The Top 10 Moments 0f 2018!
Happy New Year! We've had a great 2018 here in the Virginia Synod! Now that the year has come to a close we're taking a moment time now to look back and celebrate the best moments 2018, and look ahead for an exciting new year!
10- Preserving our Past
In 2018, the archives housed in the Virginia Synod office were packed away and transferred to The Crumley Archives located on the campus of LTSS in Columbia, South Carolina. The organization was created in response to the 1988 ELCA founding constitution, which called for the establishment of regional archives and the maintenance of congregation archives in each church. Today, they document and preserve the history of Lutheranism for Synods and congregations located in the South and Caribbean.

To learn more about the move of the Virginia Synod archives, and the Crumley Archives, click here.
9- Doing Justice
We welcomed the start of a new bi-monthly newsletter from the Virginia Synod, named Do Justice in 2018. This newsletter lifts up God's call and command that we, God’s people, do justice. In this newsletter, helpful info about justice ministries in congregations, around Virginia, and through the ELCA.

Daily Devotions were also shared during the season of Lent this year, written by folks from around the Virginia Synod and shared across the Synod's social media pages. These devotions were written based on 40 Bible verses published by the AMMPARO strategy of the ELCA, focused on welcoming people. 
8- Mission Partners
At the 2018 Synod Assembly, we had the opportunity to hear from some of the Virginia Synod’s Mission Partners. There they shared oral and video reports of their great work!

We also heard later in the year about GraceInside from Pastor Colleen Montgomery who took a visit to Keen Mountain Correctional Center. There she shared the important ministry GraceInside provides.

Many Virginia Synod congregations also partnered with our synod's Mission Partners as part of their Week of Service!
7- Week of Service
A year just isn’t complete without pulling on your”God’s Work Our Hands” t-shirts! 2018 marked the 6th Annual Virginia Synod Week of Service, held in conjunction with the ELCA Day of Service held on September 9, 2018.

All congregations were 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, and to further share their stories of service with the Synod. Stories of service from across the Synod showcased great experiences of service, often in partnership with the Virginia Synod’s fantastic Mission Partners. Click here to read some of the many stories of service shared with the Virginia Synod this year.
6- Discerning Vocation in the Virginia Synod
This year 17 inquirers, individuals discerning God’s call to public ministry in the church, and 10 candidates for ministry, individuals who have discerned a call to rostered ministry in the church and are engaged in the process of formation for leadership, were in attendance at the 2018 Vocations Conference.

In 2018 we also started sharing the amazing things our candidates are up to. We took time to learn what their call to ministry is like from stories they share. Over the last few months we've heard from both Danielle Bosdell and Alyssa Kaplan, and hope to hear from more of our candidates this year!
5- Youth Event Highlights
From Winter Celebration to 7th Day, this year was filled with exciting Youth Events! This year we saw skits performed by exceptional youth, sang our favorite songs, and met new friends at each event!

You can learn all about what happened this year, by reading our event recaps:

4- 2018 ACTS Highlights
There was a lot to celebrate about our ACTS program in 2018! Seven individuals graduated from the ACTS program from Immanuel Lutheran in Bluefield West Virginia, and Central Lutheran in Burkes Garden. This group took roughly four years to complete their ACTS courses.

Our Spring and Fall courses for 2018, “To Speak in Parables: Proclamation of the Gospel in the Parables of Jesus” led by The Rev. Dr. Mark Vitalis Hoffman, and "Lutheran Confessions" led by The Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Wengert gave us a fantastic year of ACTS!
3- ForwardingFaith
On January 27th of 2018 three rounds of ForwardingFaith Congregational training was held across the state traveling to Blacksburg, Charlottesville, and Woodstock. This event taught attendees how they could participate in the ForwardingFaith campaign, and kickstarted a great year of appeals in many congregations.

Campaign updates were presented at this past year's Synod Assembly. It was an exciting opportunity to share the great success of the ForwardingFaith campaign thus far, as well as to look forward to the future with more congregational appeals being held in the months to come. You can watch the full ForwardingFaith report from Synod Assembly on the  Virginia Synod’s Youtube page .

The congregations that joined in the ForwardingFaith campaign in 2018 all spread the good news of faith formation in Virginia during their appeals! We shared a number of ways that congregations creatively joined in with our ForwardingFaith Fridays series this spring and summer. You can learn about some of these fantastic congregational appeals by clicking here.

Stay tuned to for continued campaign updates and opportunities to get your congregation involved as we continue to fundraise in 2019.
2- 2018 National Youth Gathering
Youth from the Virginia Synod joined over 30,000 other high school youth and adult leaders from around the country for a week of faith formation at the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas. This event was five days of learning, interacting, serving alongside local residents, worshipping, connecting with thousands of other Lutherans, and so much more! The theme “This Changes Everything” constantly focused participants attention on how God’s call, love, grace, and hope shapes everything we do.

To learn more about the 2018 National Youth Gathering, click here.
1- New Staffing for the Virginia Synod Office
This year the Virginia Synod Office welcomed several new additions to our staff with Pastor Kelly Bayer Derrick, Assistant to the Bishop, Deacon Lisa Geiger, Candidacy Process Administrator and ACTS Director, Pastor John Wertz Jr., Assistant to the Bishop/DEM, and Pastor Suzanne Stierwalt, Roots & Wings Director beginning their new roles this year.

Pastor Kelly and Deacon Lisa were installed into their new positions in the Synod Office during the Friday afternoon worship service at the 2018 Virginia Synod Assembly. Pastor John and Pastor Dave Delaney, Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries, were installed to their positions during the Thursday Evening Eucharist during Power in the Spirit.
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  and make sure to follow our
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.
Ask, Thank, Tell: Growing Generous Stewardship
The Virginia Synod and the Presbytery of the James are offering a one-day Stewardship education event with Charles R Lane, the author of “Ask, Thank, Tell” and “Embracing Stewardship” at Three Chopt Presbyterian Church in Richmond on Saturday, March 23, 2019, from 9 AM until 3 PM. The cost of the event is $15 per person. For this event, you have two options to participate. You can register and participate in-person or by simulcast.

Registration is now open to attend either in-person or through the online simulcast. If you haven't spent all of your continuing education funds for 2018, now is a great time to register to attend this event. To register for the event, click here, for more information about 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  to learn more!
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

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: .
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
If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at