News from the Delaware-Maryland Synod

Then Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures. -
Luke 24.45
5 things you need to know from the ELCA Churchwide Assembly
The denomination's first meeting since the pandemic saw the election of the first Asian American vice president, as well as support for the #Landback movement and a long-awaited apology.
By Emily McFarlan Miller, Religious News Service

Some Bishops and Vice Presidents from the Assembly Opening Worship
Watching backstage as more than 800 Lutherans sang hymns on the floor of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton mused, “We haven’t been singing like this for a long time together. “It’s really powerful.”
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gathered this week in Columbus for its first Churchwide Assembly since COVID-19 upended churches across the country in 2020.
The triennial gathering brings together members from all corners of the ELCA to hold elections, make declarations and consider legislation guiding the country’s largest Lutheran denomination. Their work continued unabated in Eaton’s absence Friday (Aug. 12) after the presiding bishop tested positive for COVID despite masking and vaccine requirements.
Here are some of the actions the ELCA Churchwide Assembly took.
Apology to Santa María Peregrina
Four representatives from Iglesia Luterana Santa María Peregrina in Stockton, California, traveled to Columbus to receive a public apology from Eaton during the Churchwide Assembly.

The former bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod was forced to resign after their abrupt removal of the Latino congregation’s pastor on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe sparked outcry across the denomination. Eaton’s response afterward — appointing a listening team months later, then failing to immediately act on their recommendations — also drew criticism.
Eaton said the congregation’s response was “very gracious,” even if it was hard to hear.
“I think it was a healthy thing to do, and I’m touched by the courage of those four to stand up in front of all these people and say, ‘This is how this affected us,’” she said.
Eaton said she plans to visit Iglesia Luterana Santa María Peregrina later this month and will work with the congregation, the synod and churchwide leadership to respond to requests the congregation has made.
First Asian American vice president elected
The ELCA elected Imran Siddiqui as vice president of the denomination, making him the first Asian American elected to the highest office a layperson can hold.
“This is surreal,” Siddiqui said after the final tally was announced.
The incoming vice president is a senior investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor and current vice president of the Southeastern Synod of the ELCA, which spans Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. He grew up Muslim and became Lutheran in 2011.
Siddiqui said it was “fantastic” that the top three candidates for vice president were all people of color. They included Roberto Lara Aranda, president of Asociación Luterana de Ministerios Latinos ELCA, and Tracey Beasley, a member of Reformation Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. (Travel guru Rick Steves, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood, Washington, also received one vote on an earlier ballot.)
But, Siddiqui said, “That doesn’t mean we have solved racism yet. We have a lot of work to do, church.”
Siddiqui will take office in November, according to Living Lutheran Magazine. He follows Carlos Peña, who stepped into the role after the unexpected passing of Bill Horne in 2021.
Support for #Landback movement
Voting members considered a memorial urging support for the #Landback movement.

In the end, they approved a memorial encouraging ELCA members and entities to support “creative programs of restorative justice in partnership with Indigenous peoples.” That can include returning land to the appropriate Native American nations when selling or transferring property.

The memorial also encourages ELCA members and entities to explore making land acknowledgements a part of their public gatherings, to educate themselves about the Indigenous peoples whose land they inhabit and to deepen relationships with Indigenous peoples and tribal nations.

The memorial comes as the denomination announced its Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to American Indian and Alaska Native People for the first time in person at Churchwide Assembly. The assembly also hosted a worship service designed and led by Indigenous Lutherans and an address by National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp.
Revisions to Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust
A lot has changed since 2009.
That’s when the ELCA adopted its social statement “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” which allowed Lutherans to hold differing views about same-sex relationships and opened the door for LGBTQ clergy.
Social statements are the denomination’s teaching and policy documents.
A memorial authorized a narrow review of the social statement about sexuality to make sure its wording “reflects current church understanding, church policy, civil law, and public acceptance of same-gender and gender non-conforming couples.”

A later motion asked that the denomination in particular consider the four positions of “bound conscience” expressed in the social statement. The statement allows that “on the basis of conscience-bound belief,” Lutherans may have different views about sexuality and marriage, including the view that same-sex relationships are “sinful.”

Revisions could be considered as early as the 2025 Churchwide Assembly.

Restructure the governance of the ELCA
Is it time for another Reformation?
Eaton said she thought the idea was “brilliant” when she first heard of plans to consider restructuring the governance of the ELCA, which was formed 35 years ago by a merger of three Lutheran denominations.
“Things are very different from 1980s America,” she said.
Voting members seemed to think so, too. They approved a memorial directing the ELCA Church Council to establish a Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church to reconsider the principles of the denomination’s organizational structure and the statements of purpose for its churches, synods and the churchwide organization. The memorial instructs the commission to be “particularly attentive to our shared commitment to dismantle racism.”
The commission will present its findings and recommendations to the 2025 Churchwide Assembly in preparation for a reconstituting convention.
Celebrate Karen Johnson Kretschmann!
On August 27, our Synod Staff and Synod Council will host an Open House at our Synod Office, 5699 Meridale Road, Baltimore, MD 21228, in honor of Karen Johnson Kretschmann, our Director for Evangelical Mission. Karen will be leaving our staff for a new season of ministry and discernment. The event will be at the office from 3 ‘til 6pm, with a short program at 4.30pm. You are invited to come when you can and leave when you must. An RSVP is helpful, though not required, as we make preparations for food and drink; please email or call Ms. Sheron Campbell, 410-230-2860, to let us know that you are planning to join us!
Two opportunities to help us honor Karen:
A Book of “Little Prayers”
In every meeting, Karen will often begin by saying, “may I gather us with a little prayer?” We invite you to share your favorite prayer – classic, contemporary, or of your own composition – for a book we will put together, of “Little Prayers” to gift Karen. If you have pictures or illustrations to go with the prayer, we’ll gladly receive that, too. You may send or email those prayers, pictures and illustrations to Cindy VanVliet,, no later than August 20 (note change of due date), for inclusion in that gift book.
Strategic Ministries Gift
Karen asked that any gift might be made to the Annual Ministry Fund for Strategic Ministries, resources used to strengthen our ministries that support congregations that are in places of renewal, serving diverse populations, or sustaining our commitments to accompany people who experience poverty. You may be a part of honoring Karen with a gift to the Annual Ministry Fund by sending a check to the Delaware-Maryland Synod, marked “Karen Gift” in the memo line; or by going online to,
Click “Give,” and choose “Synod Ministry Fund – Thank You Karen!” in the dropdown menu. A generous donor has agreed to match this gift, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000.00 – helping us to add to our celebration of Karen’s ministry! Questions about the gift or how to participate? Contact Pr. Dave Shank,
Celebrate Reggie Price!
Lutheran Episcopal Campus Ministry of Baltimore invites us to celebrate the Retirement of Pastor Reginald Price after 17 years of service as campus ministry staff serving Morgan State University. The celebration will take place from 12:00-2:00 pm on Saturday, August 27, at Churches of the Nativity and Holy Comforter (6112 York Rd., Baltimore MD 21212). To RSVP, please contact Pr. Laura Since at or (443) 543-6965. 
Ernie Lehr, III, will receive the Church’s gift of Ordination to Word and Sacrament Ministry on Saturday, 20 August at 11am. The Liturgy will be celebrated at Ernie’s childhood congregation, St. Mark’s (Baltimore). Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen Deacon are invited to vest and process, red stoles. Ernie has been called to be Pastor of Holy Communion (Fallston).

Cody Danner, will receive the Church’s gift of Ordination to Word and Sacrament Ministry on Saturday, 3 September at 11am. The Liturgy will be celebrated at Hope Lutheran Church (4131 Lehigh Drive, Cherryville, PA 18035). Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen Deacon are invited to vest and process, red stoles. Cody has been called by the Synod Council to a term-call as Associate Pastor of Grace (Westminster).
Dr. Nicole Roop, will receive the Church’s gift of Ordination to Word and Service Ministry on Saturday, 10 September at 4pm. The Liturgy will be celebrated at Keymar (Keysville). Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen Deacon are invited to vest and process, red stoles. Nicole has been called by the Synod Council to be Coordinator for Youth & Family Ministry for the Delaware-Maryland Synod and the Metropolitan Washington DC Synod.
Carolyn Lawrence, will receive the Church’s gift of Ordination to Word and Sacrament Ministry on Saturday, 18 September at 4pm. The Liturgy will be celebrated at Salem (Catonsville). Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen Deacon 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).
The Rev. Kelley Ketcham will be installed as Pastor for St. Mark’s (Wilmington) on Sunday, 21 August at 3pm. Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen Deacon are invited to vest and process, green stoles. An RSVP for the reception is appreciated: 302-764-7488 or

The Rev. Jonathon Moyer will be installed as Pastor for the Shore Shared Ministry of Grace (Easton) and St. Paul (Cordova) on Sunday, 28 August at 3pm. The liturgy will be celebrated at Temple B’nai Israel (7199 Tristan Drive, Easton), with a reception to follow at the Talbot Agriculture Center (10659 Hiners Lane, Easton). Pastors, Deacons and Members of the Order of St. Stephen Deacon are invited to vest and process, red stoles.
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
Lay Leaders Forum: Tomorrow, August 18
 Our August Lay Leader’s Forum will be held this Thursday (8/18) at 7 pm. The Zoom link is below. Our agenda will include:
  • Update on the Churchwide Assembly held in Columbus last week
  • Open discussion of issues and challenges that you have that the rest of us can help you navigate
 See you tomorrow! - John Auger

Lay Leader Forum Zoom Credentials:
Join Zoom Meeting:   Meeting ID: 834 5189 2612 Passcode: 867038
Party for the Planet, Hosted by our synod's Creation Care Committee!
Free community Party for the Planet at First English Lutheran Church (3807 N. Charles St) on Sunday, September 11 from 2 – 4 pm. There will be a puppet show, information about creation care, snacks, crafts for the little ones, and music. Come learn about the Earth Charter and have some fun. We will be meeting outdoors on the 39th Street side of the church. Sponsored by the Creation Care Committee of the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the ELCA. Join us!.
Mar-Lu Ridge: Upcoming Events
Walkathon: Mar-Lu-Ridge invites you to our annual Walkathon, Sept. 25 from 1-5 p.m. All are welcome to this family-oriented day on the Ridge. Enjoy the beautiful fall colors, a community meal, and walk at your own pace as we raise funds for programming and facilities.
This event is free of charge, with donations appreciated. Registration begins at 1 p.m. at the pavilion, and the walk begins at 1:30 p.m. Cookie Run: This exciting 5K returns to an in-person run on Sept. 25 beginning at 2 p.m. Please register by visiting Stay and enjoy the community meal and worship when the run is over.
All participants receive a handmade cookie medal! You are also welcome to register and participate anytime during September in the comfort of your own neighborhood.
Connected in God's Creation: Fulfilling our Call as Christians Event
Join us for a day together working toward God’s peace for all, through economic, environmental, racial and social justice. 

Our Connected in God's Creation in-person event has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 10, 2022 as we gather folks together from across our Synod to build relationships and join in kindling respect for nature, human rights, justice and peace. The event will be held at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Baltimore from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. The day of learning will include a plenary, workshops, worship and of course fellowship and time to connect!

Registration is available now, and can be accessed here. If you previously registered for this event before prior postponements, please make sure to register again. Make sure to consult the link at the top of the registration form to view the workshop offerings!
Playing with Faith Clergy Workshop
The Village at Rockville—A National Lutheran Community is hosting Playing with Faith Clergy Workshop on August 25 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This is a free workshop. Learn more by viewing this attached invitation.
Zion (Baltimore) Brats and Beer: You're Invited!
Zion (Baltimore) invites you to join them in their garden on August 26 for Beer and Brats! For more information, click here.
Living in the Presence of God Retreat: Dec. 2-4, 2022 at Mar-Lu-Ridge
“ Do Not Be Conformed to this World, but Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Minds…” (Romans 12: 2)

As people of faith, we are called to live in the world but not of the world. To live alternatively, through social justice work, healing work, work in our family, and community of faith - we will need support. To be change agents or be changed ourselves we need to be led by the Spirit and live out an inward journey as well as the outward. In this retreat we will explore contemplative gifts which lead to transformation – contemplation itself, the Spirit, Lection Divina, and devotional writings about transformation and viewing nature photography. We will do this through body prayer, guided meditation, silence, Listening to Scripture, communal conversation, artwork, singing, journaling, and opportunities to walk in nature and rest. Come, refresh your body, minds, and spirit and explore God’s presence within you. 


  • Beginning in Silence
  • Body Prayer
  • Introduction of the Theme
  • Reflection
  • Sharing
  • Closing Prayer
The cost is $195.00 for 2 night’s lodging and 6 meals

The Leader – Pastor Cathy Feil has led many retreats. She has completed The Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation’s Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats and Group Spiritual Direction.

For registration please contact: Cathy Feil, 484-636-4021 or

St. John's (Pimlico) Upcoming Events
You are invited to various upcoming events at St. John's (Pimlico)! See the links below for flyers with more information about each event.

Fish Fry Friday: August 26
Sight and Sound Theater Event: September 8
ELCA Seminaries Virtual Discernment Event
Are you or someone you know discerning a call to Seminary? The seven ELCA Seminaries are partnering together to offer a virtual discernment event on Saturday September 10 from 11am-3pm (Eastern time). Registration deadline is September 6! Please direct registrations to
Support ELCA World Hunger’s Global Farm Challenge
This summer, youth across the ELCA are participating in ELCA World Hunger’s Global Farm Challenge, a fundraising campaign to put an end to hunger by providing farming families around is an important part of Christ’s call to our church. Thanks to generous donors, all gifts to this challenge will be matched — dollar for dollar — until we reach $525,000. That means gifts will go twice as far in the work to end hunger!  You or your congregation can join in this important work as well. Learn more here:
Musicians | 
Epiphany (Baltimore)
Afterschool Coordinator | Epiphany (Baltimore)
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)
Religion Teacher | St. Martin's Lutheran School of Annapolis
Sexton | Zion (Baltimore)
Director of Worship Music | St. Paul's (Lutherville, MD)
Communications Assistant | St. Paul's (Lutherville, MD)
Teachers and Pre-K Aide | St. Peter’s (Fullerton, MD)
Keyboard Player | St. Mark's (Hagerstown, MD)
Music Director Our Shepherd (Severna Park, MD)
Digital Ministries Coordinator | New Hope (Columbia, MD)

To read more about these positions, please visit the Classifieds page on our synod's website.

Prayer Concerns
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 Presiding Bishop Eaton, Bishop Claire Burkat, and those who are recovering from Covid-19 after the ELCA Churchwide Assembly;
for the Pastor and People of St. Mark’s (Wilmington) as they celebrate new ministry at Pastor Kelley Ketchum’s Installation this weekend;
for Dave Kretschmann, spouse of Karen Johnson Kretschmann (Synod Staff), recovering from 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 BishopsPresiding 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 (Stockton) 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 Jeremy, Pastor Lura Groen, Ana Porres Dr. Kristin Witte, Matthew, 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, Barbara Harant, and Deacon Laura Heller.

With my love and prayers,

William (Bill) Gohl, Jr., Bishop
Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA
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