The Rev. Dr. James B. Davis was installed as the pastor of St. Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church in Vinton on Sunday, October 15.
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Lane, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Roanoke and Dean of the Southern Conference of the Virginia Synod, presided over the installation ceremony which included many passages of scripture, prayers, hymns, and Holy Communion.
“Inspire all pastors to proclaim Your word diligently and Your people to receive it willingly,” Lane prayed.
The Rev. David Derrick, pastor of St. Philip Lutheran Church in Roanoke, delivered the sermon.
Derrick welcomed those in attendance with “Happy Installation Day,” saying that the day marked a transition for the church and its new pastor. “Today this place becomes different with unending potential.”
He then instructed the church members to “Get out” and spread the good news of Christ throughout the community and “expect miracles to happen— and challenges.”
The Rev. Kathleen Miko, Chaplain at Brandon Oaks in Roanoke, and Pastor Dave Skole of Christ Lutheran in Roanoke also participated in the installation of Rev. Davis. A reception provided by the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (WELCA) followed the service.
The new pastor came to St. Timothy from the Quicksburg Lutheran Parish near New Market, Va., which consisted of two congregations, St. Mark’s and St. Martin’s. He also served from 2002-2011 as associate pastor at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Ocean City, Md. Prior to becoming a Lutheran pastor, he was a Baptist minister having served churches in Maryland, Kentucky, and Alabama.
He is a graduate of Samford University in Alabama and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky,, where he received the degrees of Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy. He had further study at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.
A native of Alabama, the Rev. Davis is married to Olivia Temple Davis, who grew up in the Roanoke-Vinton area. They have two children, Jonathan Davis of Vinton and Dorothy Davis of Montgomery, Ala. Their son and his wife, Shea, have six children.
St. Timothy Lutheran began as a mission start congregation of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA). Its mission developer was the Rev. James Sheldon. The church held its first worship service in September 1970. In the beginning, the church met in a local funeral home and in the town recreation building. A church building was constructed at 1201 Hardy Road in Vinton in 1974.
Since its beginning, St. Timothy has been a small, but active, congregation. Many of the facilities and improvements were completed by the parishioners. In 2011, St. Timothy celebrated 40 years of ministry in Vinton. Many charter members still attend each week.
During that time, St. Timothy has been served by eight pastors: the Rev. James Sheldon, the Rev. Robert Busch, the Rev. Pat McGlaughlin, the Rev. Jan Ramsey, the Rev. Harold Uhl, the Rev. Amy Oehlschlaeger, the Rev. Judy Tavela, and, since September 1, the Rev. Davis.
Its congregation says that St. Timothy remains “a small but mighty church of Christ.”
For over 14 years, the church participated in a hunger food project called SHARE, which served the community with low cost food. The church is wel known for its elegant angel display on the lawn at Christmas.
Lutherans, and other Protestants, are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation this month. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther issued a challenge to bishops and other clergy and scholars to discuss issues raised in his 95 Theses, reportedly nailing them to a church door at Wittenberg Castle in Germany. He preached that “salvation comes by grace through faith, and not by any works that an individual might do to earn God’s forgiveness.” The 95 Theses became the foundation of the Protestant Reformation.
St. Timothy’s will be celebrating this anniversary on Reformation Sunday, October 29, at 11 a.m. All are invited to attend.