The Bishop's Blotter

reflections from Bishop Bill Gohl
This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth –1 Timothy 2:2
It’s been called the most baffling of Jesus’ parables, this tale of the unjust steward. Some New Testament scholars suggest that Luke himself didn’t know what to make of it - so he tacked on to the end of it the assorted and rather contradictory sayings from Jesus about money. Like spare keys in a junk drawer, surely one must fit!
Perhaps Luke is right, and Jesus really is trying to say something about money. Certainly, many devote themselves to it with a breathtaking passion. Mammon is a god well-served, and wisely too. Like the greedy merchants of our Amos lesson, many can think of nothing but its claims on their life. Religion, recreation, honesty, self-respect – all must be sacrificed on its altar. “When will the sabbath be over,” they ask, “that we may sell grain?”
Would that God be served so carefully, so wisely. If we managed his affairs with the same “shrewd dealing,” think how many more friends there would be to greet us in the age to come!
Perhaps Jesus himself is the scandalous servant, playing fast and loose with the Master’s account book. The Pharisees balked at his open display of mercy. He welcomed the most unsavory of followers, and raced ahead of the customary process for repentance and forgiveness. William Murdoch writes, “this parable is a tale of the ‘roguery of grace.’ Jesus absolved debts that could never be paid. [God’s] kingdom is for everybody — short sales left and right. This Messiah never saw a friend he didn’t like.”
What the Pharisees seem to miss, as do we, is that the Son is just like that scandalous Father of his, who, as Paul writes, desires “that all should be saved and come to know the truth.”

Service of Thanksgiving this Sunday!

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. Viviane 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.

Here's what's happening in our synod!

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

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.

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.


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

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (7607 Sandy Spring Road, Laurel, MD 20707) is holding a Multicultural Celebration on Sunday, October 2 from 4-7 p.m. to share diversity with songs, music and a potluck of ethnic foods. A free will offering will be collected to benefit their Liberian Student Scholarship Fund, and there be a Fair Trade Fair going on at the same time with gifts to purchase made by artisans from all over the world.
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.

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!


Organist | Jerusalem (Westminster, MD)
Worship Musician | Living Grace (Urbana, MD)

Two-seater benches needed (Baltimore, MD)
Yamaha Organ available (Carney, 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 those in the pathway of Hurricane Ian;

for the ELCA Conference of Bishops, who are meeting this week in Chicago;
for Pastor Paul Collinson-Streng, who has completed his interim ministry with the people of Christus Victor (Carney);
for Meredith Oyen & Pastor Matt Beers (Our Shepherd, Severna Park), celebrating the birth of Magdalene Isla, earlier this week!;
for Pastor Jim & Lindsey Hamilton (Church on the Square, Canton), anticipating the birth of a child;
for Tony Magturo (Youth Director, Good Shepherd, Frederick), hospitalized for an infection;
for Pastor David Eisenhuth (Trinity, Hagerstown), at home after a brief hospitalization;
for Matthew, son of Pastor Lee & Tori Brumback (St. Paul, Funkstown), who has a surgical follow-up appointment this week;
for Fern Sudbrink, mother of Pastor Eileen Kelley-Warner (Chaplain, Carroll Lutheran Village), who is ill and at home;

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 last 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 Eli, Grace Planalp, Debbie, Casey, Ryan, Sallie Gartside, OSSD, Gail Wilson OSSD, Alexa, Marilyn Hembrock, Matthew, 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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