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Beautiful to be the church

2019-11-18T15:09:50-05:00November 18th, 2019|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

Beautiful to be the church

“The more I learned about Christ’s Beloved Community, the more I thought, ‘This is a beautiful thing!

On a beautiful Thursday in October, a small group of us traveled from various spots around the synod to the south side of Winston-Salem. Based on the tiendas and taquerias in the surrounding neighborhoods, we could have easily been in southeast Florida or south Texas. The parking lot was filled with vehicles, folks were mowing the grass and trimming the hedges, volunteers were plentiful throughout the building, music was being practiced in the worship space, and lunch was being prepared. We gathered that day for

“I’m always surprised.”

2019-10-14T14:45:10-04:00October 14th, 2019|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

“I’m always surprised”

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” Perhaps you’ve seen a shirt, mug, or other item printed with this quote from naturalist and preservationist John Muir.  It’s actually a shortened version of a sentence in a letter written to Muir’s sister in 1873: “The mountains are calling & I must go & I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.” For many of the church leaders from across the NC Synod, the mountains call each fall and we must go—specifically the mountains call us to Fall Convocation at Lutheridge from Monday to Wednesday sometime each fall. For those three days, we worship, we

Always being made new

2019-10-13T21:08:02-04:00September 16th, 2019|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

ReformING: Always being made new

In 2015, Pastors Lauren and Paul Carlson were called as co-pastors to Calvary, Morganton, where they would share one call, 50/50. Today, they’re still serving at Calvary and they’re still sharing one call, but now Pastor Paul is three-quarters time and Pastor Lauren is one-quarter time, but that’s not the only thing that has changed. Some of the members, who have worshiped at the 78-year-old congregation for many years, now look around the worship space and only recognize about half the congregation which has an average worshiping attendance of 120. There’s a new level of energy and excitement at

Pull up a chair!

2019-08-19T22:25:45-04:00August 19th, 2019|Categories: Campus Ministry, Mission Support Stories, News|

Pull up a chair!

“The kingdom of God is a bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at a table,” Rachel Held Evans wrote, “not because they are rich or worthy or good, but because they are hungry, and because there’s always room for more.” Held Evans, a 37-year-old best-selling Christian author, tragically died this spring after initially being hospitalized for the flu. The table seemed to be a theme throughout Held Evans’ writing. She was always quick to note that we are not the ones to set the table or prepare the feast. It’s already been given. We simply are invited to pull up a chair and dig in.

“God’s calling me to something more”

2019-07-15T22:38:54-04:00July 15th, 2019|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|Tags: |

“God’s calling me to something more”

Brad Alexander has spent the last thirteen years working as a purchasing agent for a company that installs windows, exterior doors, mirrors, and bath accessories for new construction homes. On most Sunday mornings, you can find Brad at Redeemer, Gastonia, where he’s the congregation council president, an adult Sunday school teacher, and more. (Just don’t look for him in the choir; he’s not a singer.) Victor Parrish is a retired barber and hair stylist; he’s also a lifelong church musician. Victor has been the pianist at The Arbor, Lexington, for about 16 years and helps lead all the

The good things God is doing

2019-06-17T23:23:30-04:00June 17th, 2019|Categories: Assembly News, Mission Support Stories, News|

The good things God is doing

Planning an assembly is challenging. What ministry areas need to be highlighted? What do we hope congregations will learn that can be energizing for their own ministries? The recent 2019 NC Synod Assembly was no different. While the assembly theme, Vital Congregations, was lifted up in a variety of ways, folks also learned much more about shared ministries and the good things God is doing in this synod.

Business hats or prayer shawls

2019-05-23T16:37:47-04:00May 20th, 2019|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

Photo: Emily Edwards

Business hats or prayer shawls

On a Sunday morning last June, shortly after graduating from seminary, Cassie McIntosh Overcash drove from Columbia to Charlotte to preach at a neutral site for the call committee from Grace, Thomasville. She shared, “I stopped for coffee and a chocolate pastry and ate the pastry hastily in my car. When I arrived at the church, I started to finish my coffee, but spilled it all over myself.

Take the next step

2019-04-15T19:21:46-04:00April 15th, 2019|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

Take the next step

In a quiet coffee shop in Charlotte a group of women gather regularly to play what they refer to as “retirement bridge”; basically bridge for retired people. In between hands, during deals, and at break time, their conversations tend to revolve around books being read by their book clubs, upcoming lectures or concerts, and local opportunities for service.

“We didn’t focus on debt…”

2019-02-18T12:18:23-05:00February 18th, 2019|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

“We didn’t focus on debt or budgets or guilt”

Imagine being called as an associate pastor to a thriving, suburban congregation with a thousand members, an average worship attendance of 300; a congregation with a passion for serving the community and plenty of staff and resources. Then, imagine being called as a solo pastor to that same congregation some thirty years later.

The gifts of all God’s people

2019-01-21T22:01:00-05:00January 21st, 2019|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

The gifts of all God’s people

It’s been more than 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott and delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington. Yet, it doesn’t take long to figure out that we still have lots of work to do. Any scroll through today’s news offers stories related to racial or cultural inequality.

Collards, chard, and hope

2018-12-18T08:37:50-05:00December 18th, 2018|Categories: Congregation Stories, Mission Support Stories, News|

Collards, chard, and hope

When Kristy and Don Milholin’s children were in elementary school they noticed several children experiencing food insecurity. Kristy and Don felt called to help make a difference in those children’s lives, and so in August 2009, they started the Out of the Garden Project in their home around the kitchen table. The Milholins began personally supplying 10 families with a small bag of food each Friday so that those children and their families would have something to eat over the weekend. What began in 2009 by helping 10 families with a small bag of food weekly, has now grown to the largest organization of its kind in the

Serving after the storm

2018-11-19T20:09:06-05:00November 19th, 2018|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

Serving after the storm

Hurricane Florence hit the coast of North Carolina on September 14; Hurricane Michael arrived in NC on October 11. Congregations across the synod looked for meaningful ways to serve. The youth at Christ the King, Cary, shared love with St. Paul’s, Wilmington, by making bracelets and writing notes of prayers for St. Paul’s youth after hearing about Florence’s impact on the community of Wilmington.

Stories of faith in action

2018-10-15T21:09:32-04:00October 15th, 2018|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

Stories of faith in action

On Sunday, September 23, Bishop Tim Smith traveled to St. John’s, Hudson, to install Pastor Dan Duke (not Dan Carolina…much to the bishop’s dismay) as their new pastor even though Pastor Duke is still the pastor at St. Stephen’s, Lenoir. How can that be?

“You are not alone.”

2018-09-17T12:04:37-04:00September 17th, 2018|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

“You are not alone.”

Like many of you this past Tuesday—September 11, 2018—my family watched several different 9/11 memorials and remembrances along with forecasts and news about the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence. Later in the evening, we watched an episode of Bull. (Bull is a television drama about a trial consulting firm where Bull and his team employ psychology and high-tech data to understand jurors, lawyers, witnesses and defendants to help their clients win.)

“Bishop Tim preached the resurrection!”

2018-08-20T11:30:48-04:00August 20th, 2018|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

Bob & Pastor Carrie Bishop

“Bishop Tim preached the resurrection!”

How often has your family shared milestones and life passages with your pastor or deacon over the years? Most likely, your pastor has visited you in the hospital, baptized your children, officiated at weddings, cried over divorces. Your youth and family minister or music minister has celebrated graduations with you, prayed with you, and supported your grieving when you lost loved ones. But have you ever wondered who rostered ministers turn to when their own families celebrate special occasions and need pastoral care and support?

Was it worth it?

2018-07-16T15:46:15-04:00July 16th, 2018|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

Was It Worth It?

Right there, at nearly midnight, in a small, gray dorm room with nine people perched on desks, beds, and chairs, sweaty from a very long Houston summer day, snacks and drinks everywhere…a boundary was erased.

It was worth it. Every dollar. Every minute. Every drop of sweat. Every late night. Every early morning. Every long line. Every ounce of sunscreen. It was all worth it.

Before leaving for the ELCA National Youth Gathering, I wondered on my blog about the cost of it all. Is the $1,000+ for each person a faithful use of the resources God has given us? I had decided that it was

Bring all voices to the table

2018-06-18T14:28:08-04:00June 18th, 2018|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

Bring all voices to the table

A young single woman is recently divorced and has been kicked out of her husband’s community, the boundary in Cherokee, N.C. She has no home, no job, and no food for herself and her son. She turns to the local food pantry that happens to be at Living Waters Lutheran Church, one of seven mission congregations in the NC Synod. At the food pantry this young woman meets Lisa Russell who runs the food pantry. Like a mother hen, Lisa gathers the young woman under her wings and the woman becomes a part of that community…first at the food pantry to get food, then at a

We act to end racism

2018-05-14T16:50:00-04:00May 14th, 2018|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

we act to end racism

We act to end racism

“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”

We, as a synod and national church, act and stand against racism.

A young pastor serving his first congregation in Connecticut accompanied a group of college youth to the voter registration program in Mississippi in 1964. He went as an “adult” to be a possible mature presence among the college youth running the movement (the Southern Nonviolent Coordinating Committee). 

Campus ministry makes a difference

2018-04-26T12:16:44-04:00April 16th, 2018|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

campus ministry group

Campus ministry makes a difference

By Pebbles Cloninger, member of Philadelphia, Dallas

I don’t remember much about my high school graduation—that was 35 years ago in June—but I do remember that about a week before I left for college, I received an invitation to a “Welcome to Campus” cookout sponsored by Lutheran Campus Ministry at the local Lutheran church. My parents were thrilled to know that the Lutherans knew I was headed their way and, obviously, encouraged me to attend. Along with all of the important papers I would need for that first week or so, I packed the invitation (with no intention of attending…I was 18, after all) and headed off to college.

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