As the season of spring picks up, we're looking just outside our churches. What differences are we making right beyond our front doors in our communities?
Anonymous Believers
Several years ago Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Waynesboro constructed an outdoor prayer labyrinth for the benefit of members and the community. The impact of that publicly accessible resource is hard to gauge, of course, since people can come and go at any time. But the congregation had faith that it would be beneficial to many in the neighborhood of the church. This message was on Pastor Karen Taylor’s phone one recent Saturday morning.
“Pastor Taylor,

I’m not going to leave you my name. I just want to tell you how your small church here in the Valley has helped to restore my faith. Pastor Taylor, I’m dying. I’m also homeless– but that’s okay, I am not without love because God loves me. At least I do have a car. Well, last night I had no place to go. To look at me on the streets you would never in a million years think I was homeless but I am. Homeless does not have a face to it because I do keep myself up, clean, neat, at least I try to. I’m one of God’s disciples – a little rough around the edges but with a great heart! At times in my life, I pushed God away – didn’t want Him near me. But I’ve begun to have my strong faith back. My God is a living God.

Homeless does not have a face to it because I do keep myself up, clean, neat, at least I try to. I’m one of God’s disciples – a little rough around the edges but with a great heart! At times in my life, I pushed God away – didn’t want Him near me. But I’ve begun to have my strong faith back. My God is a living God.
Last night when I was in a really deep dark place He brought me here. I didn’t know where “here” was until a light came this morning. You see, I slept in my car by your prayer circle outside and when I saw it I didn’t walk to it, I ran to it, God made me run to it and I cleansed my soul there. I am ready to go rejoicing to heaven; I know I’m going to heaven. I’m ready. And when I go I will take the memory of what I found here. Oh, and I also want you to know it was one of the most peaceful sleeps I have had in over a year – and I didn’t even have any medication! Amen! Amen!

So may you continue with this beautiful church you have here. I love it. It kept me from doing something really bad…really bad. My God is a knowing God. He sees me and He hears me no matter where I am. He knew I was scared last night because He brought me here to you. Thank you. Thank you for having this little heaven on earth right here. And I’ll be fine, ready to go on again. God bless you and your congregation and may you have a wonderful Easter because He will be there with you.

Thank you very much.

Anonymously, a Faithful Believer…always.”
She gave no indication of whether she was a local person or someone passing through. This anonymous woman was blessed by the church’s ministry and became a blessing to the church in turn. This Easter, and every Easter to come, will bring to mind those anonymous believers whose lives are touched in ways we will never know by some of the simplest things we do in the name of Christ.
Planting Pinwheels
At St. Paul's in Hampton more than 800 pinwheels were planted at the start of April. Volunteers from St. Paul's, Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, and the Peninsula area Exchange Clubs joined together in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Pinwheels serve as the national symbol for child abuse prevention. It is a reflection of hope, health, and safety. Learn more information about Pinwheels for Prevention by visiting 

Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at and make sure to follow our
ForwardingFaith Campaign Update!
Share the good news! We have reached over  $2 million  in total gifts and pledges for the ForwardingFaith Campaign!

For more information on the ForwardingFaith campaign, and how you can participate,  click here
Synod Assembly 2017: Ambassadors for Christ: Forwarding Faith

Synod Assembly is here!  June 9-11  will be our time to get together as the Virginia Synod to fellowship, learn about the wider church, do business, and learn more about worship.  Presiding over the Bishop's election and our ELCA representative  this year will be the  Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla , Executive Director‐ELCA Division of  Global Missions. 

For more information and to register for Synod Assembly, click here
Virginia Synod Kairos 2017
Kairos  is our annual week-long faith formation event for youth who will be in 9th-12th grades in the coming fall. It is a chance for youth who are already committed to a life of faith to be part of a unique Christian community for an entire week, to have a fresh experience of the grace and presence of God in that community, and to develop habits for discipleship that can be taken home as they live out their call to be “Ambassadors for Christ.” Kairos is different from our weekend events in that congregations do not send advisors with youth; the event staff serves as small group leaders and dorm advisors for the week. “Kairos” is the New Testament Greek word for “special time.” It is used whenever God’s people want to talk about a time of change, of renewal, of God’s special work in the believer and the community.

For more information and to register for Kairos, click here

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 Lutheran Men in Mission Gathering

Ambassadors for Christ "Luther's Small Catechism in a Time of Big Change"

Celebrating 500 years since the time of the Reformation and using Luther’s Small Catechism as our guide, we will Explore, Study and Discuss the basics of our Christian Faith.

Saturday, April 22 – Sunday afternoon, April 23, 2017 at Roslyn Episcopal Conference and Retreat Center 8727 River Road – Richmond, Virginia 23229

For more information, and to register for this event, click here
Are you ready to work on your financial goals?  Are you ready to learn how to deal with money in a refreshing, biblical way?

Then consider FREED-UP FINANCIAL LIVING, a 6-session study designed to:
  • Prioritize your financial goals
  • Develop a personalized spending plan
  • Identify action steps to reduce your expenses
  • Pay down your debt

Stewardship Matters of Virginia is offering this class at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1904 Mount Vernon Avenue, Waynesboro, beginning on Tuesday, April 18.  The cost is $44.00 for a couple sharing a workbook or $34.00 for an individual.  The class will be 7 – 8:30 p.m. and is open to everyone.

For more information and registration, go to  or call Rev. David Rash, 540-335-5175.

Generosity NOW
There's still time to register for Generosity NOW: an ecumenical conference on Stewardship that will be held in Washington, DC  April 25-27 . Scholarships to cover the registration fee of $299 are available from the ELCA. For more information, please contact Keith Mundy: . See the full details of the conference at
Day of Prayer Eastern Gathering
Sponsored by the Lutheran Episcopal Joint Committee of Virginia the Eastern Gathering will be held on May 17th, 2017 at Chanco on the James 394 Floods Drive Spring Grove, Virginia 23881

Led by Speaker The Rev. John Maxwell Kerr.  Rev. Kerr will lead two group sessions considering how and why to pray, whom to pray with, resources for prayer, prayer and the liturgical year, and will share other personal prayer practices.

REGISTRATION information is at

There is no registration deadline, and you may register in person on the day of the event.
Caroline Furnace: Celebrating 60 Years of Ministry
We want to celebrate 60 years of fun, fellowship, and faith with you! Come for the whole weekend or come celebrate for part of the time, but do come!

Traditionally, the 60th Anniversary is a “diamond anniversary,” but for camp, it’s our SLAG Anniversary.  Join us Saturday, May 27th - Monday, May 29th for yummy food, good fun, and memorable fellowship.

Come celebrate our Slag Anniversary!  Registration closes May 16th  or when space is full. Space is limited. Sign up to reserve your spot today.

To register for this event, click here
For information on the schedule and pricing, click here

Caroline Furnace: Have you registered for summer camp?
It's our 60th Anniversary and we're celebrating with a summer of old favorites and new programs. Our traditional summer residential programs are designed for rising 1st-12th graders. Family camp is perfect for families with younger kids who want to try out camp together.

To register for summer camp at Caroline Furnace, click here 
For information on the 2017 summer schedule and pricing, click here

Job Opportunities
Church Organist/Choirmaster Wanted

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hampton, VA is seeking an experienced organist to lead music at two Sunday morning services, play for weddings and funerals, and direct an adult and a youth choir. This position requires approximately 25 hours per week.

Apply during April 2017 via

Part-time Director of Worship and Music

Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Virginia Beach seeks a part-time Director of Worship and Music beginning in May. 25 hours per week. Salary depending on previous experience. See the PD and application instructions at ELVB.ORG under the “Jobs” tab.

Part-time Church Secretary

Part-time church secretary, 10-12 hours/week.  QuickBooks knowledge needed.  Small church in the Vinton area. If interested, please call 540-342-1715 and leave a message.

All job postings can also be found online at If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at