The Bishop's Blotter

reflections from Bishop Bill Gohl
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” –Luke 10:27

Yesterday, early in the morning, conversations with our colleagues at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service began around the news report that Governors Abbott (Texas) and DeSantis (Florida) were coordinating another round of moving migrant and asylum-seeking immigrants, by airplane, to Coastal Airport in Georgetown, Delaware. There was talk of doing that in order that these siblings caught up in the broken processes of our immigration system might be, essentially, dropped on the doorstep of President Biden’s family home in Rehoboth Beach. (source: Delaware, White House preparing for potential migrant flight to arrive near Biden home | Fox News)

The bishop who ordained me to Word and Sacrament ministry, Stephen Paul Bouman, sums it up well: “The question is not, ‘Is she illegal?’ The question is, ‘Is she my neighbor?’” Rather than get drawn into partisan bickering about it all, we were able to network with partners from LIRS, the Episcopal Church in Delaware, our Delmarva North and South Conferences congregations and ministries, Delaware Emergency Management Agency, and Governor Carney’s office – and within hours, we were ready, “boots on the ground,” to feed, clothe and shelter these neighbors who would be used as political chattel and pawns in a very dangerous, re-traumatizing game. No idea where these neighbors would be coming from, and when they would arrive, we had all of the resources in place to respect their human dignity and to welcome them for a sojourn on our synod’s territory. 

I am so grateful for the on the ground organizing and leadership of Pastor Paige Evers, Dean of the Delmarva N & S Conferences, and for our Delmarva Clergy and Congregations for immediately mustering and offering resources, shelter and space. As the church, we don't always get it right - but yesterday I wept a few times over the sacrifice and generosity offered by our folks, in partnership with Ecumenical and Interfaith colleagues. 

Should such a flight materialize in Delaware (or Maryland), without prejudice, we will care for these neighbors, as Christ in our midst.

Here's what's happening in our synod!

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

Get Youth + Family Ministry Updates

Interested in hearing about Youth + Family Ministry events in and around the Metro D.C. and Delaware-Maryland Synods? Please complete this online form to be included on our Youth + Family Ministry email list and receive these types of communications.  Questions? Contact Dr. Nicole Roop, Youth + Family Ministry Coordinator.

Abide Small Groups for Young Adults

Abide is back with new groups! These weekly, virtual small groups are led by young adults from around the ELCA. Groups meet via video call for approximately one hour over the course of a month. Each group will be centered around a specific topic and participants may choose one of the three topics each month. The deadline to register for a group is October 1, and you can learn more about the upcoming topics and register online.

Lifelong Learning at ULS

October has many opportunities for lay and rostered leaders to grow and learn at United Lutheran Seminary. You can visit the Kindling Faith page on their website where all the continuing education events are shared via the ULS Online Calendar link. Most events have an online option, so even if you’re further afield, you can still engage.

Service of Thanksgiving

A Service of Thanksgiving will be shared to celebrate the beginning of Bishop Gohl’s second term. Bishops are not “reinstalled” (as long as they’re still under warranty, anyhow!), but we gather around Word and Sacrament, Prayer and Praise to ground these next years in the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit! The liturgy will be held at First Lutheran Church (3604 Chatham Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042) on Sunday, October 2 at 3 p.m. The Rev. Vivianne Thomas-Breitfeld, former bishop of the South Central Synod of Wisconsin, will preach. A reception will follow. Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen Deacon are invited to vest and process, red stoles. You can RSVP and receive updates through the Facebook event.

Middle School Youth: Save the Date!

All students in grades 6-8 are invited to come together at Camp Letts in Edgewater, Maryland for a middle school youth retreat. The retreat will be held November 18-20, 2022. Watch this newsletter and our Facebook page for more information!

Creation Care

The Creation Care Ministry says thank you to all who attended Connected in God’s Creation this past weekend. It was a wonderful day of learning about the Earth Charter and how we can work together to be good stewards of our Earth. If you were not able to attend in person, you can watch videos on some of the workshop topics here.
Each year from September 1 to October 4, Lutherans led by The Lutheran World Federation join other Christian communities for the Season of Creation, a worldwide celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home. As followers of Christ from around the globe, we share a common call to care for creation. We are co-creatures, and part of all that God has made. Our wellbeing is interwoven with the wellbeing of the Earth. We rejoice in this opportunity to safeguard our common home and all beings who share it. This year, the theme for the season is "Listen to the Voice of Creation." Resources, including a celebration guide, webinars, prayer services, a Facebook page, and photos, are available online.

Celebrate at Mar-Lu-Ridge!

Mar-Lu-Ridge invites you to a day of celebration on Sunday, September 25 beginning at 1 p.m. The day will start with a Walkathon and Cookie Run to raise gifts in support of Camperships and Facilities. A community meal will be provided for all and there will be a worship service to dedicate our new chapel windows and accessible ramp. You can learn more and register online.

Ecumenical Institute Lecture

On Thursday, September 22 at 7 p.m., St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute (5400 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210) will host a lecture by David Cloutier, Ph.D., titled, "Is Anything Natural? Understanding the Concept of Nature in an Age of Frenzy." The event is free and open to the public, and will be held in person and also broadcast via Zoom. More information and registration is available online

The Village at Augsburg Fundraiser

The Village at Augsburg is holding a bull and oyster roast in celebration of their 130th anniversary on October 15 from 1-5 p.m. at Martin's West (6817 Dogwood Road, Baltimore, MD 21244). All proceeds benefit the Resident Care Fund and Remember Me fund for memory care. You can learn more and purchase tickets online.

Lutheran Historical Society Gathering

On Saturday, October 15 from 9 a.m.-noon, the annual meeting of the Lutheran Historical Society of the MidAtlantic will take place on the Gettysburg campus of United Lutheran Seminary (61 Seminary Ridge, Gettysburg, PA 17325). Archivist Victoria Jesswein and historian Maria Erling will address the topic of "Archiving Covid." The morning will also include a presentation by Matthew Borrasso on his award-winning essay on the exegetical work of Martin Franzmann, the 20th century American Lutheran theologian and hymnwriter. More information and registration forms are available online.

News from Portico

2023 Update on Portico Health Rates and Plan Changes
  • ELCA-Primary health contribution baseline rate will increase 3%1, the same rate increase as last year, which was the lowest in eight years. The 3% increase also applies to sponsored members receiving the ELCA Medicare-Primary health benefit Standard option.
  • ELCA-Primary Gold+ option deductibles will increase to $1,500 for member only, $2,250 for member and child(ren) and $3,000 for member and spouse or member, spouse, and child(ren). Coinsurance, out-of-pocket limits, and prescription drug cost-share will not change.
Prepare for 2023 Annual Enrollment
As you prepare to make selections in October, keep these things in mind:
  • Sponsoring employers (congregations and organizations) will selection the option they will offer their employees October 3-14. Your registered EmployerLink user can access the 2023 Decision Guide and their Custom Comparison Report to help determine 2023 costs and options. Note: any organization that does not make a selection will be assigned Silver+ (A) to offer their plan members the ability to choose the coverage that works best for them.
  • Sponsored members, watch for an email from Portico with specific information about 2023 Annual Enrollment, including when your selection period will be open. 
Invest in Your Emotional Health
Boost your emotional health this fall by joining live webinars led by Learn to Live’s clinical team. September’s sessions – which run 15 or 30 minutes – focus on Time Management; Staying Refreshed and Preventing Burnout; and Avoiding Negative Thinking Traps. Learn more about the webinars here and use the code PORTICO to register. 
If you have any questions, please reach out to Barbara Debski, Regional Representative from Portico.


Charles Frekot will receive the Church’s gift of Ordination to Word and Sacrament Ministry on Saturday, September 24 at 3 p.m. The Liturgy will be celebrated at New Hope Lutheran Church (8575 Guilford Road, Columbia, MD 21046). Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen are invited to vest and process, red stoles. Charlie has been called to the South Mountain Cooperative, Bethany (Brunswick) and St. Paul's (Burkittsville).

Dr. Nicole Roop will receive the Church’s gift of Ordination to Word and Service Ministry on Saturday, October 8 at 4 p.m. The Liturgy will be celebrated at Keysville Lutheran Church (7301 Keysville Road, Keymar, MD 21757). Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen are invited to vest and process, red stoles. Nicole has been called by the Synod Council to be shared Youth + Family Ministry Coordinator for both the Delaware-Maryland and Metro DC Synods.

Ellen Krich will receive the Church’s gift of Ordination to Word and Sacrament Ministry on Saturday, October 22 at 5 p.m. The Liturgy will be celebrated at Epiphany Lutheran Church (4301 Raspe Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21206). Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen are invited to vest and process, red stoles. Ellen has been called to Christus Victor (Parkville).


The Rev. Dr. Eric T. Campbell will be installed as Chaplain of The Village at Augsburg (6825 Campfield Road, Baltimore, MD 21207) on Sunday, September 25 at 3 p.m. Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen are invited to vest and process, green stoles.

The Rev. Charlene Curtis will be installed as Chaplain of The Village at Rockville (9701 Veirs Drive, Rockville, MD 20850 - please note the corrected address!) on Saturday, October 29 at 3 p.m. Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen are invited to vest and process, red stoles. 

The Rev. Dr. Paul Baglyos will be installed as Lead Pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church (31 E Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701) on Saturday, October 29 at 5:30 p.m. Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen are invited to vest and process, red stoles. 

The Rev. Matthew Pensinger will be installed as Senior Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church (21 Carroll Street, Westminster, MD 21157) on Sunday, October 30 at 3 p.m. Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen are invited to vest and process, red stoles.

Your Neck of the Woods

events happening in local congregations

Zion Lutheran Church (400 E Lexington Street, Baltimore, MD 21202) will host a Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, October 9 at 1 p.m. in their church garden. For more information you can download the flier.

Zion will also host their annual Sour Beef Dinner on Thursday, October 13 (dine in or carryout) and Friday, October 14 (carryout only). All meals must be ordered and paid for by October 7. For more information and to place your order, visit the website.
Evangelical Lutheran Church's Used Book Sale is back! Sales benefit Operation Second Chance. The sale will be held at the church (31 E Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701) at the following times:
  • September 23 - 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • September 24 - 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • September 25 - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. ($5 bag sale)
For information, contact Susan or visit the webpage.

The Generosity Corner

A Special Thank You From Bp. Gohl

Over $85,000 Raised To Support The Ministry Of Our Synod!

Dear Friends in Ministry,

We concluded an offering recognizing the ministry of Bishop Gohl on July 31st.

I am happy to report that we met and exceeded our stretch goal of raising $70,000 in support of the ministries of our synod and in total received over $85,000 in gifts and pledges towards our Annual Synod Ministry Fund. These gifts will allow us to live out Christ's Great Commission in new and creative ways. Ministries that would not be possible without this additional financial support. 

Thank you once more to all who participated in making this a success and I invite you to watch this special message from Bishop Gohl!!

The Reverend David C. Shank, CFRE
Assistant to the Bishops for Generosity
Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA
Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, ELCA

Save the Date!


Worship Musician | Living Grace (Urbana, MD)
Administrative Assistant | St Paul (Jefferson, MD)
Musicians | Epiphany (Baltimore, MD)
Afterschool Coordinator | Epiphany (Baltimore, MD)
Organist and Choir Director | St. Martin's (Annapolis, MD)
Worship Musicians | St. John's (Hagerstown, MD)
Lead Teachers | Prince of Peace Creative Learning Center (Baltimore)
Communications Assistant | St. Paul's (Lutherville, MD)
Teachers and Pre-K Aide | St. Peter’s (Fullerton, MD)
Keyboard Player | St. Mark's (Hagerstown, MD)
Yamaha Organ available

To read more about these positions or items, please visit the Classifieds page on our synod's website.
We pray together...

for domestic and global COVID infection rates, frontline workers; for the people of Ukraine, Russia, and the surrounding countries receiving refugees, for relief workers and refugees, the witness of the church, and our service personnel that 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 the work of Lutheran Disaster Response and Lutheran World Relief after Hurricane Fiona caused devastating damage in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and after the very large earthquakes in Taiwain;

for Charlie Frekot, who will receive the Church’s gift of Ordination to Word and Sacrament Ministry on Saturday; 

for Pastor Linda Fernandez (St. Mary, Silver Run), who will retire this weekend, after 40 years of ordained ministry;

for our Synod Council, who will meet this Saturday; and the ELCA Conference of Bishops, who will meet next week in Chicago;

for Buddy, son of Elaine & Pastor Virgil Cain (Trinity, Smithsburg), recovering from a broken wrist after just having recovered from a broken foot;

for Charley Barnhart, OSSD (Keysville, Keymar), recovering from cataract surgery;

for Bob Sutliff and Pastor Richard Stewart (Professor Emeritus, United Lutheran Seminary/Philadelphia Campus), receiving palliative care at home;

for the family of Grace Schafer, mother of Lexi & Pastor David Schafer (St. Benjamin, Westminster), who died in Christ earlier this week. Her obituary may be viewed here: Obituary of Grace S. Schafer, 86 | Catagnus Funeral Home & Cremation Center

for the people of Luther Chapel (Petersville), who are in a time of discernment;

for the ELCA Conference of Bishops, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, for Pastor Amy Thoren and the St. Andrew’s Chapel and Student Center, for Pastor Nelson Rabell and the Iglesia Luterana Santa María Peregrina Community, for Pastor Hazel Salazar-Davidson, for Pastor Megan Rohrer, for the Sierra Pacific Synod and Bishop Claire Burkat;
and for the ongoing health, peace and healing of Debbie, Casey, Ryan, Sallie Gartside, OSSD, Gail Wilson, OSSD Alexa, Marilyn Hembrock, Matthew, Abby, Buddy, Debbie, Pastor Lura Groen, Ana Porres, Lindsay, Theresa Carr, Matthew Herzberg, Kathy, Cora King, Lee, Sam, Rich Shuster, Pastor Harry Wolpert, Thomas, Tybron, Patricia Magwood Gambrill, Alex, Virginia, Lee, Pastor Gordon Narveson, Alicia, Bobbie, Ashley Brocious, Joshua Lafferty, Elfriede Kiesling, Doris Anderson, Eli, and Deacon Laura Heller.
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