This past Election Tuesday was a day for five confirmation students to reflect on the role of the church outside their home congregation with a unique trip. For over 20 years, Epiphany Lutheran in Richmond has brought confirmation students to Roanoke. While visiting Roanoke the students meet the Bishop, tour Roanoke College, and learn more about the Synod’s Mission Partners Lutheran Family Services and Virginia Lutheran Homes.
Pastor Phillip Martinof Epiphany has continued to bring his confirmands to Roanoke in a tradition that was started by his predecessor, Pastor Chris Price, who came up with the idea for this trip during his time at Epiphany. This trip helps confirmation students see that the church and the work it does extends far beyond Epiphany’s walls.
The confirmation students started their day off at the brand new Martin Luther statue on the campus of Roanoke College. They later were given a tour of several major building on campus including the Fintel Library as well as the brand new Cregger Center athletic facility. Their tour guide was none other than Pastor Paul Henrickson, former Roanoke College Chaplin.
While on campus the group of five got the chance to meet with Bishop Mauney in the office of the Bishop. Each confirmand brought with them a list of questions for Bishop Mauney to answer, all in the goal of learning more about the role of a Bishop in our Synod. Bishop Mauney discussed with the students the role of the Bishop for the church as well as the challenges and joys he’s gotten to experience in his 18 years as Bishop, telling stories and sharing his experience with them candidly. Bishop Mauney also stressed the importance and value of the Small Catechism in their confirmation studies, showing off his own copy.
During lunch the group got to meet with several Roanoke College students, professors of religion, as well as the Chaplin of Roanoke College, Chaplin Chris Bowen. There the confirmation group got to ask questions on campus life, and how college life can impact and shape their faith. Students attending Roanoke College discussed how living your faith in college often makes its presence known in less conventional ways. Even with evening services held every Wednesday and typical Sunday services out in the community, many of these students said they found ways to engage in prayer and discussion with one another at all hours of the day- be it during service projects with Chaplin Chris, or a prayer together late at night over shared stresses.