Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
Partnerships Provide Care For Older Adults in Shenandoah County
The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is astoundingly beautiful with rolling hills, green pastures and country back roads. The rural nature of this area that brings such beauty also has the ability to be a source of isolation, particularly for older adults.

Neighbors are spread further apart and the nearest doctor's office probably isn't just around the corner.

Thanks to the collaboration of several Lutheran churches in the area and a $ 20,000 grant from National Lutheran Communities and Services, the older adults of Shenandoah are being served by a Faith Community Nurse.

The catalyst for this ministry was Rev. Mary Louise Brown, a retired pastor who used to serve at St. Luke's Lutheran Church near Woodstock, VA. What is unique about Rev. Brown is that she also has a nursing background.  

"When I would visit my congregants in their homes, knowing that I was also a nurse would also prompt them to ask me questions that they probably would not ask a pastor," said Rev. Brown. "So I definitely saw a need."

After speaking to several pastors in the area, a committee was formed in 2013 which soon partnered with Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries (SVLM). SVLM is a network of eight Lutheran churches in the Valley that work together to implement ministries such as a backpack feeding program that may be too much for any one congregation to take on.

Pastor Mary Louise Brown (right) looks on as Jean Coffman (left) signs her contract.
The culmination of those meetings and the efforts of the churches was Jeannie Coffman, the faith community nurse who began in May of 2015. Jeannie doesn't necessarily do much hands on care, but she does act as an advocate and a resource for older adults in the area.

Visiting patients who are living at home, checking blood pressure and providing medical advice are all in a day's work for Jeannie. She will also accompany her patients to the doctor's office or the hospital so that she can help translate medical terminology (in fact she was with a patient in the hospital while being asked about her position for this article).

Besides the practical care and medical advice that Jeannie brings after over 35 years of experience as a registered nurse, Rev. Brown also says that, "Jeannie brings her faith to every situation. She is embodying the spirit of Christ in her ministry."

Jeannie not only closes with prayer after every visit or appointment, she also views her position as much more than a job.

"I think I bring a caring touch and bring these older adults joy in knowing that someone cares about them," Jeannie said.  "For people who have become really isolated, that's really important, and I think I give them a sense that God cares about them too."

The ministry of the Faith Community Nurse would have been next to impossible without the partnership with National Lutheran Communities and Services (NLCS).  
NLCS awarded a $22,000 grant for the first year of the Faith Community Nurse program and another $20,000 for 2016. 

"It says a lot for NLCS and their vision for helping our seniors," said Rev. Brown.

That vision of NLCS is something that Kathryn Baerwald, the Chief Philanthropy Officer of NLCS, affirms.

"The grant program is part of our mission, which is to serve older adults in the three synods of which we are a part. While we focus on residential communities we realized that is not accomplishing our entire mission. Some of the needs of older adults are just not things that NCLS does but we can partner with other organizations."

Shenandoah Valley is not the only area of Virginia who has benefited from the NCLS grant program. Over $221,000 was awarded to ministries in cities all over Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia such as Williamsburg, Richmond, Warrenton, and Martinsville. View the full list of grant recipients on the NLCS website.

Information about the 2017 grant program will be included in the Virginia Synod's weekly email when it is available.

These grants have meant so much for so many people and for the older adults of Shenandoah Valley it means that they have someone they can rely on like Jeannie Coffman. 

"I tell them that they can call me anytime and I'll be there for them."

We have new submission guidelines for the Virginia Synod! If you want to submit an announcement, please  check out the Submission Guidelines and send your submission to fuller@vasynod.org.
Vibrant Faith: An Event about Adult Faith Formation
It's time for every church to commit to  adult faith formation. Spent a day exploring effective adult faith formation in the congregation at the Vibrant Faith event on Feb. 16, 9:00am - 3:30pm at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Richmond, VA. Click here for more details. 

In the Breaking of the Bread: Lutheran/Episcopal Retreat
Join clergy and rostered leaders for an ecumenical retreat held May 16-18, 2016, at Shrine Mont Conference Center in Orkney Springs, Virginia.  Participants will gain working knowledge of The Book of Common Prayer and Evangelical Lutheran Worship and how to use them to preside with instruction from renowned scholars. Learning and fellowship with national ecumenical officers, bishops, deployment officers, synod staff, and full communion clergy partners in your area will equip you for shared ministries of word and sacrament.

Registration deadline is April 18. For more information and to
register online, visit: VirginiaLutheranEpiscopal.wordpress.com
Hunger Rumble Youth Retreat in Richmond
Your youth group and advisors are invited to participate in an overnight retreat and juice fast with learning & service based on hunger related issues. 
WHERE:  Christ the King Lutheran Church
FOR:  8th - 12th Graders.
GROUP RSVP TO: 804-272-2995 or info@ctkrva.org
WHAT TO BRING: a Canned Food item, an Adult Advisor, Juice to drink during the fast, Rice or Beans to break the fast, your Bible, overnight bed & toiletry item s

This event is co-sponsored by Epiphany & Christ the King 
VBS Showcase Events in Richmond, VA

Cokesbury, a not-for-profit Christian organization, is hosting three VBS Showcase Events on the following days in Richmond, VA:

Thursday, February 11th, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Friday, February 12th, 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.  
Saturday, February 13th, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

These events will be held at the Resource Center in  Kingsley Hall on the 4th Floor at Virginia Union University (1500 North Lombardy Street Richmond, Virginia 23220)

Come explore new themes, resources, ideas and get the scoop on VBS 2016!  For more information or to save your spot, contact Brian Koontz  804-839-7105 or bkoontz@cokesbury.com

ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission Event
Stewardship leaders are invited to an event where there is the opportunity to either attend the event in person in Chicago or to attend remotely via online participation. 

The event will be Starting at 10:30 AM to Noon CST on Sat. Feb. 27 with s pecial Presenters: Presiding Bishop Eaton  and c  Rev. Stephen Bouman, Executive Director of the   The Lutheran Center.
Participation in this event requires online registration.  This can be done at    https://community.elca.org/ELCAStewardCastFeb2016  until midnight on Friday, February 12.   
If you have any questions, please contact  keith.mundy@elca.orgor  neil.bullock@elca.org.

"Religion & Spirituality in A Changing Society" Lecture
Diana Butler Bass presents the James H. Taylor Memorial Lectures " Religion & Spirituality in a Changing Society." There will be three FREE lectures at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynchburg, VA. On Friday, March 11 at 7:00 pm the topic will be "Spiritual Revolution: The Rise of the Mystics". On Saturday, March 12 at 9:00 a.m. the topic will be "Experiencing God in Nature: Challenge and Promise" and at 11:00 a.m. the topic will be "Experiencing God in Our Neighbors: Great Command in Action". Please click here for more information.  Please Click Here For More Information
St. Mark, Charlottesville Begins Hospital Visitation Ministry
St. Mark in Charlottesville has recently begun a hospital visitation ministry and want to include your parishioners who are patients at UVA hospital.  You are invited to send names (and contact information if for someone other than the patient) to Nancy Kliewer, the St. Mark office manager.  Please add any pertinent details or specific requests as well.  Nancy's email address is  office@stmarklutheran.org and the office phone number is  434-293-3311
 Racial/Ethnic Diversity: Last Minute Lenten Studies
Pastors & Congregational Leaders: are you behind on your Lenten season planning?  Are you looking for a good discussion and devotional series for your congregation during Lent?  The All-Inclusive Outreach Team wishes to highlight these last-minute resources for those of you wishing to go deeper this Lenten season into the topic of racial/ethnic diversity and justice:
"A People for God's Name:" Believing and Belonging in Luke and Acts (webcast) - Luther Seminary
Time: Monday Evenings 7-9pm going from Feb. 8- March 7, 2016.
Led by Eric Barreto, Professor of New Testament, this webinar is a study of the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts that addresses ethnic and cultural diversity. Click Here for more info or to register.
Spirituality and Racial Justice with Michael Curry (webinar)
Learn about the spiritual dimensions and responsibilities inherent in building racial justice. Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, provides a sobering yet hopeful outlook on both the sin of racism and the reconciliation of working towards a more just world. For a preview and to register, click here
May Christ go with you as you journey through Lent, and may Christ be with us as we strive to his church of justice, reconciliation, and grace in the world!

Lutheran Campus Ministry Retreat
All college students are invited to attend the Lutheran Campus Ministry and Friends Retreat, February 19-20, 2016, at Massanetta Springs in Harrisonburg, VA. Join college students from all across the state to connect with old friends and meet many new ones! The retreat starts Friday evening and ends Saturday after lunch. For more information and to register by February 8, please  CLICK HERE

Job Opportunities
All posts can also be found online at  www.vasynod.org/job-opportunities. If you have job opening you would like posted, email fuller@vasynod.org. 
Director of Music in Norfolk Virginia
First Lutheran Church of Norfolk has an opening for a Director of Music (part-time position).  First Lutheran is a large, urban, liturgical congregation.  Salary competitive with experience.  Interested candidates should contact Lisa Geiger at  757-625-1953  or by email at  lgeiger@flcnorfolk.com  for a complete job description and search committee requirements.

Part-time Executive Director of 
Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries
Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries is seeking a part-time executive director.  The position involves organizing and carrying out day-to-day operations of SVLM, working with the Board of Dirctors and volunteers, representing SVLM in the community.  Candidates should have administrative and managerial skills plus experience in fundraising,, grant writing and working with non-profit organizations.  If you are interested in being the 'public face' of SVLM or know someone who might be, respond to Cathy Christovich  valleycathy@gmail.com  and request a full job description.

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