event at Martinsburg

Education for Clergy & Laity
West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Page Contents

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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.

Event Date
ELCA Wittenberg Center: Luther’s The Freedom of a Christian from Neuroscience and Liberation Theology Perspectives 10/28/2020
WVCC: Dismantling Racism and the Church
ELCA Wittenberg Center: The Freedom of a Christian: Living in Christ and Loving our Neighbors 10/29/2020
ELCA Wittenberg Center: The Freedom of a Christian: When Faith Gets Political 10/30/2020
WV-WMD: Creative Christian Education and Empowering Families in Times of Covid
LARCUM: Evangelism?
May 2021 (tentative) TBA

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

Page Contents
  • Intro
    • Cont. Ed Offering Matrix
  • Clergy Continuing Ed (in General)
    • CEUs and COVID-19
    • Sabbatical
    • Regional Cont. Ed Sharing
    • First Call Theological Education
  • Biannual Synod Clergy Continuing Ed Event
    • The Team
    • Fall 2020
      • Anti-Racism Training
      • Creative Christian Ed and Empowering Families during COVD-19
    • Fall 2020 After Action Report
      • Streaming Worship
      • Pandemical Worship
    • Winter 2020 AAR
  • WVCC Annual Assembly
  • Adolescent Mental Health
  • LARCUM: Evangelism?

Clergy Continuing Ed (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.

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.


Clergy, if you have been attending webinars, zoom conferences, etc., related to COVID-19 (e.g., the synodical one organized by DEM Sherri Schafer and held April 30) where the purpose is education, training, or information sharing (and not planning or mutual support), you can count the hours as contact hours for purposes of continuing education. N.B. the definition of contact hours supra.


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 8Regional 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.

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.

The Biannual Synod Clergy Continuing Ed Event

Synod Clergy Cont. Ed Events Team
Pr. Christine Olson (PC)
Pr. Kevin Mackey (OKVC)
Pr. Sherri Schafer (UOVC)
Pr. Ryan Heycock (MVMC)

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 Pr. Christine Olson (PC), Pr. Kevin Mackey (OKVC), Pr. Sherri Schafer (UOVC), and Pr. Ryan Heycock (MVMC), with Bp. Riegel as an advisory member. Synod clergy should feel free to talk to their conference's committee member about ideas and concerns related to continuing ed..

Fall 2020 Events...n.b. the plural

There will be no in-person Synod Clergy Cont. Ed Event this fall (2020). After reviewing the situation, the Continuing Education Committee determined that it was both unwise to proceed and the COVID-19 restrictions militated against the quality of the event. Instead, we've been offering multiple events of shorter duration spaced out over several weeks. Read on to learn about those planned and those already held.

Also in planning is "Bishop's Time," that long-standing element of the synod clergy cont. ed events. More information to come. This is a heads up for any clergy or agencies that have something they need to share with the synod's presbyteral college.

Attendance in all of our Zoom-based Cont. Ed sessions fall 2020 are FREE.  Your Synod Clergy Cont. Ed Team has decided to cover associated costs from the reserves in the Synod Clergy Cont. Ed Fund.

FelicisEVENT: Creative Christian Education and Empowering Families in Times of Covid (Nov. 4)

Clergy are called to preach and teach and administer the sacraments. Parents and congregations make promises at the baptism of our young people to place into their hands the holy scriptures, to teach them the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments, and to nurture them in faith and prayer. Now more than ever, families are struggling to get through the grind of daily life with enormous changes all around them. This workshop is intended to explore creative solutions to equip families and congregations to engage in Christian Education. Pastor Jess Felici will share some of the things the Mountain Lutheran Parish has done and will help brainstorm and share resources for some ideas on engaging households for Advent. The presentation is scheduled to last about an hour with time following for resource sharing and exploring ideas for Christian Education in Coronatide.

The event will be held by Zoom on 4 November 2020, 10:30 am-12:00 noon. Details on logging in to come. You can also RSVP and follow this event on facebook.

Fall 2020 After Action Report

Because we are splitting up our fall offerings across several weeks, we're in this strange place of being partially done and not done at the same time. Here's what we've done so far.

EVENT: Racial Sensitivity raining (Oct. 19)

Monday, 19 October 2020, the clergy of the synod met via Zoom for racial sensitivity training with Ron Scott of Wheeling. This training fulfills Churchwide Assembly action CA16.05.22. The event was sponsored by Community Lutheran Partners, Inc., with the associated costs covered by an ELCA grant issued to Community Lutheran Partners, Inc.

                      Claytor Linda
                      Muhly Ian Reid Michael

EVENT: Best Practices for Pandemical Worship (Oct. 6)

The "Pandemical Worship Panel" was held by Zoom on Oct. 6. A wide range of topics were discussed with four of our clergy leading the way:

  • The Rev. Susan Claytor, St. Stephen's Episcopal and St. Luke's Lutheran, Beckley, WV
  • The Rev. Linda Muhly, St. Mark's Lutheran, Clarksburg, WV
  • The Rev. Ian Reid, First Lutheran, Parkersburg, WV
  • The Rev. Michael Wright, St. Paul's Lutheran, Aurora, WV, and St. John's Lutheran, Redhouse, MD

                  eventEach has had to figure out what works in their own context (and for two of them it is contexts). Different sizes of congregations, different community settings, different status quo worship practices, different ecclesiastical politics, and a even a different denomination all make for challenges, suggesting that one size does not fit all.

Some of the answers to questions from the floor might be of interest to you. We posted those to the fb event for the panel. You'll find there links for

  • messaging programs/aps,
  • unlicensed, low-power FM transmitter use, and
  • a video "switcher" program to amp up your videography/streaming. 

Feel free to visit this event on facebook.

Matt Day
                demonatrating camera set upEVENT: Best Practices for Live Streaming (Sept. 24)

"Worship Streaming without Breaking Your Back or Your Bank" was held the morning of September 24 with Matt Day demonstrating some methods and resources we can use to make a congregation's online worship presence easier and better without breaking either you back or your bank. The session lasted two hours and was held by Zoom. The session was recorded and will be available on the Synod Youtube Channel soon, allowing all to review the material.


Winter 2020 After Action Report

Our winter events was held February 4-5 at Mary Help of Christians (quondam Bishop Hodges), Huttonsville, WV. The Rev. Dr. Cheryl Peterson presented on the theme, "Sharing the Gospel in the 'Age of the Spirit.'" Peterson serves as Professor of Theology and also as Associate Dean for Academics, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Capitol University. She also serves on the International Lutheran-Pentecostal Dialogue. Peterson brought her expertise as a scholar and an ecumenist to explore a range of pneumatological issues, including Charismaticism and Pentecostalism. Several clergy from other judicatories (Lutheran and non-Lutheran) joined is for the event.

A well-attended pre-event boundaries training was conducted by The Revs. Sherri Schafer and Sarah Lee Faulkner. If you missed your chance for synodical boundaries training, fear not. Talk with the Bishop about appropriate training options to be found in other judicatories.

                  LogoWVCC Annual Assembly

The West Virginia Council of Churches, adjusting to COVID-19, will hold its 139th Annual Assembly by Zoom, spacing its sessions out over the course of a month with weekly presentations on a variety of subjects.

  • October 1 - Opening Worship
  • October 8 - Community Reentry in the Midst of Coronavirus: Bev Sharp, the West Virginia Council of Churches Reentry Director, will lead a session on the difficulties restored citizens face as they leave the correctional system during the COVID pandemic. In the best of times, the transition from corrections to community can be difficult. With the added weight of the pandemic, issues such as housing, transportation, skilled nursing for elderly persons completing their sentences, emotional support, and employment become even more challenging. Learn about the needs and what you can do to help by attending this session.
  • October 15 - Faith, Scouting, and Foster Care: West Virginia has seen a huge increase in the number of children in foster and kinship care with the attendant risks for those children to encounter trauma, homeless, and incarceration. Through an initiative of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Black Diamond Council of the Girl Scouts, the Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts, and the West Virginia Council of Churches have partnered to help build resiliency by providing financial support for foster and kinship children to participate in scouting, establishing new troops and units, and by providing training.
  • October 22 - Reinhold Niebuhr and the Nature of Evil: Rick Wilson of the American Friends Service Committee will lead a session on Reinhold Niebuhr and the Nature of Evil. Niebuhr, one of the preeminent and most influential theologians of the 20th Century, was concerned about the interplay of good and evil in human life and how humility could go a long way toward bringing out our better natures. With the 2020 election season upon us, this session will provide a thoughtful excursion into the nature of good, evil, and the body politic.
  • October 29 - Dismantling Racism and the Church: Our final session for the 139th Annual Assembly focuses on how the Church has dealt with dismantling racism. To help us look at that issue, we are inviting comments about what the Church has done well to dismantling racism, where it has fallen short, and what it needs to be doing in today's world. Please help us by filling out this short survey, the results of which will be shared on October 29 at 12:00 p.m. To take the survey, please click here.

All sessions will be by Zoom starting at 12:00 PM. To register, please click here. You will need to register for an event in advance in order to get the Zoom link.

ELCA Wittenberg Cetner LecturersELCA Wittenberg Center: Bringing the World to Wittenberg and Wittenberg to the World

You are invited to a 3-seminar series on The Freedom of a Christian. The dates are as follows:

  • Session 1: Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 1:00 PM EDT, on "Luther’s The Freedom of a Christian from Neuroscience and Liberation Theology Perspectives;"
  • Session 2: Thursday, October 29, 2020, 1:00 PM EDT, on "The Freedom of a Christian: Living in Christ and Loving our Neighbors;" and
  • Session 3: Friday, October 30, 2020, 1:00 PM EDT, on "The Freedom of a Christian: When Faith Gets Political"

The presenters are, respectively,

  • The Rev. Dr. Carmelo Santos, Ph.D., Director for Theological Diversity and Ecumenical & Interreligious Engagement, Office of the Presiding Bishop;
  • The Rev. Dr. Moses Paul Peter Penumaka, Lecturer and Director of Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California Lutheran University; and
  • The Rev. Nicolette Maria Peñaranda, Pastor, First Lutheran Church of the Trinity Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA.

Preregistration is required; click here to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the Zoom link to join all 3 sessions.

Want to prepare and review before the sessions? Click to access The Freedom of a Christian and here for a study guide for The Freedom of a Christian – Short on time? Jump to pages 50-53 for a synopsis. You can also download a poster for your church to assist in advertising.

LARCUMLARCUM 2020: Evangelism?


LARCUM 2020 postponed until May 2021 (tentatively): LARCUM planning team met today and decided to attempt postponement until May. We don't know what COVID-19 restrictions will be in place in September (affecting both venue and travel for both participants and presenters) plus a good number of LARCUMites would classify as vulnerable. The planning committee will post updates as plans evolve.

                2019 Michelbach, Crump, Felici, Smith

Old Info

The next WV Lutheran-Anglican-Roman Catholic-United Methodist Tetralogue will be held 14-16 September 2020 at the John XXIII Pastoral Center, Charleston, WV. The topic will be evangelism, and we are using the working title, "Evangelism?" until things take more shape. That working title should give you a clue as to the current direction. Based upon conversation with attendees at the conclusion of LARCUM 2019, the focus is to be on the why of evangelism (and the other theoretical concepts that relate to it) rather than the how. +Riegel, responding to a question on line wrote, "We have no shortage of techniques, but we do seem to have a motivation." He also pointed out that the mainline churches already share many of the same resources related to the how of evangelism, but whether they share the same rationale between them or even within their own histories is something to be explored. Mark you calendars. For those with facebook, an event has already been created: https://www.facebook.com/events/962456230758841/. RSVP with either "going" or "interested" to stay connected for updates over the course of the year.

LARCUM 2019, held under the "Christianity & Civil Government: History, Theology, Implications (for Citizens, Pastors, and Institutions)," was very well attended with 49 registered. The Lutherans were there in force---and the envy of all the other denominations. If you would like to check out some pics and posts from LARCUM 2019, click here.

Lutherans interested in LARCUM may want to consider joining Team Wittenberg, our very own LARCUM fb group for Lutherans. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2828820697146887


The SCALDers started thinking about SCALD III, but the pandemic has put such thinking on hold until we have some sense of when we can return to in-person events.

(Symposium for Central Appalachian Lutheran Dogmatics) 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.

Hadaway SCALD ISCALD II, meeting in Keyser, WV, on 21 Feb 2019, saw a doubling of attendance over SCALD I, with 30 participating, representing 6 ELCA judicatories (WV-WMD, LSS, Allegheny, MNYS, NC, and Del-MD). There were 2 non-ELCA folks there (TEC and UCC). There were 6 laity and 24 clergy. One of the lay participants, a seminarian from LSTC, even road the train overnight to attend.

SCALD papers...

    • The Rev. Matt Day --- Suicide and the Church's Answer: A Theological Primer on the Theology of Suicide and How the Church Should Respond
    • The Rev. Elizabeth Leigh Hadaway --- The Babylonian Captivity of the Clergy Spouse
    • The Rev. Brian McClinton --- My Church Council President Is a Montanist: Is That a Problem? -- Brian McClinton
    • The Rev. Mike Hadaway --- Holding Fast: Ecumenism, the Answer to the Saviors Prayer or a Betrayal of Dogma?
    • The Rev. Jerry Kliner --- The 95 Theses 500 Years On: What's Settled, What Is Still in Dispute?
    • The Rev. Christine Olson --- Ask, Search, Knock. Opened? A Case for a Theology of Prayer in a "Just Do It" World
    • The Rev. Brian McClinton --- "You mean we can't sing Pass it on in Church": Hymnody and the theological importance in Christian education
    • The Rev. Jonathon Jenkins --- A (More) Trinitarian Baptism
    • Vr. James Demmel --- On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Kierkegaard
    • Dr. Eric Crump --- Shameless - and Mindless: A Proposed ‘Sexual Reformation’ in Need of Enlightenment

Until the SCALDers get a proper page set up, you can indicate your interest in SCALD III by visiting SCALD II's facebook event and posting in the comments thread. That way the SCALDers will know to let you know about SCALD III.

BTW, in the photo at right is The Rev. Elizabeth Hadaway, at SCALD I, delivering her paper, "The Babylonian Captivity of the Clergy Spouse," a very interesting critique of commonly held ideas about the role of the clergy spouse in light of Augustana XIV, XVI, and XXIII.

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