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                                                                                            NOVEMBER 2016
      
                        The Virginia 
                      LUTHERAN 
Bringing you news of the Virginia Synod since 1921.


Perfect scores for
Minnick students!
     by Carole Todd 
 
Marquise Grayand holds award. 
               In addition to Marquise Grayand, three other students from Roanoke Minnick school, five of our Harrisonburg Minnick students, Jacob Bartel, Darius Clark, Katie Clark, Tyler Adams, and Kevin Fink, from the city of Waynesboro and Rockingham and Page counties achieved perfect scores on the spring 2016 alternative Standards of Learning (Virginia Alternative Assessment Program) tests.
            Two students, an eighth-grader and a fourth-grader, passed all of their SOL tests and have transitioned to their home school. We're very proud of these young scholars. Last year 241 students from 36 localities got the academic and behavioral help they needed at five Lutheran Family Services of Virginia Minnick Schools to succeed in the classroom, and 17 returned to their home schools! For more great stories visit Facebook.com/LFSVA.
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
Bishop Eaton's column-"I was a stranger..."
Synod award for childhood hunger work
Brian Stamm promoted to captain
ForwardingFaith reaches 2/3 goal
Emmanuel youth help one of their own recover from Hurricane Matthew
Bronze Martin Luther statue dedicated at Roanoke College
LARCUM Conference-"Reformations, Then and Now".
The high cost of being poor in Virginia
Sailors need prayer books
Mauney's honored at Ministerium gathering
We need not fear
Quick Links
   
Lutherans in the news
          
            Among the many celebrations of the 500 th anniversary of the Reformation is a listing of special events at St. Mark, Yorktown. Starting with teaching seminars
exploring Lutheran history this fall, a performance of "Katie Luther: The Opera" is planned next spring, a lion St. Mark logo will be on shirts and aniniversary material, a liturgical drama, "Reformation's Rib," will explore the beginnings of the Reformation and a medal, banner and gala dinner will celebrate the 50 th anniversary of the congregation in May 2018.
            Bishop Emeritus Richard Bansemer returned to his former parish to preach at the 100 th anniversary of St. Paul , near Rural Retreat. Wythe County. The congregation, oldest in Wythe County, dates from 1776 but the present building was constructed in 1916. A Highlands Conference Reformation service followed at Grace. Rural Retreat.
A resource for ELCA colleges and universities is a website, whygolutheran.org. Designed for students and parents in the college search process, the website will help families learn more about the value of a Lutheran college experience, read about the distinctive features of a Lutheran liberal arts education, complete one simple form to request college information and help spread the word by downloading posters and bulletin inserts for congregation communication.
A Harvest Fest event at St. Luke, Richmond, on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 30, was for the benefit of FEEDMORE food program. Grocery bags were to be filled with cans for the food bank.
At St. Philip, Roanoke, Mphatso Thole from the Lutheran Church in Malawi visited on Reformation Sunday. He is the communcations director of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi. St. Philip has a sister parish in Mponela, Malawi. Thole has coordinated trips by St. Philip members to his country. Pastors David and Kelly Derrick reported to the St. Philip congregation on their summer sabbatical trip to England and Europe.
An All Saints Choral Evensong is planned at Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 3 p.m. Cantore singers, a male a cappella roup from Harrisonburg Mennonite churches will be performing at Muhlenberg on Sunday morning at 11, Nov. 6. A dozen women at Muhlenberg in October made 45 comforts for distribution to military hospitals.
A hymn festival, described as "a journey to explore Reformation themes," is scheduled for Epiphany, Richmond, on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 4 p.m. All Richmond area Lutherans have been invited to a pan-Lutheran event. Epiphany quilters delivered 110 quilts and 107 school kit bags to Lutheran World Relief in Maryland.
A Reformation Chorale Service, featuring the Moravian Trombone Quartet, presenting a psalm motet by Andreas Hammerschmidt, a Bohemian composer, was held at Our Saviour's, Norge, on Sunday, Oct. 30.
At Christ the King, Richmond, 23 elders were commissioned for service in a new venture for the congregation. Led by Diane Shearer, head elder, the elders' duties are to keep in touch with the households of the congregation and to keep them and their concerns in their prayers. The elders are pass on the pastors any important needs or concerns. The relationships are expected to help strengthen the bonds of fellowship in the congregation. An All Hallow's Eve Trunk or Treat Party was planned at Christ the King for Sunday afternoon, Oct, 30,
Christ, Roanoke, is planning a major renovation project, consisting of an air conditioning unit, heating improvements in the sanctuary, classrooms and lower level, a small elevator, remodeling bathrooms and community room, at a cost of about $1 million, according to Pastor David Skole.
St. Paul, Hampton, expects to complete a roofing project in mid-November. The first fund-raising event is planned for the Christmas Day service when members have been asked to wear their best Christmas Sunday morning pajamas and make an offering to pay the loan for the roofing.
A bequest totaling more than $107,000 from the estate of Elsie Caldwell was received at Christ, Fredericksburg. The funds will be used for a mortgage payment, endowment fund, an air conditioning unit and $5,493 for the Synod ForwardingFaith campaign.
Tidewater Conference Lutherans participated in the annual Out of the Darkness Walks at Mt. Trashmore in Newport News in September. The walk seeks to raise awarenss of the disease of depression with the goal of preventing suicide. In Staunton, a similar Walk to Fight Suicide was held at Gypsy Hill Park on Oct. 8. A promotion flyer said, "Suicide prevention starts with everyday heroes like you."
At Our Saviour, Warrenton, Boy Scout Troop 180 returned in late summer from an expedition to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. They backpacked over 200 miles and climbed 14,000-foot peaks. In an Eagle Scout project, Evan Crowne has been building an altar for an outdoor worship area.    
In October, a Dancing with the Stars event raised funds the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Child Daycare Center, housed at Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, since 2010. Last year's event raised over $100,000.

I was a stranger...  
     by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton
 
Bishop Eaton 
I was a stranger and you welcomed me.   
(Matthew 25:35)
 
 
            Today there are more than 60 million displaced people in the world, more than at any time since World War II. From Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Somalia, Afghanistan and Colombia, people are fleeing for their lives from war, famine, gang violence, crushing poverty, drought and floods. Parents make the wrenching choice to send their children away with the hope that the possibility of a better life in a new country outweighs the violence of their home countries and the perils of the journey.
            It seems the whole world is on the move.
            Migration has been part of the story of the people of God from the beginning. Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, and God sent Abram and Sarai from their homeland to a new land. Joseph's brothers and father were refugees in Egypt. Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years after God liberated them from oppression and infanticide. The people of God suffered bitter exile in Babylon after they were forced from Judah by war and ethnic cleansing.
            The memory of migration, forced exile, of being the stranger stayed with the people of God through the centuries and became part of their confession of faith: "... you shall make this response before the Lord your God: 'A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien ..." (Deuteronomy 26:5).
            The experience of God's people compelled Israel to give special care to the stranger. "When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:33-34).
            Jesus also experienced forced migration. We read in Matthew 2:13-15 that the holy family fled for their lives from Israel into Egypt. And during the years of his earthly ministry Jesus had no permanent home. "And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head' " (Matthew 8:20).
            Our Lord not only commended us to welcome the stranger, Jesus made it clear that when we welcome the stranger we welcome him.
            Lately in our country there is a lot of anxiety about migrants and strangers. They are too often portrayed as a threat. They are the others. They need to be monitored. They don't belong here. This is our home. This is our country. We belong here.
            When we look at the world in this way it isn't possible to see that we, too, are on a journey; we, too, were once no people; we, too, are only passing through. The author of Hebrews recounting the history of salvation makes this clear when speaking about our ancestors in faith:
            "All these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one" (Hebrews 11:13-16).
            We don't have a continuing home on earth. We are all migrants. Let us welcome the stranger, seeing him or her as a fellow traveler, a companion on the way.
            And here's a song for the road:
I fear in the dark and the doubt of my journey;
   but courage will come with the sound
   of your steps by my side.
And with all of the family you saved by your love,
   we'll sing to your dawn at the end of our journey
  
(Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 808).
 
A monthly message from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her email address: bishop@elca.org. This article originally appeared in Living Lutheran's November 2016 issue. Reprinted with permission.
 
Synod will receive award
for childhood hunger work
   

            A Faithful Voice Award will be given to the Virginia Synod for its work in addressing childhood hunger by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy at its annual meeting in Richmond on Dec. 15. Bishop Jim Mauney has led a Synod Childhood Hunger Task Group in advocacy of expansion of school and summer feeding programs across the state.
Several sources of information on the childhood hunger program are listed online.
Breakfast in the Classroom is promoted to feed the 321,000 children in the state who come to school hungry. The task group asked teachers and principals and especially all Lutheran schools to apply creative thinking to find a way to feed the hunger of every child.  
            Many synod congregations are operating weekend backpack feeding programs, They provide weekend food for many children who get school meals during the week but may not have a full meal from Friday evening to Monday morning. All congregations are encouraged to coordinate with neighborhood schools to start and expand weekend backpack feeding programs.
            Summer food service programs, administered by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculturem are designed to help ensure that low=income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Cost payments are available at approved feeding sites.
            Children who are orphaned and homeless, children in abusive homes or undocumented immigrants living in fear of deportation may be hard to find. The task group urges congregations and neighborhoods to find and feed these hungry children who are desperately living on the fringes of community.  
            Churches were urged to look out for young families who may be eligible for a Special Sjupplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), administered by state and federal governments, provide nutritious foods, education and referrals to health and social services to participants at no charge, based on income

 
Brian Stamm promoted to captain    
  
Father places shioulder boards on Captain Brian Stamm.
         
            Chaplain Brian Stamm, force chaplain for Commander, Surface Forces Atlantic , Norfolk Naval Station, was promoted to captain in a ceremony at the Station chapel on Sept. 30. His father and son placed his shoulder boards and his friend, Capt. Eric Ross, chief of staff for the Surface Forces, administered the oath of office. Both Stamm and Ross are members of St. Michael, Virginia Beach.
            Several pastors and chaplains from the Tidewater Conference attended the ceremony. Stamm said their [presence "remind me who I truly am. I wear my clerical on Sundays to St. Michael, primarily for me, to remind myself of who I am." Stamm has often said that at his heart he's a Lutheran pastor who is on loan to the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps. CDR Tom Frizzell, deputy chaplain at Surface Forces, Atlantic (COMRESFOR), is relieving Stamm.  
     
ForwardingFaith reaches 2/3 goal!    

            With the addition of pledges from rostered members and a half-dozen lead gifts, the Synod's ForwardingFaith campaign has reached $1.67 million-
two-thirds of the goal of $2.5 million, Bishop Jim Mauney told a Southern Conference gathering on Oct. 23. All but two of the rostered leaders have contributed.
            More lead gifts will be asked before the 2017 Assembly and the effort will extend to congregations in the next phase. Pledges are being taken for five years. FaithFormation is providing for youth ministry in future generations.
            In the campaign, the Synod is seeking $2 million to create an endowment for youth ministry and faith formation. An additional $500,000 is sought for the ELCA
Always Being Made New campaign in its $4 million youth ministry portion. This is about relationships, the bishop said. "It's important to have this locked in for generations to come as we lend our time, talent and treasure."
            Also, the balloting process for bishop was explained by Bob Yates of College Lutheran, Salem, a member of the Synod's Transition Team. Any ELCA pastor is eligible for election and the first ballot is for nominations. The process is designed for Synod voting members' discernment and reflection. A survey seeking members'
expectations for a new bishop has been distributed. A bishop will be elected at the 2017 Assembly to succeed Bishop Mauney, who is retiring.
            Questions about the office of the bishop and Synod priorities were discussed in small groups at the conference gathering. Similar sessions are being held by all 11conferences.
  
Cleaning up after Hurricane Matthew    
     by Mike Tate
     
Emmanuel youth help one of their own.
      
At first, the forecast was promising: Hurricane Matthew was going to take a hard right turn about the time it reached the Georgia coast and head off into the Atlantic Ocean.  Instead, the powerful storm pummeled southeast Virginia deep into the night of October 8, bringing with it catastrophic flooding, dangerous winds and widespread power outages. Low-lying areas of Norfolk and Virginia Beach were hit especially hard.
            One Virginia Beach neighborhood that bore much of Matthew's fury is home to several families in Emmanuel, Virginia Beach. You can drive through Windsor Woods and see the curb piled with furniture, carpet, personal belongings and debris. Signs are posted warning scavengers that the police are on patrol. It looks like a war zone.
            The storm dealt a double blow to many homeowners who didn't have flood insurance and it could be months before they're back on their feet. That might have been the case for one of our families, too, whose home was inundated with about a foot of water, ruining pretty much everything. But as news of the damage came out, our small church stepped up right away to help. 
            To say that the response has been heartening is an understatement. When I reached out to the Lutheran Disaster Fund to see if financial relief was a possibility, I learned that it's provided more on a broader scale and not necessarily to single families. However, I was referred to Lutheran Family Services, where I was fortunate to reach Julie Swanson, chief executive officer, who was on vacation. She contacted Bishop Mauney and set up a dedicated fund to help our Tretchler family. The bishop emailed every church in the Synod asking for support. Congregations thoughout the Old Dominion have pitched in.
            At Emmanuel, our youth group takes on a service project the third Sunday of each month. Because this family has a high-schooler who belongs to the group, we decided to go to their house to help them start rebuilding their life. The restoration is a monumental job, so our pastor, the Rev. Aaron DeBenedetto, put out the call to the rest of the congregation. Following the 10:30 service, 30 members headed over to the house. We worked for about four hours, removing the walls and hauling out debris, completing in one afternoon ALL of the work necessary for the home to be dried out. Fans and dehumidifiers ran for days to suck out moisture from the studs and even the concrete floor.
            That same week, the Synod held its annual Ministerium in Virginia Beach and the Tuesday afternoon schedule included four hours of free time. Some of them assembled at the home of our family to close up the interior walls with drywall and wainscoting.
            There's still a lot of work ahead, but the good news is that the efforts of our congregation and the pastors prevented mold from growing in the house. If that had not been done, it could have become a serious health issue for the son, who is asthmatic. As time goes by, Emmanuel will be holding more work parties. Time will tell how long it will take and how much financial support is provided, but our family will get past this. It's in our nature.
            That Sunday afternoon when we first worked at the house, a neighbor came over and asked who all of those people were. When the wife told her they were members of her church family, the neighbor said her church hadn't even called to see how she was doing. The wife's response? "You belong to the wrong church."

Michael Tate is director of youth and Christian education at Emmanuel, Virginia Beach.
 
Bronze Martin Luther statue
dedicated
at Roanoke College 
 
Standing by the new Martin Luther statue are: (from left) Terri Maxey, Roanoke President Michael Maxey, Polly Branch, Charles Schumann and Betty Branch.

           A bigger than life bronze statue of Martin Luther, described by Roanoke College President Mike Maxey as "a great work of art," was dedicated at the Luther Plaza of the new Cregger Center of the college on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 30. The statue was created after more than a year of work by Betty Branch, prominent Roanoke sculptor, and her daughter, Polly Branch. The statue was donated by Richmond businessman/philanthropist Charles Schumann and his wife, Helen Schumann.
Betty Branch said she did a lot of reading about Luther's character and physical appearance because "there are all kinds of interpretations of what he might have looked like.
          After two or three different molds, the statue was taken to a Baltimore foundry for casting. The work "was a pleasure," she said.
           Luther, a 34-year-old monk who nailed his theses on the Wittenberg, Germany church door 499 years ago, was a reformer of society as well as the church, according to
Dr. Paul Hinlicky, a Luther scholar who teaches at the college. "he caused across-the-board changes..He could be annoying, sometimes aggravating, shaking
people out of their complacency. Hinlicky asked, "Do we need a reformation today?"
            Maxey spoke of the college's Lutheran heritage and added the school is a product of the Reformation. He recalled that the Schumanns have contributed to two college 
professorships, leaving "a Lutheran legacy." Schumann spoke of his admiration for Luther. College Chaplain Chris Bowen addressed a dedication prayer to "the Lord of the past  
and future." The Schumanns are members of First English Lutheran in Richmond.
            The statue, 11/2 times the life figure of Luther, rests on a 3,800-pound base of black granite from Uruguay. A plaque at the base carries a Luther quotation and the names of Roanoke College and two former sister Lutheran women's schools-Elizabeth
College, burned in1921, and Marion College, closed in 1968. Their legacies are tied to Roanoke.
 
LARCUM Conference, 2016    
           

"Reformations, Then and Now" 
December 2-3 in Ashland, VA

            With the bronze statue in place at Roanoke College and the Lutheran World Federation and Catholic Church holding a Common Prayer service in Lund, Sweden, led by LWF President Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan and Pope Francis on October 31, 2016, we Lutherans in Virginia are ready to dig deeply into this reforming Church with our LARCUM (Lutheran/Anglican/Roman Catholic/United Methodist) partners.
            This year's LARCUM Conference is an opportunity for members of congregations and rostered leaders to wrestle with the question: What is the church now called away from and where is the church called to go?  
             Session topics for the conference include:

The Body Lies Bleeding: Wounds of the Divided Church

Body Language: The reality of the body of Christ

Call and Response: The call of the present Christ

Proclaiming the Gospel in a "Secular Age"

            Our speaker, Dr. Joseph Small of the Presbyterian tradition, is a seasoned ecumenist of international scale who knows his way around this topic. He is author of such works as "Proclaiming the Great Ends of the Church" and "Fire and Wind: The Holy Spirit in the Church Today."
            Take advantage of this opportunity to prepare yourself for the 500th anniversary commemoration. Registration deadline: Nov. 18. Contact your pastor or the VA Synod for brochures and registration forms. Or email Pastor Eric Moehring, Ecumenical Representative of the VA Synod at pastor@christlutheran.org. You won't want to miss this one!  
 
The high cost of being poor in Virginia 
   by Neill Caldwell 

           
Despite recent U.S. Census Bureau data showing reductions in the poverty rate and increases in household median income, more than 900,000 Virginians face double jeopardy in today's economy. Not only are they living below the poverty line, they also face high costs in areas like rent, food, child care and predatory lending. 
That's the finding of "The High Cost of Beiing Poor in Virginia" a joint report released Oct. 10, by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and the Coalition for Human Needs.

Anti-Poverty Programs Help Alleviate Costs, But More Must Be Done
It is welcome news that the poverty rate in Virginia declined from 11.8 percent in 2014 to 11.2 percent in 2015 and declined nationally from 15.5 percent in 2014 to 14.7 percent in 2015. Sustained economic gains, strengthened by federal and state policies that increase income or reduce expenses, have finally begun to reach our low-income neighbors.
The decline in poverty is good news, and with job growth continuing, we ought to be able to take steps to accelerate the pace of poverty reduction. But the precarious situation for the poor and near poor stands in the way of substantial progress. The fact is, it is expensive to be poor in the United States.
New data released in September by the Census Bureau show that more than 909,000 adults and children remain in poverty in Virginia - and they need to pay every dime they have for necessities like rent, child care and groceries. They pay a premium for rent and food because of bad credit and inability to get to cheaper markets. They lose their drivers' licenses for inability to pay court fines and costs, thus undermining their ability to get and keep jobs.
Getting less value for their limited dollars, poor families are exposed to threats to health, child development, and employment. When expenses outstrip income, late fees and fines make things worse. For too many low-income Americans, predatory loans are a desperate attempt to stave off eviction or loss of a vehicle, leading instead to a trap of debt and poverty.
The new Census Bureau data also show that effective anti-poverty programs, like housing assistance, child care subsidies, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) lift millions out of poverty and reduce the cost of poverty for millions more. 
The expansion of health coverage through the Affordable Care Act has provided comprehensive insurance coverage for 20 million more Americans, but Virginians have not benefited from this expansion because its General Assembly has refused to tap federal Medicaid dollars for expanding that coverage. Clearly, more needs to be done to reduce the burden of poverty even further, and for more Virginians living in and near poverty every day.
Progress to build on
There were 2 million fewer poor people across the U.S. in 2015 than in 2014 and 44,000 fewer poor Virginians. From 2011 to 2015, unemployment declined nationally from 10.3 percent to 6.3 percent. The proportion of Americans without health insurance plunged from 15.1 percent to 9.4 percent over the same five years.
While communities of color in general saw substantial improvement, they remain disproportionately affected by poverty - and its associated costs. While 8.7 percent of non-Hispanic whites in Virginia were poor in 2015, the poverty rate was 19.1 percent for African Americans and 14.3 percent for Latinos.
People aged 65 or older saw their poverty rate drop from 9.5 percent to 9.0 percent from 2014 to 2015 nationally, and in Virginia 7.3 percent of seniors were poor, down from the previous year when 7.8 percent of seniors were poor. However, the Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure counts income and expenditures more fully, and the differing budgets of seniors (such as more medical expenses) leads to a nationwide poverty rate of 13.7 percent for this group using this alternative measure.
Children remain more likely to be poor in America than any other age group, with roughly one in seven in poverty in Virginia in 2015 (14.8 percent), down from 15.8 percent in. As with adults, children of color experience poverty at much higher rates that their white peers.
In fact, African American and Latino children are roughly two to three times more likely to be poor than white children. In 2015, 10.1 percent of non-Hispanic white children in Virginia lived in poverty, while 28.8 percent of African American and 18.8 percent of Latino children were poor. While their parents struggle to pay for necessities, children in poverty may pay in other ways, from damage to brain development to poorer physical and mental health, education and employment outcomes.
Those with jobs are not immune - the Census Bureau data also show that in 64 percent of poor Virginia families, at least one person worked, although not always full time or year round. Even when work and other income helps people to live up to twice the poverty line (up to $37,742 for a family of three), most people recognize that making ends meet is not that easy for those this near poverty. Here, 26 percent of Virginians are trying to get by with incomes this low. High costs affect them too, and may lead to the downward spiral to debt and poverty that the right policy choices can prevent.
 
Sailors need prayer books     
           Prayer books are in demand for Navy sailors preparing to leave Norfolk for duty of 9 to 12 months around the world, according to Pastor Aaron Fuller, who is chaplain for the Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center at Norfolk. "The prayer books are a hit and the box that the Tidewater Conference donated is almost fully given away," he said.
            In his command about 5,000 Reserve and active duty sailors are deployed individually every years. Fuller sees the sailors in his "congregation" for about a week. "Part of my ministry is to help connect them to ways to stay connected to their faith as they go forward to their assignment." That might mean connecting them to chaplains where they are going, offer to send them the weekly devotion that he prepares or offering such resources as the Prayerbook for the Armed Services.
            Through contributions, Synod members are ministering to the sailors, helping them stay connected to their faith too," Fuller said. "A powerful witness!"

Mauneys honored at Ministerium gathering
     by Pastor David Derrick 
Bishop Jim and Lynda Mauney at the Ministerium gathering. 

            Each October rostered leaders (pastors, associates in ministry, diaconal ministers, deaconesses) from around the Virginia Synod gather for an annual event called the Gathering of the Ministerium.
This year the Gathering's particular emphasis was to lift up the office of the bishop. We talked about the roles and responsibilities of bishops in general and had opportunity to celebrate the historical impact of Martin Luther and Luther's influence on the church of the past and the church of today.
The highlight of the event was an opportunity to honor Bishop Mauney and Lynda Mauney for their faithful and dedicated service to the Virginia Synod. As we look to elect a new bishop at next years' assembly, the Gathering was an ideal time for expressing heartfelt thanks to this cherished leader.
The call of the bishop is a difficult one.   It is a call with expectations that stretch in countless directions. The office of bishop proclaims God's love locally with congregations, across the state with rostered leaders and church institutions, across the country as a part of the wider church and even across the world. Bishop Mauney's abiding faithfulness and service as an ambassador for Christ is truly remarkable.
As I remember this Gathering of the Ministerium, what I value most is giving great thanks for Bishop Mauney being my pastor. I am certain that I can speak for rostered leaders across Virginia, when I say we are grateful for the ministry of Bishop Jim Mauney. We are grateful for his modeling the faith, for his leadership through good times and bad, for his steadfast pointing to the rescuing Christ, and for his unconditional friendship.
 
We need not fear 
     by Pastor Lou Florio 
           
            There is much to bother many of us about this election and we may at times feel like casting stones. Yet we are called to be a light in the darkness, ambassadors 
for Christ. We need not fear. No matter who wins the election, God promises to lead us home.
            Remember what Paul tells us: "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon 
the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone." Ephesians 2:19-20.
            Why be lost in anger? Why waste our time in fear? Politicians come and go and we have more important work to do.

Pastor Lou Florio wrote this for the Messenger, newsletter of Messiah, Mechanicsville. 
 

THE VIRGINIA LUTHERAN

A MONTHLY NEWS PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA SYNOD, ELCA

 

Editor:  George Kegley   
Voice: 540-366-4607;  Email: georgekegley@verizon.net
Post:  301 Tinker Creek Lane, NE, Roanoke, VA  24019


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