As spring runs into summer, we're looking just outside our churches. What differences are we making right beyond our front doors in our communities?
Blessing Rescue Adoption Wellness at Church of the Good Shepherd
On May 5, Church of the Good Shepherd in Galax held a Blessing, Rescue, Adoption, and Wellness (BRAW) event. Many churches hold a Blessing of the Animals event but Church of the Good Shepherd went further. They held an event in cooperation with Fur Get Me Not Animal Rescue. Ten agencies were present that had dogs and cats to adopt. In addition a mobile veterinary van was present to microchip, examine, and give shots to cats and dogs.
Over 200 people attended the event on the church grounds. There were thirty volunteers from the church. Three pastors and priests were present to bless animals, including Pastor Marty Wagner. Fifteen dogs and five cats were adopted. Dogs received rabies shots, nail clippings, and a great time was had by all. The hope is that this will become an annual event.
Dedication of Bethel Reformation Garden
On Sunday, April 29, Bethel Lutheran Church in Winchester dedicated a spectacular new "Reformation Garden". During the summer of 2017, 19 people from Bethel Lutheran traveled to Germany in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Seeking to learn about our Lutheran heritage, we found a connection to something even greater.
The Reformation, at is heart, is about reconciliation; reconciling a broken people to a loving God, an assurance of the God who comes near to love and build human community toward the divine will of peace.

In learning of the Coventry Cross story, we came to experience a synthesis between its story and our Reformation story. This Reformation Garden, born of this trip, seeks to be a reminder that the reformation of hearts and minds reconciliation possible.
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
Synod Assembly 2018, "Only By Grace Can We Stand"
Synod Assembly is here!  June 8-10  will be our time to get together as the Virginia Synod to fellowship, learn about the wider church, do business, and worship. Our ELCA representative this year will be  The Rev. Ronald Glusenkamp , Director of the Campaign for the ELCA.

For more information and to register for this year's Synod Assembly,  click here
Let’s be Intentional! Nominations for Synod Council, 2019 Churchwide Assembly
Congregations and individuals are encouraged to be intentional about diversity as you nominate people for Synod Council and the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly! The Virginia Synod Constitution requires that all committees include both clergy and lay people and be gender-inclusive. The Constitution also encourages that 10% of the members of all committees be persons of color or those whose primary language is other than English and also that 10% be youth (under 18) and young adults (18-30). So, let’s be intentional about diversity!

The nomination form is due by May 9th and can be submitted as a paper form, or digital form.
Theology For Teens
Theology for Teens is an annual summer camp introducing teens (10th-12th grade) to biblical and theological scholarship, exploring contemporary challenges and how their faith tradition can meet those challenges. We will focus on the life and thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer- a church leader who met the challenges before him- we will explore today's social issues and 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, click here.
LAUNCH 2018
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, click here.
Junior High Servant Event 2018
At the Water’s Edge is a week-long servant event for Youth who have completed the 6th, 7th, or 8th grade, and their adult advisors. We spend the week together experiencing the Christan life through worship, fellowship, and service. Of course, being in Virginia Beach, we will also spend some time having fun at the water’s edge.

For more information and to register, click here.
Power in the Spirit: Walking in Newness of Life
Power in the Spirit is an inspirational conference for people of all ages who wish to explore God’s call to service through joyous worship, Bible studies, keynote addresses, workshops, games, and fellowship. In addition, congregational leaders—teachers, organists and choir directors, choir members, committee or council members, family life consultants, pastors, and others—will find Power in the Spirit nurturing and challenging as they consider their mission and ministry.

For more information and to register, click here.
Kairos 2018
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, click here .
Fall 2018 ACTS Course
This year's spring ACTS course will be held October 20th and November 10th at Grace Evangelical Lutheran in Waynesboro (or at two Simulcast locations). The Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert will present on Lutheran Confessions.

For more information on the Fall ACTS course and to register for this fall's course,  click here .
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!
Adoption/Foster Care Open House at Grace Lutheran Church, Chesapeake
Please join us Tuesday, May 29, 2018 from 6 PM to 8 PM at an Open House at Grace Lutheran Church, Chesapeake to learn about becoming a foster or adoptive parent. Representatives from multiple foster care and adoption agencies in your community will answer your questions. Dinner will be provided.

To download an informational flyer, click here.
Crumley Archives Summer Workshops - June 18 and July 23
Are you and your congregation interested in preserving your history? Do you have questions about what to preserve, and what to toss? Ever wonder what you can do with those old Bibles?

Then consider attending the Crumley Archives Summer Workshop! This one-day educational opportunity will cover important areas in archives and preservation, including:

  • Current preservation techniques
  • Storage
  • Digital archives
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Records management
  • Collection development and processing
  • Finding aids
  • Genealogy research
  • Public service

Workshops will be conducted June 18 and July 23 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Crumley Archives, 4201 N. Main St., Columbia, SC 29203
Cost is $20 per person. Church rate for 3 or more attendees is $50.   Contact Trudy Bouknight at crumleybookkeeper@gmail.com to reserve your seat!

Pastor Lance Braun from Mount Tabor, Staunton, and Redeemer, McKinley, is coordinating Crumley Archives CAR POOL transportation and SCHOLARSHIPS for Shenandoah Valley participants. Contact him at his cell phone 540-879-9575 or email  treetops@shentel.net  for information and assistance.
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.
2019 Impact Grants—Apply Now!
Impact1890—A National Lutheran Program is pleased to announce the availability of Impact grants for the 2019 year. Each year, Impact1890 awards grants to non-profit organizations that share in the same passion of serving seniors, particularly those who are aging in place in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. All grants must address at least one of the following urgent needs faced by seniors:

  • Social isolation
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Navigating and accessing health care and social services
  • Chronic disease management
  • Dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and memory loss

Does your organization qualify? Proposals will be accepted June 1, 2018 – August 15, 2018. To learn more about the submission of grant proposals visit www.impact1890.org. Questions? Contact us at grants@impact1890.org or 301-354-2703 and ask for Impact1890.

To download a flyer with info on Impact1890's Impact grants, click here.
2019 Impact Grants—Apply Now!
Impact1890—A National Lutheran Program is pleased to announce the availability of Impact grants for the 2019 year. Each year, Impact1890 awards grants to non-profit organizations that share in the same passion of serving seniors, particularly those who are aging in place in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. All grants must address at least one of the following urgent needs faced by seniors:

  • Social isolation
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Navigating and accessing health care and social services
  • Chronic disease management
  • Dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and memory loss

Does your organization qualify? Proposals will be accepted June 1, 2018 – August 15, 2018. To learn more about the submission of grant proposals visit www.impact1890.org. Questions? Contact us at grants@impact1890.org or 301-354-2703 and ask for Impact1890.

To download a flyer with info on Impact1890's Impact grants, click here.
LTSS Scholarships
The ELCA is a facing a dire leadership shortage. Please consider attending seminary. Jesus called his disciples one or two at a time. Perhaps you’re being called. Even if you’re merely thinking about ministry, please contact Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and start a conversation with your synod representative. Thanks to generous donors and alumni, qualified ministry candidates studying at LTSS can receive up to full-tuition scholarships if they are full-time students.

LTSS students are preparing for a variety of ministries, so even if a Master of Divinity isn’t a part of your perceived call, there are other options. The newly launched MA in Religious Leadership – a fully online program – is aimed at students who want to enhance their theological ability so as to strengthen their vocation and ministry in a place they may already be serving. The Certificate in Lutheran Studies is aimed at students who want to deepen their understanding of Lutheran theology or who are thinking about a seminary degree program but who are not quite ready to make that full-time commitment. If you’re curious, and want to follow Christ into leadership, please contact Deacon Justin Rimbo at Justin.rimbo@lr.edu, or start the application process online at www.lr.edu/admission/graduate/apply.

Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. David Ratke
Dean, College of Theology
Lenoir-Rhyne University / Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
Leadership and Anxiety in the Church
You are invited to attend Leadership and Anxiety in the Church: A Family Systems Perspective, a one-day workshop that looks at the challenges presented by the rising levels of anxiety being experienced in churches today. You will learn practical skills that will help you defuse anxious situations and maintain a non-anxious presence. This interdenominational workshop will be hosted by First Mennonite Church in Richmond, VA on Wednesday, September 26, 2018. Discounts are available for individuals and church groups who register by September 12, 2018. Please call the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at 630-627-0507, email them at Admin@LMPeaceCenter.org, or visit their website at www.LMPeaceCenter.org.

For more information about this event, click here.
To register or to download a brochure or group discount coupon, click here.
Job Opportunities
Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network 11-month Program
LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network, is looking for young adults (age 21-30) with Bachelor's degrees for an 11-month program of non-profit volunteer service and learning about social justice. From the end of August 2018 to the end of July 2019, our corps members will be provided housing, utilities, health coverage, transportation, spiritual direction, and a $400/month food stipend. We also offer a $1000 re-entry grant at the completion of the program.

The placement sites for the upcoming program year include faith-based non-profits, secular non-profits, congregations, the Sierra Pacific Synod office, and our campus ministry at UC Davis. These service sites address issues of homelessness, unemployment, children and youth ministries, computer literacy, and other important social justice issues facing our communities.
 
We gather each week for worship, dinner, and formation. The corps members live in intentional community in a triplex in Sacramento, CA. We're an ecumenical program in the Episcopal Service Corps network; applicants needn't be either Lutheran or Episcopal to apply—interest in Christian spirituality is the only expectation. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the program begins.
 
Visit levn.org or contact Program Director Casey Dunsworth at 530-756-1550 or programs@thebelfry.org for more information!
All job postings can also be found online at  ww w.vasynod.org/job-opportunities. If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org