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News and updates for congregations


READY Local Governments is offering a nine-week training program, expert guidance, and funding opportunities to help local governments in the Appalachian Region better apply for, manage, and implement federal funding. Learn more here:



At our 2022 Synod Assembly, we forwarded a memorial to the Churchwide Assembly which resulted in the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church (CRLC) being formed. The CRLC has been meeting and working toward outcomes outlined in the memorial. Now, they want to hear from you. The Allegheny Synod has scheduled a Listening Session on Tuesday, January 30. There are two times scheduled: 11:00 am and 7:00 pm. The Listening Session will be held via Zoom and the link will be sent to anyone who registers. This is free and open to any member of the Allegheny Synod. Register by clicking this link:



Pastor Christine Roe’s grandson, Rowan Lee James Blevins, was born January 18, 9 lbs. 9 oz. and 21 1/2 inches by c-section. Mom and dad are doing well. The family ask for prayers for mom Jaymi’s full recovery and for their new lives shared as a family.


Pastor Jaime Olson’s granddaughter, Molly Marie Mishik, was born January 21, 8 lbs. 6 oz. and 19 3/4 inches. Mom and dad are also doing well. Prayers to the family as they begin their new lives together.

Webinar on EPA Community Change Grant Program Thursday, February 1st from Noon- 2PM ET 

The Environmental Protection Network (EPN) is joining Reimagine Appalachia to host this information session to share more about the application process for  the Environmental Protection Agency’s Community Change grant, with extra space for networking and question and answers. The first hour will focus on a formal presentation and ample time for questions and answers. The second hour will allow time for networking and conversation from groups in the region who are applying, or considering applying for this grant. Register here


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants program, a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), for approximately $2 billion dollars in Inflation Reduction Act funds.

  1. Track I, Community-Driven Investments for Change expects to award approximately $1.96 billion for 150 projects for $10-20 million each.

  2. Track II, Meaningful Engagement for Equitable Governance expects to award approximately $40 million for 20 projects for $1-3 million each.

Eligibility: Applications should be (1) a partnership between two community-based nonprofit organizations (CBOs), or (2) a partnership between a CBO and a Tribe, local government, or institution of higher education. A CBO must show that it is a nonprofit, and that it supports/represents a community through engagement, education, and other related services.

Deadline: The NOFO will be open for a year, closing on November 21, 2024, and the EPA will review applications on a rolling basis. This allows applicants to utilize technical assistance and possibly resubmit a new application if not initially selected. The EPA encourages prospective applicants to apply as early as possible. Learn more and apply here.

Free training from the Appalachian Regional Commission to help access federal grants – 

Here's a map of the counties served by the Appalachian Regional Commission.  Please help get the word out to your local governments, especially those with limited bandwidth. APPLICATIONS ARE DUE BY FEB. 29 -- Following completion of the training program, participants will be eligible for up to $50,000 in funding (no-match required) to implement internal capacity-building projects to help them better serve communities. 


Help for access to clean-energy tax credits The IRS has launched the IRS Energy Credits Online pre-filing registration tool for taxpayers who intend to receive a direct payment or transfer a clean energy credit.  

Eligibility: Non-profits and many other entities are eligible to access clean energy tax credits through Elective pay and Transferability mechanisms, as established by the Inflation Reduction Act.  Nonprofits can use an IRS Energy Credits Online user guide to complete a required pre-filing registration process and receive a registration number.

The IRS is excited to offer office hours (through Microsoft Teams) to help entities with the pre-filing registration process on the new IRA/CHIPS Pre-filing Registration Tool. Pre-filing registration is a required step for applicable entities and eligible taxpayers to take advantage of elective payment or transfer of credits available in the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS Act. Representatives from the IRS will be available to answer your pre-filing registration questions. 

Registration for office hours is now open. Registration is required and can be completed by clicking on the links below.



Though often vilified by Lutherans of the late 20th century, Samuel Simon Schmucker is arguably the most influential Lutheran of the 19th century, and his legacy continues to this day as evidenced by the number of people who still blame him for every ill in the modern American Lutheran church. To mark the 225th anniversary of his birth, The Lutheran Historical Society of the Mid-Atlantic, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg College Provost’s Office, Gettysburg College History Department, Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, and Christ Lutheran Church Gettysburg are holding a day-long conference, 24 February 2024, at Gettysburg College, with lecturers and panelists from across the United States to engage in a critical re-examination of Schmucker's thought and legacy. For more information and to register, click here:



From the e-mail announcement: As Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service enters its 85th year, we are excited to share the beginning of an impactful new chapter in the history of our organization. On January 17, 2024, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is becoming Global Refuge.  Our decision to rebrand is rooted in the massive worldwide need for compassionate support of those seeking safety. With more than 100 million people displaced by war, famine, climate change, and persecution, our mission of providing the "long welcome" is more crucial than ever. Our Board knew we needed to build a bigger table of supporters.  The Global Refuge brand fittingly conveys our mission of providing safety and support to refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants from across the world. As our new identity makes us more accessible to clients, partners, and supporters, it leaves unchanged our core vision: to foster a world of just and welcoming communities, informed by our Lutheran heritage and decades of experience.


Khader El-Yateem appointed Executive Director for ELCA Service and Justice

CHICAGO (Jan. 17, 2024) — The Rev. Khader El-Yateem has been appointed executive director of the Service and Justice home area of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). El-Yateem will begin his service March 18. El-Yateem has served as assistant to the bishop and director for evangelical mission with the ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod since 2018. Prior to joining the synod staff, he served as pastor of Salam Arabic Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., a congregation he started as a mission developer in 1995. El-Yateem also worked in patient relations at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn from 2010 to 2017, and was chief financial officer at Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem, from 1990 to 1992. The former executive director for Service and Justice, the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, retired in April 2023. Tammy Jackson has served as the interim executive director since his retirement.



A draft version (Civic_Life_and_Faith_Draft.pdf ( of the ELCA social statement on civic life and faith is now available for study and discussion. You can give feedback by filling out a survey, found here: Draft of a Social Statement on Civic Life and Faith Survey (, or by participating in a hearing. Hearings are public gatherings where participants share specific affirmations or concerns. The feedback period will be open until Sept. 30. Learn more.


A draft version (Microsoft Word - SMGVT PostedDraftText-final.docx ( of an ELCA social message on gun-related violence and trauma is available and open for feedback until Jan. 31. Please take the time, alone or with a group, to study the message draft and share your affirmations, concerns, and suggestions via this survey form: Draft of a Social Message on Gun-related Violence and Trauma Survey (


Kindling Faith 2024 Programming

  • For Congregational Councils seeking to learn more about this vital ministry of the church—a new six-part zoom series kicked off on January 8th at 7 pm (meeting on the second Monday of each month through June). Cost is now only $80. Click here to learn more!




  • Leading from the Second Chair” is a special in-person program for Associate Deans and Pastors serving in corporate-sized congregations. February 26-27 on the Gettysburg Campus.


  • A special one day event for lay and rostered leaders who feel weary from wandering in the wilderness—“Fostering Spiritual Resilience” will be held on the Gettysburg campus and online February 29th. Part of the Small but Mighty Church series.


  • In honor of Samuel Simon Schmucker’s 225th birthday, we are having a special event on the Gettysburg campus on Saturday, March 2nd. There are special learning opportunities for everyone. Bring a group from your congregation. Learn more here.



  • Synod-authorized training programs are available in March and April. We are offering in-person training on both the Philadelphia and Gettysburg campuses in March. Online trainings will be available in April. Anti-racism, LGBTQIA2S+ Competency, and Boundary concepts are the topics. Register here.


  • The Nolde Lecture series welcomes author Anthony Ray Hinton to the Philadelphia campus on Monday, March 18th at 7 pm for a free lecture about his experience of living on death row for thirty years. The event will also be livestreamed and his book And the Sun Does Shine will be available for purchase and signing. Register here to attend in person or via livestream.


  • Reconciling the Shadow is a special day apart for rostered and lay women to examine their spiritual and mental growth edges. Join Jesus in the desert, hold space for grief, anger, and questioning, and gain concrete tools and direction to move toward true belief in resurrection. March 21-22 in Gettysburg. Register here.



  • Rediscovering Hope” with Nancy Nyland will take place on April 11th at the Gettysburg campus and online. Nyland has taught the ELCA’s congregational vitalization workshops for several years. This workshop will focus on reclaiming our hope in Jesus Christ and how this shapes our evangelism and outreach; part of the “Small but Mighty Church” series.


  • Spring Convocation on the Gettysburg Campus will take place April 24th. The theme is “Theodicy” and will feature Dr. Natalia Marandiuc and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kate Bowler. Register here.


Save these 2024 dates for Authors at ULS:

Save the dates for Summer 2024:

  • Theological Learning with Adults featuring Dr. Allison deForest Professor of New Testament, July 14 – 19

  • Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate II: July 28-August 2 (Week Long Artist in Residence: David Hayward aka The Naked Pastor)

  • Summer Ministry Institute: Worship in Context with Rev. Jonathan Rundman and Rev. Sarah and Erik Teichmann, August 11 - 16


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