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

Ethan chose a food drive
for his birthday present
Ethan, a 6-year-old member of St. Michael, Blacksburg, chose to host a food drive on his birthday rather than receive gifts for himself.                            "Nothing warms my heart more than to see such a young person with so much love, generosity and humbleness," said the leader of the congregation's Micah's Backpack program, in the Messenger newsletter. 
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
50th.Anniversary of Women's Ordination
200th Synod anniversary
2020 G4TZ Safari dates
VICPP-Day for All People
History says hope and goodness will prevail
Hinlicky recognized
Building peace on Martin Luther King day.
Lutheran students explore "We the People"
Navy chaplains to discuss
Pastor Harold Uhl dies
Souper Bowl Sunday.
Radical hospitality
Lutherans in the news

               Pastor Kathleen Miko (left), a chaplain at Brandon Oaks, Roanoke, since 2012, has accepted a call to serve as chaplain of The Heritage at Lowman, a non-profit continuing care retirement community at Chapin, SC. Located on 200 acres, the community offers independent living, assisted living memory support, rehabilitation, long-term care, home services and Lutheran hospice. A native of Tucson, AZ, and a graduate of Southern Seminary, she served at St. Paul, Timberville, 2007-2012.
                 Kayla Edmonds Keilholz. (right) St. Paul, Rural Retreat, was ordained on Jan. 4 in the chapel at United Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg. She accepted a call to Grace Lutheran, Pembine, WS. A graduate of Roanoke College, she recently married Kurt Keilholz. Bishop Katherine Volz Finegan of the Northern Great Lakes Synod  (pictured at left rear) participated in the ordination.                                        Melissa Seibert (left), Bethel, Winchester, who will be working with Pastor Dave Young, Bethel, is a ministry intern. She is a student at Shenandoah University, discerning a call to ministry. She will be assisting in preaching, teaching Sunday School, leading an adult forum and serve as a leader in the Renew 145 project of strengthening congregational vitality.         
               Dr. Jill Cranshaw, professor of worship and liturgical theology at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, will lead a Spring Adult Faith Formation Retreat at Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond, on March 20-21. The theme will be "For such a Time as this: Sound Biblical Leadership Practices for Today's Communities."
               Grace, Winchester, has a new logo (right) and a new mission statement: "Grace Welcomes All in Faith+Community+Service." Norma Frederickson, a member of Grace, created the art work  and she has been commissioned to create paraments for the seasons of the year.
              The triennial reunion of Marion College Alumnae Association will be held at Roanoke College on April 21-23.the main purpose is "reuniting Marion alumnae and friends," said Nancy Utz, president. The last reunion in 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the closing of the college. 
              A Sunday School class at First Lutheran, Norfolk, will devote several sessions on what it means to be a welcoming congregation to people of all sexual orientations and gender identification. Discussion will focus on extending a welcome to LGBTQ people.                    Maynard Schaus and Paul Jersild will lead the class. First Lutheran's Laundry Love ministry helps ease the burden and cost of doing laundry. Members sangh carols in December and celebrated birthdays in January. They will meet on Feb. 20 at Soap'n Suds.
              Members of Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, submitted competitive grant proposals for endowment funds. Winners were: Kriststina Szekely and Brandon Driver who submitted $6,000 for Second Home Learning Center. Katy Wessel, Southwest Virginia Mission Project, $1,000. Ramona Sanders, Small and Large Group Sharing, $500.
              Grace, Chesapeake, will promote "Healthy Eating: Stewardship of our Bodies" on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 9 a.m. when a dietician will give some healthy eating tips.
              In a Global Christmas fund raiser, members of Bethel, Winchester, raised $4,680 to support mission partners in Tanzania, Philippines, India and Guatemala.
              Pastor Ken Lane led a closing ceremony at Trinity, Roanoke, for a Thrift Shop which has operated for 31 years. Louise Jennings and Ann Dunbar started a clothes closet which has supported Roanoke Area Ministries, Bradley Free Clinic and Roanoke Chaplaincy Fund. The shop also served as a welcome center.
            At St Mark, Yorktown, Spirit Walkers are walking, enjoying fellowship, sharing prayer and extending good stewardship of their bodies on the first and third Mondays at 5:30 p.m.
            First English, Richmond, received a $50,000 bequest from the estate of Leonia S. Wood. The congregation's Benevolence Mission Fund Committee is seeking grant requests.
              Prince of Peace, Basye, plans to continue its Baskets of Hope Lenten project for the seventh year. Towels, soap and other personal items are collected for those In need.       

50th  Anniversary of Women's Ordination
     by Pastor Tim Crummitt

And Jesus said to them, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me..Go therefore and make discioples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Sonand of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. An remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 18:18-20
            2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women in the Lutheran church in America. This is a huge milestone! For years, women have been (and still continue to be) fighting for their rights in the world. One would assume that the chuch would be the place where a more fruitful example was held up, but history has proven that this has not always been the case.
            It was not long ago that many said they would not accept a female pastor. It was not long ago that many here in the Peninsula said the same thing. But did you know that of the nine congregations in the Peninsula Conference of the Virginia Synod, six are served by female pastors?
            Here are the wonderful female pastors in our area! Pastor Tina Melusky, Trinity, Newport News; Rev. Dr. Phyllis Milton, Gloria Dei, Hampton; Rev. Cheryl Griffin, St. Stephen, Williamsburg; Rev. Rachel Manke, St Mark, Yorktown; Rev. Alex Witt, Our Saviour's, Norge, and Rev. Jennifer Tillman, Apostles, Gloucester.
 (Pastor Tim Crummitt wrote this article for the newsletter of St. Paul's Hampton)

Maryland-Virginia Synod 
organized two centuries ago

Almost two centuries ago, on Oct. 11, 1820, 11 pastors and seven laymen met at Winchester to organize the Synod of Maryland and Virginia---an ancestor of the Virginia Synod today. That historic event will be recognized when the Virginia Synod Assembly is held at Roanoke College on June 12-13.
   As Lutherans began to settle the new country in the 1700s, the Pennsylvania Ministerium, started by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, was the first organization of pastors. This mother synod then gave permission to found a new synod that would embrace the territory of Virginia and Maryland, according to the monumental book, "The Lutheran Church in Virginia 1717-1962," by Dr. William Eisenberg.
     Winchester was chosen for the meeting because it was "a center of Lutheran population...with congregations extending 250 miles to the southwest in Wythe County," Eisenberg wrote.
  The 11 pastors, five from Virginia, and seven laymen, four Virginians,  adopted a constitution, elected officers, began formulating church discipline and planned publication of a journal. These delegates were "delighted with the perfect harmony and brotherly love that prevailed throughout the session," according to the minutes published in both German and English. Pastor Abraham Reck of Grace, Winchester, was elected treasurer.
   This event was recognized 50 years ago by a joint session of the Virginia and Maryland synods at Grace, Winchester. On May 10-12, 1970, Both synods held brief one-day business meetings and joined for two days of talks by prominent church leaders, displays of historic materials and a "Hallmark of History" program.
    Another prominent anniversary will be celebrated by Virginians in nine years, marking the organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in a convention at Woodstock on Aug. 10-11, 1829.

Godparents for Tanzania
announces 2020 Safari  dates
"This will be our 26 th Safari to the Kilimanjaro region of northern Tanzania," according to the president of Godparents for Tanzania (G4TZ) and trip leader, Pastor Dwayne Westermann. A group of 12-15 travelers will visit three national parks to see elephants, giraffes, lions and all the wonderful animals of East Africa with 12 days in-country during the August 6-20, trip.
   In addition, travelers will learn about the work of Godparents for Tanzania which provides scholarships for very poor students to attend secondary school and university. According to Westermann, 2019 saw the eighth doctor graduated who was supported throughout her education by G4TZ sponsors. In addition, several clinical officers (physician's assistants) and primary and secondary school teachers received their bachelor's degrees last year. The 2020 Safari will provide opportunities to meet some of these students and learn what it is like for a young person to grow up in a developing country.
            The itinerary for the 2020 Safari as well as other information about the trip may be found at Click the Safari tab. To contact the trip leader, please email or call 540-353-6341.

VICPP-Day for All People
     by Joe Shaver
Five members of the Grace & Glory Lutheran Church in Palmyra attended this year's Day For All People (right) sponsored by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy in Richmond on 1/22. This is an annually organized event to meet with our legislators and to advocate for issues that impact "the least of these".
There were 280 people attending the event this year, and when the VICPP director, Kim Bobo, was welcoming us it was heartening to see, when she asked first-time participants to please stand, that about 1/3 of the group arose. Bishop Humphrey and Kelly Derrick, the bishop's assistant, were also in attendance as well as several others from around Virginia who belong to the churches of the ELCA.
After meeting with our representatives, we returned to the Centenary United Methodist Church, our meeting place, and had a box lunch. This was followed by some workshops, and each participant could select two that they wished to attend, and these were quite interesting and informative.
We then proceeded to gather in the sanctuary for our closing session and heard from our keynote speaker, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. who is the president and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus. He gave us a very inspirational talk about his work with young people and spoke of their concern for where this nation and this world may be headed. They are calling 2020 the Year of Truth and say that our quest must not be limited to Equity and Justice but must go further to secure the Existence of the younger generation.
Finally, he offered that there has been a diminished effect of Faith and Love, and that these elements must be restored, as we move forward. His remarks were very challenging.
The issues we addressed were: Employment Justice, Environmental Justice, Health Equity and Welcoming All.  

History says hope and goodness will prevail
     by Paul Dugent
Well, we have reached the end of another decade. Maybe it is because of my advancing years that they seem to go by quickly. It did not seem so long ago that we were concerned with the potential chaos of Y2K, when all the computers were supposed to fail beause they were not programmed to handle a date beyond 1999. It is hard to believe that was 20 years ago. That was also the year that the cell phone connected with the internet and many of us bought the flip phones and BlackBerrys.
   We were introduced to Facebook in 2004 and two years later, Twitter, changing the way many of us interact with one another.
     In 2007, Apple introduced us to the iPhone, which put a computer into our hands. It is hard to imagine being without a smart phone today, but it is also exciting to imagine the technology that lies in front of us. Perhaps by the end of the next decade our houses will be smarter and we will all be riding around in electric cars, but not driving them.
      Over the decades, we have also faced difficulties and concerns. There is always fighting going on in some part of the world that put our men and women in danger. In past years, we have witnessed rioting and protests in our cities. We have lived through the great recession but now enjoy a robust economy. In a little over twenty years, we have seen two presidents impeached. The country seems to be divided. Many are concerned with the quality of the environment. Social movements come and go.
      While at time things may seem bleak, history has proven that we have the will and means to overcome many of the obstacles facing us, that hope and goodness will prevail and an exciting and prosperous future awaits.
            ( Paul Dugent, council president at Our Saviour, Richmond, wrote this column
             for his congregation's newsletter.)

Hinlicky recognized for 20 years of service

          Dr. Paul Hinlicky (right), professor of Lutheran studies at Roanoke College, was  recognized for 20 years of service at a Christmas celebration at the college.
            A citation read: A member of the Religion and Philosophy Department, Dr. Paul Hinlicky holds the Rev. J. Marshall Tise Professor of Lutheran Studies endowed chair. Hinlicky has been one of the primary contributors to the Christian Studies program, teaching a range of courses in the Christian theological tradition.
            "One of his general education courses, 'Theologians Under Hitler,' has been especially popular with students. In addition to the noteworthy achievement of authoring numerous books and articles while at Roanoke College, Paul has brought many speakers to campus over the years and thus has provided the entire Roanoke College community, as well as the larger Roanoke Valley community, with the chance to hear and interact with prominent scholars from around the world.
            "Most recently, he was responsible for Roanoke College Reformation celebrations. He organized speakers, a Copenhaver scholar, a concert, panels and even dedicated a statue. Throughout it all, he was a thoughtful, elegant spokesman for the Lutheran tradition of higher education and its continued relevance 500 years beyond the Reformation's origin."

Building peace on Martin Luther King day
     by Pastor Sandy Wisco
For a monthly all-age faith formation activity, Building Peace, at Peace, Charlottesville, Peace in our neighborhood was observed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20. Over 60 guests of all ages participated.
            The children learned about Dr. King's impact and legacy through stories, crafts, activities and song. They created signs and posters which were carried in the Peace Parade as we all sang, "We Shall Overcome."
            The adults were blessed to hear from Charlotte Green,, manager of the Human Rights Commission of Charlottesville. She offered us an eye-opening presentation on the racial and ethnic history of Charlottesville with photos of key people, places, statues and city locations to accompany the story.
            Ms. Green gave us plenty to think about with regards to how a community's history and laws leave a lasting mark.
            As we neared the end, we gathered to enjoy brunch together. Our next Building Peace is Feb. 9, 4-6 p.m., theme, "Spread the Love---Building Peace through Service." Come and join us .
            Many thanks to the "Building Peace" team and all who helped with this event, particularly the Middle School youth and their mentors.            

Lutheran students explore "We the People" theme
     by Jean Getz
At Roanoke College, I have found some of the wonderful campus ministry programs run out of the Chaplain's office in Morehead Hall. The ELCA has a campus ministry network to support Lutheran college students and help them find campus ministry programs and local churches in the surrounding area of their college.
   The Lutheran Student Movement-USA was founded in 1969 in Boulder, CO, as the merger of two Lutheran campus ministry groups. LSM-USA welcomes Lutheran college students from all backgrounds. However, they are only in official partnership with the ELCA. LSM-USA divides their events in mostly the same way the ELCA does: national, regional and by synod.
     I became involved in LSM-USA by attending Roanoke College at the same time a few other Lutheran students wanted to revamp the Lutheran program at Roanoke. This included attending the LSM Region 9 Retreat in February 2019 at UNC-Chapl Hill and the LSM Region9 Fall Retreat in October 2019 at Virginia Tech.
      From these events, I discovered they had a yearly National Gathering. This year, the National Gathering is very close; it is in Washington, D.C. Although I do not know why D,C, was chosen for this year specifically, I do know that Region 9 has had the largest turnout for the National Gathering in the last few years. Region 9 is essentially the ELCA synods in the southeastern United States, plus  Bahamas and Caribbean.
            From Roanoke College there were two students attending this year; myself and another student named Grace. She has been responsible for getting Roanoke back to being involved in LSM. We are both being sponsored to attend National LSM by the RC Lutherans Club at Roanoke.
            Much like most of the Virginia Synod and ELCA events, National LSM has a theme and a theme verse. The theme is "We the People" and the theme verse is in Isaiah 51:4. To prepare for the event, all of the attendees have been mailed a guidebook with the theme, verse, schedule, speakers and workshops. The event begins on Monday, Dec.30, and ends on Thursday, Jan. 2. I am excited to go to meet new people as well as see some of the friends I made at the Region 9 Fall Retreat in October .
(Jean Getz, a Roanoke College student, wrote this article for the St. Paul's
           Ambassador in her home congregation, St. Paul's, Jerome.)

Two Navy chaplains to discuss
growth in faith through hardship
Two retired Navy chaplains will lead the annual Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission Gathering on the theme, "Growing in Faith Through Hardship," at the Roslyn Center in Richmond on Saturday, March 21, and Sunday, March 22.
    The leaders will be the Rev. Ted Edwards Jr.,(left) retired commander and a retired Episcopal priest who lives at Franklin, TN., and the Rev. Carl Trost (below right), also a retired commander who is serving as interim pastor of the Rapidan Parish in Orange and Rochelle, who lives at Staunton. In their service aboard ship and on land the chaplains ministered to members of the military who dealt with things that would be difficult for us to imagine, said John Lasher, VLMM president.
      Edwards, on active duty for 20 years, holds degrees from Yale and Webster universities, Hobart College and Virginia Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Carol, have two adult children. Trost, also chaplain at The Legacy at North Augusta, Staunton, is a graduate of Roanoke College and Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. He also served as associate pastor of First English Lutheran, Peoria, IL. He and his wife, Ann Marie, have two children.
        Chaplain for the Gathering will be Pastor Patrick Freund of the North Mountain Parish, St. Stephen, St. Matthew and St. Peter's at Toms Brook and Strasburg. Music will be led by the Rev. Carl Wondree, youth pastor at Bon Air Baptist Church, Richmond.
        Registration of $160 for the event may be sent to Richard Neidermayer at 1519 Old Coalmine Road, Midlothian 23113.

Pastor Harold Uhl dies at 87

Pastor Harold J. Uhl, former development officer for Virginia Lutheran Homes and pastor of St.Timothy, Vinton, died in Indianapolis, IN, on Aug. 6. He was 87.
  Uhl served as chair of a Lutheran Special Appeals Council which raised funds for synod institutions in the 1990s and he worked in development for congregations. A native of New York City, he graduated from Capital University and Trinity Seminary and earned a doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh. He led congregations in Pittsburgh, North Miami and Annandale in Northern Virginia before moving to Roanoke.
     Surviving are his wife, Bethany Arnold Uhl; two sons and a daughter, stepchildren, grandchildren and great-granchildren. The late Barbara Lee Edwards Uhl was his first wife and the mother of his children.

Food to be collected on Souper Bowl Sunday

Youths in many congregations are preparing for a big Souper Bowl weekend when they collect cans of food for local pantries. At St. Philip, Roanoke, hundreds of cans will be collected for the food pantry at St. Mark's, Roanoke, an annual custom.
  Some churches place two cans---one for the Kansas City Chiefs and one for the San Francisco 49ers---for a food competition.

Radical hospitality in a 
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
     by Pastor Eric Moehring

On Thursday, January 23, Trinity United Methodist Church in Richmond hosted a  L ARCUM sponsored service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The week runs from the Confession of Peter (Jan. 18) to the Conversion of St. Paul (Jan. 25). It is an opportunity for Christians around the world to pray together for the unity of the Church, a unity that has already been given to us by God through Christ's prayer, recorded in John 17.
 The service can take many different forms, depending upon the wishes of community gathered. This year in Richmond the organizers used the Graymoore Institute's order of worship prepared by the Christian churches in Malta and Gozo, using St. Paul's arrival at their islands as told in Acts 27 and 28. This year's theme was the words of 28:2, "They showed us unusual kindness."
   The preacher for the service was the Rev. Mary Anne Glover, interim general minister of the Virginia Council of Churches. She picked up on this theme of radical hospitality by starting with a story from her own upbringing of a father and mother practicing their own radical hospitality by making sure two chairs at the dinner table were always left open. By the time the meal started they were filled with strangers out of work or home, strangers in need of encouragement or money. Every time they left with a promise by her father to help them look for work or a place to live, a handshake that contained small amounts of money...and containers from her mother "full of the leftovers."
    Throughout her sermon Pastor Glover wove in some basic questions so in need to be asked in these days. What would radical hospitality mean today? What would it look like today? Do you shake hands with a dismissive "How do you do?" or do you hold on to hear their answers? What is it that we can do and say at the elevator, the gas station, in the darkness? How do you extend radical hospitality to those who are far different from you? How do you extend it to those who have walked for days to get here, to this country, this community? Pastor Glover concluded with the admonition, "Radical hospitality is done because I am a child of God," and then asked one last question, "What would it take for you to reach this kind of radical hospitality?"
      During the "Greeting of Peace," the assembled took up Pastor Glover's call. Those in the pews got out to greet each other in the center aisle; the pastors got out of the chancel to greet everyone. This simple act was a sure sign of radical hospitality.
(Retired Pastor Eric Moehring is the ecumenical representative for the Synod.)

A pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago
     by Molly McCue

In late May, I flew to Santiago de Compostela, Spain to begin two weeks of pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. The Camino is comprised of several pilgrimage routes established by the Catholic Church that lead from France and Portugal into the city of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.
            Catholics believe that the body of St. James was transported in a stone boat to this region of Spain, where it was later discovered by a monk in the 9th century. King Alfonso II made the first pilgrimage to the holy site and many followed his example during the medieval period. The Camino declined in popularity until the route was officially marked in the 1980s. Today, over 300,000 people from across the globe travel the Camino each year.
            For my pilgrimage, I traveled with a group of 16 other students from the College of William and Mary as part of a study abroad experience. Everything I needed for my two weeks fit in my backpack. It contained only one other outfit, a sleeping bag, simple toiletries, a notebook, lots of band-aids, and more granola bars than I should've been able to fit. Most importantly, I had my pilgrim's credential to collect stamps along my route to receive my Compostela, which gave me extra forgiveness of sins.
            I bought a one-way ticket to Leon, a city 200 miles away from Santiago and began my walk back to Santiago. Each day, I put on my hiking boots at 5 a.m. to walk 16 miles to the next destination. After walking, I waited in long lines for the shower, did my laundry in a small outdoor sink, enjoyed the traditional three-course meal, took advantage of siesta time, and explored the village. I learned to cobble together enough Spanish to get by, though, I did accidentally order myself octopus for dinner once.
            The Camino is the greatest example of how people from all over the world can come together. While walking, each pilgrim greets you with "buen camino" and they often take the time to share their stories. I met a German woman walking in memory of her father, two recent college graduates taking a break before they started their office jobs, and an Argentinian woman searching for clarity after losing her job. The Camino encouraged me to reach out to those around me and be flexible. It allowed me to take a break and be present with God. It was a life-changing experience filled with the pain of many blisters, but also, pure joy when I finally walked arm in arm with my fellow pilgrims into the cathedral square.
            In divisive times, the Camino proves that people are really not so different, especially when you share the dust of 200 miles on your boots.




Editor:  George Kegley     
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