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VA Lutherans mark Day of Service


     Members of Our Saviour, Richmond joined Lutherans across the Synod and the ELCA in a variety of projects on a Day of Service marking the 25th anniversary of the ELCA and following the theme, "God's Work, Our Hands" on Sept. 8.

     At Our Saviour, work began on Saturday when they shopped at farmers' markets and groceries for fresh produce brought up during the offering at Sunday worship and donated to Feed More, a local food bank. After a potluck, salad bar lunch, members who were fed in body and soul became an active hive of yellow-shirted (ELCA t-shirts) busy bees flitting from station to station, tying quilts, learning how to make pillowcase dresses, tracing hands for a "God's Work, Our Hands" banner, coloring cards for produce boxes, making paper flowers for a retirement community and distributing flyers of coming events in the neighborhood.

Quilters at work

     Volunteers delivered 346 pounds of produce on Monday. Although the congregation currently has no pastor, "that has not stopped us from being a dynamic, faith-filled community eager to be of service in His name," said Helen Weaver, a member of Our Saviour and a board member of Virginia Synod Women's Organization.

     Peace, Charlottesville worked "to help others in our community" by singing, praying, cleaning up neighborhoods, washing cars, packing and delivering meals, collecting supplies for refugees overseas, visiting neighborhood and helping children learn to read.

     Bethel, Winchester prepared for the anniversary by making care kits for a family center, putting together utensil and laundry kits for a charity, decorating holiday cards for U.S. troops and supporting the worldwide Malaria Campaign by dunking Pastor David Young.

     The congregation of St. Mark, Charlottesville baked cookies and made cards to deliver to residents of senior living facilities. They distributed the gifts and sang hymns. Other volunteers sorted and cleaned food at a food bank. Members of Grace and Glory picked up trash along Rt. 53, worked at a Habitat home, quilted and gleaned apples for a food bank.

     In Roanoke, members of Trinity worked on a weeding and landscaping project at Round Hill School. Members of St. Mark cleaned and cut zucchini at the Rescue Mission kitchen and members of Christ "of all ages and abilities" worked on service projects for the church and the community. 

In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
Students visit Roanoke College
"All God's Children" theme
Bozeman fund raises $34,000
Bowen installed as RC Chaplain
College poll: Political Update
MLK Day of Service 2014
Fishwick Rehab Breaks Ground
My Wittenberg Experience
Habitat for Humanity update
Lutherans publish two books
LARCUM Conference set for December
Oct Growing in Faith Workshop
Luther's Hymns to be celebrated
LFS welcomes alumni
Wayne Shelor leaves Carolina Furnace
PNG District President plans visit
Southern Seminary partnerships offered
Walking the Camino
Quick Links


Lutherans in the news


     Three Synod seminarians were ordained in September, perhaps a record. Evan Davis was ordained at St. Jacob-Spaders, Harrisonburg, where he will serve.

     Kristen Van Stee was ordained at Reformation, New Market, and she has accepted a call to Christ Lutheran, Davenport, Neb. and St. James Lutheran, Edgar, Neb. A graduate of Roanoke College and Southern Seminary, she is the daughter of Pastor Karen and Stephen Van Stee, St. Mary, Mt. Jackson. She was a counselor at Camp Caroline Furnace four years. She wore a stole from her mother and great-grandmother, Ellen Shumate, who made it for the ordination of her husband, the late Rev. Alfred Shumate.

     Aaron Fuller, ordained in his home state of Minnesota, has been called to serve St. Andrew and Holy Communion, Portsmouth. A former Navy submarine officer and a member of St. Michael, Virginia Beach, he is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Luther Seminary. He also is a volunteer wrestling coach and a Navy Reserve chaplain.

     Jody Smiley, St. Michael, Blacksburg, has been named Synod mission interpreter. She is a past president of the Virginia Synodical Women's Organization.

     Bishop Jim Mauney has asked six Synod pastors to work with him "to be more present with our call committees." He said they are "very good in helping me to consider candidates for these places of call."  They are Pastors Bill Stewart, retired in Charlottesville; Joel Neubauer, Grace, Chesapeake; David Young, Bethel, Winchester; Stephen Bohannon, Christ the King, Richmond; Kathleen Miko, chaplain at Brandon Oaks, and Scott Homesley, St. John, Abingdon.

     Pastor Heidi Young has resigned as a pastor at Bethel, Winchester, as she recovers from a broken leg. She said she will be a "stay-at-home mom" with her children. Her husband, Pastor David Young, serves at Bethel.  Diane Jacoby, director of Operation Boot Strap Africa, a leading education organization in Tanzania, was scheduled to speak to the Adult Forum at Bethel on Sept. 29. Bethel members contributed almost $15,000 for renovation of a Children's Services Parish Home in Manila, The Philippines.

     Bishop Joseph and Mrs. Maria Bvumbwe of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi, will preach at Luther Memorial, Blacksburg on Oct. 20. The Malawi church has over 100,000 members in 400 congregations and preaching points in 72 parishes and mission areas.

     Roanoke College has been recognized as No. 2 Up and Coming College by U.S. News & World Report. The ranking was the third in four years. Roanoke tied for the second spot with University of Richmond, Hendrix and Ursinus colleges. College administrators were asked to nominate institutions that they believe have made innovative and promising changes in such areas as academics, student life and faculty.

Tyler Coles, a Roanoke senior and a native of Roanoke, was chosen as one of four student panelists at the third annual President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge National Gathering in Washington on Sept. 23-24. 

     St. Paul, Hampton, has an Adopt-a-Spot clean-up program in support of Hampton's Clean City Commission. The congregation will conduct its first litter clean-up of the church property on Mercury Boulevard, Saturday, Oct. 5. The city commission provides gloves, trash bags and pick-up tools. St. Paul is responsible for five clean-ups a year.

     St. John, Norfolk celebrated its 60th anniversary on Sept. 15 with worship, the Eucharist, a potluck dinner, fellowship and "reflection on God's blessings," according to Pastor Keith Olivier.

     Our Saviour, Virginia Beach marked the 60th anniversary of the ordination of its founder, Pastor Ken Carbaugh, and its 56th year as a congregation on Sept. 29.

     First, Norfolk held its annual bread sale on Sept. 29 to support Bread for the World, which advocates for the hungry worldwide. The congregation's Global Mission Committee planned an Offering of Letters through Bread for the World on Sept. 29 and Oct.6, writing to Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and members of Congress, lobbying for the needy. Members are asked to write the letters at the church.

     Grace and Glory, Palmyra dedicated a Peace Pole with the wording in eight different languages, "Let Peace Prevail on Earth," at the church on Sept. 21. The first Peace Pole was erected in 1955 and the United Nations has declared Sept. 21 as the International Day of Peace.

     Salem. Mount Sidney celebrated the 10th anniversary of the ordination of Pastor Chris Carr with a surprise dinner party for the pastor, his wife, Jennifer, and their daughter, Susanna, with a mild roasting.

     Mary Beth Taylor Price, St. Paul, Strasburg has been selected as Shenandoah County administrator.

     Our Saviour, Christiansburg is circulating a survey on development of an outdoor columbarium and memorial garden. The congregation plans a retreat on the theme of "Prayer" at Alta Mons Retreat Center in nearby Shawsville on Oct. 19.

     Dr. Kennon Callahan will talk about his new book, Living in Peace, in a Seminar for Key Leaders at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga.,  Feb. 24-28, according to Pastor John Wertz Jr., St. Michael, Blacksburg, seminar coordinator.


21 Lutheran students visit Roanoke College


     On Sept. 7, the annual Lutheran Day at Roanoke College, 21 Lutheran high school students were among the 65 visitors who were introduced to the Salem campus. After a welcome by President Mike Maxey and Pastor Dave Delaney, assistant to the bishop, Brenda Poggendorf, enrollment vice president, gave college search tips and a presentation on Roanoke's admissions.

     Tommy Blair told them how to finance a college education, and William Greer, director of church relations, moderated a campus involvement panel. Participants were Gabe Giersch, a senior from Strasburg; Dr. Michael Hakkenberg, history professor and director of the honors program; Tim Cywinski, a senior from Catlett, and Karen Griffith, a sophomore from Virginia Beach. 


"All God's Children" is revival theme


     Pastor Mark Parker of Breath of God Lutheran Church, Baltimore, will speak at a Sunday afternoon revival of Germanna Conference churches at St.Luke, Culpeper, on 

Oct. 6, starting at 2 p.m. "All God's Children" will be the theme.

     The purposes of the revival are to learn from people and programs of other churches, 

to share a meal with other congregations and to worship with fellow Lutherans.

Workshops will feature the Synod's African American Outreach Team, conference youth and children and diversified music.

     For information, call Mike Moffitt at 540-752-1837 or contact


Bozeman Christian Formation Fund raises $34,000


A fund established in honor of the retirement of Pastor Jean Bozeman as assistant to the bishop has been officially named the Rev. Dr. Jean Bozeman Endowment for Christian Formation.

     Of the $34,000 already collected, the Synod Council has decided to invest $25,000 in permanent endowment funds supporting faith formation activities and program in perpetuity. The balance will be used for support of ACTS and Roots and Wings, both programs developed by Pastor Bozeman, and other faith formation activities.. For more information about the endowment and its activities, contact Dr. Phyllis Milton, Synod minister for Christian formation, at


Roanoke College Chaplain Chris Bowen installed


     Pastor Chris Bowen was installed as Roanoke College chaplain, a position President Mike Maxey called one of the most important positions on campus, at a service at the college's Antrim Chapel Sept. 28. His formal title is the Timothy L. Pickle Jr. and Timothy L. Pickle II Dean of the Chapel.

Roanoke College Chaplain Chris Bowen and his wife, Cynthia, and three children, Carolina, Courtney and Croix

      Bowen, former pastor of St. Michael, Virginia Beach, follows Chaplain Paul Henrickson, who held the post for almost 30 years. He was installed by Pastor Ken Lane of Trinity, Roanoke, Southern Conference dean. 

     The church is a partner with the college and the chaplain shares God's word, said Bishop Jim Mauney.  "We believe the word and sharing the Gospel."

     Maxey, a member of College Lutheran, Salem and a former Baptist, said, "We are blessed to be a Lutheran college." Lutherans have a respect for learning, he added.

     Bowen's father-in-law, retired Missouri Synod Pastor Philip Kuehnert of Williamsburg, participated in the service.


College poll: McAuliffe has slim lead over Cuccinelli


     At mid-September, a Roanoke College poll of 874 Virginians showed that Democrat Terry McAuliffe held a slim 35 percent to 33 percent lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the gubernatorial race. Robert Sarvis, Libertarian candidate, was favored by 8 percent.

     In other races, Ralph Northam, Democrat, was ahead of E. W. Jackson, Republican, 34 percent to 30 percent, and Mark Herring, Democrat, held a scant 33 percent to 31 percent lead over Mark Obenshain, Republican, for attorney general.

     Both gubernatorial candidates had higher unfavorable ratings. Cuccinelli's rating was 28 percent favorable and 43 percent unfavorable while McAuliffe had a 27 percent favorable and 31 percent unfavorable rating.

     More than half, 55 percent, who said they would vote for McAuliffe said their choice was more a vote against Cuccinelli than for McAuliffe. An almost identical percentage, 56 percent, of Cuccinelli supporters said their vote was for the candidate and not against McAuliffe. The poll found that 17 percent are undecided.

     Voters' attention was focused on the economy, as in a July poll. They said the most important issues in the campaign are the economy and unemployment.


Day of Service planned for King birthday, Jan. 21


     Synod members will have an opportunity to perform community service and outreach on Martin Luther King's birthday, Jan. 21, under a proposal for a Day of Service with a theme of "In the Name of Love: Ambassadors for Christ in the World," approved by the Synod Council at a September meeting.

     Since schools and many businesses will be closed on the national holiday, congregations will be encouraged to invest time in hands-on service projects outside their church buildings. Examples are health fairs, blood drives, sewing projects and repairs to homes of the elderly and disabled. They will be turn-key projects, ready to be implemented by congregation members and other groups. More information on the project will come from Lutheran Partners in Mission. 

Groundbreaking held for Fishwick rehab center


     A groundbreaking ceremony for the John P. Fishwick Rehabilitation Center, an expansion of Brandon Oaks Nursing Center, was held on Sept. 25. The $7 million building of 34,000 square feet will be named for the late John P. Fishwick, longtime chairman of the former Norfolk & Western Railway based in Roanoke.

     Roanoke Mayor David Bowers, Bishop Jim Mauney, State Sen. John Edwards and Heather Neff, president of the parent Virginia Lutheran Homes, hailed the project as a major development providing 14 types of therapy in a state of the art facility.

Architect's sketch of Fishwick Rehabilitation Center

     Mauney said the expanded rehabilitation center will offer hope for patients and their families. Bowers said Fishwick, who had lived at Brandon Oaks Retirement Center across the highway, "knew how to run a railroad and contributed much to the community." Doreen Fishwick, widow of John P. Fishwick, said he welcomed every morning with the greeting, "I thank God for this most wonderful day."

     Edwards, a former chairman of the Virginia Lutheran Homes board, recalled that the first Brandon Oaks nursing home opened 40 years ago in 1973, followed by Luther Manor at Virginia Beach in 1982, Luther Crest at New Market in 1989 and Brandon Oaks Retirement Center in 1993. The expanded rehabilitation center offers a fourth level of care in a "green, climate-controlled building."

     Lionberger Construction Co., contractor for the Brandon Oaks buildings, will be the builder. George "Skip" Zubrod, retired president of Virginia Lutheran Homes, will oversee the work, expected to take 12 to 14 months.

     With this project, 25 assisted living beds will be added, making a total of 87 beds in the nursing and rehabilitation operation. Fourteen jobs will be created.

My Wittenberg English ministry experience

     by Pastor Jim Kniseley


     To lead worship at the Castle Church and the Town Church in Wittenberg, Germany,  is a holy and memorable experience!  For two weeks in July I was the volunteer pastor with the Wittenberg English Ministry.  Pastor Lance and Norma Braun had the same wonderful experience in May.  Lance and I had a great time doing our planning together in Warrenton and in Fredericksburg.

Kniseley in the pulpit

     WEM (Wittenberg English Ministry) began in 1996 under the volunteer leadership of Keith Loesch, a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pastor serving in Woodbridge. This ministry serves the thousands of folks who visit and wish to have worship services in the English language.  Hundreds of pastors from all the Lutheran denominations have served during these past 17 years.

     The responsibilities include conducting daily weekday worship at the Corpus Christi Chapel and leading worship on Saturdays at either the Schlosskirche (where Luther posted the 95 Theses) or the Stadtkirche (where Luther was married).  An enjoyable experience takes place on Thursday evenings at the English Stammtisch.  This event takes place at the biergarten near the Luther House. All folks who participate, residents of Wittenberg and visitors, must speak English. 

     The Town of Wittenberg is really preparing for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.  Both the Castle Church and the Town Church are undergoing major refurbishing.  The statues and canopies of Luther and Melanchthon in the town square have been beautifully restored.  I was delighted that the medieval festival and the unveiling of the restored statues took place while I was in Wittenberg.

     Something special is unfolding on the large lawn, the Luthergarten, near the Castle Church. Twelve-foot high trees are being planted, each bearing a plaque with the name of a Lutheran synod.  I observed Lutheran synods from Japan and Ethiopia and India and Finland and Germany and Canada and Australia and the United States.  The goal is to have 500 of these trees with plaques by the year 2017.  I did note that our Virginia Synod is not yet represented.

     Lance Braun and I are most willing to talk to folks about our wonderful experiences in Wittenberg.  We highly encourage all who are planning to visit Wittenberg to participate in the chapel services on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons, and to worship on Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. at either the Castle Church or the Town Church.  We would love to recruit pastors from our Virginia Synod to participate in this fulfilling volunteer service experience.


Jim Kniseley is a pastor at Resurrection in Fredericksburg.  He serves with his wife, Pastor Carol Kniseley.  For more information, contact Jim at 540-845-2427 or  


Habitat wants to help more people build houses


     While 1.6 billion people are living in poverty, the vision of  Habitat for Humanity is "a world where everyone has a decent place to live," said Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat, in a Bishop James R. Crumley Jr., lecture at Roanoke College on Sept. 3.

     A North Carolina native and once a successful businessman who held executive positions with Marriott, Circuit City Stores, the Disney firm and a large Presbyterian church and worked as an investment banker, Reckford said he joined Habitat "to spend my time making a difference, living out my faith."

     Habitat has helped 3 million people build houses since 1976, he said, and 90 percent of them have been outside the U.S., but "we need to find ways to help more people."  The organization has over 1 million volunteers, "young and old, Catholic and Protestant, Democrats and Republicans."

     "Habitat brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.  Housing is as important to a community's health as to individual health." Reckford said. Habitat is "moving more into advocacy for safe, affordable housing.  We try to demonstrate God's love."

     The organization is trying to do more in fewer countries - recently reduced from 100 to 75 - and it is becoming more active in housing finance. Microbuild, a home loan initiative, has helped 150,000 families in five years.  


Hinlicky and Matson produce new books 


     Two Synod members---Dr. Paul Hinlicky, Roanoke College theologian, and Bruce Matson, a Richmond lawyer---have produced new books.

     Hinlicky, a prolific writer and professor of Lutheran studies at the college, wrote Before Auschwitz, What Christian Theology Must Learn from the Rise of Nazism," exploring what North American Christians can learn from the growth of Nazism in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.Looking at Adolf Hitler's theology, he said, "we are closer to fascism than we are aware." He found themes "that are disturbingly familiar."

The book was published by Cascade Books, a division of WIPF and STOCK Publishers.

     Matson, chief legal officer of LeClair Ryan law firm, wrote The Race Before Us, A Journey of Running and Faith, published by Mission Books. He wrote about the physical challenge of running to improve his wellbeing when his health was at risk and the spiritual challenge of exploring his Christian faith at a time of questioning and doubt.

In 30 years of practicing law, writing golf books and articles, teaching Sunday School and coaching sports, Matson said he was exhausted so he took a six week sabbatical at Oxford University in England. A specialist in business restructuring and bankruptcy, he has been an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond Law School. 


LARCUM Conference to be in Winchester, Dec. 6-7


     The 2013 LARCUM (Lutheran-Anglican-Roman Catholic-United Methodist) Conference will be held this year in Winchester, Dec.  6-7.  This is the 23rd year of the conference that highlights significant teaching and worthwhile ecumenical conversation for all of the Virginia Synod, including members and rostered leaders. 

     The theme this year is "Reception of Vatican II by the Churches." This will be a very practical look by the presenter, the Rev. Dr. Frank T. Griswold, former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA, at how traditions have responded to Vatican II.  The presentations with dig deeply into:

  • How Vatican II has been received in non-Roman Catholic communities.
  • How Vatican II has helped form public worship and communal devotional life outside the Roman Catholic tradition.
  • The contribution of Vatican II to the understanding and practice of personal spirituality in the wider church.

     Hosting the conference are Grace Lutheran, Christ Episcopal, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic and Braddock Street United Methodist churches.  Bishop Jim Mauney will be a part of the conference, including participating in the Worship of the Great Assembly on Friday evening. Pastor Tom Prinz of Holy Trinity, Leesburg, and formerly of the Virginia Synod, is the convener.

     Brochures/registration forms are available through congregations or by contacting the Virginia Synod.  Cost is $35 ($10 for students).  Conference rates for lodging are listed on the brochure.  Register as soon as possible.  


Growing in Faith workshop set for Oct. 5


     Rebecca Pebbles Cloninger, a longtime church educator from Gastonia, N.C., will lead


a Roots and Wings workshop on "Growing in Faith Together" at Grace, Waynesboro, Saturday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A registration fee of $25 will cover a workshop binder, breaks and lunch.

     Cloninger, director of youth and family ministries at Lutheran Chapel Church in Gastonia, has worked with churches and curriculum at Augsburg Fortress Publishers, as a  bookstore manager, youth staffer, college instructor and Christian education director at two North Carolina churches.

     The workshop will feature defining faith formation, introducing it to home and church, equipping families to be the church at home, practical applications for ministry settings, networking and resources to take home.

     Registration may be mailed to Lenae Osmondson at 520 W. 21st Street, Norfolk, VA 23517. For questions, call 757-622-9421 or contact


Luther's hymns to be celebrated at First English, Richmond


     A celebration of Martin Luther's hymns throughout the church year will start the Richmond Conference's five-year celebration of the 500th anniversary of Lutheranism at First English on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 5 pm. The celebration will feature choirs, praise bands, handbells and organists from the Richmond churches.  The speaker will be Dr. Paul Hinlicky, Tise professor of Lutheran Studies at Roanoke College. The program will feature music from the 16th century to the present. Parking is available behind the church.
A reception will follow the program.  For more information, contact First English Lutheran Church at 804-350-9449. 


Lutheran Family Services welcomes alumni


     Janet Russell Aki flew from San Bruno, CA to join her two sisters and Hoyett Almond drove up from Kinston, N.C., to join over 30 alumni of the former Lutheran Children's Home of the South at a special 125th Anniversary Homecoming in Salem Sept. 21.  Rain moved the picnic planned at the former campus to an indoors gathering at College Lutheran Church. Family and staff raised attendance to 100.

Janet Aki (right) with her two sisters,
Nellie Morgan and Catherine Frenzel
     Aki, a Front Royal native who lived at the home from 1944 to 1955, joined her sisters, Catherine Frenzel from Virginia Beach and Nellie Morgan from Florida in recalling old times. At the time, she rebelled and didn't like it but now she looks back at the home as "the best thing that happened to me. We had  plenty to eat, a good education and an opportunity to go to college...We worked our butts off in the kitchen  to keep it clean." She looked around College Church where she was confirmed long ago.

     At one time, her grandmother assigned five members of her family---a brother and four sisters---to the home. She had visited about 12 years ago. Aki exchanged friendly greetings with more than a half-dozen alumni she knew 60 years ago.

     At 86, Hoyett Almond appeared to be the oldest of the former residents at the homecoming. A native of Albemarle, N.C., he remembers "wonderful experiences" in Salem from 1938 to 1945 when he left to join the Navy. Almond has fond memories of the late Nathan Brown, farm manager for the Children's Home. He helped Brown plow, milk the cows and feed the chickens. The Home's farm once extended to the present location of Salem Civic Center.

     As they traded memories at College Church, they recalled, "I was an altar boy here. I was confirmed here. I got married here. I slept through services here."  The church played a big part in the lives of children at the home. As they enjoyed an indoor picnic, the alumni and families heard the country music of a group called Acoustic Endeavors.

     The Home, started in Roanoke County in 1888, once operated as the Lutheran Orphans Home of the South until other southern synods withdrew their support in order to work with their own social services. In 1982, the Home changed from a program working with children to an agency providing services for families and group homes. Lutheran Family Services was incorporated in 1984 and most of the campus was sold to Roanoke College. Salem YMCA and several businesses have located on the remainder of the campus.


Pastor Wayne Shelor will leave Caroline Furnace 

Rev Wayne &Vikki Shelor


     After more than 12 years as director of Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center, Pastor Wayne Shelor has resigned to accept a call to interim ministry at Hope Lutheran, Annandale, in the Metropolitan Washington Synod in early November.

     Vikki Shelor, his wife, has served as communications director and registrar for the camp. The Shelors have three children, Becca, Jake and Joshua.

     During Shelor's tenure, the camp has added the Upper Room meeting facility, a show/bath house, a water treatment system and toilets in each cabin, an office and staff residence and an enlarged dining room. The camp marked its 50th anniversary in 2008.

     He will be serving in intentional interim ministry, a practice allowing a congregation to prepare for the arrival of the next pastor after retirement of a long-time pastor or some event. Shelor previously served at Good Shepherd, Lexington.

PNG District Pres Tobby Eleasar plans busy tour


     President Tobby Eleasar of the New Guinea Islands District of Papua New Guinea will fly into Roanoke on Oct. 7 to speak at the annual Gathering of the Ministries at Virginia Beach and take a busy two-week tour of congregations across the Synod. His district is a companion synod of Virginia.

     Accompanied by Diane Giessler, chair of the Global Mission Committee and coordinator of the Companion Synod program, and Bishop Jim Mauney for part of the tour, he will visit the Synod office, Roanoke College campus, Holy Trinity, Wytheville; Our Redeemer, Bristol; Ebenezer, Marion; Prince of Peace, Basye; a conference gathering at Grace, Waynesboro; Trinity, Pulaski; Floyd-Willis Parish; College, Salem; Gladesboro, Hillsville; Good Shepherd, Virginia Beach; St. Timothy, Norfolk; Gloria Dei, Hampton; St. Stephen, Williamsburg; Our Redeemer, Petersburg; Our Saviour, Warrenton; St. Luke, Culpeper; St. Mark, Luray, and Holy Trinity, Lynchburg.  


Southern Seminary partnerships are offered


     Southern Seminary again is offering congregations an opportunity to participate in the Seminarian Partnership program by offering a covenant with a seminarian for congregational connection and financial support. A partnership gift of $500 or more helps to pay such seminary expenses as tuition, board and books. The partnering congregation may invite the seminarian for a Sunday or weekend visit.

     Prayer of the congregation for the seminarian and the seminarian's prayer for the sponsoring congregation is an important part of this partnership. For more information, contact Sandra Cline, director of church relations at the seminary, at 803-461-3252 or  St. Michael, Blacksburg and Trinity Ecumenical Parish, Moneta are among the congregations which have participated in the program in the past. 

Walking the Camino, the way of St. James
by Pastor Harold Burnette


     (What does a retired pastor do? If he's Harold Burnette, he walks across Spain and comes home to Woodstock to write about it.)

     The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Camino Frances, The Way of St. James, and "The Way," thanks to a 2011 Martin Sheen, Emilio Esteves movie, is an 800-kilometer-(500-mile) long foot path from St. Jean Pied de Port, France, to Santiago, Spain.

     In May of 2012, I started in the Pyrenees at Roncesvalles, but had to stop 165 miles later in Burgos, due to foot pain. Two foot operations and 14 months later in August 2013, I returned to Spain with four Roman Catholic Americans, and we met three other pilgrims from Italy, one a Catholic priest, and all of us headed toward Santiago de Compestella.

     Traveling in Spain's countryside, the agricultural variety is impressive. Spanish farmers, shepherds, and vineyard growers are hard-working and productive. Many times I was amazed by the extent and quality of agrarian land use. On more than one occasion I slowly walked behind flocks of sheep, or herds of dairy or beef cattle being herded by farmers, shepherds and sheep dogs on the path before me toward greener pastures.

Harold Burnette (right) and Carl Garcia rest under a tree at Ponferrada.

     Often, along the mostly rural Camino, farm crops start immediately beside the pathway, with field crops frequently growing up hills and mountain sides, until elevation and grade limit safe, economic cultivation. In addition to countless vineyards, on nearing large cities like Pamplona, Lorgono, Burgos, Leon, Astorga, or Santiago, wheat, corn, sunflower, and a variety of vegetables crops grow. And livestock farms husbanding sheep, goats, horses, and cattle are encountered regularly. Also, beside many houses near the Camino grow bounteous, savory-looking vegetable gardens. Pilgrims partake of the produce from albergue, hostel and hotel dining tables.

     The Spanish are decidedly friendly, honest, generous and possess good humor. Nearly all towns, cities and villages provide albergue with bunk rooms, and/or hostels and hotels with clean, modern, private or semi-private accommodations. Most of them offer freshly prepared meals, with ample "vino tinto" for weary pilgrims, all at reasonable prices. And for the strictly budgeted, supermercardo (grocery stores) provide prepackaged reasonably priced food to make your own meals.

     Many Spaniards surely are artists. On entering many towns, villages and cities, travelers are greeted by sculptures or statues welcoming them to the locale. The wood and stone work in and on structures are impressive. Seldom have I seen such immaculate stone work and velvety wood in homes, public accommodations and urban buildings. The Spanish seem to concentrate mostly on interior beauty, rather than exterior showiness.

     All-in-all, my Camino walk was difficult, but a joy. Being in the company of travelers from many lands, speaking many languages, caused me to recall the Day of Pentecost, and further, the words of St. Paul; "the disciples were all in one accord:" Pilgrims are in one accord on the Camino; all aiming for a holy place; Santiago's magnificent Cathedral, to celebrate and share Holy Communion in a worshipful end to their journeys.

     Another article dealing with the spiritual aspects of the Camino walk is pending. I will be happy to communicate with anyone considering a Camino walk.  "Buen Camino!"  at:





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