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West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
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Headline News
(7 July 2020)

Web UpdateSynod Website Updates

We've moved the list of updates to the to a page of its own. Click here (or on the pic at right) to find out what has been recently updated.

Potomac Conference Gets New Dean

The Rev. Matthew Day has been appointed to serve as Dean of the Potomac Conference, effective 8 July 2020. He follows The Revs. Karen Erskine-Valentine and Sally Bartling, who served as co-deans with responsibilities for the Eastern Panhandle Cluster and Potomac Highlands respectively. For more on deans and conferences, visit the Polity page.

Don't Fall for Spoofed eMail

A spoofed email has been making its way through ELCA leaders, and it has finally made its way to us. 1 July 2020, an email began circulating, purportedly from Bishop Riegel, claiming that he needed a payment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here it is:

From: Rev. Matthew F. Riegel <>
Date: Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 3:02 PM
To: ▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒

Hello Rev. ▒▒▒▒▒. Are you available now? I have an important payment to be done today. Email me back i will be busy now.


Rev. Matthew F. Riegel

Some things to note:

  • +Riegel's middle initial is not "F"
  • The synod sends email via its domain
  • The adjective "reverend" requires a direct article when used as an honorific
  • The Bishop is simply not going to solicit this way

Feel free, should you ever get something like this, to ask a challenge question, preferably one involving the Four Uses of the Law or the genera of the communicatio idiomatum.

Camping News

Caroline Furnace recently announced the cancellation of their on-site Summer 2020 Camp, but On-line Camp is currently up and running.

The latest on camping news from both Caroline Furnace and Camp Luther is posted on the Members page. Click here for information on cancellations, alternative programming, and future plans.

New DEM Facebook Page

Our new DEM, The Rev. Sherri Schafer has established a Facebook Page for items related to evangelism and stewardship. It is a place to share your ideas and get new ones. Like the page and discover what is possible.

New DEM: The Rev. Sherri Schafer

The West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod is pleased to announce the appointment of The Rev. Sherri Schafer to the position of Director of Evangelical Mission for the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod. Her assumption of DEM duties is exceptionally timely, initial focus being assistance to congregations in the areas of evangelism and stewardship in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and eventual transition from the current emergency.

Schafer comes to this position with an intimate knowledge of the synod. Born in Pendleton County, Schafer has held membership in four synod congregations: St. Luke’s (Dry Run), Faith (Franklin), Good Shepherd (New Martinsville), and St. Mark’s (Wheeling). Schafer served her first-call pastorate with Trinity Ev. Lutheran Church, Bridgeport, OH. Schafer began her work with Community Lutheran Partners, Inc., the primary social ministry organization affiliate of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, as Program Director before promotion to Executive Director, a position she has held for the past eleven years. Schafer has preached in over half of the synod’s fifty-nine congregations and has traveled most of the territory in connection with her disaster relief work

The DEM position is half-time, and Schafer will continue in her current half-time position with Community Lutheran Partners. The DEM position is funded by the ELCA's Domestic Mission Unit, which also provides a grant underwriting associated programming: Your mission support at work.

GM Prayer Mat

Prayer Service with African Companion Synods

ELCA Global Mission hosted an online intercontinental prayer service with members of our companion synods in Africa and folks here in the USA. Title, "For the Healing of the Nations," spoke specifically to this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, our anxieties and stress, calling for God’s hope, comfort and healing, and for peace among and in the nations, including the USA. Roughly sixty attended.

The service was recorded and will be posted online for your use. Global Mission will also make a pdf file of the service's liturgy available for use in congregations, mission groups, etc.. When these are available, we will post here. Facebook users: you can join the conversation about the prayer service and share it through Facebook by visiting the Facebook event created for it.

Bishop Riegel's Letter on Evangelism during Pandemic

Bishop Riegel posted a letter in the early morning of 16 April 2020, calling for the synod to double worship attendance. He contends that the sudden and broad adoption of media by pastors and congregations across the synod provides new opportunities for lay-point invitational evangelism. Go to the COVID-19 page and scroll down.


A new page, dealing with COVID-19 issues, has been added to the Synod Website: Click Here.

                  EmmanuelEmanuel Nine, June 17

Resources related to the racism and, specifically, the Commemoration of the Emmanuel Nine can be accessed at


Churchwide Assembly 2019, by CA19.04.15, established June 17 as the Commemoration of the Emanuel 9, designating it as a day of repentance a day of repentance in the ELCA associated with their martyrdom in the Mother Emanuel Massacre of 17 June 2015.

The resolution also ordered the production of resources to support the commemoration. These can be accessed at At the page you will find...

  • a description of the day,
  • worship resources,
  • info on ecumenical relations with the AME, and
  • a long list of additional resources.

Per, "An online ELCA Prayer Service for the Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine, including Bishop Eaton and leaders from around the church, is being prepared for viewing beginning on June 17, 2020, the fifth anniversary of the martyrdom of the Emanuel Nine."

Also for use, A Litany of Repentance for Racism, written by Pr. Jerry Kliner for an anniversary of the massacre, may be downloaded in MS-Word (making it easier to format it for your own use).

COB Letter on Racism and White Supremacy

ELCA News Service released 29 May, under the byline, "ELCA reaffirms commitment to combat racism and white supremacy," a letter from the Conference of Bishops. The full text can be downloaded here.

WV-WMD Pastors' Letter on Racism

Thirty-seven pastors of the WV-WMD Synod, joined by two pastors from other judicatories, subscribed to a letter published June 4, addressing racism and stating, "we call home that racism has no place in our congregations or communities in which we live." For more information, click here.

Synod HQ Relocation

Synod HQ has moved from Fairmont to Morgantown. Our new address is

West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod
℅ St. Paul Lutheran Church
309 Baldwin Street
Morgantown, WV 26505

Phone and email address remain the same.

Synod Assembly 2019 had ordered Synod Council to review location and cost of the Synod HQ, but the timetable was accelerated when our landlord decided not to renew our lease, offering a different location in place of the Fairmont Avenue address. Well, if you are going to more, you are going to move. Multiple locations were investigated and a plan to move into shipping containers was considered. Morgantown seemed the best option primarily for the financial profile. We've downsized from 1190 sq. ft. to 360 sq. ft. with analogous savings, but we have also lost our dedicated conference room and the bishop's office (he is working from home and the road). We are still unpacking but open for business.

Info for Planning Congregational Budgets

Information related to the clergy compensation guideline and the mission support request is found at the Congregations Page. Access through the "Member Portal."

Updating Your Congregation's Constitution

Guidance on updating your congregation's constitution is now provided on the Member Portal, including the revisions for 2019 and the current Model Constitution for Congregations.

If you haven't visited our Facebook page...

Throughout Lent, we posted short readings, both prose and poetry, works of art, and music on the synod's Facebook page. If you didn't catch these offerings, visit our page and scroll through the post feed:

If you haven't checked out the members portal...

Don't forget to take a peek of the members portal (click the button at right near the top of this page). It's not password protected. We only call it the "members portal" because it's mostly stuff that deals with the internal workings of the synod. Visitors looking for more general information about the synod, will probably find the "guest portal" more interesting.

Parochial Reports

Deadline for submission of parochial reports was February 15. That said, we really want them (even if they are late). Please, please, please---we're begging you---complete your parochial report as soon as possible. More information (including on-line access links) can be found on the Congregations Page.

Flood Recovery

Flood recovery is a long and and difficult process. Community Lutheran Partners, Inc. is in it for the long haul. To give through Community Lutheran Partners visit at Also, visit its website to learn about volunteer opportunities. Disaster response teams should coordinate with Sherri Schafer at Community Lutheran Partners prior to making plans to enter the affected area.

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