June 15, 2020
Worship and Community
Ecumenical Guidance on Worship and Sacramental Life
An ecumenical group which included the ELCA Assistant to the Bishop for Worship Deacon John Weit and Bishop Kevin Strickland released a comprehensive guide for Resuming Care-Filled Worship and Sacramental Life. The document is comprehensive and provides not only practical tips, but theological foundations to frame the discussion. You can download the guide using the button below.
Virginia Synod Office of the Bishop Providing Summer Sermon Series
The Virginia Synod Office of the Bishop has started providing sermons for each Sunday lasting   through  August 30, 2020  for use in congregations. These sermons will be presented by Bishop Bob Humphrey, The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick, The Rev. John Wertz Jr., and The Rev. Dave Delaney on a rotating basis.

The sermons will be shared on the Synod's website at  vasynod.org/resources/pulpit-supply , as well as on our social media accounts each Sunday.
Virginia Synod Rostered Minister Prayer Service Gathering June 17, 2020
The Virginia Synod Ministerium will gather by Zoom for a Service of Word and Prayer on  Wednesday, June 17 at 1 PM  and following that a time of conversation with the Synod staff at  1:30 PM . In this time of physical distancing, we look forward to gathering rostered ministers together to hear God's Word and join in prayer for one another and for the world.

The link below will work for tomorrow's service as well as  all future Wednesday prayer services and gatherings .

  • Join Zoom Meeting
  • Meeting ID: 541 796 597
  • Password: 719750
  • Dial in by location:
  • +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
  • +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
Payroll Protection Loan Resources
Payroll Protection Program Flexibility Act
On June 3, 2020, a new law went into effect called H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020  which expands the ways the Payroll Protection Program can be used and extends the timeline for use and for applying for forgiveness. The button below links to an article that provides a discussion on how the changes could impact a congregation.
PPP Loan Forgiveness White Paper
As congregations prepare to seek forgiveness for PPP Loans, the SBA is issuing more guidance on the process. For example, it now appears that payroll costs that are incurred during the forgiveness period, paid during the forgiveness period, and incurred and paid during the forgiveness period are all eligible for forgiveness. To read, a white paper on PPP forgiveness from CapenCrouse Consulting, use the link below.
Government Communications
Governor Northam Issues Phase 2 Guidance
On June 5, most of Virginia entered into Phase 2 of reopening, and the Governor's office released their Safer at Home guidelines for this stage.

While the Virginia Synod continues to recommend that congregations refrain from gathering again in-person until at least Phase 3, the guidance from the Governor includes specific rules and best practices for congregations that choose to gather again in-person during Phase 2. The section on Religious Services begins on page 37.
Leadership in Uncertain Times
Communicating about Gathering Again In-Person
As Virginia continues to move through the phases of Forward Virginia, congregations are developing plans for gathering again in-person. One key element of conversations around gathering again in-person is communication. When congregations and leaders keep ministry stakeholders updated on the process and decisions being made, it reduces anxiety and increases the sense of collaboration and partnership. Use the button below to see one example of how a congregation shared there decision making process and invited participation.
Free Survey Tool for Congregations Available
If you are interested in doing survey work with your congregation to gauge opinions on issues like returning to in-person worship, there is a free assessments tool available from gloo.us and Barna.

Gloo.us has some products that are free and some that are paid as a part of the site, so once you create a free account, the site may take you to the insight page which is a resource you need to pay for, but if you click on the 9 box graphic in the top right corner of the screen, you can see the other tools/apps for churches.

If you click on Assessments, it takes you to a series of free polling tools including pre-designed surveys you can adapt to gauge feelings about return to gathering in-person. You can also create your own custom survey with up to 20 questions. The system generates an infographic type summary of the results once five people respond.
ELCA Coaching Weekly Zoom Conversations
You are invited to join the ELCA Coaching weekly gathering designed to provide encouragement and support for ELCA leaders across the church and throughout society. Participants will hear topical presentations related to how we are called to be Church in the time of COVID-19, as well as an opportunity to be in small group discussions with an ELCA group coach facilitating the conversation. All of this is designed to help us process our feelings in this strange and fearful time and to create a space where we can each name our next most faithful step forward in our unique context. You are welcome to share this invitation with any other ELCA leader, rostered or lay. Join us on Wednesday, June 17, at 1:00 PM Central.

Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Password: 648160

Dial by your location
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
    +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
We Are Church Together for the Sake of the World
Virginia Synod $250 Daily Bread Matching Grants
The Virginia Synod is excited to partner with the following congregations to help alleviate hunger through the Virginia Synod Daily Bread Matching Grants:

  • Living Water, Kilmarnock
  • Resurrection, Fredericksburg
  • Trinity, Moneta
  • Holy Trinity, Martinsville
  • St. Michael, Virginia Beach
  • St. Michael, Blacksburg
  • St. Andrew, Portsmouth
  • Faith, Whitetop- Mt. Rogers Parish
  • St. Philip, Roanoke
  • Good Shepherd, Galax
  • Gloria Dei, Hampton
  • Martin Luther, Bergton
  • Gravel Springs, Star Tannery-Gravel Springs Parish
  • St. John's, Winchester-Gravel Springs Parish
  • Peace, Charlottesville
  • Trinity, Stephens City
  • College, Salem
  • Christ, Fredericksburg
  • Emanuel, Woodstock
  • St. Paul, Strasburg

Thank you for your partnership as we seek to be the church together for the sake of the world. For more information on the Daily Bread Grants, or more resources on how to create a community project in your own congregation, visit  vasynod.org/ministries/church-together
Synod Office Contact Information
A reminder that the Virginia Synod Office of the Bishop has asked its staff to work remotely from their homes in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. We ask at this time should you need to contact our staff to do so directly via email (you can find all staff persons email contacts on our website ).

Should you need to phone either our offices, please know the Eastern Office of the Bishop plans to have phone calls received during office hours (8:00 AM- 4:30 PM) forwarded directly to Lenae Osmondson.

The Salem Office of the Bishop phone will have a voicemail message recorded directing callers to leave a message, or to call a separate phone number during office hours (8:00 AM- 4:30 PM). The number is 540-855-7455 and will be answered by Tammy Kasper. Messages left on the Salem Office of the Bishop phone will be checked as we are able to do so.

In addition, please do not plan to visit either the Salem or Eastern offices in person. Messages and mail will be checked regularly, but please be patient during this time.
We continues to update the Virginia Synod COVID-19 web page with information from the ELCA, CDC, and covering a number of  prepardness and response resources, as well as  liturgical resources.

If you have suggestions for needed resources, please contact Pastor John Wertz at wertz@vasynod.org.