Winter Celebration 2018: "Not By Bread Alone"
Winter Celebration, the Virginia Synod youth event for high schoolers was held on the weekends of January 19-21 and January 26-28 at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Convention Center in Lynchburg. This year over 340 youth and adult participants engaged with and witnessed the theme “Not By Bread Alone” which is based off the gospel story of Jesus' testing in the wilderness, drawn from Matthew 4:1-11.
This year’s planning group was made up by James Loving from Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in New Market, Orion Posey from First Lutheran Church in Norfolk, Calista Rieken from Resurrection Lutheran Church in Fredericksburg, Angel Ross from St. Michael Lutheran Church in Virginia Beach, and Ellie and Nate Fenerty from First English Lutheran Church in Richmond. The group worked with Pastor Dave Delaney, Pastor James Armentrout the event chaplain for both weekends, as well as Pastor Stephen Bohannon and Nicole Smith who both served as advisors to the group.
During both weekends, youth and adults enjoyed the planning group skits, which decked out Dogwood Hall like a ski lodge. The skits presented a snowed-in weekend at the lodge for a group of skiers, their ski instructor Chris, and a meddling guest who frequents the lodge named Natas. Each guest faced their own challenges and temptations, which were often exacerbated by Natas’ less than helpful encouragements. By the end of the snowstorm, the group of skiers realized how their worries, distractions, and temptations had interrupted an otherwise great ski trip! 
During the Saturday night worship service, Pastor James focused on Jesus' time in the wilderness, and the tests he faced from the devil. His sermon emphasized how easy it can be to fall to temptation when in the wilderness of life, "I wish I could tell you that when you came to Winter Cel, you were leaving ‘wilderness’ behind. The wilderness is living every day, even here. Because sometimes, here is hard too,” he said. Despite the challenges of temptation in the world around us, Pastor James reminded in his sermon that every day is a day spent as a child of God and that no hardship exists outside of your baptism, “you are not walking in the wilderness or in the desert by yourself.”
In addition to serving as an advisor to the planning group and crafting this year’s set piece, Pastor Stephen Bohannon once again donned his trench coat and fedora, to become the Roving Reporter. This year’s Roving Reporter traveled to a number of summits across Virginia including Mount Rogers where he interviewed a local pony, Mount Trashmore to meet with Elsa of Frozen fame, as well as the snowless hill behind Dogwood Hall where he attempted to ski. 

Following large group presentations, the participants at Winter Celebration got the chance to break off into small groups, arraigned by age. In these small groups, participants were able to reflect on the weekend theme and relate it back to their own faith life through conversation, games, and crafts. 
Throughout both weekends a few visitors got to visit with participants. Chaplain Chris Bowen from Roanoke College brought greetings from the nation’s second oldest Lutheran college. Assistant to the Bishop, Pastor Kelly Bayer Derrick also stopped by during the second weekend to introduce herself, as well as to moderate a discussion with youth attendees on privilege, identity, and diversity sponsored by Virginia Synod's TAPESTRY team. 
Bishop Humphrey also joined in the fun at Winter Celebration both weekends. When speaking to participants he stressed how important youth are in the Virginia Synod and the real value that is realized with opportunities like Winter Celebration to gather as church. He also took time to take a selfie with the youth gathered each weekend, moments he shared with the rest of the synod through his Instagram account.

While speaking to the youth, Bishop Humphrey also lifted up the ongoing campaign in the Virginia Synod, ForwardingFaith. Bishop Humphrey encouraged those gathered for each weekend to bring the good news of these events home with them to encourage members in their congregation to consider donating to the campaign. Any kind of contribution to ForwardingFaith can make a big difference, allowing the Virginia Synod to keep events like Winter Celebration going long into the future. Many attendees during both weekends were proof of the value of faith formation events like Winter Celebration, with adult leaders, pastors, and youth ready with great stories to share of their time spent at youth events.
With laughter, song, worship, and conversation Winter Celebration 2018 wandered through the wilderness over two weekends. Participants and adult leaders alike took a look at what in their lives threatens to draw their trust away from God and following Christ, and how each day provides opportunities to strengthen their faith. 
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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.
Highlands Conference Epiphany Celebration
On Sunday, February 14th at 4 PM join the Highlands Conference invites you to join them at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Wytheville for prayers, readings, and hymns, ending with the Hallelujah Chorus. The event features hand bell ringers and other musicians from Highlands conference congregations. 

An offering will be received during the service and divided between World Hunger and Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center.

To learn more about this event, click here.
System Thinking for Leaders in Faith Communities: Staying on a Principled Course in Challenging Times
Leaders of faith communities are working and living in the context of multiple emotional systems. The leader must not only observe and think, but also act. Bowen theory suggests that a thoughtfully developed set of principles is an essential resource for maintaining one’s course when leading. Bowen theory can offer leaders useful guiding principles, not only for understanding the emotional process swirling about, but also in working toward the mission and purpose of their communities.

This one-day conference is intended for leaders new to Bowen theory as well as those familiar with systems thinking who want to expand their efforts. The conference will also explore connections between Bowen theory and theology.

Join us, at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 915 North Oakland Street (at Virginia Square Metro) Arlington, VA 22203 from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM

For more information and to 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 !
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.
VBS Curriculum- FREE for all ELCA Congregations
Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (LOM) produces the curriculum each year that is used in camp and retreat settings and for Vacation Bible Schools and day camps. This year, LOM is offering their past VBS Bundles free to ELCA congregations.

To repeat:  Special for this year only, all VBS Bundles are FREE for all ELCA congregations—yes, free! Each year the LOM curriculum provides a quality alternative for VBS curriculum at an affordable price. The bundle includes Bible study activities, crafts, and games for preschool children, and upper and lower elementary aged youth. Also included are planning documents, including Biblical and theme background information. To order the curriculum, visit .
LOM has also released its 2018 curriculum entitled "This Changes Everything."  This curriculum has the same title as the theme for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering. It has been written in collaboration with the gathering team. The lessons are not the same but compliment those that will be used for the gathering.
Included in the full curriculum package are five day Bible study sessions for Elementary, Youth, and Adult, as well as games, crafts, environmental activities, and team-building activities.  "This Changes Everything" is also available in other small bundles designed for Youth Ministry and VBS settings.
 “This Changes Everything” is available for purchase and download on the LOM website at Lutheran Outdoor Ministries is an association of outdoor ministry organizations dedicated to encouraging, equipping, educating, and empowering bold and faithful outdoor ministry leaders for service in the Church and in the world. 
Job Opportunities
The Virginia Synod Director for Evangelical Mission / Assistant to the Bishop
The Virginia Synod, in partnership with ELCA Domestic Mission, is seeking a qualified person to serve as our Director for Evangelical Mission / Assistant to the Bishop. The plan is for this full time staff person to live and work in the eastern part of our synod. A churchwide search is underway.

For more information please click here.
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 .
Prison Chaplain, Green Rock Correctional Center
Due to the retirement of a beloved chaplain, Green Rock Correctional Center (Chatham, VA) will have an immediate opening for a part-time chaplain at 130 hours/month or 30/week.

Qualified candidates (1) must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university; (2) must have a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or equivalent degree from an accredited seminary; (3) must be ordained by and in good standing with their denomination or church; (4) where applicable, should be endorsed as a chaplain by their denomination’s endorsing body; (5) CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) units a plus (though not mandatory); (6) church ministry experience helpful; (7) experience working or ministering in a jail or prison setting a major plus; (8) must be willing to promote the ministry of GraceInside to nearby churches, ministries and civic groups.

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and application to GraceInside: 2828 Emerywood Parkway; Richmond, VA 23294 by Monday, January 22nd.

Applications may be requested from Lee Hargrave at or at  (804)-358-7650.
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:
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
All job postings can also be found online at If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at