May, 2013
                 The Virginia


Steel frame Habitat
house started in Roanoke

Habitat steel frame house raising  

            A wall-raising for a unique steel frame and styrofoam Habitat house co-sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and nine congregations in LuCoM (Lutheran Cooperative Ministries) was held on April 20 on Rorer Avenue in southwest Roanoke.

            Screwdrivers will replace hammers in this metal frame construction, a first for Habitat in the Roanoke Valley.  This will be the eighth Lutheran Habitat house in Roanoke. Alicia Thompson, a nurse who will occupy the home, said she was "extremely excited and overwhelmed with joy" at the start of construction.

Brian Clark of Habitat said he works with a team of volunteer builders who "prefer innovation" in Construction. Since, 1986, the Habitat organization has completed 181 houses in Roanoke, serving 202 families and 783 individuals.

Join our Mailing List!
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
Trinity, Stephens City builds
Baptismal font dedicated
UVA students awed
Fools for Christ
Peace, Be Still
Backpack program gets grants
New Visions program
Bittle's poplar tree comes down
Roanoke starts $200 million campaign
Tidewater secretaries learn
Armentrout, Episcopal scholar, dies
United Lutheran Appeal
Garden Week at First, Norfolk
Holy Play Time
Reformation, NN gets grant
Men consider inclusive church
Called to fix injustice
Quick Links


Lutherans in the news



             Two veteran Richmond pastors will retire at the end of May.  Pastor Chris Price will complete 30 years at Epiphany and Pastor Ken Ruppar will finish 15 years of service at Our Saviour. Price, a Virginia native and a graduate of Roanoke College and Gettysburg Seminary,


served as associate pastor at Trinity, Newport News, before he moved to Epiphany. He has served on Synod Council, as Richmond Conference dean and he is returning to a second term as chair of the Synod Candidacy Committee. Ruppar, an Army chaplain in Germany for 11 years, has served on the ELCA Church Council and as chair of its Constitutional Review and Executive committees. A graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Ruppar is the new executive director of the National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors and has been a leader in disaster response for the Virginia Synod. 

            Roanoke College's Center for Community Service has been placed on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the third consecutive year. The award was created after thousands of college students worked to support Hurricane Katrina relief efforts This fall, the college will convert its Augusta House to a House for Social Justice where four students will work to educate the campus about global injustice. In an Earth Day project, Roanoke students planted 22 cherry, American chestnut and copper beech trees on the Elizabeth Campus.

            The Virginia Council of Churches will give a Lifetime Ecumenist Award to the late Rev. Cecil McFarland, longtime director of Virginia Chaplains Service, who died last year. Bishop Jim Mauney is president of the council which will hold its awards luncheon at Epiphany Lutheran, Richmond, on May 14.

            At Holy Trinity, Lynchburg, Café Dennis, was a festive evening of entertainment, a sealed bid auction of donated goods and services and a multi-course gourmet dinner prepared by Pastor Dennis Roberts on April 26. Proceeds were divided between the Rivermont Area Emergency Food Pantry, Habitat for Humanity and the ELCA Malaria Project for mosquito nets. Senior youth waited tables to earn tips for their summer trip to Germany.

            On Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m. Pastor Fred Marcoux, St. Luke, Richmond, will provide organ improvisation on hymn tunes for a Church Musician's Concert. The program will include Vivaldi's "Gloria," with small orchestra and enhanced choir, conducted by Jim Lowry.

            At Caroline Furnace Camp and Conference Center, Dolly Woodward has started work as office director and Kayla Mobley is the new site host.

            Andrea White is the new associate music director at Gloria Dei, Hampton. A Southwest Virginia native, she has been music director/organist at a Presbyterian church in Rogersville, Tenn., where her husband was pastor.            

The newsletter of St. Paul, Hampton, called for collection of items for "our furry friends at the SPCA."  Other food-related celebrations listed for May are May 6,  International No Diet Day, May 12 is Eat What You Want Day, May 13 is National Fruit Cocktail Day, May 14 is National Buttermilk Biscuit Day and May 17 is Eat Your Vegetables Day.

            Trinity, Pulaski, is planning its 125th anniversary for Aug. 17-18, when former Pastor Steve Ridenhour, Holy Trinity, Wytheville, will be the guest preacher. An anniversary history, a Saturday picnic and homecoming worship are planned. "Be Thou My Vision" will be the theme.

            Our Saviour, Virginia Beach, is preparing to build a columbarium in its courtyard, known as Teal Court.

            Grace, Winchester, held a colonial time liturgy at a service on April 14, as part of its 260th anniversary celebration. Members were encouraged to wear colonial styles of clothing for that service. The congregation's date of origin comes from a land grant given by Lord Fairfax on May 15, 1753, to 13 German families.

            The congregation council of Trinity, Roanoke, voted to provide cab fare for those without transportation to church. This item will be added to the church budget.

            Volunteer work days are being held on the third Saturday of each month, starting at 9 a.m., from March through October at Konnarock Retreat House, near Troutdale. Workers are asked to bring small hand tools. Information is available from Peggie Baldwin at 276-388-3639 or email at

Trinity, Stephens City

starts $2-million construction

Trinity Stephens City
Architect's sketch of Trinity's addition.

            Trinity, Stephens City, is starting construction on a $2-million addition to its 1906 sanctuary and renovating and revoicing its historic pipe organ. The congregation has left its campus to worship in Jones Chapel, a Stephens City funeral home, during the construction, expected to take a year or more, according to Pastor Cameron Keyser of Trinity.

            The existing parish hall and kitchen, built in 1949, and a conference room built in the 1980s, will be demolished and they will be replaced by a three-story complex of 10,500 square feet which will contain updated meeting facilities, a kitchen, offices, parlor, reception area, nursery and education space. An elevator will be added and the new building will be wired for multimedia access and it will feature environmentally-friendly climate control.

The sanctuary will be renovated and repainted and the chancel will be expanded, original heart pine flooring will be refinished and new lighting will be installed. The work will be coordinated by Gregory Construction Co., Manassas.

            At the same time, the pipe organ will receive a $54,000 restoration by Staunton Organ Works. The refurbishing will consist of releathering 195 primary valves, 715 valves in the great, swell and pedal divisions and tuning stoppers. The tonal balance which has deteriorated will be re-established and the instrument will be retuned and revoiced to "equal temperament."

            This restoration and addition is the most challenging project the congregation has undertaken in recent memory and perhaps in its 249-year history and the most critical for its future, Keyser said. 

            The congregation, assisted by Kairos Associates, has pledged all but $125,000 of the cost over the next three years, Keyser said. He said the congregation has needed to improve its facilities for at least 20 years "to better meet the expectations of contemporary faith-seekers and to provide space and equipment to fully embrace the ministries we believe God is calling us to provide." Among the ministries are monthly community meals, a mother's morning out program, after-school-care for "latch-key" children workshops, health and welfare screening, annual concert series, backpack blessing, a sharing of keys for new drivers, healing and blessing services.

            The congregation was renting education facilities. 


Baptismal font dedicated

in memory of Pastor John F. Byerly Jr. 


            A baptismal font given in memory of Pastor John F. Byerly Jr., by his family was dedicated at Christ, Richmond, on Palm Sunday, March 24. Byerly and his wife, Evelyn, joined Christ Church after his retirement in 1988.

            The font and the Chi Rho formed in the tile were designed by his three children, Joyce Smith, Jim Byerly and John Byerly. The wooden base of the font was designed and made by Christ Church members, Don and Diane Bentz, former neighbors of the Byerlys. The large glass bowl of the font was made by Ryan Gothrup, adjunct professor of glass at Tidewater Community College.

            Acknowledgment of this special recognition came from the pastors of Byerly's former congregations, St. Mark, Charlottesville; St. Stephen, Williamsburg,and First English, Richmond. Bishop Jim Mauney presided at the dedication and preached. Pastors Eric Moehring, Kristin Hunsinger and Bill Boldin participated in the service.


Byerly family  









Byerly family members standing by the baptismal font were (L-R) Joyce Smith, Byerlys' daughter; her husband, Joedy Smith; Alison Byerly, wife of Jim; Jim Byerly; Evelyn Byerly; Jenni Punchard, daughter of Randy Punchard; Chris Punchard, wife of Randy; Randy Punchard, a nephew. 


UVA students awed by Luther Land

     by Pastor Sandy Wisco, St. Mark, Charlottesville


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel across Luther lands in Germany with University of Virginia students as travel partners on an alternative spring break? I'm telling you it was great!

The students who went were Matt Sandridge and Danielle Martin, our co-presidents of Lutheran Student Movement at UVa, Patrick Ryan and Erik Nelson both played keyboard, Elise Poerschke, our resident German speaker and tour planner, and Garrett Durig, a first timer to Europe. They were all great travelers and maintained their good humor throughout.

We benefited from other LSM groups' advice, Paul Shepherd made all of our plans, Lois Shepherd managed the monies. The hostels where we stayed were more than adequate and great locations. It's quite cool to stay in a castle (schloss) and climb spiral staircases and look out over fortified walls to the snow-covered town of Mansfeld, below. (it snowed every day).

UVA student group
(L-R) Sandy Wisco, Lois Shepherd, Patrick Ryan, Paul Shepherd, Erik Nelson, Matt Sandridge, Danielle Martin, Elise Poerschke, Garett Durig, Phyllis Stewart.

Our travel itinerary was full but not too full, it was juuussstt right. We arrived in Berlin so got off to a good start thanks to the "must see" options from Phyllis Stewart, then to Eisleben, Luther's baptismal home; Mansfeld, we stayed in the castle and fulfilled our service project of cleaning the castle's chapel from top to bottom with dust flying, students singing Les Mis songs and then the pump organ  used to play hymns; Erfurt,  Augustinian monastery where Luther began his call, Weimar, Buchenwald concentration camp; Wartburg,  castle where Luther hid, translated, and wrote; Wittenberg - Castle and University where Luther taught and developed his team with Melanchthon and Cranach; Berlin and back home by Sunday 3 a.m.

 We saw things that made us laugh and cry and wonder and things that just awed us. We bonded into a team and Paul kept us on task. The students will present our photo journal with explanations and comments later this spring.

Call if you want to join in hearing the story.  We all loved Berlin- so much history right on the streets!  Thank you Martin Luther for your reforming of the church! 


Fools for Christ focuses 

on Good Samaritan and deaf


            Lutheran students at The Well, Virginia Tech campus ministry, led the third annual Fools for Christ lockin for youth from New River Valley conference churches on April 12-13. This year's theme focused on the Good Samaritan and needs in the deaf community. The purpose was to play together, learn together and serve God.

            Virginia Tech students planned the games and skits and led the large and small groups and singing. After an evening of building community, Saturday morning was devoted to service.  Everyone helped prepare Micah's Garden for a new growing season or helped sort food for Micah's Backpack, both ministries at St. Michael, Blacksburg, serving school-aged children in Montgomery County. Jennie Hodge and Pastors John Wertz and Joanna Stallings provided planning support. 


Peace, Be Still

     by Pastor Bill King, Luther Memorial Blacksburg

King, Bill


        I was sitting down to write this article when word came of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.  Suddenly, I felt like I needed to change my focus.  Everything had changed, though it really should not have. 

         Every day hundreds of people around the world die from war, malnutrition, malaria, gang violence, filthy water and infectious diseases which are faint memories to us.  We grunt (if we even think about those people) and move on.  But somehow our world tilts on its axis when it happens at Boston or the New River Valley Mall, because the violence and suffering are happening to people who can Tweet and post to Facebook.  These are not the anonymous unwashed; these are people like us.  The pain becomes personal.

         Maybe this day is the tipping point, bringing to a head a growing concern for me.  Approaching the anniversary of 4/16 (the day of the Virginia Tech shooting) and then following the shootings at the mall, I have been struck by how fearful we have become.  By any objective standard we live in a less violent culture than in the past.  Yet instant, obsessive, repetitive news coverage of every outrage invites us to live in a constant state of anxiety.  I worry that we communicate a fearful, bunker mentality to our children, by our example, making them less able to engage the world with openness and compassion.

       So this month I want to use this space, not to highlight a program, but to highlight how Jesus calls us to live.  There was plenty of suffering and danger in Jesus' world, yet he constantly calls his disciples to live with confidence and trust in God:  "Have no fear little flock...Peace, be still....Peace, I give to you....I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

       We cannot protect ourselves or our children from every conceivable evil, but we can at least refuse to live in fear.  We can live as if we believe God's love is sufficient to sustain us, come what may.  Most of all, we can stop huddling in retreat from the world and become points of light in the darkness.

Grants of $10,600 awarded 

to Valley backpack program 


            In April, Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries received two grants totaling $10,600 for summer and school term backpacks under a Luke's Backpack program in Shenandoah County. Valley Foundation gave $5,600 and Shenandoah Community Foundation awarded a grant of $5,000.

            Luke's Backpack program is serving 110 students and more than 50 students will be enrolled in a Rising Stars summer feeding and enrichment project, according to Connie Fauber, president of the regional ministries organization. Three sites will be operating this summer and backpacks will be supplied to another enrichment and feeding program which has operated for several years.

            Shenandoah Valley Ministries works in partnership with Shenandoah County public schools, the school board, superintendent and administrators, Fauber said. Classroom teachers and school counselors are "the backbone of the program. They know which children are in need of our programs," she said. "The school system, from top to bottom, has nothing but praise for the program. Many parents have expressed their gratitude and thanks for the program to school personnel."

New Visions program gives sense of mission

     by Pastor David Drebes, Prince of Peace, Bayse


Having consulted with 214 churches in conflict, Peter Steinke knows exactly how many of those churches lacked a clear sense of mission: 214. That observation, among others, forms the center of his newest book and his latest program. The book is A Door Set Open (Alban: 2010). The program is "New Visions: Leadership for Mission." Both are designed to confront and equip churches facing a changing social context, struggling with a sense of mission, and lacking adequate change process.

            On April 12-13, 36 rostered and lay leaders of the Virginia Synod and other

Visions workshop
Group discussion, Visions workshop.

denominations gathered at Grace, Waynesboro, to participate in the New Visions program.  Mindy Reynolds, diaconal minister and Synod minister of healthy leadership and wellness,  organized the event. Steinke and his partner, former Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod Paul Blom, posed such questions as "How does your community know you care about them?" and, "What are your church's resources for mending the world?" Participants discussed such questions while also learning how to ask them in their home contexts.

            The hope of the New Visions program is that congregations would have their own "mission schools," in which the questions of mission are constantly asked and a vision for mission is maintained and implemented. The theory, further elaborated in A Door Set Open, is that a church in need of change will most effectively change when it is for the sake of a wider mission.

            Retired Synod Pastor Bob Holley, now living in South Carolina, found the program valuable and hopes to take it home. "Clarity and focus is so important for a congregation," he said later. "Teaching Sunday School this year, I have encountered folks who want to grow in faith and understanding. This format of a 'Mission School' will provide a key and critical learning moment for such hungry learners."

Rev. David Bittle's poplar tree comes down 

Bittle's poplar
Bittle's poplar tree being removed 
on the Roanoke College campus.

            An historic tulip poplar tree believed to have been planted by the Rev. David Bittle, first president of Roanoke College, was removed on April 24 after arborists determine it was a significant safety risk because it was struck by lightning several years ago. The tree was believed to be over 150 years old. Several attempts were made to save the tree, including deep soil aeration.

            College President Michael Maxey and Dr. Mark Miller, college historian and history professor, spoke at a brief ceremony before the tree was taken down. But its legacy lives on.                    Over a decade ago, Dr. Jon Cawley, an environmental science professor at the college, collected and planted about 350 seedlings from the Bittle tree and 15 "Baby Bittles" grew from them. Last year, more than 100 trees were planted on the campus.

Roanoke starts $200 million capital campaign


            Roanoke College has launched a huge $200 million Roanoke Rising campaign to build a Cregger campus center for athletics, academics and community, as well as scholarships, student support and smaller projects. With the announcement on April 13 came a surprise report of a $25 million gift from the Mulheren family of Rumson, N.J., and Paint Bank, Craig County.

            Roanoke President Michael Maxey told alumni and friends at the announcement that he hopes the college will raise the remaining $75 million within four years. He said he is confident the college can exceed its goal. College trustees have already raised or pledged $100 million.

            The center will be named for Morris Cregger, formerly of Salem and now of South Carolina, who is chairman of the trustee board.  The center, estimated to cost from $35 to $40 million, will be started in a year or two on the site of the present Bowman Hall, behind the Sections. It will have a performance gymnasium with seating for 2,500, a field house with an indoor track, a fitness center and athletic training facility. The college health and human performance faculty and academic and laboratory space will be in the center.

            In plans for science facilities, the Masengill Auditorium will be renovated and connected to two adjacent buildings, Life Sciences and Trexler Hall.

            Maxey said the drive to raise $45 million to endow scholarships will make the student body more socio-economically diverse. He said the college's image as an elite place "is gone."

Tidewater secretaries learn about communications

Tidewater secretaries
Planners and presenters were (L-R) Lenae Osmondson, Pastors Jean Bozeman, Cathy Mims and CeeCee Mills, and Lendora Washington.

            Twenty support staff and pastors in the Tidewater Conference gathered for a continuing education and appreciation day for congregational secretaries and administrators at St. Timothy, Norfolk, on Tuesday, April 23. Events to get acquainted, devotions and two workshops were on the program.

            Lenae Osmondson, administrative assistant for the Synod office of the bishop east, led a workshop on print communications and Lendora Washington, web and media specialist for Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, led a session on office and internet communications.  The support staff had "a super day of learning and connecting and they now have resources in each other which will facilitate communication and sharing," said retired Pastor Jean Bozeman. 

Dr. Donald Armentrout, Episcopal scholar, dies


            Dr. Donald Smith Armentrout, a Lutheran from Rockingham County who was a retired professor of church history and historical theology at the Episcopal University  of the South School of Theology at Sewanee, Tenn., died March 30.

            He was a 1961 graduate of Roanoke College and Gettysburg Seminary and he held an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Roanoke. He earned a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and was ordained by the former Lutheran Church in America in 1972. He was a member of the Southeastern Synod of the ELCA.

            Armentrout joined the university faculty in 1967 and retired in 2008. He and his wife, Sue Ellen Gray Armentrout, who survives him, remained at Sewanee in retirement.

At Sewanee, Armentrout "exemplified the ecumenical movement, serving for 42 years as a Lutheran at a seminary preparing priests for the Episcopal Church and becoming an eminent scholar in Episcopal Church history," according to the Episcopal News Service.   

It's easy to participate in the Appeal

     by Ellen Hinlicky, director, Lutheran Partners in Mission

   2011 ULA Graphic

             The 2013 United Lutheran Appeal is underway and it has never been easier to participate. If your congregation has already begun its 2013 Appeal, thank you!

              If you or your congregation would like to order materials online, click here.....You can also call Lenae Osmondson at 757-622-9421 to order materials.
             Here is a 
Temple Talk that can be read to your congregation or included in a newsletter or bulletin. If you would like to schedule a representative of one of the United Lutheran Appeal's Mission Partners,  click here....

            The United Lutheran Appeal is our opportunity to support those who extend our reach into the world. Thank you for your partnership in the United Lutheran Appeal!            

Garden Week at First, Norfolk


Garden Week at First, Norfolk  











Floral arrangements, old musical instruments and wedding pictures were features at First, Norfolk, when the church was visited by the Norfolk Home and Garden Tour on Thursday, April 25. Four homes, a garden and the church were on the tour.



Holy Play Time is a new 

event at Good Shepherd, Galax

holy play time women
Holy Play Time women at work.


            Good Shepherd, a Lutheran-Episcopal congregation at Galax, offers "wonderful times of worship, Bible study, creativity and fellowship around good food" in a Saturday program known as Holy Play Time.

            The feature began after Pat Carriker and Harriet Meinecke attended a Create in Me retreat at Lutheridge in North Carolina two years ago. The next Holy Play Time is scheduled for June 22. The event is usually offered three times a year-in June, July and August.

            In June, George Blankenship of Danbury, N.C., will be teaching the use of alcohol inks. A small fee will be charged to cover registration and supplies.  Information on the event is available from Pat Carriker at

            The event has drawn from 10 to 15 people-usually women but men are invited too. In past Holy Play Times, participants have worked on such crafts as decoupage picture frames. During a Lenten event, they dyed eggs Ukrainian style and everyone brought a dish of eggs.

            Good Shepherd is a Lutheran authorized worshiping body and an Episcopal congregation.

Reformation, Newport News receives ELCA grant


            Reformation, Newport News, has received a $25,000 matching grant from the ELCA Mission Investment Fund and the congregation has raised more than $26,000 in matching funds, up to $25,000, for repairs and improvements to its building.

            The congregation plans to replace two roofs and gutters and to install improvements to restrooms and a kitchen. Storms have exposed leaks in the roofs, more than 25 years old, according to Pastor David Gunderlach of Reformation. The work supports all of the congregation's internal and external ministries, including weekly worship, a five-day childcare center, Faith Weaver Friends, Mildred McDaniel Concert Series, Girl Scouts and the Clint Correl Orchestra Reading Group. 

Men consider a more inclusive church



            Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission were challenged to think about what it means to be "Ambassadors for Christ---Toward a More Inclusive Church" by Pastor Timothy Waltonen at their annual gathering at Roslyn Episcopal Center in Richmond April 5-7.

            Talking about mission and church members today, Waltonen said, "the lines are blurred between culture and the church...This gathering raises our own consciousness of other ways of being mission."

            Waltonen, a visiting professor at the University of Mary Washington and a recent interim pastor at St. Paul, Strasburg, told of a Pew Forum survey which found that one-third of U. S. adults under 30 have no religious affiliation compared with one in 10 among their seniors, 65 and older. Last year, just half of those who say they seldom or never attend religious services still retain a religious affiliation, a 10 percent drop in the last five years. The number of religiously unaffiliated people has been rising every year to 19.6 percent and the Protestant share of the population has dipped significantly below 50 percent. The number of U.S. adults who said they seldom or never attend religious services was up to 29 percent last year.

Waltonen also reported on a new listing of ideas and tactics from the Synod's African American Outreach Team, "in keeping with ELCA and Synod initiatives about inclusive ministry." The report centers around three words: "visibility, hospitality and consciousness-raising."

The Rev. Andrew Bansemer of Ebenezer, Marion, chaplain for the event, said the men came to the gathering because they were called to serve."In one instant, God's ministry calls out...The good news is that as we re-present Christ, we are able to reach out to those who are different...We can imagine walls falling down."

Ron Walrath, development director for Southern Seminary, said reaccreditation and a new curriculum, along with the 2012 merger into Lenoir-Rhyne University, were the three big happenings on the Columbia, S.C. campus. In preparing folks for leadership in the church, the seminary is bringing practices into policies and procedures of the school, he said. Full and part-time students have almost equal numbers.

Under the Lenoir-Rhyne merger, Walrath said, seminarians may soon have the opportunity to take business courses geared to congregational ministry.. Future pastors need to know about cash flow and balance sheets., he added. The seminary believes "the best days of the church are ahead of us," according to Walrath.

John Lasher of Christ, Staunton, was elected president of the men's organization. Other new officers are Joe Frye, vice president; Richard Niedermayer, secretary, and Dolph Moller, continuing as treasurer, all of Christ the King, Richmond. New directors are Orville Wolters, Christ, Staunton, and George Kegley, St. Mark's, Roanoke. Leroy Hamlett Jr., Peace, Charlottesville, was named adviser.  

Hamlett reported that the disaster trailer outfitted by Men in Mission is expected to be used soon to support disaster relief work in New Jersey and New York.

The men's Committee of 100+ contributed $2,500 to Bedford Lutheran and

$2,500 to Living Water, a mission congregation at Kilmarnock last year.. In the last 15 years, this program has contributed more than $90,000 to support the Synod's mission congregations, according to Moller, who directs the project. 

We are called to expose and fix injustice

     by Charles Reeves


God, Politics and Citizenship were the themes of this year's Theologian in Residence (TIR) weekend at St. Stephen in Williamsburg.  The "T" in this TIR was Hans Tiefel, professor emeritus of religion and ethics at the College of William and Mary and a long time active member of the St. Stephen congregation.

            The weekend included discussions titled "Political uses of Religion/Religious uses of Politics",  "Church as Community of Discernment and Public Policy Witness" and "God's Politics".   It ended with "Answering for Our Lives," Dr. Tiefel's sermon during Sunday worship, which can be heard as a podcast on the church web site.

            On  Friday night,  just after the "Bring a Dish" meal,  the theologian turned first to the Bible--- talking about how to read it and how to think ethics. The rest of the weekend itinerary flowed from that. For Dr. Tiefel the word of God is in the Bible text but not necessarily the text as it stands.  To some degree for him it is the memory of church and synagogue.  We read the Bible because we need to know who God is and who we are.

            He said that in reading scripture as individuals we see the world through cultural glasses, always influenced by the voice of the times, shaped by the language that we use.  When God blesses us and reveals something to us and we cannot be sure this is the voice of God, we should decide as a community.

            The important thing is to allow freedom. When we pick and choose we exercise our judgment.  God tries again and again to make us the people we ought to be who love the Lord and love each other.  Consequently, we are together publicly and politically, called to expose and fix injustice.

            In his sermon Dr. Tiefel spoke the weekend's closing words: "Maybe singly and together all will have something to show in our lives that will please God.  In the name of Jesus who is not only our atonement but our teacher of how to love both God and neighbor and who's our judge in the end, we offer these thoughts and ask for God's blessing.  Amen."

            Theologian in Residence weekends have been on St. Stephen's calendar since 1996.





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.