Bishop Humphrey and the
"Army Chaplain Experience"
This week we're hearing from Bishop Humphrey about his recent “Army Chaplain Experience” at Fort Bragg in North Carolina
I had the opportunity to attend the “Army Chaplain Experience” at Fort Bragg, North Carolina from April 30th to May 2nd. Bishop Tim Smith from the North Carolina Synod and I were joined by ten or so leaders from a wide range of theological schools across the country representing thousands of potential candidates for Army Chaplaincy, which of course, was the Army’s hope and intention.
For two days we were treated to a very helpful history and orientation to the role of Army Chaplains. The Chaplain’s Corps was created by the Continental Congress in 1775 to ensure soldiers would have spiritual, moral and ethical guidance “near at hand. “After seeing the remarkable efforts the Army made to create and staff this inaugural event I came away believing they remain faithful to that original commitment and vision. 

We enjoyed a taste of the 82nd Airborne All American Chorus in the “All American Chapel.” I posted a brief clip of one song the chorus performed on Instagram and it received over 130 views. The chapel itself is a $13.5 million dollar commitment to providing space for religious services, counseling rooms, offices and a number of other facilities in support of the ministry Army Chaplains offer.

Another surprise was the training programs offered through the Army Chaplain Corps for master’s degrees and certification in various areas of counseling. These Chaplains then serve to equip other Chaplains with resources and training as well as provide specialized care to soldiers and their families.
We heard from many of the highest ranking officers in Army Chaplaincy, with speakers like the Commanding General of all Army Recruiting Major General Jeffrey J. Snow, and the Chief of Army Chaplains Chaplain (Major General) Paul K. Hurley. In addition, many other senior and junior Chaplains took turns telling us about their sense of call, experiences, and commitment to this specialized form of ministry.

One of the most moving settings was the Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, a massive and modern facility. I was impressed by the way Chaplains are not just tolerated in the medical center, they are truly integrated into a treatment team and given an active role in treatment and care of the patients and their families. One Chaplain shared that he had stood at the head of the bed for a soldier in surgery who wanted the Chaplain’s promise that he would remain in physical contact with him throughout the frightening procedure.

Army Chaplains serve both in active duty (usually full time with relocation every 2-3 years) and reserve duty (usually part-time near the place of residence). There is always a need for additional Chaplains, but there are age, height, weight and physical fitness requirements. In addition, clergy must have a minimum of 2 years parish experience for Army requirements. (The ELCA requires 3 years).
If you would like more information about my experience in this 48-hour orientation, feel free to ask. If you would like to learn more about this specialized ministry, a good place to start would be If that leads you to want more information, contact our offices.

If you'd like to follow along with more of Bishop Humphrey's travels around our Synod and beyond, follow him on his Instagram, @bishopbhumphrey!
Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at  and make sure to follow our
ForwardingFaith: RSVP for a Congregational Zoom Training Today!
Does your congregation want to take part in the ForwardingFaith Campaign? Is your stewardship team looking for a training event, but doesn't know where to go? As part of the ForwardingFaith Campaign, we are offering an training session by Zoom, a video conferencing application, to teach your congregational leaders how to conduct a special gift appeal.

If you plan to join the trainings scheduled please RSVP! This information helps us provide the correct amount of materials for your congregation to take part in the ForwardingFaith Campaign! Please feel free to forward this email to everyone in your congregation who would like to join in on the training.

If you would like more information about this training by Zoom, contact Lenae Osmondson at

To RSVP for a Congregational Training by ZOOM, click here.

If you or your congregation is interested in holding an appeal in the fall of 2018, please fill out our interest form instead!
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  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 .
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!
Saturday, May 12:   Spring Open House
Caroline Furnace's Spring Open House will be held in the field at St. John's Chapel and feature a bluegrass worship service, provided picnic lunch, field games, spring crafts, fellowship, and a camp activity. All are welcome!This is a fun opportunity to check out Caroline Furnace for the first time, or to come see us if you haven't been by in awhile. Get Flyer here and Find our Facebook event here.
Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center Volleyball picnic.
You are invited to a volleyball picnic on Sunday May 20th at camp. Get a team together to represent your congregation for some friendly competition. Last year's champ was St. John in Abingdon. Come out to play or be a spectator and bring a lawn chair to support your team. Food and fellowship will be provided. Donations will go towards purchasing a new refrigerator for the kitchen. Our goal is to raise $2,000.
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 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  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: To discuss the programs call Pastor Ken Ruppar at 804-564-5389.
ELCA World Hunger Domestic Hunger Grant Process
In 2018, ELCA World Hunger awarded 268 Domestic Hunger Grants totaling $715,100. These grants supported congregations and their partners as they work toward a just world where all are fed. Thank you for the ways that you encouraged applicants and participated in synod reviews.

In June of this year, a new ELCA World Hunger Domestic Hunger Grants cycle will open with a renewed application process. This process will be open to congregations and their partners and will focus on building relationships for local service and action in our communities.

ELCA World Hunger is a ministry of the church, working with and serving through local congregations and their partners who know their communities best. ELCA World Hunger Domestic Hunger Grants accompany this local knowledge and relationship as we work toward a just world where all are fed.

Please watch this short informational webinar for a quick overview. (Please note: This webinar is for your quick information, and will open a new tab asking you to download a program called WebEx to view. An official introduction video is underway and will be shared soon.) Still have questions? Email us at

Finally, for the first time, these applications will be completed through the new ELCA granting platform, ELCA GrantMaker. Watch for online trainings on how to complete this new application using ELCA GrantMaker later this year.
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 Questions? Contact us at or 301-354-2703 and ask for Impact1890.

To download a flyer with info on Impact1890's Impact grants, click here.
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary 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, or start the application process online at

Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. David Ratke
Dean, College of Theology
Lenoir-Rhyne University / Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
Job Opportunities
Half-time Chaplain, Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt
GraceInside has an immediate opening for a half-time chaplain at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.

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.

Chaplains are responsible for serving as the Christian pastor within the institution as well as managing all religious faith groups and volunteers. The position has the potential to serve additional hours as funds are raised.

Interested candidates should request an application from Lee Hargrave at or 804-358-7650. Please submit a cover letter, resume and application to the same email or by snail mail to GraceInside: 2828 Emerywood Parkway; Richmond, VA 23294 not later than May 18th.

Thank you! YOU could be God’s grace by serving with GraceInside or by passing along this job opening to the one God may be calling.
All job postings can also be found online at If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at