The Virginia Lutheran
We Are Church Together
Church Computing Power Working to Battle COVID-19
Since June 24, Grace Lutheran Church in Waynesboro has been battling the COVID-19 pandemic by providing computing power for the Folding@Home project based at Washington University in St. Louis. The crowdsourced supercomputing project harnesses the combined processing power of millions of computers whose owners download software and run simulations to model how proteins move and fold. Now, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals, universities, companies, and in this case a congregation in the Virginia Synod have joined forces to model how the coronavirus uses its spike protein to bind to human cells. Folding@Home has also aided research into cancers as well as diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson's. At this time, Grace Lutheran has 16 computers contributing to the Folding@Home project. If you would like to learn more and how you can participate, visit foldingathome.org
Outdoor Ministry Continues at Caroline Furnace
by Julie Kroll
For the first time in over 60 years, we did not have overnight Summer Camp at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center. However, outdoor ministry is so much more than Summer Camp! When we first announced the changes to Summer 2020, one of our Virginia Synod pastors stated, “We have your back.” Indeed, now is the time. In a “normal” year, donations are only 25% of our annual revenue, but this year we will rely on donations as 75% of revenue.

As we adapt to the new challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to find hope in our 2020 theme verse, Psalm 100:5, which says, “Good indeed is the Lord, whose steadfast love endures forever. God’s faithfulness continues for all generations.” Our faith and hope was expressed in several ways this summer:
We committed to hiring our full summer staff and many congregations agreed to provide salary sponsorship. This allowed us to focus on our mission and be prepared for a number of alternatives. Our Board of Directors and year-round staff include a number of former camp counselors and counselor parents, making us well aware of the value of the leadership and faith development that occurs while a young adult serves on our summer staff. This summer included faith formation, anti-racism training, child behavior, safety and first aid, team-building, program development, and more.

Throughout the busy summer, our counselors and summer program directors led an online Camp at Home, an online version of our Leaders in Training (LIT!) program, on-site Family Retreats, and property improvement projects.
Virginia Synod Summer Events Go Virtual
Summer faith formation events for the Virginia Synod went virtual this year! Both Power in the Spirit and Kairos were hosted through Zoom video conferencing during the month of July, allowing youth and adults of the Virginia Synod to gather remotely. Each event featured familiar highlights like workshop leaders, favorite songs to sing, as well as breakout opportunities in small groups and discussion rooms.

While we weren’t able to physically be together for this year’s summer faith formation events, both events provided a great experience of gathering online for fellowship, deep learning, and diverse worship, that we look forward to supporting online moving forward! You can read full event recaps for both Power in the Spirit, and Kairos linked below, in addition to an event recap video that was produce for Kairos.
Daily Bread Matching Grants Raise Over $12,300
Because of COVID-19, the number of individuals experiencing food insecurity has risen steadily in Virginia. To assist congregations as they respond to this increasing need, the Virginia Synod offered $250 matching grants to support community feeding ministries. Thanks to generous donations to the Virginia Synod Disaster Relief Fund, the Synod was able to partner with the following congregations to help alleviate hunger:
  • 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
All 20 of these congregations had a tremendous response to the Daily Bread Hunger Grants. To date these congregations have collectively raised over $12,300, for feeding ministries. It's thanks to these partnership that we are able to serve as 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.
Do You have a news story idea or article you would like to share in next month's Virginia Lutheran? Send it to Emily Pilat at pilat@vasynod.org and make sure to follow our Submission Guidelines