February, 2013
                 The Virginia


Synod Assembly will mark
the "Know's of Leadership"


The "Five Know's of Leadership" will be celebrated at the annual Synod Assembly at Roanoke College, Friday, June 7-Sunday, June 9. 


The Know's are:

       o   Know your neighborhood and God's mission for it

       o   Know colleagues and work with them

       o   Know the people, love and serve them

       o   Know a passion for Luther and the Confessions

       o   Know Jesus and the Scriptures


            In a new procedure, voting members and Youth Assembly members will meet together in five separate time periods. They will hear a presenter and have conversation for the first half of the period and then turn to resolutions, reports and business in the second half of each period-Friday afternoon, Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. The annual worship service at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke will be Saturday night.


            George "Skip" Zubrod, recently retired president of Virginia Lutheran Homes, will be in charge of arrangements for the assembly, a task handled for years by the late Pastor Chip Gunsten.

Join our Mailing List!
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
ACTS courses announced
Bishop Larson to speak
Come and see
Everybody Buy a Net!
Habitat/Thrivent mission trip
LFS service awards
LPM receives grant
Lutherans, Episcopalians share
Peter Steinke to lead training
Blacks, whites have...different memories
Poll finds support for gun law enforcement.
Clemmer heads Ruritans
Men's gathering theme
Synod writers produce Lenten devotions.
ULA Appeal gifts increase
A call for compassion
Quick Links


Lutherans in the news


            Pastor Jim Utt will retire July 1 after 30 years as pastor of Grace, Winchester. He grew up at Gladesboro, Caroll County, graduated from the University of Tennessee and Southern Seminary and served at Ascension, Danville, before moving to Winchester. He holds a doctor of ministry degree from McCormick Seminary and an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Shenandoah University and he has served on Synod's executive Council. He and his wife, Susan Owen Utt, have two children and three grandchildren. Utt is working on a history of the Synod in the last 25 years.

             Dr. Phyllis Blair Milton, new synodical minister for Christian formation, has also started as a part-time vicar at Gloria Dei Lutheran School in Hampton. She will provide chapel support for the children and pastoral support for their families. She holds a doctor of ministry degree from Bethel Seminary and she has completed studies at Southern Seminary and has been approved as a candidate for ordained ministry.

            Pastor Lynn Bechdolt of Holy Trinity, Martinsville, reports exploratory talks toward partnership with a United Methodist congregation. In her newsletter, she asks members, "If we want to consider partnering with a non-Lutheran congregation what does it mean to us that we are Lutheran? What is our vision for the future?" Worship attendance is down everywhere, she said, "So, in tough times, why are we competing with each other when we could be joining forces?"  She invited the Rev. Ron Mateer, recently retired United Methodist pastor, to preach at Holy Trinity while she was on vacation.

            Anna Gunsten has been recognized as the top fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Virginia for the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, March 17, where she will be running in memory of her father, the late Pastor Chip Gunsten, assistant to the bishop.  She has raised $3,842, far surpassing a goal of $1,500.  "I couldn't do it with the support of all my amazing friends, family and those blessed to know my Dad," she said,.

            St. Philip, Roanoke, will celebrate the 55th anniversary the signing of its charter on Sunday, Feb. 24. St. Philip also is planning Nets for Nets, a program to raise funds for the ELCA Malaria Campaign by predicting winners of the NCAA Basketball Tournament in March. Each person submitting a selection will be asked to contribute $10 for the drive to provide mosquito nets for people threatened by malaria.

            The Rev. Bob Ayers of Cazenovia, N.Y., a retired Episcopal rector who grew up in the former Virginia Heights Lutheran Church, Roanoke, has contributed $5,000 to the Virginia Synod. His parents, the late W.C. and Lena Mae Ayers were active members of Virginia Heights and his uncle, the late Dr. Homer Anderson, was longtime superintendent of Synod.

            Trinity Ecumenical Parish, Moneta, reported that its Alternative Christmas Tree generated over $5,700 for support of mission work in Tanzania through Godparents for Tanzania supporting Hai Institute of Technology, a water project, Door of Hope and Karatu Hunger Appeal. Trinity's sanctuary choir will sing The Seven Last Words of Christ, accompanied by a 14-piece orchestra at the 10:30 a.m. worship service March 10. Ken Brown, interim regional organizer for Bread for the World, talked about what each person can do to help end hunger at Trinity services Jan. 6.

            St. Paul, Strasburg, joined five other churches in a Service of Prayers for Reconciliation and Unity on Jan. 27.  The service was planned "to deepen our fellowship and ministries in the area," according to the St. Paul Courier.

An annual Highlands Conference Epiphany Celebration will be held on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 4  p.m. at Holy Trinity, Wytheville, featuring handbells, other musicians, prayers, reading, hymns, a chili cookoff, fellowship and an offering for the malaria campaign.

A Chilly Cookoff was scheduled at Our Saviour, Virginia Beach, Jan. 12 to raise funds for the Human Warmth Fund in Tidewater.

Grace, Winchester, is recruiting members of a Welcoming Task Group to welcome visitors from the Village at Orchard Ridge, scheduled to open this spring, as well as residents of Westminster Canterbury, who have bus service.

When new Pastor Phyllis Diamond and her husband, Doug, arrived at the parsonage at St. Luke, Stanley, the moving van sank into the front yard and "the biggest farm tractor I have ever seen" pulled the truck out, according to the pastor. She praised "the spirit of cooperation" of the helpers.

Jason Litz and Cameron Vaught, who grew up in Grace, Rural Retreat, perform in Raven Cliff, a Nashville country-southern rock group featured on the American Pickers show on the History Channel.

            The second of three programs on "Rediscovering Luther's Hymns Interpreted through Word and Sacrament" will be held at College, Salem,  Sunday, Feb. 10, at 3 p.m.



ACTS courses announced 

ACTS logo  

Two Southern Seminary professors will lead spring and summer ACTS (Ambassadors Community for Theological Study) courses this year.

            Dr. Tony Everett, professor of pastoral care, will lead the spring course on "Biblical Models of Leadership" on March 2 and April 27.

            The fall course on the New Testament will be led by Dr. Brian Peterson, New Testament professor, on Sept. 14 and Nov. 9. Peterson formerly served at Good Shepherd, Lexington.


Bishop Larson to speak to women rostered leaders



 All women rostered leaders of the Synod have been invited to a spring retreat to be led by Bishop Emeritus April Larson at the Roslyn Center in Richmond on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 30-May 1.

            Now senior pastor of First Lutheran Church, Duluth, Minn., Dr. Larson was the first woman bishop in the ELCA and the second Lutheran woman bishop in the world, serving three terms as bishop of the LaCrosse, Wis. Synod.

            For information, contact Mindy S. Reynolds, diaconal minister and synodical minister for healthy leadership and wellness, at Reynolds@vasynod.org. The cost for double occupancy is $150; single occupancy is $160. The registration deadline is April 12.  Twenty-six leaders have expressed interest in the retreat.


Come and see-a tribute to Pastor Chip Gunsten

     by Pastor David Drebes, Prince of Peace, Basye


From the Gospel of John, Chapter One:

They said to Jesus, "Rabbi, where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and see."

[And then later...] Nathanael said to Philip, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."


            Come and see! Come and see! Come and see!

            These echoing invitations to a journey with Jesus are words the Church is still called to echo. The call to discipleship did not begin with Jesus convincing the disciples that he was the Savior, but with his inviting them to walk with him and dwell with him. Philip did not prove to Nathanael that Jesus was the real deal. And, perhaps more importantly, Philip did not say, "Get your head in the right place and then come and meet Jesus." Philip simply echoed the invitation, "Come and see."

            "Come and see!" has echoed for me in the last month as I've reflected on the untimely death of Pastor Chip Gunsten, assistant to Virginia Synod Bishop Jim Mauney. Chip covered many responsibilities throughout the synod, but his responsibility for inquirers and candidates for ordained ministry made him a central figure in my journey over the last decade through candidacy, seminary, and my first call to a congregation. Chip was not the only person who invited me to "come and see" where God was calling, but he's probably the person who most often shared that invitation with me.

            In seminary, it was common to share "call stories," those events and moments when seminarians knew they were called to ordained ministry. I did not, and do not talk a whole lot about a "call story." My hesitancy probably has something to do with my background in newspaper journalism and the appreciation I have for clear, concise stories. Telling my "call story" usually turns into a ramble.

            The story is neither clear nor concise, but my call story is consistent. Again and again I heard from the Church an invitation. Come and see! Chip was not the only voice to share that invitation, but he was gracious with me from the start. I was either a sophomore or a junior at Roanoke College when I plopped down in his office and told him I felt "kind of called by God to maybe go to seminary but probably not to be a pastor." Chip could have said, "Figure it out and get back to me," but instead he invited me in to a journey of discernment, encouraged me to be honest about my concerns, and affirmed that we are all called to come and see where Christ is leading.

            Chip was around, checking in on me throughout my journey, but along the way I heard echoes of come and see from all sorts of people-not that I was expected to have everything figured out, but that the Church is exactly where we figure out our callings to service. I heard that invitation at Camp Kirchenwald (church-in-woods), where I just wanted to mow the lawns but the director decided I could be taught how to be a camp counselor.

Come and see! My New Jersey churches, in Princeton and Glen Rock, echoed Christ's invitation when they invited me to preach, to visit them in hospitals, to lead ministries in their communities, and even to try chanting for the first time! Come and see! Again and again, as I was trying to figure out where God was calling me, the Church was echoing the invitation to a journey. Come and see!

            That's my "call story," but it's also my hope for the Church and for our congregation up here in the mountains. I hope that we consistently offer that invitation to come and see who Jesus Christ is, and where he leads us to serve. I am thankful for all the people who shared that invitation with me, who welcomed my questions and affirmed my sense of call even though it did not happen all at once in a flash of lightning. My hope, then, for the Church and for our congregation, is that our invitation to our neighbors is like Christ's invitation to those first disciples-meeting people where they are, not waiting for them to have everything figured out, but inviting them with all their questions and concerns and joys to walk and serve with our Lord.

            That invitation meant a great deal in my life. My prayer is that you, our community, our county, our state, our nation, and our world will also hear Christ's invitation as spoken by members of His Church. Come and see!

            (This column was published in the Prince of Peace newsletter in January.)


Everybody Buy a Net!


In Africa, sleeping under a bed-net provides protection against deadly mosquito-borne malaria.   For African families, this often makes the difference between life and death.  Every 60 seconds, another child dies of malaria in Africa.  One bed-net costs only about $10.

 The Virginia Synod Malaria Task Group (Team 2017) hopes that in the year 2013, EVERY LUTHERAN IN VIRGINIA WILL CONTRIBUTE $10 to buy a bed-net for kids in Africa.  So far, Virginia Lutherans have given over $60,000 - that's the equivalent of 6,000 bed-nets!  About 600,000 people (mostly kids) die from malaria every year in Africa, so more nets are needed!

Let's see which Virginia Synod congregation can be the first in 2013 to raise $10 for every member on their rolls.  Give African moms and dads the technology to keep their kids safe!  Either give through your congregation or do it on-line at www.Team2017.org  




Habitat/Thrivent mission trip to Missouri planned


Thrivent builds
Mission team worked at Pascagoula, Miss,. last April.

            A group of Southwest Virginia Lutherans is planning a Habitat for Humanity/Thrivent Builds mission trip in April to Joplin, Mo.,where more than 8,000 homes were destroyed or damaged by tornados two years ago.

            Bob Ballard, Holy Trinity, Wytheville, and retired Pastor Ed Schaack, Rural Reteat, will lead two teams in the week of April 8.





 LFS offers Hearts & Hands Service Awards

   LFS logo new

            Lutheran Family Services has invited nominations for Hearts & Hands Service Awards honoring individuals whose passion, energy and delight in service are changing lives and creating brighter futures. The awards, first presented in 2008, will be in honor of the agency's 125th anniversary year.

            An LFS report said the organization is "eager to uncover the stories of those among us who are doing good work and to honor them for their dreams of possibility and positive change." The top adult winner will receive an award of $1,000 and the top youth/young adult, will receive $500. Three runners-up will each receive $250. A requirement of the award is that the winners use it to further their good works or to fund new initiatives.

            The Hearts & Hands Awards will be given to Lutherans who through their job or as a volunteer exemplify qualities and achievements. These exceptional people do the heavy lifting in their church and community, such as stocking food pantries, providing trans- portation, serving on many committees, mentoring young people and providing loving care to those in need.  They organize community services, build playgrounds and spearhead projects. They are intent on making the human journey one of joy and possibility, LFS said.

            Nomination forms are due March 8.  For more information, call 800-359-3834 or email info @lfsva.org.

            Top winners of the 2008 awards were Don and Joann Tolmie, and Tori Smith; runners-up were Antoinette Goodrich and Hunter Fauber.

LPM receives grant for website


            The new Lutheran Partners in Mission (LPM) of the Synod has received a $2,850 grant from National Lutheran Communities and Services to develop an online presence. Through a new LPM website, Virginia Lutherans will be able to learn more information about the eight Mission Partners, formerly organized as the United Lutheran Appeal.

            Lutheran Partners in Mission also will feature information on volunteer opportunities, scholarships available to Virginia Lutherans and online donation opportunities. The website is expected to be operational by May.

Lutherans, Episcopalians

share Mechanicsville building


Mechanicsville larcum
Pastor Lou Florio of Messiah Lutheran and Vicar Amelie Wilmer of All Souls Episcopal stand by a welcome sign stating, "One Lord...One Mission"  
Photo by Carol Sutton-Abaire.

            In a new example of ecumenical sharing, Messiah Lutheran, Mechanicsville, is offering its worship space to All Souls Episcopal, a mission congregation of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Messiah members adjusted their Sunday morning schedule to worship at 8 and 11 a.m. while All Souls worships at 9:30 a.m. in the same building.

            During the All Souls worship time, Messiah meets for Christian formation in the other end of the building. The Episcopalians gather for Christian formation while Lutherans worship at 11, according to Pastor Lou Florio of Messiah. The altar guild, ushers and greeters have worked hard to make seamless transitions between services and to welcome guests, he said.

            "It is a joy to see so many smiling faces each Sunday welcoming each other, regardless of congregational or denominational boundaries," Florio said. The congregations pray for each other, share some ministry expenses and "serve God well together."

            Youth ministries have combined to maximize and encourage participation and improve program offerings. More than 20 youth are meeting together, an increase from three or four who formerly met in each group. Service and support of the local ecumenical food bank have increased, along with other outreach ministries. Both congregations plan to join forces in a Hanover Habitat for Humanity project.

            Florio and Vicar Amelie Wilmer of All Souls met regularly for mutual support and planning for mission. If a member of one congregation has a schedule conflict for their home congregation's worship, it isn't unusual for them to be welcomed at the alternative service, Florio said.

            Following joint worship and fellowship at Thanksgivng and Epiphany, "members are asking for a celebratory service to further rejoice in our relationship...This has been a popular change and the congregations are exploring more opportunities for cooperation."

Florio said both congregations are growing in membership and they hope to remain one in Christ and continue to grow in faith whether they remain in the same building or not.

            Messiah was established in 1968 and its sanctuary was built in 1992. All Souls, started in 2002, worshiped in a school until it joined Messiah last August. That congregation hopes to have its own building someday, Florio said.  

Peter Steinke to lead New Visions training 



            Dr. Peter Steinke, creator of the Bridgebuilder and Healthy Congregations programs, will be the facilitator for a two-day training program on "New Visions: Leadership for Mission" to be held at Grace, Waynesboro, on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13.

            New Visions, designed by Steinke, is a training program for clergy and lay leaders to raise mission consciousness, to plan mission activity and to implement mission efforts by establishing "mission schools" in their congregations. The curriculum can also be used for leadership retreats, adult forums and discipleship classes.

            The event will feature Steinke's book, A Door Set Open,


study guides, a training manual, DVDs and 12 hours of training. The Rev. Paul J. Blom, co-director of New Visions and former bishop of the Texas-Louisana Synod, will be team teaching with Steinke. Blom has served Lutheran parishes in California and Texas and he is the author of God in Raging Waters.  

Participants are responsible for reservations at the Hampton Inn Waynesboro/Stuarts Draft. The registration fee is $150 per person for the first 20 people. The registration deadline is March 12.  Rostered leaders have ben urged to bring a lay leader with them to the training event. Mindy S. Reynolds, synodical minister for healthy leadership and wellness, is the contact person at Reynolds@vasynod.org.  

Blacks, whites have

different memories of segregation

     by Pastor Dennis Roberts, Holy Trinity, Lynchburg


     "Southern Attitudes on Race" was the theme of a recent presentation at Holy Trinity, Lynchburg, by Dr. Ashley B. Thompson, assistant professor of sociology at Lynchburg College.

Thompson's research exploring social identity and the collective memories of white and black southerners about history and race were quite thought-provoking and generated much discussion in her Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Weekend program.

     Based on in-depth interviews with 65 black and white residents in Baton Rouge, LA, Nashville, TN, and Marion, NC, Thompson and fellow researcher Brendan Lannon discovered that 91% of respondents self-identified as "southerners."

 They then probed in more depth how white and black southerners remember and talk about the past, especially given the troubled history of white southerners because of "centuries of racial oppression, including white supremacy, slavery, segregation and violence," said Thompson.

     One reason that white southerners still claim southern identity in such high numbers is because of several "techniques of minimization" they use when talking about the South's past. Thompson noted that "these discursive techniques function to 1) soften the image of the racial injustices that occurred in the South, 2) to reinterpret the past and portray white southerners in a more positive light, and/or 3) to downplay negative aspects of the South's history of white supremacy."

     Thompson observed that five themes stood out in interviews with whites: racial oppression was "not that bad"; white southerners helped and protected black southerners; white southerners didn't invent slavery; the Civil War was an honorable cause; and it's time to "move on" from the past. In other words, she said, "if the past is problematic, you can revise it."

     In their conversations with black southerners, the researchers found some striking differences between how blacks and whites remember segregation. Black southerners had "much more vivid, detailed memories of segregation compared to whites, which aligns with current research on the link between memory and emotions," said Thompson.

Memories of racial oppression were linked to ideas of strength, perseverance, overcoming hardship, and pride. Some black southerners were explicit about their need to keep memories of past racial oppression and struggles alive as a reminder to future generations.

     Thompson concluded with the observation that contradictory uses of memory may hinder the ability of black and white southerners to come to terms with the region's past, especially "when one group is trying to 'collectively forget' the racial injustices of the past, while another group works to 'collectively remember' these same struggles and transmit these memories to future generations." 

College poll finds support for gun law enforcement


Virginians favor many firearms regulations but believe that better enforcement of existing laws is more likely to prevent gun violence and they do not blame lax gun laws for mass shootings, according to interviews of 583 people by the Roanoke College Poll.

The most common response about causes of such shootings as in Newtown, Conn. and Virginia Tech was poor policies dealing with mental illness, followed by an inability to stop those who want to kill others, violence in the media and poor enforcement of gun laws. A majority favored having armed police or security guards at schools but they opposed allowing teachers to carry firearms in schools.

In a separate survey, a majority do not like Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposed transportation funding/tax plan, they favor his education plan, they are split on allowing uranium mining and they are undecided on gubernatorial candidates. 

Dennis Clemmer heads national Ruritan Clubs



Dennis Clemmer, a life-long Augusta County farmer, has been elected president of the 30,000-member national Ruritan Club organization. He and his wife, Betty Jo, are active members of Redeemer, McKinley, near Middlebrook.

            Virginia has more Ruritan members than any other state, said Clemmer, who moved up from national vice president at a Jan. 26 convention in Covington, Ky. When he came in from feeding his commercial herd of 60 cattle one morning this week, he talked about his home club at Middlebrook which he joined almost 46 years ago.

            Ruritans work on fellowship, good will and community service, he said. They sponsor scholarships, 4-H clubs, Boy and Girl Scouts, a Petroleum Day in schools and other needs of a community. Clemmer has served as president of Redeemer congregation, a Sunday School teacher and choir member. He and his wife have a daughter, Jo Anna, whose husband, Garret Nichols, feeds Clemmer's cattle when he travels on Ruritan business. The Clemmers have a grandson, Alex.

An Inclusive Church is men's gathering theme


"Toward a More Inclusive Church-Ambassadors for Christ" will be the theme of the annual gathering of Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission at Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond on April 5-7.

             The theme presenter will be the Rev. Timothy Waltonen, interim pastor at St. Paul, Strasburg, and the chaplain will be Pastor Andrew Bansemer, Ebenezer, Marion.

Bible study, presentations, small group discussions and fellowship and a blend of contemporary and traditional music will be features of the gathering.

            Waltonen, a visiting professor and adjunct faculty member at the University of Mary Washington, also has taught at George Washington University, where he earned a doctorate in contemporary American literature. In a diverse ministry, he has served an inner-city congregation in Philadelphia and in outreach at Rochester, N.Y., and Cleveland, Ohio, and in campus ministry at the University of Maryland and at Christ, Fredericksburg.    

            Bansemer, chaplain at last year's gathering, is a graduate of Southern Seminary.

Registration, double occupancy, for lodging and meals at the weekend retreat will be $225; single occupancy will be $270; the commuter fee for meals only will be $125, payable to VLMM Gathering, c/o Dolph Moller, VLMM treasurer, 1442 Tannery Circle, Midlothian, VA 23113-2644.

            Moller also reported that the VLMM Committee of 100 raised $5,040.20 for support of mission congregations last year. Since 1998, the Committee of 100 has collected more than $91,000 for new and developing missions.

Synod writers produce Lenten devotions


            Eight writers, many with Virginia Synod ties, have prepared devotions for a Lenten journey, to be read on a computer, tablet or smartphone. To sign up for this devotional, visit http://www.lutheranchurch.org/. Each devotion contains a meditation on scripture, questions for pondering alone or in a group and a seven-word prayer for use throughout the day.

            The project was led by Pastor Paul Walters, Church of the Master, Troy, Mich., and formerly of Grace.Massaponax. Other writers, serving in the Synod, are Pastor Kate Costa, St. Luke, Culpeper, and Pastor David Drebes, Prince of Peace, Orkney Springs/Basye. Other contributors who have served in the Synod are Pastor Kristin Berglund, former intern at St.Peter, Stafford, and now studying clinical and mental health counseling in Wisconsin; Pastor Robert Holley, Summerville, S.C., a retired Synod pastor, and Pastor Laura Sinche, campus pastor in Baltimore and formerly of Christ, Fredericksburg. Pastors James Authier and Terry Daly of Michigan also contributed devotions.

            As the introduction states, the authors "hope these brief devotions will become part of your Lenten habit and through this simple practice Jesus may work through you doing that which is good and gracious in the sight of God."

United Lutheran Appeal gifts increase 11 percent

ULA Logo for Journey  

            Last year's United Lutheran Appeal-newly named Lutheran Partners in Mission-raised $74,121.79, exceeding the 2011 total by almost $7,500 or 11 percent.

            In 2012, 278 individual donors sent contributions of $42,859 directly to the Synod while 42 congregations sent $31,262 in collections from members, according to Ellen Hinlicky, director of Lutheran Partners in Mission.

            Of all of the gifts, $18,438 was designated and the remaining $5,683 was divided at $6,960 for each of the eight partners.

            The designated gift amounts for 2012:

            Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center, $2,435; Chaplain Service Prison Ministry, $3,142; Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center, $1,668; Lutheran Family Services, $4,682; Southern Seminary, $3,175; National Lutheran Communities and Services, $580; Roanoke College, $1,140, and Virginia Lutheran Homes, $1,615. 

A call for compassion, people caring for people

     by Joe Shaver

viccp logo  

            In a moving keynote address at the Day for All People of Faith in Richmond, the Rev. Richard Cizik said that as Christians "we have a responsibility to create an environment in our government of people caring for people and it must be turned into an issue of compassion."

 Nearly 350 people, including a group from Grace and Glory, Palmyra, attended the annual day of lobbying members of the Virginia General Assembly, sponsored by Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy in January. Those attending met with their delegates and senators on a slate of legislative issues which may have some impact on "the least of these" who don't have a voice in the General Assembly.

             Cizik was formerly the chief lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).  In 2008, during an appearance on National Public Radio, he spoke out in support of gay civil unions as well as addressing the importance of giving our attention to issues of climate change.  When he returned to his office, a letter of resignation was waiting for him, and he was dismissed from his position with NAE.  He acknowledged that it was time for him to make this change and that too much of the Evangelical movement had moved too far to the right and were becoming known more for the things they were against than the things they were for.

            Since this change, Cizik has formed a group called the Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.  This organization's mission statement is that it "exists to advance human well-being as an expression of our love for Jesus Christ, which is itself a grateful response to his love for us and for a good but suffering world." 

            Cizik applauded the work of those present and stressed that it was important to pursue the task of sharing a vision with legislators to help them see and think more clearly.  He encouraged us to hold our legislators to a higher standard by creating a disturbance of making them re-evaluate where they are on the issues and to see that there are constituents out there who are concerned for the welfare of their fellow human beings. 

Finally, Cizik acknowledged that this work can be frustrating  but encouraged us to stick with it saying, "The arc of justice may move slowly, but it does move."  Perseverance was emphasized, because the work that we are doing is very important.  




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.