Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
A Christmas message from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
Home for Christmas
Home for Christmas
I remember my home growing up. It was on the west side of Cleveland... I still dream about it. It was a place where I felt safe, where my family was and it was full of wonderful Christmas memories. My senior year of college, my parents moved to the shores of Lake Erie. It's every west sider's dream in Cleveland to get to the lake, and they finally made it. But my home was gone. In fact, I had to find directions to my parents' home for Christmas break.

I still dream about the home where I grew up. I still miss it and can still remember every feature of it. And I realize that all of us have a deep longing for home. At Christmastime, I think it's especially poignant and deep for people. Many of our Christmas carols talk about being home for Christmas and how hard it is when we're not.
Then I remembered that Mary and Joseph were not home for Christmas that first year. They were far from their home, far from their people. They were way down in Bethlehem, far from Nazareth. How disorienting that must have been for them.

But the truth is, Mary and Joseph were exactly at home for Christmas because with them was the Christ child. Jesus is our true home. That's our hope at Christmastime and our hope the year round. We are never far from home because Christ is as near to us as our own breath or our own pulse. So, wherever you find yourself this year, dear church, remember that Jesus is with you, and you are home for Christmas.

Remember, there's still time to join in the 2016 Virginia Synod Christmas Tree Decoration Contest!  Here's how to enter:
  1. Send the best photo of your personal Christmas tree, or your congregation's tree to pilat@vasynod.org from now until December the 20th
  2. Congregations and individuals are both welcome to submit their best tree photos!
  3. With your entry, please include your full name, as well as your congregation's name and location.
  4. On December 22nd two randomly selected winners will be announced in that week's Weekly Update, and receive a special prize!
Best of luck to all who enter!
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
A nnouncements
Winter Celebration

Winter Celebration is our annual weekend retreat for youth in grades 9 through 12 and their adult advisers.  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 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.

For more information, and to register for Winter Celebration  click here!
Virginia Synod Bishop Election Feedback Requested

It is an exciting time in our synod as we approach the election of a new bishop at our 2017 Synod Assembly. Many of you already know that Bishop Mauney has announced his retirement next year and, so, we are preparing for the tenure of a new leader.
We need the help of congregational members and leaders - that's you! In much the same way as we prepare to call a new pastor in our congregations, we want to prepare to call a new bishop with as much attention and prayer as possible.
These survey results will be helpful for those who are potential nominees, which are determined by ecclesial ballot, to know how we see the ministry needs in our synod. It will also help the 2017 Synod Assembly voting members to know the mind of the Virginia church as they enter into the election process. 
Give the Gift of Camp for Christmas!
Registration is open for another exciting season of summer camp at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp! Tucked away in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley, Caroline Furnace welcomes children from grades 1 to 12.

Giving camp for Christmas to your child, grandchild, niece or nephew replaces texts and TV with playing in the great outdoors, singing around a campfire, embracing new friendships, and enjoying daily Bible studies. It's a gift of lifelong memories.

Go to carolinefurnace.org for more information and to sign up your campers!
Carols By Candlelight
Celebrate the seasons of Advent and Christmas with readings, anthems, and carols that tell the story of the prophecy, nativity, and adoration of the Christ Child.

St. Mark's is proud to announce that this sixth annual presentation of Carols By Candlelight will benefit Habitat for Humanity in the Roanoke Valley.  The community is warmly invited to attend. An offering will be received, 100% of which will go to support Habitat's vital work. For information, please call 540-344-9051
Reformation 500 Observances

As the second oldest Lutheran college in the USA, the mission statement of Roanoke College declares that we "honor our Christian heritage by nurturing a dialogue between faith and reason." In this spirit, Roanoke College announces a series of special academic events from late 2016 through the anniversary year 2017 in commemoration of the 500 th  anniversary of the Reformation and in coordination with the 175 th  anniversary of the college's founding.

For more information on this and future events from Roanoke College celebrating the Reformation- click here!
The Experience at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS)
The name The Experience was chosen because LTSS believes what you, as a prospective student, experiences is the most appropriate and influential way to determine which seminary is the right place to earn your theological education. During your time with us, we will show you our community and the community surrounding us. You will experience life with our current students and the heartbeat of campus. Also, our faculty will offer you a glimpse of the classroom experience that is essential to your theological formation. We look forward to welcoming you to The Experience!
Jenn Casey, an alum of LTSS and our Enrollment Director reflects, "I remember having a lot of questions during my discernment process and I often wondered if I was the only person with those questions. I also thought I must be crazy for thinking that God was calling me into ordained ministry. I now know I wasn't the only one, but it can be a confusing process!"
We have four opportunities, click on each on for registration information.

Questions? Contact Kohl Friery at 803- 461-3296 or  kohl.friery@lr.edu . If you want to visit LTSS but these events don't work, email Kohl and set up a private visit!
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 pilat@vasynod.org
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