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               February  2019  
                         The Virginia 
Bringing you news of the Virginia Synod since 1921.

Women will talk about ministry
         Dr. Mindy Makant, a Lenoir-Rhyne University assistant professor of religious studies, will be the facilitator for a Women in Ministry Gathering at the Roslyn Center in Richmond on Feb 24-26. More than 40 synod women in ministry are expected to meet for conversation about leadership and ministry, as well as Bible study, worship and fellowship.
            Makant also is director of youth and family ministry for the university's School of Humanities and Social Sciences and served on an ELCA steering committee for the Association of Teaching Theologians. She holds a doctorate from Duke Divinity School, two master's and a bachelor's degree. She is working on a book about women in ministry.
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
Charlie Shenberger dies
Crainshaw to lead ACTS
The blessing box
Caroline Furnace starts busy year
Three women ordained
Brandon Oaks Auxiliary raises $34,000
Legislation for "the least of these"
Men will hear Biblical story-telling
How do we spend our time?.
Think of enemies & valentines
Three conference deans named

Lutherans in the news
        Pastor Pat Nabers is retiring at the end of January after serving for 15 years at Good Shepherd and Mt. Nebo in the Rapidan Lutheran Parish.  She formerly worked in engineering for Amp Inc., General Electric and Buss Fuse. Nabers has served on Synod Council, Synod finance and ACTS steering committees. She's a graduate of
Union  College, Case-Western Reserve University and Southern Seminary.
Pastor Robert Vogl has resigned at First Lutheran, Portsmouth , which is closing, to accept a call to St. Timothy, Norfolk. He previously served at Z ion, Staten Island, N.Y. , and the former Messiah, Virginia Beach .
            Pastor Aaron DeBenedetto has resigned at Emanuel, Virginia Beach, after serving since 2010.
            Retired Pastor Tim Fraser, Moneta, has been named interim pastor at Bedford Lutheran. He formerly served for 26 years at Trinity Lutheran, Reisterstown, MD.
            Retired Pastor Terry Edwards is interim pastor at the Floyd-Willis Parish. He served at Emanuel, Bluefield, WVA, until he accepted a call to the Illinois Synod.
Brad Snowden has joined National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) as philanthropy director at the Village at Orchard Ridge, Winchester. He will follow Dee Dee Barbour, who has been promoted to NLCS philanthropy director. Snowden has nearly 20 years of experience in estate planning, recently as director of leadership gifts at Mary Baldwin University, Staunton, and at Shenandoah University, Winchester, and former co-chair of Virginia Fund Raising Institute. He is a former council president at Trinity Lutheran, Arden, WVA. He's a graduate of Shepherd College and Capital University Law School.
Karen Whetzel, St. Martin, Quicksburg, has been re-elected chairman of the Shenandoah County School Board and elected chairman of the Valley Region of Virginia School Boards Association. Whetzel was a teacher and administrator for Shenandoah County public schools for 38 years before retiring. She's a graduate and holds a master's degree from Madison College and is a lay speaker at St. Martin.
            At Good Shepherd, Orange, Brenden Stakem earned the Eagle Scout award for his work on the prayer garden at Good
Stakem at the prayer garden
Shepherd. Stakem, now a freshman at Savannah College of Art and Design, also received a Bronze Palm for earning 27 merit badges in Troop 14 in Orange.
            John Krallman, St. Michael, Blacksburg, has been promoted to interim chief of staff for the Division of Information Technology at Virginia Tech.         
            Concordia Children's Services, supported by Bethel, Winchester, has been recognized as the best non-government organization in the Philippines for 2018. The Philippine Department of Social Welfare cited Concordia's "strong commitment to help and rescue children."
(From left) Cobb, Kaplan  and Bozeman
At Apostles, Gloucester,  three women celebrated Epiphany with a global emphasis, including international meal recipes enjoyed by the congregation. They were interim, Pastor Judy Cobb, Alyssa Kaplan, First, Norfolk, student at Union Seminary, who preached on her experience as a young adult in Global Missions in Mexico, and retired Assistant to the Bishop, Jean Bozeman. 
            At St.John,  Abingdon,  donations were collected to help federal employees at a prison in Pennington Gap who went without pay during the recent government shutdown.
            For the Create Peace series at Peace, Charlottesville, a special event was held on Martin Luther King Day. Participants recalled King's message of peace and justice and a vision "to make the world a better place." Members placed peace flags on a peace pole, bearing blessings of peace, equality, freedom, justice and love, all part of King's vision. On Feb. 10, Peace will celebrate its 35th anniversary with a sermon by Pastor John Wertz Jr., synod director of evangelical mission.
            The Global Mission Team at Grace, Winchester, announced a gift of $2,800 for support of the Faraja Primary School for Physically Disabled Children  in Tanzania, founded by Don and Joann Tolmie, formerly of First Lutheran, Norfolk.
Murphy (left) and Cobb
             Retired Pastor Jim Cobb was invited for the swearing in of Rep. Stephanie Murphy, first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress, on Jan. 3. Cobb was pastor of Christ, Fredericksburg, when that congregation helped Murphy's refugee family settle.
            Members of Resurrection, Fredericksburg, donated 280 stockings to homeless children in Spottsylvania County and county children at Berkeley Elementary School. The congregation has distributed 1,029 stockings since the project began five years ago.
            The Fluvanna Garden Club gave Grace and Glory, Palmyra, a Dogwood Award for a Peace and Meditation Garden, designed and constructed as an Eagle Scout project by Cameron O'Dell and fellow members of Scout Troop 154.

Charlie Shenberger dies at 95
          Charles E. Shenberger, 95, assistant to President J. Luther Mauney and Bishop V. A. "Buck" Moyer for 19 years, died Jan.10 in a Salem hospital.
            A native of York, Pa., he was an Air Force navigator in World War II and a graduate of Virginia Tech in 1947. After working as vice president of a Richmond mechanical contracting firm, he graduated from Gettysburg Seminary in 1967 and joined the Synod staff. He was responsible for several managing groups, including outdoor ministries and parish life development, for a convocation on congregational concerns, the annual synod convention and managing the Church House, headquarters in Roanoke. Charlie was often called upon to mediate congregational conflicts. His calm, gentle and soft-spoken demeanor very often brought about reconciliation between opposing sides. After retirement, he was administrator of College Lutheran, Salem, for several years.
            Surviving are his wife, Peggy Shenberger, and two daughters, Anne Shenberger, Philadelphia, Pa., and Susan Shenberger, Salem.
            A memorial service will be held later. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials may be made to Lutheran Family Services, College Lutheran Church or Good Samaritan Hospice.
Crainshaw to lead 2019 ACTS course

            Dr. Jill Y. Crainshaw, acting dean at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, will lead the 2019 ACTS spring course on "Spirituality and Leadership" April 6 and May 11. The course will be offered at Grace, Waynesboro, and simulcast to Holy Trinity, Wytheville, and Gloria Dei, Hampton.
            Crainshaw was the leader for the synod's annual Ministerium Gathering at Virginia Beach last October. An ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), she is a graduate of Wake Forest and earned a doctorate at Union Theological Seminary/Presbyterian School of Christian Education. She emphasizes in her writing and teaching how Christian worship and leadership arise from and return to human experience.
            The registration fee for the course is $175. Discounts are available. The required textbooks for the course are "When I in Awesome Wonder: Liturgy Distilled from Daily Life," by Crainshaw and "An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith," by Barbara Brown .

Blessing box will provide food for the needy
        St. Paul's, Jerome, plans to open a blessing box in March, according to Pastor Jeff May. A carpenter member is building a small cabinet to hold non-perishable food and household items and people in the community will be invited to "Take what they need " and "Leave what they can."
            Flyers and banners will be circulated to explain the box and the appropriate items to stock it for people in need.

Caroline Furnace starts busy year
     by Julie Kroll
            The office at Caroline Furnace Camp and Retreat Center is buzzing with activity and its team is working daily to embody the summer 2019 theme of "Transforming Community." Two of the big changes for 2019 are a new staff dynamic and a new retreat policy.
Pastor Heidi David-Young, with her husband, Pastor David Young
The Rev. Heidi David-Young has begun work in a new role as director of resource and program development. Dolly Woodward has retired as office manager and director of retreats.
            What does this mean? The small dedicated team of year-round staff at Caroline Furnace can be more mobile and better serve their communities and new user groups. They are looking into new, creative ways to expand upon their statement of "All are welcome," to include retreat season family camps, writing and song-writing retreats, young adult retreats, community-based events, outdoor education and Budddies in Christ special needs camp.
            David-Young is guiding their direction to become a leading resource for three synods---Virginia, Metropolitan Washington and West Virginia-Western Maryland---beginning with pre-Lenten and Advent retreats at Buttonwood Lodge this year. Julie Kroll, sales, marketing and communictions director, is focused on identifying new user groups and continuing to build marketing and communications. Tom Powell, executive director, has vision and leadership invaluable to the growth of the organization in his first year of leadership.
            Together, the three book retreats and split retreat host duties, in order to keep coordination more streamlined for both guests and staff. The goal is to improve upon the overall guest experience. It has been a busy start to the year at Caroline Furnace. Spring weekends are nearly booked with 40 retreats planned for the first six months. Summer camp registrations are rolling in and summer staff interviews have begun. 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year of growth and opportunity for Caroline Furnace so be sure to get your community involved.  

Three women are ordained 
          Pastors Katie Freund and Melissa May have been ordained and Rebecca Wicker will be ordained on Feb. 5.
            Freund, former vicar with her husband, Pastor Patrick Freund, in the North Mountain Parish in Shenandoah County, was called to serve at St. Matthew's and St. Mark's in the Quicksburg Parish.
            May was ordained Dec. 14 at Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, after she accepted a called to Our Saviour, Nome, Alaska, starting Jan. 1. Bishop Shelley Wickstrom of the Alaska Synod was assisted by Bishop Bob
New Pastor Melissa May (center) was surrounded by her family at her ordination
Humphrey in the service. Her father, Pastor Jeff May of St. Paul, Jerome, was a sponsor. She formerly served in a mission in Canada and as a vicar in the Walker Mountain Parish, Wythe County.
            Wicker, formerly a vicar at Christ, Radford, will be ordained at Good Shepherd Lutheran, Walterboro, SC, on Feb. 5. She was called to St. Matthew's Lutheran, Charleston, SC.  

Brandon Oaks Auxiliary raises $34,000

           The Auxiliary of Brandon Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center raised over $34,000 "to make life a little better for those in memory care and the rehabilitation center," according to an annual report.
            The Auxiliary spent $8,000 to support music therapy; $5,000 for a medical manikin and staff training at the Carilion Center for Simulation, Research and Patient Safety; almost $3,500 for an automatic door to the courtyard; over $4,000 for music and $2,400 for Star for a Day, a fun program for the rehab center. Almost $3,500 was used to build planter boxes for vegetables planted by residents $3,500 was spent on monthly celebrations, with music, food and themed festivities in memory care.
            The Auxiliiary raised these funds through a golf tournament, raising over
$18,000; a Bazaar providing over $8,000; fall and spring boutiques, bringing almost $4,000 and donations of over $1,000 and memberships, collecting $340.
            Olive Thomas, Auxiliary treasurer, told members, "Every time you participate in Auxiliary fund-raisers, "you helped to do all these great things."

Looking at legislation for "the least of these"
      by Joe Shaver

            Five members of the Grace and Glory congregation gathered on 1-22-19 quite early to head to Richmond to participate with the Day for All People lobbying day sponsored by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. This annual event draws individuals from all over the state who are representing a variety of different faith groups to work to influence our legislators on issues that have been determined to have some impact on the "least of these."
Participants discuss legislation
          This year we were again dealing with immigration issues, employment issues such as wage theft and wage justice, and Environmental Justice. Perhaps the key issue affecting faith communities was a bill (SB 1024) which would repeal a previous law which banned the carrying of weapons into places of worship.
            This year's event was held at the Centenary United Methodist Church, which is a Reconciling Ministries Congregation declaring equal rights for all to include those individuals who are affiliated with the LGTBQ community. The congregation was begun at the turn of the 19th century and the current church building was constructed in 1843. We had a crowd of about 250 people of faith, which is less than we've had in previous years.
            After being at the capitol and speaking with our various representatives, we returned to the home site for a box lunch and broke into various community groups for discussion of activities taking place in different regional chapters of VICPP around the state. The closing was a speech by the Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax.
             It was a good day, and Director Kim Bobo indicated that in talking with various legislators that they were impressed with the treatment they received and decorum offered by those in the VICPP group. It is hoped that more people next year might realize the importance of the work that we do for this one day.

Men will hear biblical story-telling 
               Pastor Chris Carr of Christ the King, Richmond, will present the theme, "Hearing the Word: and Learning by Heart" at the annual gathering of Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission at the Roslyn Center in Richmond, March 23-24.
            A biblical story-teller, Carr will share parables and other stories for the gathering. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Navy veteran and graduate of the College of William and Mary, Carr served Salem, Mt. Sidney, before he was called to Christ the King four years ago.
Chaplain for the gathering will be Pastor Patrick Freund of the North Mountain Parish, consisting of St. Stephen and St. Matthew-Mount Olive, and St. Peter, Toms Brook. The musician will be Pastor Chris Wondree, interim campus minister at James Madison University.
            The men will have a chance to learn at least one Bible story by heart, "allowing God's word to get under our skin and work on us in a deeper way as we internalize it and carry it home," Carr said. The gathering also will feature Bible study, small group discussions and fellowship.
            Registration will be $160 for a double room and $185 for a single in the two-day event.

How do we spend our time?
      by Pastor Cheryl Griffin

            I've been thinking a lot about time. Time is the fourth dimension, or so physicists say, I confess that I've listened to scientific explanations of time and have not yet grasped some of the scientific complexities. Well, actually, I do not grasp any of time's complexities!
            We have just taken a deep breath after the busyness of preparing for and celebrating the birth of Jesus. Now, it is the New Year and even if we do not make resolutions, we have set goals and expectations for the year ahead. We have a plan! It may be a plan for one day or one year but we have in mind things to do or accomplish in our days ahead.
            The aspect of this that has been on my mind is our time and how we measure it. On the Gregorian calendar, Jan. 1 is the start of a new year. (The Gregorian calendar was adopted in 1582 and named after Pope Gregory XIII.) If you ask a teacher when the start of the new year is, you most likely will hear it begins after Labor Day, when school starts. Church leaders will tell that the first Sunday in Advent begins the new year.
            How we mark time is subjective. We mark the passing of time by the number of birthdays we have had or by what grade our children or grandchildren are in. We measure how much time it is until an appointment or a wedding. The older we get, the faster time goes. We "kill" time and "waste" time. We "spend" time. Time is something that we can never get back once it is gone.
            As opposed to chronos, kairos is God's time. Chronos is measured by our human imposed delineations. We measure it on calendars and by ticking clocks. Kairos is not measured as such, but rather is filled with God's presence and grace. One well-known reference to Kairos is expressed in Ecclesiastes. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted. (3:1-8)
            How much time do we spend trying to make things happen on our chronos time when really these things belong to God's Kairos time? We trick ourselves into thinking that we are in charge of everything. Tying ourselves to our schedules and our calendars, do we leave room to be open to God's activity in our lives? Are we so distracted by what we have planned that we miss the fullness and blessings of each moment that God gives us? Will you have time to open God's unexpected gifts?
            God's presence is in the miracle of new life and in days of dying. Emmanuel, which means "God is with us," is born! In coming to us in the flesh, God promises that neither life nor death, nor things present, nor things to come will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Romans 8:38a). All our moments are holy.
            My prayer for this year is that we be open to God's presence in each moment. Most times, God does not grab us by the collar and shake us. Being aware of God's presence in our life comes with intention. One way to do that is to keep a gratitude journal. Write down three things for which you are grateful. Do it every day. Recently, I heard of a different way to encourage us to be aware of God's working in our lives. Begin as many sentences as you can with"Thank you." This is especially helpful when we are frustrated or angry.

Think of enemies & valentines on Feb. 1     
     by Pastor Katie Pocalyko 
            February fourteenth conjures up images of pink hearts, red roses, and dark
chocolates. But, might it also bring up the radical life and gory death of one of the early Christian martyrs? Valentine was a priest in Rome in the third century, a time when the Roman emperor persecuted Christians.
            Much of the church was underground at that point, trying to stay out of the empire's sight and mind. Valentine was part of that underground life, and part of resisting the emperor's oppressive grasp. He helped Christians escape persecution, and he helped Christians get married, which prevented young Christian men from going to war. He faced arrest and imprisonment, and he even tried to convert the emperor, a failed effort that got him condemned to death.
            One story about Valentine shows his devotion and commitment to Christ's radical enemy-love. While in jail, he healed his jailer's  daughter, who was blind. Legend has it that on his day of execution, he wrote the daughter a note of thanks for her appreciation and devotion and signed it, "Your Valentine." He was then beaten with stones, clubbed, and beheaded on February 14, 269 AD.
             Perhaps this is where we get our tradition of writing loved ones notes of affection and love on the fourteenth of February, except that we tend to write notes to people we already love . . . not to enemies who need outreach and restoration. We tend to feel affectionate and romantic on the holiday, not resolved and defiant, as Valentine was in the face of religious persecution. The holiday's sentimental love from Hallmark is not the same love of Christ that Valentine lived until this martyrdom.
            Maybe this year, instead of only thinking of our "valentines," we could also think of our enemies, the persecuted, and Christ's radical neighbor-love this year on February 14, 2019. Say a prayer for those condemned because of their religion. Reach out to that person you know doesn't deserve it. Worship not the cupid-love but the selfless, other-directed agape love of Jesus, and partake not in chocolate but in bread and wine on Sunday. For that is a celebration of love just as well, if not better.

 (Pastor Katie Pocalyko wrote this column for Good Tidings, the newsletter of her congregation, Our Saviour, Richmond.  This was inspired by Christian author Shane Claiborne:

Three conference deans named
         Three new dean appointments were announced by Bishop Bob Humphrey.
            Pastor Katie Pocalyko, Our Saviour, Richmond, was named dean of the Richmond Conference, following Pastor Lou Florio, formerly at Messiah, Mechanicsville.
            Pastor Karen Van Stee, St. Mary Pine, Mt. Jackson, succeeds Pastor Nathan Robinson, Emanuel, Woodstock, as dean of Central Valley Conference. 
            Pastor Michael Church, Our Saviour, Warrenton, follows Pastor Sandy Wisco, retired, at Germanna Conference.




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