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

God's Work, Our Hands
          Among many congregations participating in "God's Work, Our Hands" were Mountain View Parish churches, Woodstock, filled a hay wagon with over 5000 individual food items and collected $300 in monetary donations for Luke's Backpack, a program of ShenandoahValley Lutheran Ministries, on Sunday,September 8.
          Luke's Backpack provides Shenandoah County school students with non-perishable food items for weekend meals for children who otherwise may not get a weekend meal. During the 2018-2019 school year, volunteers packed 7515 bags.
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
We are to be Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
Ride on!
Daubert to speak on church vitality
Harris on Christian awareness
Interfaith march held in Charlottesville
National Council to discuss racism
"Spiritual Ecuminism" is LARCUM theme
Peace, Charlottesville, is a busy place
Four Virginias learn on PNG visit
Radecke to lead Nicaragua tour
Roanoke College ranks high
St. Mark's Roanoke, celebrates 150
What is Tent of Nations Sunday?.
Virginia Lutheran inserts ending
Highlands congregations exploring

Lutherans in the news

            Two retired pastors have been named to interim posts.
Pastor Carl Trost, retired Navy chaplain, is interim pastor of Mount Nebo and Good Shepherd in the Rapidan Parish. After over 30 years of military and parish ministry, he and his wife and two daughters live in Staunton. Pastor Larry Closter is serving at
Pleasant View, Staunton.
            The congregation of Faith, Suffolk, has dedicated a marble plaque in honor of
the many years of service of retired Pastor Scott Benson and his wife, Babs Benson.
           "For Everything There is a Season" will be the theme of an All Lutheran Women's Retreat, led by Donna Marie Todd, at the Natural Bridge Hotel and Conference Center, Nov. 7-9. The theme will revolve around ways people are always changing physically and spiritually. Fellowship, prayer, worship, music, rest and reflection are planned.
            First Lutheran, Norfolk, and its neighbor , St. Mary's Basilica, held a joint picnic, planned by a joint leadership group, Christians United for Social Change, and scheduled an Oct. 17 dinner and a screening of "When They See Us," a film about the now-exonerated Central Park 5. The ministry "seeks to show how Jesus Christ provides the love and unity that crosses racial and denominational barriers and brings all of God's children together." First Lutheran also plans Bread Sunday on Oct. 20 when members will write letters to legislators seeking support for policies that combat hunger, through Bread for the World programs.
Many congregations have Blessing of the Animals event planned in October., near the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. Pastor Tim Crum Crummitt, St. Paul's, Hampton, said, "Pets are such a joy in our lives. They deserve a blessing too." A special presentation on mental health, a conversation on "Let me tell you what it's really like" will be held on Sunday, Oct. 6, instead of the service. Also at St. Paul's, Joey Martinez of Scout Troop 218 has earned Eagle Scout recognition.
            At Brandon Oaks, Roanoke, Dr. Deanne Vance, a recitalist, chamber musician and a resident, scheduled a piano recital. A grand piano was recently donated to the retirement center.
            An education wing was scheduled for completion for the new school year at Epiphany, Richmond. Classrooms were painted, floors were polished, a bathroom was added in thr nursery and an entrance was widened in the Vision 2020 program. Eight men from Epiphany worked on the home of a coal miner in an Appalachia Service Project at Jonesville in Lee County in August.
At Christ the King, Richmond, a new education wing was dedicated, a blessing and commissioning of students and faculty, backpack assembly and a picnic were held on Back to Church Sunday, Sept. 8. An El Salvador Festival featured Salvadoran food, music, games and crafts on Sept. 14. Information about the children Christ the King sponsors was available at a booth. A team from the congregation will visit El Salvador in January for the fifth anniversary of a building.
The fifth annual Beer und Brats fundraiser was held at Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center on Sept. 28.
At St. Luke, Richmond, the Alexander Paley Music Festival featured music by Alexander Paley, piano;; Amiram Ganz, violin, and Pei-wen Chen, piano, on Sept. 27, 28, 29. Sarah Miles is the new program coordinator at St. Luke.
Grace & Glory congregation , Palmyra, designated September as Feeding Fluvanna Month while collecting food for the Fluvanna Christian Service Society. Last year, county congregations collected 5,500 pounds of food and raised $4,400.
The Thrivent Community-- Blue Ridge Group will bring God's Pit Crew, a non-proft, faith-based crisis and disaster response team from Danville to a service project at Taubman Museum of Art on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 10 a.m. They will participate in a packing event and the launching of Disaster Relief first aid kits.
Ginny Chilton is the new music director at Gloria Dei, Hampton. A music graduate of the University of Virginia, she holds two degrees from Boston University.
Christ, Fredericksburg, has a Feed the Children bakpack program, delivering 150 weekend food 
backpacks at an estimated cost of !3,500 for the school year. Social workers have identified 552 students as homeless.
A tour of historic St. John's Lutheran Church  Cemetery and adjoining Flohr House will be offered by Wythe County Historical Society/Wytheville Department of Museums on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 10 and 11:30 a.m.
The 19 th annual golf tournament of Richmond Friends of the Homeless will be held Oct. 14 at Lake Chesdin Golf Club.                                                                                                                                        

We are to be bold
      by Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

This church had a meeting in August. We gathered in Milwaukee for the 2019 Churchwide Assembly. We were filled with anticipation and excitement-what would unfold during the assembly? How would we be inspired by worship and Bible study? How would we be challenged? What new insight into the work of the church would we receive?
It turned out to be quite a week. The assembly adopted a social statement, "Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action"; offered an apology to people of African descent; adopted a resolution setting aside June 17 as a day of repentance to commemorate the Emanuel 9; moved forward on our work toward authentic diversity; declared the ELCA a sanctuary denomination; adopted a policy statement, "A Declaration of Inter-religious Commitment"; celebrated the successful completion of our first-ever comprehensive campaign; began the celebration of 50 years of Lutheran women being ordained in the United States, 40 years of women of color being ordained, and 10 years of LGBTQIA+ individuals being able to serve freely; elected Deacon Sue Rothmeyer as secretary; passed a budget; and much more.
The assembly was intense, and voting members were actively engaged. The actions taken generated much debate during and after the assembly. Different narratives about what did and did not happen have been spun.
Some say that a gathering of well-meaning people got a little carried away and entangled the church in impossibly naïve and dangerously political issues-calling out patriarchy, denouncing racial inequity, establishing a new commemoration for the church calendar, becoming a "sanctuary denomination," being a little too open to inter-religious commitments. Others say that a gathering of well-meaning people took decisions that were too timid, that didn't go nearly far enough to address and act on significant issues in society and within the church. It seems as if they are reporting on two different events.
Here's what did happen. Our days were centered around the word and sacraments. At midday every day we gathered for communion. We heard the word read, proclaimed and sung. We remembered our baptism. We received the living Word in, with and under the bread and wine. This wasn't an intermission in our work, a kind of break from the real business of the assembly. It was the source and strength for the work we were called to do.
Before votes were cast, we paused in silence and then in prayer. There was Bible study every day. We sang psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God. We had deep conversations with each other, first as strangers, but then recognizing in each other a member of the body of Christ. We celebrated and disagreed and laughed and got far too little sleep. And, led by the Spirit, we caught a glimpse of the kingdom of God breaking into the world.
One of the gifts the Lutheran movement offers to the world is the clear declaration that the word of God is both law and gospel, judgment and promise. Martin Luther had a very conservative view of human nature, recognizing our brokenness, rebellion and sin. We all stand under God's judgment. Did we get it all right at the assembly? Probably not. Where we were in error, may God correct us. But the word's promise is that we are forgiven and redeemed. We are freed in Christ to love and serve our neighbor.
The actions taken in Milwaukee were based on our scriptural and confessional understanding of who God chooses to be for us, especially and most clearly in Jesus crucified and risen for the life of the world. We believe that God desires abundant life for all, that all people are created equally in the image of God, that we are commanded to welcome the stranger and care for children.
And we are to be bold. In Milwaukee, we stepped out in faith..

A monthly column from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her email address: This column originally appeared in Living Lutheran's September-October issue. Reprinted with permission.

Ride on!
     by Jerry Hale

Here are portions of an article and a photo from Growing Together, Together in Christ, a quarterly publication of Trinity Ecumenical Parish, Moneta. Doug Miller's wife, the Rev. Bea Miller, is a pastor of Trinity Parish..

  Most Trinity parishioners have had the chance to meet Pastor Bea Miller's husband, Doug. He's a fixture at Sunday services and, let's face it, stands out from the crowd as he deftly rolls into one of the spots reserved for wheelchair-bound woshipers.
  Some may also know of Doug's passion for rolling on three wheels. His fascination with sidecar-equipped motorcycles, as I learned when I interviewed him for Laker Magazine, goes back to even before bullets from a workplace shooting left him, at age 24, paralyzed in the lower body and blind in one eye.
  But Doug (at right), whose youthful looks belie his 62 years and challenging recovery, has nevertheless led an incredibly full life that includes, among many other achievements, marrying Bea and rocketing high-performance motorcycles straightaways.
  "I've never been without at least one motorcycle since age 11 when my older brother bought me a Kawasaki Coyote minibike for Christmas," Doug recounts. Loot from         subsequent gift occasions established his tool collection and he promptly excelled at maintaining and repairing two-wheeled machines. By age 21, he'd become a respected force on the "Hare Scramble" and Enduro dirt bike racing circuits, often driving through the night after work on Saturday to reach Sunday races throughout the Southeast. Then, with racer's adrenalin still coursing, driving all night and back to work on Monday.
    Frustrated with the confines of a six-day-a-week managerial position, Doug left it in favor of a typesetter's job in Tallahassee where the schedule better tolerated weekend trips to races. He was at work one fateful Monday morning when the mentally unstable husband of the business owner showed up, pistol in hand. Doug's body caught two of his bullets, one through the lower spine and another in the neck that exited through his left eye.
 Seven years ago, Doug married Bea, who had already shown a willingness to share his passion for aggressive riding. "She had never been on a motorcycle before getting into my sidecar but took to it right away," Dough said, grinning. The two shared west coast riding during a 12,639-mile cross-country excursion in 2015.
   Their move to Moneta in 2016 has opened up new riding vistas and they are both enjoying the scenic roads within easy reach of Smith Mountain Lake. Says Doug, "There are twists and hills that make for challenging riding and beautiful vistas galore." When Bea isn't along, the sidecar carries Doug's wheelchair. "I can actually take the corners faster when Bea is along to help counterbalance the bike," Doug says with a devious grin.

Daubert to speak on church vitality

  The Rev. Dr. Dave Daubert (right), a leading speaker on church renewal, leadership, strategy and stewardship, will lead the annual Gathering of the Ministerium at Virginia Beach on Oct. 21-23. He will be speaking on the Gathering theme, "What is Congregational Vitality Anyways?"
   Daubert, a former engineer, is pastor of Zion Lutheran, Elgin, IL, and leader of Day 8 Strategies, which works with congregations, judicatories and other organizations.. He is a keynote speaker, author, trainer and workshop presenter.
   The Ministerium is an event for pastors, interns, vicars and spouses who will worship, relax, learn, pray and sing for two days. This year's program takes a look at congregational vitality to help rostered leaders know the marks of a vital congregation through worship, pastoral and lay leadership and invitational ministry.

Dr. Faith Harris calls for 
Christian  awareness  of cimate change
           by Serena Fick

"It smells like earth!" exclaimed my friend as we approached the steps of Roanoke College's  Antrim Chapel on the damp evening of September 10th. Little did we know, she had hit the  major point of Dr. Faith Harris's (right) lecture that night right on the nose. The lecture, titled "Who  Cares about Climate? A Religious Response to the Climate Disaster," focused largely on the  studies of Willie James Jennings, author of Acts: A Theological Commentary on the Bible and  The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race.
Dr. Harris began her talk by listing some statistics. According to a Yale University study from  2008, 70 percent of people in the United States self-identify as Christian. The majority of those  Christians did not see it as their duty to protect the planet. Dr. Harris pointed out that historically  Christians think of themselves as "the only heirs of God's creation." This is the basis of what  Willie James Jennings calls a "geographic wound" caused by a series of "Christian mistakes."
Colonialism was a major Christian mistake and a catalyst for disrespecting God's creation to the  point of hurting the Earth. Colonizing Christians saw indigenous people as ignorant, disregarding  their understanding and love for the Earth. Indigenous people are what Dr. Harris refers to as  "second readers" of the Bible.
Christians tend to consider themselves "first readers," seeing the Bible as being delivered directly from God's pen into their hands. Second readers are exposed to God's word over the  shoulders of all our ancestors; through the lens of their experiences. Dr. Harris calls for a  "re-theologizing" of our Christian principles concerning the climate. She emphasizes the need for morality as well as to transition to being second readers of the Bible. One point that stuck out  to me was her idea that the Earth, God's creation, speaks to us. Climate change is a response  from the Earth to humanity's disrespect for God's gift to us. As Christians, it is our duty to listen  to God's creation.
The crowd had varying reactions to Dr. Harris's lecture. The listeners were generally interested  in what they could do to save our planet. Dr. Harris suggests finding the "green sheep" in your  community; educate yourself and join with environmentally conscious organizations to amplify  their message in your church. Dr. Harris was also asked if she deals with climate deniers. She  responded that while she does, at this point she does not even entertain their comments. One  listener asked what other religions are doing to combat the climate disaster. While many are  making efforts to save the Earth, Dr. Harris pointed out that the 70 percent of Americans she  referenced that self-identify as Christian are "the 70 percent of Americans we can work on."
Overall, Dr. Harris shared a message of hope for the future. By educating ourselves, being  second readers, and listening to God's creation, we, as Christians, can make a huge impact on the  world that God gave to us. We can make sure the Earth "smells like earth!" for generations to  come.
Serena Fick is a senior at Salem High School and
a member at College Lutheran Church, Salem. 

Interfaith march held in Charlottesville

An Interfaith March for Peace and Justice in downtown Charlottesville was led by Joe Shaver of Grace and Glory, Fluvanna County, on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 22. At a conference of the Parliament of the World's Religions at Toronto, Canada, last year, Shaver met Greg Davis, Founder of the Interfaith March movement based at Columbus, Ohio.
 When Shaver expressed an interest in the movement and Davis learned that he lived near Charlottesville, Davis recruited him to lead a march there. Because of the events of the 8/12/17 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, a march was needed, Davis said.
   About 40 people participated in the march in a downtown pedestrian mall, ending at the site of the Heather Heyer Memorial, recalling the young woman who was killed by a neo-Nazi who drove his car into the crowd of protestors. Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, spoke and Shaver read the St. Francis Peace Pray.
Shaver worked with the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice and the Charlottewsville Clergy Collective to plan the march. Shaver said, "I have always been inspired by Heather Heyer as an activist and I think that to promote Peace and justice in our community, we need people who are wiling to be activists."
  This was part of an international march in 18 cities and 10 countries. "As solitary individuals, we can't solve any of the critical problems that we're facing locally, globally and nationally but we need each other," said Bob McAdams of Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice. "They felt that this was a place that needed to show its solidarity with other ciites, but also its dedication to peace and justice that is the way forward from the chaos that was evident on Aug. 12, 2017.

National Council to discuss
racism at Hampton gathering

            The National Couincil of Churches will confront racism at a Christian Unity Gathering at Hampton on Oct. 13-16. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and Bishop Bob Humphrey will participate in the opening service at the Holiday Inn.,
            The theme for the Gathering will be "Ending Racism: Confronting Our Past, Revisiting Our Present and Naming God's Preferred Future."
            Among the speakers will be Dr. Agnes Abuom, moderator of the World Council of Churches Central Commuittee; Ibram X. Kendl, author, speaker and leading antiracism advocate; Indigenous Archbishop Mark. L. McDonald of the Anglican Church of Canada; Dr.W. Franklyn Richardson, chair of the Conference of National Black Churches; Ruby Sales, public theologian and activist, and Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, World Council of Churches general secretary.

"Spiritual Ecuminism" is LARCUM theme.
This year's LARCUM (Lutheran/Anglican/Roman Catholic/United Methodist) Conference has a hands-on theme to it that can stimulate and enhance unity and cooperative activity between churches of many faith traditions in your community. "Spiritual Ecumenism: The Soul of the Ecumenical Movement" will be the theme for the Nov. 22-23 LARCUM (Lutheran/Anglican/Roman Catholic/United Methodist) Conference at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church, Virginia Beach. This is a special event for laity and rostered leaders.
            Centered on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity held each January, Fr. James Loughran, SA, director of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute that has been tasked with providing materials and promoting the week since 1909, will offer insightful food for thought and practical information in developing a meaningful worship experience among churches as well as stimulate community action using the 2020 theme: They Showed Unusual Kindness. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from a strong, cooperative ecumenical group in the Virginia Beach community and take ample time to learn from each other.
            The conference begins Friday, 6 pm, and concludes with lunch on Saturday. Brochures and online registration are available at Special motel rates (you are responsible for your own lodging) are noted on the brochure. Registration: $35 (students free). Please register by November 8. For more information and to register through the brochure, contact:
Mr. Rick Caporali
7600 Old Keene Mill Rd.
Springfield, VA 22152
(Remember: This is an event for those in the pew and rostered leaders!)

Peace, Charlottesville, is a busy place
   Most congregations have multiple uses of their buildings but Peace, Charlottesville, has one of the busiest schedules.  Here is their normal weekly agenda  from their newsletter:
"Did you know that we use our church building as a community ministry?
We regularly open our doors to two churches-Spanish Seventh Day Adventists on Saturday and Thursday nights and Grace Faith Chinese Church on Friday nights and some Saturday mornings; five Scout troops; two local homeowner groups; three craft guilds and eight (yes, 8) AA meetings each week!
"That doesn't include the folks who borrow our space for one-time events, including the Virginia Synod. Many of these groups make a donation to cover the cost of maintenance and upkeep, others bring gifts for Hungry Hearts or other ministries.   Most of all, each time we open our doors, we welcome new friends and offer the hospitality Jesus taught us to share."                                                                                                                                      

Virginia Synod Companion 
District  to Papua, New Guinea (PNG)
Four Virginias learn on PNG visit
by Diane Giessler

Representatives from the Virginia, North Carolina, Central States and NW Lower Michigan synods gathered in Cairns, Australia and then proceeded to Port Moresby, PNG Capitol City and finally on to the City of Lae where the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea headquarters is located.
We all participated in a three-day conference with representatives from our respective companion districts of the ELC-PNG. This time together was informative and productive as we learned about the ELC-PNG, how projects are managed and set goals with our companions. 
Bonus was seeing Mary Tankulu, who graduated from Roanoke College in 2002 and now coordinates ELC-PNG programs with the Lutheran Church of Australia.
  On 3 September, the Virginia contingency, Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick, Rev. Michael Church, Matt Wertman and Diane Giessler, traveled to the Bialla Circuit in W. New Britain the first of four circuits within the New Guinea Islands District they would visit. First thing the next morning, we went to see the Vilelo Congregation located near the fringe of the disaster area where the volcano recently erupted twice. We saw the nearby Barema Care Center for evacuated families that looked like a tent city. The medical supplies we took (protective masks, water purification tablets and diarrhea medication) were left at a health center for distribution to those in need.
When we arrived at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bialla, the future site of the New Guinea Island District Lutheran Center, we were welcomed by a sing sing, the traditional celebration for visitors. After opening remarks in the church by our host and then our responses with mingled attempts using some Pidgin English phrases, we divided into groups; Sunday school, youth, women and men where we told them about ourselves and answered their questions.
The women were very curious to learn about Pastor Kelly because women are not currently ordained or serving as pastors in PNG. The youth wanted to share their music and learn some American songs sung at youth gatherings. The Sunday school kids shared some of their songs and the four corners of the church became very lively with conversation, music and exchange of information. 
Ellen, a Good Shepherd Sunday School teacher, received from Rev. Michael Church
 (at right) a string of hearts from his congregation, Our Saviour, Warrenton, which has a long standing history with Good Shepherd. Similar encounters like this happened outdoors on church grounds at every congregation visited.
There were many distinct experiences in the Kimbe Circuit where six congregations were visited. At the Mt. Zion congregation, their sing sing included eight children in their traditional tribal dress. Two children held our hands and escorted us to a grandstand. Then students from the nearby Sarakolok Schools marched in formation with PNG and W. New Britain flags and treated us to the pledge to the PNG Flag, their National Anthem and the W. New Britain Anthem. It was quite impressive. The other congregation was Mingae, a mission community started around 14 years ago. It is located far from Kimbe Town and a challenging journey up the mountain even in a four-wheel drive vehicle. The view we encountered when we arrived and looked out and down over the rain forest was breathtaking. To develop the mission they had been gifted with a portable saw mill. The men cut selected trees and milled them. Then they carried the lumber to the building sites for the church, health clinic, school and a parsonage currently being constructed. Matt, an architect, was immensely impressed with the craftsmanship. We felt like witnesses to a miracle because in the middle of nowhere hundreds of people were being served with God's Word. Hopping on another short plane ride, our next stop was at Kokopo Lutheran Church in the East New Britain Circuit.
Sunday worship was held at the Rabaul Lutheran Church, the only structure in Rabaul that survived the 1994 volcanic eruption. Pastor Kelly (at left) read the Gospel in Pidgin and preached. Probably the first time a congregation in the NGI District has heard a woman preach.  Two parishes, Kerevat and Warangoi, never visited by the Virginia Synod, greeted us with great enthusiasm. Arriving at Kerevat, the pastor's son, Diemer. named after a former missionary, Max Diemer, rushed up to thank me for the assistance the VA Synod provided that has made it possible for him to attend school. He told me he took his studies seriously and was a good student.
We met Erike Sifuma who attends church at Warrangoi and is the dean at the nearby University of Natural Resources and Environment. He shared his story about being a camp counselor in Michigan through the ELCA's International Camp Counselor Program years ago and how it influenced him to become an educator. Before heading to the airport to travel on to Kavieng, the 4th Circuit located in the New Ireland Province, we visited a beautiful memorial cemetery that honored the fallen Australian soldiers from World War II who fought to protect PNG. The Kavieng Lutheran Congregation greeted us much like others however in their own distinct way.
Early the next morning we returned to the church to find their school students lined up for classes to greet us. We were invited to visit classrooms, answer the children's questions and give instruction , that was really fun. The class Pastor Kelly and I were in worked on identifying English words for opposites such as high and low. Later our group enjoyed a boat excursion around the small islands off the coast of Kavieng that included landing on the Idyllic Mosa Island for a relaxing swim and lunch. What a perfect ending to our eight days in the NGI District.
PNG culture is diverse, simply holding on to your historical language and navigating the changes brought on by the 21sy century is challenging. It is a place rich with natural resources and in need of investment but also with the nagging question about what cost to the environment and reciprocation is appropriate.
Perhaps the most obvious change I saw besides the use of mobile phones since visiting the NGI District 11 years ago. was the retail growth in towns and cleaner public areas. Also the influx of Chinese businesses and Japanese bridge construction along the W. New Britain highway that connects all the way through to E. New Britain. We were told that under good conditions taking that route should take about five hours. Hopefully, it won't take another 11 years to return. Regular visits to PNG are important to maintain but also to grow this wonderful companionship. There is much we can learn from our PNG Christian siblings about how to be God's Seed in our respective parts of the world.

Radecke to lead Nicaragua tour
   Retired Pastor Mark Radecke and his wife, Tami Radecke, are planning their 19 th mission trip to Nicaragua on Feb. 14=22, in partnership with Nicaraguan Christian Children's Center. They will work on service projects, typically construction, gardening, Bible school, tutoring and dental care.
     The Center is a school and home for children living in humble circumstances. Some are orphans, abandoned or in danger. Their physicl, emotional, educational and spiritual needs are care for in this safe place. For information on the tour, contact Radecke at r The tour will be based at Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, where Radecke previously served as interim pastor.

Roanoke College ranks 
high  in undergraduate teaching
Roanoke College has been named by U.S. News & Worl Report as one of the nation's top liberal arts colleges for undergraduate teaching. Roanoke ranked 40th (tied) out of 71 national liberal arts colleges recognized by the magazine. This was the first time the college has placed on the list.
            The magazine said the rankings focus on schools where faculty and administrators are committed to teaching undergraduate students in a high-quality manner. Dr. Richard Smith, vice president for academic and student affairs, said the college faculty "prize teaching above all else in their work...Our faculty is committed to fostering an environment that helps each student discover high value careers andl lives with meaning and purpose."

St. Mark's Roanoke, celebrates 150 years
Members of St. Mark's, Roanoke, are recalling that the annual Virginia Synod convention was held in their church on 35 years between 1922 and 1969. That's one of the bits of history as St. Mark's celebrates 150 years of ministry.
 Bishop Bob Humphrey preached at a festive anniversary service on Sept.22.
Pastor Tim Anderson is coming from Minnesota to preach on Oct. 20. Retired Pastors Bill Van O'Linda, Richmond, and Fred Guy, North Carolina, and Pastor Matt Henning, from Georgia, all sons of the congregation, have returned to preach.
            During the anniversary, the congregation has raised more than $385,000 in camapaign to do major work on the organ, replace heating and air conditioning and other improvements.

What is Tent of Nations Sunday?
The 2019 Assembly of the Virginia Synod resolved to encourage congregations to designate a Sunday in October as "Tent of Nations Sunday." The suggested date is Sunday, October 20, the beginning of the olive harvest.
  Tent of Nations Sunday has three purposes: it is a day for corporate and individual prayers, education of congregations and individuals, and encouraging visits to the Tent of Nations to learn and volunteer at the Nassar farm to experience and participate in its mission of building bridges of peace and understanding between people.
  History: Palestinian Lutheran Christians have been a continuing presence in Israel and Palestine since German and English Christians came to support the Christian minority in Palestine in the mid-19th century, today they are . Our ELCA is an ongoing ministry partner with the ELCJH W hat is Tent of Nations? The Nasser family of Bethlehem, Palestine, are Lutheran Palestinians who since 1916 have owned 100 acres of land in the West Bank near Bethlehem (in Area C), and George Nassar, one of the nine Nassar siblings, is a member of Christ The King Lutheran Church, Richmond,. The Nassar family's deed of ownership of the land since 1916 continues to be contested by the Israeli Supreme Court and Israeli Military Court, restrictions that apply to all Palestinian land in the West Bank, making it practically impossible to farm or make a living.
The Nassars founded the Tent of Nations on their farm (known as "Daher's Vineyard") to gather people of the world for workshops, to provide opportunities for volunteers from many countries to help cultivate the land and to support the continuing mission of the farm and the Women's Center in the village of Nahalin, and to invite visitors to come together to learn, to share, and to build bridges of understanding and hope at home and abroad.
The Tent of Nations, motivated by Christian faith, seeks to embody a positive approach in the face of conflict and occupation, following the command of Jesus to "love your enemies" and thus the motto of Tent of Nationsis "We refuse to be enemies." They strive to channel pain and frustration into positive actions in order to build relationships leading to a better future.
The Tent of Nations is working towards becoming completely self-sustaining in regard to food, water, and electricity, with a vision toward developing a vocational training and education center on the farm which will provide a space for children, young people, and adults of all faiths to learn about alternative energy, organic farming, and community building.
Congregations and individuals can learn more online at Tent of Nations ( ) including information on farming and peace-building workshops, and through Friends of Tent of Nations North America ( ) , an all-volunteer charitable organization.
Interested individuals may also register now for a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land that includes a visit to the Tent of Nations and is scheduled for May 1-11, 2020. The cost is $3,000 and includes round-trip airfare from Dulles (IAD) to Tel Aviv (TLV) and 4-star accomodations. Contact Pastor Elizabeth Yates for more information: (804) 968-8648 or .

Virginia inserts in Living Lutheran are ending.
The 4-page Virginia Synod insert in the November issue of Living Lutheran magazine will be the last, according to the ELCA. The quarterly inserts containing Virginia features and news have been published in the January, April, July and November issues of the magazine since the ELCA merger in 1988. George Kegley, editor of the Virginia Lutheran, edited the inserts.
            Andrea Kulik, manager of editorial services for Living Lutheran, said only 20 of the 65 ELCA synods are participating in the insert program now. Financial and staffing considerations and a growth in the methods and varieties of ways people prefer to communicate led to the decision to stop using the synod inserts.

Highlands congregations exploring
new and innovating ways to work together

In the midst of a changing culture, congregations are looking for innovative ways to accomplish the ministry God is calling them to do.  With the help of a Holy Innovation, two-year grant of $40,000 through the ELCA, the congregations of the Highlands Conference are exploring new ways they can work together to strengthen and support on another's ministry.  The Highlands Conference stretches from Wythe County to Bristol, VA and includes a number of small congregations.  While each congregation provides meaningful ministry to its community, creating a network of congregations working together provides an opportunity to strengthen and    expand their ministry.  
The process of building a new ministry network began with a pastoral leadership retreat and continued with a meeting with congregation leaders to identify opportunities for increased collaboration.  The next step in the process will be to provide technology upgrades to pilot congregations using funds provided by the grant.  These upgrades will allow multiple congregations to participate in the same Bible Study or midday Advent service using Zoom video conferencing.                 As the project continues, the group hopes to identify more opportunities to share the strengths and gifts of leaders and congregations across the network.  For more information on the ministry network project, talk to Pastor John Wertz, Jr., Director for Evangelical Mission: .     

Resurrection, Frederickburg, does renovation
  Resurrection, Fredericksburg, celebrated the rededication of its refurbished sanctuary and its 30 th year of ministry in the Spottsylvania-Fredericksburg area.
Pastor John Wertz, synod director of evangelical mission, was the guest preacher.
At a potluck lunch, many charter members, the pastor-developer and those who worked on the renovation were recognized.
 New carpet was placed, pews and chairs were re-upholstered and the chancel area was reconfigured. Lighting was improved and walls were repainted. The service is projected on four screens simultaneously. The altar and pulpit were moved forward. Wires for the band monitors, microphones and instruments wre tucked beneath the floor. Sound quality was enhanced for live streaming. A sound booth was upgraded.
  The narthex-gathering area received a facelift with new carpet and paint. Nick's Place is an area where restless children, too old for the nursery, can go. It is designed for autistic children but others go there as well.




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