September, 2012
                 The Virginia



Chaplain candidates

visit Charleston, S.C. base


chaplan candidates
Air Force chaplain candidates try out night vision goggles.

            Twenty-two military chaplain candidates, led in part by Pastor (Lt. Col.) William Wiecher of College Lutheran, enjoyed a visit to Charleston, S.C. Joint Base in early August. 

            They inspected a C-17 Globemaster III, learned about an aeromedical evacuation squadron and saw a demonstration of night vision goggles. They learned about family readiness programs and other services available to Air Force personnel in times of need.

            The young second lieutenants were starting the last leg of their summer tour of four Air Force bases. The candidacy program provides an opportunity for students to evaluate their compatibility and potential for commissioning as an Air Force chaplain. After graduation from the program and endorsement by their religious body, they will be eligible for reappointment as chaplains (first lieutenants) in the Air Force Reserve.

            Wiecher began a six-month tour of Air Force duty in March, working on planning and program development in the chaplain candidate program.


Learn more about the ELCA Chaplaincy Program here.

chaplaincy crests  

Join our Mailing List!
In This Issue
Air Force chaplain candidates visit S.C. base
Lutherans in the news
10-year-old donates her birthday gifts
Grace & Glory enter new building
Lutheran Men's disaster trailer blessed
Blind author publishes
Muhlenberg most important North American Lutheran
Muhlenberg legacy celebrated at Woodstock
Ruth Rinker dies
Byron Holderby dies
Interns begin synod service
Concert helps homeless
LFS enters Amazing Race
Highlands Conference enjoys corn
Women hear of Lakota Indian ministry
Camp plans work weekend
LPM courses start in Sept.
Germanna Conference hears history
Tidewater media workshops
Turkey Trot to aid hungry
Quick Links


Lutherans in the news


            Pastor Paul Toelke has moved to St. Peter, Stafford, after serving for eight years at Grace Lutheran, Youngstown, Ohio. A native of St. Louis, Mo., he was a business administration graduate, worked in business and later earned a master of divinity degree at Wartburg Seminary in Iowa. He and his wife, Charlotte, a school teacher, have two sons, Alex, 28, and Andrew, 13.

            Pastor Gary Schroeder has said he will retire in December after 25 years of


service at Luther Memorial, Blacksburg. Schroeder, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a graduate of Williams College and Gettysburg Seminary, served a New Jersey congregation and as a missionary in Berlin before moving to Blacksburg in 1987.

            Pastor Scott Homesley, St. John, Abingdon, has been elected to the board of Lenoir-Rhyne University. He graduated there in 1983, worked for Boy Scouts of America before graduating from Southern Seminary and serving a church at Southern Pines, N.C. His wife, Robin, their two sons, a daughter and two daughters-in-law are all graduates of Lenoir-Rhyne.

            Keith Long, St. Luke, Richmond, was ordained and installed as pastor at Big Bend Lutheran Church, Milan, Minn., on Aug. 11-12. His home congregation sent him a green stole.

            Jason Felici, a former intern at Holy Trinity, Wytheville, was ordained by the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod on Aug. 25. He and his wife, Jess, who was ordained Aug. 19, have been called to Mountain Lutheran Parish in Pendleton and Pocahontas counties, W.Va.


        At Roanoke College, William Greer, congregation president of College Lutheran and formerly associate dean for student success initiatives, has been named a director of development, with primary responsibility for church relations, as well as seeking major gifts.

            Patrice Yearwood has joined St. Michael, Blacksburg, as music director. A school teacher for 14 years, she started a music studio for early childhood and she directs the Blacksburg Children's Chorale. With the beginning of the fifth year of Micah's Backpack, over 72,800 weekend meals have been provided for hungry students.

            At Bethel, Winchester, Lisa McKee, a salon owner and member of the congregation, offered "Give Back with Cuts," a haircut ministry for 427 youngsters preparing to start school.  Since she started six years ago, an estimated 2,000 haircuts have been provided for children from kindergarten through high school. School supplies were provided for those in kindergarten through 5th grade.

            At First, Norfolk, 7th and 8th graders said "Campfirmation," Confirmation Camp at Lutheridge in North Carolina, was "a great experience." John Azar said his faith has grown and the week changed him spiritually.

            Luther Memorial, Blacksburg, has planned four End-of-Life Issues seminars on the four Sundays of October. Professional people will talk about financial planning, planned giving, medical issues, funeral practices and grief.  

            Starting Sunday, Aug. 12, Messiah, Mechanicsville, and its school began sharing  space with All Souls Episcopal, a mission congregation, for Sunday worship and throughout the week. They have shared some worship and ministry but All Souls expects to have its own building eventually.

            St. Luke, Culpeper, collected 89 composition notebooks, 135 spiral notebooks, 584 pencils, 190 glue sticks, 175 markers, 4 boxes of crayons, other assorted supplies and $125 for children in need in the community as school began. The supplies were brought forward as part of a Blessing of the Backpacks service.

St. Mark, Charlottesville, is seeking to call a person with leadership skills with youth. A description of a part-time youth and family ministry position may be requested from

            Dr. Lamontte Luker of Southern Seminary has announced that his annual Israel study tour, "a 16-day cross-cultural immersion and spiritual retreat" in Israel and Palestine, will be offered Jan. 4-19 for $3,099. For more information contact


Mairi Bachman donates her birthday gifts


mairi gifts
Mairi Bachman stacks birthday gifts
for a Winchester orphanage.
             As the 10th birthday of Mairi Bachman of Grace, Winchester, approached, she told her mother, "I have everything I want or can I give my presents to kids in an orphanage?" She made a flyer, circulated it among friends and family and Pastor Jim Utt of Grace preached a sermon relating her generosity to the feeding of the five thousand in the Bible.

            When her birthday came on Aug. 14, Mairi received $545 in cash and many donated items, far more than her goal, which she donated to Evans Home for Children in Winchester. In addition to cash, she received a skateboard, batteries, blankets, towels and laundry baskets. Meg Bachman, her mother, said she was "incredibly proud of my daughter, as well as humbled by her generosity in wanting to help others."


Grace and Glory enters new building


grace and glory church bldg
Grace and Glory's new church.

            After more than 11 years of worshiping in an aerobics room of a fitness center and a school cafeteria, the congregation of Grace and Glory in Fluvanna County celebrated its first worship in a new church on August 26. Almost 150 people attended the service, led by Pastor Ken Albright.

            Dedication of the $1.4-million church is scheduled for Sept. 23 at 6:00 p.m., led by Bishop Jim Mauney. Pastor Chip Gunsten, assistant to the bishop, also will participate.

The new church, seating 180, has three classrooms, pastor's office and a kitchen. It is located on State Rt. 53, about 15 miles southeast of Charlottesville.       

            Pastors Paul St. Clair of Peace, Charlottesville, and Bill Stewart, mission developer for the congregation, assisted in the first service. Don Hicklin of the contractor, Neilsen Builders Inc., presented the key to the building to Helen Post, congregation president. Charter members led the procession into the building, to the sounds of a handbell choir, led by Julie Martell.

            The lectionary reading for the day was Psalm 84, stating that Jehovah God "gives us grace and glory," the basis for the name of the congregation. 


Disaster trailer blessed; LFS helps storm vicitms


disaster trailer
Bishop Jim Mauney (right) talks with Herb Peterson
and Fred Arbogast of Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission
at disaster trailer.

             Bishop Jim Mauney blessed the new disaster relief trailer assembled by Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission on Aug. 24 at Minnick Education Center in Roanoke County where it will be stored until needed for use by Lutheran Family Services. LFS has used grants and donations to assist victims of last year's tornadoes and earthquake.

            The trailer, financed by donations from the men, congregations, individuals and a LFS grant, has four showers, two washer/dryer units and a generator for use in a disaster relief situation. Herb Peterson, Our Saviour, Richmond, has been the project coordinator.

            A total of $50,000 in an ELCA grant and contributions by congregations and individuals was raised to help meet long-term needs of people harmed by tornadoes in Washington and Pulaski counties and an earthquake in central Virginia, according to Julie Swanson, LFS chief executive.       

            These funds were used for chimney repairs at three Fluvanna County homes and to provide furnishings for damaged houses in Washington and Pulaski counties. One man said he feared he would always be living in his garage.

            Swanson said the newly fitted trailer is ready for use, if needed by ELCA Disaster Relief in the hurricane areas of Louisiana and Mississippi.

            At the blessing ceremony, Bishop Mauney said the trailer, outfitted by craftsmen, will be an oasis for people working in hard times of disaster. He said the trailer is a reminder of the 46th Psalm, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Swanson said assembling the trailer was "an amazing project," costing more than $25,000. 


Blind author writes about blind detective

who will hear  

            Phyllis Campbell, organist at Faith, Staunton, and a longtime writer, has produced her first mystery, Who Will Hear Them Cry, a book about a blind woman detective. Campbell is blind.

            A graduate of Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, she has studied at Lynchburg College and Dunsmore Business College in Staunton. She received a lifelong learning award from the Hadley School for the Blind in Illinois and she has worked as a music teacher, peer counselor, computer tutor and youth transition coordinator.

            For information about the book, she may be contacted at Or, click on the book cover at right.


H.M. Muhlenberg: 

most important North American Lutheran

     by Dick Reeves

weengert muhlenberg
Wengert looks over Muhlenberg exhibit.


           St. Stephen, Williamsburg, celebrated  Muhlenberg 300 week in August and  the Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert, pastor, Philadelphia Seminary professor, author and translator joined the conversation about Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, born September 6, 1711.

            So who was he that so much has been made of him?

            Wengert: "Muhlenberg was colonial America's Lutheran pastor . Muhlenberg really was, if not in name but in terms of what he did, the first North American Lutheran bishop because of the way he understood his role and oversight."

            Then, how important?

            Wengert: "We would not be here today in this room were it not for Muhlenberg.  Perhaps you grew up in eastern Pennsylvania or parts of Virginia and can claim to be direct descendants of one of the Muhlenberg churches, or perhaps the Pennsylvania Ministerium for one reason or another, which was the original Lutheran church body which was formed by Muhlenberg and others in the 18th century."

            As for the lack of historical celebrity:  "I introduce you to a man who for many Lutherans and perhaps for United States citizens in general is the single most important North American Lutheran they have never heard of."

            One reason:  "Certain parts of the American religious experience, particularly immigrant religious experience is ignored or forgotten.   And because Muhlenberg was writing and speaking in German he is not well known."

            Wengert was preceded at St. Stephen that week by the display of 20 colorful banners telling the Muhlenberg story. The banner tour began in 2011 near the 300th anniversary of his birth and will continue into 2013.

            Trained in Halle, Germany, Muhlenberg had what Wengert called a fascinating mixture of deeply felt religious conviction, love of learning and caring for the poor.  He accepted an offer to become a missionary to colonial North America, received permission to be a pastor as requested by three congregations and arrived in the Pennsylvania colony in 1742. Muhlenberg signed up for three years but remained for 43.  He married, had a family, built a home and had a hand in nurturing more than 100 congregations from Georgia to Nova  Scotia.

            He left many writings, letters, journals.  Some were translated. Wengert:  "It was by editing these letters that I began to realize what an amazing person he really was."

            He detects Muhlenberg's ecclesial DNA  in today's ELCA which traces its founding back to the Ministerium of Pennsylvania. The ELCA's partnership with other denominations reminds him of Muhlenberg's ecumenism.  And Lutheran social service agencies resonate with Muhlenberg's sense of responsibility for the poor.  


Muhlenberg legacy celebrated at Woodstock


On August 12, 150 people gathered at Wodstock to celebrate the legacy of the Muhlenberg family at Emanuel Lutheran Church.  The events began with a display from Halle, Germany featuring the story of the Muhlenberg family, held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

 People then gathered for a 1748 worship service conducted in English with the German translation of what would have been spoken on the opposite page.  All eight legacy congregations participated in the life of the liturgy.  Throughout the service, the main theme was "the church must be planted."

  Henry Melchior Muhlenberg's words governed the way he lived as he braved seasickness and the snares of early colonial life to establish Lutheran churches in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Pastor Herb Michel, former pastor of Augustus Lutheran, Trappe, Pa., delivered resonating words on the lives of Henry Muhlenberg and his son, Peter, who was pastor of both Emanuel Lutheran and Emmanuel Episcopal.

Peter Muhlenberg Findley
reads the lesson at Woodstock.

  A re-enactment of John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg's reading of Ecclesiastes which prompted the Revolutionary sermon of "There is a time to preach and a time to fight, and now is the time to fight," was given  by Peter Muhlenberg Findley, a direct descendant and  a history teacher in Haymarket.

  The service concluded with Bishop Jim Mauney presiding at Holy Communion, assisted by the Rev. Frederick Trumbore of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia .

            A day to reflect on the rich history of the Lutheran Church led to the crown jewel of the day.             For the 300th Anniversary of the Muhlenberg family, Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia currently is working on restoring John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg's preaching robe so that all may see living history.   Many came from Maryland and Northern Virginia to see this amazing artifact, given by the Henkel family to the seminary in 1910.

 An offering of close to $1,000 was collected to be given to the seminary for the robe restoration.  A bulletin or a recording of the service can be obtained for a donation to the robe restoration, by contacting Emanuel Lutheran Church at 540-459-3837. 

muhlenberg robe knicely
Pastor Jim Kniseley stands by the Muhlenberg robe.

A total of $7,200 has been raised for the restoration, as proposed by Philadelphia Textile & Object Conservation. The eight Virginia Synod congregations with a connection to John Peter Muhlenberg are contributing an amount equal to the number of years since their founding. Grace, Winchester, contributed $2,000.  Funds are being raised for an environmentally sealed display case, costing $3,000. Donations may be sent to Pastor Nate Robinson at Emanuel Lutheran, 127 East High St.. Woodstock, VA 22664-1732, or to Philadelphia Seminary.

            The authenticity of the robe was the subject of a History Detectives television program. Linda Baumgardner, curator of costumes and textiles at Colonial Williamsburg and a member of St. Stephen, Williamsburg, said on the program that the robe is "the right shape and size to be a man's religious robe in the 18th century." A thread from the robe showed that it was made of wool, she said.

            The exhibit loaned from Halle University in Germany was on display at Hebron, Madison, Aug. 4-7 and a festival concert of period music with German hymns on the historic Tannenberg organ was presented on Aug. 4. 



Pastor Ruth Rinker dies 


Pastor Ruth Rinker of  Bethlehem, Luray, has died. A former college English professor, she was ordained in 1999. Surviving are her husband, Hunter, and a son, William. The funeral was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 1, at 2:00  p.m. at Bethlehem.  

Rear Adm. A. Byron Holderby Jr., dies


            Rear Admiral A. Byron Holderby Jr., 77,  pastor of St. John, Roanoke, from 1963 to 1967, died in Pinehurst, N.C., on Aug. 24. He joined the Navy in 1967 and retired in 2002 as chief of Navy Chaplains.

            He was a graduate of the College of William and Mary and Southern Seminary. Surviving are his wife, Barbara, two daughters and six grandchildren.

Three interns begin synod service 


            Three interns will be serving this year at Christ, Fredericksburg, Holy Trinity, Wytheville, and Burkes Garden in Tazewell County.

            Anne A. Jones, a Southern Seminary student from Hickory, N.C., has started at Christ, Fredericksburg. She attended Lenoir-Rhyne University and earned a master of divinity degree at Wake Forest School of Divinity. She will enter the call process after her intern year,

            Jon Myers, a native of Smithsburg, Md., and a graduate of Duke University, began his intern year in Wytheville on July 1. He studied at Ohio State graduate school, graduated from Princeton Seminary and spent a year at Philadelphia Seminary. Jennie Myers, his wife, is a sister of the ELCA Deaconess Community who trained in youth ministry at Luther Seminary and is waiting for her first call. They have a new son, Caleb Jay, born May 17. Her parents live in Roanoke.

            Barbara Krumm of St. John, Norfolk, is the new intern at Central, Burkes Garden, serving with Pastor Terry Edwards of Immanuel, Bluefield, W.Va.  A student at Gettysburg Seminary, she attended Old Dominion University and taught pre-school for 10 years and served as director of the school for 12 years. Raised as a Catholic, she has been an active member of St. John since her teens.  Krumm and her husband, Dale, a federal manager at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, have two grown children and four grandchildren. 

Reformation concert helps homeless 


Reformation, Newport News, with the support of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, raised $1,146 for Menchville House, an emergency housing facility, at a benefit concert at the church on July 29. It was an afternoon of a variety of music and performers, including the audience.

Reformation's choir sang both traditional and contemporary music, inviting the congregation to sing "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee." The Correll Summer Orchestra Reading Society participated with three pieces from their recent sight-reading work.

            The Reformation Ensemble made its debut, with Jerry Plassman on trumpet, Kevin Garner on flugelhorn and Janice Bunting on piano, playing a medley of praise songs as the audience sang along.

            The concert also featured a silent auction of original photographic art by Michele Flores, Reformation's parish secretary. "What I share is the beauty I see God has given each living thing that surrounds us," said Flores. The photos in the auction she took on the church's grounds and on the shore of the James River.

            Menchville House is an emergency housing facility for homeless women and children, located a few blocks from the church. The 46-bed facility offers shelter for women and their children up to the age of 18. It opened its doors in 2001. Carol Masser, a co-founder of Menchville House, told of her joy that several people who came to the shelter for assistance in its early years are now members of its board!

LFS enters Amazing Race in Richmond


            Lutheran Family Services will be a contender in Amazing Raise, a 36-hour giving challenge in Richmond on Sept. 19-20. The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia has committed $100,000 to be distributed among winning non-profits.

            LFS donors have been urged to give $50 or more during the 36-hour event. The more donors who designate LFS the greater chance LFS has of winning bonus grants of up to $20,000.

Highland Conference enjoys 35 dozen ears of corn 


            More than 35 dozen ears of corn, dipped in melted butter and salted, were consumed by almost 250 Highland Conference members at their annual corn roast at Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center on Aug. 5.

            A feature of the event was the chance for parishioners to dunk their favorite or least favorite pastor in a tank to raise over $150 for world hunger, resurrecting an old plan. Fellowship, a brief presentation from each congregation and conversation were reported. Next year's corn roast is already scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 4, at 4 p.m., according to Pastor Jonathan Hamman, conference dean.

Women hear of Lakota Indian ministry 


            Rex Hartson, Virginia Tech professor emeritus, talked about ministry among the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the keynote talk at the 25th annual convention of the Virginia Synodical Women's Organization of Women of the ELCA at Roanoke College, July 20-22. Hartson and his wife have been in charge of American Indian ministry at Christ Episcopal Church in Blacksburg for 18 years.

            A special offering of over $2,000 from the convention was donated to the Lakota people to provide a safe place for children and teens to receive after-school care. The organization has sent over 100 blankets to Lakota people for use in winter.

            Pastor Heidi David-Young, Bethel, Winchester, was convention chaplain and Kristine Brugamyer of Dickinson, N. Dak., represented Women of the ELCA. Brugamyer led workshops and brought greetings from the national organization.

women's board 2012
First row from left: Anna Barb, Nia Indelicato, Ellen Greene, Bonnie Mantta, Sherry Frey.  Second row from left: Sherry Casteele, Risse Snelgrove, Carol Bailey, Christel Williams, Helen Weaver. Not pictured: Imogene Ryman and Judy Ann Fray.

        Past presidents were honored at a 25th anniversary banquet. Risse Snelgrove, synodical president, led a business session at which a budget was approved and new officers and board members elected. Outgoing board members-Judy Casteele, Connie Saunders, Janice Brown and Lisa Sommerville-were recognized

            Carol Bailey,  Resurrection, Fredericksubrg, was elected vice president asnd Sherry Frye, Midlothian, was elected secretary. New board members are Nina Indelicato, St. Michael, Blacksburg; Bonnie Mantta, St. Timothy, Norfolk; Helen Weaver, Our Saviour, Chesterfield, and Judy Ann Fray, Hebron, Madison.

Camp plans work weekend, Civil War Lutherhostel

  Caroline Furnace New Logo

            Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center announced two events: A fall  work weekend on Friday-Saturday, Sept. 7-8, and a Lutherhostel program remembering the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley, Oct. 22-26.

            On the work weekend, volunteers will be cleaning, winterizing and putting a new roof on one of the cabins. Lodging and food are free for the Friday night-Sunday morning weekend. Participants are asked to contact if they plan to work. Visits to Civil War sites are a feature of the Lutherhostel event at Signal Knob Retreat Center at Strasburg. Information is available at

Four LPM courses start Sept. 14-15


            Four LPM (Leadership Program for Musician) courses, sponsored by the ELCA and the Episcopal Church USA, will be held this fall and winter at Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in Richmond. They will start on Sept. 14-15 and continue monthly through February.

            Courses will be offered in leadership of congregational song, resources for effective music ministry, hymnody of the Christian church and philosophy of church music. A deposit of $100 and a fee of $200 for one course or $600 for all four will be charged. Registration should be sent to Nellwyn Beamon, Church of the Ascension, 405 Talbot Hall Road, Norfolk, VA 23505. 

Germanna leaders hear of history and music 


            Germanna Conference rostered leaders heard a history of the 295-year-old  congregation of Hebron, Madison, and the church's tracker organ, played by the Rev. Brad Jackson, an Episcopal priest, at an Aug. 7 meeting.  Sara Crigler of Hebron reviewed the congregational history.

            After breakfast, they looked over a display featuring the ministry of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, leader of early Lutherans in North America. Pastor Sandy Wisco, St. Mark, Charlottesville, said the "gifts of history and hospitality were accentuated by the nourishment of the meal as we departed sated from the morning's conference meeting at Hebron," led by the conference dean, Pastor Bill Stewart, Charlottesville.

Tidewater media workshops planned


            A Tidewater Church Media Conference at St. Timothy, Norfolk, on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 9 to 3 will feature three workshops on web pages, codes, worship media, audio and video streaming, social media, administrative support, smart phones, email coordination and video conferencing.

            The conference is planned to present "the many ways media can be used for building up Christ's kingdom." Lendora Washington, web/new media specialist for Lutheran Family Services, will demonstrate "how to work the web so it works for you."

After the conference, a field trip is planned to Grace Bible Church, Virginia Bach, an expanded congregation with modern media capabilities. A conference fee of $20 covering the workshop and lunch may be payable to Virginia Synod and sent to Lenae Osmondson, 521 W. 21st St., Suite J, Norfolk 23517. 

Nov. 17 Turkey Trot to benefit backpack ministry 


          Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries has been designated as the recipient for proceeds from the annual Woodstock Turkey Trot, a family running event, on Saturday, Nov. 17. Proceeds will be used for support of the Luke's Backpack Ministry, providing food for children.

            The Turkey Trot is sponsored annually by the Regulus Group, LLC, an engineering firm specializing in aviation systems and services. The Trot will be held at Massanutten Military Acaademy. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. A Teeny K run for those 10 and under is at 8:15 and a 5k/10k race will begin at 9. Early registration, through Oct. 31, will be $25 and the fee after Nov. 1 will be $30. Teeny K registration costs $10.

            Connie Fauber, president of Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries, urged valley Lutherans to "put together your own team of family and/or friends or volunteers to help or simply cheer on the 'trotters' and join in the fun while helping to feed children in our community at the same time."





Editor:  George Kegley   
Voice: 540-366-4607;  Email:
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.