Why should we Lutherans care?
Why should we Lutherans care about the U.S. Virgin Islands? A challenge from Prince of Peace, Greensboro. Most importantly, we Lutherans should care about the Virgin Islands (the three-island territories’ capital is on St. Thomas known as “Charlotte Amaile,” St. Croix and St. John’s) because these residents are people of God who are suffering in immeasurable ways due to recent storms. Secondarily, an overwhelming number of indigenous residents of the Virgin Islands have Lutheran roots dating back to the 1600’s. The Danish Lutheran Church formed a congregation (albeit for the White plantation workers) in 1666. Frederick Evangelical Lutheran is now the second-oldest ELCA congregation in continual existence. There are six other Lutheran congregations on the U.S. Virgin Islands: a second congregation on St. Thomas; four on St. Croix, and one on St. John’s.
If one were to drive to the parsonage of Frederick Church—sitting on a hill overlooking the port of “Charlotte Amaile”—one would see a parking space designated: FOR THE PASTOR OF FREDERICK LUTHERAN. On the other side (of the very steep steps) is a sign: FOR THE GOVERNOR OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS. The residence of the pastor of Frederick Church and the administrative offices of the Governor are literally right across from one another. That is an example of how deeply-rooted Lutherans are in the Virgin Islands!
The Mercy and Justice Team of Prince of Peace, Greensboro, will be sponsoring a love offering in the congregation in response to Bishop Smith’s request to financially help our siblings in Christ in the Caribbean Synod. Bishop Tim notes that any monetary support to Lutheran Disaster Relief is for immediate survival needs of food and shelter, and we as a synod can do more to help our siblings in the ELCA. Bishop Tim says,
Bishop Lozada has told us that he could use resources in his synod office to help pay pastors’ salaries during the recovery, help repair or rebuild church facilities, and simply to use at his discretion in these uncertain times. If you want to make contributions for these purposes, please send monetary gifts to the NC Synod and we will forward them to the Caribbean Synod office. Make checks to “NC Synod, ELCA,” note “Caribbean Synod relief,” and then mail to: NC Synod, 1988 Lutheran Synod Drive, Salisbury, NC 28144. Or you may give online from our synod website by choosing “Domestic Dis. Relief” and noting “Caribbean Synod relief” in the optional memo field, particularly to care for the pastors of the synod.
Please join your siblings in Christ at Prince of Peace, Greensboro, in this worthy effort.
The Rev. Dr. Julius Carroll
Pastor, Prince of Peace Lutheran, Greensboro, NC