for Clergy & Laity
West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod
(20 February 2024)
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
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
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).
Don't forget to check out the offerings from the other synods of Region 8
Clergy Cont. Ed Events Team
Pr. Sherri Schafer (UOVC), Chair
Pr. Ben Erzkus (MVMC)
Pr. Daniel Collins (PC)
Pr. Patrice Weirick (OKVC)
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.
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.
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. location to be announced.
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.
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.
Peruse our past
events and get a sense of what we do.
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
The New Church Debate: Issues Facing American
Lutheranism (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983) is
a collection of papers given at the conference held at
LSTC, 6-11 February 1983, on the subject "The New Church
and Its Ministry: The Ecclesiological Challenge Facing
American Lutheranism." Papers include:
Sessions will be held via Zoom each Monday night,
7:00-8:00 p.m., beginning 19 February 2024 and concluding
18 March 2024.
While the book includes ten chapters, Lent affords us
reasonable time for five, given that each chapter has
enough fodder for an hour-long session. By poll of the
registered participants, the following will be covered:
Copies of The New Church Debate were, at one time
available, from any one of several online booksellers.
That is no longer the case; we think that participants
have managed to buy up all the copies floating around out
there. You still may be able to secure it through
interlibrary loan, and you never know when a copy will
show up in the used book market. You also might ask a
older colleague in the ministry about borrowing it. We
recommend that you secure your copy sooner rather than
later. Fortunately, Augsburg Fortress has given +Riegel a
limited copyright permission. So, if you are attending and
need the book, be sure to register online.
LARCUM 2024 will gather under the theme, "Holy Communion:
Contemporary Questions," 20-22 May 2024, at the John XXIII
Pastoral Center in Charleston, WV. Details are posted on
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
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.
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.
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.
United Lutheran Seminary, under its "Kindling Faith" program, is offering a series on pastoral care with the following dates and topics for 2024:
All sessions are by Zoom. For more information (including registration), click the links associated with each session.
Registration is open! Scroll down or click here.
Though often vilified by Lutherans of the late 20th
century (and well before in some Lutheran circles), Samuel
Simon Schmucker is arguably the most influential Lutheran
of the 19th century, and his legacy continues
to this day as evidenced by the number of people who still
blame him for every ill in the modern American Lutheran
church. At the same time, others praise him as an
abolitionist, claiming his work as their heritage. To mark
the 225th anniversary of his birth, The
Lutheran Historical Society of the Mid-Atlantic,
Gettysburg College, Gettysburg College Provost’s Office,
Gettysburg College History Department, Civil War Institute
at Gettysburg College, and Christ Lutheran Church
Gettysburg are holding a day-long conference with
lecturers and panelists from across the United States to
engage in a critical re-examination of Schmucker's thought
We convene 24 February 2024, 9:00 a.m., at Gettysburg
College, Gettysburg, PA, for two major lectures,
and two panels
Registration of $25
registration covers program and lunch at the Gettysburg
College dining hall. Online registration is open at www.LutheranHistoricalSociety.com
along with additional information. Traditional mail
registration can be sent to:
Pr. Stephen Herr
Christ Lutheran Church
44 Chambersburg Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Make check payable to the Lutheran Historical Society of
the Mid-Atlantic and include your name, phone number, and
email address. Questions can be directed to Stephen Herr,
firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-334-5212.
You can help us spread the word.
Online registration is now live. Click here to register (and review additional information about the conference.
United Lutheran Seminaries Spring Convocation on the
Gettysburg Seminary campus will be held 24 April 2024. The
theme will be "Theodicy." For more information, click here.
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:
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
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.
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.
United Lutheran Seminary holds several educational events
each year for clergy and for laity, many of them under the
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.
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.
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.
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). 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.
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
A recording of the webinar can be watched on the WVCC Facebook page.
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.