Virginia Synod Logo New


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

Congress asked to renew

children's hunger programs   
            The Synod Childhood Hunger Task Group is asking Virginia Lutherans to urge their representatives and senators to support reauthorization of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which runs through Sept. 30. This act authorizes all federal child nutrition programs, including School Breakfast, National School Lunch, Child and Adult Care Food, Summer Food Service, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Programs and Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
            These programs provide funding to ensure that low-income children have access to healthy and nutritious foods. Reauthorization provides an opportunity to improve and strengthen these programs. Research has shown that these programs have the ability to improve educational achievement, economic security, nutrition and health.
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
Habitat-Thrivent 10-year partnership
Roanoke College rated high
Bishop Eaton's column
511 Roanoke College freshmen move in
People help hundreds in Harrisonburg
Reporting from Caroline Furnace Camp
Polls: Clinton leads
African-American history tour
Kleinhaus to lead ACTS
LPM courses
Lutherans in the news
Joe Ben Hoyle of Christ the King, Richmond, an associate professor of accounting at the University of Richmond, received the Innovation in Accounting Award of the American Accounting Association. He has been recognized as Virginia College Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching and as one of the top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting.
            Pastors Paul and Lauren Carlson, First Lutheran, Norfolk, have accepted a call to serve as co-pastors of Calvary Lutheran, Morganton, N.C.
            A housewarming shower was held at Redeemer, Bristol, for Pastor Austin and Tanya Propst before he begins service in September. Propst formerly was a country coordinator in Madagascar for the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission Program. A graduate of Appalachian State University and Wartburg Seminary, he also was assistant program director at Lutheridge Conference Center.
            The Synod Candidacy Committee has approved seminarian Anna Havron, Bethel, Winchester, for ordination, pending completion of work at Gettysburg Seminary and acceptance of a call. She is scheduled to graduate from seminary in December. The committee also granted Kayla Edmonds, St. Paul, Rural Retreat, entrance into candidacy. A recent graduate of Roanoke College, she is attending Gettysburg Seminary.
Dr. Clay Schmit, provost of Southern Seminary, will be the guest preacher for a Reformation service at Christ, Fredericksburg, on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 25. Four other congregations-Resurrection, Fredericksburg; St. Peter's, Stafford; Our Saviour, Warrenton, and St. Luke, Culpeper---are joining in this annual event. A joint choir from all of the churches will provide music.
St. Michael, Blacksburg, is planning to start an Early Childhood Head Start program in partnership with Total Action for Progress (TAP), in Roanoke. The program is expected to serve children from six weeks to three years old in families below the poverty line. Pastor John Wertz said the goal is to address root causes of poverty by allowing parents to work or go to school and by providing early intervention and educational services to children who are at risk In July, the congregation's Micah's Garden produced over 400 pounds of green beans, lettuce, kale, squash, tomatoes and zucchini shared with neighbors.
            Tidewater Lutherans will be participating in an Out of the Darkness Walk on Saturday, Sept. 12 to promote good mental health and raise awareness of the treatable disease of depression and prevent the tragedy of suicide. The walk will start at 8:30 a.m. at Mount Trashmore, Virginia Beach. This walk, coinciding with the ELCA Day of Service: God's Work, Our Hands, will be the 10th annual event.
            Pastor Tim Waltonen has been named interim pastor at Resurrection, Fredericksburg, following the retirement of co-Pastors Jim and Carol Kniseley. A  
science camp for children aged 8-14 was held at Resurrection Aug. 10-14. The camp offered hands-on experiments in DNA, chemical analysis, crime scene investigation and physics. The congregation's summer Faith in Action project was providing school supplies and health snacks for Chancellor Elementary School and Minnick Schools of Lutheran Family Services. Resurrection members plan to join a Walk to End Alzheimer's Disease in Fredericksburg on Saturday, Sept. 26.
The congregation of St. Mark, Yorktown, is working to provide food for children and salaries of workers at the Refugio de Los Suenos, a school in Quito, Ecuador, after the government stopped furnishing funds. Other similar centers are closing but through St. Mark's support of a Adopt-A-Child and Special Needs ministry and a new partnership with a Lutheran church in Quito, this one is remaining open. For years, St. Mark members have provided support ensuring that this center would be a place where children would be safe, receive a meal, go to school and "above all, be loved."
            In a Summer of Service program at Muhlenberg, Harisonburg, the Women of the ELCA are planning a day of service on Saturday, Sept. 5, at New Creation, a Harrisonburg shop raising awareness of human trafficking. The shop supports rescue and restoration around the world and prevention and education in the local community by offering items from nine organizations, handmade by survivors and designed for justice. The service project will be shopping at the store.
            The congregation of St.Peter's, Stafford, is planning its seventh annual camping trip at Prince William Forest Park on Sept.25-27. Features will be a weekend of fun, fellowship, softball, nature walk, bike ride and an outdoor service followed by a dinner and bonfire Saturday night, "a time to unplug and connect."
An arts and crafts festival is planned for Oct. 30, followed by a talent show on Oct. 31 at St. Luke, Richmond. During its vacation Bible School, St. Luke joined Manakin Episcopal Church in a program about clean water systems.
Trinity, Pulaski, planned to join Lewis-Gale-Pulaski Hospital to help support patients in their end-of-life journey as well as family members by contributing such faith-related items as hand-size crosses, prayer journals and prayer shawls.
While Sunday School was suspended during the summer at St. Paul, Strasburg, a 30-day devotional booklet, "Our Daily Bread for Kids---Meaningful Moments with God" was offered for parents.
Habitat-Thrivent 10-year partnership celebrated
Crowd celebrates 10 years
of Habitat-Thrivent partnership

            Roanoke Valley Lutherans celebrated completion of 10 Habitat houses in the last 10 years through partnership with Thrivent Financial at an event in the Mountain View neighborhood of Southwest Roanoke on Aug. 15. The program puts "faith in action," said Pastor Ken Lane of Trinity Lutheran, one of 10 participating congregations.
            The celebration drew more than 120 Habitat friends to the new home of the family of Dilli and Leela Maya Kadariya, who with their two sons and a daughter had lived in a refugee camp in Bhutan for 20 years before they came to the United States.
            During the last decade, Thrivent has contributed $706,000 to build 10 Roanoke houses. Roanoke is one of only three locations in the nation which have received 10 consecutive Thrivent building projects with Habitat. Stephanie Leiser of Thrivent said this has been possible because of the volunteers and the congregations which support the program. She expressed thanks to the workers and Habitat for "their hard work and dedication to the Thrivent Builds program."
            Of the 3,000 volunteer hours worked on the latest Habitat home, Leiser said over half were by Thrivent members. More than 20,000 hours of construction time have gone into the 10 homes in the last decade. Working together, Habitat and Thrivent "are laying the foundation for this family's future," she said. Since 2005, more than 4,200 homes in the nation and the world have been built by this partnership.
            Jim McCarthy, volunteer coordinator, thanked "a lot of people who have done a lot of work" in the 10 years. He recalled four Habitat houses were built in the Roanoke Valley through support of the former Aid Association for Lutherans and Lutheran Brotherhood, before they merged to form Thrivent Financial. McCarthy credited the members of 10 congregations---College, Glade Creek, Good Shepherd, St.John, St. Mark's, St. Philip, St. Timothy, Trinity, Christ and Wheatland Lutheran---for providing food for the construction workers on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
            Pastor Lane recalled that the first Habitat houses in Roanoke were built through the efforts of Lutheran Cooperative Ministries (LuCoM), led by the late Tony Clifford and Dick Toggweiler. Pastor David Skole of Christ, Roanoke, led the celebration crowd of adults and children in singing, "This is the way we build our house."

Roanoke College rated high for fifth time
           Roanoke College has been named one of the top colleges in the nation for the fifth consecutive year and the annual Lutheran Student Visit Day has been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lutheran high school students will meet students, hear about campus life and learn about admissions and financial aid. To register online, go to
The Princeton Review said Roanoke is one of 380 colleges and universities listed in the 2016 edition of the annual Best College guidebook. The Princeton Review survey found that students say Roanoke has great career services, great library and happy students. The college also was named a great school for students who major in business/finance, computer science and psychology.
            College President Michael Maxey said he is "excited that the voices of students at Roanoke praise our balance of comfort and challenge.

If God is enough   
     by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton 
We can be free from attachments
to our plans, self-will, success. 
          From time to time I am invited to celebrate congregational anniversaries. It's wonderful to see the church in action and to meet members from all across the country.
            It is also interesting to see the variety of sizes and architectural styles our buildings come in. Looking at building additions in churches is like studying growth rings in a tree-one can see the periods of rapid growth and contraction. Often the first unit was built one or two centuries ago, the expansion of the sanctuary constructed when the original one was outgrown, and the education wing added in the late 1950s or '60s. I have seen dozens of churches like this and recall that my last parish had a similar growth pattern.
           Very often, however, the membership of these congregations has shrunk. A sanctuary built to seat 400 now only sees 50 on a Sunday. Sunday school rooms and gymnasiums that rang with the sound of children are now empty or, in more enterprising congregations, are rented out to community groups and social service organizations.
            In these congregations the anniversary celebration is bittersweet-for one glorious Sunday the sanctuary is filled with current and former members and their children and grandchildren, stories of the congregation's heyday are shared, there is energy and enthusiasm and then everyone goes home. Next Sunday the 50 hearty souls who are the remnant will gather in a now more obviously empty sanctuary.
            There is the sound of lament in many parts of our church. Populations have shifted and people have drifted away. Attitudes about religion have changed and the status of the church in our culture has diminished. This makes us anxious and, in some cases, desperate. How do we stop the decline? Where is the next generation? What happened? What does this all mean?
            I have a theory. We are experiencing God's judgment. Oh, not in a fire-and-brimstone-plague-of-locusts kind of way, but in the tenacious, fearsome, loving claim that God has on all of us. The church does not belong to us. The church is not a vehicle for our convenience, status, success or even comfort. The church is the living body of Christ, breathed by the Spirit and called into deep communion with God. Everything else is at best supplementary and at worst a distraction.
            God might be calling God's people to examine what has a claim on our attention. Where is our energy being drawn?
            If the answer to our desperate questions is anything else than to the intimate and complete love of God shown in the crucified and risen Christ, then we are being drawn away from the source of our life as a people and as a church.
            There was a provocative article in the December 2012 Christian Century magazine about the "dark night of the church." In it the authors suggest that what I am calling a time of judgment is actually God at work freeing us from attachments to our plans, our self-will, our success.
            The authors asked: "What is the church relearning about itself in its dark night? The church is relearning that its essence lies not in its programs and accomplishments, its activities and accolades, but in the truth that 'she on earth hath union with God the Three in One' and that God is enough. Coming to this knowledge means being weaned from the glamorous results-oriented American culture of production, measurement and unlimited growth."
            So, dear church, is God enough? If not, then we are consigned to an endless, exhausting and empty quest for meaning, relevance and purpose. If God is enough, then we have everything we need. If God is enough we are free to love in return and give our lives away for the sake of the gospel and in service to the neighbor. If God is enough we can unclench our hands and our lives. If God is enough we can even let go of the church knowing that it is Christ's church and not ours.
            And, if it is God's will that there will be an ELCA witness to the gospel, there is no force on earth, not even our own, that can stop it. 
A monthly message from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This article first appeared in The Lutheran's September 2015 issue. Reprinted with permission.
511 Roanoke College freshmen move in 
Saturday, Aug.29, was move-in day for approximately 511 new Roanoke College students who come from 38 states and 28 countries.   Their first task is to sign their names in a record book and receive an official welcome from College President Mike Maxey.
  During their first orientation evening, the freshmen will hear from Sean Burch, a Roanoke graduate in 1992 who holds seven world records, is an extreme hiker and winner of Ultimate Survival Alaska on National Geographic Channel last year.
  On Sunday, the new students will begin work on an annual tradition, working on an R House, a Habitat project. They will work in shifts from Sunday through Tuesday and then Habitat crews will move the building to a permanent location in Northwest Roanoke. This will be Habitat's 200th house in Roanoke Valley.
    Sunday night, the new students will have a night in downtown Roanoke where they will be able to use $5 tokens at local restaurants. On Monday, they will take a "pledge of allegiance to integrity...a way of life that embodies Roanoke's four pillars---"academic excellence, commitment to community, service to others and a life of personal distinction."        
              The new students will receive a special Challenge coin, embossed with the college seal, from President Maxey. Food and music will follow on the back Quad. Classes will start Wednesday, Sept. 2.
People help hundreds of Harrisonburg area people 

Last year, 2,242 clients received financial assistance for electricity or water bills, medicine, bus tickets or other needs from People Helping People, a long-time cooperative ministry supported by 56 churches in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Started in1992, the ministry is located in a Muhlenberg Lutheran building.
Leeanne K. Shepherd, the director, and 15 volunteers are helping about 15 clients a day. The volunteers are trained to interview clients, assess thei needs and help them obtain the necessary assistance. Shepherd said the average number of people seeking help is about the same as last year.
The ministry, described as "for God's people by God's people," helps those in an emergency crisis with resources and guidance. If Shepherd and the volunteers cannot meet the needs of clients they refer them to other agencies.
Since the staff is volunteer, for each dollar contributed to People Helping People, 95 cents goes directly to client assistance. Clients have basic needs for medicine, work shoes, birth certificates, IDs, food for diabetes and children. Financial aid is determined on a per-household basis. The ministry is open from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Monday to Thursday.
Clients submitted these requests for prayer, placed in a jar in the People Helping People office:
A friend in need of a liver transplant
Prayer for peace of mind, help with rent, food, car, to make ends meet
Life, a job in my field, peace, discipline
To get well soon and live a happy life again
Make enough money to feed and take care of my family
That my children are safe and in good health in West Virginia
For my financial situation, for guidance for me and my household and to find
     my faith in God
To make the right decisions
That my calico cat will come home
Please help D find a job

Reporting from Caroline Furnace Camp
     by Bryan Jaster, Dir. of Youth and Family Formation, Bethel, Winchester 
               I'm writing this from Camp Caroline Furnace (an hour south of Winchester) where I'm spending the week as the camp chaplain August 2-7th with 10 kids from Bethel and about 55 from other places. This means I get the funderful honor of leading the morning and night worship, singing loudly, hiking with cabins on Bible study adventures, cooking outside, talking with the camp staff about "what happens after camp," canoeing, crazy games covered in paint, and tender times with kids who really miss home. I love camp.
            However, a few years back camp absolutely ruined my plans and caused me to lose my life. When I was in college I worked for three summers as a counselor at El Camino Pines in the Los Padres National Forest in California. I arrived at camp with specific life plans, quiet, thinking faith was sorta "meh" and looking around at the camp staff thinking they were totally nuts and why was I here?   I left camp with all my plans in shambles but bursting with song of the Spirit having been turned inside out through the lives of hundreds of kids, the living voice of scripture infused in my soul and the wonders of God's magnificent grace day after hot summer's day. Those who lose their lives, will find it.
             Now, here I sit after having light saber fights with kids wielding huge logs and candle light holy time at night with the whole camp singing songs with prayers surrounding us. Camp is so renewing, no matter what our age, because it is such a change from our ordinary lives. At camp I get dirtier than I do in my daily life, I laugh more than I do in my daily life, I spend more time outside in the sun, and what I've noticed most this week is that I sing more at camp than I ever do in my daily life, even more than I do at church. We must lose our lives to find them.

           Tonight at evening prayer I also realized I was praying more than I do most evenings. The last song we sang was in the form of a prayer to God: "Father... I adore you... and I lay my life before you...... how I love you!" I entered deeply into that prayer and felt awash with God's peace. We at Bethel are so very blessed by our budding relationship with camp through confirmation camp, road trips on Saturdays and now Bethel's "week at camp."  (Mark your calendars for kids kindergarten through high school seniors for next summer: July 31-August 5th)

             The relationship between congregations and camps is crucial. I see Caroline Furnace and other Lutheran camps and retreat centers as vital extensions of our congregation's ministry. A week, or even a few days, at camp (or with camp programs in our congregation) can create in our lives a deeper praise and worship of God, an increased desire to read scripture and pray, and joy that comes from singing and being silly. If you don't have camping aged kids, I hope that you find a way to experience camp next summer. Check out the Caroline Furnace website ( for remaining summer camps and opportunities to volunteer, such as Fall Volunteer Event on September 11-13th. May you also experience the happiness and joy that losing your life and finding it that camp gives.

Polls: Clinton leads, economy strong   

            Virginia consumer sentiment remained strong at mid-August, likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton led Republican challenger Donald Trump and a plurality believe abortion should be legal in some circumstances, according to two polls conducted by the Roanoke College Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. Interviews of 608 people were conducted.
            The Virginia Index of Consumer Sentiment was 90.4, tying a record level in February. The interviews were made before the recent Wall Street downturn. Rising income was the primary cause of optimism. Short-term inflation expectation was down to 2.2 percent, lowest figure since November 2012.                            
            About one-third said their personal finances are better than a year ago. Virginians were slightly more optimistic about the future of the overall economy than the nation as a whole. Nearly two-thirds said the country has gotten off on the wrong track while 29 percent said things are generally going in the right direction.
            A poll found that Clinton led Trump 45 percent to 12 percent but she was in a virtual tie with candidates Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. A year ago, Clinton led three of the rivals by larger margins.
            The poll found that opinion about the legality of abortion was virtually unchanged from two years ago, suggesting that the Planned Parenthood videos have had little or no effect on overall opinion. A favorable view of Planned Parenthood was reported by 41 percent and 30 percent had an unfavorable view.
            About 42 percent saw the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride while 31 percent said it was racist. A slight majority of 53 percent oppose removing the flag from license plates, as ordered by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. A strong majority of 86 percent oppose removing statues commemorating Civil War soldiers.                          
African-American history tour in Portsmouth 

 About 25 people from the Peninsula and Tidewater conferences learned about the history of African-American Civil Rights in Portsmouth with tours of the Portsmouth Colored Library Museum and Emanuel AME Church. The tours were organized by Fran Olson of St. Andrew Lutheran as a way to foster conversations about race relations in the nation and what God might be calling his people as the church.
   At the library, opened in 1937, participants learned that it was as reality of segregation
History of Portsmouth Colored Library is described. 
yet a source of pride for the African-American community. A forum was led by Sarah Brady, assistant professor at Hampton University, who is studying civil rights history and leading efforts to create a curriculum to teach contemporary civil rights history to young and old. For more information on her work, click here.
   At Emanuel, participants learned about a church which was part of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. The church, built in 1857, was a staging ground and safe haven for African-American slaves fleeing from southern masters for freedom in the North. Emanuel was established as a Methodist church for freed slaves in Portsmouth.
   After the tours, the group met at the home of Fran Olson for conversation and a lunch, sponsored by Thrivent Financial. 

NLCS Launches Home Care and Wellness Services
The Winchester business community officially welcomed myPotential at Home-A National Lutheran Service on Thursday, on August, 27, 2015  at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and launch party located in Winchester.
After a successful year-and-a-half of piloting in-home health, wellness and personal care services on the campus of The Village at Orchard Ridge-A National Lutheran Community, the organization is now launching those services into the greater Winchester community. 
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for myPotential
"This is an exciting time for myPotential at Home," said Administrator Denise Kozlowski. "After piloting and perfecting our services, we are now ready to offer those services to seniors and their families in Winchester City, as well as Clarke, Warren, and Frederick counties."
myPotential at Home is backed by faith-based, not-for-profit sponsor National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS). For NLCS, the expansion into home care and wellness is critical to providing seniors with enhanced independence in the comfort and privacy of their own home.
"With NLCS' 125 years of experience, coupled with a tremendously talented team at myPotential at Home, we can provide Winchester-area individuals with more options to remain independent in their home," NLCS President & CEO Larry Bradshaw said. "Our mission is to serve seniors, regardless of if they live in one of our retirement communities or not. myPotential at Home enables us to fulfill that mission, and help meet the growing needs of seniors throughout the Shenandoah Valley."

About myPotential at Home
myPotential at Home-A National Lutheran Service offers in-home health, wellness and personal care services to seniors and their families in the comfort and privacy of their own home. Serving Winchester City, Clarke, Warren and Frederick counties, myPotential at Home's desire is to preserve independence and help individuals reach their potential at any age and any stage. For more information, visit

About National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS)
Based in Rockville, Md., NLCS is a not-for-profit, faith-based ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) Delaware-Maryland, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and Virginia Synods, serving people of all beliefs. Celebrating 125 years, NLCS provides seniors with a variety of lifestyle, residential and health care options through retirement communities and services in Maryland and Virginia.
Other communities and services sponsored by National Lutheran include The Village at Rockville in Rockville, Md., The Legacy at North Augusta in Staunton, Va., The Village at Orchard Ridge and myPotential at Home in Winchester, Va., and The Village at Crystal Spring in Annapolis, Md., subject to Maryland Department of Aging approval. For more information, visit
Kleinhaus to lead ACTS discussion of confessions 

            Dr. Kathryn A. Kleinhaus of Wartburg College in Iowa will lead a discussion of "Lutheranism 101: the Lutheran Confessions then and now" for the fall ACTS course on Saturdays, Sept. 26 and Nov. 7, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The course will be live at Grace, Waynesboro, and simulcast by Skype at Our Saviour, Williamsburg, and Holy Trinity, Wytheville. Dates for small group discussions will be set by participants. The registration fee is $175. The required textbook for the course is "The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church."
            Kleinhaus holds the Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission at Wartburg, where she has taught since 1993. An ordained ELCA pastor, she is a graduate of Valpariso University and she holds a M.Div. degree from Christ Seminary-Seminex and a doctorate from Emory University. Her work focuses on the contemporary relevance of Martin Luther and Lutheran confessional theology.
LPM courses start in September   

            Fall courses of the Leadership Program for Musicians (LPM) are starting in September at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Richmond. The courses offered are liturgy and music, foundations for Christian worship, principles of choral leadership, teaching new music to the congregation and philosophy of church music. For more information, visit or call 804-883-7112.
Clarification: Recalling a Buck Moyer miracle 
A story in the August Virginia Lutheran about a narrow escape from a 1950 traffic mishap involving the late Bishop Buck Moyer was written by A.R. "Pete" Giesen of Grace, Waynesboro. His name was omitted.




Editor:  George Kegley   
Voice: 540-366-4607;  Email:
Post:  301 Tinker Creek Lane, NE, Roanoke, VA  24019

Deadline for submission of articles is the 15th of each month.
Articles received after the 15th will be published the following month. 

 Photographs must be separate from text and in .jpg or .png format only.


Any portion of this publication may be reprinted

for use in local church publications with appropriate credit.