This past week from October 21st through the 23rd, rostered ministers from across the Virginia Synod gathered for the annual Gathering of the Ministerium in Virginia Beach. In an effort to build and maintain collegial relationships and to foster collaboration and partnership this gathering takes place as one part of connecting rostered ministers with one another but also churches with one another. This year’s gathering offered many opportunities for relaxation, worship, renewal, sharing, play, and continued education as rostered ministers renewed their covenant with each other.
This year, the synod also welcomed rostered ministers, interns, vicars, and seminarians new and returning to the synod to arrive early to Virginia Beach for an additional event, Virginia Synod Orientation. Folks attending this event had the opportunity to meet the Virginia Synod staff and to hear more about the expansive ministries of the Virginia Synod. They also had the chance to get to know others who are new to the Synod, building new relationships within the body of Christ.
Each year at the gathering, the Virginia Synod ministerium renew their covenant, which you can read fully here. The Virginia Synod ministerium covenant holds them together as rostered ministers. Those who were in attendance at the Virginia Synod Orientation event were invited to sign a copy of the ministerium covenant during the Covenant Renewal Litany, joining their signature with the many other members of the ministerium who have done so before them.
The Rev. Dr. Dave Daubert served as the presenter for this year’s gathering. He is a second career pastor (previously an engineer) who has served in congregational, synodical and churchwide ministry positions. Today he leads Day 8 Strategies, which works with congregations, judicatories and other organizations throughout the United States and Canada, and serves as pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL. He is recognized as a leader in the fields of church renewal, leadership, strategy, and stewardship. Dr. Daubert presented on this year’s theme, “What is Congregational Vitality Anyways?” During the gathering, he shared ministry experiences and brainstormed new ways we can be church together.
Attendees also got to catch up with the staff of the Office of the Bishop. Throughout their time together, staff members shared important updates for their areas of ministry from First Call to Youth Events, there was plenty of good news shared. These updates are important in keeping our ministerium informed and better equipped for congregations they are serving or worshipping with.
Rostered ministers attending the Gathering of the Ministerium had plenty of time to relax and have some fun together! Relaxation and play can mean many different things to different people so the gathering provides a variety of activities for all to take part in. For some, playing a round of golf is a great way to unwind. Others instead had a great time competing in the corn-hole tournament, with friendly competition. Some took the opportunity to play a board game with friends new and old. Members of ministerium got to enjoy one another’s company during the Monday evening reception at Smartmouth Brewing Company for a beer and hymn sing.
At the Gathering of the Ministerium, the ministerium joins together in worship, confessing, singing, and hearing God’s word with members of the ministerium from all across Virginia. The Rev. Jonathan Boynton, The Rev. Katie Pocalyko, The Rev. Dr. Philip Bouknight, The Rev. Alex Witt, The Rev. Rachel Manke, The Rev. Phillip Martin, The Rev. Viktoria Halmágyi Parvin, The Rev. Robert F. Humphrey, Bishop of the Virginia Synod, and more all participated in worship services during the event. Each shared their talents throughout worship, and we thank them for all their hard work.
During worship, an offering was collected and designated for Papua New Guinea (PNG) scholarship fund for the children of pastors. With over $800 collected this will help ten pastors’ children attend primary school for the year. For more information about PNG, the Virginia Synod’s global companion synod, click here.
Along with hearing from Dr. Daubert, worshipping, learning, and sharing with one another- rostered ministers attending Gathering of the Ministerium had plenty of time to relax and have some fun together at Virginia Beach. This is such an important event for all rostered ministers to attend as continuing education, and forming and maintaining collegial relationships. Do encourage your leaders to be a part of the Gathering of the Ministerium next year!