Vote Faithfully: ELCAVotes
Election Day is less than one month away and voter registration deadlines are approaching in many states, including Virginia. We are called to conversation and prayer around our role as U.S. residents and as people of faith in ensuring our election systems promote dignity and respect for all. So, how then can we as disciples promote positive civic engagement? ELCAvotes is one such initiative that is working to support conversations and turn to action.

Led by ELCA Advocacy, ELCA Racial Justice Ministries and ELCA Young Adult Ministry ELCAvotes is an initiative to:
  • Expand the role of the church in encouraging faithful and non-partisan voter participation by providing faith-based resources around voting.
  • Provide a framework for all Lutherans to understand and speak out about the intersection of voting/elections, racial/gender, and economic justice.
  • Provide young adults with the tools to understand and speak about what it means to be a young person of faith who is civically engaged.
  • Engage with and equip ethnic communities to talk about voting rights and race and their connection with elections today.

Our faith compels us to attend to the world through the lens of our relationship to God, and to each other. This includes participating in elections! Voting is one of the most important ways Americans can be involved in our representative democracy. We can live out our affirmation of baptism through the electoral process, as we "serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus," and "to strive for justice and peace in all the earth."
That said, the importance of nonpartisan civic engagement must be emphasized. Faithful civic engagement must follow the law that any participation by churches in the electoral process is strictly nonpartisan. There are many ways we can take part, so long as we educate and conduct ourselves under the laws surrounding our participation in electoral affairs. Here are just a few examples of how you can join in ELCAvotes this election year:

1. Hold discussions and Bible study in your congregation, synod, or campus with a focus on:
  • Our calling, as Lutherans, to take part in and engage with our government
  • The social, economic and political root causes in denying the opportunity to vote
  • How we as a church together can promote dignity and respect and honor all who live in our communities
  • Faithful decision-making
  • Offering prayers for elected leaders and good government
2. Mobilize participation in the electoral process by:
  • Registering citizens to vote
  • Conducting candidate forums
  • Early voting
  • Encouraging citizens to vote on Election Day
3. Advocate for an electoral system that guarantees the right to vote to all citizens
Help ELCA Advocacy identify places around the country where the right to vote is still being denied and join our leadership network to help us create a course of action.
4. Follow #ELCAvotes on social media and participate in the conversation online
The ELCA will hold Twitter chats through ELCAYoung Adult Ministry and will post updated information on our efforts on Twitter and Facebook .
Voting Deadline and Resources
The deadline to register to vote, or to update your address in Virginia for the November election is October 15th, 2018.

You can go to for information on registering to vote and to register electronically. The site also allows you to check your registration status, view what's on your ballot, find your local polling place, and learn more relating to this year's election.

ELCAvotes has produced two bible studies to support these conversations! These bible studies These bible studies focus on verses from Luke 3:1-6 and Isaiah 58:10 with supporting discussion questions and resources.

ELCAvotes has also created a Civic Participation and Voter Education Guide with the intent to encourage, empower, and equip Lutherans for responsible civic engagement based on their faith values.

Registering to vote is a commitment to civic engagement, to our Christian values to seek justice, and the first step of inclusion in the political process. The simple act of voting has a powerful impact. Your vote means that elected officials are accountable to you. Your vote allows you to become an advocate for all the change or consistency that you wish to see in this country. Your voice and your vote matter.
September Sermons
Sermons are available one month prior to the Sunday service they are to be shared during. View all the sermons shared  on the Virginia Synod website.
Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at  and make sure to follow our
Disaster Response: Hurricane Florence Updates
Thank you to everyone who is collecting flood buckets to help with the recovery efforts in North Carolina following Hurricane Florence. The Synod is currently arranging transportation for flood buckets to the warehouse where they need to be delivered in Raleigh. If you are collecting flood buckets, please contact Pastor John Wertz ( ) so he can add you to the list to receive the delivery information when it is available.

This week, the North Carolina Synod provided information for individuals interested in disaster response. If you are able to volunteer your time, register your availability to help with hands-on hurricane recovery efforts!  This is the official, secure site for NCVOAD   (NC Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) which is used to match people and their abilities with needs and response groups. Get yourself and your group registered today! 

Monetary gifts continue to be crucial to recovery efforts. You can give directly to  Lutheran Disaster Response .  Additionally,  Thrivent will match gifts given  dollar-for-dollar. Let's be committed to the long-term help that we know these survivors will need.
2018 Lost and Found
Lost and Found is our annual weekend retreat for youth in 7th and 8th grade and their adult advisors. 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 about 8 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. On Saturday afternoon there is large chunk of Free Time during which we will also hold out annual Talent Show. In the evenings you will relax in your Cottage and talk with other youth and adults from your congregation and other congregations about how the weekend is going.

For more information on Lost and Found and to register for the even,  click here .
“Ask, Thank, Tell” Generosity & Stewardship Resources for Virginia Synod Congregations
I look forward to supporting the stewardship ministries of the Virginia Synod though resourcing and collaboration. Below you will find this month's collection of resources to provide assistance to Stewardship Teams through the end of the year. You can download a pdf version of the resources listed below here:  Ask Thank Tell Stewardship Resources October 2018

If you or someone in your congregation is interested in being on the  "Virginia Synod Stewards"  newsletter list, please sign up here: .

If you are interested in being a part of the newly forming Virginia Synod Stewards Table, please email me at:  for more information.

Peace and hope,
Pastor John Wertz, Jr.
Director for Evangelical Mission
Assistant to the Bishop, VA Synod
Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center Upcoming Events
Need a home for the Holidays?
Plan a reunion or family retreat at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center! Buttonwood Lodge is a wonderful place to catch up by the fireplace with your college friends or adult relatives, and the Farmhouse is a perfect family space for up to 25. Meals and activities can be provided upon request. (Meals that you don't have to cook, and activities that you don't have to plan!)

Call (540)-449-0012 or email  to learn more.
Fall Fest and Camp-out: October 27-28 2018
Fall Fest is held in the field at St. John's Chapel and features a bluegrass worship service, provided picnic lunch, field games, and pumpkin carving. All are welcome! This is a fun opportunity to come see us at Caroline Furnace, either for the first time ever or the first time in awhile. Please RSVP for Fall Fest on the Facebook event posting if you are able, and sign up online or call us to reserve your space for the camp-out.

For an event flyer, click here, and to sign up for the camp out click here.

*Youth leaders: contact us for more information on the youth group camp-out in the main field on Saturday night!
Wild Women: Wine Retreat: November 2-4 2018
Join us for a weekend of relaxation and fellowship! This retreat is hosted in the Farmhouse, and we will visit local wineries on Saturday afternoon. Feel free to bring a book, your latest crafting project, and your favorite wine to share. Registration closes October 19.

For an event flyer, click here, and to sign up for the camp out click here.
It’s time to enter your organization’s 2019 health benefit option.
Congregations and organizations who sponsor employees through Portico: Choose the ELCA-Primary health benefits option you will offer for 2019 and enter it on EmployerLink before Oct. 26. You must do this even if you want to continue your current option, your plan members waive ELCA-Primary health benefits, or your plan members are eligible for ELCA Medicare-Primary coverage. There’s information to help your organization make its selection on EmployerLink — or call the Customer Care Center, 800-352-2876, for help.
2019 Ignite the Church Conference
The Ignite the Church Conference is an annual gathering that seeks to further Kingdom impacting conversation among leaders that will ignite the Church and help it live out its heritage of renewal in the years ahead! Speakers include Bishop Pedro Suarez, Florida Bahamas Synod, Rev. Dr. John Herman, and Beth Lewis, President and CEO Emeritus of 1517 Media. All proceeds from the event support the ELCA Fund for Leaders. For more information, check out their website: .
Vocal Ensemble Lyra From St. Petersburg Russia in Concert at College Lutheran, Salem
Chants of Russian Orthodox church and folk songs from Russia will be in concert at College Lutheran Church, 210 South College Ave, Salem VA, on Thursday, October 11 at 7 PM. This concert is open to all, with a free-will offering.

Please contact Karen at 540-389-4963 or for more information.
Luther Manor Celebrates Over 30 Year with their Annual Oktoberfest!
Luther Manor Auxiliary will hold their annual Oktoberfest Bazaar on Saturday, October 14 from 10 AM until 3 PM at Luther Manor, 350 Malibu Drive, Virginia Beach. There will be crafts for sale, a bake sale, 2 cake walks, door prizes, a Silent Auction, Raffle items, and a flea market, German Lunch ($8.50) will be held at noon as well as hot dogs, chips and sodas available for purchase in the courtyard. Vendor Tables may be rented for $15 by calling Luther Manor office at 757-463-3510.
Lutheran featured on Today Show speaking in Virginia
Road Trip and National Parks expert Mikah Meyer has been named a "Social Media Warrior" by MTV and featured by The Today Show, NPR, and Upworthy for becoming the youngest person to visit all 400+ units of the National Park Service and the sole person to do it in one continuous trip. As an openly gay outdoorsman, Mikah has been called a "Sexy Travel Guru" by GayCities, and has been preaching and singing around the world-as showcased by Living Lutheran and the ELCA-sharing a gospel of inclusion for LGBT Christians and those outside the church mainstream. Come learn about his advocacy and travel world records during this humor-filled presentation of adventure!

This October that journey comes to the Virginia Synod as Mikah makes appearances at Shenandoah University, Winchester's Bethel Lutheran Church, and Roanoke College.

Shenandoah University - October 17
2 PM - 2:50 PM - Presentation in Halpin-Harrison Hall, Stimpson Auditorium. Mikah presenting to first year students.
9 PM - 10PM - Higher Ground worship in Goodson Chapel - Mikah delivering brief message.  

Bethel Lutheran Winchester - October 21
8:30am & 11am services - Mikah sings
10am - 10:45am adult forum - Mikah speaks with pics/vids

Roanoke College - October 23 at 6:30 PM in Massengill Auditorium This event is free and open to the public.

This event is sponsored by the Biology and Environmental Studies departments, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Chaplain's Office, the Associate Dean's Office, and Undergraduate Research.
Meditation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders (MSTI) November 12-16, 2018
On November 12-16, 2018 at First Mennonite Church 601 East Parham Road Richmond, VA will host Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders (MSTI)

This 5-day, 32-hour training includes lectures, discussion, and guided practice in role plays. Led by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center (LMPC), and active and practical in focus, the sessions emphasize hands-on skills training and real-life role-plays based on conflicts faced by participants. This training is useful for pastors and lay leaders alike. Sign up today for the workshop that a previous participant has called “the best continuing education I ever took!”

For further information call LMPC at 630-627-0507 or email us at Detailed brochures with a registration form are available at To register online via Brown Paper Tickets, visit our website at It’s not too late to receive a $200 discount if you sign up no later than Oct. 12, 2018.
Spiritual Direction Certification Program
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary at
Lenoir-Rhyne University
Holy Listening – We believe holy listening is at the core of spiritual direction. It’s listening to one another, and most attentively to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The real and most genuine spiritual director is always the Holy Spirit.

Everyone is Welcome to Apply – Our primary purpose is to train people who feel called to be such spiritual friends, spiritual companions; however, those who are interested in deepening their own spiritual practices are also welcome.

Within the Christian Tradition – Ours is an experience in spiritual direction grounded in Trinitarian faith. However, we recognize that there is deep spiritual wisdom that can be found in other faith traditions. We will draw on those traditions and will integrate them from a Christian perspective.

  • four intensives, always from Wednesday noon until Saturday noon
  • small cohorts, each with its own mentor

Between the intensives
  • read key books and short reaction papers
  • participate in a closed Facebook group with your cohort and mentor
  • find and meet regularly with a spiritual director
  • find a willing person to be their spiritual directee

  • new intensive groups begin in January of each year
  • application deadline is December 22
  • intensives are held in January and June over a two year period
  • the next cycle of intensives is January 17-20, 2018; June 13-16, 2018; January 16-19, 2019; June 12-15, 2019

  • total cost for the program is $3,000 (price includes tuition and food)
  • participants find their own lodging (limited on-campus housing is available for $25 a night)

Interested? We’d love to hear from you:
Director: Pastor Gary Dreier ( ) 803-461-3222
Administrative Coordinator: Pastor Merianna Harrelson (  or ) 803-461-3217

Application available at: (under the “Certification Programs” tab)
Job Opportunities
ELCA Career Listings
Explore and apply for opportunities available with the churchwide organization or global service on the ELCA Job Board at
ELCA Foundation Director of Gift Planning
T here are two key responsibilities for this leadership position:
  • Through the direct supervision of a national staff of about 20 regional gift planners (coaching and managing), lead and manage a robust fund-raising program to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward prospective donors of current and planned gifts;
  • Manage the business relationships with ministry partner organizations through on-site visits.
This position is located in Chicago and reports to the Executive Vice President of the Foundation. It requires about 30% travel, visiting regional gift planners, donors, and ministry partnerships.
Application, resume and cover letter  should be  submitted through the ELCA job board . Inquiries about the position may be directed, in confidence, to  Gaye Lindfors of Significant Solutions, Inc . , the consultant assisting with this search.
ELCA Executive Director for Domestic Mission
This senior leadership position brings decisive and visionary leadership to this unit charged with wide-ranging work and relationships with churchwide units, synods, congregations, and other partners. The work involves equipping synods and congregations; developing new ministries, seeking to renew strategic ministries; and working with synods and congregations in programs and strategies for evangelical outreach.
Reporting to the presiding bishop, this position requires about 25% travel. It is located in Chicago.
Application, resume and cover letter  should be  submitted through the ELCA job board . Inquiries about the position may be directed, in confidence, to  Gaye Lindfors of Significant Solutions, Inc . , the consultant assisting with this search.
Prison Chaplain
Do you know someone who might be called by God to serve as our next Chaplain at Marion Correctional Treatment Center? Would you help us find the ONE? Please help us by spreading the news - just ten hours a week!

To learn more, click here .
Organist Position, St. John Lutheran in Abingdon
St. John Lutheran Church, Abingdon. is seeking an Organist/Pianist, primarily for the 11:00 AM Worship Service. We are a small, friendly congregation and music is a very important part of the ministry. Part-time duties include playing for Sunday morning Worship at 11:00 AM and a 10:00 am Sunday morning Choir rehearsal and occasionally a Wednesday evening rehearsal. The Organ is a three manual Allen Digital Organ. If interested please contact the church office at 276-692-6215 or email:
If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at