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                                                                                             April 2015
                         The Virginia 
Bringing you news of the Virginia Synod since 1921.

10th Thrivent/Habitat

house starts in Roanoke


Roanoke Valley Lutherans will start construction of their 10th Habitat house with major support from Thrivent Financial in late April or early May. Thrivent has awarded

$78,650 for construction of a home for the family of Dilli and Leela Maya Kadariya, natives of Bhutan, who came to this country in 2009.   

Kadariya family is ready to build.

     At an early March breakfast to announce the grant, Lee Bond, a regional community outreach worker for Thrivent, said Roanoke is recognized by the Habitat organization as "a destination location, a place to go." Bond praised the cooperative work by members of nine Lutheran churches. No other group in Virginia is "even close" to Roanoke in Habitat construction, she said. The Roanoke group has shared information for a Habitat project in Fredericksburg. In the last 10 years, Thrivent has invested $705,516 in the 10 Habitat homes, according to Bond.

            Jim McCarthy of Christ, Roanoke, the coordinator for all 10 Habitat homes, said a wall-raising ceremony will be held Saturday, April 11, at the new home site, 1418 Chapman Ave., SW, Roanoke. McCarthy recruits workers and arranges for the participating congregations to provide food for the workers twice a week in spring and summer. He works with Brian Clark, local construction director for Habitat.

            The Kadariya family, two sons and a daughter with their parents, lived in a refugee camp for 20 years before they arrived in Roanoke. Dilli's brother and sister-in-law, Laxman and Pingala Kadariya and their three children live several blocks away in a Habitat house, built last fall by Roanoke College students as their annual project..

            Jenny Lee, Roanoke development director for Habitat, announced a celebration of 10 years of Thrivent-Habitat construction in Roanoke will be held on Aug. 15 at the completion of the  latest house. Stephanie and Charles Leiser represent Thrivent in the Habitat projects.

In This Issue
10th Thrivent/Habitat house starts in Roanoke
Lutherans in the news
Coming to terms with the times
Assembly will explore church neighborhoods
Blanch Heston, 99+, models
Confirmation camp moved
Faith in Action
Highlands singers join handbell ringers
Hit a home run for Lutheran Family Services.
Interfaith speakers agree to worship God
Churches can help special needs families
Challenges of restoring Muhlenberg robe
Palestinian Lutheran works for Peace Month
Sharing faith in the Southern Conference.
Toddler Theology
Radecke to present Passion Narrative
Women celebrated in Winchester
Quick Links


Lutherans in the news


            Pastor Fred Guy is relocating to the Charlotte area in August after eight years at Trinity, Hampton.  This isn't retirement, he said, because he expects to work with a church there. He has served a total of 30 years at Holy Trinity, Lynchburg, and Messiah, Virginia Beach and 11 years at a church and a school in North Carolina. Friel Guy, his wife, is retiring after 45 years of teaching and child care. They are moving to be with a son and expected grandchild.

            Pastor Larry Laine, former interim at St. Mark, Yorktown, has moved to a church in Pennsylvania.

            Pastor Kenneth Albright of Grace and Glory, Palmyra, is planning a sabbatical this summer. He was called as the first fulltime pastor at Grace and Glory nine years ago. 

            The Synod Candidacy Committee has approved Mike Molter, St. Peter, Stafford, for ordination, pending completion of his work at Southern Seminary and a call. The committee also approved Ryan Rodrigues, Christ, Fredericksburg, for entrance in seminary.

            The Rev. John Hougen, former Virginia pastor and now a poet, artist, academic and docent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will be the visiting theologian at Luther Memorial, Blacksburg, on Saturday, April 18. He will talk about "Prayerful Looking: Exploring the Intersection of Spirituality and the Arts" through poetry and paintings in an "exploration of how the arts can serve as a gateway to our encounter with God," according to the Luther Memorial News. Also, after a renovation project, Luther Memorial will rededicate its Von Bora House, a short-term emergency housing location with New River Family Shelter onApril 26.

            In a spring work weekend at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center, more than 110 volunteers donated over $3,000 in supplies and cleaned, fixed nearly every part of the camp. Materials for a new roof on Cabin 1 were contributed by Christ, Richmond. Volunteers cleaned the Retreat House and Upper Room, updated the office computer system, stuffed mailings, made posters and put up boards in the bathhouse.

            A jury heard testimony for and against Judas Iscariot in a Lenten drama at Resurrection, Fredericksburg. Pastor Lyla Harold directed the court sessions on Wednesdays during Lent. Peter, John and Mary Magdalene were among the "witnesses" subpoenaed to testify.

            Led by Lorna Hanson, volunteers planted 7,000 daffodils creating "a sea of yellow" in the parking lot at Apostles, Gloucester. A section of the bulb bed has been reserved for a memorial garden.

            The Roanoke College men's soccer team raised more than $3,000 in a Goal-A-Thon for a Micah's Backpack feeding project in Salem area schools. Nearly 70 volunteers packed two dinners, two lunches and two breakfasts in a backpack for students who qualify for free lunches.

Members of Lakeside Lutheran, Littleton, N. C., plan to continue an annual project of the Lake Gaston Community to meet at the United Methodist Church to package 20,000 meals for people around the world who do not have enough to eat. Lakeside is contributing $2,500 to cover half of the meals. A team of 40 volunteers can package 10,000 meals in two hours. The high-protein, dehydrated meals are used mainly to supplement feeding programs in schools and orphanages.

At Peace. Charlottesville, six-word memoirs were collected during Lent. Some of the first:           Lost in desert, looking for oasis

In the silence in my heart

Empty sin, fill me with Jesus

Living in the gift of grace

            After a moving performance of the oratorio, "Mary, the Mother of Jesus," by the Chorus of the Blue Ridge at Trinity Ecumenical Parish, Moneta, and Cave Spring Baptist Church, Roanoke, March 21-22,  Aaron Garber, composer and conductor, announced that he will leave after 14 years to spend more time on composition. Bishop Emeritus Richard Bansemer wrote the libretto for "Mary," one of six oratorios he has completed. Bansemer also has finished the text for "The Revelation Story," based on the book of Revelation. Garber continues to lead music at Trinity and a chorus in Lynchburg.
            Members of St. Paul, Hampton, plan to join a Walk Hamton Clean Day on Saturday, April 11 by cleaning the area around the church property.

            Iain Wiseman of Christ, Staunton, and a member of Scout Troop 30 in Staunton, is seeking donations to help with his Eagle Scout project of building a bridge over the creek on Twin Bridge Trail at Camp Caroline Furnace, which was washed out . He said he needs funds for materials. 


Coming to terms with the times

        by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton


Presiding Bishop Eaton


Creating programs, chasing 

youth trail telling the love of God


            When I'm out and about in the church, I'm often asked what I plan to do to save small congregations, reverse the decline in membership, bring young adults back to church, increase mission support, make the ELCA truly multicultural, boost our relevance in the culture and fix Congress (well, not that last one). I have no plan to do any of that by myself, but I wonder if there is a deeper concern in those questions that requires a deeper answer from all of us.

            The world has changed and is changing. Residents of my mother's retirement community who waited weeks to receive letters from loved ones serving overseas during World War II are now on Facebook and regularly use Skype or FaceTime to visit with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Air travel that was once glamorous and rare for most of us is now, both in frequency and ambiance, a lot like taking the bus. It's not unusual, even in small-town America, to have Jewish, Muslim and Hindu neighbors or those with no religious affiliation at all. We are in a strange new world and don't really know how all this will shake out.

            We might be tempted to overdo our efforts, to work harder and harder developing innovative programming, reading every manual on church growth, jazzing up our websites, being present on every possible social media platform. Maybe we should discover our congregation's niche: young adults, theology on tap, justice and advocacy, care of creation, ethnic specific ministry, pet blessing liturgies, urban church, rural church, big church, small church, virtual church, home church. We have done some version of all of this somewhere across the ELCA. And good for us. We need to be brave and daring. God can use our best imagination and innovation.

            Or we might be tempted to circle the wagons and hold ever more tightly to what we have left. There is much that is beautiful about our traditions and buildings and heritage. What will happen to all of that if our particular congregation ceases to exist? Who will bury our parents or us? Who will take care of the parish cemetery? This is when congregations begin eyeing visitors for their value as replacement parts.

            My daughter and her significant other, who was running for county commissioner, attended a church pancake breakfast where they were swarmed by parishioners who didn't realize he was a candidate. All they saw were young adults! Potential members! It was an uncomfortable experience.

            But why do we want people to join our church? What does church mean to us? When I have asked that question, people often spoke about church as community or family. People talked about the good and important work their congregations carried out to feed the hungry or shelter the homeless. Some said the best thing about their congregations wasn't programs but people.

            It was rare that anyone mentioned God or spoke about an encounter with the transcendent. I don't believe our people lack faith or don't know Jesus, but I wonder if we have lost the language to speak about the love of God that has been given to us in the crucified and risen Christ. Maybe we just assume Jesus. Maybe Jesus has become like wallpaper: we know it's there and everyone can see it, but we don't have to talk about it.

            The best thing about the church, the thing that is uniquely the church, is not programs or people but Jesus. If we as a people, and as congregations, don't get that right it doesn't matter how many programs we come up with.

            In Christ through the Spirit, God has invited us into a deeply intimate and loving relationship with God and with each other. Being church is abiding in that love. We are God's beloved people gathered around word and sacraments. That's what gives us life. That's what shapes us. That's what sends us out into the world to do justice and to love kindness (Micah 6:8). And this must be the kind of community to which we invite others-not because we want to grow or pay for the boiler or attract young people, but because we have received this incredible life-changing gift and want everyone to be touched and claimed and transformed by it too.


A monthly message from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her email address: This column originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of The Lutheran. Reprinted with permission.


Assembly will explore church neighborhoods

Dr. Mary Sue Dreier


            Dr. Mary Sue Dreier of the Southern Seminary faculty will be the keynote speaker on the theme, "Ambassadors for Christ---Knowing Our Congregational Neighborhoods to Do God's Will," at the annual Synod Assembly at Roanoke College on June 5-7

            The Rev. Raphael Malpica-Padilla, executive director for Global Missions in the ELCA, will be the official representative of the national church. A frequent speaker at Synod events, Malpica-Padilla oversees a global program cooperating in about 70 countries with 309 missionaries

Malpaca Padilla

and volunteers, 47 staff in Chicago and annual expenditures of $28.2 million.

            Dreier came from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., to Southern Seminary as associate professor of pastoral care and missional leadership in 2013. Her primary responsibilities are to help students form pastoral identities for the nurturing of congregations and for the cultivation of congregational action in the world. She served as a parish pastor in Minnesota for 25 years.

            Bishop Jim Mauney said the Assembly will be "looking at our church's zip code and demographics" at workshops. A networking period for voting members is scheduled for Friday night on the college's back quadrangle, weather permitting.        

            Elections are scheduled for the offices of vice president and secretary. Retired Judge Charles Poston of First Lutheran Norfolk, is retiring after two terms as vice president and Janet Gomez of Living Water, Kilmarnock, also is stepping down after two terms as secretary.  Nominations for these offices will come from Synod Council and from the floor of the Assembly. Elections also will be held for four seats on Synod Council and for eight voting members to the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

            The usual festive service at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke will be held on Saturday night.


Blanch Heston, 99+, models at Brandon Oaks

Heston modeling at Brandon Oaks.


 Blanche Heston, an almost-100-year-old resident of Brandon Oaks, Roanoke, was a model for the annual Spring Fashion Show of the Brandon Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Auxiliary on March 11. She passed the century mark a week later.

            When Heston was asked how she felt about reaching 100, she said, "It's been a spiritual journey but I feel like I did when I was 35." She credits her graceful aging to "staying active, volunteering as much as possible, having a good attitude and not worrying about things."

            Proceeds from the Fashion Show and luncheon benefit the Auxiliary, a volunteer group whose main objective is to improve the comfort and quality of life for the residents of the Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Wanda Miller, auxiliary president, said Belk at Valley View provided fashions

            Also, Col. Maury Hundley, a former military chaplain who lives at Brandon Oaks, 

was awarded the French Legion of Honor, class of Chevalier. His son accepted the award in a ceremony at the French Embassy in Washington on March 5.

            Hundley, an Army chaplain, was recommended for the award for his service and "as a sign of France's gratitude for his personal contribution to the liberation of France during World War II," according to a letter from the French consul general. As a chaplain wearing a white cross on his helmet, he was the target of two shots by a German sniper. The sniper missed him. In  his 30-year Army career Hundley served in Europe, Japan and Korea.

Confirmation camp moved a week later


           The dates for the annual Confirmation Camp at Caroline Furnace have been moved from June 14-19 to a week later, June 21-26, because some school systems have extended their session since snow days were taken during the recent severe winter weather. 

            For questions about the camp, contact Pastor David Young at Bethel, Winchester, 540-662-3245 or, or the camp.


Faith in Action starts in Harrisonburg


            Three Harrisonburg area Lutheran congregations are among more than 20 who are considering participation in Faith in Action, a faith-inspired, congregation-based community organizing group working on local justice issues.

            Muhlenberg, St. Jacob's Spaders and Trinity are among those in discernment about becoming Covenant Congregations. They initially intend to focus on Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County but more localities may be included in the future, said Pastor Evan Davis of St. Jacob's Spaders and Trinity and one of the clergy organizers.

            Retired Pastor Dennis Jacobsen in Milwaukee and Angela James, lead organizer for Empower Hampton Roads, spoke to more than 60 leaders from 24 Harrisonburg area congregations at a training event March 7.  Jacobsen was one of the founders of MICAH (Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope) and he has been a leader of the clergy caucus of Gamaliel, one of four national community organizing networks. Empower Hampton Roads is a Gamaliel affiliate. "We all were blessed by their (Jacobsen's and Davis's) decades of experience," Davis said.

            This work is often very new for people not used to their congregation being involved in local issues, Davis explained. It is a process of listening to congregation and community leaders for underlying justice concerns in their area.

            Examples of issues are affordable housing, minority job training and hiring, access to public transit, mental health services and the criminal justice system.

            In Faith in Action, several major issues are identified through the listening process every year and every congregation votes on one issue to research and hopefully address. A research team then works with local political, business and institutional leaders to find a way to solve that problem. Over 1,000  people of faith and public officials involved are invited to an annual action assembly. They commit publicly to a plan of action already negotiated, Davis said.

            A commitment event for congregations ready to join Faith inaction will be held Tuesday, May 19, at Muhlenberg. Other congregations will still be in discernment. A public kickoff event to formally begin work with a listening campaign is expected to be held in September.

            The exact process for Faith in Action is under development, Davis said, but more information will be posted on a website Similar Virginia organizations are IMPACT of Charlottesville, supported by Peace and St. Mark Lutheran, RISC of Richmond and Empower Hampton Roads.  




Pastor Conrad Christianson dies at 79

           The Rev. Conrad J. Christianson Jr., pastor emeritus of Bethel, Winchester, died Feb. 27 in Winchester. He was 79.

            A native of Stoughton, Wis., he graduated from the University of Illinois and Gettysburg Seminary with a doctorate in ministry. He attended a German school and served in the Army in Germany. He was ecumenical officer of the Synod for many years and he was a founder of Shenandoah Fellowship Foundations and CCAP (Community Congregations Assistance Program) in Winchester.

            Christianson is survived by his wife, Katrin M.Christianson; a daughter, Katrin Christianson, a grandson, a sister and brother. A memorial service was held at Bethel on March 21. 

Pastor Dorothy Nimal died in January

Pastor Dorothy M. Nimal, 65, retired from St.Luke, Richmond, and St. Paul, Shenandoah, died Jan. 27. She was a native of Long Island, N.Y.

A graduate of New York Institute of Technology, she held a master's degree in industrial psychology and a doctorate in organizational psychology. She worked in supervisory and management posts in training development for the federal government for 20 years. She operated a consulting business and taught psychology at two North Carolina colleges before she studied clinical pastoral education at Duke University and began a second career when she graduated from Southern Seminary in 2000.

            Her husband, Carlton Nimal, died in 1994. The funeral was held at St. Luke, Richmond, on Jan. 29. Burial was in New Bern, N.C. 


Pastor Russell Siler dies

           Pastor Russell O. Siler, former director of the Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs in Washington, an attorney and a pastor, died Dec. 26 at his home in Weems, Lancaster County. He was 72.

            Siler, a native of Martinsburg, W. Va., graduated from the University of Richmond, Gettysburg Seminary and Antioch School of Law. He served Our Saviour, Warrenton, and Emmanuel, Virginia Beach, and as interim pastor at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem. He was appointed as attorney for the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and District Court in Virginia Beach. 

            Surviving are his wife, Anne Blitch Siler; a daughter, Elizabeth Anne Siler; a son, James Russell Siler, a grandson and a sister. The funeral was at Bethel, Winchester, on Dec. 30 and burial was in Martinsburg, W. Va.


Highlands singers join handbell ringers


           Four groups of handbell ringers from Redemer, Bristol; Ebenezer, Marion; Grace, Rural Retreat, and Holy Trinity, Wytheville, joined in a Highlands Conference annual Handbell Festival at Holy Trinity Feb. 8. Voices were added this year. The Hallelujah Chorus with handbells, organ and voices, joined by the congregation of 160, was the final number. More than $800 was collected for ELCA World Hunger.


Hit a home run for Lutheran Family Services


           Lutheran Family Services has planned three baseball events to support more abundant lives for the people served. In addition to individual tickets, Meal vouchers and tickets may be purchased for students or people with disabilities. Last year, LFS held its first Pack the Park event at Salem Memorial Stadium to raise money to fund iPads for students at Minnick schools.

            The season starts April 25 with Let's Go Nutz for LFSVA at the Richmond Diamond. Ticket proceeds will be used for foster care and adoption. Email for tickets.

            On April 30, at Rutherfoord Pack the Park Day at Salem Memorial Stadium, proceeds will pay for new playground equipment at the Roanoke Minnick School. Email for tickets.

            On May 12, at Cats for a Cause Night at Calvin Falwell Stadium in Lynchburg, ticket proceeds will support LFSVA services for adults with disabilities. Email for tickets.

            Learn more about programs at LFSVA Lunch and Learns. Coming events will be at the LFSVA Wytheville Minnick School April 15, noon to 1 p.m. and at the LFSVA Bedford office on May 5, from noon to 1 p.m. For more information and to RSVP, contact Leah Hatcher at or call 540-562-8486. To volunteer, contact Mary Lou Blevins at or call 540-562-8487.  


Interfaith speakers agree to worship God


Speakers in an Interfaith Dialogue at Martinsville agreed that Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God. Pastor Lynn Bechdolt of Holy Trinity Lutheran said that from earlier sessions of the interfaith panel, she has found that "mainly God, as we understand him, has been enlightened and expanded within each of us." The dialogue began in 2007.

            Bechdolt said she entered the first session with the feeling that she had to defend Christianity but she came to realize that the experience showed her that all three religions were alike "They all worshiped God. What united us was love for God and neighbor and that's what the three faiths practice in our hearts."

            The three major faiths are of the Abrahamic faith, said Imam James Shabazz of the Martinsville Islamic Center, because "all of us have Abraham as our patriarch and Abraham believed in one God." He said a Muslim, who practices the Islamic faith, "is one who submits to the will of God, who follows the book of God, which we believe is the last revelation from God to humanity," the Quran. Shabazz said the precepts of the religion come through Muhammad, "the recipient of the revelation, the man whom God chose to be the last prophet.

            Martha Woody, "a wanna-be Jewish scholar," said Judaism is a religion of "ethical monotheism..Jews believe in one God and that they should "help bring about healing through moral and ethical ways." Two main goals of Judaism are "love God with all of your being and love your neighbor as yourself."

             Rev. David Adkins, a retired Baptist minister, spoke of four ways to have an interfaith dialogue:  Through the way we live our lives; through action by collaborating for justice; through theological exchange allowing people to appreciate each other's values and through a dialogue of religious experiences. To learn about another religion, Adkins said, people should ask adherents, not critics of that religion.

            "If we want to ask a question about what divides us, we'll get there real fast," Bechdolt said. "What unites us is going to make this place a better place to live." The audience broke out in applause. 

Churches can help special needs families

LFS logo new  

            Lutheran Family Services was a sponsor of two March workshops at Roanoke County and Virginia Beach, centered on ministry to people with disabilities. The theme of the Roanoke meeting at Bonsack Baptist Church was "The Inclusive Church; Valuing Everyone in our Community." At Lynnhaven United Methodist Church, the theme was "That All May Worship, 2015, Embracing Inclusion."

            "The positive message for our Virginia Synod congregations is the opportunity to welcome individuals with disabilities and their families to church," said Julie Swanson, CEO of Lutheran Family Services. LFS "serves so many children and adults with disabilities, we are excited to promote, encourage and help congregations develop ministries and other ways to welcome and serve," she added.

            The church in general "needs to be empowered to reach out to these individuals and their families," said Ann Green, a leader in this effort at the Bonsack church. They are unchurched and they feel there is no place in the church for them, she said. The people with disabilities have "special needs and a special place in God's heart."

             Green said there are a number of ways for people to be involved with these needs. At her church, an adult Sunday School class meets a small group of intellectually disabled people at a group home. Members of middle school and youth classes are paired with others with special needs. Others provide respite care. Parents drop off children with special needs for care at the church.

            At the Roanoke workshop, sessions were held on caregiving, music therapy, bullying, inclusive classrooms, legislation important for special needs families, life with an autistic child, childhood anxiety disorders, transition from childhood to teenhood and volunteer training. Keynote speakers were Garrett Brumfield, who started a motivational movement although he has cerebral palsy, and Jackie Mills Fernald, who started an organization to help families and individuals impacted by disabilties.

            Green's family began this ministry through care of her husband's brother. Her children help too.  She said another workshop probably will be held next year. 

Challenges of restoring Muhlenberg robe

muhlenberg robe knicely
Muhlenberg robe.


            At Philadelphia Seminary, textile conservator Nancy Love talked about the challenges of restoring the robe worn by John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg when he preached at Emmanuel, Woodstock, in the 1770s. Virginia Lutherans raised

more than $7,000 for the restoration and the robe was displayed at a Muhlenberg Legacy celebration at Woodstock in August, 2012. The robe was given to the seminary by the Henkel family in 1910.

Love, who operates the Philadelphia Textile and Object Conservation Co., said the robe, made of wool and silk, is "a truly unique object in that so many people care about. It is very fragile...It is a miracle that it is here. I have decided that in some ways doing less may be the right approach to preserving it." Some early attempts to mend the robe have shattered some of the original fabric.

She has delicately tried to undo some of the repairs and overlaid a very fine netting to hold it together in places. A lining once introduced to hold together the fabric of the robe has done much to preserve the garment.

Love said she has spent about 40 hours on the robe preservation project. When she has completed her work, the robe will be sent to the Smithsonian Institution in

Washington as part of a display giving tribute to early American German immigrants, starting next year.

            Legend holds that Muhlenberg gave a famous sermon, saying that there is a time for peace and a time for war and this was a time to fight so he left the Woodstock church and led a German regiment in the Revolution.

            Eight Muhlenberg Legacy Congregations---where he served in Virginia---celebrated his service three years ago and led the effort to collect funds for the robe restoration. Peter Muhlenberg was the son of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, patriarch of American Lutherans.

Palestinian Lutheran works for Peace Month

Students Leah Weinstein (from left),  Mathilda Nasser and Shaina Lidd met in Jerusalm.


Mathilda Nassar, a Roanoke College senior from Christ the King, Richmond, studied in her native Palestine during the March spring break and came back to the campus to help lead the college's first Israel-Palestine Peace Month,

An international relations major, she spent 10 days conducting interviews with high-level Israeli and Palestine offices as research for her honors thesis, according to The Roanoke Times. In Jerusalem, she met two other international relations majors from Roanoke---Shaina Lidd, a senior, and freshman Leah Weinstein, who were doing volunteer work for the Jewish National Fund in Israel. Although they are on opposite sides, they are used to talking about the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians, a Times article said.

Nasser, who came to Richmond with her family in 2003, was in charge of planning a peace month at the college. After planning for a week of events, her committee found so many speakers that the observance was extended to a month.

Among the speakers scheduled for the month:

     Shloma Brom, former Israeli Defense Forces brigadier general, March 25

     Lara Friedman, Americans for Peace Now, April 1

     Maaaen Rashid,Areikat, Palestinian ambassador to the U.S., April 8

     Doud Nassar, Tent of Nation, April 16

     Peace Rally, April 18

            Lidd, who comes from an Isareli background, and Nassar once disliked each other but after they expressed their opinions in class they could get along with different views. When they became friends they are seeking an intellectual discussion of peace-making, according to the newspaper.

After Nassar graduates, she plans to return to Palestine and work on her family's farm devoted to non-violent resistance and self-sustainability.

Sharing faith in the Southern Conference


           On a windy afternoon in mid-March, about 30 Southern Conference pastors and lay members shared faith stories about Jesus in their lives through music, scripture, prayer, vocation and in the world during a gathering at Trinity, Roanoke.

            Bishop Jim Mauney said the goal was to keep members of the church, older folks and youth, connected with each other. "Each of us has places where Jesus has shown up in our lives." Pastor Dave Delaney, assistant to the bishop and synodical director for youth and young adults, talked about "finding your voice in song, praise and thanksgiving" as he led hymn-singing with his guitar.

            In prayer, Mauney said, "we have a chance to name Jesus all day long." Prayer times can start by becoming aware of God's presence early in the day, continuing with gratitude at meals, at the close of the day and reviewing tomorrow.  Ellen Hinlicky, director of Lutheran Partners in Mission, said "as Christians, our calling is valuable to our life...all vocation is God-given."  As a fund-raiser for the church, she said, "I give other people the opportunity to be generous."  In small groups, everyone recalled stories about faith-related incidents in their lives.

            In a devotion closing the gathering, the bishop said, "Jesus comes to us in the midst of our lives.,,I want to use my voice...I'm not ashamed of the one who sent me..He's not ashamed of us...Do not be timid about your faith."  

Toddler Theology for little folks


           "Hi! My name is Jesus. I live in heaven with my Father. His name is God."

            That's the first line of Toddler Theology Childlike Faith for Everyone, a small, well-illustrated book written by Cathy Dudley of St. Philip, Roanoke. A retired physical

therapist, she is the daughter of Mary Dress, who lives at Brandon Oaks, and the late Paul Dress of Trinity, Roanoke.

            Dudley said she uses "childlike concepts and colorful illustrations to explain who Jesus is and much more." The book was written for her six grandchildren and dedicated

to all parents and grandparents. Many of the phrases and ideas came to her after prayer, she said.

            When she was looking for books to help teach children the Gospel and explain the Trinity to them she couldn't find what she wanted so she wrote Toddler Theology. Illustrations are by Matt Ramsey, her son-in-law. The book was published by AuthorHouse.

            Cathy Dudley and her husband, Gary, live near Fincastle.

Mark Radecke to present Passion Narrative



         Retired Pastor/University Chaplain Mark Radecke will give a dramatic presentation of the St. Mark's Passion Narrative at Zion, Waynesboro, on Good Friday evening, April 3, at 7 p.m. The intent is for worshipers to contemplate Jesus' final days by "hearing the story again for the first time."  

            Radecke, former pastor of Christ, Roanoke, from1978 to 1996, moved to Susquehanna University where he served as chaplain from 1997 until his retirement two years ago. He has been consulting in service learning and leading mission trips to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Belize. He lives at Waynesboro and his wife, Tami, is vice president of fund development at Augusta Health in Fishersville. 

Women celebrated in Winchester

Women of St. John's

Women of St. John's, Winchester, celebrated Women's History Month by fulfilling every role in the church on the third Sunday in March. Pastor Sonia Williams-Giersch stands with the women in this photo.

            They dedicated their service in His name with a theme:

            "In grandma's church, there were but a few positions open to women in her day. But in her granddaughter's church, every role is open to every women and thus in today's church, 'a woman's place is every place.' Let us therefore remember all women, who by the sharing of their light have gifted the women of today with more than just names and dates to celebrate but with a far greater legacy---opportunity!"         





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