The Bishop's Blotter

reflections from Bishop Bill Gohl
And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you. –Psalm 39:7

Like many others, I have complicated feelings on 9-11. For the last 20 years, I have been in communities on 9-11 to preach, pray, read names, light candles, ring bells, share stories, and remember - remembering the fright of a parishioner banging on the church door, of not being able to contact family in NY and parishioners and friends who worked in and around the Pentagon, remembering the horror of images carried live around the world, remembering the naming and counting of our dead - friends whose names will never be forgotten, remembering respite care provided for clergy friends accompanying communities through a nightmare that never seems to end, remembering pilgrimages with confirmands and parishioners to Ground Zero and later the 9-11 Museum and memorials in Somerset County and Arlington.

This year, I remembered 9-11 a bit more quietly and privately. I lit candles and named my own blessed dead. I worshipped with the beloved community of Grace Lutheran Church (Westminster), where new life was celebrated in the waters of Baptism for Liesel. I didn’t display our flag, the weather didn’t permit; but despite the rain, Arwyn, Joyanne, and I made it to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, enjoying the precious gift of family and life - just being together, celebrating life, (eating many things served on a stick), and making some memories.

I haven't forgotten - I never will, but this year it was good to remember a bit more gently. 

Love to all who remember too, and fervent prayers for a lasting peace on earth

Here's what's happening in our synod!

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

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.

Bishops' Renewal Preaching Retreat

Bishop Leila Ortiz (Metropolitan Washington, DC Synod) and Bishop Bill Gohl (Delaware-Maryland Synod) are pleased to partner with our shared outdoor ministry, Mar-Lu-Ridge, to offer a retreat and renewal opportunity for Pastors and Deacons in our synods on Tuesday, October 25 for an Advent/Christmas preaching retreat led by the Rev. Javier Goitía. For more information and to register by October 14, click here.

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.
Fall is the perfect time for planting. The Delaware-Maryland Synod Creation Care Ministry has funding available for planting trees, pollinator gardens, rain gardens, community gardens, and other environmental projects. Contact Deacon Laura Heller for additional information.

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.

Bishop's Leadership Retreat

All rostered ministers, seminarians, and members of the Order of St. Stephen are invited to register for the Bishop's Leadership Retreat. The retreat begins on Sunday, October 2 with the Service of Thanksgiving at First, Ellicott City and then continues at the Claggett Center (3035 Buckeystown Pike, Adamstown, MD 21710) through Tuesday lunch. This year’s retreat will feature the Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin, President of United Lutheran Seminary, as our keynote speaker and the Rev. CeCee Mills, Assistant to the Bishop in the North Carolina Synod, as our chaplain.
Learn more and register here


Carolyn Lawrence will receive the Church’s gift of Ordination to Word and Sacrament Ministry on Sunday, September 18 at 4 p.m. The Liturgy will be celebrated at Salem Lutheran Church (905 Frederick Road, Catonsville, MD 21228). Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen are invited to vest and process, red stoles. Carolyn has been called by the Synod Council to a term call as Associate Pastor of Salem (Catonsville).
Charlie 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. Craig A. Miller will be installed as Bishop of the Upper Susquehanna Synod, ELCA on Saturday, September 17 at 2 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church (15 S 5th Street, Sunbury, PA 17801). A time of fellowship and light refreshments will follow the service. Pastors and Deacons are invited to vest and process, red stoles.

The Rev. Charlene Curtis will be installed as Chaplain of The Village at Rockville (9201 Wescott Place, Rockville, MD 20850) 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

On Sunday, September 18 at 10:30 a.m., Amazing Grace Lutheran Church (2424 McElderry Street, Baltimore, MD 21205) will kick off "Word on the Street - 25 Years of Amazing Grace," a year long celebration of God's good work in East Baltimore. Founding pastors Karen Brau and Mary Miller-Zurell will be present as well as many other special guests. Lunch will be after worship, as well as a story sharing program. Prayers and presence are encouraged!
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.
You are invited to join Calvary's Annual Fall Fest, held on September 24 from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church (16151 Old Frederick Road, Mt. Airy, MD 21771). This event will feature baked goods, jams, jellies, cider, pumpkins and our famous apple dumplings. JUST IN: a very rare doll collection was donated to the church and will be available for sale during the Fall Fest at the church yard sale area. Yard sale spaces are available, music will be provided by Jenny Terry and her band. To learn more, call 410-489-5280.
Let Me Tell You What It’s Really Likea frank conversation on living with mental illness, will be presented on Sunday, October 9 at 10 a.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (7607 Sandy Spring Road, Laurel, MD 20707). Adopting a non-traditional approach, in this one-act play the audience is addressed directly by two actors, one representing a person with bipolar disorder (Inside) and the other (Outside) playing all of the other characters (family, friends, professionals and others). Based on a series of interviews, the intention of the work (40-minute running time followed by a 20-minute Q&A with the actors) is to honestly present a broad range of experience for those who are living with an emotional and mental disability, deliver a message of hope, and strengthen the support of a compassionate community.

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 Pastor Dahl Drenning, who has completed his interim with the South Mountain Cooperative Ministry, and for Charlie Frekot, who has begun his new call with that beloved community;

for Pastor Cody Danner, who began his new ministry as a term-call Associate Pastor with the beloved community of Grace (Westminster); 

for Cora, daughter of Jaimie & Pastor Kristi King (New Light, Dundalk), recovering from a surgical procedure;

for Pastor Linda Fernandez (St. Mary, Silver Run); Sallie Gartside, OSSD (Good Shepherd, Bel Air), recovering from a surgical procedure, and Gail Wilson, OSSD, retired, anticipating a surgical procedure; 

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

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 Alexa, Marilyn Hembrock, Matthew, Abby, Buddy, Debbie, Pastor Lura Groen, Ana Porres, Lindsay, Theresa Carr, Matthew Herzberg, Kathy, Lee, Sam, Rich Shuster, Pastor Harry Wolpert, Thomas, Tybron, Patricia Magwood Gambrill, Alex, Virginia Lee, Pastor Gordon Narveson, Alicia, Bobbie, Ashley Brocious, Joshua Lafferty, Grace Schafer, Elfriede Kiesling, Doris Anderson, Eli, and Deacon Laura Heller.

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