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The New Bishops, Prayer, “Pub Theology” with Pastor Chris, Prayer List, The Parish Paper.


The New Bishops


The Rev. Tracie L. Bartholomew: Bishop of New Jersey

Bishop Bartholomew is a native New Jerseyan having been born and raised in Somers Point.  She was baptized and confirmed at Grace Lutheran, Somers Point.  Pastor Bartholomew graduated from James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA) with a B.S. in political science and received her M. Div. from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Columbia, SC).


Ordained in September 1989, Bishop Bartholomew has served in three congregations – St. Mark, Roanoke and Good Shepherd, Lexington (both in Virginia) and Abiding Presence, Ewing, NJ.  In 1998 she was called to serve as an Assistant to the Bishop in the NJ Synod and has been serving in that call until now.


Bishop Bartholomew is married to The Rev. B. Daniel Whitener, Jr., pastor of Abiding Presence Lutheran Church, Ewing, NJ.  They have two young adult children – Olivia and Ethan.


The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton: Presiding Bishop

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton was elected as the ELCA’s fourth presiding bishop at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

Born in Cleveland on April 2, 1955, Eaton earned a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

Ordained June 4, 1981, Eaton served as assistant pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Worthington, Ohio; interim pastor of Good Hope Lutheran Church in Boardman, Ohio; and pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Ashtabula, Ohio. She was elected bishop of the ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod in 2006 and re-elected in May 2013.

Eaton is involved in a number of boards and committees. She is a board member of Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Capital University, both based in Columbus, Ohio. She is a member of the Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee and the ELCA Conference of Bishops Executive Committee. She also serves on the Conference of Bishops Domestic Ready Bench and serves in roles with the ELCA Malaria Campaign, the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, PORTICO Philosophy of Benefits Task Force, Ohio Council of Churches and Lutheran Planned Giving in Ohio.

Prior to her election, Eaton was the liaison bishop to the ELCA Church Council and a member of the ELCA Memorials Committee for the 2007, 2011 and 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assemblies. She served as a delegate to The Lutheran World Federation Assembly in Budapest in 1984, on the review team for Lutheran Episcopal dialogues in 1982, and she was a part of the delegation from the ELCA’s predecessor church bodies to the German Democratic Republic in 1982.

Eaton’s husband, the Rev. T. Conrad Selnick, an Episcopal priest, is pastor of St. Christopher’s-by-the-River in Gates Mills, Ohio. They are parents of two adult children, Rebeckah and Susannah.





How would you describe your prayer life?  Is it all you would like it to be?  Have you ever thought about how you can make it better, richer, how it could bring you even closer to the Lord?


Prayer is one of the traditional “disciplines”  of Lent.  What better time to deepen our prayer life?  Prayer will be the theme of Pastor’s Wednesday evening lenten messages this year.  In this spirit, we will have the opportunity to participate in the St Stephen Lenten Prayer Challenge.

What is this?  We are challenged to commit to regular prayer with another person during the lenten season.


There are so many benefits we can reap from this practice, including bringing us closer to God as well as to a brother or sister in Christ.  “Where two or three are gathered in my Name, there I am also,”  Jesus says.  There will be more on further rationale for the practice as well as some suggestions for establishing your own particulars, in the next article.


But for now we need to know who is interested in participating so we can set up the pairing.  Pastor will have all the names in a hat and will pick out two names at a time to be prayer partners.  I am sure that the Spirit will have input into “who gets whom” to develop this relationship with and share insights with.


So, if you are as excited about this idea as I am, or even if you are interested and a little unsure, let Pastor/ the church office know so your name can be included.  One more thing…  If you think that your schedule would not allow for meeting with another person on a regular basis, you can always connect via telephone or texting or e-mail.  It’s the regularity of the commitment that is important.



“Pub Theology” with Pastor Chris

Where:  Flanagans, 2501 Plainfield Ave., So. Plainfield

When:  Tuesday, February 11, 2014 – 8:00-9:00 PM

Topic:  “How Lutherans Celebrate”


This is an informal gathering for fellowship, refreshment and discussion. 

It’s open to the public, so bring your friends and neighbors.


We pray, O God…


For the church across denominations and across the globe


For the well-being of all creation


For peace and justice in the world, the nations and those in authority


We pray for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, our Full Communion partners, and for the whole Church—may we find ourselves united by the Holy Spirit.


We pray for our home, the earth, which you have created and declared good, may it, and all of creation be so, be good.


We pray for those in authority, especially President Obama, Governor Christe, and Mayor Anesh.


We pray for all nations Lord, especially those in severe turmoil, such as Central African Republic, South Sudan,  Syria, Russia.


We pray for the people in the Philippines affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan.


For the poor, oppressed, sick, bereaved, lonely, and for all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit



Joe & Joy Billich

Agnes Czarnecki

Steven Goetz

Helen Henne

Miriam Mentzell

Len Merlo

Vera Millet

Alan & Nancy Moore

Jim Moore

Dave Rapp


Jim Albert, brother of John Albert

Holly Bowen, friend of Sharon Gianneschi

Marvin Braddy, friend of Jean & Charles Mingle

Bernie Cherry, nephew of Orvie Hoffman

Sal Cortese, uncle of John Cortese

Bonnie & Fred Dauncey, parents of Sandra Cortese

Marie DeWoolf, niece of Mary Flannary

Bob Dienst, brother of Marylou Johnson

Gerry Fein, friend of Agnes Czarnecki

Marilyn Fortier, friend of Eloise Newton

Tim Fraenza, friend of Tom Baker

Susan Franko

Tom Hanlon, cousin of Barbara Pallister

Leslie Hansen, friend of Agnes Czarnecki

Kim Hastings, friend of Marilyn Scalisi

Kathy Hoagland, friend of Carol McCarthy

Mr. & Mrs. Janisiak, friends of Marilyn Scalisi

Benjamin Johnson, grandson of Marylou Johnson

Hannah Johnson, granddaughter of Marylou Johnson

Lars Johnson, son of Marylou Johnson

Dolores & Eugene Neuzil, parents of Bonnie Lombardo

Velma Nietman, mother of Linda Nietman

Michel O’Toole, friend of Pat Benward

Milton Pearson, brother-in-law of Jean Mingle

Natalie Romeo, friend of Marylou Johnson

Cindy Rutler, friend of Barbara Cibak

Susan Shipe, cousin of Tom Baker

Julie Sulu, friend of Agnes Czarnecki

Greg Talbott, friend of Linda Hansen

Al & Sharon Vastano, uncle & aunt of Melissa Cortese

Beth Williscroft, friend of Agnes Czarnecki

David, friend of Barbara Pallister





The family of Doris Barbie

The family of Ralph Scarcelle

The family of Paul Agens

The family of Jeremiah Douglass



For special concerns



We give thanks, O God…


For the life and witness of the faithful departed


Doris Barbie

Ralph Scarcelle

Paul Agens, brother of David Agens

Jeremiah Douglass, uncle of Bob Newman




Coeditors: Herb Miller and Cynthia Woolever –

February 2014 – Volume 22, Number 2
Copyright © 2014 by C. Jeff Woods

A Parable about Pastoral Leadership

Only the wisest of pastors can create a congregational atmosphere where the reins of leadership shift with each new opportunity or crisis. At least four types of leadership—character, focused, transformational, and shifting—are necessary for congregations attempting to navigate their rapidly changing environment. These four types are not a progression, but rather the forms of leadership that typically surface for congregations facing specific challenges.

Character Leadership
Once upon a time, a pastor decided to take the congregation on vacation. On the way to their destination, the plane crashed but landed safely on a deserted island, injuring no one. The congregants knew that it might be quite some time before help arrived. They set out to gather wood, pluck berries, sharpen spears for fishing, and fashion rope for constructing huts. While pursuing these tasks, a few disputes arose among the congregants and they brought those disputes to the pastor for mediation.
The pastor, trained in the art of managing conflict, was quickly able to deal with the minor conflicts. One day a parishioner suggested that many of these disputes could be avoided if all the new island dwellers would simply mirror the temperament and values of the pastor. He argued that this approach would avoid future disputes. This worked. The congregation went about their chores and lived peaceably for the first year of their shipwreck.
Moral: Modeling behavior is one of the most powerful forms of leadership. This can be seen in a pas-tor who launches a building program or organizes a community dinner.

Focused Leadership
Early in the second year of their existence on the island, a congregant who regularly fished in the cove noticed that the ocean’s water level seemed to be rising steadily each week. When news of this discovery reached the pastor, the pastor quickly
declared, “We must move to the highest point on the island!” Because the pastor took meditative walks, he knew where the highest point was and announced that it was only a three-day journey.
Preparing for the journey, however, took much longer than three days. The pastor appointed some-one to officially monitor the water level, while also organizing others into working teams dedicated to disassembling the camp and preparing for the move. Because these preparations took several weeks, the pastor could make several scouting trips to the new location to map out the location. The team’s plans united into one seamless design that transpired like clockwork.
The days of year two seemed to fly by as each person was fully dedicated to their acquired task, trusting that the new location would allow the congregation to survive the hastening tide. Finally, the day of the big move arrived, and at the end of the three-day journey the congregation arrived safely in their new abode where they celebrated their safety during the final week of the second year of their shipwreck.
Moral: Focused leadership gets the congregation from point A to point B. This can be seen in the pas-tor who takes the lead on a new mission goal, constructing a long-term plan and delegating tasks, all while monitoring progress.

Transformational Leadership
It did not take long for the pastor and congregation to figure out that this new location was a terrible place to live. Although the new geographic coordinates did indeed provide safety from the rising tide, scouring and damaging winds came daily just before sunset. Then, sunset brought plummeting temperatures, much colder than any temperature that the congregants had experienced before.
The fact that everyone knew who picked the new site—the pastor—prevented their public display of remorse. But covert and increasingly passive-aggressive resistance grew each day. The pastor knew not what to do but pray.
Soon others joined in prayer, breaking the isolated pattern of pastoral discernment, intercession, and disclosure that had characterized their first two years on the island. Along with prayers, they came to the discovery of new gifts and new insights into the problem at hand.
“I could have told you that this would be a terrible place to live,” said the meteorologist who came to the prayer group one day. “I concur,” said the geologist who also held a degree in global climatology. Soon a new team assembled to study the best place to live on the island, drawing from the various gifts of the congregants.
Still, convincing the congregation that they must move again to a new location proved much more difficult. Dreadful as the conditions were, many had grown accustomed to them.
The pastor appointed a second leadership team to listen to the grumblings of the new faction that had emerged among the congregants who were considering staying at their existing location. Listening helped. By addressing their concerns and listening, new insights emerged from the curmudgeon group. During the final week of their third year on the is-land, the congregation moved to a much more suitable location.
Moral: Empowering a team to guide and assist the pastor helps the congregation move from point A to point B. Although the movement is still linear, the required pastoral skills are completely different from focused leadership.
Drawing on multiple gifts and forming a new vision is the crux of transformational leadership, such as can be seen when groups are empowered to effect real changes in the congregation.

Shifting Leadership
As pleasant as these new conditions were, they were not safe. The congregant responsible for tracking the rising tide consulted with the leader-ship team. Together they concluded that no location on the island would be safe. Within six months, the entire island would be under water. For a while, this catastrophic news catapulted the congregation into chaos.
However, slowly amidst the disorder, varying groups began to emerge to address the needed change. Shipbuilders commenced a project, food gatherers sought out less perishable food, and an-other group constructed sails. Completely unknown to any of these teams, a rogue group began to build beds and eating tables that would minimize the effects of the swaying sea.
Although teams seemed to be operating independently of one another, the pastor knew that seeking more control over the work teams might slow their progress and spell doom for the congregation, and so he merely stepped in at times to remind the groups to meet their deadline. Within six months, just before the daily high tide reached the sleeping quarters of the congregants, they successfully launched out into the sea.
Moral: If the transformational leader refrains from overusing his or her gifts, the phenomenon of shifting leadership can ensue. Leaders drawing on this leadership form articulate where a group is going, but not how it will get there. For example, the pastoral leader sets people free to innovate and experiment when reaching out to a radically changing neighborhood.

The Moral of the Parable
Because differing conditions call for different styles of leadership, the right form of leadership at the right time yields the greatest dividends. Each of these leadership styles are appropriate at different times, and none of them are better than the others. Few things are worse for a congregation than a leadership approach that refuses to leave the helm even after the ship has sailed.

Copyright © 2014 by C. Jeff Woods