July, 2011
                 The Virginia


Bishop Mauney re-elected  

at Synod Assembly 


Newly re-elected officers, (from left) Judge Charles Poston, vice president; Linda Gomez, secretary, & Bishop Jim Mauney

     After Bishop Jim Mauney received the necessary 75 percent of Virginia Synod votes for re-election to his third six-year term as bishop on the first ballot at the annual synod assembly, voting members applauded and Mauney said, "We will walk together ...We are a synod together." The election came on the first day of the June 3-5 assembly at Roanoke College.

     Pastor Chip Gunsten, assistant to the bishop, received 21 votes and 31 other pastors received one, two or three votes. Also re-elected by a unanimous vote were Judge      

Charles Poston, Norfolk, vice president, and Janet Gomez,

VLJuly_Gunsten + Christian.jpg

Pastor Chip Gunsten, (left) assistant to the bishop, stands with Paul Christian, before his ordination at the synod assembly

Dutton, secretary.

     In keynote presentations on the assembly theme, "Ambassadors for Christ: Sharing the Story, Living the Faith," Pastor Jessica Duckworth talked about "big shifts" in Christian formation, Christian practices and Christian education. "What do you need to know to be a Christian?..Loving God, loving neighbors."

     Duckworth, who soon will move from the faculty of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington to Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., said Christian practices are necessary to sustain our existence. "We need someone else. We cannot be an individual alone."


Swartling: ELCA is "settling down" 


ELCA Secretary David Swartling pauses from  

work at the assembly


     David Swartling, ELCA secretary conducted the voting for bishop and reported for the national church. After "tumultuous times in the ELCA, things seem to be settling down. We are focusing on our ministry in new ways. I think we have reached the point of financial stability," he said. Interdependence is alive in the ELCA, according to Swartling, and "we are bringing the ministry of reconciliation to others...what it means to live the faith and share stories...We can do  so much more ministry together." Despite losses of congregations, 61 new ones were organized in the ELCA last year, he said.

     Voting members approved three resolutions calling for welcoming all Lutherans, increased congregational mission support and affirming the ministry of the late Pastor Patti Arthur of St. Peter's, Toms Brook, who died last September. Also approved was a memorial to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August, supporting 2011 as the International Year for people of African Descent. The memorial asks the ELCA to "continue efforts to eradicate racism" and to use church resources "to foster deeper cross-cultural relationships between European Americans and people of color."

     The welcoming resolution stirred debate over its language. A resolution from Pastor Bill Wiecher, College, Salem, was replaced by a brief substitute from Bob Martin, Resurrection, Fredericksburg, which stated that some congregations and pastors have questioned their welcome and place in the church following the 2009 ELCA Assembly action which "caused great consternation and distress to many Lutherans with different views on marriage, family and sexuality." The final resolution said the synod will be a place of welcome for all Lutheran congregations, rostered leaders and lay persons.


Congregations asked to give 10%

     Congregations shall be asked to contribute at least 10 percent of undesignated giving this year to the synod's mission and ministry, according to an approved resolution. Those congregations who do give 10 percent are encouraged to grow beyond this level in 2012 and those giving less than 10 percent are encouraged to grow toward that level next year and beyond.

     Bishop Mauney preached about "the intersection of grace and forgiveness" at the traditional, festive assembly service at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke, featuring the ordination of Paul Christian, who is serving at his home congregation, Our Redeemer, Petersburg, after graduation from Gettysburg Seminary in May. An Air Force veteran, he formerly was a program assistant at Petersburg National Battlefield. "Jesus Christ is our center, our alpha and omega, our past and future, moving us far more than we ever know," the bishop said.

     The assembly approved a 2012 budget of $1,951,897, an increase of $152,000 from the present schedule. Skip Zubrod, Synod treasurer, called it "a budget for growth." It provides for an increase in congregation support of the ELCA from the current level of 35.34 percent of the budget to 38 percent next year. Synod staff compensation is to be increased 2 percent, the first raise in three years.

     Retired Pastor Floyd Addison was recognized on his retirement after nine years as coordinator of the United Lutheran Appeal, which raised more than $43,600 through mid-June. Last year, $82,000 was raised for eight agencies and institutions. A task force is looking into the future of the appeal.


Pastors Linda Peterson (left) and Jesssica Duckworth

     Pastor Linda Pederson of the Southwest Minnesota Synod, a companion synod with Virginia, asked, "What is the greatest possibility to deepen our ministry and mission in the name of Jesus?"  She talked about the longtime service of her longtime friend, Pastor Jean Bozeman, assistant to the bishop, who is retiring at the end of June. 

     At the closing session of the three-day assembly, Bishop Mauney spoke about some of his visions for the church by 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  "We need to be a feeding church in a hungry world...We need to consider how to live each day outside the walls of the church..We need to be generous in congregational giving," he said.

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In This Issue
Assembly highlights
Elections & Anniversaries
Bozeman retires
Lutheran Youth news
Lutherans in the news
Pastor Fred Guy's 25th
300th birthday celebration
ACTS class makes a difference
Caroline Furnace updates
New therapy center seeks funds
LFS Briefs
New RC residence hall
St. Mark campers
Family & Friends Day
Possible merger
2012 Youth Gathering
Quick Links

Elections, anniversaries recognized  

     In elections at the Synod Assembly, three members of Synod Council were re-elected and Pastor Cathy Mims, Good Shepherd, Virginia Beach, was elected to a three-year term. Those returning to office: Pastors David Derrick, St. Philip, Roanoke, and Pat Nabers, Rapidan Parish, and Dana Cornett, Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg.

     Those named to the Consultation Committee for six-year terms: Pastors Matthew Diehl, Mount Calvary, Mt. Jackson; Cynthia Keyser, Christ, Roanoke; David Young, Bethel, Winchester, and Cathy Mims, Good Shepherd, Virginia Beach; Dana Cornett, Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg; Mary Simonovich, Living Water, Kilmarnock; Charles Downs, Christ, Roanoke, and Robert Martin, Resurrection, Fredericksburg.

     Those elected to the Discipline Committee: Nancy Reed, St. Mark, Luray;
 Pastor Jim Bangle, Grace, Rural Retreat, and Mark Warner, Muhlenberg.

     Anniversaries were recognized again this year. Emanuel, Woodstock, is observing its 250th anniversary and Luther Memorial, Blacksburg, is marking its 125th.

     These ordination anniversaries were recognized:  Pastor Terry Mullins, Philadelphia, 65th; Pastors Guy Ritter, Salem, Alvin Kuhn, Williamsburg, and Norman Bakken, Blacksburg, 60th. Pastors Kenneth Price, Staunton, Aldon Purdham, Salisbury, N.C., Harold Uhl, Roanoke County, and Carroll Wessinger, Wytheville, 55th. Pastors Larry Shoberg, Williamsburg, and Truman Jordahl, Roanoke, 50th.

     Daniel P. Hannemann, associate in ministry (AIM), Winchester, 35th anniversary of commissioning. Pastors Jean Bozeman, Norfolk, Richard Gates, Chesapeake, James Pence, Waynesboro, and James Utt, Winchester, 35th.  Pastors Fred Guy, Newport News, Jeff Marble, Luray, Brian Peterson, Columbia, S.C., Carol Schweitzer, Richmond, and Wayne Shelor, Caroline Furnace Camp and Conference Center, 25th.

 Pastor Jean Bozeman: retiring "patron saint"


Pastor Bozeman holds a retirement present-a shell

Pastor Jean Bozeman, retiring as an assistant to the bishop at the end of June after 50years of church service, was honored at the June Synod Assembly as "the patron saint of the Richmond, Peninsula and Tidewater conferences."

     She was honored at a Friday night reception, commended by Bishop Jim Mauney and presented a plaque and a large shell to be mounted on a stand made by Assistant to the Bishop Chip Gunsten. "She has touched the lives and hearts of us all," the bishop said. "You have been a proclaimer, teacher, cheerleader, initiator, truth teller, friend, colleague, mentor, planner, caregiver, traveling companion and lover of the church," he added.

     Contributions to a new Jean Bozeman Christian Formation Endowment Fund have exceeded $30,000. The fund was established with a goal of $2.5 million to endow adult education, parents and grandparents sharing faith at home, forming young children of faith, youth and youth servant events and healthy families.

     Mauney listed some of the many ways Bozeman has served the church. She has been a director of Christian education in six churches, dean of students and teacher of Christian education and Formation at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, helped develop the youth staffer program for the former Lutheran Church in America and  directed church relations for Lutheran Family Services before joining the synod staff.

     In response, Pastor Bozeman told the assembly, "you have linked my life in the most incredible ways. God has used us and linked us."

Grace Clough heads Lutheran Youth

     Youth Assembly members met at the same time as the Synod Assembly at Roanoke College under the theme, "Epic Living."  Bishop Jim Mauney and other principal speakers from the Assembly met with the youth.

     Grace Clough, Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, was elected 12th grade board member  and president of the Lutheran Youth Organization. She follows Emily DePew, St. John, Abingdon. Two others elected were Amanda Downs, Grace & Glory, Palmyra, 11th grade, and Will Southard, Salem, Mt. Sidney, 10h grade. They will appoint representatives for the 8th and 9th grades and multi-cultural and definitely abled representatives. Pastor Meredith Williams, Ascension, Danville, will continue as LYO chaplain for the coming year.

Lutherans in the news

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The Rev. Charles Bang

     Pastor Charles D. Bang will come from Holy Trinity, Buffalo, N.Y., on Aug. 1 to serve as senior pastor of Gloria Dei, Hampton, and headmaster of Gloria Dei School He has been at Holy Trinity and King of Kings, Liverpool, N.Y., for almost 30 years. A graduate of Hartwick College, University of Oregon and Pacific Lutheran Seminary, he served congregations in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, Cal. Bang has been active in ministry to the elderly, church retreat and outdoor ministry and foundation work. Deborah Bang, is wife, was chair of the Fine Arts Department at Canisius High School, a member of the Buffalo Board of Education and president of Upstate New York Women of the ELCA. They have two daughters, Katie, who works for Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical, and Sarah, a doctoral candidate specializing in severe weather at the


The Rev. Scott Homesley

University of Utah.

    Pastor Scott Homesley comes from Our Saviour, Southern Pines, N.C., to serve at St. John, Abingdon, on July 1. A graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne College and Southern Seminary, he previously worked as a district executive and field director for the Piedmont Boy Scout Council and as a herdsman on a dairy farm. He had served at Our Saviour since 1996. He and his wife, Robin, a Hillsville native, have two sons, Nicholas, who lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and Jeremy, who lives in Cherryville, N.C., and a daughter, Elisa, a student at Lenoir-Rhyne University.


Connie Carmack

     Connie Carmack, a Roanoke native, has been appointed vice president for resource development at Roanoke College, overseeing alumni and parent relations, church relations, fund raising, stewardship, planned giving, public relations and marketing. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, she has been vice president for advancement at Chatham University in Pennsylvania and previously serving as a development officer at Montana State University Foundation and Virginia Tech. She is a daughter of Jackie Carmack and the late Ford Carmack, St. Mark's, Roanoke.

     Pastor Paul Carlson of Kickapoo and Peace churches in Wisconsin and his wife, Laures Carlson have accepted a call to serve as associate pastors at First, Norfolk, effective Aug. 1. Laures Carlson, a recent graduate of Wartburg Seminary, will be ordained July 16 at Arden, N.C.

     Pastor G.William Nabers accepted a call to serve at St. Jacob-Spaders, Mt. Crawford, effective May 1.He formerly was at Prince of Peace, Orkney-Basye.

     Dr. Robert Willingham, an associate history professor at Roanoke College, has written a book, Jews in Leipzig, Germany, under Nazism, Communism and Democracy, telling the story of a Jewish businessman and how much autonomy Jews in East Germany had after the Holocaust.

     Aaron Garber resigned as music director at College, Salem, but he will continue conducting the Salem Choral Society and the Jefferson Choral Society in Lynchburg.

     Pastor Judy Cobb, formerly a pastor at First, Norfolk from 1997 to 2000, was recognized on May 3 as Alumna of the Year at Gettysburg Seminary for "distinguishedservice in parish ministry." She also served as ELCA Region 8 coordinator for eight synods. She and her husband, Pastor Jim Cobb, are co-pastors of Ascension,  Baltimore.

     Dr. Jennifer Braaten, Ferrum College president and a Lutheran, told William Fleming High School seniors in a commencement speech on June 10 that building a foundation for the future takes aptitude, a positive attitude and four pillars-families, friends, faculty and community.

     Trinity Ecumenical Parish, Moneta, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the signing of a covenant agreement creating the Lutheran-Episcopalian-Presbyterian parish with a worship service and dinner on June 12. Bishop Emeritus Richard Bansemer signed the agreement in 1991.The agreement was the result of three years of work, meetings and negotiations.

     Holy Trinity, Lynchburg, is exploring the possibility of starting an Education for Ministry class, a four-year distance learning theological education program of the School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn. Participants commit to meet two hours a week over a nine-month cycle to study the Bible, church history and theology, led by a trained mentor.  

     At St .Michael, Blacksburg,  Jennie Hodge was named layperson of the year by the Blacksburg/Montgomery County Kiwanis Club and Pastor John Wertz Jr, received a Community Builders Award from Hunter's Masonic Lodge. Both awards

recognized leadership of the Micah's Backpack feeding outreach program serving almost 150 students this year.

     At Bethel, Winchester, Rachel Carson and Kristen DeHaven provided health care to dozens of women on a recent trip to Nicaragua with Shenandoah University. Dr. Mark and Linda Jacobson, who are sponsored by Bethel in their medical mission in Tanzania, made a quick stop at the Winchester congregation. Contributions are sought for a program serving impoverished children in the Philippines, in partnership with Concordia Children's Services in Manila.

     Members of New Mt. Zion and Shiloh, near Blacksburg, have voted to dissolve the New River Parish and continue their missions as independent congregations. Both are served by Bishop Emeritus Richard Bansemer.

Pastor Fred Guy's 25th ordination anniversary cited

     Pastor Fred Guy received a cross made of wood from El Salvador at a special service and reception at Trinity, Newport News, recognizing the 25th anniversary of his ordination on May 22.

     The cross, made for pastors who have finished missionary work at El Salvador, was presented by Pastor Rick Carter of Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, Waxhaw, N.C., a friend and fellow missionary of Guy. In other presentations, Guy also received a pink feather boa stole, a photo album, a quilt, a pillow, a check for a vacation and a list of 25 things people love about him. A bouquet of roses was presented to Friel Guy, his wife. A puppet show featured musical vignettes of the pastor's life.

     Pastor Jean Bozeman, assistant to the bishop, officiated at a renewal of ordination vows.

300th Birthday of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg celebrated!

     A year of memorable activities is planned to commemorate the 300th birthday of Pastor Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the patriarch of Lutherans in North America.  The Muhlenberg 300 Year kicks off with a banquet and lecture on Sept. 6th by Martin Marty on "Henry Melchior Muhlenberg and the Current American Scape."

     The observance begins at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.  For information and reservations, contact Pastor Ellen Anderson at the seminary


Pastor Jim Kniseley appeared as Peter Muhlenberg at the Synod Assembly

(215-248-7301).  Banquet tickets are $150 a person. Anyone attending should ask to sit at the tables reserved for folks from the Virginia Synod.

     At the Virginia Synod Assembly in June, seven Virginia churches that are "Muhlenberg Legacy" congregations were highlighted. Each received a commemorative plate.  These  congregations had contact with either Henry or his son Peter.  They are: Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg; Hebron, Madison; St. Mary, Mount Jackson; St. Paul, Strasburg; Rader, Timberville; Grace, Winchester, and Emmanuel, Woodstock. Any other church which  should be a legacy congregation and is not listed should  contact  Pastor Jim Kniseley at 540-845-2427.

     One of the goals for this tercentenary year is to restore the clerical robe of Pastor Peter Muhlenberg.  This robe was worn by Peter when he gave his famous "call to arms" sermon in Woodstock:  "There is a time for peace and a time to fight, and now is the time to fight" he declared and opened up his robe to reveal the uniform of the militia.

     This robe, of special interest to folks in Virginia since it was donated by the Henkel family of New Market about 100 years ago, is lovingly stored at the seminary in Philadelphia.  Financial gifts to restore this robe are encouraged.  Please contact Pastor Kniseley for further information.

     Plans are being made for a celebration service in the Shenandoah Valley in 2012 to commemorate the continuing legacy of the Muhlenbergs.  More information will be shared in The Virginia Lutheran and other media.

     Pastor Jim Kniseley serves on the Congregation Committee of the Muhlenberg 300 Committee and is the contact for Muhlenberg Legacy congregations in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  You may reach him at txbe2godx2@comcast.net or 540-845-2427. Also, you may visit Ltsp.edu/Muhlenberg300 for moreinformation, and sign up for the Muhlenberg 300 eNewsletter at Ltsp.edu/Muhlenberg300Signup.

10% of Messiah, Mechanicsville, joins ACTS!

 by Pastor Lou Florio

     How do you get ten percent of your congregation to sign up for a single ACTS class together? At Messiah, Mechanicsville, it happened this past spring. Christian education became a primary focus as the congregation rebuilt from a period of disharmony and struggle.

      It was felt important to reconnect with our Lutheran-Christian roots and one another if growth and positive change were to come. The ACTS classes were a welcome supplement to what was already being offered within the congregation. A few members said they first attended ACTS because the pastor and their friends were good "arm-twisters," while others came as believers in life-long learning.

     Once there, this initial small group of attendees found engaging instruction as well as community. They bonded with each other and others from throughout the synod. They began to understand their relationship to the larger church in a deeper, more personal way. Positive feedback by this core group immediately helped the program sell itself. People felt empowered to better live out their faith.

     Newer members of Messiah said they felt "at home" more quickly. Many attendees commented about how ACTS helped feed a hunger they didn't even know they had. As Messiah's groups began to grow, a new group rate was offered. For a flat $900 charge, six or more members could attend any class. Messiah split the costs evenly among attendees, but with the difficult economy, one could get a scholarship to cover your share. The benefits were thought too numerous to let money keep anyone away.

     When the recent class on evangelism was offered, Donna Shaw, a Christian education volunteer at Messiah, suggested that the church pay the entire fee without expectation of reimbursement. She saw the class as an important investment in our members' lives and the life of the congregation. Council heartily agreed, and they voted to make this a budget priority despite other financial demands.

     As a result, Messiah had the highest participation - 10 percent of the membership! Many of these were people attending ACTS for the first time, and now they are encouraging their friends to come. Messiah's outreach and fellowship continues to grow. Since the class ended, one attendee said,  "Almost weekly, something that goes on in our church sparks a memory from ACTS. What we learned becomes part of the conversation." As a result of all these blessings, Messiah plans to continue making ACTS a priority within their shared life and ministry.

 Caroline Furnace has new logo, busy schedule

Caroline Furnace New Logo     Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp has a new logo and a busy summer schedule. The logo, created by former camper/staffer Terri Cobb, "shows our focus on Christ as the center as we spend time in the beautiful mountains and waters," said Vikki Shelor, communications director.

     Summer Camp opened June 19 with Confirmation Camp, followed by Adventure in the Dark. At the end of June, space was available for campers aged 6-17. For middle and high school ages, camps are offered in caving, rappelling, horseback riding and mountain biking. Camps in canoeing, fishing, archeology, star gazing, tent camping or cave exploring are available for elementary ages. A three-night Explore Camp also is offered.

Fishwick therapy center seeks funding

     The public phase of a $2.5-million campaign has started to build the John P. Fishwick Rehabilitation Center at Brandon Oaks nursing home in Roanoke, according to Skip Zubrod, president of the parent Virginia Lutheran Homes. Brandon Oaks receives requests for therapy facilities every day and this will be primarily a service for the community, he said.

     The family of the late John P. Fishwick, who was a Brandon Oaks resident and retired chairman of the Norfolk and Western Railway, made a substantial lead gift and the goal is to raise $1.5 million, Zubrod said.

     He said he hopes the fund-raising will be successful this year and early in 2012, enabling a start of construction next year and completion in the summer of 2013.

     The center, to be connected to the present nursing home, will provide 18 private therapy rooms with the latest technologies  None of the present 62 nursing home beds is dedicated to therapy. The expansion will provide 18 intensive assisted living beds and "allow us to care for most residents with guaranteed life care," Zubrod said. The center will have a private entrance and a parking area below ground.



Architect's sketch of John P. FIshwick  

Rehabilitation Center of Brandon Oaks

The campaign is led by a committee comprised of Kathryn Buchanan, retired director of church relations at Roanoke College, Sam Lionberger, contractor, and Zubrod.

     Brandon Oaks residential facilities have been deficiency free during inspecitions in the last two years, he said. Nine of 12 units of The Pines, larger units replacing cottages, have been sold and will be occupied soon, Zubrod said.

LFS Briefs 

LFSVA announces change in grief program staff

     Lutheran Family Services Grief Services Coordinator Dr. Cynthia Long, D. Min., has accepted a position as chaplain of Western State Hospital in Staunton. The good news is that she will continue conducting grief support groups for LFSVA in the Staunton area for the foreseeable future.

     LFSVA Grief Services will continue in all of its present locations -- Wytheville, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia Beach -- and plans to expand to new locations in 2012 are on track. Beginning July 1, Grief Services will be coordinated by Christina Dhir, who manages LFSVA's services to older adults. For more information about grief support, please contact cdhir@lfsva.org or call 1.800.359.3834.


Help your neighbors affected by tornadoes

     Volunteers are needed to help friends and neighbors rebuild in the Pulaski, Glade Spring and Gloucester areas hit by the April tornadoes. For information on ways to help, please call Lutheran Family Services at 1.866.946.4598 and ask for Julie Swanson or Ardis Acuff.   

Roanoke College starts 200-bed residence hall

    Construction began in May on a $13 million residence hall providing more than 200 beds on four floors in a former parking lot for Caldwell, Allegheny and Ritter halls of Roanoke College. The hall, off Market Street, is to be open for students in the fall of 2012.

     A new parking lot on Hawthorn Road, north of the college's Athletic Quad, will replace the residence hall site when it opens this summer. The residence hall will be the college's second LEED certified (leadership in energy and environmental design) building. This means the construction will be environmentally friendly. It will have such features as water saving plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient heating and cooling system and use of materials with recycled content.

     The 65,000-square-foot hall provide a choice of three living spaces with the options of apartment, semi-suite or pod living. Apartment living will feature four single bedrooms and a common living room, kitchen and two bathrooms; the semi-suite will have two bedrooms and a shared bathroom for four people, and the POD will have 12 single rooms surrounding and sharing a kitchen.

     The hall also will have a standard classroom, seminar room, small conference room and a faculty office. The building will fully integrate the academic and residentiall campus environments and represent the state of the art in campus design, a college spokesman said.

St. Mark campers enjoy national forest

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St. Mark's Campers at Sunday morning worship

     Twenty-two members of St.Mark, Charlottesville, traveled to Sherando Lake in the Washington-Jefferson National Forest in May for their first congregational camping trip. Two group camp sites were reserved as space for fishing, canoeing, hiking, playing Frisbee and badminton while youngsters rode scooters, ran, laughed and played. The weekend was coordinated by the Shepherd family.
VLJuly_st. mark2.jpg

St. Mark's camping group

     Sunday morning worship (photo above) featured songs, prayers, communion and giving glory to God for benefits blessed. "We're looking forward to doing it again next year. The rain did not deter us one bit. It only brought us closer. It was a bonding experience that blessed us dearly," said Pastor Sandy Wisco.

Lutheran Family Services of Virginia offers a walloping good time at Family & Friends Day


Kids and adults enjoy the food and festivities at Family & Friends Day

More than 100 foster and adoptive families, volunteer mentors and staff joined members of Messiah for a cookout on their spacious grounds complete with a moon bounce, water balloon toss, snow cones and a magician. Bennett's Funeral home donated tents, which afforded families a shaded area for face painting and crafts. There was even a guest appearance from the Richmond Kickers mascot, Kickeroo. The day would not have been possible without our church and community partners, who help create brighter futures for those who need us most!  To see more photos and learn how to become a foster or adoptive parent or volunteer visit www.lfsva.org.

Merger will occur only if Southern is a better seminary

     The planned merger of Southern Seminary and Lenoir-Rhyne University will occur only "if we will be a better seminary," said Ron Walrath, Southern's development vice president, at a luncheon meeting during the Synod Assembly in June..

    Walrath talked about the advantages of the proposed union. A merger can bring "a streamlining of administrative expenses, an overwhelming potential to bring expenditures in line with revenues (and) tremendous creative possibilities" by bringing graduate and other new degree programs, such as business, accounting and church management to the seminary. He said the seminary "needs to reach the university system and pull that capacity."

     A merger won't change the seminary's primary mission "to prepare people for public ministry and Christian leadership" and the location won't change.

     Walrath thanked the Virginia Synod for its "absolute commitment" to theological education. Among the six synods in Region 9, Virginia is the "only synod which adopts the ELCA goal," he said. Last year's synod support of the seminary came to almost $117,000.

     The seminary board is looking at a capital campaign, targeted fund-raising, exploring partnerships within and outside the ELCA, enrollment management and more part-time students, he said.                                

Preparing for the 2012 Youth Gathering

VLJuly_2012youth.jpg     July 18-22, 2012 youth and adult leaders from all 65 Synods of the ELCA will converge in New Orleans, Louisiana for the Youth Gathering.

     Many congregations across the Virginia Synod have begun planning. All congregations with youth who are rising 8th graders through rising seniors for 2011-2012 school year are encouraged to consider taking youth to the Gathering.

     Rather than a large Lutheran Youth "Pep Rally," the Gathering is a significant opportunity for youth and leaders to learn and practice discipleship and service in action.

     In 2009, Virginia Synod congregations took more than 500 participants to the national Gathering. We have a goal of over 600 for 2012. Many people have said that the day of service component added for the 2009 Gathering was the most significant change to the Gathering ever. In addition to the day of service in 2012, the Gathering will include a day focused on discipleship. Congregations will gather in larger venues with the congregations from their own synod for worship, large and small group interactions focused on being disciples of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

     Pastor Fred Hodges of Our Saviour, Christiansburg,  serves as the Virginia Synod coordinator for the Gathering. Pastor Scott Mims, Good Shepherd, Virginia Beach, is the coach for preparation for the Day of Discipleship. Together Hodges and Mims are leading meetings around the Synod with a focus on youth ministry leadership and Gathering information. The last of these initial sessions is Saturday, August 27, at St. Phillip, Roanoke from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. All congregations with an active youth ministry or a desire to begin youth ministry are encouraged to attend.

     "We would like every youth who is eligible and wants to attend to be able to go," Hodges said. This may mean that some congregations work together within conferences to send youth. Some congregations may not have eligible youth, but might want to support in scholarship youth from a neighboring parish. "Think creatively and cooperatively."

     "Plan now! Talk to your youth and encourage them to attend. Gather your adult leaders," he said. Registration begins at 2 p. m. EDT Oct. 9. 

     Contact Hodges at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, 1845 Cambria Street NE, Christiansburg, VA, [540] 382-2223, OSLCpastor@nrvunwired.net. Visit www.elca.org/gathering for more information.





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

Deadline for submission of articles is the 10th of each month. 


Any portion of this publication may be reprinted

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