January, 2012
                 The Virginia



Floating a boat for Christmas!


Caroline Furnace float
The Caroline Furnace Christmas float


           Camp Caroline Furnace produced a float which paddled down the Main Street of Edinburg for a Christmas parade in early December.

            Pastor Wayne Shelor, camp director, created a float from a retired canoe by cutting holes in the bottom for two people to walk. He added wheels to a sawhorse and ran a rope through to hold the float together. With a guitar, they paddled along, singing Christmas carols. The float was such a hit, they took it to the Christmas parade in Luray the next weekend.

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In This Issue
Floating a boat for Christmas
Lutherans in the news
Callahan leadership seminar set
Attention: Stewardship Committees
Conference leaders to meet
LARCUM cooperation
Two Muhlenberg celebrations
Pastor Edwin Troutman dies
Seminarians approved
Twittering in church
Quick Links


Lutherans in the news


Swanson, Julie

             Julie Swanson (right), president and chief executive officer of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, has been elected president of the board of trustees of ELCA Mission Investment Fund. Swanson was named to the board in 2009. The fund, created to meet the capital building needs of congregations and the ELCA, has provided more than $1 billion in loans since it was formed almost 100 years ago.

            Judy Casteele (left), Good Shepherd, Lexington was honored as one of "30 Voices for 30 Years" by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Alliance at a 30th anniversary gala

Casteelein Richmond on Dec. 3. Casteele was recognized as "a strong ally in coalition work, serving as interim director of Virginians Aligned Against Sexual Assault." She also serves as executive director of Project Horizon, a leading sexual and domestic violence program.

            All four Lutherans-three senators and a delegate-who serve in the Virginia General Assembly were re-elected in November. They are Sen. John Edwards, Christ, Roanoke; Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, Winchester, who comes from a Lutheran background; Sen. John Watkins, Christ the King, Richmond, and Del. Anne Crockett-Stark, Wytheville. Edwards is a Democrat and Vogel, Watkins and Crockett are Republicans.

            Sonya Williams-Giersch has resigned after five years as an associate in ministry (AIM) at St. Paul, Strasburg, to accept a call to serve at Gravel Springs, Star Tannery, and St. John's Winchester. She has been accepted into the TEEM (Theological Education for Emerging Ministries) and candidacy process for ordained ministry. St. Paul, her home congregation, has started an Acts of Grace campaign to raise funds to enable her to complete a certificate in theological studies.

            Robert Wortmann has retired after eight years as chairman of the Roanoke College board of trustees. During his service as chairman, the college has built residence halls, built a stadium, renovated Trout, Miller and Lucas academic halls, completed a four-lane entrance and introduced an academic core curriculum. Also, the college was recognized by several national publications. His successor as board chairman is Morris Cregger of West Columbia, S.C.

            The Masterworks Chorus of the Shenandoah Valley presented a concert of Christmas music at St. Paul, Strasburg, St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Woodstock, and Reformation, New Market, in December.

            The St. Olaf Choir from Minnesota will give a concert on Friday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Christopher Newport University's Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News. The choir, directed by Anton Armstrong, will be making a three-week tour celebrating its 100years of music.

            The Lenoir-Rhyne University a cappella choir, accompanied by the University Brass Ensemble, will present an evening concert at St. Mark, Yorktown, on Tuesday, March 13. St. Mark plans its sixth annual 12th Night Celebration, "a night of revelry, great food and medieval entertainment with a guest appearance by Nigel the Camel," marking the end of the Christmas season and beginning of Epiphany on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 8 at 5:30 p.m. St. Mark's members contributed 61 hats, 129 pairs of mittens, 36 pairs of socks, 10 scarves and other items for Social Services clients and 109 shoe boxes of gifts for needy children worldwide. The congregation supports an Adopt-A-Child program at the Refugio, an institute for children in Ecuador, as well as helping Chinese orphans through Love Without Boundaries and Henan Kids International.

            The ministry of St. Michael, Blacksburg, "touched approximately 6,000 people with the good news of God's love" in the past year, a 13 percent increase from 2010, according to Pastor John Wertz. St. Michael has started a partnership with Pastor Austin and Tanya Propst, who are working with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program in Madagascar in a church with 1,800 congregations and 180,000 members. Jan Helge Bohn of St. Michael has received the Silver Beaver Award for distinguished service to youth, presented by the Blue Ridge Mountains Boy Scout Council. He has been scoutmaster of Troop 158, sponsored by St. Michael, since 2006.

            More than 250 coats were contributed by Trinity Ecumenical Parish members for Lake Christian Ministries to distribute in Franklin and Bedford counties.

            Scrooge Revisited, a Christmas play presented at Mount Calvary, Mt. Jackson, gave "a comic look at how some people, no matter how self-centered they once were, can rise above that and look deeper into the real meaning of Christmas." Alex Bodanske of Mount Calvary was a member of a team which took fourth place in the food science competition at the national FFA convention in Indianapolis in October. The team won the state competition earlier.

            Highlands Conference plans an Epiphany Celebration on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 4 p.m. at Holy Trinity, Wytheville, featuring handbell ringers, other musicians, prayers, readings and hymns.

            Bethel, Winchester, is preparing for a Year of Prayer in 2012. Among suggestions presented for ways to be involved in prayer were establishing a place to pray privately in a courtyard, offering workshops about a labyrinth under construction, having a weekly prayer group meeting, having a prayer partner for the year and placing written prayers on a prayer wall or on a prayer tree in a prayer garden.

            Grace, Winchester, has started work on a steeple restoration project. Slate will be replaced and repairs will be made to the upper tower and steeple dormers. Completion is expected by late winter. Anna Havron of Winchester, a first-year student at Gettysburg Seminary, has started a year of field education at Grace in partnership with Bethel, Winchester. A graduate of the University of Texas, she holds a master's degree from the University of Vermont. She has worked as communications director at Bethel.

            A global mission trip to Malawi is being planned at St. Philip, Roanoke, for May.

            Volunteers from Luther Memorial, Blacksburg, planned to rebuild a Pulaski home damaged by a tornado last spring.

            An outstanding performance of Carols by Candlelight, a festival service of nine lessons and carols, was reported at St. Mark's, Roanoke, on Dec. 18. The church choir, led by Steven Lawrence, was joined by Pastor Philip and Tara Bouknight of Trinity Ecumenical Parish, and the Roanoke Chamber Brass.  


Callahan leadership seminar

set for February 27-March 2


             Another seminar for pastors and key leaders of congregations has been scheduled by Dr. Kennon L. Callahan for Feb. 27-March 2 at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga. The theme will be "Developing Keys to an Effective Church: Grace-Filled Worship, Reaching Today's Children and Congregational Decision-Making." Registration may be completed online at www.missionleadersnetwork.com. For more information, contact Pastor John Wertz, seminar coordinator, at pastorjohn@stmlc.us or 540-951-8951.


Attention: Stewardship Committes!

Two workshop series set for 2012

     by Pastor Jim Kniseley


            Two Ventures Workshops for Growing Stewards will be presented in the coming year. Ventures is a four-part workshop series that focuses on developing a vision and a three-year plan for congregations. Six to eight congregation stewardship committees can be accommodated for each series.

            I wish we could present these workshops for every congregation stewardship team this year! Since this is not possible, we will present the series twice in 2012 and twice in 2013. This year's workshops will be presented at St. Timothy Lutheran in Norfolk and Resurrection Lutheran in Fredericksburg.

            Pastor CeCee Mills will join me in leading these workshops. Pastor Mills and I were both trained by staff from the Stewardship Office in Chicago. We are prepared to help equip congregation leaders in developing a vision and plan for year-round ministry, including the financial response. Sharing and hearing the plans of other congregation stewardship committees is a well-received part of the workshops.

            Two information meetings will be held prior to the workshop series. The first will be held on March 4, 2:30 p.m. at St. Timothy in Norfolk. The second will be held on Sunday, April 29, 3:30 p.m., at Resurrection in Fredericksburg. The dates for the workshops will be announced, based on the needs of the participating congregations.

            Costs for the workshops and congregation grants will be announced at the information workshops.

            For more information, you may contact Pastor Jim Kniseley, Virginia Synod Stewardship Coordinator, at TxBe2Godx2@comcast.net or 540-845-2427.


Conference leaders to

network and share faith


            "Bringing Leadership Together for Networking and Sharing of Faith" will be the theme of spring and fall gatherings of leaders of the 11 conferences. Five are scheduled from January through May and six will be held in September through November.

            Bishop Jim Mauney reported eight objectives for the gatherings:

o       To honor and highlight the importance of the special relationships of 

            presidents, vice presidents and mutual ministry chairs

o       To discuss the duties and expectations of rostered leaders and


o       To read through the ministerium covenant and speak to its uses

o       To present and discuss a model for the mutual ministry committee

o       To provide highlights of the healthy leader materials

o       To build the network of leadership relationships among the congregations

o       To share ideas and resources of congregations for one another

o       To share faith together

           Dates set for the conference gatherings, to be held on Sunday afternoons from 2:45 to 6 p.m.:

Jan. 29, Southern Conference, Trinity, Roanoke

Feb. 26, Central Valley, Mt. Calvary, Mt. Jackson

March 11, Richmond, Christ, Richmond

April 15, Tidewater, Good Shepherd, Virginia Beach

May 20, New River, Luther Memorial, Blacksburg

Aug. 26, Page (Locations have not been selected for the last half of the year.)

Sept. 16, Highland

Sept. 30, Southern Valley

Oct. 28, Northern Valley

Nov. 4, Peninsula

Nov. 11, Germanna          

Ten bishops plan to spread LARCUM cooperation

     by Pastor Eric Moehring, Synod ecumenical representative


LARCUM Bishops
Nine bishops and an executive are (clockwise from left):
  Charlene Kammerer, Virginia Conference, United Methodist;
   Neff Powell, Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia;
   Jonathan Barton, general minister of Virginia Council of Churches;
   David Jones, bishop suffragen of Episcopal Diocese of Virginia;
   Richard Graham, Metro Washingron Synod of ELCA;
   Herman Hollerith IV, Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia;
   Ted Gulick, assistant bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Virginia;
   Paul Loverde, Catholic Diocese of Arlington; and,
   Jim Mauney, Virginia Synod.
Catholic Bishop Frank Dilorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond had not arrived when the photo was made.


            2011 reflected a growing desire among the bishops of the LARCUM (Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic, United Methodist) communions to intentionally plan and set goals together. Meetings of the bishops took place during the year from which a beginning framework for the 2011 LARCUM Conference at Waynesboro was created.

            The 10 bishops and a church executive suggested Living into the LARCUM Covenant as the title for the annual conference and sought to take the leadership in its worship and presentations.

            The bishops, ecumenical officers, and state LARCUM committee gathered on Thursday, Dec. 1, at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church and began intentionally planning for 2012. From the conversation among the bishops a statement was crafted for their work together in 2012 that will be sent to all congregations during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Jan. 18 - 25.

           This is the first time all of the bishops of the four communions gathered in one place at one time and have chosen to speak to their churches as one voice. The Rt. Rev. David Jones, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and preacher for the Friday evening worship, said he had "never experienced this in (his) 16 years in Virginia."

            In their own sessions, the LARCUM state committee and ecumenical officers created a plan to spread LARCUM cooperation around the commonwealth. Fifteen areas of interest were identified for regional/local LARCUM groups, and six pilot groups will be implemented in 2012 based on current local activity and individual commitments from state committee members to serve as mentors.

          The following six locations will be developed: Chase City; Fredericksburg, Great Falls/Sterling; Hampton; Leesburg, and Richmond/Lakeside. On Friday afternoon, pastors from around the state gathered to be in conversation with the bishops and to hear about this plan and the statement to be offered by the bishops.

            From Friday evening through Saturday afternoon, the conference of 138 registered participants moved around to several locations: Main Street United Methodist Church; St. John Episcopal Church; and Grace Lutheran Church. Three bishops spoke on the topic, "My sense of ecumenism and my hopes for the 20 Points of the Covenant," each using their own life stories of growing up and formation in the faith in ecumenical settings. The conference included ample opportunity for worship, table discussions and a panel discussion highlighting the work accomplished on Thursday and much of Friday.

            The 2012 LARCUM Conference is scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in the Lakeside area of Richmond. The conference will provide an opportunity for review of the goals set at this year's conference, continue regional table conversations for planning, provide a learning experience, and will be preceded by another time of planning for 2013 among the bishops and ecumenical officers.

           Bishop Jim Mauney aptly characterized the spirit of the conference, the efforts of the bishops and the dedication of the participants in their local communities. "We want to be in deeper faith with each other, in deeper relationship with each other, in deeper prayer with each other, and we want to be turned outward into our world." 


Two Muhlenberg Celebrations set for August


            Two congregations in our Virginia Synod have been asked to host Muhlenberg Celebrations in August 2012. The celebrations are part of the 300th Anniversary Year Events sponsored by the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and the University of Halle in Germany.

            Grace Lutheran in Winchester will host a worship service on Sunday afternoon, August 12. The preacher will be Pastor Herb Michael, who served 25 years as pastor of Augustus Trappe Lutheran Church in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.  Augustus Trappe was served by Pastor Henry Melchior Muhlenberg and has the oldest unaltered Lutheran church sanctuary in America.

            St. Stephen Lutheran in Williamsburg will host an event on Sunday, August 19. The featured speaker will be Dr. Tim Wengert, professor at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Recently, Dr. Wengert translated some of the letters of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg.

            Both congregations will also host the wonderful Muhlenberg Exhibit provided by the University of Halle. This exhibit consists of 26 panels that feature the life and impact of the ministry of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg and his family upon America.

            Seven Muhlenberg Legacy congregations are in the Virginia Synod. These are congregations that were helped in some way by one of the Muhlenbergs. They are: Emmanuel, Woodstock; St. Mary, Mt. Jackson; St. Paul, Strasburg; Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg; Hebron, Madison; Rader's, Timberville, and Grace, Winchester.

            One of the goals of the Muhlenberg Celebrations in Virginia is to provide funds to restore the ministerial robe of Peter Muhlenberg. The robe, presently housed at the seminary in Philadelphia, is part of Virginia lore and was an inspiration during the Revolutionary War.

            For more information on the Muhlenberg Celebrations, contact Pastor Jim Kniseley at TxBe2Godx2@comcast.net. Pastor Kniseley serves on the Muhlenberg 300 Committee.

Pastor Edwin Troutman dies at 83

Troutman, Edwin


            Pastor Edwin N. Troutman, who served eight Virginia Synod congregations and others in Florida and North Carolina in more than 50 years of service, died Dec. 23. He was 83 and he lived in retirement at Clemmons, N.C.

            He served at Emmanuel, Roanoke; Morristown, Tenn.; Peace, Alexandria; Washington County Parish at Chilhowie; Abingdon; St. Peter, Shenandoah; Luther Memorial, Blacksburg, and Christ, Wise. He was a graduate of Appalachian State Teachers College and Southern Seminary and he held a doctor of divinity degree from Lenoir-Rhyne College.

            Surviving are his wife, Eleanor Regenthal, and five children, Richard Troutman, Blacksburg; Gretchen Troutman and Carol Paniagua, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Sarah Hartman, Farmington, N.C., and Ashlie Martin, Pfafftown, N.C., and a brother, the Rev. Gerald Troutman, Newnan, Ga.

            The funeral was conducted at Augsburg Lutheran Church, Winston-Salem on Dec. 27. Burial was in a family cemetery at Troutman, N.C.

Ten "gifted seminarians" approved for ordination


            Ten seminarians-the largest number in many years-have been approved for ordination by the Synod Candidacy Committee, subject to a call. The Synod has been "richly blessed to have walked these 10 candidates through the candidacy process and formation," said Bill Solomon, chair of the committee. Seven women and three men are candidates.

            The 10 candidates: Deanna Scheffel Boynton, Brett Wilson Davis, Phyllis Diamond, Tonya Eza, Keith A. Long, Laura Olsen, Bryan J. Penman, Haley Vay Poynter, Leslie Scanlon and Travis Wilson.

            Solomon said the candidates "represent a broad spectrum of the Synod in location and experiences: some are second career-teaching, nursing, television production, a former deaconess...These gifted individuals will bring strong leadership and faithful service to the ELCA. We are grateful for the encouragement of pastors, congregations, seminary leaders and internship sites who have supported them in their discernment and call to the ministry of word and sacrament."

            Deanna Boynton of Our Saviour, Warrenton, and her husband, Jonathan Boynton, are both seniors expecting to graduate with a master of divinity degree from Southern Seminary in May. She is a graduate and former president of the Lutheran Student Association of the College of William and Mary. She and her husband served six congregations in rural South Dakota as interns.

            Brett Davis, recently married to fellow seminarian Evan Davis, is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and a former Latin teacher in Chesterfield County. Her home congregation is Christ the King, Richmond. She served as an intern at Lancaster, Pa., and she attends Philadelphia Seminary.

            Phyllis Diamond, a Salem native and a member of Christ, Roanoke, is a nursing graduate of Old Dominion University and she has worked as a nurse in clinics and hospitals, serving as a manager, clinician and educator. She interned at Columbia, Md., and is a student at Southern Seminary. She and her husband, Doug Diamond, have three adult children and two grandchildren.

            Tonya Eza, born in Nashville, Tenn., is a graduate of Middlebury College and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. She is a former Missouri Synod deaconess, who interned in Alaska and served at a Groves, Tex. congregation. She expects to receive a master of divinity degree from Gettysburg Seminary in May

            Keith Long of St. Luke, Richmond, is a graduate of Minnesota State University and attends Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. He served his internship at Dawson, Minn.

            Laura Olsen of St. Mark, Yorktown, is a retired Air Force officer who has 20 years of experience in space and missile operations. The daughter of an Air Force veteran, she graduated from Whitworth University and holds a master's degree from University of Missouri, a certificate in non-profit executive management from Georgetown University and a master's degree from Yale Divinity School. She is completing work on a master's in sacred theology from Gettysburg Seminary.

            Bryan Penman grew up in Stafford and graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University. A son of Pastor David Penman of St. Timothy, Virginia Beach, he worked in real estate for several years, interned at Devon, Pa., and expects to graduate from Philadelphia Seminary in the spring.

            Haley Vay Poynter is a native of Williamsburg, graduate of Roanoke College and the daughter of Pastor Kate Schroeder of St. Paul, Edinburg. A senior at Gettysburg Seminary, she interned at Trinity, a New York City bilingual congregation. She said she feels called to serve a Spanish/English congregation on the margins, advocating for justice and peace.

            Leslie Scanlon, a Fort Ord, Cal. native, grew up in Virginia Beach and Norfolk and calls First, Norfolk, her home church. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, she worked as a summer camp counselor at Caroline Furnace two years and completed Project Connect Immersion at Faith, Suffolk, and interned at Dublin, Ohio. She expects to graduate from Philadelphia Seminary in May.

            Travis Wilson of St. Mark, Yorktown, is from Roanoke and his wife, Kristen, is from Williamsburg.  A Roanoke College graduate, he worked as an inventory administrator at Ferguson Enterprises, Newport News. He is student body president at Trinity Seminary, Columbus, Ohio.  


Twittering in church

      by Vicar Ben Sloss, St. Mark, Yorktown    


            Over the last couple months, I have worked with the social network committee as St. Mark has begun utilizing online resources like facebook, twitter, youtube and flickr in order to share and connect with our members, using these new mediums.

            As I have been working on these new projects and helping in the design and launch of the new St. Mark webpage, I've also spent some time thinking about the relationship between religion and technology. Where are all these advances in technology going to take St. Mark Lutheran Church and Christianity as a whole?

            Ultimately, I don't know the answer to that question but I'm not too worried about it. Christianity has a long history of using the latest technology as tools to spread the Gospel. Some of the first AM radio stations were used to broadcast religious messages to remote parts of the world. Martin Luther's 95 theses were one of the first documents to be copied and printed in pamphlet form on the Gutenberg press, as was his translation of the Bible into German. Even the Apostle Paul conducted much of his ministry without being physically present, opting instead for advanced letter technology.

            These technologies all have one thing in common, they help people to communicate, to create and maintain communities, even across large distances. At the center of all of these technologies will always be one thing, a community. Here at St. Mark Lutheran Church, there is a wonderful community, one that gathers together around good food, powerful outreach ministries and most importantly, Jesus Christ.

            As the social media committee and St. Mark Lutheran Church as a whole continue to develop and enhance our communication technologies, it is my hope that we can offer a taste of this community to those who cannot be with us in person, due to their location or because of physical illness, and to provide others a new way to show and share about their faith community.






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