Synod Storytellers

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Synod Storytellers2018-10-19T12:02:15-04:00

Hands at a computer

Synod Storytellers bring stories of the ways we are church together to the folks in their congregation. What are God’s people doing across the three expressions of this church? In congregations, synods, and churchwide, ministry is happening and we want to tell those stories as widely as possible! Consider being the Synod Storyteller for your congregation.

Have you been identified by your congregation council or pastor as a Synod Storyteller? If so, thank you!

Thank you for helping bring stories of the ways we are church together to the folks in your congregation.

You will receive quarterly information to share in your congregation. And, we want to hear your stories as well.

Use the “Submit your stories here” embedded JotForm to share a ministry story from your setting.

See samples of congregational ministry stories posted below.

Helpful Links

September 2018 e-mail

June 2018 e-mail

March 2018 e-mail

altar with row of lit candles

A Communion of Saints

On a Sunday in 1950, Bill Milholland, Sr. walked out of the sanctuary of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC, stood on the top step looking down at the sidewalk, and saw the woman who would become his wife of 68 years. “I spied Mary Anne, and immediately Cupid shot an arrow and it hit me,” Bill said. “I walked right down the steps and asked if I could see her, and she said yes. So, our relationship began at St. John’s.”

In that moment, Bill was not yet the “Pastor Milholland” whose ministry in the NC Synod would span decades. He could not have known the life that he and Mary Anne would build together in the Lutheran church, or the many milestones they would celebrate in that very congregation. And he could not have known that one far off day, he would be back at St. John’s to say goodbye. (more…)

Life Together, Reimagined

“Life is a gift and we are called to life together,” says Pastor Amanda Highben of Duke Lutherans, quoting the words of Bonhoeffer that her campus ministry holds as central to its mission. “What we’ve been lifting up in this time of COVID is that we are still called, that has not changed. But the means through which we share life together have had to change for the safety and wellbeing of our students.”

Indeed, nearly all aspects of life have been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and among the many places where community life has been upended are college campuses.


Lincolnton  Little  Library

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Salem, Lincolnton, came together to do “God’s Work” with “Our Hands.” Members of Emmanuel, Lincolnton, also joined in the project since the two congregations began worshipping together in the arbor at Salem earlier this summer. (more…)

Joyfully Gathering to Serve

The people of the NC Synod could easily have opted for the comfortable (even understandable) choice of curling up on our sofas with Netflix instead of participating in God’s Work. Our Hands. this year. But I celebrate that instead, Lutherans across the state chose to act with holy defiance by serving in our communities during the strange era of COVID-19, boldly living out our faith and proclaiming the radical message of God’s abundant love in a hurting world.

The congregation of Morning Star Lutheran Church in Matthews safely and carefully shared two days of inspiring servant experiences; however, our activities certainly looked different from a typical God’s Work. Our Hands. weekend. (more…)

With God We Can!

In spite of challenges because of COVID-19, the partnership of With God We Can! has continued its commitment to feed people in our community of Rocky Mount, NC whose bowls are empty.

We started canning on Sunday, July 19, 2020, about three weeks behind our 2019 start date. To date in 2020, we have canned 277 quarts of tomatoes—in 2019 we canned a total of 245 quarts of tomatoes. (more…)

Operation Mask Mission

How do 100,000 masks get into the hands of NC Synod congregations? “Ask and you shall receive!” says Deacon GeoRene (“Jo”) Jones, NC Synod Liaison for Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR).

Over the last 25 days, 152 cases of cloth face coverings were distributed to congregations and affiliated agencies. Early this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made a one-time offer to donate masks to non-profit agencies in response to the COVID-19 crisis. (more…)

Solidarity Beyond the Walls

When members of the Church of the Abiding Savior, Lutheran in Durham began discussing prisons in their adult Sunday School class in early 2018, they did not know that life-changing new relationships would come from it. But that is what happened. (more…)

Born from the pandemic—something new!

“When I was a child, I had the cutest yellow dress made out of a flour sack,” Barbara Smith shared with her pastor, Vern Kinard, “and although we had many sack clothes growing up…we never had to worry about food because we lived in this community. That’s how it should be and that’s how we hope it stays.” Pastor Vern Kinard serves as the pastor at St. Luke’s in the rural community of Tyro, in Davidson County. He shared, “St. Luke’s has a passion for feeding people. We gather every Wednesday, year-round, for a potluck dinner that’s open to all. At least we did until earlier this year when the realities of COVID-19 forced us to no longer gather in our building.”


Sharing God’s free gift of grace

Ascension Lutheran Church in Wilson held its second annual Oktoberfest Celebration on October 13, 2018, which turned out to be a beautiful day weather-wise, making for a wonderful event. The first Oktoberfest was done as part of the 500th Reformation Anniversary Churchwide Celebration and was so well received we decided to do it again. Both were given as a gift to the community—no admission charges, no fees for food or any of the activities—only asking donations for the beer served in our BierGarten; donations which were turned over to Veterans Residential Services of Wilson. (more…)

Finding new ways

“I’ve heard some people say that they aren’t having church, but the truth is, we are the church. It is true that we cannot go to the building and worship corporately, have our spirits lifted in prayer, in song, in word, in communion. But we can certainly worship as the church together, apart. (more…)

A time for the Gospel in action

‘If there was ever a time for the Gospel in action, this is it.’

McDougald Terrace is the city of Durham’s largest public housing complex with 360 apartments built in 1953. In early January, the Durham Housing Authority began an immediate emergency relocation of families living there following a number of carbon monoxide poisonings in December. Inspections revealed dangerously high carbon monoxide levels from gas stoves, furnaces, and water heaters. For almost six weeks now, about 280 families—including almost 500 children—have been living in 12 hotels across Durham County. (more…)

St. Mark’s wins “Do Good” award

On December 12,2019 at the Wells Fargo Atrium, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of Charlotte was presented the “Most Generous Financial
Gift” award by Share Charlotte, Wells Fargo, and the Charlotte Business Journal for their support of Running Works, a nonprofit organization that provides life skills training and housing to homeless people. The award is based on a total gift of $17,883 given by St. Mark’s and the Social Ministry Committee with the approval of St. Mark’s Congregation Council. (more…)

Pastor Albert Starr preaching

Christ the King hosts interfaith MLK worship

“Reconciliation without justice isn’t reconciliation at all.”

“We have inherited a big house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together—black and white, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Muslim and Hindu,” Dr. Martin Luther King said in 1964 when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Dr. King would have been pleased with the very diverse crowd that attended the interfaith prayer service held Jan. 19 at Christ the King Lutheran Church as part of the Town of Cary’s “Dreamfest” events on MLK weekend. (more…)

Good Shepherd offers suicide awareness class

This September, the Reimagining Health Collaborative (RHC) team at Good Shepherd, Brevard, learned that our application for a grant from ELCA Disability Ministries had been partially funded. This funding enabled us to offer a suicide awareness training by Soul ShopTM for our community on October 24, along with refreshments. Thirty-five people attended the training, which focused on increasing people’s willingness to talk about suicide, gaining basic conversational skills to use when talking with someone they are concerned about, and connecting self and others to needed services. The training was presented by Fe Avis, a suicide prevention expert and creator of Soul ShopTM, an international movement that trains clergy, ministry leaders, and community members to incorporate care for those impacted by suicidal desperation as an integral component of their life together. (more…)

Beth Eden brothers encourage giving

Samuel Calderon (pictured on left), who was nine on November 20, and Nathaniel (on right), who will be seven on December 12, celebrated their birthdays together this year at their church–Beth Eden, Newton. Instead of gifts they asked those attending to bring a donation to help the many people who have been affected by hurricanes this year if they so desired. (more…)

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