EPISCOPAL BISHOP CHANGES DIOCESAN STAFF POSITIONS
With the retirement in January of Salemite Alan N. Boyce, who served as assistant to three bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, the current Bishop Mark Bourlakas has revamped duties in the regional body which covers the western third of the commonwealth.
The Rev. Canon Mark Furlow has been named the chief operating officer, overseeing most business transactions of the diocese at its Roanoke office. He has been working especially in the Lynchburg/Bedford areas as Bourlakas’ liaison and supplying congregations.
The Rev. Canon Jonathan Harris, a former rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Buchanan and later St. Elizabeth’s in Roanoke, will now serve in transitional and pastoral development. He will help the lay leadership when a new rector is needed and maintain contact with clergy especially in times of special need. Bourlakas will begin his fourth year as bishop in July.
BRETHREN ASSOCIATE WINDING DOWN CAREER
The Rev. Emma Jean Woodard, associate executive in the Roanoke headquarters of the Virlina District of the Church of the Brethren for the past 17 years, will leave the staff on May 22. She is the wife of the Rev. Edward Woodard, the long-time pastor of Oak Grove Church of the Brethren who left that position two years ago, but continues active in interim work. Emma Jean Woodard has also served several congregations in Botetourt and in Roanoke as an interim pastor. The executive is the Rev. David Shumate. The district covers much of Virginia and a few congregations in North Carolina.
SOUP FOR SENIORS BRINGS IN MANY CANS
Nearly 55,000 cans of staple food were donated last month in the Soup for Seniors mid-winter project promoted by the Local Office on Aging (LOA) in which many church groups as well as businesses and service clubs were involved. Although the drive included other needed products, the canned items given surpassed the goal, according to Pam McAdams, director of community service for the LOA. The drive in its sixth year offers free non-perishable food to senior adults served by the Meals on Wheels program and ensures that older persons will not go hungry in severe weather.
FORMER PASTOR HONORED
The Rev. Terry Elkins, pastor of Fort Lewis Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for more than a decade prior to his retirement two years ago, has been named pastor-emeritus.
BONSACK BAPTIST CHOIRS TO SING COMMISSIONED WORK
On April 9, Palm Sunday, the choirs of Bonsack Baptist Church on U.S. Alt. 220 will present the first sacred cantata ever commissioned by the church. Composed by the contemporary musician Pepper Choplin, “Psalm 23: A Journey with the Shepherd,” is a memorial to many deceased church members especially associated with the music ministry. Several performances during Holy Week are usually scheduled and will be announced later. Barry Green, long the church music director, has announced that he will leave the staff later this year.
FREE DEMENTIA SEMINAR SET AT FORT LEWIS
“Let’s Talk About Scary Stuff: A Seminar on Dementia” is scheduled Monday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Fort Lewis Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 2931 W. Main St. Salem. It will be presented by Katie Jones of the staff of the Joseph C. Thomas Center of Richfield Retirement Communities where persons with the condition occupy a wing. Call 380-4636 to register or for more information.
ROANOKE CHURCH PLANS STOP HUNGER EVENT
On Sunday, March 26, following the 10 a.m. service, a Stop Hunger Now assembly-line packing will take place at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Elm Avenue at S. Jefferson St. in downtown Roanoke. Open to the public, it will be part of an international effort to provide the undernourished abroad with nutritious packaged foods which help, especially children, to have better health. Dating only from a decade ago, the movement now being called Rise Against Hunger has a regional depot in Lynchburg. The dried food meal costs 29 cents freeing up relief dollars for other needs, its materials state.
LENTEN SEASON UNDER WAY
With the day of Ash Wednesday this week, the penitential period of Lent –from “lengthening days”–has begun in denominations which follow a liturgical year. These include the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Episcopal, United Methodist and an increasing number of other religious groups which value a time for reflection and perhaps penitence reminding of Jesus’ death on the cross. Often today, instead of giving up a pleasure during the 40 days before Easter, observant Christians will take on a special ministry to help someone. The beginning of Lent is marked by special services in which a cross made from ashes is applied to the foreheads of those kneeling to remind “you are dust and to dust you will return.” Easter falls late this year on April 16.
EDMUNDS LECTURES TO FEATURE MUSICIAN
The Rev. Dr. Eric Wall, a professor of music and worship at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Texas, will lead the annual Edmunds Lectures scheduled Sunday and Monday nights, March 19 and 20 at Second Presbyterian Church in downtown Roanoke. Each will begin at 7 p.m. and is followed by a fellowship period at the Third Street SW church which is marking its 125th year. Wall became known to local Presbyterians when he developed a creative music ministry at the First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, N.C. and at the Montreat Conference Center. The programs are free to the public. On Sunday night, the professor will discuss “Big Bang Theories: Music’s Theological Work”. The final night’s topic will be “Our Town: Church Song’s Bards and Bartenders” with audience participation.
-Submitted by Columnist Frances Stebbins