West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod Assembly
October 16, 2021
Churchwide representative report
Deacon Mary Ann Schwabe, Executive for Synod Relations
As a person whose roots are in this synod from the days of the Western Pennsylvania/West Virginia Synod of the LCA, I am particularly delighted to be with you on the day of your synod assembly. This will be an assembly with much to be done and at the top of the priority list is the bishop’s election process.
Your assembly has been intentionally designed with Covid realities in mind. In light of that caution, I will submit this report in writing rather than occupy extended time at the microphone.
I begin with a word of thanks for the generosity of this synod. Thanks to your tenacity and faithfulness in the midst of a pandemic, the congregations of this synod made it possible for the synod to share $105,000 with the churchwide organization to support our ministry together. Altogether, synods shared a total of over $40 million in Mission Support which the churchwide organization uses to support ministries in the country and around the world. Synods use Mission Support dollars for ministry such as new starts, congregation vitality, leadership development, call process, candidacy, AND supporting partner ministries such as campus ministry, outdoor ministry, ELCA colleges and seminaries, and Lutheran social services.
Another sign of this church’s tenacity and faithfulness in the midst of this pandemic year is the generous support of the Covid-19 Response Fund. More than $1.8 million was raised with over $1.5 million given to synods who applied for grants. More than 387,000 people have been served and more than 830 ministries have been funded.
Thank you for extraordinary support in what was an extraordinary year. The individuals and congregations of your synod gave $46,000 to ELCA World Hunger and over $11,000 to Lutheran Disaster Response. In 2020, these gifts to ELCA World Hunger supported a variety of projects and programs around the world and across the ELCA, including work in food security, agriculture, income generation, health, housing, education, peace and reconciliation and more – all touched by the impact of COVID-19.
In 2020, Lutheran Disaster Response responded in the United States and around the world, walking alongside communities as they were impacted by various disasters from flooding to tornadoes, hurricanes to earthquakes, wildfires to conflict and needs of people on the move – and the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Internationally, LDR responded to disasters in 49 countries, providing 132 grants totaling over $4.9 million. 88 of these grants, totaling $2.4 million, were in response to COVID-19, reaching nearly 800,000 people around the world.
- Domestically, LDR responded to the pandemic by supporting 32 synods and three Lutheran social service agencies in 40 states with grants totaling over $920,000. An additional $3+ million was provided in response to other disasters that occurred in 2020, long-term recovery efforts, and community resilience programs.
This synod demonstrates its faithfulness not only at home but around the world by accompanying your international companions in Madagascar. You support missionaries Anne and Willie Langdji in West and Central Africa and Pastor Themba Mkhabela and Kwena Mkhabela in Madagascar and West Africa.
As we look toward 2022, the ELCA Youth Gathering which was originally scheduled to occur this past summer, will be held this coming July in Minneapolis. For the latest on registration information and other details, go to www.elca.org.
Just a few weeks after the Youth Gathering, we will meet in Columbus, Ohio, for the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. Much thanks is extended to the members of this synod who will serve as voting members of that assembly.
Finally, on behalf of Bishop Eaton I am deeply grateful for the faithful partnership of Bishop Matthew Riegel, your DEM Sherri Schafer, the rostered ministers of this synod, and each of you as you live out your baptismal call daily.