Gathering of the Ministerium: Cultivating Brave Spaces: Ministry, Leadership, and Incarnational Conversations
This week from October 15th through the 17th, rostered ministers from across the Virginia Synod gathered for the annual Gathering of the Ministerium in Virginia Beach. In an effort to build and maintain collegial relationships and to foster collaboration and partnership this gathering takes place as one part of connecting rostered ministers with one another but also churches with one another. This year’s gathering offered many opportunities for relaxation, worship, renewal, sharing, play, and continued education as rostered ministers renewed their covenant with each other.
This year, the synod also welcomed rostered ministers, interns, vicars, and seminarians new and returning to the synod to arrive early to Virginia Beach for an additional event, Virginia Synod Orientation. Folks attending this event had the opportunity to meet the Virginia Synod staff and to hear more about the expansive ministries of the Virginia Synod. They also had the chance to get to know others who are new to the Synod, building new relationships within the body of Christ.
Each year at the gathering, the Virginia Synod ministerium renew their covenant, which you can read fully here. The Virginia Synod ministerium covenant holds them together as rostered ministers. Those who were in attendance at the Virginia Synod Orientation event were invited to sign a copy of the ministerium covenant during the Covenant Renewal Litany, joining their signature with the many other members of the ministerium who have done so before them.
The Rev. Dr. Jill Y. Crainshaw was the presenter for this year’s gathering. She is the Blackburn Professor of Worship and Liturgy and the acting dean at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. She serves as the director of the School's clergy leadership program, funded through the Lilly Endowment, and also facilitates healthy boundary training workshops for clergy. During their time together Dr. Crainshaw presented on this year’s theme, “Cultivating Brave Spaces: Ministry, Leadership, and Incarnational Conversations”. During their time together she shared stories, facilitated dialogue, and helped those in leadership in the church to engage in difficult conversations in healthy, faithful, and grace-filled ways.
Rostered ministers attending the Gathering of the Ministerium had plenty of time to relax and have some fun together! Relaxation and play can mean many different things to different people so the gathering provides a variety of activities for all to take part. For some, playing a round of golf is a great way to unwind. Others instead had a great time competing in the corn-hole tournament, with friendly competition and plenty of trash talk to go around. Some took the opportunity to tour an active serving Navy ship docked in Hampton Roads! Still other rostered ministers spent their free time giving back in the Tidewater area. Over an afternoon together they exemplified God’s Work, Our Hands in their work at Luther Manner, volunteering to prepare for an upcoming Octoberfest event.
Members of ministerium got to enjoy one another’s company during the Monday evening reception, and break times that occurred between presentations. Monday evening’s reception was sponsored by Lutheran Family Services of Virginia and Virginia Lutheran Homes, Inc., and the breaks were sponsored by Roanoke College. We are thankful for all of our mission partners for their generous support of this important time for our rostered ministers.

At the Gathering of the Ministerium, the ministerium joins together in worship, confessing, singing, and hearing God’s word. During the Monday evening prayer, rostered ministers gathered for a unique worship, Prayer Around the Cross. The service was led in song and scripture by The Rev. Ingrid Chenoweth of Good Shepherd Front Royal, The Rev. Stephen Bohannon of St. Michael Virginia Beach, and The Rev. Martha Sims of Grace Winchester. During this reflective worship service, those present were joined in song and were later invited to go to the cross, light a candle, and pray.
Along with hearing from Dr. Crainshaw, worshipping, learning, and sharing with one another- rostered ministers attending Gathering of the Ministerium had plenty of time to relax and have some fun together at Virginia Beach. This is such an important event for all rostered ministers to attend as continuing education, and forming and maintaining collegial relationships. Do encourage your leaders to be a part of the Gathering of the Ministerium next year!
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
Disaster Response: Hurricane Florence Updates
Thank you to everyone who is collecting flood buckets to help with the recovery efforts in North Carolina following Hurricane Florence. The Synod is currently arranging transportation for flood buckets to the warehouse where they need to be delivered in Raleigh. If you are collecting flood buckets, please contact Pastor John Wertz ( ) so he can add you to the list to receive the delivery information when it is available.

This week, the North Carolina Synod provided information for individuals interested in disaster response. If you are able to volunteer your time, register your availability to help with hands-on hurricane recovery efforts!  This is the official, secure site for NCVOAD   (NC Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) which is used to match people and their abilities with needs and response groups. Get yourself and your group registered today! 

Monetary gifts continue to be crucial to recovery efforts. You can give directly to  Lutheran Disaster Response .  Additionally,  Thrivent will match gifts given  dollar-for-dollar. Let's be committed to the long-term help that we know these survivors will need.
2018 Lost and Found
Lost and Found is our annual weekend retreat for youth in 7th and 8th grade and their adult advisors. We have Large Group gatherings that consist of singing, energy, comedy, worship and a presentation on our event theme. After each Large Group gathering each person is part of a Small Group made up of about 8 youth and a couple adult leaders where participants will get to know other Lutheran youth from Virginia and discuss life, faith and other topics that arise throughout the weekend. On Saturday afternoon there is large chunk of Free Time during which we will also hold out annual Talent Show. In the evenings you will relax in your Cottage and talk with other youth and adults from your congregation and other congregations about how the weekend is going.

For more information on Lost and Found and to register for the even,  click here .
“Ask, Thank, Tell” Generosity & Stewardship Resources for Virginia Synod Congregations
I look forward to supporting the stewardship ministries of the Virginia Synod though resourcing and collaboration. Below you will find this month's collection of resources to provide assistance to Stewardship Teams through the end of the year. You can download a pdf version of the resources listed below here:  Ask Thank Tell Stewardship Resources October 2018

If you or someone in your congregation is interested in being on the  "Virginia Synod Stewards"  newsletter list, please sign up here: .

If you are interested in being a part of the newly forming Virginia Synod Stewards Table, please email me at:  for more information.

Peace and hope,
Pastor John Wertz, Jr.
Director for Evangelical Mission
Assistant to the Bishop, VA Synod
Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center Upcoming Events
Need a home for the Holidays?
Plan a reunion or family retreat at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center! Buttonwood Lodge is a wonderful place to catch up by the fireplace with your college friends or adult relatives, and the Farmhouse is a perfect family space for up to 25. Meals and activities can be provided upon request. (Meals that you don't have to cook, and activities that you don't have to plan!)

Call (540)-449-0012 or email  to learn more.
Fall Fest and Camp-out: October 27-28 2018
Fall Fest is held in the field at St. John's Chapel and features a bluegrass worship service, provided picnic lunch, field games, and pumpkin carving. All are welcome! This is a fun opportunity to come see us at Caroline Furnace, either for the first time ever or the first time in awhile. Please RSVP for Fall Fest on the Facebook event posting if you are able, and sign up online or call us to reserve your space for the camp-out.

For an event flyer, click here, and to sign up for the camp out click here.

*Youth leaders: contact us for more information on the youth group camp-out in the main field on Saturday night!
Wild Women: Wine Retreat: November 2-4 2018
Join us for a weekend of relaxation and fellowship! This retreat is hosted in the Farmhouse, and we will visit local wineries on Saturday afternoon. Feel free to bring a book, your latest crafting project, and your favorite wine to share. Registration closes October 19.

For an event flyer, click here, and to sign up for the camp out click here.
It’s time to enter your organization’s 2019 health benefit option.
Congregations and organizations who sponsor employees through Portico: Choose the ELCA-Primary health benefits option you will offer for 2019 and enter it on EmployerLink before Oct. 26. You must do this even if you want to continue your current option, your plan members waive ELCA-Primary health benefits, or your plan members are eligible for ELCA Medicare-Primary coverage. There’s information to help your organization make its selection on EmployerLink — or call the Customer Care Center, 800-352-2876, for help.
2019 Ignite the Church Conference
The Ignite the Church Conference is an annual gathering 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: .
LARCUM Conference, 2018
A Gathering for Laypeople and Rostered Leaders
Today’s social and political climate can leave us at a loss with how to respond in productive and faithful ways. This conference for both laypeople and rostered leaders will take a look at why and how Christian communities have long understood the practices of worship, prayer and song as influences and guides that help us address and counter social division and concerns as well as the separation we may experience within and between our faith traditions. And what better place to sit down together to discuss and practice hopeful and faithful signs and actions that can lead to healing and reconciliation than in Charlottesville?

This conference, titled “Praying, Believing, Doing: An Ecumenism of Liturgy and Life,” begins on November 30th at 6 pm and concludes on December 1st at Noon. The event begins at Emancipation Park in front of First United Methodist Church 101 E. Jefferson St. Charlottesville, VA where our bishops will individually offer prayer for peace and unity. Our presenter, The Rev. Dr. Karen B. Westerfield, will then lead us throughout the evening and again on Saturday in seeing how praying, believing and doing affect how we act toward our neighbor and the world, and speak to our quest for justice, reconciliation and peace.

For a brochure, contact your pastor, the Virginia Synod office or Pastor Eric Moehring (; 804-517-3073). Please register ($35; students no charge) by Nov. 17, but know that registrations will be accepted at the event. Or register on line at Remember to make your own motel reservations as needed. See you in Charlottesville.
Lutheran featured on Today Show speaking in Virginia
Road Trip and National Parks expert Mikah Meyer has been named a "Social Media Warrior" by MTV and featured by The Today Show, NPR, and Upworthy for becoming the youngest person to visit all 400+ units of the National Park Service and the sole person to do it in one continuous trip. As an openly gay outdoorsman, Mikah has been called a "Sexy Travel Guru" by GayCities, and has been preaching and singing around the world-as showcased by Living Lutheran and the ELCA-sharing a gospel of inclusion for LGBT Christians and those outside the church mainstream. Come learn about his advocacy and travel world records during this humor-filled presentation of adventure!

This October that journey comes to the Virginia Synod as Mikah makes appearances at Shenandoah University, Winchester's Bethel Lutheran Church, and Roanoke College.

Bethel Lutheran Winchester - October 21
8:30am & 11am services - Mikah sings
10am - 10:45am adult forum - Mikah speaks with pics/vids

Roanoke College - October 23 at 6:30 PM in Massengill Auditorium This event is free and open to the public.

This event is sponsored by the Biology and Environmental Studies departments, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Chaplain's Office, the Associate Dean's Office, and Undergraduate Research.
Meditation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders (MSTI) November 12-16, 2018
On November 12-16, 2018 at First Mennonite Church 601 East Parham Road Richmond, VA will host Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders (MSTI)

This 5-day, 32-hour training includes lectures, discussion, and guided practice in role plays. Led by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center (LMPC), and active and practical in focus, the sessions emphasize hands-on skills training and real-life role-plays based on conflicts faced by participants. This training is useful for pastors and lay leaders alike. Sign up today for the workshop that a previous participant has called “the best continuing education I ever took!”

For further information call LMPC at 630-627-0507 or email us at Detailed brochures with a registration form are available at To register online via Brown Paper Tickets, visit our website at It’s not too late to receive a $200 discount if you sign up no later than Oct. 12, 2018.
Job Opportunities
ELCA Career Listings
Explore and apply for opportunities available with the churchwide organization or global service on the ELCA Job Board at
ELCA Foundation Director of Gift Planning
T here are two key responsibilities for this leadership position:
  • Through the direct supervision of a national staff of about 20 regional gift planners (coaching and managing), lead and manage a robust fund-raising program to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward prospective donors of current and planned gifts;
  • Manage the business relationships with ministry partner organizations through on-site visits.
This position is located in Chicago and reports to the Executive Vice President of the Foundation. It requires about 30% travel, visiting regional gift planners, donors, and ministry partnerships.
Application, resume and cover letter  should be  submitted through the ELCA job board . Inquiries about the position may be directed, in confidence, to  Gaye Lindfors of Significant Solutions, Inc . , the consultant assisting with this search.
Organist Position, St. John Lutheran in Abingdon
St. John Lutheran Church, Abingdon. is seeking an Organist/Pianist, primarily for the 11:00 AM Worship Service. We are a small, friendly congregation and music is a very important part of the ministry. Part-time duties include playing for Sunday morning Worship at 11:00 AM and a 10:00 am Sunday morning Choir rehearsal and occasionally a Wednesday evening rehearsal. The Organ is a three manual Allen Digital Organ. If interested please contact the church office at 276-692-6215 or email:
If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at