Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
Asking the Big Questions: Theology for Teens
This week rising 10th, 11th, and 12th grade teens arrived on the campus of Roanoke College ready to take part in biblical and theological scholarship at a brand new event called Theology for Teens. The event, hosted by Roanoke College's Religion department, is working with teens in attendance to help them leave with a sense of mission, and feel equipped with theological tools that will enable them to meet the challenges facing the church today, all backed by a history of the church and a wider context of other religious and social communities to guide them.

Over the course of the week, the teens in attendance have learned from and alongside religion professors and Roanoke College students. Together they have held Bible studies and lectures centered on Genesis 1-3, as well as a focus on the life and thoughts of Dietrich Bonhoeffer- a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, and vocal opponent of the Nazi dictatorship of Germany. 
Theology for Teens event coordinator Dr. Ned Wisnefske, a Roanoke College religion professor and acting chair, said of planning the event, "We wanted to center Theology for Teens on a historic figure who stood up for a lot of issues we're still facing still today."

It's from this study on Bonhoeffer that the group has launched into exploring today's social issues and encountered other faiths. During the event they have engaged with leaders and students from a variety of communities including members of the Jewish and Islamic faith.
The guest speakers for Theology for Teens have brought forth their community, culture, and religious history forward for the teens to learn and question- covering topics a range of topics, "The whole event touches on some of the biggest issues facing Christians and Christian leaders today. Those big issues are non-Christian religions and how to engage with them, as well as discussing diverse sexuality and church relations to those individuals," said Dr. Wisnefske.

Theology for Teens is sponsored by a four year grant from the Lilly Foundation in the effort to encourage, support, and educate a new generation of talented pastors and to strengthen current pastors. In only its first year, Theology for Teens is clearly making a change in the teens' lives and fostering a bridge for them to openly communicate with a range of communities outside the church.
Thomas Garrett of Christ in Fredericksburg, explained this impact, "I came to learn more of the basic principles of Christianity in comparison to other religions. Hearing from the speakers, I've come to realize that we need to hear more about other cultures form individuals that are a part of that community, and not from the media alone."
Theology for Teens is also making a difference in how these teens view the church in their own lives, as Julie Hedrick of Muhlenberg in Harrisonburg expressed, "I like that this event has asked me to answer a lot of questions that I have never thought to ask myself. It's giving me a new perspective."

Together, the first Theology for Teens class has taken part in great conversations, a robust theological education introduction, and found their hearts and minds open to a diverse range of religious and social communities.  There is a great future in store Theology for Teens as it continues to grow and impart lifelong lessons on topics that teens are seeking out.
Theology for Teens is still an ongoing event through Sunday morning. You can follow along with Roanoke College Chaplain, Rev. Chris Bowen on Twitter  @maroonsdoc  who has been tweeting throughout the event.
 If you want to submit an announcement, please  check out the Submission Guidelines and send your submission to pilat@vasynod.org.

September 4-11, 2016 will be the Virginia Synod's 4th annual Week of Service! 

The Virginia Synod Week of Service coincides with "God's Work, Our Hands" Sunday, the ELCA Day of Service on September 11.  This year's dedicated day of service also marks the 15-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

We have extended the opportunity to serve to accommodate varying schedules. Last year 70 churches participated in the Week of Service.

All congregations are invited to reach out into their neighborhoods to become God's hands and feet, to serve those in need and to share God's compassion with the world. The Week of Service is an opportunity for everyone to intentionally invest time in service projects outside the walls of the church. Pick a project and prepare to serve others in the name of God's love.

For more information on how you and your congregation can get involved- click here!

Final Call for NLCS Community Impact Grant Applications

National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) is pleased to announce the availability of Community Impact grants for the 2017 year. As a faith-based not-for-profit ministry providing an array of services for seniors, NLCS strongly believes that its mission extends beyond the physical boundaries of its residential communities and is committed to supporting the work of other non-profit organizations, including congregations and community-based programs, that address the critical needs of seniors today.
Each year, NLCS awards grants to organizations that share in the same passion of serving seniors. All grants must address at least one of the following urgent needs faced by seniors:
  • Chronic disease management
  • Navigating and accessing health care and social services
  • Dealing with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and memory loss
  • Social isolation
  • Poverty and financial insecurity
Does your organization qualify? Proposals will be accepted until August 15, 2016. To learn more about the submission of grant proposals visit: 
Questions? Contact us at communityimpact@nationallutheran.org or 301-354-2703 and ask for Community Impact. 

The offering will benefit GraceInside, the non-profit organization that provides chaplains to Virginia's prisons, Matthew Harper, an incarcerated member of St. David's, will preach.

Featuring: John Gonzalez del Solar of Fan Guitar and Ukulele, members of the River City Ukulele Society, and others.
60th Anniversary Celebration at Lutherock-Aug 19-21

Come celebrate 60 years of ministry at Lutherock Lutheran Camp and Conference with us! Join us for a day or weekend of celebration and reconnecting with your brothers and sisters in Christ. The weekend will be full of fun camp activities such as: ice cream making, skits and songs around the campfire, hiking on the property, climbing the Challenge Tower, zipping off the ropes course and so much more! Overnight accommodations are based on availability and require pre-registration. Space is limited, so register early!

Enjoy picnic lunch, recognitions and day activities: Free will offering and does not require pre-registration.
Tent camping: $10/person or $20/per family each night
Moretz Lodge, Cabin Village, Founder's Lodge, or Stone Lodge: $20/person or $40/family each night
Crow's Nest: $30/person or $50/family each night
Rates include meals, lodging and programming for the weekend!

Children's Ministry Training
Fall 2016 ACTS Courses
Register Now for Fall 2016 ACTS Courses
Join us October 1st and October 29th at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Waynesboro, Virginia. Hear Dr. Terri Elton address the paradox of ministry leadership, looking at the importance of balancing our role with God's.

Renew and Retreat a Christian Formation Retreat  
Tuesday Oct 4, 4:30 PM - Thursday Oct 6, 10 AM 
Co-Partnered by Camp Caroline Furnace and
Roots and Wings a Christian Formation Committee of the VA Synod

Retreat Presenter:  Debbie Streicher, President of the Christian  Formation Network of the ELCA. 

Debbie will lead us in a discussion about steps needed to immerse our children and youth in faith and creating meaningful milestones, moments that make a difference as they support children, youth and families of all ages in their faith journey.
Come to Camp Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center for a retreat which is specifically designed to support and equip both full-time and part-time professional and volunteer Children, Youth and Family Ministry staff. In addition to an educational component there will be ample time for networking and resource sharing, as well as relaxation, conversation and worship. 

50 Forward Living Well Retreat at Lutherock- Oct 7-9
Gather your 50 (years) & forward friends for an enriching and inspiring weekend in beautiful Western North Carolina. Gain new tools for living well at every age! Retreat features 2 keynote speakers:
  • Jeff Yeager - an entertaining media personality who's been featured on Good Morning America. Author of "How to Retire the Cheapskate Way" and "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Guide to True Riches," among others.
  • Pastor Tom Hafer - author of "Faith and Fitness," "Well planet," and "Aging Grace." He's a physical therapist, certified Athletic Trainer and a national speaker on the connections between faith and fitness.
Other retreat highlights include:
  • Entertainment by "Sound Investment," a fun- loving, crowd-pleasing, 4-piece band featuring classic rock of the '60s and '70s
  • A "farm to table" dinner, including a discussion with the chef
  • Saturday worskhop options to help you live well, peacefully, and faithfully
  • Optional Saturday afternoon outings, including a microbrewery tour, prayerful walking, painting 
Find out more about the speakers, workshops, and other offerings by visiting www.50ForwardLife.com
Clinical Pastoral Education at The Village at Orchard Ridge
National Lutheran Communities & Services, as a satellite of The Eastern Mennonite Seminary Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, develops pastors and chaplains who are reflective practitioners, able to draw upon the best in their theological traditions and the behavioral sciences for ministry that is increasingly faithful and fruitful. Participants are formed in ministry through individual learning goals and through reflection in community upon pastoral practice by means of case studies, seminars and individual supervision.

Units offered in a community of seniors on the campus of The Village at Orchard Ridge-A National Lutheran Community allows the participant to work with a population that they will likely encounter for the whole of their ministry careers. We offer a unique, creative and engaging community that will assist the participants' ability to minister, reflect, engage and grow.

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 pilat@vasynod.org. 
Grace Inside Chaplaincy Position--Haynesville, VA
GraceInside (Virginia's Prison Chaplain Service) is currently seeking interested and qualified candidates for a 30 hour/week Chaplain position at medium-security prison for men, Haynesville Correctional Center.  Qualified applicants should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or equivalent degree from an accredited seminary/theological school, and should be ordained and in good standing with their ordaining body (church, denomination/judicatory). CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) units are a plus, as is pastoral experience. Experience working in the field of criminal justice (jails, prisons, etc.) is also a plus.

Interested candidates may send a cover letter and request an application from Lee Hargrave at leehargrave@graceinside.org.

Completed applications should be scanned and emailed - along with a current resume and cover letter of interest - to Lee Hargrave at the above email address.  
Deadline to receive all materials is August 1, 2016.
Part Time Organist--Petersburg, VA
Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Petersburg is looking for a part-time organist-keyboardist.  This could be on a rotation schedule with other organist-keyboardist, so it would not be an every Sunday commitment.

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