Search Results for: ‘Member in mission’


A workshop to help congregations connect with new people.

Multiple choice of locations:

9:30 am -12 noon
at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Springfield, VA


9:30 am – 12 noon
at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, MD

What can you do to help your Church grow? God brings the growth, but our hands work the soil and plant the seeds.

This workshop will help to plan your congregation’s outreach strategy. Expect practical, implementable steps that you can take away that make a big impact. Leave with a plan customized for your congregation to connect with new people. The goal of this workshop is for every participant to leave with 2 – 4 actions they can implement in their congregation that will help connect with new people. Seven strategies and 21 big impact actions will be presented, including how to:

  • Make invitations
  • Welcome newcomers
  • Follow-up with guests
  • Help get them connected
  • Facilitate friendships
  • Form disciples
  • Make evangelism a priority


9 a.m. – Gathering
9:30 a.m. – Strategies and actions
10:45 a.m. – Break
11 a.m. – Implementation (small groups)
11:45 a.m. – Readouts
Noon – Adjourn


There is no fee for the workshop but registration is requested. It is designed for pastors, evangelism chairs, committee members and anyone who has responsibilities related to new members and reaching out. The workshop is brought to you by the New & Renewing Missions Table of the Metro D.C. Synod.  Register now.


The Rev. Philip Hirsch, Director of Evangelical Mission in the Metro D.C. Synod. He has led two growing congregations in 25 years of ministry.

– See more at: Growing Church Workshop – Metro DC ELCA

High School Sponsored BBQ Cook-Off was ON all Evening

Our youth group, sponsored a BBQ cook-off event to raise money for the ELCA Gathering in Detroit Michigan.  There are 8 of us attending the pre-gathering mission portion, where we will spend 2 extra days working alongside those in Detroit Michigan.  There will be a total of 17 of us attending the gathering as well.  This BBQ cook-off was our 9th Annual BBQ, our funds raised each year go towards supporting those who are attending the National Gathering.  We had 5  BBQ contestants, 4 judges, a live dessert auction, a silent auction and fabulous fellowship.  The youth sold tickets, ran stations for younger children, sold food, and presented the BBQ to the panel of judges. This project not only assisted in our financial portion of the trip, but allowed the opportunity for our congregational members to get

to know the youth who are attending the gathering a bit better.  During our live dessert auction it was clearly about assisting the youth and having fun, as a Blueberry Buckle dessert, made by a 12 year old youth, raised $35.00.  We had generous hearts at our BBQ, and this will allow our youth to take that spirit of generosity to the gathering and share it with the people of Detroit

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From Our Council President

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about our church’s financial situation in light of our individual and collective engagement in GoodBible study with coffee--edited Sam’s mission and purpose as a congregation. Good things are happening throughout our congregation, praise God! Your council continues to look for opportunities to economize and manage within available resources. However, as you may remember from our annual congregational meeting, after much contemplation, the budget we adopted for 2015 anticipated that expenses (even with drastic cuts) would exceed income by about 12%. This presents an opportunity for us to consider our blessings and our responses, and also to engage with our neighbors and invite them to join us on our mission of discipleship.     During the past few weeks, our worship has focused on Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the example he set by washing his disciples’ feet, and his gift to us of his body and blood in the institution of communion. We also have contemplated his sacrifice for our sins on the cross. The good news is that we know and believe the passion story has a happy ending as we experience the joy of Easter.   A wise person said that we can’t “out-give” God. I invite you to ponder that throughout the comings days, and contemplate further who our neighbors are, and how we might individually and collectively walk alongside them as we journey together in faith.

John S.

About Us

Good Sam CommunityOur Community

Good Samaritan (Good Sam) is a community of Christian disciples who find meaning in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  We take seriously the invitation of Jesus to walk with our neighbors in our journey of faith (Luke 10:25-37).  We are brothers and sisters to Christians throughout the world and are affiliated specifically with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We worship in the Christian liturgical tradition and we follow the rhythm of a church year that is organized around the life of Jesus from his birth (Advent/Christmas) through his ministry on earth (Epiphany), then to his death and resurrection (Lent/Easter) and finally to his sharing of God’s Spirit with the church (Pentecost).  The Communion meal is central to our worship each Sunday.  In it, we feast upon the gifts of Jesus in bread and wine.  Here we meet our Lord and become united together in his resurrected life among us. Baptism is a sign of God’s promises that accompany us throughout our lives as we journey in faith and service.

We have chosen to locate our congregation in the heart of Lexington Park, right off of Great Mills Road and from here we take seriously the work of serving our neighbors.  We host St Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen on our campus and our own Our Daily Bread Food Pantry actively serves 150 families week month with groceries and non perishable food.  In this community service we hope to serve any who have need, regardless of religion, race, color, age, sexual identity, national origin, disability or parental status.

At Good Sam, we believe in listening to one another, respecting one another and figuring out together how we can best love God and to love and serve our neighbors.  We don’t believe that we all need to have the same political views.  Here you’ll find democrats, republicans and everything in between.  All are welcome!  We find that, no matter our political beliefs, we discover common ground in loving God and neighbor. We can all support each other on this journey of faith.

We hope you will visit us in person on a Sunday morning.  We’d love the opportunity to walk with you on your journey and to share with you the grace and joy that we have found in the path of discipleship.

Our Pastor

Pastor Mitch Watney

Pastor Mitch Watney
(301) 863-4740

I was ordained in 1990 and, prior to coming to Good Samaritan, served congregations in Oregon and Washington State.

I’m an outdoorsy kind of guy who loves to sail, hike, ski and plan adventures every so often to keep me always looking forward.  My best partner in all of these things is my wife Shannon, who is also a Lutheran Pastor.  Our daughters, Sara Noel and Willa Joy, are our best shared joy.  They are a gift of light, strength and hope – constantly calling from us our best efforts and our best selves.

Life for me has its richest expression in Jesus the Anointed one of God.  For me this is where love and grace find full expression.  It is in Christ that justice and mercy come together and find their fullest expression.  This is why I serve in the church, not because it’s perfect, but because we are always looking to find the life of Jesus in our midst.

Our Music Director

Sherri Fenwick

(301) 863-4740

We are very excited to have Sherri Fenwick join our staff.  She Graduated from St Mary’s College with a Music Ed. Degree and has a full career as a music teacher in the St Mary’s County School system as well as decades of experience as a church musician in and out of this county.  She directs a tri-county Southern Gospel Choir and comes to us with a long list of people who’s lives she has touch through music in area churches, schools, choirs and more.  She is a gifted organist and is wonderful on any keyboard.  Not only does she love music but she love the Lord even more.


Our Director of Mission and Engagement

(205) 541-0744

Kelly Thurber lives in Lexington Park, MD with her husband Eric and her 2 boys Maxwell & Elijah. Born & raised in Birmingham, AL, Kelly grew up in the Lutheran church there and began participating in mission work as a youth. She has a passion for connecting with and engaging the community, equipping people with knowledge and tools, and helping them explore their God given gifts and talents. Before coming to Maryland, Kelly served 2 years with the international non-profit Empower-A-Child as a Volunteer in Uganda on 2 mission trips, then as a USA Board Member & Staff Member.  She has also served with Americorps as a Habitat for Humanity project coordinator and is formerly a Foster Care Case Manager. As a navy spouse, she has had the opportunity to serve as a volunteer, mentor & facilitator in programs with communities and churches all across the US. She has been a member of Good Sam since moving here is 2016.


Our Office Manager / Administrative Assistant

Iman Green Syler


Iman Green Syler lives in Valley Lee, MD with her husband, Greg, and their daughter, Carter.  Born and raised in Charlotte, NC, Iman’s Christian faith deepened through camping and youth ministry. Before coming to Good Samaritan, Iman served as Missioner for Youth & Families for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, helping resource and develop effective ministries in faith communities throughout southern Maryland, DC, Montgomery, Prince George’s County. She is an active member of The Episcopal Church and worships with her family at St. George’s in Valley Lee. Not only is she excited to join the ministry team at Good Samaritan, Iman looks forward to bringing her skills, joy, and love of Christ to empower and help raise up life-changing ministry.


Our Nursery Care Lead


Karol is a Senior at St Mary’s College and is working toward a Bachelor of Arts in Art with a Minor in Educational Studies.  Karol enjoys her work with Good Sam engaging groups of children, ages 1-7, playing games and leading crafts, to provide a safe and fun environment while parents attend church service.   In addition to enjoying play and self-expression through art and crafts, Karol is a fantastic artist in her own right.  She is a long time member of Good Sam.


Wednesday Evening Childcare Staff


Hello my name is Julie Nelson. I am a Texas native, but am living here in Southern Maryland with my husband who is stationed on NAS Pax River. I was fortunate to grow up in a Christian home and learned the value of missionary work from a young age. I love being able to share the love of God with children and help shape them into who they will be in the future. 



Stitching Sisters news — Aug. 2014

shawl_6008c(Written August 9)

Hello Stitching Sisters – Just wanted to pass you the latest news on the Stitching Sisters front. We had a very good turnout at our mid-summer, mid-day knit-crochet gathering on August 4 (Maureen, Ele, Kim, Edna, Emily, and Carol). We discussed various things:

  1. The St. Mary’s County Fair is being held September 18-21 BUT TAKE-IN DAY IS Wednesday, September 17. We will be entering some of our prayer shawls. If you are interested in entering an item, please see Edna. The home arts contest is a PILLOW project this year (needle art, crochet, knitted, applique, etc) with a prize of $15 to the winner, not a purse contest as previously reported.
  2. The crocheted basket class at Michaels is for only one night, September 10, 6:00-8:30 pm at a reduced cost of $18.75. I will be registering Ele and myself this week. Let me know if you are interested. This is a very cute project and we can enter these at the fair too (crocheted novelty item). Check out Michaels’ website for more info including the supply list and a picture. Michaels is also offering many beginner classes in crochet and knitting.
  3. We talked about our fall start-up. And we decided our first date would be September 8 at Edna’s home, 6:30 – 8:30. We all favored the idea of having future meetings in the Disciples’ Den, which we can do on a Tuesday vs. a Monday. Some of us favored a daytime meeting too. We will decide this at our first gathering on the 8th. If you cannot attend, please let Edna know what you prefer — Tuesday daytime or Tuesday night.
  4. Our church home needs a new baptismal banner. But we have to slip that a week to Friday, September 12, 9:00 am to noon. We might need to also schedule another construction date.
  5. Our dear Kim read a thank you note from Carol G. for the prayer shawl she recently received.
  6. We also talked about tithing some of the prayer shawls to a charity (Hospice, Pregnancy Care Center). We will decide this later.
  7. Ele inquired about a bake sale like we did last year (to benefit the youth gathering trip in 2015). It was also suggested that we make easy fleece scarfs for food pantry clients as a mission project. We will also talk about this on Sept. 8.

I mailed a green and yellow granny square prayer shawl (made by Maureen) to Anne R. (a friend of June B., who was a former dedicated member at Good Sam).

We have some money in our treasury. We will discuss this at the first meeting. We need some starter kits with the beginners books. And any other item.

Enjoy these wonderful days of summer.

Your sister in faith, Edna

Report from 2014 Metro D.C. ELCA Synod Assembly

DC Synod logoCatherine and Greg D. had the chance to attend the 2014 Metro D.C. ELCA Synod Assembly as delegates. They got to hear many people speak on the current issues facing the church and heard the prayers being asked for by the assembly. Here is a brief overview of the Synod assembly gathering:


There was a resolution calling upon “the Metropolitan Washington DC Synod to stand in prayerful solidarity with those suffering under current immigration laws” and specifically said the following prayer in English as well as Spanish, Oromo, and Tamil:

“Loving God… bless Latino, Oromo, Tamil speaking and all members of our church and community who suffer fear and isolation under current immigration laws. Provide and inspire leaders and legislators to see your image in every child of God and to enact laws that clearly and fairly treat our immigrant brothers and sisters. Help us to persistently stand with them in Christ as long as it takes for just and fair laws to take root and blossom. Lord in your mercy… Hear our prayer!”

Supporting our fellow churches of:  La Sagrada Familia, Iglesia Luterana San Marcos, La Comunidad de Santa Maria, Oromo Resurrection Evangelical Church, and In Christ Washington Congregation

If you are interested in learning more or participating, please consider looking into pray4reform on their website ( and Facebook group ( as well as Lutheran advocacy as a whole: (

MIF: an alternative to traditional savings MIF graphic

There was a presentation about the Mission Investment Fund which describes itself as:

“A ministry of the ELCA with faith and finance at its core, MIF aspires to be a premier financial services choice for ELCA ministries, partners and church members…Lending to ELCA congregations, synods and related ministries, and providing a vehicle for ELCA congregations, synods, related ministries and individuals to invest in the work of this church.”  (

This presented an interesting alternative to traditional savings that would invest in church projects.

I Love Camp MonthMar-Lu

February was designated as “I Love Camp Month” to highlight the opportunities provided by camp and retreat centers like Mar-Lu-Ridge Camp and Retreat Center ( and Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center (, whose purpose is to, “provide an intentional Christian communal experience where one meets God in God’s awesome creation.” ( They hold retreats, camps, conferences at their facilities.

Website Review:

The D.C. Synod reviewed and reported on the current status of all church websites in the synod. A brief overview of the results was shared with the assembly. The information given to Good Samaritan will help us develop a better and more useful website for our church community.

ELCA World Relief and DevelopmentMalaria graphic

We learned about some of the ELCA world relief projects. In addition to the Domestic Hunger Grants that gave more than $800,000 in domestic projects, the ELCA World Hunger works in more than 50 countries around the world (look here to see the map:, and the ELCA Malaria Campaign has been preventing death from malaria by providing “mosquito nets, education, testing, medication and more.”

Scavenger Hunt Road Rally, May 18 — Sign up now

Join your fellow Good Sam members and their friends in a friendly competition!!

This hunt is designed to test your creativity and have fun with members of Good Sam. It is a time of fun and fellowship sponsored by the Empty Nesters.

What: This scavenger hunt is a 3 hour excursion sending participants in search of things, places or people and allows them to perform activities as well. The team with the most points at the end of the hunt wins bragging rights for the whole year!

When and Where: Sunday, May 18, 2014 from 10:30 am until about 2:30 pm at Good Sam.

Check-in at the Fellowship Hall at 10:30 after fellowship time. Return no later than 2 pm with your hunt results. Enjoy a sweet treat while we tabulate the results and proclaim the winner.

Who: Everyone. There is no age limit! Get a group together that will fit in your vehicle. We prefer you to have at least four people in your car. If you don’t have a car or don’t want to drive but want to join the fun, just let us know.

Price: The admission fee is a non-perishable food item which will be given to Our Daily Bread food pantry.

What else: Bring a camera, as scoring will be from the photographic evidence. Each picture and activity is worth a certain amount of points. Get creative–bonus points may be awarded for exceptional photos at the judge’s discretion.

You will also need to either pack a picnic lunch or be prepared to buy lunch out with your group. When you sign up be sure to indicate whether you plan to bag or buy as you will randomly be put into teams of two vehicles.

Sound interesting? Contact Jill W. for registration information. For planning purposes for this event we will need you to RSVP. Other questions please see Jill W., Diane H., Ginger L. or Nancy S.

Scavenger Hunt image

Always Being Made New – The Campaign for the ELCA

Please enter the url to a YouTube video.

Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA

Approved by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburgh, this five-year, nearly $200 million campaign will:

  • Increase this church’s capacity to support congregational renewal and the planting of new congregations
  • Form and support new lay, ordained and global leaders for mission
  • Encourage and form lay youth and young adult leaders
  • Support this church’s disability ministry
  • Bolster our commitment to walk with global companion churches in shared witness
  • Expand our efforts to address poverty and hunger

While the campaign was approved in the 25th anniversary year of the forming of the ELCA, this also is our moment to look toward the next 25 years and boldly respond to the needs of God’s creation with a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA — the first of its size and scope in the history of this church — gives each of us the opportunity to make a transformational impact on the ministries of our church. Together, as 4 million members of the ELCA in nearly 10,000 congregations and 65 synods, we are one church with a call to do God’s work throughout the world.

Through this campaign, we can expand our mission capacity and achieve things on a scale and scope that we could never do alone. Through this campaign, we can do more. Together, we are called to do more, and in responding to this call, we will continue to live out God’s promise of always being made new, and to use our hands — and all that we have been given — to do God’s work. See more at the campaign’s official website.


Campaign Goals

This campaign — which runs from Feb. 1, 2014, through Jan. 31, 2018 — seeks to raise $198 million in support of new and expanded churchwide ministries above and beyond those supported by your regular weekly offerings.


Accompany and equip 1,000 congregations in their renewal efforts through ELCA synods
Goal for Renewing Congregations–
$8 million

Spread the good news far and wide by planting more congregations in the United States and the Caribbean.
Goal for ELCA New Congregations–
$4 million

Expand ministries with people living with disabilities.
Goal for Disability Ministries–
$4 million


Grow the permanent endowment fund so that, for generations to come, hundreds more of the most promising leaders can respond to the call to serve our congregations.
Goal for ELCA Fund for Leaders–$15 million

Engage young people in the life of this church through expanded ministries to youth and young adults.
Goal for Youth and Young Adults–
$4 million

Hunger and Poverty

Support our comprehensive approach in nearly 60 countries and expand support to communities in at least 10 countries, including the United States, as they work to solve challenges that perpetuate hunger and poverty.
Goal for ELCA World Hunger–
$115 million

Meet and exceed our 2011 goal of $15 million by 2015 to help overcome malaria in 13 countries in Africa.
Goal for the ELCA Malaria Campaign–
$15 million (over $10 million already raised)

Global Church

Initiate new evangelism projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Goal for Global Ministries–
$7 million

Equip more than 200 additional women leaders from our global companion churches through increased scholarships and educational opportunities.
Goal for International Leaders-Women–
$4 million

Support our missionaries and give 200 additional young adults the opportunity to participate in a year of global service.
Goal for Missionaries and Young Adults in Global Mission–
$22 million

Total campaign goal: $198 million

Next Steps Fellowship – Nov. 14 & Dec. 12

Walking Together with Our Homeless Neighbors

Do you want to be part of a new effort through Good Sam to reach out and better care for our neighbors? So far, we have made a good start with “Our Daily Bread” Food Pantry and through the WARM program. Here is a new and engaging opportunity called the Next Steps Fellowship!  More information and an introduction to Next Steps Fellowship can be found here (from October 2013).

We invite you to the monthly fellowship meetings at 6:30 pm — the next two meetings will be on Thursday, November 14 and Thursday, December 12 at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (23101 Town Creek Drive, Lexington Park, MD 20653).

Our mission is to develop relationships between members of faith communities and the homeless community, with transformation, growth, and life change happening on both sides. In order to accomplish this, we are creating a regular fellowship of folks who want to be about this process.

The primary values of the Next Steps Fellowship are:

  • Being in fellowship with others who are actively seeking to care for neighbors who are hurting
  • Encouraging one another in our own efforts to make a difference in the lives of others
  • Inviting the whole Christian community to step up to learn and practice effective patterns of building community among ourselves and those who are hurting around us
  • Not duplicating or reinventing services that already exist in our community for our homeless neighbors, but to refer and encourage follow-through with the service providers
  • Welcoming our homeless neighbors into supportive community connections (mentoring and small group support and broader faith communities) where encouragement and accountability can flourish
  • Working in concert with our community partners, service providers, faith communities, pastors and other interested lay persons to develop a competent community that caringly goes about supporting our homeless neighbors in their own efforts toward becoming self-sufficient, housed, employed and contributing members of our community
  • Striving to see our homeless neighbors as gifts to our community so they come to recognize their value as well
  • Through relationship with God, in fellowship with one another and in relationship with our hurting neighbors, to move with them through the stages of assistance beginning with relief but moving to rehabilitation and then to development of new relationships, life skills and learning to contribute to the community as well as one’s own betterment

If you enjoy learning about relationships, meeting new people, caring for people who are struggling, and/or connecting people to community resources that can really help them—this fellowship may just be for you. We will encourage each other and learn effective ways to make a difference.

Middle School Youth Lock-In – November 15-16

Lock-In – Nov. 15, 7 pm until Nov. 16, 9 am

Please join us for a middle school lock-in on Friday, Nov. 15. Pastor Mitch will join us to help us plan a Christmas Pageant for the younger kids to be a part of, led by the confirmation class, but with help from the 6th graders too. And, of course, there will be fun and games and maybe even a movie!  (Plans are still being developed.) 

Remember to bring your sleeping gear, toiletries, and snacks/drinks to share that evening. A cold breakfast will be provided for Saturday morning. Let Jennifer N. know about any food allergies/issues. If you can’t spend the night, consider joining us for as long as you can in the evening.  The doors won’t be locked until it’s time for bed…

A signed permission form is required for the event.  Please see Jennifer for a copy and return the completed form to her prior to the event if you can. See Jennifer with any questions you have about the lock-in.

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