritan
Ashes to go
Christ, Roanoke starts $1.5-million campaign
Moe recognized at Roanoke College.
Williamsburg Hymn Festival draws 140 choir members.
Volunteering at the inauguration.
Lenten devotions by VA Synod pastors
LFS will benefit from Roanoke Valley Gives
Lutherans vs. Pentecostals.
Norge church makes lap blankets
St. Peter, Stafford, has new space.
Where are the ten Horn children?.
Lutherans in the news
     Pastor Colleen Montgmery, associate pastor of St. Thomas,  
Bloomington, IN., has accepted a call to Holy Trinity, Wytheville, starting March 6. A native of Erie, PA, and a graduate of Roanoke College and Philadelphia Seminary, she served as a missionary to Poland. Her husband, Nickolas Montgomery, is completing work on a doctorate at Indiana University.
            Christine Jeannine Luttenberger Roe was ordained at
St. Mark, Yorktown, her home congregation, on Jan. 27. She has accepted a call to a cooperative between Faith United Lutheran Church, Houtzdale, PA, and First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Philipsburg, PA. Bishop Michael L. Rhyne of the Allegheny Synod led the ordination, assisted by Pastor Joel Neubauer, St. Mark,
Pastor Christine Roe (center) stands with Bishop Michael Rhyne and Pastor Paula Schmitt
of the Alleghney Synod staff.
and Pastor Steve Jerbi, from All Peoples Church, Milwaukee, WI. A member of St. Mark for 15 years,.
Roe is a graduate of ,Gettysburg Seminary and she spent an intern year All Peoples Church. She and her husband, Steve Roe, have moved to Houtzdale.
            Bishop Jim Mauney will be the visiting theologian at Luther Memorial, Blacksburg, on March 26-27, speaking on "The Christ Center: A Descripton of Luther's Discovery, Gifts, Warning, Church and Mission."He will speak a a Sunday morning Sunday School and service and a luncheon on Monday.    
            The name of Jacqueline King, vice mayor of
Wytheville and a member of Holy Trinity, Wytheville, has been placed on the Civic Monument at the Wall of Honor in Withers Park in Wytheville. She is a past president of Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce and she has served as vice mayor since 1994.
            Lutheran congregations around Richmond have joined to sponsor a year-long blood donation drive called "It's All About the Blood!" in honor of the 500th year of the Reformation. Each congregation has been assigned a Sunday to promote the donations.
            At Christ the King, Richmond, a family night program featured a Salvadorean meal and a report on a recent trip by a Salvadorean Mission Team. Hand-decorated crosses from the children and youth of Cristo Rey were distributed. A group of
William and Mary students spent the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend working on homes and lodging at Christ the King.
            St. John's, Winchester, followed its mission statement, "making a difference.." last year by collecting 2,880 food items, for an average of 53 per member, for CCAP, area food pantry, 9 percent more than 2015.
          Christ, Fredericksburg said its members distributed food from its pantry for almost 2,700 adults and children, hot meals were prepared for about 1,400 people and 54,000 pounds of food was purchased at the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank.
           Members of Messiah, Mechanicsville, were urged to join the RVA Polar Plunge Fest at Willow Lawn shopping center in Richmond to benefit Special Olympics.  
           The 45-voice Thiel College choir from Greenville, Pa., will present a concert at
Bethel, Winchester, on Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m. The choir, on a spring tour, is directed by Dr. Michael Bray. Bethel is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its faith box, a project in which over 100 wooden boxes have been distributed to parishioners, old or young, during their first sacramental ceremony at Bethel. They may hold a baptismal certificate and candle, pictures, a first communion chalice or a copy of a confirmation certificate.
            Twenty-five Roanoke College students joined 25 from Hollins University to sort and package food at the Feeding America Southwest Virginia Food Bank in Salem, one of many events planned by to mark their joint 175th anniversary year.
            At Good Shepherd, Virginia Beach, Pastor Scott Mims and a Learning Committee are working on a series of Faith in the Home seminars, designed to give parents and other interested adults tools for talking about their faith.
            At Epiphany, Richmond, posters are available for all members of the congregation to color stations of the cross on Wednesday evenings. Retired
Pastor Tom Bosserman is leading an Adult Faith Formation Class on "An Odd Couple, Jonah and Ruth: Lessons for our Fractured World," studying two biblical books focusing on the outsider and sharing experiences and thoughts about those who differ racially, culturally and religiously.

The Good Samaritan 
     by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton
Bishop Eaton 
            I have been thinking a lot about the parable of the good Samaritan lately (Luke 10:25-37). Parts of it are so familiar-the unfortunate victim, the robbers, the priest, the Levite, the Samaritan-that I miss points of deeper meaning. We all know the compassion and generosity of the Samaritan has become the standard by which we measure our response to suffering. Hospitals are named Good Samaritan. All 50 states have a Good Samaritan law on the books. I always imagined (or hoped) that I would act like the good Samaritan were I ever in a similar situation.
            There are two other characters connected to this story that I don't always think about: the lawyer and Jesus. Theirs was not a casual conversation. The lawyer was looking to test Jesus. "Teacher, he said, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
            Jesus answers with a question: "What is written in the law?"
            Being a good lawyer the man answered from Deuteronomy and Leviticus: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with allyour soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." Case closed. Conversation over.
            But the lawyer couldn't let it go: "... wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?' "
            We know the man wanted to test Jesus and justify himself so his question was not an earnest inquiry about the Torah. Are some people my neighbor and some people not? How far does hospitality have to extend? Can there be limits to compassion? What is reasonable: Family? People on my block? My congregation? Fellow citizens? And, conversely, whom can I exclude? People across town or around the world? Who is my neighbor?
            It's in answer to this question that Jesus tells the parable-a parable designed to be as provocative as possible.
           We call the Samaritan "good" but that word is not found in Scripture. No Jew would call a Samaritan "good" nor would any Samaritan call a Jew "good." Samaritans and Jews regarded each other as ceremonially unclean, socially outcast and heretical. They would not have come up automatically in the neighbor category.
            It's not clear that the beaten Jewish man would have been entirely thrilled that he had been helped and touched by the Samaritan. (Think of the All in the Family episode where Archie Bunker realizes he has received a blood transfusion from an African-American man.)
            Now it's Jesus' turn to ask a question: "Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?"
            This becomes the question for us and for these times. When we ask, "Who is my neighbor?" we sort people into categories. Is the refugee my neighbor? Is the Muslim my neighbor? Is the Jew my neighbor? Is the Latina my neighbor? And on and on. This makes for increasingly smaller neighborhoods. And this question can be driven by fear and suspicion. Left to ourselves we turn in and away.
            Thank God that God has not left us to ourselves. Our new life in Christ leads us to ask and answer a different question. Not, "Who is my neighbor?" but "How are we neighbor?"
            The world is a dangerous place-just check any news source or social media. There are people who mean to do harm to our country. Fear and the threat of danger divide us and constrict us. But we live in the hope of the resurrection and in the certainty of the redemption of the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We no
longer ask, "Who is my neighbor?" The question is now, "How are we neighbor?"
            The lawyer answered Jesus' question about who was neighbor to the man beaten by robbers with: "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, and to us, "Go and do likewise."

A monthly message from the presiding bishop
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Her email address:
Ashes to go   
            Busy Shenandoah Valley residents will have a new option to observe the ancient Christian tradition of Ash Wednesday. They will have "Ashes to Go" in the parking lot of Trinity Lutheran at Stephens City.
            Pastors Cameron Keyser of Trinity and Rose Wayland of Sherando Presbyterian Church will offer ashes in a 30-second stop at the parking lot from 4 to 6 p.m. Passersby will receive the traditional ashen cross imposed on their foreheads and a printed explanation.
            Keyser said the imposition of ashes has been a part of many Christian traditions since at least the 11th century. The ashes, mixed with a fragrant oil, are from the previous year's observance of Palm Sunday, marking Jesus' entrance to Jerusalem the week before his crucifixion. The words of the imposition are those God spoke to Adam, reminding him "You are dust and to dust you shall return." This is "a sort of 'organic'way of drawing faith into lives, he added.
            Wayland said, "We thought this would be a fun educational experience for those who may not be familiar with this tradition. It's a gentle way for folks in the community to participate in the start of the Lenten season and it's an easy access back onto Rt. 277."
Ashes have long been associated as a cleanser and in the Ash Wednesday context, they take on a purifying role "It's a very striking act for those who aren't necessarily comfortable talking about faith."
Christ, Roanoke, starts $1.5-million campaign    

            March 19 will be Commitment Sunday for a capital campaign seeking to raise $1.5 million for Christ Lutheran, Roanoke. "Light the Next 100 for Christ: is the theme. The congregation observed its 100th anniversary last year.
            The campaign is directed toward rebuilding infrastructure and enhancing facilities of the green stone church built almost 70 years ago. The facilities needed for improvement are the electrical grid, HCAC system, access to fellowship areas, some remodeling and handicaped accessibility. The three-year campaign is led by Pastor Len Hoffman of the ELCA Mission Investment Fund Capital Campaign.
            Christ congregation "has been a source of light, hope, healing, faith-building and service to others since our beginning in continue witnessing and serving our members and our community, we must rebuild," according to promotion for the campaign.  
Moe recognized at Roanoke College  
Hayley Moe was recognized for her standout spirit with the Lutheran College Washington Semester Program of Roanoke College last fall. A Lutheran from North Dakota, she was one of 48 students in the fall semester.
           Moe received the Dean Nancy D. Joyner Award, recognizing the student who emulates the enthusiasm of Joyner, who served in the program for 26 years. The Washington program matches students from 13 Lutheran colleges and universities with internships and offers classes and opportunities for them to explore the nation's capital.
Handstand in Washington 
            Moe, a major in religious and communication studies, interned at the Steinbruck Center at Luther Place, a non-profit that educates people about poverty and homelessness. She worked at kitchens and food pantries and led visiting groups and others who stayed at the center.
            She said she wanted to make the most of being in the city so she sought out new places to see each weekend. Her list included doing handstands in front of the White House and the Capitol. A favorite activity was running from Arlington over to the Washington Monument.
            Dr. Douglas Clark, dean of the Washington Semester program, said Moe's enthusiasm was contagious. "Her positive attitude, upbeat energy and warm personality enabled her to connect with her peers from the outset of the Fall semester," he said. Moe said she is interested in a possible career with a non-profit organization.
Williamsburg Hymn Festival
draws 140 choir members

            St. Stephen Lutheran Church, along with Saint Bede Catholic Church, Williamsburg, sponsored a Hymn Festival on Jan. 28-29, celebrating the Week of Christian Unity and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The two- day event featured David Cherwien, noted Lutheran organist and composer and Susan Palo Cherwien, hymn text writer and poet.
            The event brought together 140 choir members from many denominations though-
Everybody sings at Hymn Festival 
out the Tidewater area. On Saturday the choir rehearsed in the morning and after a catered luncheon attended two workshops. Susan Cherwien presented one workshop about the power of words and poetry in creating text for hymns. David Cherwien presented a workshop which explored creative hymn singing.
           On Sunday afternoon the Festival Choir, under the direction of Dr. Cherwien, led a congregation of over 500, made up of members of churches throughout the Tidewater area. Each hymn and its variations contributed to the theme, "The Spirit of Transformation," preceded by a reflection written and spoken by Susan Cherwien.
             The festival ended with prayers for unity and singing the hymn, "Holy God We Praise Your Name." The entire weekend confirmed the statement by former Pope John XXIII that "The things that unite us are greater than those that divide us".
            The weekend was made possible through a grant from ELCA Reformation Anniversary Grant Program.
Volunteering at the inauguration
     by Debbie Mintiens
          The American Red Cross played an important role in public safety during the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. The American Re
d Cross
is a humanitarian organization established in 1881 to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. We are an impartial, neutral, independent, volunteer organization that does not show partiality to any human bein  g.
            On this deployment we worked with our law enforcement and emergency service partners to provide extra eyes and ears. Our main objective was public safety.
            The Red Cross provided 35 Go Teams of 2 - 3 people in and around the National Mall. Each team carried water, snacks and first aid items. Our Go Teams reported unattended bags, a heart attack, and numerous non-life threatening injuries and illnesses. We also had 6 Warming / Reunification Centers set up around the outside of the mall area.
            These centers provided our law enforcement, military and EMS partners a place to get out of the weather, have a cup of coffee and something to eat. In the event of a
'situation' the Red Cross would have assisted separated groups and family members at the Reunification Centers.
             Life of a volunteer on deployment can be stressful, tiring, enjoyable and rewarding. Traveling with strangers can be an interesting experience. I want to thank my group, Michelle, Marielle, Jody, and Wanda for all the laughs we had in the van traveling to DC and back home. Where is the National Headquarters? There was lots of laughter as we passed the same locations more than once, everyone on their GPS, screens being accidentally touched changing the directions we were following.
            After lots of laughter, in a quiet moment, from the back came a small voice, "you know some people pay a lot of money for a tour of DC." We were back to laughter. We spent "20 minutes away" for over an hour as we drove around the streets of DC.
The joys of staying in a staff shelter, a bunch of strangers sleeping in close
proximity to each other. We all have our quirky habits, (well, except me).
Some are a bit more annoying than others. Breakfast, dinner, sleeping,
showers, bathrooms, we are all one Red Cross.
            On this deployment I was part of Feeding, my role, driving one of two
shuttles assigned to transport staff from HQ to the Warming Stations. Having
received clearance from the Secret Service, I had a "Public Safety" badge from The Department of Homeland Security. I would get to a soft military roadblock, show my ID and they would wave me through. It was fun! Going through the same roadblocks all day, I'd said, "It's me again" they would wave and say, "Hi Me Again!" We have a wonderful bunch of young folks protecting our country.
             Volunteering with the American Red Cross is a rewarding experience. If you enjoy helping all people, can be flexible and patient, maybe a disaster relief operation is for you. If you don't fall in this category, the Red Cross has hundreds of needs for all skill sets. Consider volunteering at you local Red Cross.
            (Debbie Mintiens of Emanuel,Woodstock, and a member of Synod Council, has volunteered with Red Cross Disaster Services since 2003.)
Devotions by VA Synod pastors offer a way to
read through the Gospel of Matthew in Lent 2017

            Fifteen writers, many with Virginia Synod ties, have once again prepared free Lenten devotions to be read on a computer, tablet, or smartphone this year. An added practice to this year's devotions is the opportunity to read through the entire Gospel According to Matthew over the course of Lent. Each devotion will include a section of Matthew for daily reading.
             To subscribe for a daily email, beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 1, visit Each devotion includes a meditation on scripture, questions for use alone or in a small group, and a seven-word prayer for use throughout the day.
            The project is led by Pastor Paul Walters, Church of the Master, Troy, Mich., and formerly of Grace, Massaponax, VA. Other writers serving in the VA Synod are Pastor Kate Costa of St. Luke, Culpeper, Pastor David Drebes of Prince of Peace, Orkney Springs. Retired Pastors Bob Holley and Bill Trexler, both formerly of the VA Synod, also contributed. Other writers include Pastors Heather Holland, Ryan Lyles, Judi McMillan, Steve Troisi, Terry Daly, Will Stenke, Jen Kiefer Dundee, Scott Torkko, John Cummings, and Meghan Sobocienski.
            The devotions are "an invitation to be intentional about prayer and reflection throughout this holy season," the text's introduction states. "It is our hope these brief devotions will help you mark the days of the season and through this simple practice Jesus may work through doing that which is good in the sight of God.
LFS will benefit from Roanoke Valley Gives   
            Lutheran Family Services will be among the dozens of Roanoke area n on-profits benefitin g from the second annual Roanoke Valley Gives online giving campaign on March 15.
            The 24-hour event raises money for participating non-profits and brings attention to the work and worth of each. People who want to give back to the community can use the link to search for LFS to make a donation. Donors can schedule a donation now. A gift will help remove barriers to learning, employment and community engagement for the people who need LFS services. For more information about Roanoke Valley Gives and LFs, contact Leah Hatcher at
Lutherans vs. Pentecostals    

            Lutherans and Pentecostals both rely on experience but the way they interpret it is different, said Dr. Sarah-Hinlicky-Wilson, Copenhaver Scholar in Residence at Roanoke College. She contrasted Martin Luther and Pentecostalism in a lecture in the Reformation 500 series at the college on Feb. 24. She has written a guide to the Pentecostal movement, 600 million and growing worldwide, for Lutherans.
            Historically, Lutherans "almost want to deny a religious experience but everything is experience," she said. Lutherans are often at a loss as to how to think about Pentecostals, much less how to engage them in positive ways that build up the whole body of Christ. Lutherans interested in Pentecostals are not speaking in tongues. The goal of Charismatics is the experience of Lutheran doctrine rather than revision of that doctrine, she said. The Lutheran response to Pentecostalism is "not ineffably negative."
             Hinlicky-Wilson is the daughter of Dr. Paul Hinlicky of the college faculty and Ellen Hinlcky of the Synod staff. She is an ordained Lutheran pastor, adjunct professor of the Institute for Ecumenical Research at Strasbourg, France, and editor of Lutheran Forum.  

Norge church makes lap blankets    
Pastor Jim Nickols of Our Saviour's, Norge, stands with lap blankets  made in the congregation and shipped to the brain trauma unit at Medical College of Virginia. Our Saviour's also dedicated a commercial kitchen which will expand its hospitality ministries in the neighborhood. The congregation marked Black History Month with a worship service with songs of reconciliation, spirituals and readings of Langston Hughes' poetry. Del Sykes Dinkle, a professional soprano, was a guest.
St. Peter, Stafford, has new space    
            The congregation of St. Peter, Stafford, hopes to occupy its new 2,500-square-foot multipurpose room by mid-April, according to Pastor Paul Toelke. This follows 21/2 years of planning, fund-raising, constructing and dealing with the county.
The room will have space for receptions, ministry projects and other events, as well as a commercial grade kitchen, storage, expansion of the food pantry and new restrooms. Toelke said the congregation is thankful for the help in financing by the ELCA Mission Investment Fund.
Where are the ten Horn children?     
            "Where Are the Horn Children Now?" is a headline on an article in the latest issue of Marion Ideal, a publication of the alumnae of Marion College, a Lutheran women's school, which closed in 1967. The question referred to the 10 children of the Rev. Henry Horn, a popular president of the college from 1943 to 1949, and his wife, Catherine Horn..
            As recorded by David Horn, retired entomology professor at Ohio State University, here are the identities of the other nine siblings, all still living 65 years after Marion:
            Jean, retired administrator with Chicago public schools; Henry, retired biology professor at Princeton; Charles, retired science teacher at Westhampton, Mass.; William, retired chaplain at Good Shepherd Home, Allentown, Pa.; Marguerite, retired library administrator at State University of New York; Richard, history teacher at Boston University Academy; Eleanor, former editor and homemaker in Munich, Germany; Michael, teaches science at Shady Hill School Cambridge, Mass., and Andrew, part-time ornithological research at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.




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