World Refugee Day 
This past Tuesday was World Refugee Day, a time to honor the courageous journeys of refugees—people who have fled violence, conflict, and persecution to build new lives.

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has issued following message in observance of World Refugee Day.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today is World Refugee Day. Observed every year on June 20, this is a day when we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees worldwide.

There are more people fleeing war and persecution than ever before. We are now facing the largest global refugee crisis, with over 65 million people forcibly displaced from their countries. Twenty-one million of those who are displaced are refugees. The United States opens its doors to less than 1 percent of the world’s refugees – 85,000 refugees entered our country in 2016.

In Matthew 25:35, Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” As people of faith, we are called to welcome the stranger and to walk alongside vulnerable refugees living in untenable situations. This support is critical in providing protection and hope for those who have fled persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political views and/or associations.

As we recognize the global refugee crisis, let us also celebrate the many contributions that refugees make to our communities as they seek to stabilize their lives and build on their dreams. In this regard, we appreciate all the efforts of our congregations – in collaboration with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service – that are welcoming refugees and providing many forms of hospitality.

It is also important to acknowledge the excellent work being done by The Lutheran World Federation, of which we are a member. These programs assist thousands of refugees every day who have fled their homes, such as South Sudanese now in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia; Burundians in Tanzania; Somalis, Eritreans and Sudanese in Ethiopia; and Syrians in Jordan, just to name a few.

World Refugee Day offers an opportunity for us to stand in solidarity with people who have been forced to leave their homes. Today and every day we pray for peace for all the children of God created in God’s image.

In Christ,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton 
Presiding Bishop

Making a Difference
Through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), there are so many ways you can make a difference on World Refugee Day and beyond.

Consider sharing an international meal with friends and family
Celebrate the many ways refugees have enriched our culture and talk about the contributions refugees make to our society. Find a recipe  here.

Call Congress this week and add your voice to support welcome for refugees! 
Learn more

Spread the word
Share with your friends on social media how you’re standing with refugees. Use #WelcomeOurNeighbors, and tag @LIRS.

Volunteer at a local resettlement agency
Help refugee families adjust to their new home communities.  Contact one of our local affiliate agencies.

Refugees are woven into the very fabric of American life. They are our friends and our neighbors. They contribute to our nation’s prosperity, and its strength.
Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at and make sure to follow our
Roanoke College's Theology for Teens
Our second annual summer camp introducing teens to biblical and theological scholarship, exploring contemporary challenges & how their faith tradition can meet those challenges. Starting Sunday July 16, 2016 through Sunday July 22, 2017 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.

For more information and to register for T4T, click here

Virginia Synod LAUNCH 2017
LAUNCH  is an event for youth who have just graduated from high school. Its purpose is to give them a chance to take stock of where their faith life has led them so far and also to provide an opportunity to engage in discussion on matters of faith and life that are likely to face them as they move on to the next stage of their lives, whether it be the workforce, military or other public service, college, or something else. If participants are veterans of our Virginia Synod ELCA Youth Events (Lost and Found, Winter Celebration, Kairos, etc.), they will find that this event is structured differently. We will spend our three full days together in a rhythm of worship, informal presentations to the whole group, small group discussions, and individual reflections that engage the mind as well as the spirit.  Of course, there will be time for fellowship and relaxation and enjoyable meal times together.

For more information and to register for LAUNCH, click here

Power in the Spirit 2017: "On Our Way Reforming!"
Hosted at beautiful Roanoke College in Salem Virginia, Power in the Spirit is an inspirational conference for everyone who wishes to explore God’s call to service through joyous worship, Bible study, keynote addresses, workshops, and fellowship. In addition, congregational leaders—teachers, organists and choir directors, choir members,committee or council members, family life consultant, pastors, and others—will find Power in the Spirit nurturing and challenging as they consider their mission and ministry.

The Reformation didn’t “fix” the Church. In fact, you might say it’s just one example of how we’re always “recalculating” our way forward as individuals and as a Church. In that spirit, this year’s theme for Power in the Spirit 2017 is:
On Our Way Reforming!

For more information and to register for Power in the Spirit, click here

Virginia Synod Vocations Conference: Beyond Candidacy: What It’s Like to Be a New Pastor

This year’s Vocations Conference will feature presentations from three newer pastors, who will share what it’s been like for them to move beyond candidacy and into ordained ministry. Pr. Tim Crummitt serves a suburban congregation in Hampton, VA. Pr. Anna Havron serves a two-congregation parish near Woodstock, VA. And Pr. Drew Tucker serves a congregation and a campus in Radford, VA. They will tell us what their experiences of being a newer pastor have been like.

The Vocations Conference is sponsored by the VA Synod Candidacy Committee and is a great event for those in seminary AND for those considering seminary in order to prepare for ELCA rostered ministry. This year’s Vocations Conference will be held on August 18-20, at the Eagle Eyrie Conference Center near Lynchburg.

For more information, click here

Gathering of the Ministerium 2017

Gathering of the Ministerium is where our rostered leaders can gather to meet, reconnect, worship, relax, learn, sing, pray and play together.

We are a church of great history as well as a church called in hopefulness into a blessed future. Join us as we gather from across the synod to discover how we live out this reality together.

This year's Gathering of the Ministerium will be held on October 9-11, at 

Registration deadline for Gathering of the Ministerium is August 31st 2017

Our presenter for this year is Dr. Michael DeJonge an Associate Professor in Religious Studies at the University of South Florida (Tampa). Dr. DeJonge will present Bonhoeffer’s interaction with Luther and the tradition, especially in his reflections about ethical and political issues, such as peace and state of authority.

For more information and to register, click here

Fall 2017 ACTS Course: The Christian's Call Today

For Bonhoeffer, Christ is the definition of reality. Discipleship, then, is a call to become enveloped by that reality; therefore, the Christian's call is not to turn one's back on the world (enter the cloister) but to be God's presence in the world. In other words, our life in the world, which is lived out in the midst of families, friendships, work, and communities, is meant to display the presence and transformative work of God in the world. Because Bonhoeffer's faith led him to take the world seriously in all of its manifestations, Christian vocation is one that willingly stands up for one's neighbor and gets its hands dirty. Join other ACTS participants as together we explore and learn more about our Christian’s Call through this course.

This year's Fall ACTS course will be held on October 7th and November 4th

For more information and to register for the Fall ACTS course, click here

FREE Church Security Workshop at  Muhlenberg Lutheran Church
At one of our gatherings, we became aware of the need to have more tools in case of danger plus information on prevention methods.

We are inviting all faith communities of the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County area (and beyond if folks are interested) to join us Tuesday, July 18 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Muhlenberg Lutheran Church, 281 E Market St, Harrisonburg, VA

Space is limited, so consider bringing 3 key folks that can share with others. (secretaries, pastors, custodians and anyone frequently alone in your building)

We need an RSVP, please.  You are encouraged to send questions for the Harrisonburg Police Department presenters in advance. Respond to or Linda Depoy (540-434-3496 / 

You can also ask to join our closed Facebook Group using this link:

National Lutheran Communities & Services Community Impact Grants 2018
Each year, National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) awards grants to organizations that share in the same passion of serving seniors. Grant proposals for the 2018 period will be accepted starting on June 1, 2017 and must be submitted on or before August 15, 2017.

NLCS strongly believes that its mission extends beyond the physical boundaries of its residential communities and service offerings. With funds solely from investment earnings, we are committed to supporting the work of other non-profit organizations, including congregations and community-based programs that address the critical needs of seniors who are aging-in-place. For more information please visit:

Clinical Pastoral Education program with National Lutheran Communities & Services

Reflect, Engage and Grow: Preparing pastors by developing new skills in pastoral care. 

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.

The Village at Orchard Ridge is now accepting applications for the fall session of the CPE Program.

If you are interested in testing a call to be a chaplain in health care, a retirement community, or other care facility, or simply wish to develop new skills as a pastor, consider applying to the program. To apply, download and complete the application below and return to Chaplain William Boldin via email.

Download the Clinical Pastoral Education Application & Instructions

Learn more by viewing the 2017 Clinical Pastoral Education Digital Brochure

Job Opportunities
Part-time Youth Ministry Coordinator Position

Grace and Glory Lutheran Church in Palmyra is currently seeking a part-time Youth Ministry Coordinator to join our staff.

Skills needed for this position:  

  • Ability to thrive in a team environment
  • Maintain healthy relationship boundaries
  • Strong communication skills
  • Self-motivation
  • Ability to relate to people at all age levels
  • Effectiveness relating through advanced social media and computer skills
  • Strong event planning/coordination abilities
  • Ability to work with existing ministries, but also to create new opportunities to involve the wider community in mission
  • Understanding, appreciation, and desire to engage in intergenerational models of ministry

A job description is available from the church office. Please call 434-589-2217 or email for more information.

If you or anyone you know is interested, please submit a cover letter, resume’, and 3 references to the church office before June 23. We will begin interviews shortly thereafter.

ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellow

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. ELCA Advocacy is a ministry of the ELCA Domestic Mission Unit. This is a twelve-month, non-renewable contract position.

The Hunger Advocacy Fellow will participate in a 12-month transformative experience that combines leadership development and faith formation with impactful advocacy that moves us toward an end to hunger and a just world where all are fed.

The 2017 Hunger Advocacy Fellow is a full-time contract employee (with benefits) of the  Virginia Interfaith Center

For more information and to review the full job listing, click here
All job postings can also be found online at If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at