We’re excited to hear stories about congregations who have joined in the campaign creatively sharing the good news of faith formation in Virginia during their appeals. This week, we spoke with The Rev. Colleen Montgomery, who serves at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Wytheville, who shared her congregation’s experience during their ForwardingFaith appeal.

Pastor Colleen Montgomery grew up in Northwestern Pennsylvania, and when she attended Roanoke College, she found herself a bit jealous as she learned about all the Lutheran youth events the Virginia Synod put on, saying, “I did a lot of outdoor ministries [in Pennsylvania], I went to Lutheran camp every summer, so that I think in some ways that filled that void. But it’s definitely one of the reasons why I wanted to come back to this synod, because of the youth faith formation stuff that happens here.” When she received her call to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Wytheville last year, it provided the opportunity for Pastor Colleen to serve a faithful congregation and to be connected to the faith formation events that had caught her attention.

So, when Pastor Colleen learned about the ForwardingFaith campaign, she attended a congregational leadership training to learn more about how her congregation could get involved. Holy Trinity has long engaged with faith formation events in the Virginia Synod, as it serves as one of two satellite sites for The Ambassadors Community for Theological Study (ACTS) program. Currently, Holy Trinity does not have many children that are within the age range to attend the youth events that have Pastor Colleen so excited. This is a challenge that many congregations are facing today. Pastor Colleen took this reality in stride, and presented ForwardingFaith to her congregation with honesty and optimism, stating, “I get it, it’s hard to talk about doing this campaign when you look around and see there’s no youth here today. I understand, but it’s really about the promise for the future, and there are adult components to it as well. It’s about laying a foundation for when our three and four-year-olds make it to middle school. So they can attend Lost and Found or the next incarnation.”

Pastor Colleen says she and her congregation did not do anything out of the ordinary to present the campaign to the congregation. They choose to follow what she learned during the congregational leader training to the letter, “We just did the very basic outline that was provided in the training. The hymnal wraps, video, letters, and temple talks.” she explained. Yet, the generosity that has sprung from Holy Trinity has been anything but ordinary, as the congregation has pledged over $14,000 to the campaign, which is double their original goal set at $7,000.
The Virginia Synod celebrates Holy Trinity and their generosity and support of the ForwardingFaith campaign. Their pledges join many other congregations in our synod to sow seeds for future youth and adults in the Virginia Synod to continue to have the opportunities to attend meaningful faith formation events.