The Bishop's Blotter

reflections from Bishop Bill Gohl
You crown the year with your bounty;
The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
– from Psalm 65

Normally, I’d write to you on the eve of a National Day of Thanksgiving with an encouraging word about counting our blessings and recognizing our need and responsibility to care for our neighbors in need. Yet, with Thanksgiving just hours away, I find myself numbed by the ongoing violence in our communities, nation and world. 

In Baltimore, where our synod is headquartered, and my family and I make our home; for the eighth year in a row, the homicide rate has already topped 300. Citizens and law enforcement, alike, are dispirited and rightly outraged. My spouse and daughter, active in Baltimore Ceasefire, like many other activists for peace, are at a loss...

In Colorado Springs, LGBTQIA+ siblings have died at the hands of a man, ostensibly, fueled by hatred; a person who, because of previous behaviors, should not have been allowed to obtain a weapon. The 21st mass shooting incident in the United States this year, this attack perpetrated as the LGBTQIA+ community observed Transgender Day of Remembrance, honoring the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence; a bitter irony...

In the Wollega region of Ethiopia, an armed group killed 15 and injured hundreds during worship at the local Lutheran Church of Mekane Yesus, then went to a private home to murder the congregation’s youth leaders. Ongoing warring factions in Ethiopia have been hard for many of our Delaware-Maryland Synod siblings, this latest act of violence – in the church – especially challenging for our five pastoral colleagues whose families still make their homes in Ethiopia. The attack came three days after a truce was signed...

In the face of unchecked evil, broken by sorrow and enraged by the senselessness of such acts, we put our faith in Jesus, whose triumph over death calls us to act decisively against violence in all its forms. In faithfulness to our baptismal commitment to strive for justice and peace, we continue to counter hate and violence with advocacy for sensible gun laws, accompaniment for marginalized communities, and solidarity for peace making. We cannot let such violence be normalized, nor can we be silenced by our numbness. 
May the next year be crowned with a new bounty of peace.

Here's what's happening in our synod!

(and you can click here to submit a new announcement)

Funeral for Pastor Richard Michael

A funeral liturgy for the Rev. Richard LeRoy Michael (1946-2022), Pastor Emeritus of St. James (Union Bridge), will be celebrated on Sunday, November 27 at St. Luke's Winters (701 Green Valley Road, New Windsor, MD 21776), beginning at 1:30 p.m. Rostered Ministers and members of the Order of St. Stephen are invited to vest and process, white stoles. A visitation will be held on Saturday, November 26 from 3-5 p.m. at Hartzler Funeral Home (6 E Broadway Street, Union Bridge, MD 21791) where a fire department memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Visitation will also be on Sunday, November 27 from 12-1:30 p.m. at St. Luke’s. You may see Pastor Michael’s obituary here.

Apply for Synod Grants Now!

Did you know that several of our synod's Vision Teams have grants available for congregations and organizations? Current grant opportunities include growing and implementing innovative connections across partner ministries, creating informative and accessible ways of sharing the Gospel within a congregation and community, and helping leaders and congregations begin the process of changing the culture of church leadership, hosting church council retreats, and/or attending continuing education programming centered on church leadership and management. You can apply for any of these grants on the common application. You can also use the same form to update us about the progress of a grant you've already received.

RoadTrip Registration is OPEN!

Middle school students from across our synods are gathering at FreeRide this weekend, but their high school friends won't have to wait much longer for their chance to spend a transformative weekend at a youth event. RoadTrip will be held January 20-22, 2023 at the Delta Hotels Baltimore Hunt Valley (245 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21031), and online registration is now open! For more information, check out our website or contact Deacon Nicole Roop.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Service 2023

Mark your calendar for Sunday, January 15, 2023 at 3 p.m. to commemorate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The service, which is sponsored by our synod's chapter of the African Descent Lutheran Association, will be held at Peoples' Community Lutheran Church (6200 Loch Raven Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21239) and will feature guest speaker Dr. Tracey Durant, Executive Director of Equity with Baltimore City Public Schools. You can download the flier for more information.

Christmas at Sea

Seafarers International House will begin distributing Christmas at Sea bags to sailors who come to the Port of Baltimore, beginning this month through the 12 days of Christmas. More than 600 bags have already been assembled and delivered to the Baltimore International Seafarers Center thanks to congregations in our synod. If you would like to support this ministry, you can send a donation to Seafarers International House (123 E 15th Street, New York, NY 10003-3557), Attention: Support for Port of Baltimore Chaplain. For more information about Christmas at Sea, or to start preparing for the Valentine Cookies project, please contact Pastor Bob Schmitt, Port Chaplain.

Ecumenical Institute Courses

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute in Baltimore is offering an exciting range of graduate-level courses open to new students this Spring, including C.S. Lewis: Theology and Fiction, Introduction to Spiritual Care, and The Book of Revelation & Its Interpreters. All courses are available wherever you are: on campus, and by synchronous Zoom. Applications are also being accepted for Spring admission into the Doctor of Ministry program. Guest lecturers for the Spring DMin class include the Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen, Archbishop Wiliam E. Lori, and Bishop Walter Scott Thomas. Contact Galen Zook for more information.

Retired Rostered Minister Luncheon

All retired rostered ministers and a guest are cordially invited to an Advent Luncheon with Bishop Gohl on Thursday, December 8 from 12:15-2:15 p.m. at Carroll Lutheran Village (300 St. Luke Circle, Westminster, MD 21158). Please RSVP by this Tuesday, November 29 to Carol Lettrich, who is helping to coordinate the event, by email or at 410-804-4565.


Daniel Collins and Amelia Pakarati Collins will receive the Church's Gift of Ordination to Word and Sacrament Ministry on Saturday, November 26 at 11 a.m. The liturgy will be celebrated at Salem Lutheran Church (905 Frederick Road, Catonsville, MD 21228). Rostered Ministers are invited to vest and process, the color of the day is red. The Collinses have been called to serve in the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod.

Ellen Lichtfuss will receive the Church’s Gift of Ordination to Word and Sacrament Ministry on Saturday, January 14 at 5 p.m. The liturgy will be celebrated at Grace Lutheran Church (21 Carroll Street, Westminster, MD 21157). Rostered Ministers are invited to vest and process, the color of the day is red. Ellen has been called, by the Synod Council, to be on the pastoral team of Resurrection Parish – Immanuel (Manchester), St. Paul (Upperco), St. Peter (Alesia), St. Abrahams (Beckleysville) and Jerusalem (Bachman Valley).


The Rev. Jimmie Schwartz will be installed as Chaplain Emeritus of Carroll Lutheran Village (300 St. Luke Circle, Westminster, MD 21158) on Tuesday, November 29 at 10:30 a.m. in the Krug Chapel Auditorium. Please RSVP by Wednesday, November 23 to Pastor Stacey Brady at 443-974-8652.

Your Neck of the Woods

events happening in local congregations

On Saturday, December 3 from 11 a.m.- 2:30 p.m., Grace English Lutheran Church (6801 Valleyfield Road, Lutherville, MD 21093) will host a fashion sale featuring TaylorMarie's Apparel. Department store quality clothing from brands like Ruby Road, Erin London, Alfred Dunner, and Southern Lady will be available, along with jewelry and scarves. A mini fashion show will be held at 1 p.m. Cash, check, and credit cards (with a Maryland license) will be accepted, and you are encouraged to bring a toy to donate to Toys for Tots.

The Generosity Corner

#GivingTuesday: Double Your Impact!

This coming Tuesday, November 29, is #GivingTuesday - and every gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000. You can make a gift online here.

We invite you to consider a special gift on Giving Tuesday as we continue to build the future together. This day is after the "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" rush. It is a day that has been set apart to pause and reflect - a day that has led to a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world! And by making a gift towards our ministry together here in the Delaware-Maryland Synod, you can participate!
Give now!

Save the Date!


This section is where you'll find open positions or items that are available or being sought. To submit a classified ad, please visit the Classifieds page on our synod's website.
We pray together...

for the work of Lutheran Disaster Response, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Lutheran World Relief;
for the people of Ukraine, Russia, and the surrounding countries receiving refugees, for relief workers and refugees, and our service personnel who are deployed or on alert;
for the people of Afghanistan, Haiti, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Belarus and the Church in the Holy Land – particularly Jerusalem, for all who pray alongside family and friends who are living in the midst of fear and uncertainty;
for Pastor Lowell Thompson (retired), who is receiving rehab at a local center;
for Pastor Gordon Narvesen (retired), recovering at home after a surgical procedure;
for Melita Kaplan, daughter of Pastor David Kaplan (retired), at home after ankle surgery;
for Deacon Ron Thurman, Sr., spouse of Pastor Lynell Aljoe-Thurman (St. John, Pimlico), anticipating a surgical procedure;
for Pastor Michael Adams (Christ, Trenton), anticipating a surgical procedure;
for Pastor Don Sause (retired), receiving comfort care;
for Dale Kidd, brother of Pastor John Kidd (retired), receiving hospice care;
for the family of Pastor Richard Michael (1946-2022), who died in Christ last Thursday. Arrangements are announced near the top of this newsletter;

for the family of Virginia Clarke, mother of Synod Staff Member Cindy Redman, who died in Christ yesterday. Arrangements are pending;
for the family of ULS Professor Emeritus, Pastor Richard Stewart (1944-2022). A Memorial Service will be offered on Monday, December 5, at Christ (Upper Darby, PA) beginning at 11 a.m. His obituary may be viewed here.

for the people of Luther Chapel (Petersville), who are in a time of discernment;
for the Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, for Pastor Nelson Rabell and the Iglesia Luterana Santa María Peregrina Community, for the Sierra Pacific Synod and Bishop Claire Burkat;
and for the ongoing health, peace, and healing of Cora King, Cheryl Roberson Donovan, Pastor Paul Winters, Paul Rinehart, Linda and Pastor Tom Perry, Lou Grenagle, Shirley Lewis, Gary, Matt, the Hamilton family, Dave, Theresa Carr, Scott, Matthew, Abby, Grace Planalp, Sallie Gartside OSSD, Debbie, Ryan, Linda, Gail Wilson OSSD, Debbie, Pastor Lura Groen, Ana Porres, Lindsay, Linda Asplin, Matthew Herzberg, Kathy, Benjamin, Pastor Harry Wolpert, Thomas, Tybron, Patricia Magwood Gambrill, Alex, Lee, Alicia, Bobbie, Ashley Brocious, Joshua Lafferty, Elfriede Kiesling, Doris Anderson, Eli, and Deacon Laura Heller.
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