Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
Top 15 Moments of 2015 
in the Virginia Synod
We've had a pretty incredible year in the Virginia Synod! Now that 2016 is here we thought we would pause to reflect back and celebrate fifteen of the great moments of 2015:

15. Synod Assembly Went Technical

Guidebook, IPads and electronic voting-oh my! If you came to the 2015 Synod Assembly it was hard to miss the new technological advances this year. The Guidebook app for smart phones and tablets meant that the event schedule was always at the tip of your fingers, not to mention you didn't have to shuffle a packet of papers around. Electronic voting went smoothly, eliminating counting up the ballots which meant the whole  was faster than ever. Even Bishop Mauney got into the technology movement during his large group session where he encouraged small groups to use IPads and other similar devices to look up demographic data for the neighborhood surrounding their congregation. If you couldn't make it to Synod Assembly (or you were the Synod support staff who were stuck in the office), the entire event was also livestreamed so you could watch everything on your computer.
While there may have been a few minor hiccups during the Assembly, 2015 was a big leap forward and 2016 promises to be even better!

14. Journey Together: the 25 year history book of the Virginia Synod was released

For the past several years several people have been working tirelessly to assemble a comprehensive 25 year history of the Virginia Synod. Rev. Jim Utt, the author of the book, was able to see the project completed and published just in time for Synod Assembly (in fact, it was delivered just a few days before opening worship). The book could not have been completed in such a timely manner without the help of George Kegley and Rev. Jean Bozeman who helped track down facts and photos that spanned more than two decades.
Bob Yates from College Lutheran in Salem helped to man the table at Synod Assembly
Bob Yates from College Lutheran in Salem helped to man the table at Synod Assembly

13.  Over 75 Congregations Participated in The Week of Service (again!)

You caught us-this was also a top moment of 2014, but we couldn't resist talking about the Week of Service. What a great example of being on a "Journey Together" (which is what Synod means) than by moving out in our communities all over the state to share the love of Jesus through service.
The second week of September, over 75 of our congregations participated in the Virginia Synod Week of Service by picking up trash, visiting nursing homes, serving food, and completing a whole host of other projects. Our week led up to the ELCA's "God's Work, Our Hands" Sunday, a day where church members were encouraged to get out of the pew together and serve their communities. We ventured into our neighborhoods and many of us even rocked those iconic "God's Work Our Hands" t-shirts.

12. We Began Working Together to End Childhood Hunger 

Last year we formed the Virginia Synod Childhood Hunger Task Force, this year we have branched out and created an interfaith movement. In July 2015 we had our first Interfaith Childhood Hunger Conference and since then we have met two other times with participants adding up to almost 100 different people from various faith groups. Representatives from Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Unitarian Universalist communities have come together for one mission-to end childhood hunger in Virginia.
During the last few days of 2015, a Virginia Delegate agreed support a possible legislative bill for 2016 that could result in more children in Virginia eating breakfast in the mornings before they begin to learn in the classroom. To keep up with our fight against Childhood Hunger, go to www.virginiafeedskids.org.
Several of our interfaith partners discuss strategies to end childhood hunger in Virginia at our gathering in November.

11. Our 8 Mission Partners Did Big Things

When you partner with eight amazing organizations, there are too many moments to count so we had to condense all of them into one point. It's been a big year for our mission partners! Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center received a major bequest which allowed them to spruce up the camp and buy new equipment which will make everyone's camp experience even better in the next year. GraceInside launched their first ever annual campaign. Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center hired a new camp director. Lutheran Family Services of Virginia has helped more than 1,500 people this year. National Lutheran Communities and Services awarded more than $221,000 in grants to local organizations. Roanoke College had many students and faculty members receive prestigious awards this year which were shown off on their new website that they launched in the summer. Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary created certificate programs which allows non-degree seeking students the opportunity to explore further theological education. Virginia Lutheran Homes opened the John P. Fishwick Rehabilitation Center in Roanoke. We can't wait to see what they will do in 2016!


10. We Offered Opportunities for People to Learn More About Faith Formation

This was the second year that Renew and Retreat, an event for Faith Formation workers, was held at Caroline Furnace with participation from the Metro DC Synod.  The emphasis this year was on "power" found in the practice of a "still life and knowing God" (From Psalm 46:10). Also this was the year of the Forming Faith Conference, which happens once every two years. This year Marcia Bunge challenged participants to recommit themselves to the divine call to equip parents/grandparents in the raising of their children in the faith. In the Virginia Synod, we don't want to just help people develop their own faith, we want to equip people to help others grow in faith as well.

Some of the Renew and Retreat crew

 9. Lost and Found Played One of their Last Concerts at Power in the Spirit

Power in the Spirit, an adult faith formation event held at Roanoke College, is always an exciting Synod event, but this year the Friday night entertainment was a Lutheran duo known as Lost and Found who were making a stop on the Farewell Tour. After keynote speaker Rev. Jay Gamelin left the stage Michael Bridges and George Baum took up their instruments and had the audience singing and laughing along with their witty lyrics. This show was one of the last live concerts that Lost and Found ever performed so if you missed this show, you'll have check them out online.

8. More than 65 youth came to the Richmond Conference Gathering 

The Virginia Synod is made up of 11 conferences and each year Bishop James Mauney comes to each conference for a time of learning together, worshiping together, and fellowshipping together. This year the theme was "Finding Your Voice" and youth were encouraged to join in on the fun. In the Richmond conference the room was packed and 65 youth showed up and even stayed for an impromptu youth gathering with Dave Delaney.

The 65 youth all gathered together after the Conference Gathering

7. ACTS Hit a New Record: 575 people have participated since ACTS began

The Ambassadors Community for Theological Study  (ACTS) is intended to enrich and equip laity for intentional service as ambassadors for Christ. Since the first fall course in 2002, exactly 575 different individuals have participated in the program! Participants have the chance to learn from theological scholars and process through the content of each course with a small group.


6. Super Heroes Took on Villain Mauney at Kairos

Each summer hundreds of high school students gather at Roanoke College for a summer Virginia Synod Youth Event called Kairos. Under the direction of Rev. Dave Delaney, the director for youth and young adult ministries from the Virginia Synod, and a team of adult volunteers, a planning group of high school students plans the theme for the event which includes coming up with skits to perform during the large group meetings. This year the planning group was a super hero team and who was their final foe? None other than a villain named colon (like the character on a keyboard) played by Bishop Mauney!


5. Incredible New Pastors Were Called to Virginia

In 2015 we added three new pastors to our roster! Rev. Leslie Scanlon, the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Chesapeake, Rev. Katie Pocalyco, the pastor of Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in North Chesterfield, and Rev. Austin Propst, the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bristol are all new to the Virginia Synod this year.
From left to right_ Rev. Katie Pocalyco_ Rev. Austin Propst_ and Rev. Leslie Scanlon

4. We Began To Prepare For the Election of a New Bishop

This year Bishop Mauney officially announced that he will be retiring after his current term as Bishop of the Virginia Synod ends in May of 2017. Bishop Mauney is dearly loved in the Synod and will be missed when his term is over. In order to prepare for not only the election of a new bishop in 2017 but also the transition to a new leader, the Synod Council put together a transition team this year with representatives from every conference.

Top row from left to right: Rev. E. Roy Riley, Bishop Emeritus of the New Jersey Synod, Rev. Lou Florio, Rev. Jim Utt, Mark Reed, Rev. Larry Shoberg. Middle row from left to right: Elizabeth Smythe, Jody Smiley, Charles Poston, Steve Fredericksen, Robert Bob Yates. Bottom row from left to right,  Rev. Karen Van Stee, Rebecca Walls, Office Manager of the Virginia Synod, Maren Corliss, Blythe Scott.

3. ForwardingFaith Campaign was Announced

At our Gathering of the Ministerium event Bishop Mauney announced that the Synod Council voted to launch the Forwarding Faith Campaign, a $2.5 million campaign to create an endowment for youth ministry and faith formation in the Synod. You will be sure to hear more about this campaign in the coming months but if you want to learn more now, you can go to  www.forwardingfaith.org.


 2.  New Synod Leaders Were Elected

The Vice President and the Secretary of the Synod Council are two of the highest elected lay leadership positions in the Synod and in 2015 both positions were on the ballot at Synod Assembly. Charles Downs, an attorney from Roanoke and member of College Lutheran Church in Roanoke, was elected as Vice President. Blythe Scott, an attorney from Norfolk and member of First Lutheran Church in Norfolk, was elected as Secretary.
Blythe Scott (Left) is pictured with the outgoing Synod Secretary, Janet Gomez

Charles Downs Jr. (Right) is pictured with the outgoing Vice President of the Synod, Charles Poston

1. Youth Flooded into Detroit for the ELCA National Youth Gathering

They were labeled as "The Skittle Explosion" in Detroit this summer. The 30,000 youth and adult volunteers earned their name as they donned brightly colored shirts while they were at the ELCA National Youth Gathering in July. The attendees not only worshiped together in Ford Field where the Detroit Lions play (what an incredible sight!) and had plenty of free time for the plethora of activities set up by Gathering staff, but each Synod also was assigned a day of service. During this day, everyone set aside their various colored shirts and instead wore the official orange "Rise Up" National Youth Gathering T-shirt. The result was a unified effort to physically spread the love of Jesus throughout the city and neighborhoods of Detroit.

Watch the Virginia Synod video of the National Youth Gathering here:
Rise Up Virginia! Highlights from the ELCA National Youth Gathering
Rise Up Virginia! Highlights from the ELCA National Youth Gathering

ELCA LIVE Webcast--Confronting Racism, A Holy Yearning
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton and William B. Horne II, an ELCA member from Clearwater, Fla., will continue their conversation on racism - a violation of God's intention for humanity - in another live webcast Jan. 14, at 8 p.m. (CST). Eaton and Horne will be joined by other ELCA members who bring various perspectives on the U.S. criminal justice system. A live stream will be available at www.elca.org/webcast or at www.facebook.com/lutherans. Participate in the conversation on social media by using #ELCAConfrontingRacisim
Virginia Interfaith Center For Public Policy's Day for All People in Richmond, VA
viccp logo
The 2016 Day for All People  will be held on Jan. 20 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at  Virginia Union University's  Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center. Virginia Union University is located at 1500 N. Lombardy Street in  Richmond.

Tickets are $30 for the daylong advocacy event, or $15 for students (need to register with a university email address); includes breakfast, lunch and transportation to/ from the VUU Campus and the General Assembly.

AGAPE and RACHEL KURTZ in Concert in Harrisonburg
A gape and Rachel Kurtz are coming to Muhlenberg Lutheran in Harrisonburg on January 9th at 7:00pm. AGAPE and Rachel Kurtz are singers, songwriters, and speakers who will have shared their faith and talent at many of the ELCA National Youth Gatherings and churches across the country. Everyone is invited to join in on the fun! Tickets are $5 at the door and children 4 and under are free. 
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. 

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

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 
and talk with with other youth and adults from your congregation and other congregations about how Winter Celebration is going.

"In the Breaking of the Bread: 
Finding Christ in Full Communion"
A retreat for Lutheran and Episcopal clergy and rostered leaders

Renowned scholars Gordon Lathrop and Neil Alexander will serve as keynote presenters for a retreat held May 16-18, 2016, at Shrine Mont Conference Center in Orkney Springs, Virginia. "In the Breaking of the Bread: Finding Christ in Full Communion" will gather clergy and rostered leaders of Lutheran and Episcopal churches, equipping them for shared ministries of word and sacrament. 
Coming together in the peaceful setting of Shrine Mont, retreat participants will share in worship, fellowship, and education with one another. Bishops will lead "instructed eucharist celebrations" in Lutheran and Episcopal traditions, and national denominational representatives will be present throughout the gathering. Participants will also learn about local partnership possibilities in their home settings.
The registration fees, including room and board, are $160 (double occupancy room) and $190 (single occupancy). For more information and to register online, visit: www.VirginiaLutheranEpiscopal.wordpress.com. Printed registration materials will be available soon.

2016 Trip to Germany

There will be a 9 day trip to Germany endorsed by the North Carolina Synod and co-sponsored by the Virginia Synod ACTS in 2016. Inlcudes Basic Tour & Guided Sightseeing, Roundtrip International Airfare from cities listed (Additional baggage & optional fees may apply, see fine print for details) Fuel Surcharges and Government Taxes (Subject to Change) . Admin. Fees, Entrance Fees, Gratuities & Program Fees . Daily Buffet Breakfast & Dinner . Deluxe Motorcoaches . First Class Hotels and Much, Much More!
Click here to see the full brochure with registration information. If you would like a brochure mailed to you, please email  milton@vasynod.org

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. 
Job Opportunity:
Handbell Director Position
Muhlenberg Lutheran Church, located in Harrisonburg Virginia, is seeking a part-time Handbell Director to provide support and leadership to the Music Ministry's Handbell Choir with primary focus on teaching and directing. Qualifications should include a strong commitment to the Christian faith, Bachelor's degree in music (or equivalent in training and experience) and the ability to teach and direct the Handbell Choir(s) ranging from beginning to advanced levels. This part-time position would require at least one practice per week (extended rehearsal times may be required during Advent/Christmas and Lent/Holy Week) September - May, and would perform every 4-5 weeks in Sunday morning worship (currently three services each Sunday, 8:00, 9:30 & 11:00), and occasional additional services during Advent & Lent. The Handbell Director is responsible to the Music Minister. Those interested in this position should forward a resume to info@muhlenberglutheran.org . Hard copies can be mailed to: Muhlenberg Lutheran Church, 281 East Market Street, Harrisonburg, Va., 22801, ATTN: Elizabeth Williams. Resumes will be accepted until position is filled.

Job Opportunity:
Director of Ministry to Children, Youth, and Families in Moneta, VA

TRINITY ECUMENICAL PARISH in Moneta, VA seeks an energetic and enthusiastic person of integrity who is dedicated to engaging children, youth, and families in a life giving transformative faith. Click here for a list of competencies and job description and go to www.smltep.org for information on Trinity. Interested candidates should send a resume including educational training and ministry experience, a cover letter explaining your vision for children, youth and family ministry and references to  blfuzi@centurylink.net by 1/15/16.

Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story Idea? Send it to fuller@vasynod.org!
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