Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
God's Work, Our Hands in Nicaragua
Usually it takes a new church member a while to step up into leadership in a congregation. Mark Radecke and Tami Radecke are no ordinary church members. After joining the church in 2014, the couple just led their first overseas mission trip at Zion Lutheran in Waynesboro where they took a group to Nicaragua. 

Rev. Mark Radecke was a pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Roanoke until be moved to Pennsylvania where he served as the chaplain and professor of religion at Susquehanna University from 1999 to 2014. During his time there he began taking students on service learning trip to Nicaragua. 

"When I retired, my wife and I were eager to introduce others to an organization that we had fallen in love with," said Mark Radecke. 

During all the trips to Nicaragua, the Radeckes worked with an organization called 
Centro Infantil Cristiano Nicarag├╝ense (Nicaraguan Christian Children's Center), or CICRIN for short, on Isla Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua.

CICRIN is a residential facility for children. The children are as young as 3 years old and can stay there until they finish high school. Currently there are 28 children living at CICRIN but the organization has also started a school that serves 72 children in the surrounding community. 
There were 10 in all who traveled from the U.S.  to the remote island of Isla Ometepe in Nicaragua to spend a week in March at CICRIN. Along with Mark Radecke and Tami Radecke who co-led the group, Thomas Dewan, Barbara Franklin,  Johanna Hall,  Jan Tobias, and  Joy Tobias are all from Zion Lutheran Church in Waynesboro. Three other members joined the team from other churches, Libby Sieber from Christ Lutheran in Roanoke, Kathryn Tobias from Reformation Lutheran in Washington D.C., and Jeremy Umbenhauer from Trinity Lutheran in Robesonia, PA. 

 "You can't just parachute in, there has to be a basis of relationship," Radecke said. 

The Radecke's are adamant that every group they bring does projects that are selected by CIRCIN. This year's group did construction work and led a vacation bible school at the school. 

One of the volunteers that joined the group from Zion brought her own set of skills. Mark Radecke said that he recruited  Libby Sieber from Christ Roanoke because of her background in dentistry. This is her 5th trip with the Radeckes. 

During the year about 20 groups go to Nicaragua to volunteer at CICRIN but dentistry work is only available when the Radeckes bring volunteers down because they feel like that is part of their calling to provide that service. This past trip Libby cleaned the teeth of 43 people under fairly primitive conditions. 

When the group wasn't hard at work they were able to spend some time with the kids because the group stayed in a dormitory on the campus of CICRN. 

Now that the group has returned to the United States, the smiles of the children are captured not only in photographs but also in the hearts of all the volunteers. 

"People have always said, 'thanks for setting this up, it changed my life, but I didn't really understand what that meant," said Rev. Radecke. 

This thought led to Rev. Radecke's doctoral dissertation about the topic. 

"Usually people talk about gratitude and not taking conveniences of the United States for granted," said Mark Radecke. "But what are you going to do with that gratitude?"

"Does that gratitude motivate you to do something? It doesn't have to be Nicaragua, it doesn't have to be the poor and the hungry, but if you experience something like this and are touched and moved by it then where will you apply yourself?"

Because there are so many questions that participants in oversees service trips need to ask themselves, Radecke says that reflection when you get home is a vital step. 

When asked if there would be a trip back to Nicaragua next year, Mark Radecke displayed a willing heart. 

"Tami and I would love to take another group, that's part of our calling--to introduce people to this place."

"We continue doing this for the children. We look at the life that they have at CCRIN that they may not have otherwise. They are happy, they are well cared for and faith  is very much a part of their lives."

 If you want to submit an announcement, please  check out the Submission Guidelines and send your submission to fuller@vasynod.org.
2016 Spring ACTS Course
Save The Date - April 9 & May 14

The ACTS Spring Course, "A World According to God: Practices for Discipleship" will be April 9 & May 14, 2016. The presenter will be Dr. Martha E. Stortz, the  Bernhard M. Christensen Professor of Religion and Vocation at Augsburg College, a position she has held since 2010.

ACTS is the Virginia Synod's Adult Faith Formation program. For more information about ACTS, click here.

Rev. Nadia Bolz Weber at St. Mark, Charlottesville
The Rev. Nadia Bolz Weber, founding pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado, is visiting Charlottesville - UVA and  St. Mark Lutheran in March! She is the author of "Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint" and her latest book, "Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People." She's a popular speaker who preaches prophetically while maintaining a surprisingly salty vocabulary.
Nadia will participate in an Evening Vespers  service at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Charlottesville on Friday, March 18th at 7:30pm. On Saturday, March 19th at 1 pm in Newcomb Hall Theater, Nadia will give a public talk as part of the Festival of the Book, entitled, "Finding God in All the Wrong People".  You may find information about that talk here: http://vabook.org/participant/nadia-bolz-weber/

The Wesley Foundation, St. Mark Lutheran, St. Paul's Memorial, and the UVA Department of Religious Studies in Charlottesville are partnering to sponsor this visit. Both events are free and open to the general public.

Dementia ministry training - March 22, 23
The Hermitage in Richmond and Hermitage in Northern Virginia, will offer one-day learning opportunities for clergy and laity. "Building a Circle of Support: The Role of the Church in Supporting Individuals with Dementia and Their Care Partners" will be held Tuesday, March 22, at The Hermitage in Richmond, 1600 Westwood Ave. and on Wednesday, March 23, at Hermitage in Northern Virginia, 5000 Fairbanks Ave., Alexandria. 

Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. followed by learning and sharing sessions from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Keynote presenter for the day is Gary H. Oberlender, MD, consultant in geriatric medicine from Roanoke. Sessions will focus on "The ABC's of Dementia" and "End of Life Care, Decision-Making Capacity, and the Role of Clergy." Cost is $25, which includes lunch, to be paid by cash or check upon arrival. Space is limited. Registration deadline is March 15. To register for Richmond event, contact Susan Cantrell at (804) 474-1850 or SCantrell@vumh.org. To register for Northern Virginia event, contact Lynette Mitchell at (703) 797-3814 or LMitchell@vumh.org.

In the Breaking of the Bread: Lutheran/Episcopal Retreat
Join clergy and rostered leaders for an ecumenical retreat held May 16-18, 2016, at Shrine Mont Conference Center in Orkney Springs, Virginia.  Participants will gain working knowledge of The Book of Common Prayer and Evangelical Lutheran Worship and how to use them to preside with instruction from renowned scholars. Learning and fellowship with national ecumenical officers, bishops, deployment officers, synod staff, and full communion clergy partners in your area will equip you for shared ministries of word and sacrament.

Registration deadline is April 18. For more information and to
register online, visit: VirginiaLutheranEpiscopal.wordpress.com
Visiting Theologian in Blacksburg, April 30:
Marianne Hieb on Meditative Art-Journaling
Marianne Hieb will serve as Luther Memorial Lutheran Church's  2016 Visiting Theologian in Blacksburg.  Sister Hieb ministers at the Lourdes Wellness Center in Collingswood, NJ, where, for the past 30 years, she has developed and facilitated the Creativity, Spirituality,
and Wellness program.

Dr. Hieb will facilitate a workshop, on Saturday, April 30, at Luther Memorial:  Meditative Art-Journaling┬«:  An Adjunct Prayer Practice and Way of Contemplative Presence.  This workshop will invite participants to use art materials as a way to explore the presence of God.  There will be a morning (9-12) and an afternoon session (12-4); participants may attend either one or both.  Lunch will be served between sessions.  

Luther Memorial is located at 600 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA.
This workshop is open to all and free to the public.  All art materials will be provided. 

It is requested that participants register by either calling 951-1000 or sending an email to luther@lmlc.org. 

The Center for Emotional Intelligence & Human Relations Skills Workshop: May 9-13
The EQ-HR Center's mission is to equip leaders within faith based organizations with skills that enhance their leadership abilities by developing emotional intelligence competence, building human relations skills, and providing coaching support.  
The EQ-HR center is now offering its core workshop, which is an intensive five-day session designed to enable participants to learn about, build and practice emotional intelligence skills in a small group setting. There will be workshop in Hickory,NC May 9-13, 2016 Skilled facilitators provide tools and feedback to enable participants to learn about themselves and to immediately practice emerging skills. The content of the workshop revolves around the five areas of emotional intelligence as keys to improving leadership effectiveness for faith-based leaders:  self-perception, self-expression, interpersonal relationships, decision-making, and stress management.
For more information about the workshops and workshop locations,
click here to download a brochure.
Job Opportunities
All posts can also be found online at  www.vasynod.org/job-opportunities. If you have job opening you would like posted, email fuller@vasynod.org. 
Director of Faith Nurture Ministries-Salem, VA 
Anticipated Starting Date:  June 1, 2016
College Evangelical Lutheran Church (Salem, Virginia) seeks applications for a part-time director of Faith Nurture Ministries.  Salary range is $25,000 - $30,000 annually.  Compensation includes two (2) weeks of paid annual vacation.  Continuing education funds are available. Click here for the full position description. 

Under the supervision of the Pastor, the director of Faith Nurture Ministries serves as an advocate for and facilitates Congregational faith formation programs. 
Grace Inside Chaplaincy Opening:
Buckingham Correctional Center
GraceInside (Virginia's Prison Chaplain Service) is currently seeking interested and qualified candidates for a Chaplain position at Buckingham Correctional Center (BKCC is located in Dillwyn in central Virginia). BKCC is a level 3-4 security facility housing over 1000 men serving long sentences who've been infraction free for 2 years. This part-time position is currently funded for 30 hours a week. Qualified applicants should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or equivalent degree from an accredited seminary/theological school, and should be ordained and in good standing with their ordaining body (church, denomination/judicatory).  CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) units are a plus, as is pastoral experience.  Experience working in the field of criminal justice (jails, prisons, etc.) is also a plus.  Interested candidates may request an application from Kate Shelton at kateshelton@graceinside.org.  Completed applications should be scanned and emailed - along with a current resume and cover letter of interest - to Kate Shelton at the above email address.  Deadline to receive all materials is Thursday, March 10, 2016.  The position will begin April 1, 2016 ,with training and time for shadowing the current chaplain who retires April 30th.

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