Exploring the Small Catechism During Lent
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Wytheville is examining Martin Luther's Small Catechism throughout the season of Lent with a Sunday sermon and devotional series hosted by The Rev. Colleen Montgomery titled "Exploring the Small Catechism". The series comes in three parts: a sermon on Sunday to kick off the week, a paper devotional booklet, and a video series hosted by Pastor Colleen. Every weekday during the season of Lent, Pastor Colleen is sharing her videos on Facebook, featuring snippets of the catechism, reflection questions, and a short prayer.  

"Exploring the Small Catechism" has been a great opportunity to invite folks and families on the go to participate in daily devotions during Lent. Since the series focus is on the Small Catechism, it's also reaching members who did not grow up Lutheran or for whom catechism classes were a long time ago. Catechesis is for all ages! This series has shows how these words from 16th century pastor still speak and guide us today.
"This has been a meaningful way for those participating to connect and share their stories and their questions. Folks who may not usually talk every Sunday are interacting online in meaningful ways. It also helps me deepen my relationships, which will enable me to preach and teach more about the experiences and concerns of our community," said Pastor Colleen about the Lenten series, "I hope it opens up more conversation around how we might use Facebook to connect with members, connect with other Lutherans, and hopefully reach those who don't feel connected to a particular faith community. If we do this again, I'd love to include other faces and voices in the videos to share a broader range of experiences."

To watch Pastor Colleen's Lent Series on the Small Catechism, visit Holy Trinity, Wytheville's Facebook page. Paper copies of the devotional booklet can be downloaded from Holy Trinity's website: holytrinitywytheville.org
Bishop Humphrey’s Response to the Parkland, FL High School Shooting
Jesus… asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; others Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:27-29a NRSV)

It has been a remarkable two weeks since the murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Once again violence has touched the lives of most Americans and reignited the ongoing debate about what legal controls are needed for firearms and other weapons in our country.

These are important questions. They deserve our prayerful attention and response as Christians, and as Americans. We have learned that gun violence in this country far exceeds gun violence in many other countries around the world. We urgently need to find the right balance between our individual rights and liberties on the one hand, and the protection of innocent people in our society on the other.

For us, as Christians, this conversation begins, ends, and is wrapped in prayer and careful discernment, based on our understanding of who Jesus is and how we can most faithfully follow Jesus. The danger is that, like the disciples, we become distracted by the competing voices and sound bites of others.

Who do we say Jesus is? Jesus is the One we are called to follow and emulate. No one else will do… So, in addition to our prayers for the victims, their families and communities, we are called to prayerfully engage with one another in study and respectful conversation that leads us to faithful responses as we lift our voices, send our emails, call our representatives, engage in public witness and advocate in the way of Jesus. What better place than our congregations to offer ongoing faithful dialogue and support?

To share the Gospel with the world is our unique calling, and in times like these, is also a truly helpful perspective to offer our democracy, as together we search for justice and peace in a broken, deeply divided and often confusing world.

Let us hold one another in prayer as we journey together in support of all victims, peacemaking, advocacy and the bold proclamation of the Gospel.

—Bishop Bob Humphrey

To read Bishop Humphrey's complete response, click here .
UPDATE: Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM) / Assistant to the Bishop Call Process
Bishop Bob Humphrey has been working with both synod and ELCA Domestic Mission leaders to call a new Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM) / Assistant to the Bishop. 

Serving under the direction of both the ELCA and Virginia Synod Bishop, this leader will be responsible for Mission development and re-development, working with rostered ministers, synod staff, congregations and institutions and agencies to find creative ways to proclaim the Gospel, grow in stewardship and foster new or renewed vitality in congregations and communities. They will lead and support the synod in areas of mission, stewardship, evangelism, leadership development, and justice. They will also serve as an assistant to the bishop, responding as needed throughout the synod. 

Seventeen applications from all over the country were submitted representing a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and skills. Steps over the next couple of months will include prayerful conversations and structured interviews that hopefully lead to a call for one who is deeply inspired and truly gifted for this important ministry. Your prayers for all involved are requested.
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
ACTS 2018 Spring Course: New Testament
This year's spring ACTS course will be held March 10th and April 21st at Grace Evangelical Lutheran in Waynesboro (or at two Simulcast locations). Mark Vitalis Hoffman will present on the parables of Jesus as part of the New Testament ACTS course.

For more information on the Spring ACTS course and to register for this spring's course,  click here
Save the Date: Synod Assembly June 8-10, 2018
Save the Date: June 8-10, 2018 for the Virginia Synod Assembly!

Stay tuned as more information and registration materials for this year's Synod Assembly will be shared with Rostered Ministers and Congregations mid-March.
ELCA presiding bishop to participate in rally to end racism
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will join ecumenical and inter-religious partners for Act Now: Unite to End Racism April 3-5 in Washington, D.C. The focus of the three-day event will be a rally April 4 on the National Mall. All are invited to join Bishop Eaton at the event.

For more information,  click here
Lutheran Family Services of Virginia Hearts & Hands Awards nominations
The Hearts & Hands Awards nomination deadline is fast approaching and we need to hear from you!

Lutheran Family Services of Virginia sponsors these awards to honor Lutherans whose passion, energy and delight in service are changing lives and creating brighter futures.

These Lutherans are the builders, organizers, advocates, caregivers, leaders, workers, volunteers, employees, committee members, innovators and mentors. They are friends, neighbors, coworkers and church members, young and old, who bring abundant possibilities to our communities.

Click here to complete the nomination form so that these wonderful people giving back to our communities are recognized. Hurry! The deadline is March 19th!
 
Questions? Contact Ellen Bushman at ebushman@lfsva.org, or call 757-722-4707 ext. 1302.
Have you registered for Summer Camp?
Summer 2018 at Caroline Furnace promises to be an exciting one! The theme verse is Ephesians 2:8 - "For by GRACE you have been saved through FAITH, and this is not your own doing; it is the GIFT of God." Camper life is centered around building community through daily worship, Bible study, and new experiences. Campers aged 1st-12th grade can choose from activities such as horseback riding, caving, archery, culinary, backpacking, canoeing, crafting, and fishing. Campers ages 15 to 18 may also participate in LIT! (Leaders In Training) Camp. To learn more and view the summer schedule,  click here

Caroline Furnace will be hosting a Spring Open House on May 12. All are welcome to join for a bluegrass worship, lunch, and camp activities. This is a great time to come and learn more about the camp and retreat opportunities at Caroline Furnace!
You're invited!
Caroline Furnace is seeking Counselors, Chaplains, and Volunteers!

Serving as a counselor is a ten week commitment; two weeks of staff training and eight weeks of summer camp. Counselors can expect a summer of fun, new adventures, sharing faith, learning new things, and growing in faith and leadership abilities.

Chaplains are needed each week of summer camp for spiritual guidance and support. All pastors, seminarians, and lay leaders are invited to serve for a week this summer! 

Volunteers are needed for the spring and summer as well! Join us for Paul Bunyan Weekend March 16-18, to chainsaw trees and split wood. Come to Spring Work Weekend April 20-22 to help us prepare for Summer Camp! 

Learn more about summer staff here:  www.carolinefurnace.org/join-our-staff
Learn more about volunteering here:  www.carolinefurnace.org/volunteer-opportunities
Mental Health America of Augusta One Day Workshop: Addressing Substance Use Together
Mental Health America of Augusta (MHAA) is planning to offer our community a Substance Use workshop on Friday, March 9 which is FREE to participants. Four presenters will help participants better understand Substance Use from a biopsychosocial perspective.

For more information on this workshop, click here.
Day of Prayer Central Virginia Gathering
Sponsored by the Lutheran Episcopal Joint Committee of Virginia
All area Lutherans and Episcopalians--clergy and laity--are invited to a Day of Prayer retreat on March 15, 2018 sponsored by the Lutheran Episcopal Joint Committee of Virginia. Led by Bishop Susan Goff of the Diocese of Virginia, participants will consider how and why to pray, whom to pray with, resources for prayer, prayer and the liturgical year, and will share other personal prayer practices. They will also worship and share lunch together.

The program runs from 9:30 AM to 2:15 PM at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
(7757 Chippenham Pkwy, Richmond, VA 23225). Registration and more information can be found at bit.ly/centraldayofprayer . The event is open to clergy and laity.
Bethel Winchester Nets for Nets
"A child dies every 2 minutes because of malaria. Help us send life-saving bed nets to protect children from this deadly, yet preventable disease." 

You are invited to join  Bethel, Winchester  as we raise money for malaria nets by attempting to make, as a group, 1000 free throws in an hour. If we can get sponsors for each of our made free throws ($1 per make) we will reach our goal of $1000, which equals 200 Malaria Nets (in 2018, all donations will be MATCHED to make DOUBLE the impact!). 

We will play on Friday, March 16 at the Family Life Center Gym at the Winchester Church of God. Please arrive around 10:00am and we will begin Free Throw Fundraiser at 10:30. Please RSVP to Pastor Dave at revhoops@gmail.com if you plan to participate. 

You can bring your donations to the event, send them to Bethel Lutheran Church (2077 N. Frederick Pike, Winchester, 22603), or donate online at our fundraising page fundraise.unfoundation.org/revhoops .
Christ Lutheran in Staunton Hosts Bach Around the Clock
Christ Staunton has partnered with Heifetz International Music Festival to host  Bach Around the Clock . Twelve one hour concerts will take place on  March 17 from 9 AM to 9 PM

For more information and a schedule of concerts check out : bacharoundtheclock.org
ELCA seminaries look to identify, nurture and sustain new leaders
In partnership with Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s Leadership Initiative, the seven seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will launch a combined effort to encourage new candidates for ministry in the ELCA.

The program, “Do you want to change the world?,” is being promoted through a series of videos, the first of which will be released Feb. 22. The video addresses the current leadership shortage of the ELCA and the effort to seek more candidates for ministry.

Decreased seminary enrollment combined with a record number of ELCA rostered ministers who are retiring, has resulted in not enough ministers to fill the open calls or to provide creative leadership in this time of rapid change in our church and in the world. The ELCA seminaries have addressed this need by working independently and in collaboration to increase the number of candidates. According to the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Strandjord, director of ELCA seminaries, this has resulted in a modest increase in fall starts for Master of Divinity candidates in 2017.
 
Building on these efforts to invite and encourage future leaders, this program will help seminaries identify new candidates and provide resources that promote the vocation of public ministry, while providing marketing pieces for the good of the whole church.
 
The program is made possible by a grant from the Richard Hay Barkalow Charitable Seminary Fund of the inFaith Community Foundation.
 
All are invited to share the following information:
  • Watch and share on your social media networks how spoken-word poetry encourages candidates to attend seminary.
  • Learn more about the ELCA seminaries.
  • Explore ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton’s Leadership Initiative.
Taizé in RVA: a regional, ecumenical gathering for young adults
Congregations of the Richmond Conference of Lutheran (ELCA) Congregations, Episcopal congregations in Hanover County, and other ecumenical partners invite young adults (18-30 years of age) to attend a weekend retreat April 27-28 led by two brothers of the internationally known Ecumenical Community of Taizé from France. The weekend will include prayer in the musical style of Taizé, bible reflections, as well as panel and small group sessions. The event is free, but a $25 donation is being requested from those who can afford it to assist with food. For more information and to register, visit  messiahmech.com
The National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors (NALIP) Basic Education for Intentional Interim Ministry and Annual Conference
The National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors (NALIP) has openings for the Spring and Fall classes in Basic Education for Intentional Interim Ministry and an annual conference for continuing education.

The 2018 Annual Conference will be in St Louis, MO June 21-22. Presenter is Dr. Israel Galindo and the presentations will center around “Perspectives on Congregational Leadership.”

Information on the training and the conference is posted on our website: www.nalip.net. To discuss the programs call Pastor Ken Ruppar at 804-564-5389.
Job Opportunities
Part-time Church Secretary/Office Manager, Christ Roanoke
Christ Lutheran Church in Roanoke, Virginia needs a secretary/office manager for 28 hours a week due to employee’s retirement. New employee should be self-starter for our fast-paced environment, able to work harmoniously within a team, have exceptional customer skills, have a comprehensive understanding of social media platforms, be fully qualified in Microsoft Office products, and have two-year business education or four years’ experience in general office work. Salary commensurate with experience.

Contact Mrs. Berry at 540-204- 1994 to obtain an application.
Part-time Music Director, PALS Church in Bealeton
PALS Church (Presbyterian and Lutheran Services) in Bealeton, VA, is seeking a part-time Music Director. The primary responsibilities are selecting music for services (working with the pastor), directing the small choir, and providing organ/piano accompaniment for Sunday morning worship (one service) and seasonal mid-week services. Other responsibilities will include (but are not limited to) providing accompaniment at other church functions as requested by the pastor and for funerals and weddings.

Please contact The Rev. Jo Ann Staebler, mallonxaris@verizon.net  or  703-943-9944 .
All job postings can also be found online at  www.vasynod.org/job-opportunities. If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org