How to complete a Pastor’s W-2 IRS Form
Year-end is quickly approaching and with it, the task of tax reporting to the IRS. Different rules apply when dealing with clergy taxes and withholdings. The sample W-2 provided will assist congregations in completing W-2 forms for clergy.

For more information and to see a sample form, click here.
Help pastors tap the clergy housing allowance
What You Should Know
The clergy housing allowance allows pastors to exclude a portion of their compensation from federal gross income if it can be justified to the IRS as spent on housing expenses.

The amount that can be excluded as housing allowance is always the smallest of the following:
  • The amount your organization officially designates in advance as "housing allowance"
  • The amount spent for the pastor's home, including down payment, mortgage principal and interest, utilities, taxes, insurance, furnishings, maintenance, etc.
  • The fair rental value of the pastor's home, including furnishings and cost of utilities (whether owned or rented)

Step-By-Step Guide
  1. Ask your pastor how much of their compensation they want designated as housing allowance.
  2. Designate this portion of the pastor's compensation in writing as a housing allowance prior to issuing a paycheck. This can be done as a council resolution, meeting minutes, or a budget line item.
  3. Provide this information to your pastor.
  4. You may report the housing allowance on IRS Form W-2 in Box 14. Label the amount as housing allowance. This amount does not get reported as gross wages.
Sign up for ELCA Newsletters!
Stay in-the-know and stay connected to the ELCA with their wide variety of newsletters. Receive direct to your email inbox news from Lutheran Disaster Response, ELCA World Hunger, and more! Looking for a place to start? We suggest Seeds Monthly, a monthly newsletter providing access to the latest resources, stories and events from around this church. To sign up for ELCA Newsletters, click here.
Holiday Graphic Resources
This year to support your communication needs, we've created a number of Advent and Christmas graphics you can use in your congregation! Covering each week of Advent, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day there's plenty of resources available to use in your congregation!

These graphics can be used as part of your congregation's social media plan, printed off and displayed in and around your church, or any number of ways that best serve your congregation! From email headers to printable posters there plenty of opportunities to make use of our Advent and Christmas graphics!

You can view and download the Advent and Christmas graphics on our website at www.vasynod.org/resources/communication If you have any questions about how you can best utilize these resources, please contact Emily Pilat at pilat@vasynod.org.
Deck the Halls! 2018 Virginia Synod Christmas Decoration Contest
Submissions are now open for the 2018 Virginia Synod Christmas Decoration Contest! Congregations and individuals are both welcome to enter their decorations in one of three categories:  Chrismons treeChristmas tree, or  Advent wreath for this year’s contest!

To enter send the best photo of your decoration to Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org  from now until  Monday, December 17th.

With your entry photo please include the following information:
  • Your First and last name
  • Your congregation name and location (ex. Christ Lutheran, Roanoke)
  • The category for which you are entering (Chrismons tree, Christmas tree, or Advent wreath)

Only one entry per individual or congregation  (ie. if you submit a photo of your congregation’s Chrismons tree, a submission of your congregation’s advent wreath will not be counted as an entry)!
On  December 20th  one randomly selected winner for each category will be announced in that week’s edition of the Weekly Update. All three winners will receive a special prize!

If you have any questions about the Christmas Decoration Contest, please contact Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org  Best of luck to all who enter, and happy decorating!
Virginia Synod Sermons
Sermons are available one month prior to the Sunday service they are to be shared during. View all the sermons shared  on the Virginia Synod website.
Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org  and make sure to follow our
Announcements
Winter Celebration 2019
Winter Celebration is our annual weekend retreat for youth in grades 9 through 12 and their adult advisors. We have Large Group and Small Group gatherings that consist of singing, comedy, worship, faith sharing and presentations on our event theme. On Saturday afternoon during Free Time we will also hold out annual Talent Show and in the evenings you will have time to relax in your Cottage and talk with other youth and adults from your congregation and other congregations about how Winter Celebration is going.

For more information and to register for this event, click here.
ACTS 2019 Spring Course: Spirituality and Leadership
Save the Dates! April 6 and May 11, 2019 we will gather for our ACTS Spring Course. This year's spring course will be led by Dr. Jill Y. Crainshaw Acting Dean at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. This course will explore how throughout biblical history prayerfully listening to God changed the way leaders served in response to God’s call. The participant will learn ways a congregation can prepare and use their many differing personal and spiritual gifts for mission. To download a save the dates flyer for the 2019 ACTS Spring Course, click here.
Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events
BeerReformation Retreat : January 25-27 at the Farmhouse
Pre-Lenten Retreat - Rehearsing Scripture : February 4-6 at Buttonwood Lodge, led by Rev. Heidi David-Young
Wild Women: Hiking Retreat : February 22-24 at the Farmhouse
Spring Work Weekend: April 12-14 in the Cabin Village
Board Gaming Retreat:  April 26-28 at Buttonwood Lodge
Pre-Advent Retreat: August 19-21 at Buttonwood Lodge

Call (540)-449-0012 or email  julie@carolinefurnace.org  to learn more!
Blue Christmas Service at Grace Lutheran, Chesapeake
Need a space to grieve this holiday season? Yearning for healing and wholeness? If not, able to hold space for those who are?

Join us for a Blue Christmas Worship Service on Wednesday, December 19th at 7:15pm at Grace Lutheran Church (521 Providence Rd, Chesapeake, VA 23325).

For more information, and an event flyer, click here.
The ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) application is now open!
The Young Adults in Global Mission is a one-year, international service-learning and faith-formation opportunity in churches and social service ministries for young adults, ages 21-29. The application for the 2019-2020 program year closes February 15th, 2019 . For more information and to apply, click here.

Young adults serve alongside Lutheran companion church bodies and organizations in one of ten country programs around the world, being shaped by the witness of our global neighbors in a cross-cultural journey of faith. For the current program year, the country programs are: Argentina & Uruguay, Australia, Central Europe, Cambodia, Jerusalem/West Bank, Madagascar, Mexico, Rwanda, Senegal, and Southern Africa. Areas of service include, but are not limited to, health and development, congregational ministry, human rights, education, homelessness, addiction recovery, women’s issues and children and youth. All site placements provide opportunities for young adults to confront issues of wealth and poverty; racial privilege; economic disparity and globalization, all through the lens of faith. 

Short-term recruiters will be headed around to ELCA Colleges and Universities, Lutheran Campus Ministries, ELCA Camps, and other young adults ministries throughout the fall speaking about their previous year of service and about the program as a whole! Be on the lookout for their upcoming visits!

For more information visit the ELCA YAGM site at www.elca.org/yagm

Also feel free to check out the YAGM Application 2019-2020 Facebook event.
2019 Ignite the Church Conference
The Ignite the Church Conference is an annual gathering on February 19-21, 2019 that seeks to further Kingdom impacting conversation among leaders that will ignite the Church and help it live out its heritage of renewal in the years ahead! Speakers include Bishop Pedro Suarez, Florida Bahamas Synod, Rev. Dr. John Herman, and Beth Lewis, President and CEO Emeritus of 1517 Media. All proceeds from the event support the ELCA Fund for Leaders. For more information, check out their website:  ignitethechurch.net .
Bishops’ School 2019
Many of us have questions about God and our faith, but don’t always know where to go with them. Many of us would love to talk about our faith, but there isn’t always an easy place to do that. You don’t exactly ask someone across the lunch table at school, “Someone told me ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ That would mean God planned all those school shootings. What do you think?” Bishops’ School is your opportunity to be with people like you – people who want to talk about God, to think theologically. In addition to interactive classroom times, small group gatherings, and service projects, there will be plenty of time for making new friends and having fun! Bishops’ School 2019 takes place at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

For more information and to submit a nomination for Bishop's School, click here.
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.atsondemand.com
If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org