If you’ve ever attended a Winter Celebration event, you’ve likely watched a broadcast from The Rev. Stephen Bohannon as the Roving Reporter. He beams in near and far through time and space to provide top-notch interviews with guests that humorlessly connect to the weekend’s theme. From trying to get insight from a talking cloud to climbing up Mt. Trashmore on an investigative hunt there’s nothing the Roving Reporter won’t do.
This year, the Roving Reporter showed up at a much different Virginia Synod event, broadcasting during the Friday evening portion of Synod Assembly. There he was excited to report on the success of the ForwardingFaith campaign thus far and interviewed both The Rev. David Derrick of St. Phillip in Roanoke and The Rev. Colleen Montgomery of Holy Trinity in Wytheville. Both Pastor David and Pastor Colleen shared in their interviews with the Roving Reporter that their congregations had successfully completed ForwardingFaith appeals. From his interviews, the Roving Reporter learned that these congregational appeals were a hit thanks to folks from the congregation attending a congregational training, following the manual to hold the appeal, and living out the enthusiasm for Virginia Synod faith formation in their congregations.
The Rev. John Wertz Jr., the incoming Assistant to the Bishop, also took the stage at Friday evening following the Roving Reporter’s report to bring thanks for those who have taken part in the campaign thus far, and excitement for those to join it in the coming months. There he announced that to date, we have exceeded our basic goal of $2.5 million, and roughly 37 congregations so far that have either completed or are in the midst of their own congregational appeals right now. “We hope that with the ForwardingFaith campaign that you’ll not just use the manual, but that everybody in every congregation will have the opportunity to hear the story- to hear about the ministry that is being done and to make a decision on how they want to respond, how they want to share God’s gifts to support this wonderful faith formation ministry in our Synod,” said Pastor Wertz.
Attendees also had the chance to hear directly from congregational leader, Todd Recupero, who recently completed a congregational appeal at his congregation Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Newport News. Todd grew up in the Virginia Synod attending his first youth event in 1980 and has remained active in the Synod ever since, making lifelong friendships and even meeting his wife at another youth event. When the campaign was presented to his church council, they asked Todd if he would be interested in organizing the campaign at Trinity. Thanks to his long history with faith formation in the Virginia Synod, he jumped at the opportunity to give back.
Todd attended one of the congregational training events that were held this winter and found the presentation of the campaign and the materials so easy to use, sharing that, “The training offered insight into how to best use the materials to fit your congregational abilities. Large or small, each congregation can easily commit to this much-needed campaign. The materials that are provided at no cost do the majority of the work for you. At Trinity we had several youth and adults share their Forwarding Faith journeys with the congregation over our six week period. On commitment Sunday, we had our youth collect the commitment cards and raised over $30,000, when we set a goal of $10,000.”
It was an exciting opportunity at Synod Assembly to share the great success of the ForwardingFaith campaign thus far, as well as to look forward to the future with more congregational appeals being held in the months to come.
Future campaign training events are being planned now, and if you are interested in participating please contact Lenae Osmondson atosmondson@vasynod.org for more information. Thank you again to all the congregations and members who have helped us exceed our basic goal for ForwardingFaith.
You can watch the full ForwardingFaith report from Synod Assembly, on the Virginia Synod’s Youtbe page.