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                                                                                             October 2014
                         The Virginia 
Bringing you news of the Virginia Synod since 1921.

MS Society honors

Roanoke President Mike Maxey

Maxey, Mike


Bishop Jim Mauney hailed the leadership of Mike Maxey as the Roanoke College president received the Silver Hope Award of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at a Dinner of Champions event at Hotel Roanoke Sept. 11.

Maxey and Hollins University President Nancy Gray were recognized as "outstanding community leaders to raise funds for MS research, advocacy and local programs and to educate the public about multiple sclerosis and the importance of early intervention." Both are the 11th presidents of their institutions.

In a brief testimonial, Mauney called Maxey "St. Michael" and said he "leads as a servant...(who has) great concern and compassion." The Blue Ridge MS chapter said Maxey "focuses on student learning and success, the campus quality of life and accelerating Roanoke's dramatic progress. He is also committed to a close relationship between the College, its students and the local community for the betterment of all."


In This Issue
MS Society honors Maxey
Lutherans in the news
Synod plans task groups to end hunger
Bishop Eaton's column
Graceinside new name
When a volcano erupts!
Clough recognized as ELCA leader
Running to stop ebola
Lutheran team rappells
Impact grants available
Hands all over the Synod
Town meetings
Roanoke students volunteer
Bishop is soaked
New leader orientation
Interns serve
Evangelism symposium
Trinity, Roanoke supports Minnick
LFS expands programs


Lutherans in the news


           Dr. Phyllis Milton, synodical minister of Christian formation, will lead "Renew and Retreat," an event for workers in Christian formation/education and youth ministry, at Camp Caroline Furnace from Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 7, through Thursday morning, Oct. 9.  The retreat, co-sponsored by the camp and Roots and Wings, a Christian Formation Committee, is designed for "anyone who loves children, youth and families."

For information, contact Bryan Jester at Caroline Furnace staff alumni will meet for an annual reunion weekend Oct. 3-5.

Pastor Joel Neubauer has accepted a call to St. Mark, Yorktown, starting in November. Neubauer, who has served at Grace, Chesapeake, for the past two years, is a Maryland native who graduated from the College of William and Mary and Gettysburg Seminary. His wife is the former Danielle Engle of Hampton and they have a daughter, Galilee. Pastor Larry Laine will be recognized for his interim service at St.Mark on Sunday, Oct. 12.

The Rev. Michael Cooper-White, president of Gettysburg Seminary, preached at Grace, Winchester, on Sept. 28 and was the presenter at The Village at Orchard Ridge on Sept. 27. He formerly was executive assistant to the ELCA presiding bishop and director of the ELCA Department for Synodical Relations.  

            For the fourth time in recent years, Roanoke College has ranked among the top Up and Coming National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Roanoke is tied for No. 4 with Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania. College presidents and deans nominated schools that have made innovative changes in academics, faculty, student life and facilities.Also, the Roanoke College Choir has been named one of 11 finalists in the college or university category for the American Prize in Choral Performance. The finalists were selected on excellence. This was the first time the choir had participated in this competition.

            Pastor Fred Hodges has resigned after serving at Our Saviour, Christiansburg, since 2000.  

A Festival of Hymns, celebrating the ongoing reformation of the church, was presented at Grace, Winchester, on Sept. 28. Randall Sheets was the organist and other musicians, choirs and soloists participated.

Pastor Ruth Popkin, formerly Ruth Moberg Foster when she was an intern at Christ, Fredericksburg, in 2011-2012, has accepted a call to Salem Lutheran, Hitterdale, Minn.

Janet Scere (left), whose Liberian family is sponsored by St. Mark's. Roanoke, became a U.S. citizen in a ceremony on Sept. 16. She and her husband, Harris Scere, and their family of eight came from Liberia 10 years ago. Harris Scere became a citizen two years ago.

Faith and Fantasy, a discussion of dreams, fantasy, reality, imagination, the arts, literary express and how they relate to life for a person of faith, will be held at College, Salem, on Sunday, Oct. 26, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Mary Crockett Hill, author of Dream Boy, and a member of the congregation, will lead discussion for the free event. Reservations are necessary. They may be made at 389-4963 or

            Members of Habitat for Humanity, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and LuCoM (Lutheran Cooperative Ministries dedicated a house in Roanoke for the Mpoye family of seven from Burundi. This was the ninth Habitat house for the three partners in the Roanoke Valley.

            In a Neighbor to Neighbor program, a dozen men and women at Christ, Roanoke, help congregation members with such services as transportation to doctors' appointments or grocery shopping, meals, light housekeeping and garden work so they can stay independent in their own homes.

            Members of a Seventh Day Adventist Spanish Church who worship on Saturdays at Trinity, Roanoke, will serve lunch for Trinity members on Sunday, Oct. 5, preparing dishes from Central and South America. This will occur during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

            At Bethel, Winchester, the Bethel Worship Ensemble is preparing a CD in time for Christmas shopping. The disk will feature the choir, band and singers.


Synod plans task groups to end child hunger


The Synod is planning to form two task groups to provide leadership, strategy and direction to end childhood hunger in the state. An estimated 299,600 children, 1 out of 6, are insecure for food, according to Feeding America. 

            One team of 6 to 8 members will concentrate on school-age children, emphasizing summer feeding programs and breakfast in the classroom and the other group of the same size will work on WIC/child (women, infants and children) nutrition . Bishop Jim Mauney has invited anyone with a passion for the childhood hunger issue to join the efforts.

            The teams are expected to meet regularly by phone or in person and they could meet with government representatives. Some of their possible activities are: developing partnerships with other denominations, identifying federal, state and local stakeholders and resources, learning about existing feeding programs, advocating for feeding programs in all areas and brainstorming other creative way to combat childhood hunger.

            Persons interested in joining the task groups may contact Kayla Fuller, Synod communications director, at 540-389-1000 or by Oct. 27.


To see each other as brother, sister

        by Elizabeth A. Eaton

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton


This is most certainly true: 

Remember Eighth Commandment explanation.


            I remember a particularly contentious meeting with a church council when I was a synod bishop. It didn't start out that way, but bit by bit the mood changed. Council members began to question my motives, then my veracity, then my character. Finally I said, "Hey, I have a mother you know." That broke the tension. My point was that I was a human being just like them, not a bloodless functionary. I had become "The Man," which made me sad and was hugely confusing for my husband.

             I would like to say this was an isolated incident in my experience of life in the church, but it was not. Nor is it confined to the church. Suspicion and blame aren't new. Bearing false witness was around way before Moses received the commandments. But it seems that the climate of distrust and accusation in society has become more heated. It's just more disappointing when it happens in the church.

            Many theories can be put forward about why we behave this way: people feel threatened or discounted, people feel deeply about an issue, the topic at hand is critically important, truth is at stake. When the discussion or letter or email reaches this level of intensity, it's no longer possible to hear one another. And as the tension and the volume increase, our vision becomes impaired. We are no longer able to see the other as a brother or sister, someone for whom Christ died.

            This constricted conversation is becoming a habit. It is the default setting for us when our position is challenged or when we challenge someone else. It is a bad habit. And like all bad habits it is, in the short run, a lot easier and more fun to practice than its corresponding good habit. I'll admit it, there is something satisfying about being so certain. It's easier to ascribe motive than to engage in an open dialogue with the sincere intent of seeking understanding. Righteous indignation feels good.

            In the church this is called "prophetic," as if being prophetic only takes the form of scolding. I have received letters and emails suggesting I do things that are anatomically impossible and certainly not appropriate to reprint in a church publication. These epistles sometimes end with "In Christian love ...." I know a conversation is going to head south in a hurry when it starts with these words: "With all due respect ...."  

            There is another way.

            In his Small Catechism, Martin Luther gives us this explanation of the Eighth Commandment: "We are to fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbors, betray or slander them, or destroy their reputations. Instead we are to come to their defense, speak well of them, and interpret everything they do in the best possible light."

            What a beautiful and generous way of being. The self is no longer at the center. The focus is no longer on justifying or defending one's own position. All attention and care can be given to the other. As the volume is turned down our sight improves-we now see a precious child of God. Paradoxically this gentle approach makes it more possible to have difficult conversations.

            We believe baptism makes a difference and makes us different, that our lives are now hidden in Christ, that we are inseparably joined to the love of God in Christ Jesus. We believe that in baptism God has set us free from sin, death and the devil. God has also set us free from ourselves. Because of this it is possible to engage in a new way of being together.

             The church can model respectful dialogue. Instead of contributing to the static of suspicion that fills the airwaves, we can be a community that creates an open space where questions really are questions, not accusations, and disagreement doesn't devolve into discounting. If we were to do this, congregational meetings might actually be fun.

Let's try this: the next time we find ourselves on the giving or receiving end of less-than-graceful communication let's recite Luther's explanation of the Eighth Commandment.  


This column originally appeared in The Lutheran's October issue. Reprinted by permission.


Graceinside is new name

for Prison Chaplain Service


            The former Chaplain Service Prison Ministry of Virginia has changed its name to Graceinside, according to Randy J. Myers, president of the ecumenical organization.

            The new name is "much simpler and quite descriptive of what our God is doing through our chaplains in prisons," Myers said. Graceinside will have a new website, staff email addresses and social media pages. The change has been approved by the State Corporation Commission.

            The Chaplain Service, formed in 1920, maintains chaplains at 32 of more than 40 prisons, correctional centers and work units in the state. The organization has a staff of six in Richmond and a 16-member board. Supporters include Lutherans, Episcopalians, United Methodists, Baptists, Brethren, Catholics and Mennonites. 


What happens when a volcano erupts?

      by Pastor Tobby Eleasar


(Pastor Tobby Eleasar sent this report of his experience with a volcano eruption in Papua New Guinea. He was re-elected president of his conference.)


Here is one natural disaster that I would not forget - being caught unexpectedly in a volcano eruption. This was one such eruption that the volcano observatory in Rabaul failed to inform the locals and the residents of Rabaul Township. It all began on the 29th of August when we were just about to begin our district conference.

           We arrived in Rabaul around 8 o'clock in the night and were taken straight to the conference site which was at our Rabaul Congregation Church area. In the dark I saw that there were several tents all set up and there were people already in them preparing for the night. We had night devotion and then the council decided that since we were tired after our journey we would all retire for the night and have our council meeting in the morning before the opening of the conference.
            I was very tired after my journey but I didn't sleep until after 1 o'clock in the morning. I woke up two hours later to the rumbling of the thunder and the sound of the rain on the roof. After some minutes I realised that something was not quite right.

I was sleeping right under a window and I could feel something like dust

and sand falling on my bed and all over me. I stood up and looked out of the window and saw that it was dry outside and every time there was this rumbling the sky lit up and there was a shower of dust. I then heard Pastor Freddy telling someone outside that the volcano was erupting. I came outside the house I was sleeping in and was told not go outside.
                 All the tents were now covered in dust and everyone was told to stay inside the tents. It was not long before someone rang me and told me to tell everyone not to panic, but to stay where they were inside the tents until day light before we could decide what to do. 

Mt. Tavurvur

                When dawn finally came we could see clearly it was Tavurvur which was erupting and the dust from the volcano eruption was falling everywhere and we had to walk with our heads covered or with an umbrella. All the tents and houses were covered with dust.
           On Tuesday I went to Rabaul again and could not believe my eyes. There was no plant standing that had green leaves on it - everything had dried up and there was dust everywhere. Police had also set up road blocks to check vehicles and people.
          I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your prayers. If it wasn't for your prayers things would not have turned out the way they did.


Ellen Clough recognized as ELCA Leader Scholar   

     by Kayla Fuller


Ellen Clough, a freshman at Southern Seminary and a candidate for rostered leadership from the Virginia Synod, will be honored at an ELCA banquet in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 3 along with 15 other ELCA Fund for Leaders Scholars.

When Clough first attended a scholarship weekend at Southern Seminary, she didn't fully realize the prestige of the event or how life changing it would be. "I was talking to one of my friends that day and she told me that this wasn't just any scholarship weekend, it was the Fund for Leaders weekend," she said.

The ELCA Fund for Leaders, providing full tuition, is a merit-based scholarship program that has supported hundreds of qualified candidates with more than $8.25 million in scholarship support.This scholarship is helping Clough, a member of Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, answer a call to ministry that she said she first felt at the age 12 during one of the Synod youth events. At her first youth assembly, she said, "my eyes were open to the brokenness of the world. We had speakers come talk to us about places where people were hungry and sick and the opportunities that we had to walk with those people...When I went home, I told my mom that I was not going to go to college, I was going to be a missionary.

"By my junior year of high school, my understanding was that there were all sorts of bad things happening out in the world but I also learned that there were bad things happening right here." With her passion for the Gospel, her dedicated service to her congregation, she began to think about the possibility of becoming a pastor. Muhlenberg even gave her the opportunity to preach to the congregation during their youth Sundays. "I found that I really enjoyed studying the text and prayerfully being a vessel for sharing the Gospel with people who loved me and people I didn't know," Clough said.

She became a religion major student at Lenoir-Rhyne University and then decided to get "boots on the ground experience" in a congregation before seminary. She worked as an intern at Unity Lutheran Church in Milwaukee and she didn't just stay in the church building. She was also on staff of a winter homeless shelter where she stayed overnight once a week.

Her second internship was with Dave Delaney, Synod director of youth ministry. Delaney said Clough is "incredibly gifted. (She) was able to do difficult things and do everything very well."  She took on more responsibility, including writing the reflection booklet for Kairos, a resource for high school students to use during their personal evening reflections.

Bishop Jim Mauney said Ellen was "a most gifted youth intern this summer, showing a passion for faith and talents for leadership I am excited and appreciative that she was granted this scholarship." 

"This scholarship means that I have a church body that supports me and cares for me and more importantly cares about what Jesus can do through my ministry," Clough said. "At Southern Seminary, she gets to learn more about the things that she is passionate about: prayer, celebrating sacraments, baptism and affirmations of faith. She is always quick to express her love of the gathered body of Christ and about sharing her faith.  "I am passionate about figuring out new ways to share the gospel that engage people of all different experiences," she said. 

            Clough is filled with excitement about her trip to Chicago. "I feel blessed to have the opportunity to meet with other church leaders, seminarians, and bishops and I'm excited to visit the Churchwide offices for the first time." 




Becky Whitlock dies at 49

            Becky Whitlock died Sept. 11 in a Marion hospital a month after she began serving as a vicar in the Rural Retreat Parish. She was 49.

            Formerly features editor of the Kingsport, Tenn. Times-News for almost 25 years, she had graduated from Valpariso University and was a student at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. She was a native of Lidgerwood, N. Dak., Surviving are her husband, Stan Whitlock; two daughters, Olivia and Bianca Whitlock, and her parents, the Rev. and Mrs. Marvin Otto, and two brothers.

            The funeral was at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Kingsport, on Sept. 15.


Rev. J. S. "Bud" Koiner dies at 91

Rev. J. S. "Bud" Koiner, 91, longtime synod pastor, died at Asheville, N.C. He had served at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Lexington and Bethlehem, Lynchburg. Survivors include his wife, Connie Koiner. The funeral was Monday, Sept. 8, at 1 p.m. at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Asheville, N.C.


Running to stop ebola


 In a Race for Hope at Reformation, Newport News, runners in a 5K and 10K race raised money for the benefit of people suffering from ebola virus in Sierra Leone. The race was conducted by Share Heart in Africa, a non-profit organization. 

Lutheran team rappells for Special Olympics


            Two pastors and a layman will go "over the edge," rappelling off the 25-story SunTrust building in downtown Richmond for the benefit of Special Olympics on Friday, Oct. 17.  The rappellers are Pastor Anne Jones of Christ, Fredericksburg, Pastor Paul T. Christian, Our Redeemer, Petersburg, and Kevin Hendrickson, congregational council president at Messiah, Mechanicsville.

            The team goal is to raise $5,000, according to Pastor Lou Florio of Messiah, team captain, who raised a record $6,000 for Special Olympics in an "Over the Edge" event two years ago. Florio also is alternate rappeller for the team. When the team raises $5,000 they qualify for spots to document the descent, placement of a logo and banner and an opportunity to provide participant prizes.

            This is the tallest fund-raiser in the state, Florio said. The event "helps thousands of intellectually disabled athletes achieve their best and make lasting friendships," he added. Special Olympians "bravely face obstacles every day. With this extreme rappel, participants try to honor and show solidarity with their courage."

            Checks for the benefit may be made out to Special Olympics, c/o Messiah Lutheran, 8154 Atlee Road, Mechanicsville, VA 23111. Donations by credit or debit cards may be made on the team page, Fools for Christ at Anyone interested in participating in a future event may contact Florio.

Community Impact grants available


National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS), the former National Lutheran Home, has announced the availability of Community Impact grants generally in the range of $10,000 to $15,000 for congregations and community social service organization in its service area of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia for the 2015 grant year.

As a faith-based ministry providing services for older adults, the Rockville, Md. firm said it is interested in supporting the work of non-profit organizations, including congregations and community-based programs which address the critical needs of seniors.

In a survey with Holleran Consulting of the most pressing issues facing older adults in this region, NLCS said it identified five issues: chronic disease management, navigating and accessing health care and social services, dealing with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and memory loss, social isolation and poverty and financial insecurity.

In its announcement, NLCS said it found that older adults often need assistance with home maintenance and daily living activities. Non-clinical services such as providing access to healthy food or offering exercise programs may help in the management of chronic diseases.

Caregivers, particularly family members, seek support as well as temporary respite from daily responsibilities. Seniors desire companionship and interaction with the broader community, including younger generations. Providing these kinds of services at reduced or no cost can help address financial needs.

 NLCS said its Community Impact Advisory Council will award up to10 grants this year to organizations with the desire and passion to enhance the lives of older adults.

Grants may be more or less, depending on the merits of the proposal. Information about submission of grant proposals, application form, timeline, recipient eligibility and grant reporting requirements may be found at


God's Work, Our Hands all over the Synod


Northern Valley volunteers assemble items for children in Lutheran Family Services therapeutic day program.

            Synod congregations responded to the ELCA "God's Work. Our Hands" challenge in early September with a wide variety of service projects.

            Northern Valley church members met for "a spirited worship experience" in the chapel at Orchard Ridge, Winchester. Pastor David Young of Bethel, Winchester, recalled "how we encounter God's open hands and how we go to encounter the world with hands made open by the grace and love of God," A combined choir sang and the Eucharist was celebrated. Afterward, youth and adult members wearing yellow shirts filled backpacks with donated supplies to be delivered to the Lutheran Family Services offices in Winchester to be used by children in a therapeutic day program.

Volunteers at Reformation, Newport News, made warm blankets to be sent to Lutheran World Relief for use by cold children.

           Youth and adult volunteers at Reformation, Newport News, made blankets for Lutheran World Relief.

At St. Paul, Hampton, five members of the Men's Fellowship Group delivered a truck-load of household goods, birthday party supplies and other items for Lutheran Family Services in Bedford, They took a corn hole set, made by Tom Stock, property team leader at St. Paul, for the day support program. The delivery was made at a picnic of the Bedford mission, a partner of St. Paul.

            Members of First English, Richmond, cleaned up the median strip of Monument Avenue and surrounding areas, wearing yellow shirts.

            At St. Michael and Luther Memorial, Blacksburg, volunteers worked in the playground and cleaned classrooms at Valley Interfaith Childcare Cluster, harvested vegetables and weeded the St. Micah's Garden and assembled personal care kits for Lutheran World Relief.


Town meetings-a new idea

      by  Cary Mangus and Pastor Jim Kniseley-Synod Stewardship Ministry 


What is a Town Meeting?  Well, that is what we have decided to call a new concept in stewardship in the Virginia Synod.  We must admit, we had nothing to do with the envisioning of this new concept.

One night, in June, 2007, Cary Mangus received a call from Glen Rosendahl, a  former administrator of College, Salem.  Glen shared with him that he and Gary Sahm, the stewardship committee chair at College Lutheran, had met to discus their stewardship initiative for the coming year.  In his words-"We are frustrated at how to keep coming up with new approaches".

Glen asked if Cary would be willing to facilitate a meeting of stewardship people from around the Roanoke Valley, to provide a forum for sharing the ideas, successes and  failures of what the different churches were doing in their stewardship programs.  After one blink of the eye, Cary said "I am your man and I am excited!"  Glen contacted all the local churches and they met that very month.  I HAVE TO TELL YOU IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST GATHERINGS IN WHICH I HAVE EVER PARTICIPATED! 

We had five Lutheran churches participate in this time of sharing-College, St. John, St. Phillip, Trinity and Christ. We shared a meal  (covered by the Virginia Synod) had a devotion and prayer, participated in an "ice-breaker," shared an overview of the different response methods that are being used, had a time for each of the churches to speak to what they were doing and what was working (and not working) for them and shared some additional resources that are available (Mission Interpretation, new books, new programs, planned giving).

 Out of this meeting, stewardship became energized!  Two churches offered Consecration Sunday models for the first time, two churches switched the timing of their annual appeals to the spring (divorcing "giving and the BUDGET"-Hallelujah!-It's really about faith raising!), and the other church....well, that was the one that effected the changes in the other four!  How beautiful is the Body of Christ!  I know this is true because I saw it with my own two eyes in June of 2007!

            So, where do we go with this?  We are willing to facilitate anywhere in the Synod.  Jim Kniseley will facilitate in the Germanna, Peninsula, Richmond and Tidewater conferences. Cary Mangus will facilitate in the Central Valley, Highland, New River, Northern Valley, Page, Southern, and Southern Valley Conferences.

 Contact Jim at or by phone at 540-845-2427.  Contact Cary at or by phone at 540-765-8510.  All we need are a few "Glen Rosendahls" in a few places throughout this state.  You know, it is all kind of biblical. "Where two or three are gathered"!  Why are we not surprised?


400 Roanoke students volunteer at non-profits


 Four Roanoke College students sing as they work on the food line at Roanoke Rescue Mission---part of the 400 students who volunteer at Roanoke Valley non-profit organizations.

            Sabrina McIntyre, Alex Pulido, Samantha Snead and Brittany Mosser are serving breakfast at the mission. McIntyre and Mosser are part of Mainstreet, an a capella group at the college.

            Pulido, also volunteer coordinator, is one of 15 staff members who provide access and support to the faculty, according to Jesse Griffin, director of the college's Center for Civic Engagement. The college offers 20 to 25 courses that incorporate service into traditional academic course work. Griffin said his center would not function as it is able without the "stellar students on staff."  The college's outreach has been expanding, he said.

(L-R) Sabrina McIntyre, Alex Pulido, Samantha Snead and Brittany Mosser work at the Rescue Mission.

            Students are volunteering at these "community partner" agencies in the Roanoke Valley:

            Salem Headstart, West End Center for Youth, St. John's Episcopal Community Youth Program, Baptist Friendship House, Rescue Mission, Samaritan Inn, Salem Food Pantry, Christian Soldiers Food Pantry, Habitat for Humanity, Turning Point at the Salvation Army, Taubman Art Museum, Commonwealth Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement, Lincoln Terrace Elementary School. Roanoke Community Garden Association and environmental education at Roanoke City Parks and Recreation.


Bishop is soaked





 Responding to the national challenge to support ALS, Bishop Jim Mauney agreed to be soaked by a bucket of ice water dumped by Kayla Fuller, Synod communications director.  All for a good cause.

 New leaders have two-day orientation

     by Mindy Reynolds, 

          Synodical minister for healthy leadership and wellness


Seven new rostered leaders, one intern, and two spouses attended this year's orientation held on the campus of Roanoke College, September 8-9. The first day was a full one, as participants began their orientation by touring the Synod Office and meeting support staff, followed by a short walk across campus to the Colket Center to sample the college's cuisine for lunch.

 After settling in to Pickle Lounge, they were presented with a comprehensive orientation manual containing numerous resources and descriptions related to the synod's structure and function, as well as various ministries and associated staff.

            The afternoon included a series of presentations and discussions about life and ministry together as a ministerium.  Bishop Jim Mauney spoke to the synod's vision and its five emphases and Pastor David Derrick, chairperson of the Ministerium Team, introduced and reviewed the ministerium covenant.

 In a series of 30-minute periods, the new leaders and spouses rotated among synod staff to learn about the respective roles, responsibilities and ministries of Pastor Chris Price, assistant to the Bishop; Pastor Phyllis Milton, synodical minister for Christian faith formation; Ellen Hinlicky, director for Lutheran Partners in Mission, and Mindy Reynolds, a diaconal minister and synodical minister for healthy leadership and wellness. .

            Following these round table meetings, Kayla Fuller, new director of communications, spoke of the synod's website and the different ways in which she is "getting the word out" about what's happening in the life of the synod. Pastor Paul Hinlicky shared information about the 2012-2017 "Luther Studies" which he is writing. Attendees were welcomed to Roanoke College by William Greer, director of development and church relations, who led a tour of the campus. The day concluded with leaders and spouses hosted by the college at a reception and dinner in the President's Dining Room. 

            Day Two included site visits to two Roanoke Lutheran institutions, Lutheran Family Services and Brandon Oaks Continuous Care Retirement Facility. The group met with staff and toured the Minnick Education Center, Brandon Point and Brandon Oaks. The day concluded with lunch at Brandon Oaks.

            All in all, the orientation was seen as vitally important to our leaders and spouses.  To quote Pastor Jeff and Mrs. May, who recently moved to St. Paul's, Jerome Parish, Edinburg, "We think something like this should be offered to all of our rostered leaders and spouses. It serves as a refresher - an update - on the different ministries in the synod - and that can only be helpful to clergy and others as they go about ministering in their congregations."

 Two interns serve in synod


  Three seminarians began interning in Synod congregations in late summer.

Becky Whitlock worked in the Rural Retreat Parish until her death in early September.

Amy Wagner is serving at Holy Trinity, Wytheville and Alex Zuber is at the Stony Mountain Parish, Luray.

            Whitlock, a former newspaperwoman at Kingsport, Tenn., was a graduate of Valpariso University and she was attending Luther Seminary.  Wagner, a native of Bel Air, Md., is a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania and a student at Gettysburg Seminary. She has worked with Alzheimer's patients for 10 years.  Zuber, a son of Kelly and Tim Zuber of Christ, Roanoke, is a graduate of James Madison University and a student at Philadelphia Seminary.

 Virginia Council plans evangelism symposium


            The Virginia Council of Churches is replacing its traditional two-day ecumenical retreat with a one-day symposium on evangelism at Summerdean Church of the Brethren in Roanoke on Tuesday, Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. "Engage the Culture...Reach the Community...A Symposium on Evangelism: The Hope for Mission: Transformation" will be the theme. A registration fee of $25, including lunch, may be sent to the Council at 1214 West Graham Road, Suite 3, Richmond, VA 23220. Summerdean Church is at 6604 Plantation Road, NE, Roanoke 24019-4767.  

 Trinity, Roanoke, supports Minnick Center


            Members of Trinity, Roanoke presented a $750 check for classroom support of the Minnick Education Center. Those at the check presentation on Sept. 5 as part of the ELCA Day of Service were (from left) Lisa Milliken, assistant director of education for all Minnick schools; Diane Carter, Trinity president; Ashley Witt, school principal; Pastor Ken Lane and Louise Reep, treasurer, both of Trinity.      

 LFS expands programs across the state


Shelley, a participant at the Lynchburg LFS Day Support Pogram is helped by Bruce Ashby, an LFS staff member.


            Lutheran Family Services programs are expanding from Wytheville to Roanoke to Bedford to Winchester. An open house is planned for the Day Support Program for adults with disabilities in Roanoke which recently moved to the Brandon Point office building at Brandon Oaks.

            In Lynchburg, an annual prom with a jungle theme was held for the Day Support Program, featuring balloons with animal skin patterns, fun decorations and music provided by a disk jockey. Information about the programs for adults with disabilities in Roanoke, Bedford, Lynchburg, Danville or Charlottesville may be obtained by calling 800-359-3834 or at

            Four new cottages in Bedford are designed for adults with disabilities in the LFS group home program. The open, one-floor, specially modified spaces with backyard and patios are designed to make living and socializing easier.

            LFS is expanding its Therapeutic Day Treatment program into seven Frederick County elementary schools. The program is a  blend of services that help children manage their behavior so they can take full advantage of classroom learning.

            LFS also is offering "adoption competent" mental health services in Southwest Virginia to help families with adoptions cope with the trauma and loss that can be a part of adoption. The free service is available through a grant from the Center for Adoption Support and Education. For more information, contact Emily Webb at or 540-774-7100, ext. 1015.

            A new Practical Assessment Exploration System Laboratory at the Wythe County Technology Center, shared by Wytheville Minnick School and Wythe County students,  was funded by the Richard and Carolyn T. Gwathmey Memorial Trust and matching funds from LFS and Wythe County Public Schools.The lab is a mini-work environment that helps students learn basic career, vocational and life skills. 





Editor:  George Kegley   
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