The Bishop's Blotter

reflections from Bishop Bill Gohl
If you continue in my word, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free… - John 8:31
Lutheran confessional theology is clear that the Word of God is alive and at work. That theology and preaching is for proclamation. That the Law and Gospel must be clearly noted and that a sermon is literally intended to convict us and then raise the dead. As Gracia Grindal, onetime professor at Luther Seminary, often chided: a good measure of a sermon is, “Did Jesus have to die for what just got said?”
God’s word, Lutherans confess and believe, is active and alive. It is working faith through proclamation. I am convicted by the law that always accuses, the lex semper accusat, exposing once more my sinful nature. The law speaks to our brokenness and broken relationships, failure to love neighbor as ourselves, complicity in systems of oppression, attempts at self-justification and easy judgment of others, self-righteousness and willingness to dismiss those who we disagree with or find repugnant, or simply our inability or desire to follow the first commandment, to put God first.
This is the righteousness of God that drove Luther to his knees in despair. For how could he ever be able to satisfy this law?
This law convicts us, lex semper accusat, and yet that conviction brings life. For without honest conviction there is no need for the gospel, no need for Golgotha. As Paul wrote in Romans, “the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.’” The Lutheran confessional witness stands firm, this is not a faith that we can choose. It is not an easy gospel, a gospel promising prosperity and your best life, but instead is a gift that standing convicted prepares us to hear – and live – the life-giving good news.

Here's what's happening in our synod!

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

Movie and Faith Discussion

Join the Delaware-Maryland Synod Racial Justice Ministry Team on Zoom on Wednesday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. for a Movie and Faith Discussion on the comedy drama film "Smoke Signals" during Indigenous Peoples' and Native American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month. You can watch the movie free before the event on The Internet Archive, borrow it through some public libraries, rent it from Amazon or YouTube, stream it with a free trial of Showtime Prime or on Showtime Anytime, or watch it on FLiX or Showtime Family through your TV provider. You can learn more about the movie here. To sign up and receive the Zoom link and discussion guide, email Janet DeVinney

EcoPreacher Cohort

Creation Justice Ministries is partnering with The BTS Center to support, educate, and engage preachers in the integration of climate consciousness into their preaching by offering a year-long cohort of learning, companionship, and exploration. This cohort will offer monthly meetings to help preachers understand climate change and other environmental justice issues more deeply as spiritual crises that requires creative, faith-rooted action. From November 2022-November 2023, the cohort will meet on the third Thursday each month from 1-2:15 pm Eastern, beginning November 17. You can learn more and register online.

Sacred Time Advent

This Advent, you are invited to spend time in Scripture through Sacred Time Advent: Look Beyond - an online national movement of people who follow Jesus reclaiming Advent as a sacred time for Biblical reflection, conversation and prayer. You can learn more on our website, and register online - make sure to check our website for the discount code, as our synod has covered your registration fees.

Celebrating Martin Luther's Birthday

The Eric W. Gritsch Fund is hosting an evening get-together to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther on Saturday, November 12 from 4-6:30 p.m. at Zion Church of the City of Baltimore (400 E Lexington Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). They will screen the film Luther (2003), starring Joseph Fiennes, and provide some beer and light refreshments. The film will be followed by a brief Q&A, and they will have on view a few original Lutheran pamphlets and works as well. These efforts go toward the funding of Gritsch Fellowships and other charitable activities. Please RSVP by November 10 to Bonnie Brobst by email or at 410-342-0643. The cost is $15 per person (cash or check to: Eric W. Gritsch Memorial Fund).

CLAIM Cooking Class

The Coalition of Lutherans Advancing in Mission invites you to an in-person or online cooking class, Taste & See, on Friday, November 4 at 6:30 p.m. The in person class will be held at St. John's Lutheran Church (4403 Pimlico Road, Baltimore, MD 21215) or you may join on Zoom. The $30 registration fee includes the class, led by Certified Health Coach Cheryl Marshall, as well as the ingredients you will need to cook one serving of a vegan dish. For more information, to register, or to make a donation to CLAIM for their continued work, visit our website.

ELCA Draft Social Message

The ELCA's Draft Social Message on the Climate Crisis is posted for public comment, now through December 2. Social messages are ELCA social teaching documents on specific social topics; these documents shape ELCA policy and help members discern how to respond to an issue. Public feedback helps the drafters know how the document could be more clear, helpful and faithfully Lutheran. You can find the draft message here and the accompanying survey here. Questions or longer responses may be submitted by email.

Your Neck of the Woods

events happening in local congregations

St. Luke Lutheran Church (1803 Dundalk Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21222) will hold their Thankoffering and Blanket Sunday Service on Sunday, November 20 at 10 a.m. The Helping Up Mission Choir will perform during the service, and there will be a potluck afterward. For more information, contact the church office at 410-633-2526.
St. John Lutheran Church (226 Washburn Avenue, Brooklyn, MD 21225) is hosting the Canterbury Ringers, a community based handbell group, on Sunday, December 18 at 2 p.m. A freewill offering is welcomed. Parking is available on the church lot. For more information, call the church office at 410-355-7295.

The Generosity Corner

Mark your calendars: #GivingTuesday!

November 29 is #GivingTuesday!

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 making a gift towards our ministry together here in the Delaware-Maryland Synod you can participate! Mark your calendar for 11/29/2022, more details to follow.
Give now!

Save the Date!


Bookkeeper | Christ the King Episcopal (Woodlawn)
Music Minister | St. John's (Essex)

To read more about these positions or items, 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 Felix, the newborn grandson of Dave & Karen Johnson Kretschmann (former Director for Evangelical Mission) and newborn nephew of Nate Hartwig & Deacon Sarah Kretschmann (Lutheran World Relief)!

for Braylon, the newborn grandson of Pastor Kathryn Rohrbach (intentional interim)!

for Pastor Lynell Aljoe-Thurman (St. John, Pimlico), at home, recovering from pneumonia;

for Autumn, daughter of Karen & Pastor Dave Simpson (Good Shepherd, Frederick), recovering from surgery;

for Cora, daughter of Jamen and Pastor Kristi King (New Light, Dundalk), at home after a brief hospital stay; 

for Pastor Paul Winters (retired), recovering from a surgical procedure;

for Linda and Pastor Tom Perry (retired), convalescing at home;

for Jeremy Magoon, spouse of Pastor Tara Magoon (Grace, Hockessin), recovering at home from surgery;

for Pastor Gordon Narvesen (retired), hospitalized and recovering from a surgical procedure yesterday;

for Cheryl Roberson Donovan, spouse of Pastor Joe Donovan (retired), anticipating a surgical procedure;

for Virginia Clarke, mother of Cindy Redman (Synod Staff), who is receiving home hospice care;
for Bob Sutliff, Edna Rau, and Pastor Richard Stewart (Professor Emeritus, United Lutheran Seminary/Philadelphia Campus), receiving palliative care at home;
for the family and friends of Dorothy Hiner, mother of Deacon Michael Hiner (Grace, Easton), who died in Christ this week. You can view her obituary here: Dorothy A. Hiner, 1930-2022;

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 the Hamilton family, Marilyn Hembrock, Theresa Carr, Scott, Matthew, Abby, Grace Planalp, Sallie Gartside OSSD, Debbie, Casey, Ryan, Gail Wilson OSSD, Alexa, Debbie, Pastor Lura Groen, Ana Porres, Lindsay, Linda Asplin, Matthew Herzberg, Kathy, Benjamin, Pastor Harry Wolpert, Thomas, Tybron, Patricia Magwood Gambrill, Alex, Virginia, Lee, Alicia, Bobbie, Ashley Brocious, Joshua Lafferty, Elfriede Kiesling, Doris Anderson, Eli, and Deacon Laura Heller.
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