event at Martinsburg

Past Cont. Ed Events
West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(18 July 2022)

Page Contents
  • Spring 2022
  • Winter/Spring 2021
  • Fall 2020
  • LARCUM 2019

We've started posting AARs (After Action Reports) during the pandemic as a way to let folks know what we have been doing. Well, that started clutering up the Education for Laity & Clergy page, suggesting that those AARs needed a page of their own, and here it is. Wander through and review what we've been up to. Not everything is here, but these are some of the highlights.

We want to make sure to thank those clergy who have completed their service on the Synod Clergy Cont. Ed Events Team: The Revs. Christine Olson, R. Paul Schafer, Ryan Heycock, and Ruth Bullwinkle.

                CaroleSpring 2022

Winter 2022: Grief with Sr. Carol Riley

In response to requests from synod clergy, the Winter 2022 Was offered in a hybrid format, with eight synod clergy attending at the John XXIII Center and several others joining by Zoom. Sr. Carole Riley, CDP, lead an intense and information packed program on grief, addressing

  • God image and trauma
  • Grieving developmental wounds
  • Anger as movement toward healing
  • Prayer style and somatic wounds

All Are Welcome: Understanding the Autism Spectrum

The West Virginia Council of Churches held a webinar on Dementia-Friendly Worshiping communities on 8 December 2021 with The Rev. Kathy Fogg Berry. Berry wrote the book When Words Fail: Practical Ministry to People with Dementia and Their Caregivers and co-authored, Dementia Friendly Worship: A Multifaith Handbook for Chaplains, Clergy, and Faith Communities.

The Rev. Kathy Fogg Berry received a Masters of Religious Education from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a Masters in Patient Counseling and a postgraduate certificate in aging studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. During Kathy’s tenure at Westminster Canterbury Richmond, she provided spiritual care for residents with dementia diagnoses, their families, and the staff who care for them. For the last five years, Rev. Berry has offered the “When Words Fail” seminar for clergy and lay leaders throughout Virginia and she speaks regionally and nationally about spirituality and dementia.

A recording of the webinar can be watched on the WVCC Facebook page.

                FB Blumhardt's Action in Waiting

Last year, we explored Johann Arndt's master work, True Christianity. This year, we fast forwarded a few centuries and dove into Action in Waiting by Christoph Blumhardt. The Rev. Grant Eckhart, chaplain of Jacob's Porch, moderated sessions that were held every Tuesday in Lent via Zoom. Clergy and laity from several judicatories participated.

Christoph Blumhardt has a fascinating biography. He was born about the same time as his father, Johann Blumhardt, exorcised a demon from a certain Gottliebin Dittus. After the exorcism, a revival swept through the parish. Christoph followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a renown evangelist and healer, and also continuing the work begun by his father at Bad Boll, a thermal spa that the senior Blumhardt had converted into a Christian retreat. Though the healing ministry would have been considered successful in terms of the numbers of people drawn to Bad Boll, Blumhardt saw something of greater significance, saying,

I do not want to suggest that it is of little importance for God to heal the sick; actually, it now is happening more and more often—although very much in quiet. However, things should not be promoted as though God’s kingdom consists in the healing of sick people. To be cleansed is more important than to be healed. It is more important to have a heart for God’s cause, not to be chained to the world but be able to move for the kingdom of God.

Eventually, Christoph Blumhardt entered the world of politics, serving in the Württemberg legislature, but he ultimately become disillusioned, refusing to stand for a second term.

Although the book study has wrapped up, you still engage engage in conversation on the Christoph Blumhardt Reading Group (facebook).

Winter/Spring 2021


Updating Your Congregation Constitution (Jan. 25)

The "Updating Your Congregation Constitution" session was held on January 25 with attendance from four different synods. Despite one Zoom glitch---we'll not make that mistake again---the session went well with both clergy and lay attendees. Bishop Riegel, who has an unnatural affection for parliamentary law, led the session.

When some of our counterparts on the other side of the synod borders heard about it, they asked that it be reprised as an event for the "Rural 8s" (NWPA, Allegheny, USS, and WV-WMD Synods). This session was held on 6 February 2021. After the formal part was completed, attendees were free to stay for what could be described as more of a workshop in which items of relevance to specific congregations were discussed.

True Christianity: A Weekly Lenten Book Study of Arndt's Wahres Christentum


Qui Jesum vidit, qui mundum et daemona vicit,
Arndius in scriptis vivit ovatque suis.

Arndt, who saw Jesus, and conquered the world and the devil,
lives and triumphs in his writings.
---Tombstone inscription

If Philipp Jakob Spener is the Father of Pietism, Johann Arndt is the Grandfather. His Wahres Christentum (True Christianity), published in stages with revisions, 1605-1609, served as the formative text for generations of Lutheran clergy and laity. So, even if we think of Arndt as a Proto-Pietist, the movement cannot be adequately understood apart from his influence.

This weekly study explored this seminal work. With a grand vision of getting through the entire work, it was quickly agreed that just Book I would be enough to tackle. The energy and depth of the in-session conversations, however, just as quickly impressed upon the participants of an even more modest goal. While only the preface and first twenty-nine chapters were completed, it was generally agreed that the time was well spent and that not rushing the conversation was the best option.

Each Monday in Lent 2021, Bishop Riegel facilitated the seminary. Fortunately,  the work is in public domain and several free editions were available on-line, among them the one found at CCEL.org. Session met for usually seventy-five minutes, and the option was given for morning and evening sessions each Monday via Zoom.

Some members of the seminar stated that they wanted to continue, and this is an option (though all agree that waiting until the Easter Octave is past is a good idea. If you are interested in participating in a continuation of this (even if you did not join for the first round, contact +Riegel by email or, better yet, join thr the Johann Arndt Reading Group on Facebook.

Facebook EventEcclesiastical Discipline, Spiritual & Temporal (March 25)

In response to the question, "Where's excommunication in the Constitution of the ELCA?" Bishop Riegel offered a Zoom presentation that explored the two domains of discipline in the church. The Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the ELCA (along with other supporting documents) include provisions for discipline; these may be thought of under the category "temporal disciplines" (or polity/political discipline). Excommunication, on the other hand, may be thought of under the category "spiritual discipline." During the session, +Riegel explored the differences, the respective ends, the sources of their authority, manner of employment, and resolution. The two-hour session was held by Zoom on Thursday, 25 March 2021.

MVHSt. Paul and Early Christianity (April 12)

On April 12, The Rev. Dr. Mark Vitalis-Hoffman presented via Zoom on "St. Paul and early Christianity" with a Q&A following. Vitalis-Hoffman focused on the Greco-Roman context of the church of Paul's day.

Vitalis-Hoffman is the Glatfelter Professor of Biblical Studies at United Lutheran Seminary. He earned his Ph.D. from Yale, his dissertation being titled, Psalm 22 and the Crucifixion of Jesus.

Daubert book

Hybrid Church with The Rev. Dave Daubert (May 18)

Announcing the event, D.E.M. Sherri Schafer wrote,

"What's next for the church?" I hear this question a lot when talking with church members and pastors. I am teaming up with Pastor Daubert on Tuesday, May 18 at 1:30 PM to offer this workshop based on his latest book [Becoming a Hybrid Church]. You do not have to read the book prior to the discussion. I'm hoping that the workshop and/or book will be the launch point for discussion in your congregations and your conference.

The book is available from Day 8 Strategies. There is also a Kindle version.

This event was open to clergy and seminarians of all judicatories.

Matt Day
                demonatrating camera set up

Fall 2020

We split up our fall offerings across several weeks, holding our sessions by Zoom but also spacing them out so as to mitigate zoombiefication, Here's what happened.

Best Practices for Live Streaming (Sept. 24)

Matt Day kicked us off with "Worship Streaming without Breaking Your Back or Your Bank." Held the morning of September 24, Matt Day demonstrated some methods and resources for making a congregation's online worship presence easier and better without breaking either you back or your bank. The session lasted two hours. The session was recorded and is available on the Synod Youtube Channel.

Susan Claytor Linda Muhly Ian Reid Michael Wright

Best Practices for Pandemical Worship (Oct. 6)

The "Pandemical Worship Panel" was held by Zoom on Oct. 6. A wide range of topics were discussed with four of our clergy leading the way:

  • The Rev. Susan Claytor, St. Stephen's Episcopal and St. Luke's Lutheran, Beckley, WV
  • The Rev. Linda Muhly, St. Mark's Lutheran, Clarksburg, WV
  • The Rev. Ian Reid, First Lutheran, Parkersburg, WV
  • The Rev. Michael Wright, St. Paul's Lutheran, Aurora, WV, and St. John's Lutheran, Redhouse, MD

                  eventEach has had to figure out what works in their own context (and for two of them it is contexts). Different sizes of congregations, different community settings, different status quo worship practices, different ecclesiastical politics, and a even a different denomination all make for challenges, suggesting that one size does not fit all.

Some of the answers to questions from the floor might be of interest to you. We posted those to the fb event for the panel. You'll find there links for

  • messaging programs/aps,
  • unlicensed, low-power FM transmitter use, and
  • a video "switcher" program to amp up your videography/streaming. 

Feel free to visit this event on facebook.

Racial Sensitivity raining (Oct. 19)

Monday, 19 October 2020, the clergy of the synod met via Zoom for racial sensitivity training with Ron Scott of Wheeling. This training fulfilled Churchwide Assembly action CA16.05.22. The event was sponsored by Community Lutheran Partners, Inc., with the associated costs covered by an ELCA grant issued to Community Lutheran Partners, Inc.


Creative Christian Education and Empowering Families in Times of Covid (Nov. 4)

The event was held on 4 November 2020 via Zoom under the description,

Clergy are called to preach and teach and administer the sacraments. Parents and congregations make promises at the baptism of our young people to place into their hands the holy scriptures, to teach them the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments, and to nurture them in faith and prayer. Now more than ever, families are struggling to get through the grind of daily life with enormous changes all around them. This workshop is intended to explore creative solutions to equip families and congregations to engage in Christian Education. Pastor Jess Felici will share some of the things the Mountain Lutheran Parish has done and will help brainstorm and share resources for some ideas on engaging households for Advent. The presentation is scheduled to last about an hour with time following for resource sharing and exploring ideas for Christian Education in Coronatide.

If you missed it, you're still in luck. The session was recorded (available on Youtube) and Pr. Felici has also provided a Google Docs link the resources she discussed. You can also find these items on the facebook event.

Wright sitting in Bishop's chair

Bishop's Time (Dec. 8)

"Bishop's Time" is a long-standing element of the synod clergy cont. ed events. As in past years, we heard updates from various affiliates and agencies. The bishops also reviewed changed in the assignment process, development of the Synodical Lay Worship Leaders Program, Future Church redesign taking place in the Churchwide Structure, roster changes, vacancy status, the disposition of property of congregation, and plans for Synod Assembly. The Synod Clergy Continuing Education Committee also reported and solicited feedback.

An AAR was emailed to synod clergy and seminarians the day after the event. Included with the AAR was a Portico document on Portico mental health services and a document on Lutheran Scouting. If you did not receive the AAR etc., contact the bishop.

MichelbachLARCUM 2019

LARCUM 2019, held under the "Christianity & Civil Government: History, Theology, Implications (for Citizens, Pastors, and Institutions)," was very well attended with 49 registered. The Lutherans were there in force---and the envy of all the other denominations. If you would like to check out some pics and posts from LARCUM 2019, click here.

Lutherans interested in LARCUM may want to consider joining Team Wittenberg, our very own LARCUM fb group for Lutherans. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2828820697146887


SCALD (Symposium for Central Appalachian Lutheran Dogmatics) is designed as a day of theological discussion, employing the symposium model. Presenters give papers with discussion of those papers open to all participants. It is about providing an intellectually engaging and profitable opportunity for rank and file pastors and lay theologians (amateur and professional) to test their all too often private ruminations among those capable of being critical and convivial at the same time.

Hadaway SCALD ISCALD II, meeting in Keyser, WV, on 21 Feb 2019, saw a doubling of attendance over SCALD I, with 30 participating, representing 6 ELCA judicatories (WV-WMD, LSS, Allegheny, MNYS, NC, and Del-MD). There were 2 non-ELCA folks there (TEC and UCC). There were 6 laity and 24 clergy. One of the lay participants, a seminarian from LSTC, even road the train overnight to attend.

SCALD papers...

    • The Rev. Matt Day --- Suicide and the Church's Answer: A Theological Primer on the Theology of Suicide and How the Church Should Respond
    • The Rev. Elizabeth Leigh Hadaway --- The Babylonian Captivity of the Clergy Spouse
    • The Rev. Brian McClinton --- My Church Council President Is a Montanist: Is That a Problem? -- Brian McClinton
    • The Rev. Mike Hadaway --- Holding Fast: Ecumenism, the Answer to the Saviors Prayer or a Betrayal of Dogma?
    • The Rev. Jerry Kliner --- The 95 Theses 500 Years On: What's Settled, What Is Still in Dispute?
    • The Rev. Christine Olson --- Ask, Search, Knock. Opened? A Case for a Theology of Prayer in a "Just Do It" World
    • The Rev. Brian McClinton --- "You mean we can't sing Pass it on in Church": Hymnody and the theological importance in Christian education
    • The Rev. Jonathon Jenkins --- A (More) Trinitarian Baptism
    • Vr. James Demmel --- On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Kierkegaard
    • Dr. Eric Crump --- Shameless - and Mindless: A Proposed ‘Sexual Reformation’ in Need of Enlightenment

Until the SCALDers get a proper page set up, you can indicate your interest in SCALD III by visiting SCALD II's facebook event and posting in the comments thread. That way the SCALDers will know to let you know about SCALD III.

BTW, in the photo at right is The Rev. Elizabeth Hadaway, at SCALD I, delivering her paper, "The Babylonian Captivity of the Clergy Spouse," a very interesting critique of commonly held ideas about the role of the clergy spouse in light of Augustana XIV, XVI, and XXII.

[ Go to Education for Clergy & Laity page ]

West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, ℅ St. Paul Lutheran Church, 309 Baldwin Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
304-363-4030  +  Porter@WV-WMD.org