July, 2012
                 The Virginia



2012 Synod Assembly: 

Feeding the hungry is basic 



    The theme "Feeding the Hungry" was featured in speeches, songs and service throughout the 25th annual Virginia Synod Assembly at Roanoke College June 8-10.  "Food is the most basic of all human rights," said Lita Johnson, ELCA representative and former director of the ELCA World Hunger Appeal. 
VL 7-12 Humphrey

 Pastor Bob Humphrey, Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, assembles food for a Salem  program in a service project.

"People of good will know that it's not right for children to go to bed hungry," she said. Worldwide, Johnson said, the good news is that the estimated 925 million hungry people are expected to be reduced to half by 2015 but the bad news is that 21 children are dying from hunger and poverty each minute. 

     Bishop Jim Mauney has set a goal that "every child in Virginia will be fed by Oct. 31, 2017." An estimated 218,000 children and teens in Virginia face hunger. Many hands were raised in the Assembly when Johnson asked how many congregations have feeding or shelter programs. In an opening sermon, Episcopal Bishop Neff Powell of the Southwestern Virginia Diocese said scripture is "full of  references for bread for the body and spirit."
     Pastor Dwayne Westermann, who leads a scholarship program in Tanzania, said many people may donate but they don't know the poor "outside our gates." Knowing those in need "bridges the chasm between the rich and the poor...We have our daily bread God has given us, not just leftovers."

     Pastor Kelly Derrick (St. Philip, Roanoke) told of meeting a small child on a recent trip to Malawi and then learning of her death from malaria soon afterward. A child is dying of malaria every 45 seconds, she said. Derrick chairs a new world hunger team in the Synod which is seeking a contact in every congregation.

     In a service project, voting members assembled food items for backpacks to be delivered by Roanoke College students to two Salem schools.

VL 7-12 Moyer
Bishop Emeritus V. A. "Buck" Moyer speaks 
at the recognition of his attendance at 
68 consecutive synod assemblies.
Bishop Emeritus V. A. "Buck" Moyer, 91, was honored for his unusual record of attendance at 68 consecutive synod assemblies. Moyer said his life has been enriched by the support of this synod. After ordination in 1945, he served in parish ministry, then as synod president for five years and bishop for six years. With the formation of the ELCA, he led in Virginia Synod restructuring until his retirement in1987.


Two resolutions defeated

     Synod voting members defeated two resolutions and approved two. They used electronic, hand-held voting machines for the first time, saving time and paper.

They rejected resolutions related to religious freedom and a proposed new category for congregation membership. 

     Lee Manhart, Redeemer, McKinley proposed that the synod bishop send a letter to the Richmond and Arlington Catholic dioceses supporting their opposition to the Affordable Care Act which he said directs the Catholic church and its organizations to include coverage for contraception. Pastor Ken Ruppar of Our Saviour, North Chesterfield asked for a memorial to the ELCA Assembly seeking a constitution change to allow a new category of congregation membership for those who disagree by faith or conscience with ELCA Assembly decisions. These members would retain local congregation voting status but would not be counted in national ELCA totals. Both actions came after brief debate.

     A resolution approved called for recognition of the Lutheran Association of Christian Educators as a key organization supporting Christian education. A second resolution asked congregations to have a conversation about steps to reach out to other races and cultures in their communities by next December.


Budget increase of 15.6 percent approved

     The assembly approved a 2013 budget of $2,028,360, an increase of 15.6 percent from the current program. Much of the increase is in a 3 percent raise for synod staff, salary for a fulltime staff person in the office of the bishop east and a small increase for conference deans, who have more responsibilities. ELCA support increased slightly from 38 percent at present to 39 percent. George "Skip" Zubrod, synod treasurer, said the budget for next year is "achievable and it will allow us to move forward." The assembly approved a minimum compensation of $50,227 for a pastor with a housing allowance and $39,831 for a pastor with a parsonage in 2013.

     The annual Youth Assembly, meeting at the same time, discussed, "God's people sharing resources with those in need" under a theme, "The Hunger Games." Amanda Downs, Grace and Glory in Fluvanna County, succeeded Grace Clough (Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg) as president of the synod's Lutheran Youth Organization.

     Music was led by David Ludwig, musician and singer from Redeemer Lutheran Church, Winter Park, Fla., throughout the Asssembly.

     A disaster response vehicle, funded by Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission, was turned over to Lutheran Family Services. Herb Peterson, project coordinator, gave the keys to Julie Swanson, LFS executive director. The trailer contains four showers and two laundry units to be used in case of emergency.

     Daniel Lehmann, editor of The Lutheran, reported that the national magazine is "a mirror reflection of your church and your community." He said he hopes readers "see yourself and maybe see a tip that will help you and your congregation." 

Join our Mailing List!
In This Issue
Synod Assembly HIghlights
Assembly Elections Held
Assembly Ordinations
Lutherans in the news
Beverly Polk honored
Leaders address change
Lutheran Partners in Mission
Upward Bound News
Lutheran projects in the Valley
Trinity celebrates 225 years
River of Life Prayer Shawls
Quick Links


Assembly elections held


     George "Skip" Zubrod, president of Virginia Lutheran Homes and a member of College, Salem was re-elected synod treasurer at the June Assembly.

     In elections for Synod council posts, Pastor John Wertz of St. Michael, Blacksburg was re-elected and four new members named are Phyllis Milton, Reformation, Newport News; Matt Wertman, Grace, Waynesboro; Pastors Lucille "CeCe" Mills, St. Timothy, Norfolk; and Bill Nabers, St. Jacob-Spaders, Pleasant Valley. Pastors Wynemah Hinlicky (College, Salem) and Jim Utt (Grace, Winchester) were chosen as nominees for ELCA Churchwide Council.

     Those elected as voting members for the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly are Rose Stephens-Booker, First, Norfolk; Elizabeth "Lizzie" Franz, St. Philip, Roanoke; Nancy Reed, St. Mark, Luray; Lucas Hakkenberg, College, Salem; Matt Wertman, Grace, Waynesboro; Rev. Philip Martin, Epiphany, Richmond, and Rev. Karen Taylor, Bethlehem, Waynesboro.


Boyntons ordained, Reynolds consecrated


     Jonathan Mark Boynton and his wife, Deanna Scheffel Boynton, were ordained at the annual synod assembly worship service at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke on June 9. At the same time, Mindy Schramm Reynolds was consecrated as a diaconal

minister, serving in a new post as synodical minister for healthy leadership and wellness.

VL 7-12 Ordinations
Jonathan and Deanna Boynton
and Mindy Reynolds (right)

   The Boyntons, May graduates of Southern Seminary, were called to the new North Mountain Parish of three congregations near Toms Brook. Deanna Boynton came from Our Saviour, Warrenton, and Jonathan Boynton is a native of Kannapolis, N.C.

    Mindy Reynolds is overseeing the Healthy Congregations and Bridgebuilder programs, 

re-establishing pastoral leadership coaching groups and directing a wellness program for rostered leaders. She has worked in parish/faith communities for 15 years. Her husband, the Rev. Charles Reynolds, is executive director of wellness ministries for the Virginia Conference

of the United Methodist Church. They live at Fishersville.

     Bishop Jim Mauney preached about the feeding of the five thousand. He said Jesus taught the disciples his word of life all day because they were hungry for his teaching before the feeding of the bread and fishes. The bishop said, "Jesus was moved with compassion for their hunger and pain and fed them."


Lutherans in the News

VL 7-12 Miko
The Rev. Kathleen Miko


Pastor Kathleen Miko, formerly of St. Paul, Timberville is serving as chaplain/church relations director for Virginia Lutheran Homes. She will serve as co-chaplain with Pastor Bob Ward at Brandon Oaks, Luther Manor and Luther Crest.  She will represent VLH at congregations, conferences and synod institutions with a goal of strengthening connections and enhancing cooperative services and ministries.

     Pastor Conrad Braaten, recently retired senior pastor of Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Washington, D.C. has been installed as part-time interim pastor of Christ, Radford. He served earlier on the ELCA executive staff, as a mission developer and as a hospital administrative supervisor. Braaten holds a master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary and recently received a pastoral study project grant from Louisville Institute. His wife, Dr. Jennifer Braaten, is president of Ferrum College

Braaten has announced two focus /brainstorming events, on "Worship and Rhythm" on July 18 and "Hospitality and Facilities" on July 19.

     Retired Lutheran Church in America Bishop James R. Crumley Jr., will receive the 2012 Walton H. Greever Award at an Oct. 26 banquet of the Friends of the Archives. The archives, named for Crumley, serve Region 9 of the ELCA. Crumley, a Roanoke College graduate and former Virginia Synod pastor, served as president and later bishop of the former LCA from 1978 to 1988. Greever, former Southern Seminary professor and national church executive, was a native of Burkes Garden, Tazewell County. The award recognizes a person who has made significant and distinguished contributions as a church leader. Crumley and his wife, Annette, live in Chapin, S.C.

     Emmanuel Nguvava, executive director, and his wife, Aurelia, from Faraja School in Tanzania planned to visit First, Norfolk the last weekend of June. First Church has supported Faraja School in many ways. More than 50 members of the congregation have visited the Lutheran Diocese in Tanzania since the decision was made to build the school in 1999. The school has 88 students.

     Dr. Paul Jersild taught a class on Christianity and Islam at First, Norfolk. The class focused on the history and teachings of Islam, its relations with Christianity and efforts of adaption and reform now current within Islam. The class asked questions of a Muslim friend of Jersild. First Lutheran has had a dialogue with Muslims for several years, recognizing a need for Christians to challenge and counteract the massive hate campaigns waged against Muslims. The class learned of the alternative of better information and building bridges of understanding and respect.

     Carolyn Rebecca Jones Hellerich was ordained at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Neb.  Pastor Hellerich and her parents, Mary Frances Kirkpatrick Jones and Ryland Jones, were members of Christ, Fredericksburg when she was a child.

     Trinity Ecumenical Parish at Smith Mountain Lake is in the beginning stages of formation of a support group for single parents around the lake.

     At St. Michael, Blacksburg the growing Micah's Backpack program received a $14,000 grant from the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church Endowment to continue helping food-insecure children in the community. During June, this program gave nearly 1,000 meals to students at five elementary schools and a child care center. During vacation Bible school, middle and high school students stocked shelves for summer weekend food distribution. The congregation also is donating vegetables from its Micah's Garden project to two area food pantries.

     Grace, Winchester has scheduled a summer historic lecture series to benefit its Godfrey Miller Historic Home & Fellowship Center. Topics include 1860s medicine, the Battle of Kernstown, Winchester women and children during the Civil War, Buffalo Soldiers of the 1860s.

     Our Saviour, Norge held a barbecue benefit for a Navy veteran who had been living in substandard housing. Church members volunteered labor, building materials and food for a community effort to build a house for the veteran. 


Beverly Polk holds two state honors 


     Beverly Polk, school food services supervisor for Shenandoah County public schools and a member of St. Luke, Woodstock, has received statewide recognition from two organizations. 

VL 7-12 Polk

Beverly Polk (right) received a plaque for Shenandoah County's first-place award in a state Food for Thought competition from Joan Wodiska, president of Virginia School Boards Association.

    Polk received a plaque from the Virginia School Boards Association for the county's first-place award in the Food for Thought 2012 competition. Shenandoah County won in the "healthy school meals" category for school divisions with a student population between 5,001 and 10,000.  The county created an all-farm-to-school lunch menu for a day, working with students at the regional Governor's school and local farmers to create a menu.

     Flour from a local mill and beef from a local farm were included. Students made posters describing the meal and posted them throughout the school. Local foods are used on a regular basis in each meal and students are informed about the products.

     Earlier, Polk received a lifetime achievement award from the School Nutrition Association of Virginia. Now in her 46th year with the school system, she is in charge of all aspects of the school nutrition program, including personnel, menus, purchasing, equipment and adherence to state and federal legislation. She and her husband, Eugene, have been married almost 53 years. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.


Church leaders address change

by Mindy S. Reynolds

Synodical minister for healthy leaders and wellness


     On May 22nd, approximately 25 Healthy Congregations facilitators and invited guests gathered at the Best Western PLUS Conference Center in Waynesboro to listen to Dr. Peter Steinke speak on "Leading Change in a Changing World." 

     This was followed by a second presentation on May 23rd, entitled "Life is a Mission Trip," attended by 65 Lutheran and other mainline denominational clergy from across Virginia.  The ecumenical nature of this event, covering a wealth of information, was an exciting and significant step forward. It bodes well for future collaborative efforts in the area of health and wellness.   

    In addition to a brief review of family systems theory, Dr. Steinke discussed the nature of the brain and its functioning, the emotionally charged reaction often produced by change, the characteristics of well-differentiated leaders in the midst of change and anxiety, and the functioning positions of healthy leaders. 
VL 7-12 Trevor
Dr. Peter Steinke talks with 
Patty Trevor at workshop.

    In a 10-statement true-or-false exercise, Dr. Steinke had participants reflect on societal changes that have occurred since 1905. He shared how many organizations and 

agencies, not simply churches, have lost significant membership over recent decades - a major source of anxiety. 

    Despite these dramatic cultural changes, many congregations and leaders continue to adhere to models reflecting societal positions from at least 50 years ago, when, in fact, new approaches need to be taken. He emphasized the need for churches to make the shift from member culture to mission culture.  Dr. Steinke delved into the Biblical understandings of mission aside from the well-known New Testament Great Commission, and discussed the six characteristics of a congregation with a mission.

     One sobering point in Dr. Steinke's presentation was his revelation that of the 213 congregations in which he has conducted interventions, all 213 had no clear sense or purpose of mission.  In response to this finding and by request, Dr. Steinke shared information about a new program he has developed, called, "New Visions."

     This program is designed specifically to assist pastors and congregations in faithfully ministering during times of significant change. New Visions is a training program designed for leaders to raise mission consciousness, to plan mission activity, and to implement mission efforts in congregations by establishing a "mission school" inside congregations. Recognizing that change will be resisted less if associated with mission, thereby diminishing conflict, the training includes effective ways to process change.

     The Virginia Synod will be exploring this new training program following a review of participant evaluations, and in consonance with the synod's focus on mission in 2013. 


Ellen Hinlicky will direct  

Lutheran Partners in Mission


    Ellen Hinlicky, director of special gifts at Roanoke College for the past four years, has been named to the new post of director of the newly formed Lutheran Partners in Mission, combining the United Lutheran Appeal and the former Synod Mission Office of Planned Giving.
VL 7-12 Hinlicky
Ellen Hinlicky

  Hinlicky, who has long experience in fund-raising for the church, said she wants "to forge understanding and closer relations between congregations and the agencies which do such good work." She will seek volunteers to help the agencies: "Active volunteers are the best givers."      

     The work she will try to do "will not take money out of the parish, not competing" with local programs. As a fund-raiser, I give people an opportunity to be generous. This models God's generosity to us."
     The new Lutheran Partners in Mission will be led by a board headed by Pastor John Wertz, St. Michael, Blacksburg. Other members are Katherine Baerwald, vice president of National Lutheran Communities and Services; Ellen Bushman, Lutheran Family Services; Ron Walrath, vice president of Southern Seminary; Pastors Chip Gunsten, assistant to the bishop; Steve Ridenhour, Holy Trinity, Wytheille; Ken Lane, Trinity, Roanoke, and Philip Martin, Epiphany, Richmond.

     The board is comprised of agency representatives who are part of a new Lutheran Partners in Mission consortium, formed from the former Mission Office for Planned Giving and Lutheran Appeal agencies.

     The United Lutheran Appeal will continue its operations. The new Lutheran Partners office is designed to expand the successes of the Appeal and Planned Giving and "encourage congregations and agencies to work together," she said.

     Hinlicky, who is the wife of Dr. Paul Hinlicky of the Roanoke College faculty, formerly was assistant director of church relations and gifts development at the college, director of resource development and church relations for Virginia Lutheran Homes and director of institutional advancement at Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke. She holds degrees from Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Mich., Excelsior College, Albany, N.Y., and State University of New York, Oneonta, N.Y. 


Federal funding cut for 

Upward Bound at Roanoke College 


     The Upward Bound program for 70 students from seven Roanoke area high school students at Roanoke College has been cancelled because of a cut in federal funding. Since its start in 1965, hundreds of disadvantaged students have received help in the summer program at the Salem campus in developing necessary skills for college.

     The Saturday morning classes have been led by three fulltime staff members and about a dozen part-time teachers. The college said its officials are making every effort to appeal to Congress for restoration of the Upward Bound funding.

     Since the start of the current funding cycle in 2007, Roanoke College Upward Bound has had more than 180 students. Of that number, 116 entered college and at least 55 percent were still enrolled last fall.

     Teresa Jackson, director of the Roanoke College Upward Bound program, said."We sincerely regret the cancellation of the summer program and had hoped to avoid this drastic step." If the appeal efforts are successful and funding is restored, the college said, the program may continue with the academic year. If it is not restored, target area high school students will no longer receive the services, support and enrichment provided by Upward Bound at Roanoke.

     Typically, 90 to 100 percent of the Upward Bound participants at Roanoke retained through 12th grade graduate from high school and close to 90 percent of the students retained in Upward Bound through the 12th grade enroll in college.


Shenandoah Valley Lutherans start 

summer feeding, academic programs


     Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries is starting a Rising Stars program at Woodstock to feed children and provide academic enrichment to help them sustain these skills during the summer.

     After a healthy breakfast and a morning of activities, the children will receive lunch before dismissal during a four-day week. They will take a Luke's Backpack full of food for the weekend. Connie Fauber, president of the area ministries, said the goal is to replicate this model program of food and academic assistance throughout Shenandoah County in the future.

     The ministries organization is offering Luke's Backpacks of food for six meals over weekends at the three Shenandoah County elementary schools during the school year and it hopes to expand this program to middle schools and possible pre-school children in the next year.

     At a recent community meeting of representatives of faith-based organizations who discussed ways to fight hunger, Max Finberg, who works in the White House office of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships, said that in 20 years of working with Washington programs, "I haven't once met anybody who said they want to depend on the government." Because of that mentality, he believes faith-based partnerships and charities are essential to a community's wellbeing.

     About 22 million kids qualify for free or reduced lunches during the school year, Finberg said, but only one out of every 10 are reached during the summer. One in seven Americans do not have enough to eat, he added.

     Members of churches in Woodstock, Mt. Jackson, New Market, Toms Brook and other areas described the ways their congregations work to stop hunger. "If we all come together, we can do so much more," Fauber said. More connections with county organizations bring opportunities for grants to help efforts like food banks and food pantries and other programs to meet local needs, she said.


Trinity, Keezletown celebrates 225 years


    Members of Trinity, Keezletown in Rockingham County are looking back over more than two centuries as they celebrate their 225th anniversary throughout the year. The highlight will come on Sunday, Aug.12, when Bishop Jim Mauney is to preach at a homecoming service.  Pastors who served there have been invited to attend.

     Organist Janet Cooley played an old pump organ for one service and the congregation has used the black, red and LBW hymnals. Women wore hats and gloves and men wore their best ties for one anniversary service. Flat Stanley paper dolls in the images of Martin Luther and the Trinity were distributed to neighboring churches by a Sunday School class. 


Women at River of Life churches 

make prayer shawls


     Women from the three River of Life congregations have made and delivered over 50 prayer shawls to the Hahn Cancer Treatment Center at Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg. Members of the congregations donated skeins of yarn or money to buy the yarn.

VL 7-12  Shawls
Tracey Gentry, nurse manager at the 
Hahn Cancer Center, receives prayer shawls from River of Life members Ginny Steeber, Jean Beyer, and Deidee Emerson.
    The shawls were gathered and blessed by Pastor Mark Briehl and by Supply Pastor William Balance at worship services. Lay members have developed a blessing for batches of shawls as they are made so they are ready for use at the cancer center. The shawls are placed in boxes in the reception area of the center where patients can make a selection.  

     The ministry began when Sharon Louderback of St. Paul, Shenandoah heard a radio program about the project started in Connecticut in 1998. She contacted women in the other two congregations-St. Peter, Shenandoah, and St.Luke, Stanley - and they began knitting, crocheting or sewing the shawls. The practice has been traced back to the Old Testament where shawls became symbols of comfort, joy and God's eternal love.

     Among others who joined Sharon Louderback in the prayer shawl ministry are Jean Beyer, Ginny Steeber, Deidee Emerson, Lois Keyser, Mary Jane Fisher, Lisa Taglauer, Rita Reid, Sandra Price-Stroble, Fay Marcus and Pat Kite.

     The River of Life congregations distributes bibles and children's material at a prayer ministry booth at the Page Valley Fair each August. They receive prayer requests from people at the fair and they are posted on a cross in the booth. 





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. 

 Photographs must be separate from text and in .jpg format only.


Any portion of this publication may be reprinted

for use in local church publications with appropriate credit.