The Bishop's Blotter

reflections from Bishop Bill Gohl
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. –Isaiah 58:8

Over the last few days, pastors, deacons, seminarians, and members of the Order of St. Stephen Deacon have been gathered for the annual Bishop’s Leadership Retreat at the Claggett Center in Adamstown, MD. We have been strengthened by our presenters, including our keynote speaker, Dr. Guy Erwin, President of United Lutheran Seminary; and our chaplain, Pr. CeCee Mills, Assistant to the Bishop in the North Carolina Synod, ELCA; and I am grateful for the work of our synod’s Leadership Team for gathering us with rich fellowship and hospitality, especially for the significant roles that Pr. John Nelson and Cindy VanVliet played in the logistics!

A theme and anxiety shared by many of us centers around what the church might look like post-pandemic (if there is such a thing as “post-pandemic”) and what the new “normal” will be. While not ever coming to a definitive conclusion around those themes, I had the privilege to add my own thoughts and observations to the conversation.

In one of the places where I served there became a real need for an accessibility ramp from the parking lot to the sanctuary. In true blue Lutheran fashion, that need was referred to the property team who thought it would be a dandy project for the Scouts to help with. A ramp with a nearly 45 degree angle was built onto the side of the church and, for a time, was much favored by skateboarders, because it was nearly impossible for anyone in a wheelchair, or pushing a wheelchair to use – the angle was just too steep, and gravity was working against going up the ramp, and it was treacherous to come down the ramp. There was an incident on that ramp where a casket got away from the pallbearers and put a significant dent in a hearse, but that’s another story for another time.

The ramp needed to be replaced, and in that process I came to learn about angles of incline and planes of rest. Accessibility required shorter, more reasonable angles of incline and then a flat, level place where there was an opportunity rest, so that one might gather greater strength for the next incline and to leverage momentum for moving forward. 

As we live into the new normal, where it seems Covid will ever be with us, rebuilding the life of the church will challenge us to see not a 45 degree angle of where we are to a distant where we were; instead, we will need to go and grow together on more manageable shorter inclines and spending some time taking stock, resting and regaining our strength to gather our momentum for the next climb. Think shorter climbs like Rally Day into renewed faith formation; Advent into what Christmas might be after a few years of adaption, Lent into what Easter might look like, Pentecost into a renewed iteration of Vacation Bible School. 

It will only work if (1) we work together to get the momentum we need; (2) we are grateful for what God delivers – even if it isn’t what we expected – or hoped for; and (3) we give ourselves the wise permission to rest in between those inclines for the sake of taking stock, learning and gathering our strength again.

In person and online, gathered and scattered, we long to make the church accessible, inviting and welcoming to all; not for what was, but trusting God for what we are becoming.

Here's what's happening in our synod!

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

Ecumenical Institute Courses

St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute offers an exciting range of graduate-level courses and programs, including the CONNECT: Faith, Health & Medicine Graduate Certificate program, which will run again in 2023. This cohort-based program integrates faith traditions and medical practices into a holistic understanding of healthy persons, congregations, communities and institutions. You can learn more online or by contacting Galen Zook for more information.

An Invitation to Support Building Puentes

Directed by Bishop Gohl and with the unanimous support of our synod council, all individuals and congregations are invited to make a special gift to support relief in Puerto Rico through our Building Puentes ministry fund between now and Reformation Sunday, October 30.

Building Puentes is a partnership with the Metro D.C. Synod and the Caribbean Synod to give support, aid and relief to the people and ministries who need financial support now more than ever. Not one penny of this special offering will stay within our synod - every bit of the total gifts collected will go to the Building Puentes ministry fund. Thank you for your continued generosity in supporting our siblings in Christ in the Caribbean Synod.
Give now!

Youth + Family Ministry Town Hall

All who serve or volunteer with children, youth, and families are invited to the Youth + Family Ministry Town Hall on Monday, October 10 at 6 p.m. on Zoom.  Come meet Nicole Roop, the new coordinator of the Youth + Family ministry partnership between Metro D.C. and Delaware-Maryland Synods, as well as other mentors and leaders who help out with the Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO). The team will also share details about the upcoming events, the place of LYO within Youth + Family Ministry, and answer any questions you may have about this ministry. You can click here to join the Zoom meeting.

Adaptive Leadership Webinars

Our synod’s Adaptive Leadership Team conducted over 60 in person interviews and received over 130 responses to a survey last fall regarding the biggest leadership challenges we are facing in the church today. Based on your input, the team has planned webinars to offer additional training on both Adaptive Leadership and Leading Change in our congregations and ministries. The webinars will be held on Zoom at 7 p.m. on October 18, November 15, and December 13. For more information and the Zoom meeting link, visit our website.


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. Charlene Curtis will be installed as Chaplain of The Village at Rockville (9701 Veirs Drive, 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

You are invited to Sound Word - Community Musicians Share!, a benefit concert celebrating 25 years of ministry at Amazing Grace (2424 McElderry Street, Baltimore, MD 21205), on Sunday, October 9 at 3 p.m. The concert will feature Lance Cooper, Chelsea Monae, Ray Winder, Bari Lutalo, Jay Funk, Bangla, and special performances from Amazing Grace members. Tickets are available online; a limited number will be available at the door.
Several churches are hosting Blessings of the Animals, including:
  • Calvary Lutheran Church (16151 Old Frederick Road, Mt Airy, MD 21771), on Sunday, October 9 at 2 p.m. Bring your pets or a picture of your pet for a blessing. You are also invited to bring unopened pet food to be donated to the local food pantry.
  • Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd (1515 Emmorton Road, Bel Air, MD 21014) on Sunday, October 9 at 1 p.m. in the front parking lot. Please bring all pets on a leash or in a carrier, and canned pet food or toys for the Humane Society.

In observance of National Coming Out Day, Gloria Dei! Lutheran Church (461 College Parkway, Arnold, MD 21012) will be hosting OutJoy: Faithful Flourishing on Tuesday, October 11. All are invited to a night of storytelling about brave and beautiful flourishing from LGBTQ+ community members. Hors d'oeuvres and music will begin the evening at 5:30 p.m. with storytelling and liturgy at 7 p.m. More information can be found online.
You are invited to join St. Stephen's Lutheran Church (1301 N Broom Street, Wilmington, DE 19806) for their annual Peace Week event, Peace of Pizza, featuring music by the Dave Mattock Trio, on Friday, October 14 from 5-8 p.m. All will enjoy pizza, dessert, and music from 5-6:30 p.m. At 6 p.m. join a conversation with Pastor Mark Walters and Peace Week Delaware organizers. Then at 6:45 p.m. enjoy a concert by Cab Calloway high school students. This event is part of Peace Week Delaware, a statewide series of events and actions raising awareness and hope for peace in our communities, nation, and the world.
Salem Lutheran Church (1530 Battery Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230) will host their second annual Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 15 from 12-4 p.m. on the 1500 block of Battery Avenue. There will be German food, beer, live music and stuff for the kids! You can learn more online.
The Colgate Community Ministry @ St. Peter and New Light Lutheran Church invite you to celebrate Reformation Day with Beer and Hymns at Dundalk's favorite brewery, Key Brewing (2500 Grays Road, Dundalk, MD 21222), on Sunday, October 30 from 3-5 p.m. An offering will be collected to support ongoing disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico and Florida. Non-alcoholic beverages and snacks will be provided. You can learn more and RSVP on the Facebook event.

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!


Assistant Caretaker | St. Mark's (Baltimore)
Organist | St. Paul's (Fulton)
Organist | Jerusalem (Westminster, MD)

Two-seater benches needed (Baltimore, MD)

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 Taiwan, and for the devastation in Florida after Hurricane Ian;

for Rudy and Pastor Linda Fernandez (retired), who just moved to Florida in time to find their new home significantly damaged by Hurricane Ian;

for Ellen Krich, who is beginning her ministry with the people of Christus Victor (Carney), and anticipates the church's gift of Ordination to Word and Sacrament ministry; 

for Pastor Jim & Lindsay Hamilton (Church on the Square, Canton), at the birth of their daughter Magnolia – and for a difficult situation that the Hamiltons are experiencing around the physical wellbeing of their home;

for Marilyn Hembrock, spouse of Pastor Richard Hembrock (retired), anticipating a surgical procedure this week;

for Tony Magturo (Youth Director, Good Shepherd, Frederick), hospitalized for a significant infection;

for Matthew, son of Pastor Lee & Tori Brumback (St. Paul, Funkstown), who is readying to receive a course of treatment;

for Theresa Carr, spouse of Pastor Andrew Carr (St. Mark’s, Hampstead), undergoing testing;

for Fern Sudbrink, mother of Pastor Eileen Kelley-Warner (Chaplain, Carroll Lutheran Village), who is ill and at home;

for Wallace Swanson, father of Pastor Daniel Swanson (Christ, LaVale), receiving 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 of Grace Schafer, mother of Lexi & Pastor David Schafer (St. Benjamin, Westminster), who died in Christ. 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 Pastor Emily Ewing, Pastor Matt Pensinger, Abby, Grace Planalp, Debbie, Casey, Ryan, Sallie Gartside OSSD, Gail Wilson OSSD, Alexa, Debbie, Pastor Lura Groen, Ana Porres, Lindsay, Linda Asplin, Matthew Herzberg, Kathy, Cora King, Lee, Sam, Pastor Harry Wolpert, Thomas, Tybron, Patricia Magwood Gambrill, Alex, Virginia, Lee, Pastor Gordon Narvesen, Alicia, Bobbie, Ashley Brocious, Joshua Lafferty, Elfriede Kiesling, Doris Anderson, Eli, and Deacon Laura Heller.
view this email in your browser
Facebook Facebook
YouTube YouTube
Website Website
Copyright © 2022 Delaware-Maryland Synod, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp