event at Martinsburg

Education for Clergy & Laity
West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(28 June 2022)

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We've moved all the continuing education to this new page because continuing education is not just for clergy. Both laity and clergy will find offerings here. Some are for laity only. Some are for clergy only. Some are for both. That said, there is denominational encouragement for clergy (and even requirements for certain classes of clergy). If you are clergy (or a congregational mutual ministry committee member), please review the general introduction for clergy continuing education.

The education event matrix below is a quick way to skim our offerings. Click on the linked text to learn about each. Check beck periodically to find out what new thing is being offered.

Some educational events are recorded and available for viewing at a later date. Beneath the education event matrix, you find the archives matrix.

We've had a lot of events that are now behind us and have begun work on the next series. Check back again and do be sure to take a look at the offerings from our colleagues across Region 8. Those are posted separately on Facebook (click here for more info).

Upcoming Events Date
"Worship after Corona: Singing, Speaking and Spaces of Community"
10-15 July 2022
Gettysburg Seminary
"God Is Fair? Life Isn't? A Discussion of Job"
27 June 2022
St. John Lutheran Church, Davis, WV
Clergy & Seminarians
Region 8 Racial Justice Training
18 Aug 2022
WVCC: Annual Assembly
23-24 October
Region 8 Racial Justice Training
7 Nov 2022
FCTE Region 8 Plenary
14-16 Nov 2022
FCTE Clergy
Region 8
LARCUM: Evangelism? (tentative) May 2023 TBA
Parliament of World Religions
14-18 August 2023

Don't forget to check out the offerings from the other synods of Region 8

Recorded Past Events Date
WVCC: Dementia-Friendly Worshiping Communities Webinar
8 Dec 2021
Zoom & Facebook
ELCA: Anger Webniar
30 Nov 2021

Clergy Continuing Ed
Page Map

In General

WV-WMD typically holds two main clergy cont. ed events each year, one in fall, the other in winter. More about that below.

It is worth noting that CA97.2.7(a)(1)(a), an action of the Churchwide Assembly, encourages "a minimum of 50 contact hours per year of intentional continuing education, or 150 contact hours each three-year period." N.B., a contact hour is defined (as found on the rostered leader's annual report to bishop) as 50 minutes of class time or the equivalent. Time in worship, at meals, etc. does not count as contact hours.

Who would go to a doctor or a lawyer who did not engage in continuing education? Arguably, the stakes are higher when it comes the the clergy. Congregations should, therefore, not think of continuing education as a reward or a benefit but as an investment. Mutual ministry committees should discuss continuing education plans with their clergy and support education that will advance the professional develop their clergy and, in turn, advance the ministry.


Clergy, if you have been attending webinars, zoom conferences, etc., related to COVID-19 (e.g., the synodical one organized by DEM Sherri Schafer and held April 30) where the purpose is education, training, or information sharing (and not planning or mutual support), you can count the hours as contact hours for purposes of continuing education. N.B. the definition of contact hours supra.


Since 2000, the WV-WMD Synod has recommended sabbaticals for clergy every seventh year of service in place. Mutual ministry committees and call committees should review the Synod's recommendation. It can be found linked on the Clergy Compensation page.

Region 8Region 8 Continuing Ed Sharing

There has been lots of new postings on the Region 8 fb page. It's good to see this much activity, and it is especially good to see us all moving beyond our synodical silos.

Synods across Region 8 hold continuing education events, and, on occasion, the Region sponsors an event jointly. It is often, though not always, possible to join another synod for its event. Be sure to check with the appropriate sponsor. If, however, the event is listed on the Region 8 Facebook Page, you may assume that it is open to clergy from across the Region. Check it out.

Region 8 of the ELCA’s Racial Justice Training

We are called to be a church that embraces each person and confronts racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, age, gender, familial, sexual orientation, physical, personal and class barriers that can manifest as unjust treatment, inequalities, exclusion, and violence. The ELCA’s Region 8 is committed to equipping leaders to recognize and understand the complexities and implications of racism and racial issues and is offering training in the areas of anti-racism and racial justice for leaders in partnership with synods, congregations, associations, and social service agencies.

Region 8’s Racial Justice Training equips leaders (rostered and lay) to face the challenges of racism in a diverse, complex and changing world by providing tools and resources that foster healthy and holy conversations.  Each workshop addresses these aspects of racism:

  1. Talking about Race: language and vocabulary
  2. History and systemic racism in the United States, and
  3. How to begin conversations and actions in your ministry context.

Each training is offered on Zoom using a combination of instruction and small group conversation.  Facilitators will represent the region to the extent possible, spearheaded by the Reverend Carla Christopher Wilson. Cost is $25 per person; however, if cost is a barrier, please contact Marty Shifflett at mshifflett@lss-elca.org, or 717-652-1852, ext. 115.

Because we want to make this training as accessible to as many people as possible, if two people from a congregation register, additional participants (beyond 2) from that congregation may attend at no cost.  Those additional participants are required to register by contacting Marty Shifflett.

Region 8 is comprised of the following eight synods: Northwest PA, Southwest PA, Allegheny, Lower Susquehanna, Upper Susquehanna, Delaware/Maryland, Metro DC, and West Virginia/Western Maryland.

The first Racial Justice Training offering was held 19 February 2022. Remaining opportunities include.

  • Friday, May 13, 2022, 12-5PM
  • Thursday, August 18, 2022, 11AM-4PM
  • Monday, November 7, 2022, 10AM-3PM

Click here to register.

4 of 8

NWPA, Allegheny, USS, and WV-WMD are teaming upon a variety of projects that are of specific interest to those of us with small cities, towns, and rural territory. These projects include some continuing education offerings.

First Call Theological Education

CA95.6.55 ...To require, by the fall of 1997, that all newly rostered pastors and lay leaders participate, throughout their first three years of ministry under call, in structured programs of theological education, designed and supervised by their synods, according to churchwide standards;....

The 1995 ELCA Churchwide Assembly mandated continuing education for the first three years of called ministry. The synods of Region 8, compacting, even during the preceding two-year pilot phase, to establish a region-wide approach, developed a program featuring an annual plenary retreat and regular geographical cohort groups. The annual 3-day retreat is held in early November not far from Gettysburg, PA. The geographical cohort is currently run on a synodical basis with the bishop having direct oversight. The cohort has begun meeting on a nearly monthly basis. All new first-call pastors and deacons and their respective congregations or agencies will be contacted by the bishop with details related to FCTE. The national policy document can be downloaded here.

FCTE Region 8 Plenary

The next Region 8 First Call Theological Education 8 Plenary is scheduled for 14-16 November 2022 at Cacapon State Park. The plan is to hold the event in-person.

The Biannual Synod Clergy Continuing Ed Event

Synod Clergy Cont. Ed Events Team
Pr. Sherri Schafer (UOVC), Chair
Pr. Kevin Mackey (OKVC)
Pr. Ben Erzkus (MVMC)
  Pr. Sally Bartling (PC) 

The Planning Team

At the Winter 2018 Synod Clergy Cont. Education Event, the presbyteral college elected to establish a committee for the design, planning, and management of synod sponsored clergy continuing education with one representative from each of the four conferences. Synod Clergy Cont. Ed, as we currently have it configured, provides approximately 12-17 per year, assuming attendance at both events.

Serving on the the Continuing Ed Committee we have Kevin Mackey (OKVC), Sherri Schafer (UOVC), and Ben Erzkus (MVMC), and Sally Bartling with Bp. Riegel as an advisory member. Synod clergy should feel free to talk to their conference's team about ideas and concerns related to continuing ed.

Thanks are owed to Prs. Christine Olson (past chair), Paul Schafer, Casey Linemann, Ryan Heycock. and Ruth Bullwinkle for their, now concluded, service on the team.

Winter: Bishop's Time

Because of the shift to a hybrid event and the intensity of sessions with Sr. Riley, Bishop's Time was not held as part of the Synod Clergy Continuing Ed Event. Instead, it was held by Zoom on 29 March 2022 at 1:45 p.m.. Any synod clergy wanting an outline should contact +Riegel.

Sr. Carole

After Action Reports

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

Summer 2021: After Action Reports

We've moved the older AARs (After Action Reports) on our past continuing education offerings to a page of their own. If you would like to get a feel for continuing education in WV-WMD, click here for the AARs. More recent AARs are right here...

AAR: All Are Welcome: Understanding the Autism Spectrum

A workshop designed to help us better understand those on the autism spectrum was held 29 July 2021 via Zoom. Organized by our DEM, it was available at no cost to participants through the Mental Health First Aid Grant received from ELCA Disabilities Unit. Erin McFarland led the workshop. Erin is a Licensed Counselor, working for the past 10 years in the Catholic Schools in Wheeling and Weirton in the School Based Health Program. She has a Masters in Community Counseling and is Licensed in the State of West Virginia and Ohio. Prior to working in the schools, Erin practiced counseling at Hillcrest Psychiatric Unit on the youth and adolescent unit as well as doing outpatient counseling at Wellsprings Family Services and Hillcrest Outpatient Services. Before that, Erin worked at Fox Run Psychiatric Hospital and Harmony House Child Advocacy Center for Children. Erin began her career as a Counselor at The Children's Home of Wheeling, working with abused and neglected young men.

AAR: Bishop's Time Summer 2021

"Bishop's Time" ran about an hour, with synod clergy gathering on 27 July 2021 via Zoom. Reports from Camp Luther, Lutheran Campus Ministry at WVU, Community Lutheran Partners, Inc., our Youth Gathering lead, our DEM, our Madagascar lead, and the Nominating Committee chair joining that of the bishop. The bishop covered roster changes, congregational vacancies, matters related to Synod Assembly, and some liturgical items. A synopsis is being prepared for synod clergy.

Extra Offerings

Sometimes we through in a continuing ed offering specifically for clergy that is beyond our usual biannual event. What's coming up?

JT"God Is Fair? Life Isn't? A Discussion of Job"

The Rev Dr. JT Miller, pastor of Zion Lutheran, McGregor, TX, will be spending a week on the Mountaintop, providing pastoral services to the Aurora-Redhouse Parish. While among us, he has consented to provide a presentation on the Book of Job, the topic his doctoral research. In the midst of much turmoil and consternation, diving into this piece of wisdom literature may prove salutary.

The presentation is scheduled for Wednesday, 27 July 2022, at St. John's Lutheran Church, Davis, WV. We begin at 10:30 a.m., will break for lunch, taking advantage of local eateries, and then reconvene for further conversation, quitting before the afternoon gets away from us. There is no charge for the event, but lunch is on your own dime.

It is recommended that attendees take a look at Job (and maybe glance at a commentary or an online article or your choice) to prep. Click here to RSVP; though not required, it would be much appreciated.


The pandemic has certainly wreaked havoc with our LARCUM plans. The planning team has been meeting and adjusting matters as conditions warrant. Here's what's happening....

LARCUM: Fall 2021

In light of the pandemic, planning for a some sort of fall 2021 LARCUM event(s) has been scrubbed. The LARCUM planning team will meet again in January to continue planning for the spring 2023 event. You can follow LARCUM on facebook to get the latest information.

                2019 Michelbach, Crump, Felici, Smith

LARCUM Spring 2023: Evangelism? (Tentative)

Postponement (again)

LARCUM 2020 was initially postponed until May 2021 by the planning team because of the pandemic. Unsure of what COVID-19 restrictions would be in place in September (affecting both venue and travel for both participants and presenters) coupled with the fact that a good number of LARCUMites would classify as vulnerable, postponement seemed reasonable this past summer. Our caution proved warranted.

Now we're shooting for May 2023, at John XXIII. Once we have dates worked out, we'll let you know. In the meantime, mark it down as tentative on your calendar. The topic will be "Evangelism?" the focus not being on the how but rather on the why. The planning committee will post updates as plans evolve.

Old Info

The next WV Lutheran-Anglican-Roman Catholic-United Methodist Tetralogue will be held 14-16 September 2020 at the John XXIII Pastoral Center, Charleston, WV. The topic will be evangelism, and we are using the working title, "Evangelism?" until things take more shape. That working title should give you a clue as to the current direction. Based upon conversation with attendees at the conclusion of LARCUM 2019, the focus is to be on the why of evangelism (and the other theoretical concepts that relate to it) rather than the how. +Riegel, responding to a question on line wrote, "We have no shortage of techniques, but we do seem to have a motivation." He also pointed out that the mainline churches already share many of the same resources related to the how of evangelism, but whether they share the same rationale between them or even within their own histories is something to be explored. Mark you calendars. For those with facebook, an event has already been created: https://www.facebook.com/events/962456230758841/. RSVP with either "going" or "interested" to stay connected for updates over the course of the year.

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


SCALDers had been thinking about holding SCALD III in the spring of 2020, but the pandemic came. Well, we're thinking about it again. No definite time and place has been selected, but late mid to summer is looking like a real possibility. So, it's time to start dusting off paper ideas. This is be an in-person event.

(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.

SCALD 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.

Hadaway SCALD ISCALD 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 XXIII.

Other Opportunities

ULS logoWorship after Corona: Singing, Speaking and Spaces of Community

This summer’s Theological Education with Adults looks at some specific ways worship and music have been influenced by the pandemic. The week features a series of interactive workshops that attend to both the theology and practice of Lutheran worship, including:

  • Learning how to lament together
  • Reviewing the ELCA commitment to language in worship
  • Crafting alternative worship places
  • Engaging our sense and all of creation/nature
  • Exploring the deeper meaning of hymns
  • Discovering the participatory nature of preludes, postludes and choir anthems
  • Investigating how worship can bridge communities over time and space

Theological Education with Adults is sponsored by United Lutheran Seminary. It will be held on the Gettysburg Seminary Campus, 10-15 July 2022. For more information, download the flyer here. The registration deadline has been extended to 20 June 2022.

                logoWest Virginia Council of Churches: Annual Assembly

The Annual Assembly of the West Virginia Council of Churches is scheduled to open Sunday evening, 23 October 2022 and run through the early afternoon of 24 October 2022. John XXIII, Charleston, WV, will host. The Faith & Order Commission is working on the agenda, but, like the previous in-person Annual Assembly, a mix of plenary and concurrent sessions (the latter split between a Faith & Order track and a Life & Works tack) is planned.

Parliament of World Religions - ChicagoParliament of Word Religions

The 2023 Parliament of World Religions will convene in Chicago, 14-18 August 2023, under the theme, "A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights." This conference is open to anyone. There is a lot more information than we can put on this page, so, click here, to visit the Parliament of World Religions website. If registered by 30 June 2022, you can save $325 ($225 compared to $550 at the gate the day the conference opens).

The Parliament of World Religions is the biggest and most diverse religious conference in the world. It first convened in 1893, in connection with the Chicago World's Fair. The Parliament travels the world, and the last time it was in North America was Toronto 2018. The last time before that was Chicago 21993. So, if you are interested, you may want to jump on this opportunity because it may not be back within easy striking distance in the near future, and Chicago is a very easy trip by train from our territory.


Blumhardt fbReading Group: 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).

Dementia-Friendly Worshiping Communities

The West Virginia Council of Churches held a webinar on Dementia-Friendly Worshiping communities on December 8 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.

Anger Webinar

Barb Keller offered a webinar for clergy on anger for ELCA clergy, via Zoom, on 30 November 2021. A recording is available. Contact the bishop r the D.E.M. for access.

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