A frequent question for high school graduates is, “So, what are you doing next?” and from there excitement, as well as anxieties, can start to appear as their answer is formed. What are college classes like? What am I going to major in? What will it be like to still live at home? On and on thoughts of excitement and worry are present for a lot of young adults as they transition away from high school, and into a new setting.  LAUNCH , an event for recent high school graduates, led by Pastor Dave Delaney, and his summer intern, Samantha DiBiaso, works to answer these questions and focuses on building up a healthy time of transition from high school to college and beyond. 

Held on the campus of Roanoke College in Salem from July 7-11, LAUNCH helps participants take stock of where their faith life has led them so far and provides opportunities to engage in discussion on matters of faith, life, and vocation that participants are likely to face as they transition into a new life stage. It also continues to equip these young adults to serve the church out in the world following the major youth events they have attended over the years.
Heading Here
On June 26, 2019, Mt. Ulawun volcano erupted in the West New Britain Province of Papua New Guinea. This province is part of the New Guinea Islands District of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELC-PNG), the global companion synod of the Virginia Synod.
Working with ELCA Disaster Response, the ELC-PNG has shared a request for funds to address immediate and ongoing needs of the 12,000+ people displaced by the eruption. Donations will help provide clothing, bedding, food, utensils, women’s sanitary products, water, water containers, etc.
You are invited to donate through the Virginia Synod Disaster Response Fund . All funds collected will be sent to the ELC-PNG through the ELCA Disaster Response. Please keep our brothers and sisters in Papua New Guinea in your prayers.
If you have questions about the Virginia Synod’s Disaster Response efforts please contact:

Pastor John Wertz, Jr.
Director for Evangelical Mission
2019 Virginia Synod VBS Decoration Contest
Have your VBS volunteers outdone themselves in transforming your space into something exciting for kids and adults alike? Show off all the hard work with this year's Virginia Synod VBS Decoration Contest !
Congregations and individuals are both welcome to submit photos of their spectacular designs from their VBS programs!

To enter, send one photo of your best VBS decorations to Emily Pilat at with the subject line "VBS Contest"  from now until  Monday, August 12th.

With your one entry photo please include the following information:
  • Your full name
  • Your congregation name and location

If a photo you submit has children featured, please be sure you have permission to share their image from their family or guardians.

On  August 15th  two randomly selected winners will be announced as part of the edition of the Weekly Update. Both winners will receive a copy of Samuel Sparrow and The Tree Of Light, a children's book about Chrismons !

If you have any questions about the 2019 VBS Decoration Contest, please contact Emily Pilat at  Best of luck to all who enter, and happy decorating!
Virginia Synod Sermons
Sermons are shared as they are received. To view all the sermons shared visit the Virginia Synod website.

Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at  and make sure to follow our
Virginia Synod Fund for Mission
Final proposals for the Virginia Synod Fund for Mission are due to Pastor John Wertz Jr. by August 1, 2019. For more information on the Virginia Synod Fund for Mission, visit,
Theology for Teens: July 28-August 3, 2019
Our fourth annual summer camp introducing teens to biblical and theological scholarship, exploring contemporary challenges & how their faith tradition can meet those challenges. We will focus on the life & thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer—a church leader who met the challenges before him—we will explore today’s social issues & encounter other faiths by engaging the students with leaders from those various communities. Come and discover a sense of mission, be equipped with theological tools to enable you to meet the challenges facing the church today.

To register for this event,  click here .
21st Century Tools for Ministry Workshop:
August 28 @ 5:30 - 8:30 PM
21st Century Tools for Ministry: Digital Media and Ministry   is a workshop co-sponsored by the Virginia Synod and the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Virginia focused on equipping lay and rostered leaders for ministry in the 21st Century.

Our  workshop leader  will be Sarah Stonesifer who works in  Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary  as the Manager of Operations and Digital Missioner. She focuses on digital engagement, resources and training for thoughtful, innovative Christian formation for all ages.

Church leaders have been reinventing the best ways to communicate, teach, and preach since the earliest days of Christian community. In this workshop, we’ll explore the 21st century tools for ministry, how we can maintain healthy boundaries and genuine connection at the same time, while engaging in the work of the Jesus Movement. Ministry leaders will walk away inspired to be digital evangelists and hearing authentic ways to connect, ending the evening equipped with tools and resources. This workshop is recommended for anyone already engaged in the use of digital media in ministry or those desiring to learn.

The  cost  per person is $15 and dinner, snacks, and refreshments are all included. To register, click here .

For more information, please email Pastor John Wertz, Jr at: .
Upcoming Fall Events at Caroline Furnace
Pre-Advent Retreat, August 19-21
Get a jump on your Advent planning! All are invited to join us for a time of discussion, preparation and fellowship before the Advent season. Join us at modern Buttonwood Lodge to take a look at the four Matthean gospel texts for the Sundays of Advent. Using Anna Carter Florence's method of Rehearsing Scripture, we'll delve into the story to find the script in scripture and emerge with fresh insight. Pastors and lay leaders are encouraged; all are welcome. 3 day cost: $125

Play, Pray, Play, October 1-3
Come find renewal in and through God's creation! Begin with a day of play: hiking, fishing, canoeing, creekwalking, playing gagaball, crafting and more. We'll begin the day with interactive, camp-like worship and Bible study, and end with a campfire. Day 2 is set aside as a Day of Prayer - time for silent meditation, praying the labyrinth, reading, and contemplation. We'll wrap up the retreat with another day of play: hiking, fishing, canoeing, creekwalking, playing gagaball, crafting and more. Local horseback riding, wineries, and river trips may be available on the play days as well at additional cost. Lodging is modern-rustic and scratch-made meals are provided Tuesday lunch through Thursday lunch. 2 Day (Tues/Wed or Wed/Thurs): $80; 3 Day (Tues-Thurs): $125

Renew & Retreat, presented by Roots & Wings, October 8-10
Renew & Retreat is a Christian Formation Retreat for Family Ministries, presented by Roots & Wings, a ministry of the Virginia Synod, ELCA. This year's facilitator is Debbie Striecher, Co-Director at Milestones Ministry and past president of the Christian Education Network of the ELCA. Debbie is passionate about family ministry and the importance of daily immersion in the language of faith. Her vision is to involve all ages in faith formation, strengthen family relationships through spiritual growth, and empower God-given gifts to do ministry. All are welcome, to include other Synods, denominations, and ecumenical partners. Early Registration until Sept 1 is $100.
Job Opportunities
ELCA Career Listings
Explore and apply for opportunities available with the churchwide organization or global service on the ELCA Job Board at
ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellow in Richmond, Virginia
Through the support of ELCA World Hunger, ELCA Advocacy works in partnership with statewide advocacy ministry networks across the United States to end hunger by engaging directly with local, state and national governments and equipping people of faith to seek justice through advocacy. Each office relates to the synods in their state and works closely with hunger leaders and synod teams.

For a complete position description, and to apply, click here.
Director of Music Ministry- Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, Blacksburg
Luther Memorial Lutheran Church has an immediate opportunity for a Director of Music Ministry. The candidate filling this half-time position (~20 hours per week) will work with the Pastor and the Congregation to plan and to lead the music ministry for the church including traditional Lutheran liturgy which incorporates but is not limited to organ, piano, and choir. The Director of Music Ministry will also be responsible for administrative leadership of music ministry, working with volunteer musicians, and engaging other professional musicians as necessary to involve our worshiping community in making high-quality, beautiful music to the glory of God.

The desired candidate will be a trained organist with experience in choral and liturgical music. This half-time position includes benefits. Luther Memorial is a Reconciling in Christ congregation that welcomes all individuals. To learn more about this opportunity including a detailed job description and our congregation, visit our website To apply for this position, send your resume or curriculum vita in PDF format to with Director of Music Ministry in the subject line. Please include a cover letter describing why your skills and gifts fit this position. We also welcome supplemental materials such as links to recent performances.
Director of Church Music- College Evangelical Lutheran Church, Salem
College Evangelical Lutheran Church (Salem, Virginia) seeks applications for a part-time Director of Church Music (Organist and Choir Director) position. The weekly working hours will average 20-25 hours per week with the understanding that some weeks may require more than 25 hours and some weeks fewer than 20 hours. Scheduling will be determined by the Director of Church Music in consultation with the Pastor.

To apply, please submit your cover letter, resume, and references electronically to: LuAnn Yates, Personnel Ministry Team Chair Applications are currently being reviewed. For additional information about College Lutheran Church, go to
Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network Program
LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network, is looking for young adults (age 21-30) with Bachelor's degrees for an 11-month program of non-profit volunteer service and learning about social justice. From the end of August 2019 to the end of July 2020, our corps members will be provided housing, utilities, health coverage, spiritual direction, and a $535/month living stipend. We also offer a $1000 re-entry grant at the completion of the program.

The placement sites for the upcoming program year include faith-based non-profits, secular non-profits, congregations, outdoor ministry, and our campus ministry at UC Davis. These service sites address issues of homelessness, food insecurity, unemployment, children and youth ministries, and other important social justice issues facing our communities.

We gather each week for evening prayer, dinner, and formation. The corps members live in intentional community in one of two residences: The Belfry, an apartment attached to our campus ministry center in Davis, CA, or The Priory, an apartment at All Saints Episcopal Church in Sacramento, CA. We're an ecumenical program in the Episcopal Service Corps network; applicants needn't be either Lutheran or Episcopal to apply—interest in Christian spirituality is the only expectation. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until July 31, 2019.

Visit or contact Program Director Casey Dunsworth at 530-756-1550 or for more information!
If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at