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Operation Mask Mission

2020-09-14T19:18:21-04:00September 14th, 2020|Categories: Congregation Stories, Mission Support Stories|

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.

Born from the pandemic—something new!

2020-07-20T21:08:22-04:00July 20th, 2020|Categories: Congregation Stories, Mission Support Stories|

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

Finding new ways

2020-06-15T13:12:33-04:00June 15th, 2020|Categories: Congregation Stories, Mission Support Stories|

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.

From daily bread to abundant thanks

2020-05-18T22:23:30-04:00May 18th, 2020|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

From daily bread to abundant thanks

“People are often overwhelmed with thanks, tears in their eyes, and joy in their hearts as we bring an abundance of food to them.”

The Rev. Chantal McKinney, pastor of Christ’s Beloved Community (CBC), Winston-Salem, shares reactions from neighborhood folks who received food from the CBC food pantry. Amid the difficult news and hardships all around us, there is good news to share in the NC Synod this Easter season! We have eight congregations throughout the synod who received $500 ELCA World Hunger Daily Bread Grants.

“God is in the room”

2020-03-17T17:13:21-04:00March 16th, 2020|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

“God is in the room”

Almost five hundred middle and high school students gather in a ballroom in Greensboro on a weekend in February. Some are laughing and chatting with their friends from church, some are anxiously waiting to see what this is all about, some are greeting old and new friends across the room, and some are hanging out in the hallways. And then the music starts…it might be a familiar camp song with a slightly different sound thanks to a full band. Maybe it’s Head to the Heart”, “Old Church Choir”,

A time for the Gospel in action

2020-02-17T15:09:29-05:00February 17th, 2020|Categories: Congregation Stories, Mission Support Stories, News|

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.

“I believe that I am a better pastor…”

2020-01-20T18:32:16-05:00January 20th, 2020|Categories: Mission Support Stories, News|

“I believe that I am a better pastor…”

Pastors Mary and Tim Canniff-Kuhn concluded their final summer as program directors at Lutheridge in 2019. For 25 summers, they nurtured, trained, and equipped an entire generation of summer staff with skills that have changed the church, our synod, and the world well beyond the boundaries of camp. “I believe that I am a better pastor for having spent summers under their leadership and guidance,” says Lauren Carlson, pictured above as a counselor and now serving as pastor at Calvary, Morganton.

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.

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