ELCA presiding bishop responds to Florida high school shooting
A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled because they are no more (Matthew 2:18).

As we live into these first days and weeks of Lent, we do so riveted by the news of another tragic mass shooting, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Ash Wednesday. My heart, like yours, is filled with anguish; my spirit, like yours, laments. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be consoled because they are no more, and so do we.

We pray for the inconsolable loved ones and for the shooter and his family, for those terrorized by what took place and those who are unmoved. We acknowledge our own failings and ask God to guide us in finding new ways to turn the tide together on both the availability of assault weapons and the lack of mental health care.

But we know that those things alone won't solve this epidemic. All of us, including the church, must take a close look at ourselves. How are we cultivating a culture of violence, hatred, anger and fear, and how can we participate in building a counter-culture where people can experience God's intended peace and life abundant for all?

Lent is a time for lamentation, dwelling with our sorrow, and facing the painful reality of death. We take each step certain that God weeps with us, walks with us in our deepest sufferings, and in the end makes the ultimate sacrifice for us – through death on a cross. This is our strength for the journey.

A prayer offered by Bishop Pedro Suárez, Florida-Bahamas Synod:

Dear loving God,

There are so many things we don't understand about our world. We might not know how the families and friends of the victims of today's shooting are feeling. But we do care. May they feel your presence in spirit through those that are accompanying them right now.

Help us to be mindful of the pain around us and to do something about it. We pray this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

God's peace,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Hearts & Hands Award
This year, Lutheran Family Services of Virginia will be celebrating their 130th anniversary of service. The Rev. William S. McClanahan would most likely be astonished to know that the Children's Home he worked so hard to bring into existence in 1888 has evolved into an organization that has helped restore life's rich promise to thousands of children, families, and individuals throughout Virginia. You can help make this anniversary a true celebration of the heart of service.

Lutheran Family Services will again be sponsoring the Hearts & Hands service award, first celebrated in 2008 in honor of their 120th anniversary and again in 2013. As in previous years, the award will honor individuals whose passion, energy and delight in service are changing lives and creating brighter futures.

These exceptional people do the heavy lifting in their church and community. They stock food pantries, provide transportation, serve on countless committees, mentor young people, and provide loving care to those in need. They organize community services, build playgrounds, and spearhead projects. Their intentional, innovative, and inspirational service is just as notable for its continuing nature. These are our friends, neighbors, coworkers and church members who are intent on making the human journey one of joy and possibility.

The Hearts & Hands Awards will be given to members of the Lutheran church, who either through their job or as a volunteer, exemplify the qualities and achievements described in this nomination form.

The top winners will receive awards of $1,000; $500 and $250 for first, second and third place respectively. A requirement of the award is that winners use it to further their good works or to fund new initiatives.

For more information on this award, and how you can nominate someone who fits this description, click here.
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
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
Caroline Furnace camper registration is open for 2018!
Ephesians 2:8 is our theme verse for the summer. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."

At Caroline Furnace, our campers combine faith with daily life on our 257 acre camp, surrounded by George Washington National Forest and nestled between the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River. Campers experience daily worship and Bible study, plus a large range of activities. Campers may swim, canoe, fish, creekwalk, play small and large group games, challenge themselves on our low ropes course, hike, cook over a campfire, create crafts, learn archery, gain culinary skills, or explore the iron furnace ruins on camp property. Each week, Chaplains from supporting congregations join us in leading the campers in morning worship, Bible study, and campfire and evening devotion.
To view the complete summer schedule for 2018, and for more information, click here.
Caroline Furnace Upcoming Events
Caroline Furnace has a busy spring planned this year!

To learn more about our events and register, click here.
Trip to Germany with St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Williamsburg
Now that the crowds are gone, members and friends of St. Stephen in Williamsburg are going to Germany for a nine-day study tour, June 13-21! "In the Footsteps of Martin Luther and the Reformation" will visit Wittenberg, Erfurt, Wartburg Castle and much more. $3,646 from Richmond. For more information, click here

If you would like a snail mail copy of the brochure, let Pastor Andy Ballentine know, at pastorab@saintstephenlutheran.net !
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.
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.
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 Bookkeeper, Caroline Furnace
Our Bookkeeper is expected to work closely with our team to create and analyze financial reports, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and process accounts payable through management of invoices and payments. Our ideal candidate is familiar with QuickBooks accounting software.

The Bookkeeper is responsible for recording all day-to-day financial transactions for our organization. The Bookkeeper will work on-site with flexible days and work hours; normal requirements are 4 to 6 hours per week under the supervision of the Executive Director. The time commitment is flexible and can accommodate semi-retirement or a child/elder care schedule.

For a complete job listing, click here.

For inquiries, contact Tom Powell at  tom@carolinefurnace.org  or (540)-449-0013. 
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 .
Chaplain, Virginia Lutheran Homes
The Chaplain is responsible for providing spiritual care, short-term counselling, worship leadership, education and other religious support to residents, families and staff at all Virginia Lutheran Homes facilities.
For a complete job description,  click here.

For anyone interested in applying for this position, they can contact the Becky Walls at the Virginia Synod Office at 540-389-1000 or they can email at  walls@vasynod.org .
Organist, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mount Sidney
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mount Sidney, VA is seeking an organist. Music is an integral part of our worship each Sunday and we look forward to finding the right person to join us in our mission. For more information or to submit a resume please email:  prderek@gmail.com.
Executive Director, Rural Family Development
This position is responsible for providing leadership and management to implement the Head Start Program for Caroline County in concert with the mission and vision of the Virginia Council of Churches/Rural Family Development through the utilization of Federal funding, State and agency policies and procedures.

For a complete job description, click here.

For anyone interested in applying for this position, they can contact the Virginia Council of Churches at 804-321-3300 ext. 100 or they can email Crystal Greenerl at greenerl@vacouncilofchurches.org
Thrivent Financial
We’re looking for candidates who can empower our members to be wise with money and live generously. For Thrivent Financial advisors, it’s not about punching a clock—it’s about making a difference.
Thrivent Financial advisor candidates have the opportunity to become part of an organization that views money as a tool to help others achieve their goals as they help members make the most of their time, talents and treasures—becoming confident that their financial strategies are solid and on track.
By joining Thrivent, you or the candidate you refer will represent an organization that’s financially strong and stable—one that has helped its members connect faith and finances for good for more than 100 years.

The ideal Thrivent Financial advisor candidate is:
  • Self-motivated and independent.
  • Caring, approachable and trustworthy.
  • Driven to succeed and motivated to help others.
  • Able to use good judgment to provide solid financial guidance.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about our financial advisor opportunities, please contact Joe Hebler, Recruiting Manager at 571-243-6161 or by email at  joe.hebler@thrivent.com . You can also learn more about this career at  Thrivent.com/careers .
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