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Richmond students tour

Roanoke College campus

Bishop Jim Mauney (center) and Pastor Dave Delaney, (left) assistant to the bishop, met with Richmond students and Pastor Phillip Martin (right) from Epiphany, Richmond. 


            Pastor Phillip Martin of Epiphany, Richmond, brought six students from his congregation's confirmation class and a chaperone for an Election Day visit to the Roanoke College campus, continuing a long tradition started by retired Pastor Chris Price.

            The 9th and 10th grade students met with Bishop Jim Mauney in Bittle Hall, the Synod offices, took a college scavenger hunt with college student tour guides, met College President Mike Maxey in his office and attended a college chapel service led by Chaplain Chris Bowen. They had lunch in the college Commons with Lutheran students, Pastor Dave Delaney, assistant to the bishop, Brenda Poggendorf, college vice president for enrollment, and William Greer, director of church relations at the college.

In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
Ritter dies at 94
Abingdon Schola premier
Advent devotions
Make a tax-free gift
Bread and Circuses
Pastor sought for prison ministry
Real estate college poll
Community garden at Hungry Mother
Lutheran legacies
Pentecost mural
Messiah, Mechanicsville is 45!
Southern Seminary events
St. Luke, Richmond wins award
Where I was when Kennedy was shot
Quick Links


Lutherans in the news



               Pastor William S. Wiecher, co-pastor of College, Salem, with his wife, Pastor Wynemah Hinlicky, for the past five years, has been called to a three-year assignment as chief of plans, programs and training for the Air Force Reserve Command Chaplain at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Lt. Col. Wiecher has been a chaplain since 1999, serving in the Air Force Reserve and on active duty in several short assignments. He will provide recruitment, commissioning, training assignments and attachments for 150 Air Force chaplain candidates and do administrative work for 700 Reserve personnel. Pastor Hinlicky continues at College Church.


           Dr. Ben Huddle, College, Salem, who retired last year after 44 years as a chemistry professor at Roanoke College, received a top science award from the Blue Ridge chapter of the American Chemical Society. He received the Gene Wise Award, recognizing an influential member of the Society for dedication to the profession and advancement of chemistry. Huddle taught more than 5,000 students in chemistry, math, computer science and some general and honors courses. He helped bring the first computer to the college. Huddle still teaches a general chemistry course. He has been a visiting professor at Hollins University and a university in Korea.

            Dr. Paul Wee, a former executive of the Lutheran World Federation who teaches at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, preached at Christ, Radford, as the guest of Interim Pastor Conrad Braaten, on All Saints Sunday. Wee also portrayed Martin Luther in a short play he had written, for the Radford congregation.

            Terri L. Cobb, daughter of Sandra and Gerald Cobb, Trinity, Newport News,

received the 2013 Unsung Hero Award at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

Cobb, a Roanoke College graduate, is the registrar for the Museum on Main Street program of the Smithsonian's Traveling Exhibition Service. She oversees the refurbishment of 15 exhibitions for rural communities and handles their repairs and shipping arrangements. She trains volunteer staff for dozens of small museums.

            In a seven-hour dance marathon, Noke-A-Thon, more than 200 Roanoke College students raised $8,500 for the Children's Miracle Network, which includes a Carilion Clinic children's hospital in Roanoke.

            A celebration of more than 13 years of service at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp by Pastor Wayne Shelor and his wife, Vikki Shelor, was held on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 10, at the camp. More than 60 people attended.

            Jacob Ridenhour, son of Pastor Steven and LaRue Ridenhour, Holy Trinity, Wytheville, and his wife, Kara Ridenhour, have been appointed co-program directors at Luther Rock Camp and Retreat Center, Newland, N.C. Luther is part of the Novus Ways Outdoor Ministry which operated church camps in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. 

            Dean Comer. Holy Trinity, Martinsville, was named Officer of the Year by the Sheriff's Department of the City of Martinsville.

            At Bethel, Winchester, volunteers gathered the weekend before Thanksgiving  for Returning Thanks, a servant ministry for such tasks as raking leaves, trimming bushes, hauling wood and general household cleaning for "people who could use an extra hand." Bethel members have been asked to consider an alternative Christmas gift from the congregation's Global Mission Team. Support for children in missions in Tanzania, Philipines and India will be offered for purchase at Bethel's Global Christmas, starting Dec. 1.

            Our Saviour, Virginia Beach, is preparing for the season with a workshop on "Surviving the Holidays" on Monday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. at the church. A Grief Support Group, facilitated by Lutheran Family Services, is meeting at the church on eight Monday morning sessions from 10 to 11:30.

             A Lost and Found Concert, featuring George Baum, playing guitar, and Michael Bridge, on guitar, will be sponsored by St. Peter, Woodstock, and presented at Bethel, Winchester, Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m.

            Christ, Wise, raised more than $800 for the Mountain Empire Fuel Fund at a cookout. Additional money from the Care in Communities Fund of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans raised the total to over $1,000.  The congregation sold more than 80 loaves of bread at the Fall Fling of the Town of Wise.

            Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, planned its annual Advent-ure Sunday, a family event. to start the Advent season. Stations are set up with Advent-themed crafts and home decorations and lunch is served after morning worship.  The congregation announced that its Red Door publication is stopping after 20 years. Communication will continue with The Chimes, a weekly publication and social media.

            Trinity, Roanoke, reported that funds raised through the ELCA Good Gifts Program will be enough to buy five pigs, two goats, 40 chickens, two hives of bees, two fruit tree seedlings, a clinic visit for a child and stocking of a clinic. The money was collected in a Stewardship Ministries Time and Talent quiz.  A team of sisters competed in the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, raising more than $87,000 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society in memory of their mother, Joyce Driscoll, a member of Trinity.

            A Dove Project at Christ, Fredericksburg, provides Christmas gifts for adults who are mentally challenged. Many have no family. 


Pastor Guy "Tex" Ritter dies at 94



           Retired Pastor Guy A. Ritter Jr., 94, died Nov. 19. He taught religion at Roanoke College for 27 years, served as an Army chaplain, was pastor of two congregations, designed the Roanoke College seal and completed a number of paintings. He was widely known as Tex Ritter.

            A native of Princeton, W. Va., Ritter served in the Army Air Corps in Europe in World War II and graduated from Roanoke College in 1948. He graduated from Philadelphia Seminary and served as pastor at Bethel, Manassas, and Glade Creek, Blue Ridge, and as a supply pastor at  St. Mark, Springfield. He taught at Roanoke College from 1957 to 1984. He earned a Bronze Star as an Army chaplain in Korea and he served in the Army Reserve from 1945 to 1984, retiring as lieutenant colonel.

            Surviving are his wife, Doris Chambers Ritter, and two sons, Ivan and Paul Ritter, all of Salem. The funeral was at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Roanoke, Nov. 22, and burial was at Sherwood Memorial Park, Salem. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that memorials be made to the Guy A. "Tex" Ritter and Doris Ritter Endowed Scholarship at Roanoke College.  


Bristol service premieres old music adaptation  


            The Abingdon Schola, a group of mainly Lutheran singers based at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Abingdon, premiered Saints Alive at an Evensong service for the All Saints festival at Redeemer, Bristol, on Sunday, Nov. 3.

            The service music was chosen for fall, in preparation for Advent season, featuring ancient chant in addition to music of Taize, Joseph Gelineau and Bernard Huijbers, a contemporary Dutch composer. Death and birth , light and darkness, the coming of the cold season and the earlier approach of darkness play roles as the church prepares for Advent.

            Schola is Latin for school, referring to the historical groups known as Schola Cantorum or Schools of Singers that supplied service and ritual music for monastery or other chapel events in medieval times. Schola were often comprised of youth but today the term is used for small choirs who specialize in Gregorian or other stylized chanting.

            The text of Saints Alive was translated from the original Dutch by Gracia Grindal of the faculty at Luther Seminary in Minneapolis and the music was adapted from a chant tune in the 10th century by James Hansen, Schola conductor.


Advent devotions prepared 


           Twelve writers, many with Virginia Synod ties, have prepared free Advent devotions to be read on a computer, tablet, or smart phone this year. To subscribe for a daily email, beginning on Monday, December 2, click here. Each devotion includes a meditation on scripture, questions for use alone or in a small group, and a seven-word prayer for use throughout the day. A similar resource was published for Lent in 2013.

            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 Chris Bowen, dean of the chapel at Roanoke College, Pastor Kate Costa, St. Luke, Culpeper, and Pastor David Drebes, Prince of Peace, Orkney Spring/Basye. Formerly of the Synod, retired Pastor Robert Holley, Summerville, SC, also contributed. Caryn Anderson, James Authier, Laurel Dahill, Terry Daly, Sherry McGuffin, Judi McMillan, and Will Stenke also wrote devotions.

            The devotions are "an invitation to be intentional about prayer and reflection throughout this holy season," the text's introduction states. "It is our hope these brief devotions will help you mark the days of the season and through this simple practice Jesus may work through you doing that which is good in the sight of God."


Anyone 701/2 can make a tax-free gift from an IRA


            A year-end giving idea for those who receive income from an IRA comes from Ellen Hinlicky, director of the Synod Partners for Mission. Anyone who is 701/2 or older who has income from an IRA that will not be used before Dec. 31 can make a tax-free gift to a church or other charity with those funds. To make arrangements for such a gift, an IRA provider should be contacted.


Bread and Circuses (Panem et Circenses)

      by Pastor Kelly Bayer Derrick, Chair, Synod World Hunger Team


I am a big fan of the Hunger Games trilogy.  I've read all the books and, by the time this goes to print, will have seen the first two movies - The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.  The phrase "Bread and Circuses" is part of the Hunger Games story: 1. The setting of the story is the fictitious nation of Panem; and 2. The Capital appeases the people not by addressing the underlying social concerns of inequality, hunger, injustice, and greed but by offering up entertainment (bread and circuses) for the masses.  If you haven't read The Hunger Games trilogy, I encourage you to do so.  It's got great social commentary!

            I was thinking of this phrase and this idea of "Bread and Circuses," of entertainment for the masses, as I sit here on the day before Thanksgiving and am inundated with ads for Black Friday.  Do I really need all the things that are up for grabs this holiday season?  Of course not, but it sure is tempting to buy more stuff, isn't it?  I know that I live in a global economy which is driven by capitalism, but do I really need all this stuff?  Is it a just and righteous use of my resources to buy more stuff - that I don't need?  I don't think so.

            Don't get me wrong, my family will certainly buy Christmas presents this year.  But we will also remember my brothers and sisters who go without, who have no food on their table, who live outside in this bitter cold.  Many of you likely know the statistics: Globally, 868 million people - that's 1 in 8 - are chronically hungry and cannot lead active daily lives, and 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 per day. In the United States, more than 50 million people do not know where their next meal will come from.  That's about 1 in 6 Americans.   

            Statistics can be helpful in making us aware of the extreme need all around us, but I often hear people talk about how personal stories make such a difference.  One such story came to me from the principal at our local elementary school.  She told of a kindergarten student who came to school late one Monday; she was screaming and crying and making a ruckus.  When they finally calmed her down, the child told them that she was upset because coming to school late meant that she missed breakfast and she was so very hungry.   This is a child in my neighborhood, in my own backyard.  This is personal.

            It is also personal when people suffer from hunger all over the world.  It is personal because we are all children of God.  So, each is my sister and my brother.  Every person is a part of me in the one body of Christ.  How much more personal can you get?! 

            God calls and empowers us to see one another with eyes of faith.  God enables us not to be distracted with the immediate satisfaction of Bread and Circuses, but rather to reclaim our living in the peaceable kingdom of God.  My hope for us this Christmas time is that we will replace our "Bread and Circuses" with this prayer: "Blessed be God who is our bread, may all the world be clothed and fed." 

Pastor sought for 

Independence correctional center


            Chaplain Service Prison Ministry of Virginia is seeking a chaplain for the new River North Correctional Center at Independence in Grayson County. The part-time position requires college and seminary degrees, ordination and ministerial and administrative skills. A resume may be sent to 804-358-7020 (fax) or

College poll finds real estate market is strong


            Virginians' sentiment about the real estate market is down from August but still quite strong, according to a Roanoke College poll of 608 people. More than 57 percent said the condition of the real estate market has improved since last year and 49 percent believe conditions will improve in 2014.

            Among the factors influencing buyers and sellers, the poll found that the labor market is considerably stronger than the nation as a whole and the October unemployment rate at 5.6 percent was unchanged since September and well below the national rate of 7.3 percent. Housing inventories have risen in most areas in recent months and overall prices for goods and services have remained low since the recent recession.

            But mortgage rates are rising and that increases the cost of buying and owning a home. Uncertainty about future health insurance rates is likely raising questions about the affordability of home ownership, according to the poll. Northern Virginia sellers of real estate said this is a better time to sell than a year ago while only 26 percent of people in Southwest Virginia believe selling conditions are better.


Community garden uses Hungry Mother center


            Sprouting Hope, a non-profit community garden, is located at Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center, near Marion. The goal of the garden organization is to provide fresh produce for people in need of food, as well as mentoring and education about organic gardening, nutrition and budget issues. The retreat center board recently agreed to allow Sprouting Hope to use the land for the next 20 years. The website of the garden is


Foundation head talks about Lutheran legacies


            Chris Anderson, president and chief executive of the Lutheran Community Foundation, recently talked at the Village at Orchard Ridge at Winchester about ways for Lutherans of all financial means to create a legacy by working with his staff on such plans as charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts and donor-advised funds. He stressed that such gifts are possible for everyone, not just wealthy people. The Foundation's website is  


Resurection dedicates Pentecost mural

    (Inspired by Pastor Chip Gunsten)


Pastor Carol Kniseley''s mural on the narthex
wall at Resurrection, Fredericksburg

Sunday, November 24, was a special day at Resurrection, Fredericksburg.  Worshippers gathered for a festive Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication for a new mural that was created by Pastor Carol Kniseley on the east wall of the expansive narthex.

In her sermon, Pastor Kniseley told the worshippers, "Please receive this mural as my gift to you, my Resurrection Family."  The mural depicts a variety of people of all races and ages sitting in a boat together. Jesus looms above the boat with outstretched arms as his robe becomes the sail. The heart-shaped nail prints in the wrists are a sure give-away as to which one is Jesus.

            Pastor Carol has been co-pastor with her husband, Jim, at Resurrection since December, 2000. Before pursuing seminary and ordination, Carol was the medical illustrator for the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville. After receiving her bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of Tennessee in Drawing, Carol earned her master's degree in medical illustration from the Medical College of Georgia.

 Creating murals has been a long-time interest and passion for her. She remembers creating murals for the World's Fair when it arrived in Knoxville. Her pastoral internship project in La Canada, California, involved creating murals along the walls of the 60-foot hallways in the Sunday school area.  She organized children, youth and adults to help her paint the Biblical characters. 

            Here is how Pastor Carol explains the meaning of her mural: The inspiration for the mural came from multiple conversations with friend and colleague, Pastor Chip Gunsten. While serving on the  Synod Candidacy Committee, I enjoyed reflecting with Chip  on "what God was doing" not only in the Virginia Synod since the 2009 Church-wide decision...but in the world at large. Chip spoke of this being a time of renewal in the church...much like a new Pentecost...where the Holy Spirit has been set free. Set free to do what? This mural is meant to draw attention to that unique conversation that is now taking place within the entire ELCA. A conversation that begins with a boat...twelve disciples...and the blowing of the wind.  Sound familiar?  It should. Pentecost continues to be God's creative way of reaching out to the world...with an open skiff and a strong wind.

            Resurrection is located at 6170 Plank Road (Route 3) in Fredericksburg.  Contact Pastor Carol Kniseley at the church office (540-786-7778) to arrange a viewing and narrative about the Pentecost mural.


Messiah, Mechanicsville is 45!


            Messiah, Mechanicsville, celebrated its 45th anniversary of shared ministry  On Christ the King Sunday, Nov. 24, with a sermon by Bishop Jim Mauney and dedication of a new processional cross, banner, outside cross and memorial garden. The outside cross, over 10 feet high, was handcrafted out of mahogany by Kevin Hendrickson and Ethan Gunn. John Drazenovich placed the memorial bricks and cross.


Photo:  (l to r) Pastor Lou Florio, Kevin Hendrickson, John Drazenovich and Bishop Jim Mauney


LARCUM  Conference to meet at Winchester


            Bishop Jim Mauney and Bishop Richard Graham of the Metro-D.C. Synod will be among the worship leaders who will speak at the annual LARCUM (Lutherans, Anglicans, Roman Catholics and United Methodist) Conference in Winchester Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7.  The theme will be "Living Out the LARCUM Covenant: the Reception of Vatican II by the Churches."

            The Friday evening session will be at Grace, Winchester. Pastor Martha Sims and Daniel Hannemann, music director, at Grace, will participate.           


Southern Seminary plans pre-Reformation events

ltss logo  

            Southern Seminary has announced a series of events and initiatives leading up to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. The Seminary will host events, develop programs, introduce new curricula and make campus improvements in each of the coming four fall seasons, according to Dr. Clay Schmitt, provost.

            Some of the things planned for the coming year, he said, are a Reformation Hymn Festival, developing master of arts degrees at the Lenoir-Rhyne Unversity campus at Asheville, N.C., undertaking improvements in Smith family apartments, continuing campus upgrades to buildings and a wi-fi network, establishing an endowed affiliate professorship in Lutheran confessions, hosting a missional leadership seminar, establishing an Academy for Faith and Leadership, starting a certification program for first responder chaplains, commissioning a life-size Luther statue on campus and launching an online video educational series.

            ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will speak and receive an honorary doctor of divinity degree at the May 24, 2014 commencement, Schmitt said. 

            Richard Goeres, Seminary student body president and son of Pastor and Mrs. Rick Goeres of First, Norfolk, said the atmosphere at the seminary is "vibrant...Day-to-day life here is lived among a prayerful, hopeful, Christ-centered community."


St. Luke, Richmond 

wins award, exceeds malaria goal

St. Luke CROP walkers

            St. Luke, Richmond, completed an ELCA Bible study and adopted a goal of paying for 100 mosquito nets but they exceeded that in two weeks, increased it to 150 and reached 200 within six weeks. "It was a wonderful response by our congregation," said Vince Reedinger, congregation president.

            Also, the congregation won a "Golden Sneaker Award" for having the most walkers in the annual CROP Walk on Nov. 3. "Our spirit and service to Christ has increased in the past 18 months," Reedinger added. Pastor Fred Marcoux is "providing excellent care and leadership," he said.

            "Thank you, St. Luke!! I commend every net and every step," said Bishop Jim Mauney in a note of commendation.


Where I was when Kennedy was shot

(Retired Pastor Murray Ziegenfuss, who lives in Wythe County, wrote this 

recollection  on Nov. 22, an historic date.) 

            On Nov. 22, 1963 I was an intern at Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Fla.  It was
my senior year at  Florida State University, and I would graduate with a degree in English
in May, 1964.  My internship supervisor was Mr. Meister.  I don't remember his first name,
just that he was the father of Michael Meister, my classmate at Lee High School and a very
brainy boy.   

            Mr. Meister taught mostly juniors and seniors.  He was a little quirky, but was 

generally regarded as "the grand old man" of the English Department.  I felt honored to be 

his first intern.                                                                                                                            

            By late November I had led several classes in his presence.  This, however, was to be my first day with the students on my own.  He promised to stay in the building, but not to meddle. School began in a regular way, and I was sailing through my lesson plans.  It was after lunch that the kids first came in with fuzzy tales of an accident or a shooting in Dallas that had hurt President Kennedy.  These reports seemed more like gossip than fact.  At least, I wanted to believe that.  At the next break I asked teachers in the hall what was up.  No one knew much for sure, but  there were fears. 

          Finally, the intercom blared the word, "The President has been shot in Dallas, but his condition is unknown.  We will keep you posted."  The kids were abuzz with feelings and fears and suppositions. 

            During the change of classes Mr. Meister and I made contact.  He expressed both concern and confidence, and we decided to let me go on alone, as planned.  It was into that next class that the intercom clicked on again, this time the principal's voice thudding, "President John Kennedy is dead.  Vice President Lyndon Johnson will be taking the presidential oath of office this afternoon."  More words trailed out, expressing sorrow, staunching fears, giving information.  The school day would be over at the end of this class, and we would probably be out through the Thanksgiving break. 

            During that announcement something miraculous happened.  My head cleared.  It clicked that I was in charge of a roomful of adolescents during a terrible situation.  I had to manage my own feelings and step up.  My mind flew to a poem written  in response to a similar situation.  I fumbled through the  anthology and found Walt Whitman's, "Oh Captain, My Captain."  With a brief introduction and blurred vision, I read it to the class.  They were quiet, listening and being there. I think we all clung to the words and, in a way, to each other.

           Afterward, one of the students asked if they could spend the rest of the class writing in their journals.   "Of course," I said.  It was Mr. Meister's year-long assignment that they write daily in their journals.   The content was their choice, as well as the writing style.  The entries were read periodically, but not graded.  Journals were to be theirs, a way of knowing the power of self-expression.  I watched, amazed and grateful, as everyone in the class settled down to write.  I hope that today,  fifty years later, some who were in that class remember and evaluate  that time we shared as quality time.  

            When school was out I drove home, feeling bleak and heavy, my usual pace tamped down.  Gradually, I noticed that this was true of others.  Everyone was driving slowly with our lights on, as though we were in a funeral entourage expressing communal grief. 

            That  evening Mr. Meister phoned me. I told him about  letting the kids write in their journals, hoping it was okay.  He replied, "That's fine, that's what they're for.  You know," he continued, "there's a poem that's especially fitting here. It's Whitman's,"Oh Captain, My Captain..."  His voice trailed off with a trace of yearning.  "Yes!" I answered, perhaps too quickly, "I thought of it, too, and read it to the class."  "Oh, you did?   Good for you!  Good for you!"  He was relieved, and even now I am so glad for the affirmation.   It was a strobe of light on a dark day, the day Kennedy was shot.   





Editor:  George Kegley   
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