JUNE 2016
                         The Virginia 
Bringing you news of the Virginia Synod since 1921.

26 baptized at three services
Those baptized at Bethel were Hannah Vallen, Jason and Leena Shirkey, Katie, Tyler and Mike Moton, Andrew, Bradley and Haley Shiley. 
Group baptisms were popular in the spring as 26 adults and children were baptized at three congregations--Bethel, Edinburg; Faith, Staunton, and St. Peter's, Churchville.
            Supply Pastor Karen Caspersen presided over the baptism of seven children and two adults at Bethel.
            Pastor Rod Ronneberg baptized nine at Faith and eight at St. Peter's. This followed a new Wednesday evening Eucharist for people who were unable to attend on Sunday morning.
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
Bishop Eaton's column
Assembly focus on worship
Lutheran Braaten looks back.
Christ, Roanoke, marks 100 years
Synod treasurer George Buchanan dies at 98
Men in Mission study parables
Smythe will retire from Power
"God's Grace" will be Power theme
Help requested for Puerto Rico
Hungry Mother offers programs for all
The Pannier People Ride Again!.
Trinity Ecumenical Parish feeds children
Volunteers from Ebenezer, Marion help medical event
Lutherans in the news
    Two new pastors are welcomed in the Synod.  Pastor Derek Boggs has accepted a call and is serving at Salem, Mt. Sidney. Boggs, the son of an Air Force chaplain, is a graduate of Appalachian State University and Gettysburg Seminary. He was superintendent of a North Carolina trout hatchery for 10 years. He previously served at, First Lutheran, Lexington, NC, and
Grace, Boone, NC. He and his wife, Meredith, have three sons, Seth, Zach and Jake.
Tim and Megan Crummitt 
          Tim Crummitt, a recent graduate of Southern Seminary, has accepted a call to St. Paul, Hampton, and he will be ordained on June 17, at 7 p.m. at his home congregation, First English, Wheeling, WV. He is a native of Martins Ferry, OH. Pastor Andrew Tucker, Christ, Radford, will participate in the service. Crummitt graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University. He interned at two Charlotte mission congregations. Megan, his wife, worked with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for a year.
            At St. Philip, Roanoke, Pastors David and Kelly Derrick are going to Great Britain and Germany on a three-month sabbatical with their three sons, Tyler, Drew and Reece.  The trip will be financed by a grant from the Lilly Foundation. During their absence, worship will be led by Chaplains Bob Ward and Kathlen Miko.
            In Richmond, the 50th anniversary of the ordination of retired Pastor Richard Ruff will be observed on Sunday, June 12 at First English.  Ruff has been active in Christian education, home-bound member visitation and supply preaching.
      Emily Pilat, a life-long member of Christ, Roanoke, has started as Synod communications director, following Kayla Fuller, who has taken a post at her home church. Pilat, a graduate of Mary Washington University with a major in creative writing and a minor in digital studies, said she learned "how to tell actual stories"  as non-fiction editor of a school arts and literary magazine. She has worked in photography for six years. She participated in Kairos, 7th Day and Lost and Found youth events. Her father, Bill Pilat, has coached lacrosse at Roanoke College for 28 years.
            Chi-Chi Ugochukwu, St. Mark's, Roanoke, was a distinguished scholar at the commencement of William Fleming High School in Roanoke. She will go to the College of William and Mary on scholarship.
            Reporting on a three-month sabbatical, Teresa Lehman, director of faith formation and youth ministries at Grace, Winchester, said she visited seven congregations, met with 19 pastors, did a week of service for a Lutheran Outdoor Ministries facility, traveled over 9,000 miles and "found some new ways to connect with children and their families outside of our walls."
            At St. Stephen, Williamsburg, three members were recognized for community service. Jim Ivey was commended for work at Olde Towne Medical Center as a patient, volunteer and board member; Reed Nester, planning director for Williamsburg, was cited for blending his work with his love of bicycling, and Stephanie Lee, a school social worker, was mentioned for her service with the homeless program in Williamsburg schools.
            At St. Mark, Yorktown, Sandy Hopkins, Jackie Jefferis, Steve Roe and Rob Zeigenfuss are visiting home-bound parishioners as lay Eucharistic ministers.
            About $12,000 has been raised toward a goal of $50,000 for purchase of mosquito nets for the malaria education program of Virginia's companion synod in Papua New Guinea. The PNG District is working on a plan to distribute the nets, according to Diane Giessler, who coordinates the Synod program, said Virginia Synod has paid school fees for all children of pastors, evangelists and seminarians in the district for 10 years.
            For a three-week Summer Institute in July, Roanoke  College is looking for rising high school juniors and seniors interested in an immersive college experience, being academically challenged while earning college credit and working toward a smooth transition into college. Courses will be offered in peer mentoring, athletic and social programming and developing time management. Students must be 15 or older to apply.
            At Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, an intergenerational program will be offered Sunday mornings at 9:30 all summer in learning about community needs, discussing how scripture and faith call for action and then do a big hands-on service project for one of nine organizations. As part of this program, six park picnics are planned on Mondays, providing a Bible story and lunch for area children at risk of being hungry. Also, a member of the Shenandoah Valley Biblical Storytellers Guild will present the book of Revelations on Friday, July 8, from 6:30 to 8:39 p.m.
            Pastor David Young, Bethel, Winchester, is starting BREAD Talks, a "testimonial ministry" modeled after TED Talks on National Public Radio and a podcast. People share a story, an insight, or a passion about something related to technology, entertainment or design (TED). The talks at Bethel will relate to Bible, religion, ethics and discipleship. A person will speak at summer midweek worship and they will be videotaped.
            First English, Richmond, has been asked to join a "Forty Dollars for Forty Years" campaign of the Stuart Circle Center Adult Day Services, which started 40 years ago in First English's Scherer Education Building. When the program outgrew the space at First English and another location it moved to 4900 West Marshall Street. Today, the program supports between 80 and 90 elderly people six days a week. Gifts for the program will provide scholarships for needy participants.
            More than 90 volunteers for a spring work weekend at Lutheran Camp Caroline Furnace demolished a kitchen for remodeling of the farm house, sanded and recovered furniture, placed a new floor in the shop and a new floating dock at the lake, painted the camp office, redesigned and cleared the Ridge Trail, wired the director's shed with electricity, cleaned out a culvert at the camp road and did spring cleaning and gardening. Volunteer chaplains, support staff and nurses are needed for the summer camp program.   
            A dedication of worship space, built by Eagle Scout Michael Habron, has been planned for Sunday, June 5, at Messiah, Mechanicsville.  
            On June 26, members of Trinity Ecumenical Parish, Moneta, will celebrate their 25th anniversary with a fellowship meal and tours of the ministries of the church---preschool, youth, Trinity Treasures, Trinity Trail, butterfly garden and learn about the columbarium.
            Deb Gordon, Trinity, Roanoke, has been promoted to vice president, mortgage loan officer at the Bank of Botetourt. Trinity is considering making a quilt to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation next year.
            Youth at St. Michael, Blacksburg, plan a mission trip work with other youth on improvements to Hungry Mother Lutheran Camp near Marion on June 16. Margaret Christle, St. Michael, was recognized as Montgomery County Teacher of the Year. She is a library media specialist at Auburn Middle School. Ben Crawford, St. Michael, was named a Leading Light for his volunteer leadership in several organizations.
            A member of Holy Trinity, Lynchburg, and a member of Agudath Sholom Synagogue made a challenge of matching dollar for dollar up to $5,000 for contributions to the Rivermont Area Emergency Food Pantry                 

From persecution to witness 
     by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton
Bishop Eaton
         For many months now people have been asking for some kind of statement about the persecution of Christians around the world. It seems to be a straight-forward issue. Christians are suffering in Iraq and Syria, in Nigeria and Egypt. Palestinian Christians encounter intense pressure. Christians in some parts of India are threatened. Some would even claim that U.S. Christians are under siege. Atrocities committed against Christians by the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al-Shabab and others are regularly in the news. We hear that more Christians have been martyred in recent years than in the first three centuries of the Christian movement.
            Each circumstance of violence against Christians is deeply painful. There are brothers and sisters around the world whose lives are part of the passion of Christ. People are targeted in some countries because they are Christians. But this is a complex issue. Are Christians suffering and dying as witnesses to the faith? Yes. But in many places interreligious conflict has been used as a calculated pretext for political gain. A narrative of religion vs. religion, or religion vs. society, is an effective way of generating support for one's cause. And, regrettably, suspicion and fear of the "other" leads to intolerance and discrimination.
            The persecution of Christians is not new. Martyrs have existed since the beginning of the church. Stephen was martyred with the consent of Paul, who was martyred by the Roman Empire. Paul quoted the psalms, writing: "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered" (Romans 8:36).
            Outrage is a natural reaction to beheadings and crucifixions. The instinct to strike back is understandable. Many Lutherans accept that in a broken world deadly force might be needed. Revenge, however, is not an option for a Christian.
            I pray that none of you ever suffers violence for the faith, but every generation has faced hostility. German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: "To endure the cross is not a tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ."
           "Martyr" is a Greek word that means "witness," "to give testimony." A witness can also be a symbol that testifies a promised action has been accomplished. When we speak about the persecution of Christians, the real question is: "What will be our witness?"
            Here is a story about how some Lutherans in Ethiopia answered that question. It happened in one of our companion synods. Some Muslims burned down a church, thinking they were attacking Roman Catholics. Instead, they burned down a Lutheran church by mistake. They were arrested and sent to jail. In that region it's the responsibility of families to take care of prisoners' hygiene and food. Instead, members of the Lutheran church asked authorities if they could dig the prisoners' latrines and feed them. That was their witness in the face of persecution.
            Christians aren't the only ones being targeted and persecuted. More Muslims have reportedly been killed by the Islamic State than any other group. Our witness must be as peacemakers and as defenders of religious minorities in our country and around the world. We must be the ones who speak out when entire religions are falsely characterized by the actions of extremists. We would not accept Christianity being defined by the Ku Klux Klan or the Christian Identity movement. We should not define entire communities by the distortion of
their religion.
            The cross is God's visual symbol that a promised action has been accomplished. It is God's stake in the sand. It is God's witness to the truth that "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:37-39). 

A monthly message from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her email address: bishop@elca.org. This article first appeared in Living Lutheran's June issue. Reprinted with permission.
Assembly will focus on worship 
          More than 400 voting members from 150 congregations will gather at Roanoke College on June 10-12 for the annual Synod Assembly, meeting under the theme, "Ambassadors for Christ: A Heart for Worship." At the same time, more than 60 young people will be meeting in the Youth Assembly.
            Four talks about worship will be given by the Rev. Kevin Strickland, director of worship formation and liturgical resources for the ELCA, who will be the keynote speaker and official ELCA representative.
            A highlight of the Assembly will be the ordination of Nathan Huffman at the annual Saturday night worship service at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke. Huffman, who has been called to serve as associate pastor at St. Michael, Virginia Beach, has been vicar at Our Saviour, Norge. In his varied career, Huffman has served as a Marine in Iraq and a Richmond policeman. A graduate of Gettysburg Seminary, he studied at Union Presbyterian Seminary and Medical College of Virginia. His wife is Christy Van O'Linda Huffman, diaconal minister at Epiphany, Richmond.
            Elections will be held for synod treasurer and for four seats on Synod Council, two lay female and two lay male. Synod Treasurer George "Skip" Zubrod has served two terms and is not eligible for re-election. 
            Three submitted resolutions call for prayer for the 2017 Assembly in discernment for election of a bishop, advocacy for Tapestry diversity in each conference of Synod and support for military personnel.
            A new ELCA initiative seeking future priorities and directions will be discussed Saturday afternoon. An informal networking session, sponsored by National Communities and Services, is planned for Friday night. Chaplain Bill Boldin of the Village at Orchard Ridge will be Assembly chaplain. Janice Bunting will be in charge of music.
Lutheran Braaten looks back
on success at Ferrum College
            Retiring Ferrum College President Jennifer Braaten told a Roanoke organization why she loves the job she has held with success for 14 years. When she steps down in June, more than 90 candidates have applied for her pos
Dr. Braaten with husband, Conrad. 
            When she spoke to the Roanoke Roundtable on May 10,  Virginia Western Community College President Bobby Sandel said Braaten "took a good college and made it great."
            She and her husband, retired ELCA Pastor Conrad Braaten, proved their appreciation for the Ferrum-Roanoke region by buying a Patrick County cabin for their eastern retirement location.  They also have a home in Arizona, where they have family.
            In 2002, when the Lutheran president left Midland College in Nebraska to look at Ferrum,  a United Methodist school, she was attracted by the location in the mountains and the motto, "Not self but others." Today, students are required to have work study service. Also, Ferrum had the Blue Ridge Institute, a repository for Appalachian culture.
            Braaten is a major booster for a school which grew from a two-year to four-year curriculum and now is looking at graduate study. The school contributes more than $120 million to the Franklin County economy, the student body has doubled to 1,500; seven buildings have been constructed; a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan of $16 million was leveraged to $150 million and the campus was enlarged to 800 acres.
            Ferrum has the second oldest environmental science program in the nation; it has an extensive business curriculum; more FBI agents have come from its criminal justice program and 50 professional athletes have gone up from Ferrum. The college participates in 20 intercollegiate sports.
            In her 14 years, Braaten has worked with corporate partnerships and she believes in "connecting with people in the community." After the meeting, a Roundtable member wondered if Braaten's enthusiasm could be bottled and distributed.
Christ, Roanoke, marks 100 years    
            "You can't talk about Christ without talking about the living Christ," said Bishop Jim Mauney at a 100th anniversary service at Christ Lutheran, Roanoke, on Sunday, May 29. The bishop recalled a long list of lay and clerical members of Christ who have worked in important positions in the church.
            The service and a reception afterward recalled the growth of a group who met in a Roanoke home in 1916 to form Virginia Heights Lutheran Church which moved to its present location in 1950. Two former pastors---Revs. William Milholland and Dwayne Westermann---were there.
            An anniversary hymn, "Let the Light Shine," was composed for the service by David Wiley, conductor of the Roanoke Symphony and a member of Christ, with Pastor David Skole of Christ.  Skole announced contribution of $1,000 to the Synod's ForwardingFaith from Christ as part of its anniversary.
Synod treasurer George Buchanan dies at 98  
          George J. Buchanan Jr, treasurer of the former Virginia Synod from 1962 to 1976, died May 28 at his home in Roanoke at the age of 98. He was a member of St. Mark's, Roanoke, for more than 75 years, serving on the building committee for the present church and as trustee and finance committee chairman. His funeral was at St. Mark's on May  31.
Men in Mission study parables
            In a weekend study of parables for the annual Gathering of Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission, retired Pastor John Herman spoke of the biblical mandate "to share with others what is on loan to us." He was talking on the theme, "The Parables of Jesus: Hear  them again for the first time."
       Now writing and teaching on the Eastern Shore, Herman also is an interim pastor of a United Methodist church. The men met at Roslyn, an Episcopal center in Richmond.
            Through the parables, Herman said, "Jesus invites us to imagine and enter a new world---the kingdom of God." In comments on 10 parables, his goal was "to seek to hear them through first century Jewish ears and then try to realize their meaning for today."
           Talking about the rich man and Lazarus, Herman asked, "Do I look for happiness in things?... I In what ways am storing treasures for God?" In comments on the Pharisee and the tax collector, he said, "God's grace extends beyond our boundaries."
            Pastor Andrew Bansemer of Ebenezer, Marion, joined several men in enacting a drama, "The Way It Wasn't," about the prodigal son. The play, entitled "The Two Lost Sons," is by retired Pastor Mark Radecke.
            John Lasher of Christ, Staunton, was re-elected president. Randy Ross, Christ the King, Richmond, was named vice president; Richard Niedermayer was returned as secretary and Dolph Moller, as treasurer. Both are of  Christ the King.  Moller said the organization has contributed 
$104,852 to Virginia mission congregations through it Committee of 100+ since it was formed in 1998.
            Moller, who arranges the programs, said the 2017 Gathering will be at Roslyn on April 22-23. 
Smythe will retire as Power coordinator 
            Power in the Spirit in July will be a last hurrah for Elizabeth Smythe, popular coordinator of the summer conference, who is retiring after 11 years. But she has an understudy.  Pastor David Drebes, pastor of Prince of Peace, Basye, will coordinate Power next year.
            With a new bishop to be elected in 2017 and a lot of younger pastors coming in to the Synod, "It's time to put a new face on it and David can do that...It may evolve into something different," she said.
           Drebes said he's looking forward to serving as coordinator "because I believe in our mission and it's a lot of fun being part of the team that makes it happen. He's been on the planning committee. When he first attended Power two summers ago when ELCA Bishp Elizabeth Eaton was a presenter, he was "blown away by the quality of worship, depth of study and friendly community."         
           Power in the Spirit began in 1986 after families failed to support the longstanding Massanetta Summer Assembly. Smythe followed Pastor Jean Bozeman, retired assistant to the bishop, who led the conference from 1990 to 2005. Leading theologians and musicians have spoken and many Synod members have led concurrent courses on a wide variety of church-related themes at the July event.
            Smythe, who is everybody's friend, was "a natural for this position," Bozeman said.
A 6th grade teacher for 32 years, former counselor at Lutheridge in North Carolina, organist at Ebenezer, Marion, for 20 years, a former member of Synod Council and an ACTS student, she has the credentials for almost any position in the church.
            In explaining the success of Power, Smythe said it is built around family, community and relationships. She said ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton noted the community connection when she spoke at Power. 
            Drebes said the planning committee is "a talented bunch of folks who work hard to bring the event together and have a good time doing it." He hopes that Power in the Spirit "will continue to be a community of the faithful from across Virginia and beyond where friends from different places can reconnect as they worship Christ, explore faith and are empowered to serve."
            He hopes the planning committee's new efforts to welcome children who attend with their parents or guardians will bring in folks who haven't thought of coming to Power in the Spirit before. "We're working hard to make room for everyone who wants to attend and I hope our efforts will expand the Power in the Spirit community in the coming years."
            Drebes, a Fredericksburg native and a political science and religion graduate of Roanoke College in 2005, earned degrees at Princeton Theological Seminary and Philadelphia Seminary and served as vicar in Glen Rock, NJ. He was chaplain for an Episcopal camp at Shrine Mont, an Episcopal center near his church at Basye.
 "God's Grace" will be Power theme
           Dr. Kathryn Kleinhans, chair for heritage and mission at Wartburg College in Iowa, will be the ke ynote speaker for the 30th annual Power in the Spirit at Roanoke College July 14-16. The Bible leader will be Bishop Edwin Gulick Jr., now assistant bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and formerly bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky.
            The theme will be "By God's Grace This is Most Certainly True."
            Musician for the annual three-day conference will be Jonathan Rundman, a song-writer and musician who has worked as a touring artist based in Chicago. His music has been played on CBS and National Public Radio.
            Kleinhans, who holds degrees from Valpariso University and Christ Seminary-Seminex, has focused her work on the contemporary relevance of Martin Luther and Lutheran confessional theology. She is a student of global Lutheranism. Her "Lutheranism 101" is the most frequently requested article of the former The Lutheran magazine.
            Twenty-eight concurrent sessions will explore such topics as "The Soul of Money," A Tree is not a Forest, Math and Science in Our Faith and the Bible, Bible Story Telling---God's Word by Heart, and What Happens When You Die? (Other than Heaven).           
            The service project for Power in the Spirit will be a collection of non-perishable food, supporting Micah's Backpack at Roanoke College, for distribution to students at a local school. Among items requested will be canned pasta, chicken noodle and tomato soup, canned green beans, mixed fruit, juice boxes, macaroni and cheese.
            A conference choir, led by George Donovan of Winchester, will sing Thursday evening and at the closing worship service on Saturday. The Diet of Worms, a musical group from Ebenezer, Marion, will play. 
Help is requested for Puerto Rico
      by Bishop Felipe Lozada-Montanez
            (Bishop Felipe Lozada-Montanez of the ELCA's Caribbean Synod has summarized the economic problems of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory and called upon theU.S. government for assistance
            Political status is fundamental to understand the situation that we have in Puerto Rico. We have no power to decide by ourselves, as people and as citizens, our future, our economy and development. For that reason, I am signaling some facts that may help to understand the fundamental issue: political definition.
  1.  In 1493 Spain takes possession of the islands that conforms Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra on the East side of the island; we become a Colony of Spain.
  2. As a colony of Spain our political structure depends on Spain Courts; in the 19th Century they decided that we may have a representation at the Courts, only one man, without too much power or authority.
  3. Finalizing the 19th Century Spain authorized some kind of autonomy to the Islands of Puerto Rico, in 1898 the Hispano-American War was in place and we become a possession of the United States of America; as a colony of the USA we were, in the first years, by a Military Board, that takes all the decisions.
  4. The War takes out any possibility of power and authority to the Puerto Ricans, leaders and community are conscious that something new needs to be done; political movements started, some want to become annexed to the USA and others want to become an independent nation.
  5. In 1900 the Congress approved the Foraker Act, with a Federal Control Board in charge of the government, more power than the local Legislature, one that can do a minimum on behalf of the people.
  6. In 1917 the Congress approved the Jones Act, giving the American Citizenship to all the Puerto Ricans, we have our own citizenship, Puerto Rico; including the recruitment of Puerto Ricans for the USA Army, so we have been participating in the wars of the USA, almost 100 years.
  7. In 1920, using the Jones Act the Congress stipulated that all the commerce in Puerto Rico must be done using the American ships, multiplying the costs of the products; we receive 85% of the products we need: food, instruments, tools, from the USA ports to San Juan Piers; that situation has no change, we are urging that we may be excluded of the dispositions of Jones Act; something that the Congress and the president can do in one day.
  8. In 1950 the Congress approved the 600 Law so that Puerto Ricans may have their own Constitution and Regulations,  a process that takes to the local authorities, two years; in 1952 the Congress approved the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, they changed some of the sections of the law, including the Rights Section, striking out some fundamental rights that were written in the Constitution.
  9. Now in 2016 Congress  may approve a new Law, called PROMESA (in Spanish means promise), a Control Board will take over the government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (PR); that means that they have the power to control the Budget of PR, the goal of the Control Board is to repay the debt to the creditors, services to the citizens take a second level, that means that health, security, education, will not be attended or serviced; that may mean that thousands of Puerto Ricans will be unemployed; the retirees of the government may see reduced the pensions and services; many other reductions may be in place.

            Our reality today is that the Control Board, if approved by the Congress and signed by the president of the USA is not positive for Puerto Rico. It is positive for the creditors. My contention, as bishop and a Puerto Rican, means that the Control Board is no good for us. We need the action of the federal government to help us in this situation.

            That's the reason why the Puerto Rico Evangelical Lutheran Church will accompany the people of PR to fight for his rights and for a better living, best quality of services and a better way to administrate our resources.
            Puerto Rico needs the help of the federal government, as USA citizens, we don't receive what we deserve. We pay the same taxes for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, what we ask is to be treated in the same way as our fellows in the States. We ask for justice, equality and respect.            Here are my five cents.
Hungry Mother offers programs for all
     by Chris Stevens, Executive Director 
           Hungry Mother will hold its traditional summer camp to be held July 3-8 for 3rd-12th grade campers It will offer devotions, activities, games, swimming and lots of fun. See old friends and make some new ones. A week-long camp for ages 8-12 in partnership with three local agencies of the Dept. of Social Services. Expecting 50-60 youth. A new camp this year that we hope will be a continuing annual event.
            A week of service camp will be held July 17-23. Groups and individuals will participate in home repair in our areas. It is open to high school-age groups as well as adults.This is through a partnership with local faith based groups and other agencies to assist the low income, elderly, and handicapped with basic home repair.
           Rainbow Day Camp. June 21. In partnership with Mountain States Health Alliance we will hold our second annual day camp for children with type 1 diabetes. It is designed to be a fun day with emphasis on healthy diet and exercise as well as learning to live with this disease.
           We also have planned a two- day camp for local Lutheran churches who wish to come together to get to know one another better and work to upgrade and enhance our facilities and grounds. We will welcome Grace and St. Paul from the Rural Retreat parish and St. Michael from Blacksburg, our neighboring New River Conference.
           We will welcome two separate groups of seniors through the Lifetime Wellness Center and District Three Senior Services Dept. These are social events with games, activities, and food.
           We will welcome back Camp Wishing Well, a program through the Wythe Hospice of SW Virginia, who rent the whole camp for a day. This is a grief support program designed for children who are dealing with the loss of a relative or loved one.
As always, all our facilities are available to rent and we love to see all our returning guests.
      Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center; Camp-276-783-6521; Office-  276-655-3796; www.hungrymother.org.
The Pannier People Ride Again!    
Pannier People on the road
            The 2016 ride has been added to the annals of The Pannier People.  John Hoffmeyer, a professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, who lived for a few years as a child in the town of Dayton, grew up in Luray, and then served parishes in the Shenandoah Valley as a student,  planned this year's ride: a five-day, 237 mile loop beginning and ending at Grace, Waynesboro.  During this year's "Church Basement Tour," riders stopped for evening shelter at Salem, Mt. Sydney; Mt. Zion, New Market; St. Stephen's, Strasburg; and Prince of Peace, Orkney Springs.  Stops for rest and water included pauses at St. Luke, St. Luke, and St. Paul, Jerome.  Thank you to the pastors and leaders of those Valley congregations for your hospitality!
            The Pannier People is a group of bicyclists who set out for a multi-day ride early each summer, carrying all that they need in their pannier bags.  The origins of their long and storied history are shrouded in myth.  John Hoffmeyer suggests that Pastor Bob Koons was the original Pannier Person in the 1970s, riding his bicycle from his home in Winchester to the Synod Assembly, with participants joining him along the route.  After a couple of years of dormancy, Pastor Frank Honeycutt, then serving St. John, Abingdon, revived the custom in the 1980s, accompanied by Barry Proctor when he was St. John's lay Voting Member to the Assembly.  (Barry currently serves on the Synod Council).  By the end of the 1980s it occurred to Frank that the ride would be more enjoyable if it was longer and did not include a meeting!  That marked the beginning of the modern history of the group.
            The route and Pannier People participants varies with each year.  Many years the Panniers ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive, camping along the way.  In addition to John and Frank, this year's riders included Andy Ballentine, pastor of St. Stephen, Williamsburg; college professor Ed Davis, a member of St. John, Abingdon; police officer Nate Ballentine, a member of Christ the King, Richmond; and two North Carolinians: retired art teacher Kent Oehm and semi-retired college administrator Dale Kirkley.
Trinity Ecumenical Parish feeds children   
            During the week of June 6-10, Trinity Ecumenical Parish's annual vacation Bible school (VBS) and annual nature camp will help support interfaith efforts underway throughout the Commonwealth to find and feed hungry children.
Their themes are Expedition Norway for VBS and The Earth Is God's Garden for Nature Camp.                   All children attending VBS will enjoy Norwegian snacks each day as they discover God's goodness to all people. Children will be collecting food to be combined with "Good Neighbors" ministry that sends out backpacks of food weekly to children with hunger needs. During closing celebration they will be filling backpacks with food for 90 children in the local community.
            Children will partner with youth and adults to pack and deliver the backpacks of food on June 10th. During Nature Camp off-site field trips will include a stream investigation at Booker T. Washington National Monument and a visit to their organic garden, which dedicates 100% of its produce to Lake Christian Ministries for distribution to qualifying families in the community, as well as an experience in gleaning. Healthy snacks will be enjoyed each day along with time to reflect on God's provision to His people through the earth - God's Garden.
            Registration forms are available at Trinity Ecumenical Parish, 40 Lakemount Drive, Moneta or online at smltep.org. For further information, contact Sharon Sicher at (540) 721-4330.
Volunteers from Ebenezer, 
Marion, help medical event
Snack bags were provided by Ebenezer Lutherans.
            Volunteers from Ebenezer, Marion, were among 1,000 or more who manned a Remote Area Medical operation providing medical care for over 800 patients at Mountain Empire Airport on April 29-30-May 1.
            People came from all walks of life, working together, to provide free medical and dental services, said Mike Williams, an Ebenezer volunteer who worked all three days.
            Medical people came from New York and Texas and all over the country, he said. A Hindu brother and sister came from North Carolina to help. Ebenezer volunteers prepared snack bags for the patients.
            Nearly half a million dollars in dental services was provided for patients, some spent the night to be in line. Thirty dental chairs were set up for fillings and extraction in an airport hangar. Free glasses were given for vision care.
            The Marion community raised $70,000 for expenses. Plans are already under way for another event next year, Williams said.  RAM operations have been held across the country. A big event is scheduled for Wise on July 22-24.  Others have been held at Grundy, Lee County and Buena Vista.  RAM events are held in economically distressed areas.




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