April 27, 2020
Weekly Resource and Update Email

Each Monday, the Virginia Synod sends the best resources and updates we have collected during the last week. Prior editions of this email are now archived at vasynod.org/covid-19 under the "COVID-19 Resource Emails" tab.

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.
Reflection from Bishop Humphrey
I’ve noticed lately that sometimes it is harder for me to get going in the morning or to return to work after lunch. I notice my own fatigue and I think I see it in your eyes and faces when we gather on Zoom. We are seven weeks or so into the “stay home” phase of the pandemic response. We have created many new ways to care for and remain connected to others. Lent led into Holy Week and then Easter. Now we are wondering what is next, how complicated will it be to gather in-person again, and what will be the long-term impact on our world, church and us…

Jesus faced his own suffering and death in a powerful time of prayer and anguish in the garden at Gethsemane. Hoping and praying the feared fate might pass from him, he asked his disciples to wait, watch and pray with him. And three times Jesus returned only to find them sleeping. (Mark 14:32-42)

I’ve often thought that story illustrated the sleepy established church, unaware of the dramatic change about to sweep through history initiated in the death and resurrection of Jesus. And, so it may be. But, these days I think it might be helpful to see fatigue, sleepless nights and sleepy days as a symptom of both the disciples’ and our own distress and fear. Think about it with me…

The disciples had just shared their last supper with Jesus, heard him say he would die and the world would be turned upside down. And they just shut down. They didn’t know quite what to do and could not stay fully engaged – even when the need was great and Jesus had asked for their support.

These are days that all of us in the Office of the Bishop urge you to take some time off; rest; pray; read; spend time with family and friends as best you can. Just like in the Garden, Jesus will be there for this threat too. The world is about to change again in ways we can’t predict and seem overwhelming.

But this I know… God will just as surely inspire and empower us for the work we are called to do as God has always done throughout history. We will be able to meet the challenges ahead. Not perfectly, but still faithfully. So take a nap while you can. Jesus will wake us when it’s time…

-Bishop Bob Humphrey
Worship and Community
Virginia Synod Rostered Minister Prayer Service Gathering May 6, 2020
The Virginia Synod Ministerium will gather by Zoom for a Service of Word and Prayer on  Wednesday, May 6 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 .

Accompaniments for Hymns During Easter Season
Below are links to downloadable mp3 audio files providing organ accompaniments for hymns that are appropriate for use during the Easter season. All are in the public domain, so there are no copyright restrictions on playing the mp3 for your streaming worship or posting the words on your video feed or an accompanying bulletin. (Thanks to Nancy Delaney and Christ L utheran Church in Roanoke for providing these.)

Hymns for the Easter Season
Stewardship and Financial Resources
Generosity Workshop from LEAD
LEAD ( waytolead.org ) is offering FREE 60-minute sessions that provide both encouragement and practical take-aways to help you inspire generosity through times of seeming scarcity.

These sessions, led by Pastor Kristen Capel, will be in small group format, allowing ample time for questions related to your particular context. While LEAD can’t promise all of the answers, they can offer some tried and true tools, lots of encouragement, and idea generation tailored to your ministry setting. To sign up for one of the available sessions, use the button below.
Stewardship in Uncertain Times Webinar
On Thursday, April 30 Rev. Mike Ward, Certified Fund Raising Executive and author of Abundance: Creating Cultures of Generosity is offered a one-hour virtual opportunity to explore stewardship in uncertain times. This workshop was recorded and can be viewed online now either in video form or reviewing the presentation material that was shared.
Faith Formation
Spark Family Sunday School Available
Guess what's new from your friends at  Sparkhouse ? Each week Sunday school curriculum developer (and former summer camp Arts & Crafts director) Dr. Dawn Rundman and her family will host  Family Sunday School

Each FREE episode is a lectionary-based lesson that families can watch together. The Bible story, illustrations, and other content are based on  Spark: Activate Faith Lectionary  Sunday school lessons. You may distribute, post, and reproduce the materials for your church families in whatever way works. Look for a new lesson every Tues. for the following Sun. through Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2020.
Pentecost in a Box
From Building Faith, a ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary, comes Pentecost in a Box ! This program, Oriented for faith-at-home formation, uses simple objects illuminate the story of Pentecost and seek to deepen our understanding of the Holy Spirit. Gathered in a box (or, if mailing, an envelope!), families may enjoy these activities in one sitting or at their own pace. Find all the materials and additional information by clicking the button below.
Upcoming Webinars and Online Tutorials
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, May 6, at 1:00 PM Central.

Password : 648160

Dial by your location
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
    +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
Digital Ministry Conference
The eFormation learning community invites you to worship, learn, and connect with digital ministry leaders at eFormation 2020. This all-day, all-online, one-day event will include 8 ecumenical presenters, worship, and conversation on  Wednesday, June 3,  from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event will feature opportunities for prayer and small groups throughout the day.  
Government Information
Guidance for Faith Communities from Governor Northram's Office
Governor Northam's Office has now issued two documents to provide specific guidance for faith communities in Virginia who are trying to navigate the impact of COVID-19. The documents provides information on requirements for "Drive-In" worship, addresses concerns about funerals, and comments on unemployment benefits for church workers.
Leadership In Uncertain Times
Considerations for Returning to In-Person Ministry
Last week, Governor Northam released "Forward Virginia," a plan to outline the benchmarks for beginning to relax social distancing. You can download the presentation using the button below.

While it is impossible to predict exactly when congregations will be able to gather again in-person, some congregations are beginning to consider what changes and accommodations will be necessary to gather in-person safely whenever that moment arrives.

The Virginia Synod has begun compiling a list of helpful questions for leaders to consider and links to resources that may prove helpful whenever congregations moving forward. This document will be updated as new questions and resources are identified.
We Are Church Together
for the Sake of the World
Virginia Synod Partners with LFSVA for WiFi for Minnick
With the pandemic impacting millions of people around the world, now is the time for us to lift up our eyes and see the opportunities that are before us to be God’s heart and hands in a hurting world. Now is the time to open our hearts, to lift up our voices, and to share our gifts and be the church together for the sake of the world .

The button below will provide resources to help you participate in our Synod Church Together for the Sake of the World Projects and assist you in developing a project in your community. Our first project is a partnership with LFSVA to provide WiFi for Minnick students impacted by the closure of schools.

For questions about how you can get involved, contact Pastor John Wertz, Jr at: wertz@vasynod.org . Thank you for sharing your gifts to proclaim God’s love to the world!
Synod Office Contacts
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.