The Soul of SolSup
This week we're hearing from The Rev. Andrew Tucker of Christ Lutheran Church in Radford on a new initative, SolSup, infusing activism and education into the typical congregational potluck suppers.
What do we do when the shadows of injustice seem to threaten the Light of the World? We’re Lutheran. We have a potluck. We look for the Holy Spirit at work in the world, and we get to work alongside God. Now, it’s not quite that simple, but those are the underpinnings of SolSup, a new initiative within Christ Lutheran Church in Radford.

Pronounced “Soul-Sup,” SolSup is an initiative that meets around potluck suppers for solidarity around issues of justice that provide education, conversation, and opportunities for activism. Our most recent event featured the work of the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership. Our goal for each SolSup is to provide information to help people learn about the needs of God’s creation, a safe place for conversation about our own fears as well as ideas for addressing those needs, and then presenting action items so this information may lead to transformation.

We have a vested interest in the work of refugee resettlement. Last summer CLC helped to lead the charge for refugee resettlement in Radford. However, the xenophobia against Muslims and Syrians was so powerful in Radford that leadership didn’t feel refugees would be safe here. While you’ll hear people say God works in mysterious ways, sometimes God’s work isn’t so mysterious. While our group received threatening calls, emails, and even social media activity threatening the response of an unnamed local militia, the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership quietly formed and did what we were unable to do: resettled three families in the New River Valley (NRV). It seems that God used us to provide a publicity flak jacket so the work could begin in nearby Blacksburg without incident.

Molly McClintock, a resident of Christiansburg and a member of the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership, told us of the three families recently resettled to the NRV, of the employment they’ve already begun, and of the needs that still exist. We made space both for lament that our efforts in Radford fizzled out and for joy that joy that this was happening in Blacksburg, which is about fifteen miles from Radford. From within this group of twenty-five community members, we found volunteers for tutoring, transportation, and even someone to provide mental health first aid so we can best care for the needs of these new friends. Through an impromptu offering, we raised $600 to help benefit the continued work of resettlement and have already gathered furniture items to help furnish the apartments of new arrivals.

That’s the heart of SolSup. We learn something about God’s work toward justice. We make space for conversation around that knowledge. We present opportunities to put that knowledge into practice.

We’ve learned a lot from our experience with SolSup. Perhaps foremost is that we needn’t be discouraged when injustice seems to thwart God’s work to relieve suffering. It’s frustrating to see friends and neighbors work against God’s clear call for support of refugees, but we know that God is at work reconciling all things through Christ Jesus. If that’s not clear at first, we need to take a different approach. SolSup’s birth came out of the ashes of Radford refugee resettlement, and now we’re at work resettling refugees. That’s good news of God’s faithfulness.

We’ve found that the issue-based approach within a faith community has brought people from across the political spectrum into more frequent interaction. We all benefit from education, conversation, and opportunities to work for God’s justice, and SolSup provides for that type of interaction for all who find the particular topic worth our attention. 

One of my teacher’s used to talk about “traditioned innovation.” That’s at the heart of SolSup. It’s simultaneously new and yet familiar. What’s more culturally Lutheran than a potluck? What’s more theologically Lutheran than grasping to God’s grace-filled love in the face of opposition? Yet, many of the people connected to CLC through SolSup don’t have church homes and aren’t worshipping with us regularly on Sunday mornings (at least, not yet). Does this mean it isn’t God’s work, or that this isn’t the church at work? Of course not. Traditioned innovation remembers our traditions but doesn’t let them prevent us from trying new things to grow God’s church. Instead, it gives thanks for the tradition from which we come and follows the spirit, rather than the letter, of that tradition to find new ways of partnering with the Holy Spirit’s activity in the world. In that way, SolSup is paradigmatic of ministry in the 21st century. We appreciate the good from our past and embrace creativity to develop new ministries that proclaim God not just in our churches, but throughout our communities. 

The soul of SolSup is the chance to gather and grow in solidarity not just with issues, but with people, God’s people, who radiate God’s image. We learn. We talk. We act. All because we care, and all seeking after God’s presence and work in the world. At SolSup, we’re rediscovering what it means not to just go to church, but to be the church, the Body of Christ, in the world. 

And we’re discovering that potlucks never go out of style. 

Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at pilat@vasynod.org and make sure to follow our
Announcements
Synod Assembly 2017: Ambassadors for Christ: Forwarding Faith

Synod Assembly is here!  June 9-11  will be our time to get together as the Virginia Synod to fellowship, learn about the wider church, do business, and learn more about worship.  Presiding over the Bishop's election and our ELCA representative  this year will be the  Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla , Executive Director‐ELCA Division of  Global Missions. 

For more information and to register for Synod Assembly, click here.
A Gathering of the Ministerium: A Day of Anniversary Celebrations
Rostered Ministers and spouses, come join us on April 29th for a day of remembrance and reflection as we commemorate three momentous events in the life of the Church, Synod, and Community at Hebron Lutheran Church, in Madison Virginia.

For more information and to register for the event, click here
Lent 2017 Study Series: "Being Church Together in a Changing World"
Tapestry, the Virginia Synod Steering Team on engaging “diversity in context,” has put together a 5-week Lenten study series, for use by either congregation groups or individuals.  It comes in two parts:

Weekly Webinars led by Directors of Evangelical Mission, and weekly devotions are written by folks (Rostered and lay) from across the Virginia Synod.

To catch up with the Lenten Study, click here.

Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission Gathering

Ambassadors for Christ "Luther's Small Catechism in a Time of Big Change"

Celebrating 500 years since the time of the Reformation and using Luther’s Small Catechism as our guide, we will Explore, Study and Discuss the basics of our Christian Faith.

For more information, and to register for this event, click here
Forming Faith 2017 Roots and Wings Workshop
What happens when we consider how faith affects our brains, not just our hearts? In this daylong events, be prepared to look at faith formation and ministry with children and youth using an “Inside Out” point of view. Workshops will balance findings from neuroscience with practical applications for parenting and leading ministry.

For more information, and to register for this event, click here
All Bach Palm Sunday Concert at Luther Memorial, Blacksburg
Please join us for an all Bach concert, April 9, 2017 at 3:00 PM, in the Luther Memorial sanctuary.  This concert is part of year-long observance of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation.  This event is free;  an offering wil be taken

For more information, click here
Kids need stories and you can help!
What do Alexander Bopp, Frankie Pickle and the crew of the spaceship Tunafish have in common? All are storybook characters in book series that kids simply love.   Students at the Harrisonburg Minnick School moved into their new Virginia Avenue location in September, but they still need a library to supplement smaller , well-worn   collections in classrooms. The school, one of five Minnick schools managed by Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, has about 30 students who need extra behavioral and academic assistance.  

To make it as easy as possible for our students to receive new books, we have set up an  Amazon Wish List just  for the Minnick School in Harrisonburg.
To  learn how your group can participate in  the book drive, please  contact June  Nabers, LFSVA Development Coordinator   in  Harrisonburg 
( jnabers@lfsva.org  or 540-331-3214 ). 

To read more about this great project, go here.

Blessing of the Bikes & Beasts
Bring your motorcycles and/or family pets to St Mark Lutheran 118 Old York-Hampton Hw Yorktown, VA  23692, VA  23692 for a special blessing on  Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 2-4 PM . Pets will be blessed in the back patio area and bikes will be blessed in the front parking lot. All are welcome to attend.

For more information contact Cathy Caffacus at 757-898-4395 or  churchcomm@smlconline.org

FREED-UP FINANCIAL LIVING
Are you ready to work on your financial goals?  Are you ready to learn how to deal with money in a refreshing, biblical way?

Then consider FREED-UP FINANCIAL LIVING, a 6-session study designed to:
  • Prioritize your financial goals
  • Develop a personalized spending plan
  • Identify action steps to reduce your expenses
  • Pay down your debt

Stewardship Matters of Virginia is offering this class at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1904 Mount Vernon Avenue, Waynesboro, beginning on Tuesday, April 18.  The cost is $44.00 for a couple sharing a workbook or $34.00 for an individual.  The class will be 7 – 8:30 p.m. and is open to everyone.

For more information and registration, go to www.StewardshipMattersVa.org  or call Rev. David Rash, 540-335-5175.

Generosity NOW
There's still time to register for Generosity NOW: an ecumenical conference on Stewardship that will be held in Washington, DC  April 25-27 . Scholarships to cover the registration fee of $299 are available from the ELCA. For more information, please contact Keith Mundy:  keith.mundy@elca.org . See the full details of the conference at stewardshipresources.org/generosity-now
Job Opportunities
All job postings can also be found online at  www.vasynod.org/job-opportunities. If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org