event at Martinsburg

Education for Clergy & Laity
West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod
(18 May 2024)
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Both laity and clergy will find educational 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) to participate in continuing education. 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
LARCUM | Holy Communion: Contemporary Questions
20-22 May 2024
Summer Study at Yale Divinity School
3-7 June 2024
ULSCongregation Council 101
10 June 2024
Congregation Council Members
ULSA Deep Dive into Paul's Letters to the Church at Corinth
7-12 July 2024
Gettysburg Seminary
ULSPastoral Care Zoom Workshops—"The Stuff You’ve Forgotten Since Seminary" 8 & 11 July 2024
ULSWine, Cheese, Chocolate, and Morning Conversations with David Hayward, aka “NakedPastor”
28 July - 2 Aug 2024
Gettysburg Seminary Clergy & Spouses (and family)
ULSRelevant Worship in a Strange New World
11-16 Aug 2024 Gettysburg Seminary All
Lutheran Historical Conference
10-12 Oct 2024
Baltimore & Gettysburg Seminary
Lutheran Historical Society of the Mid-Atlantic
12 Oct 2024
Gettysburg Seminary
Synod Clergy Cont. Event: Dr. Kimberly Wager
22-24 Oct 2024
Sixteenth Century Society Conference
31 Oct-2 Nov 2024
National Workshop on Christian Unity
18-20 Nov 2024
Ecumenical Officers
FCTE Region 8 Plenary
20-22 Nov 2024
Gettysburg Seminary
FCTE Cohort
Region 8

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 ensuing 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 development of 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 Facebook 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.

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

The next plenary is scheduled for 20-22 November 2024 at Gettysburg Seminary. As more information becomes available, it will be posted.

The Biannual Synod Clergy Continuing Ed Event

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

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 CEUs per year, assuming attendance at both events.

Serving on the the Continuing Ed Committee we have The Revs. Sherri Schafer (UOVC), Ben Erzkus (MVMC), Daniel Collins (PC) and Patrice Weirick (OKVC), 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, Sally Bartling, and Darick Biondi for their now concluded service on the team.

Spring 2024

The planning team has made the difficult decision to forgo a Winter/Spring 2024 event. Clergy are encouraged to review this page for other opportunities.

WagnerFall 2024

The planning team announces that Dr. Kimberly Wagner will be our presenter for the Fall Synod Clergy Continuing Education Event. The event will be held Tuesday, 22-24 October 2024, at Priestfield, Kearneysville, WV.

Dr. Wagner is the Assistant Professor of Preaching at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her bio from their website:

Kimberly Wagner previously served as an assistant professor of homiletics in the Axel Jacob and Gerda Maria (Swanson) Carlson Chair in Homiletics at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She earned her BS in Secondary Life Science Education from Miami University of Ohio, her MDiv from the Candler School of Theology, and her PhD from the Graduate Division of Religion, both at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Wagner’s previous experience on the pastoral staff of a PC(USA) congregation in Virginia helps fuel and inform her present scholarship and teaching. She is passionate about supporting students’ formation and helping clergy and communities navigate the realities of an ever-changing world and church. Her current writing and work focus on preaching and ministry in the midst and wake of trauma, particularly thinking about collective trauma, the role of the preacher, and the resources of Scriptures and faith to respond to these moments.

Wagner’s forthcoming book (Westminster John Knox Press) is about preaching in the wake of mass trauma, particularly thinking about mass violence, natural disasters, and public health crises. When not teaching, writing, or meeting over Zoom, she enjoys baking, tinkering on the piano, and walks along the lake with her dog, Toby.

Mark on Mark fbAAR: Fall 2023

The Rev. Dr. Mark Vitalis Hoffman lectured on the Gospel of Mark, sharing some of his new work on that gospel as well as some other texts. The event was held at Blackwater Falls State Park. In addition to synod clergy, one synodical lay preacher, and five clergy (representing four different synods) joined us for the three-day gathering.

Past Events

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

  • "Walking with God Today: What's Next?" with The Rev. Jarold "Jake" Jacobson
  • "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

Boundaries Training etc.

The Churchwide Assembly has periodically ordered (or encouraged) synods to offer training on a variety of topics: boundaries, anti-racism, diversity, etc. Clergy in the synod are free to secure such training where the wish. The synod may, under some rules, be required to offer, but there is no rule that the clergy must take training under the synod's programming. At the same time, nothing prevents the synod from identifying sources for training outside the synod. Region 8 is cooperating with United Lutheran Seminary to offer a variety of training sessions. An à la carte menu is posted here. Clergy of full-communion partners should follow whatever norms are required by their respective denominations, but they are most welcome to partake of offerings provided by Lutheran entities.


LARCUM 2024 will gather under the theme, "Holy Communion: Contemporary Questions," 20-22 May 2024, at the John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston, WV. Registration has closed for LARCUM 2024. Details are posted on the LARCUM page.

LARCUM is the Lutheran-Anglican-Roman Catholic-United Methodist Conference of West Virginia. It meets annually, bringing together people from the four traditions (and beyond) who are interested in ecumenical conversation. Learn more from our 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. For more information visit our SCALD page.

New Church Debate
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 2023, we arrived at the most recent cusp of the centuries with Kerry Walter's Godlust: Facing the Demonic, Embracing the Divine (1999). In 2024, we backtracked only slightly to the 1980s and the heady days of the Commission for a New Lutheran Church with a study of The New Church Debate: Issues Facing American Lutheranism (1983). 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. Also, visit again to see what might be offered next.

Civic Life and Faith

The Task Force on Government and Civic Engagement has released Draft of a Social Statement on Civic Life and Faith. Deadline for feedback is 30 September 2024. A Study Curriculum on Civic Life and Faith. is still available online. For more information, click here.

Other Opportunities

ULS Kindling

Congregation Council 101

Congratulations! You’ve been elected to serve on your congregational council. As Martin Luther was fond of saying, “What does this mean?” Well, it means a lot of things that are critical to the mission of God’s church on earth. You’re invited to learn more about this ministry through Kindling Faith at United Lutheran Seminary. A total of six sessions are planned, each meeting 7:00-8:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) It is not necessary that one attend all of them.

  • May 13 — What does our constitution actually say? (click here)
  • June 10 — How to be a ministry partner with the Pastors and Deacons in your ministries. (click here)

All sessions are by Zoom. While primarily designed for congregation council members, anyone may attend. For more information (including registration), click the links associated with each session.


Pastoral Care Zoom Workshops—"The Stuff You’ve Forgotten Since Seminary"

United Lutheran Seminary, under its "Kindling Faith" program, is offering a series on pastoral care with the following dates and topics for 2024:

  • May 6 & 9 — Mental Health, Social Media and the Role of the Faith Community (click here)
  • July 8 & 11 — Understanding Suicide and the Role of the Faith Community (click here)

All sessions are by Zoom. For more information (including registration), click the links associated with each session.

Summer Study at Yale Divinity School

Yale Divinity School offers a week of online courses, 3-7 June 2024, with a variety of professors and topics. Check out detailed information on the course offerings at Summer Study at Yale Divinity School. Open to all.

Lutheran Historical Conference 2024

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/. The last day of the LHC will be held in Gettysburg, PA.

LHSMALutheran Historical Society of the Mid-Atlantic

LHSMA will hold its annual program (and annual meeting) in conjunction with the last day of the Lutheran Historical Conference on the Gettysburg Seminary campus in Gettysburg, PA. Plans are still in the works, but we do know that there will be moring lectures sponsored by the Lutheran Historical Conference followed by lunch. After lunch there will be a variety of offerings. The annual meeting of the society will take place as well. Click here to learn more about the LHSMA.

SCSCSixteenth Century Society Conference 2024

Admittedly, we don't have any details on this yet except that it will be in Toronto, 31 October through 2 November 2024. The Sixteenth Century Society Conference is the largest academic conference on early modern history in the world. You can learn more and keep track of developments at sixteenthcentury.org.

NWCUNational Workshop for Christian Unity 2024

This year’s National Workshop on Christian Unity will be themed “Hear what the Spirit is Saying to the Churches” and will be held at the Lutheran Center in Chicago from the evening of Monday, November 18 to the evening of Wednesday, November 20, 2024.  Networks will schedule their own meetings around this, most likely on Monday, November 18th or Thursday, November 21st.  The program will be concentrated on networking and practical ecumenism. More details to come.

Faith & Community in Appalachia

The Faith & Community in Appalachia Conference has been postponed to a date yet to be determined.

Standing Resources

Lutheran Basics: What's in the Catechisms?

Choice! That's one of things that makes religion in America so fascinating and challenging. Choice means that no one has to be Lutheran. Choice also means that no congregation has to be Lutheran. So, why be Lutheran when there are other options? Among all the possible criteria by which a person might choose a religious community—location, time, social class, familial relations, programming, etc.—is doctrine. What does a particular religious community teach and believe? Truth is: It is much more common that a person will not know the official teachings of a particular religious community than one might expect. Doctrine is rarely taught in detail from either pulpit or podium. Many also don't consider doctrine all that important.

To dig into Lutheran doctrine, Bishop Riegel offers an introduction to the catechisms of Martin Luther. Luther wrote the Small Catechism as the basic instruction in the faith for the laity. The Large Catechism was written as something of a teacher's edition for the pastors. If you would like this for your congregation, contact +Riegel. If you would like to get a head start with the catechisms, you can find the Small Catechism in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (the nu-cranberry hymnal). You can find an app for your smartphone at your phone's app source. You can also find both the Small Catechism and the Large Catechism at BookofConcord.org.


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.

ULS: Kindling Faith

                  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.

Summer Offerings

Kindling Faith has three multi-day residential offerings during the summer of 2024. Click on the title for each for more information.


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.

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