event at Martinsburg

Education for Clergy & Laity
West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(18 September 2023)

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We've moved all the continuing education to this new page because continuing education is not just for clergy. Both laity and clergy will find offerings here. Some are for laity only. Some are for clergy only. Some are for both. That said, there is denominational encouragement for clergy (and even requirements for certain classes of clergy). If you are clergy (or a congregational mutual ministry committee member), please review the general introduction for clergy continuing education.

The education event matrix below is a quick way to skim our offerings. Click on the linked text to learn about each. Check beck periodically to find out what new thing is being offered.

Some educational events are recorded and available for viewing at a later date. Beneath the education event matrix, you find the archives matrix.

We've had a lot of events that are now behind us and have begun work on the next series. Check back again and do be sure to take a look at the offerings from our colleagues across Region 8. Those are posted separately on Facebook (click here for more info).


Upcoming Events Date
Cusanus Society: War and Peace in the Late Middle Ages
28 Sept - 1 Oct 2023
Gettysburg Seminary (Hybrid)
Synod Clergy Cont. Ed Fall 2023: Mark on Mark
3-5 Oct 2023
Blackwater Falls SP
Clergy, SAMs, BLWL/SLWLs (licensed and in training), and Seminarians
Centro Teológico Luterano Multicultural: October Intensive
5-7 Oct 2023
Rural Rostered Leaders Retreat
26-27 Oct 2023
Gettysburg Seminary
Clergy and SAMs
Sixteenth Century Society Conference
26-29 Oct 2023
SCALD III (Symposium for Central Appalachian Lutheran Dogmatics)
9 Nov 2023
Morgantown, WV
Echoes of the Oratory: A Gregorian Chant-Along
11 Nov 2023
Cumberland, MD
FCTE Region 8 Retreat
15-17 Nov 2023
FCTE Cohort
Region 8
Experience an Early American-Style Singing School
17 Feb 2023
Cumberland, MD All
Lutheran Historical Conference
10-12 Oct 2024

Don't forget to check out the offerings from the other synods of Region 8

Recorded Past Events Date
Talking about Economics in Uncertain Times 24 Aug 2023
WVCC: Dementia-Friendly Worshiping Communities Webinar
8 Dec 2021
Zoom & Facebook
ELCA: Anger Webniar
30 Nov 2021

Clergy Continuing Ed
Page Map

In General

WV-WMD typically holds two main clergy cont. ed events each year, one in fall, the other in winter. More about that below.

It is worth noting that CA97.2.7(a)(1)(a), an action of the Churchwide Assembly, encourages "a minimum of 50 contact hours per year of intentional continuing education, or 150 contact hours each three-year period." N.B., a contact hour is defined (as found on the rostered leader's annual report to bishop) as 50 minutes of class time or the equivalent. Time in worship, at meals, etc. does not count as contact hours. You may review the Report on Life-Long Learning and Development for Faithful Leaders (1997), the recommendation of the Church Council, the ensuring debate, and the final action in the Minutes of the Churchwide Assembly 1997 (excerpted).

Who would go to a doctor or a lawyer who did not engage in continuing education? Arguably, the stakes are higher when it comes the the clergy. Congregations should, therefore, not think of continuing education as a reward or a benefit but as an investment. Mutual ministry committees should discuss continuing education plans with their clergy and support education that will advance the professional develop their clergy and, in turn, advance the ministry.


Since 2000, the WV-WMD Synod has recommended sabbaticals for clergy every seventh year of service in place. Mutual ministry committees and call committees should review the Synod's recommendation. It can be found linked on the Clergy Compensation page.

Region 8Region 8 Continuing Ed Sharing

There has been lots of new postings on the Region 8 fb page. It's good to see this much activity, and it is especially good to see us all moving beyond our synodical silos.

Synods across Region 8 hold continuing education events, and, on occasion, the Region sponsors an event jointly. It is often, though not always, possible to join another synod for its event. Be sure to check with the appropriate sponsor. If, however, the event is listed on the Region 8 Facebook Page, you may assume that it is open to clergy from across the Region. Check it out.

4 of 8

NWPA, Allegheny, USS, and WV-WMD are teaming upon a variety of projects that are of specific interest to those of us with small cities, towns, and rural territory. These projects include some continuing education offerings.

First Call Theological Education

CA95.6.55 ...To require, by the fall of 1997, that all newly rostered pastors and lay leaders participate, throughout their first three years of ministry under call, in structured programs of theological education, designed and supervised by their synods, according to churchwide standards;....

The 1995 ELCA Churchwide Assembly mandated continuing education for the first three years of called ministry. The synods of Region 8, compacting, even during the preceding two-year pilot phase, to establish a region-wide approach, developed a program featuring an annual plenary retreat and regular geographical cohort groups. The annual 3-day retreat is held in early November not far from Gettysburg, PA. The geographical cohort is currently run on a synodical basis with the bishop having direct oversight. The cohort has begun meeting on a nearly monthly basis. All new first-call pastors and deacons and their respective congregations or agencies will be contacted by the bishop with details related to FCTE. The national policy document can be downloaded here.

FCTE Region 8 Plenary

When information becomes available, we'll post it. We are planning for 15-17 November 2023, The Rev. Dr. Laura Barbins keynoting.

The Biannual Synod Clergy Continuing Ed Event

Synod Clergy Cont. Ed Events Team
Pr. Sherri Schafer (UOVC), Chair
Pr. Ben Erzkus (MVMC)
Pr. Darick Biondi (OKVC)
Pr. Daniel Collins (PC)

The Planning Team

At the Winter 2018 Synod Clergy Cont. Education Event, the presbyteral college elected to establish a committee for the design, planning, and management of synod sponsored clergy continuing education with one representative from each of the four conferences. Synod Clergy Cont. Ed, as we currently have it configured, provides approximately 12-17 per year, assuming attendance at both events.

Serving on the the Continuing Ed Committee we have Sherri Schafer (UOVC), and Ben Erzkus (MVMC), Darick Biondi (OKVC), and Daniel Collins (PC), with Bp. Riegel as an advisory member. Synod clergy should feel free to talk to their conference's team about ideas and concerns related to continuing ed.

Thanks are owed to The Revs. Christine Olson (past chair), Paul Schafer, Casey Linemann, Ryan Heycock, Ruth Bullwinkle, Kevin Mackey, Randy Richardson, and Sally Bartling for their now concluded service on the team.

Mark on Mark fbFall 2023: Mark on Mark

We welcome The Rev. Dr. Mark Vitalis Hoffman as lecturer for our next continuing ed event will be held 3-5 October 2023 at Blackwater Falls State Park. MVH, as he is affectionately known by his students, will be lecturing on the Gospel of Mark.

This event is open to clergy, seminarians, and lay preachers (licensed and in training) leaders. Spouses are welcome to join in as well. You may share this event with your colleagues in other synods.

Blackwater Falls SP is a beautiful venue. To learn more about the recreational opportunities at the park, click here. You may want to bring your family and even come a day or two early or linger to enjoy the park.

You may follow the event on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/6515763551803379)


The schedule for the continuing education event has been set. We will be at Blackwater Falls during their peak foliage. It should be a beautiful time to hike, sleep, or vegetate. The team designed the agenda with plenty of free time so you can recharge your batteries. Should it decide to rain during the time of the event, the schedule may be adjusted.

  • Tuesday - check in at 4pm
    • Gather at 6 for welcome
    • Presentation #1: 6:30-8 
  • Wednesday - Presentation #2: 9am - 10:30
    • Bishop's time 10:45-11:30
    • Worship 11:45 - 12:30 (presenter preaching)
    • Free time from 12:30-7pm
    • Presentation #3: 7pm - 8:30pm
  • Thursday - Presentation #4: 10-11:30am
    • Wrap-up 11:30-12 noon

Tuition/Registration Fee

The synod will be charging a $100 per person (clergy or lay leader) fee for registration fee for this event. Please bring a check to the event made out to "WV-WMD Synod." If your family will be with you but not participating in the continuing education, there is not a registration fee for them. If, however, they are attending the lectures, they must register and pay the tuition. Room & board is not included in the registration fee.

Please register online (https://forms.office.com/r/Chuq4jditU) so that we can make appropriate arrangements for the lecture hall (and other items) and also so that we can contact you should there be any change in plans (i.e., the presenter coming down with COVID).

WV-WMDers, if you need help covering the costs of the event, please reach out to Bishop Riegel or DEM Pastor Sherri.

Blackwater FallsRoom & Board

The reserved bloc of rooms being held at Blackwater Falls Lodge was released 2 September 2023. It may still be possible to get a room at the lodge or even a cabin, but it is color season. No guarantees at this point.

  • You can make reservations online (on the Blackwater Falls State Park interface), or you may call 304-259-5216 to make your reservation.
  • Rooms in the park lodge are $125 each per night plus tax (last we checked) — of course, you can always find someone to share the room with and cut your cost in half.
  • Please be prepared to make payment when reserving room.
  • Cabins are also available and (last we looked were) listing at $298 per night plus tax, though rates may change.

One can also find lodging at

  • The Billy Motel,
  • Alpine Lodge,
  • Bright Morning Inn,
  • Canaan Valley Resort, or
  • any one of several B&Bs in Davis, Thomas, or Canaan Valley.

Meals will be on your own. There is a restaurant in the Blackwater Falls Lodge. There are some dining establishments in Davis, Thomas, and Canaan Valley, but check on hours before venturing out.

Jake JacobsonAAR: Winter/Spring 2023

The Rev. Harold "Jake" Jacobson joined as 15-17 February 2023 at North Bend State Park, Cairo, WV, presenting under the theme, "Walking with God Today: What Now?" Sessions looked at critical issues facing the church today and provided some directions and tools for the future.

  • Session 1 — Walking Out of COVID —This session looked at our experiences and learnings during the COVID pandemic and their implications for the church of the 21st Century.
  • Session 2 — Blessings and Curses — Blessings of our Lutheran faith tradition come in conflict with the dominant religiosity of 21st Century culture.
  • Session 3 — Walking the Walk — Implications of our Lutheran theology and spirituality on our creating people of faith and nourishing our faith communities.
  • Session 4 — Walking the Walk/Wrap Up
At the mass, reaffirmation of ordination vows was included as a rite. The bishop's sermon included an exploration of one of the themes found in Lutheran Scholasticism related to why we ordained, that theme being "for the sake of conscience," for the sake of the conscience of the hearer and for the sake of the conscience of the preacher.

Past Events

Peruse our past events and get a sense of what we do.

  • "My Burden Is Light: Making Room for Jesus in Preaching" with The Rev. Dr. Craig Satterlee
  • "Grief" with Sr. Carol Riley
  • "St. Paul and early Christianity" with The Rev. Dr. Mark Vitalis-Hoffman
  • Hybrid Church with The Rev. Dave Daubert
  • Best Practices for Live Streaming with The Rev. Matt Day
  • Best Practices for Pandemical Worship with The Revs. Susan Claytor, Linday Muhly, Ian Reid, and Micahel Wright
  • Racial Sensitivity raining with Ron Scott
  • Creative Christian Education and Empowering Families in Times of Covid with The Rev. Jess Felici


The LARCUM 2023 is behind us, having convened under the theme, "Evangelism?" and planning has begun for LARCUM 2024. We will anticipate convening at the John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston in May 2024. The topic, in general terms, will be Holy Communion. Learn more about LARCUM on the LARCUM page.


The Symposium for Central Appalachian Lutheran Dogmatics (SCALD) is designed as a day of theological discussion, employing the symposium model. Presenters give papers with discussion of those papers open to all participants. It is about providing an intellectually engaging and profitable opportunity for rank and file pastors and lay theologians (amateur and professional) to test their all too often private ruminations among those capable of being critical and convivial at the same time.


SCALD III will be held 9 November 2023 in Morgantown, WV. For details, including registration and paper proposals, visit the SCALD page.

Civic Life and Faith

The Task Force on Government and Civic Engagement has released A Study Curriculum on Civic Life and Faith. This study may be used by groups and individuals. For more information and access to the curriculum, click here.

Other Opportunities

War and Peace in the Late Middle Ages

The 19th Biennial Conference of the American Cusanus Society and the International Seminar on Pre-Reformation Theology will be hosting a conference at Gettysburg Seminary under the title, "War and Peace in the Late Middle Ages." The event will be held both in-person on the campus and virtually, Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, 2023.

Plenary lectures

  • Anne Marie Wolf, University of Maine-Farmingham
  • Philip Stump, Lynchburg University

Banquet program: Cormorants Fancy, Irish-Scottish Band

This event is open to anyone who is interested. It is one of the best high-powered scholarly conferences in the region.

For registration information and other details, contact +Riegel (bishop@wv-wmd.org or text 304-363-4030).

Centro Teológico Luterano Multicultural: October Intensive

An invitation to its October intensive has been extended by Wartburg Seminary's CTLM. Led by Ruben Duran, Senior Director, Multi-Ethnic Ministries and Leadership Development Christian Community and Leadership Home Area, the intensive will focus on Latine Ministry.

  • Is there a growing Latine community in your area?
  • How is your church equipping itself to enhance its cross-cultural ministry among Latine people?

Sessions will be held by Zoom:

  • October 5, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. CDT (6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. EDT)
  • October 6, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. CDT (6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. EDT)
  • October 7, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CDT (9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EDT)

You are invited to join a group of learners and practitioners wanting to enhance their cultural and ministry competency to help start or strengthen Latine and bilingual worshiping communities. This 9-hour workshop will explore basic principles, various ministry models and best practices in the development of ministry among the diversity of Latine audiences: new immigrants, established people, and new emerging generations.

Experienced practitioners will assist participants to identify key moments or benchmarks in the journey from being a new start to becoming an organized congregation in the ELCA. In addition, participants will also learn about helpful strategies and dynamics at play in the creation and sustainability of “bilingual churches”, also called a “One Church – Two Expressions” model.

Cost: Individual $250 or Congregation $600. Register online at www.wartburgseminary.edu/CTLM. Zoom link provided after registration.

Rural Rostered Leaders Retreat

To be held 26-27 October 2023 at Gettysburg Seminary, a Rural Rostered Leaders Retreat under the theme, "Bold Humility: A Model of Accompaniment for Appalachian Ministry," will explore...well, how about we just refer you to the seminary's event page from which you can download the event brochure. This event is for rostered leaders. Among the presenters are number The Rev. Scherri Schafer and The Revs. Felici.

SCSC logoSixteenth Century Society Conference

The Sixteenth Century Society will be in Baltimore for its annual conference 26-29 October 2023. For those with a passion in all things early modern, and we mean all things, you will want to attend. Click here for details. +Riegel has been to two of these (giving a paper at one of them), and he will tell you that it is his favorite conference.

Echoes of the Oratory: A Gregorian Chant-Along

Mountainside Baroque is offering its first interactive musical event, a crash course in Gregorian chant. Saturday, November 11, 2023, 3pm
"Echoes of the Oratory: A Gregorian Chant-Along" will be held Saturday, 11 November 2023, 3:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran, Cumberland, MD. MBQ's season brochure reports, "MBQ Board Member, Bishop Matthew Riegel, will lead participants in an engaging experience learning to read and sing Gregorian chant. After a break, the group will perform some of the music for the public." A free-will offering will be accepted.

Experience an Early American-Style Singing School

Also from Mountainside Baroque, multi-instrumentalist Keith Collins, a past leader at the Smithsonian’s Connor Prairie living history park, will present a hands-on workshop designed to learn the uniquely American phenomenon of shape-note singing. This will be held 17 February 2024, 3:00 p.m., at Emmanuel Episcopal, Cumberland, MD.

LHC logoLutheran Historical Conference

The Lutheran Historical Conference is held biennially, and the next LHC will be held 10-12 October 2024 in Baltimore, easy striking distance for many folks from WV-WMD. The LHC is a traditional academic conference with papers being delivered along the line of the theme for the specific conference. As this is pretty far out, the LHC has not yet posted details, but we want you to at least know when and where it will be held so that you can save the date. In the meantime, you can visit the LHC homepage: https://www.luthhistcon.org/

Standing Resources


Polity for Councils

Not sure what the congregation council is supposed to do or how it is supposed to operate? Maybe we can answer your questions with our "Polity for Councils" workshop. First offered at in the Eastern Pandhandle on 16 April 2023, we are happy to reprise this in any conference or cluster of the synod. The course page has been uploaded under the title, "Polity for Councils: A Crash Course for Congregational Councilors." If you would like to see this offered in your area, contact +Riegel.

                  Kindling FaithULS: Kindling Faith

United Lutheran Seminary holds several educational events each year for clergy and for laity, many of them under the "Kindling Faith" umbrella of the Center for Sabbath Rest and Formation. There is way more than can be posted on this page, so we refer you to the seminary's website. Some of these events are held in person, some by Zoom. Some events are for just an hour or two while others run multiple days.


Select Learning provides access to quality theological learning experiences for personal, congregational and professional learning. Using outstanding seminary and college instructors and ministry practitioners, Select Learning combines high quality DVD-based video courses, customized study materials, proven textbooks,and online learning to create effective and flexible theological exploration opportunities. Select Learning is a member of the Lay School for Ministry Network of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).


We started posting AARs (After Action Reports) during the pandemic as a way to let folks know what we have been doing. Well, that started cluttering up the Education for Laity & Clergy page, suggesting that those AARs needed a page of their own. Explore our Past Cont. Ed Events page to get a taste of what we've done for education offerings in WV-WMD.

There are, however, some items we want to continue to hold on this page because they have continuing relevance and can be accessed in recorded form.

Talking about Economics in Uncertain Times

A webinar was recently hosted by the ELCA Stewardship Team under the title, "Talking about Economics in Uncertain Times". It featured a speaker from the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving.  It may be viewed at this link:  https://vimeo.com/857657315/e2ad1f5a4c.


Godlist reading group

Bishop's Book Studies

Bishop Riegel offered his first Zoom-based book study in Lent 2021 with an examination of Johann Arndt's True Christianity. In 2022, he jumped forward a a few centuries and invited Grant Eckhart to lead us through Action in Waiting by Christoph Blumhardt. Deciding to build upon this, an autumnal study of Melanchthon's Loci communes (1521) was tackled. For each of these book studies a Facebook group was created to allow folks to engage the topic outside of the formal sessions. Those Facebook groups are still up and operating. It's never too late to join the conversation. Scroll through our Past Cont. Ed Events page for the links.

Lenten Book Study 2023: Godlust

The worm of discontent that rotted Herod's soul and threatens ours is the lust to throw away the constraints of humanhood and become God—not, mind you, "godly" or godlike," but God. — Kerry Walters

For 2023, we arrived at the most recent cusp of the centuries with Kerry Walter's Godlust: Facing the Demonic, Embracing the Divine (1999).

Employing the image of consumption, Walters takes us from the eating by our first parents to our own eating of truth, beauty, and the good. The elenchtical Law is delivered thoughtfully and unflinchingly. For those interested in reading Godlust or any of Walters other works, visit the Kerry Walters' Godlust Reading Group on Facebook..

Dementia-Friendly Worshiping Communities

The West Virginia Council of Churches held a webinar on Dementia-Friendly Worshiping communities on 8 December 2021 with The Rev. Kathy Fogg Berry. Berry wrote the book When Words Fail: Practical Ministry to People with Dementia and Their Caregivers and co-authored, Dementia Friendly Worship: A Multifaith Handbook for Chaplains, Clergy, and Faith Communities.

The Rev. Kathy Fogg Berry received a Masters of Religious Education from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a Masters in Patient Counseling and a postgraduate certificate in aging studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. During Kathy’s tenure at Westminster Canterbury Richmond, she provided spiritual care for residents with dementia diagnoses, their families, and the staff who care for them. For the last five years, Rev. Berry has offered the “When Words Fail” seminar for clergy and lay leaders throughout Virginia and she speaks regionally and nationally about spirituality and dementia.

A recording of the webinar can be watched on the WVCC Facebook page.

Anger Webinar

Barb Keller offered a webinar for clergy on anger for ELCA clergy, via Zoom, on 30 November 2021. A recording is available. Contact the bishop or the D.E.M. for access.

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West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, ℅ St. Paul Lutheran Church, 309 Baldwin Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
304-363-4030  +  Porter@WV-WMD.org