Dear Partners in Ministry across the Carolinas,
We pray the New Year is filled with blessings of health and happiness for each of you!
We are excited to share with you that the North Carolina and South Carolina Synods have called and affirmed Pastor Ruth Ann Sipe and Pastor Ray Sipe to serve in a shared position as Disaster Coordinators and Network Builders for both the NC and SC Synods.
This new position is funded by a grant from ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response with support funding from each synod in the Carolinas. The purpose of this position is to increase disaster preparedness and develop a network of people, congregations, and resources in the Carolinas who can respond when disasters occur.
The NC and SC Synod Councils along with both Offices of the Bishop have been working since August on this process to envision how this grant could be used to bless the Carolinas in our disaster preparedness work. The envisioning and interviewing process led us to Pastor Ruth Ann and Pastor Ray who both have experience through their internships on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and a passion for this ministry.
They will share this call a half-time each and will begin on February 15. Meet them below.
Pastor Ruth Ann Sipe has worked as a construction estimator, project manager, and manufacturing customer service manager. She was active in the NC Synodical Women’s Organization, serving on the NC SWO Board and as a delegate to two Triennial Gatherings. She graduated from Montreat College with a B.B.A. in 1998, and from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) with an M. Div. in 2008. She also received a Spiritual Direction Certification from LTSS in 2022. She has served the NC Synod congregations of Becks, Lexington; Mt. Zion, Richfield; and St. Stephen’s, Gold Hill. She has served on the NC Synod stewardship team and the planning team for the Lutheran and Moravian Women in Ministry retreat. She spends her spare time knitting or crocheting.
Pastor Ray Sipe has worked as a hardware and software engineer, customer service manager, and in international sales. He is a life member of NC Lutheran Men in Mission. He graduated from Illinois Central College with a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology in 1983, and from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with an M. Div. in 2008. He has served the NC Synod congregations of Becks, Lexington; Prince of Peace, Salisbury; Mt. Gilead, Mt. Pleasant; and St. Martin, Concord. He has also served as Chaplain for Trinity Place in Albemarle.He has served on the synod’s team for specialized ministry and as president of the Stanly County Ministerial Network. He also has served as president of the Stanly County Amateur Radio Club.
Together, during seminary, they spent January 2006 as volunteers with Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) following Hurricane Katrina at Christus Victor, Ocean Springs, MS. They returned to the Gulf Coast to serve their internship year (2006-07) with LDR in Bayou La Batre, AL and St. Paul’s in Mobile. As their internship project, they developed a program on personal and congregational preparedness which they offered to ELCA congregations in Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. They have two grown children and six grandchildren—including a set of twins and a set of triplets—all of whom reside in South Carolina.
We look forward to having the Sipes on our staff and working with us to develop preparedness across the NC and SC Synods.
The Rev. Ginny Aebischer
SC Synod, ELCA
Walking with you,
The Rev. Timothy M. Smith
NC Synod, ELCA