Counting Down at St. Michael's, Blacksburg
Since 2014 St Michael's in Blacksburg has been creatively counting down the days to Christmas with their online Advent Calendar. What started as a way to generate a greater web presence has become a unique way to reach out to the community during the lead up to Christmas, and a creative outlet for church members looking to share their talents in a meaningful way.

A number of artists at St. Michael work to illustrate each day of the Advent season, presenting the year's specific theme in their unique style and medium. In year's past they've even created a coloring book so everyone could put their artistic spin on the art created for the calendar. "The overall effect [of the calendar] continues to surprise me as the years have gone by," shared Gary Worley, who has led the calendar project since 2014.

Artists for this year's calendar include, Elizabeth Berg, Barbara Corbett, Anna Rossomando, Lylah Shelor, Maggie Maloney, Joyce Coupey, James Akers, Becky Steck, and Courtney Steck. Past calendars have featured work from Michelle Pasier, Sandie Worley, Parker Wertz, and Chris Wertz.

The calendar is presented both as an online web image and through the congregation's Facebook page. The web calendar is interactive and the Facebook images present both the artwork and the text together. Typically the advent calendar receives 10,000+ unique viewers each year. More recent editions of the calendar prevent looking ahead on a single day, so the hope is that viewers will return throughout the season of Advent.

To view this year's calendar, and year's past calendars click here.
Virginia Synod 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
Deck the Halls: The 2019 Virginia Synod Christmas Decoration Contest is on!
Submissions are now open for the 2019 Virginia Synod Christmas Decoration Contest! Congregations and individuals are both welcome to enter their decorations in one of three categories:  Chrismons tree Christmas tree , or  Advent wreath  for this year’s contest!

To enter send the best photo of your decoration to Emily Pilat at  from now until  Monday, December 16th.

With your entry photo please include the following information:
  • Your full name
  • Your congregation name and location
  • The category for which you are entering (Chrismons tree, Christmas tree, or Advent wreath)

Only one entry per individual or congregation  (ie. if you submit a photo of your congregation’s Chrismons tree, a submission of your congregation’s advent wreath will not be counted as an entry)!

On  December 17th  one randomly selected winner for each category will be announced in that week’s edition of the Weekly Update. All three winners will receive a special prize!

If you have any questions about the Christmas Decoration Contest, please contact Emily Pilat at  Best of luck to all who enter, and happy decorating!
Dollars 4 PNG Scholars
The Virginia Synod invites you and your congregation to make a Special Offering in December to raise money for School Fees for the Children of our Companion Synod Papua New Guinea Pastors.

The Synod has supported this project for many years and needs your help. Pastors in PNG are not paid a salary and are dependent on their children during their retirement. This program enables Pastors to send their children to school without worrying about how to fund the annual school fees. This project has also paid the tuition for Seminarians from the New Guinea Islands District. Graduates have then returned to the NGI District to serve as pastors. What an amazing way to help spread the Gospel! We have set a goal of raising $15,000 per year (only $100 per congregation!) to help make this program sustainable. Consider contributing today!

Annual Fees:
$50 – Elementary Student (< $1 / week)*
$100 – Primary School Student (< $2 / week)*
$300 – Secondary School Student ($25 / month)*
$500 – College Student $500 – Seminary Student

*Recurring payments can be set up through the Synod website (listed as “Papua New Guinea Scholarship” on the “Give” Page)
Need a Christmas gift for that hard-to-shop-for someone? Consider making a donation in their honor to Dollars 4 PNG Scholars. You can present them with this gift card (just print, fold it, and cut it!). Donations can be made online, at Virginia Synod Give, or by mail with checks sent to Virginia Synod Dollars 4 Scholars, PO Box 70, Salem, VA 24153
Holiday Graphics Resources
This year to support your communication needs, we've created a number of Advent and Christmas graphics you can use in your congregation! Covering each week of Advent, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day there's plenty of resources available to use in your congregation!

These graphics can be used as part of your congregation's social media plan, printed off and displayed in and around your church, or any number of ways that best serve your congregation!

You can view and download the Advent and Christmas graphics on our website at
Winter Celebration 2020
Winter Celebration is our annual weekend retreat for youth in grades 9 through 12 and their adult advisors. We have Large Group and Small Group gatherings that consist of singing, comedy, worship, faith sharing and presentations on our event theme. On Saturday afternoon during Free Time we will also hold out annual Talent Show and in the evenings you will have time to relax in your Cottage and talk with other youth and adults from your congregation and other congregations about how Winter Celebration is going. December 16th is the deadline for early registration! For more information and to register, click here.
Updates and Upcoming Events at Caroline Furnace
Summer Camp 2020
Good indeed is the Lord, whose steadfast love endures forever. God's faithfulness continues for all generations. -Psalm 100:5 Get ready for another amazing summer! Registration is now open for Summer 2020 camps at Caroline Furnace. Sign up for your week by December 10 and receive a special Christmas gift! Learn More and Register

BeerReformation Retreat, January 24-26
Join us for a weekend of faith, education, fun, and fellowship, paired with the history and art of brewing. We'll follow our "Earn Your Beer" prayer hike with a visit to a local brewery, then bottle a special Caroline Furnace recipe (this year we have a Persimmon Porter!) to take home. BeerReformation includes scratch-made meals, lodging, and Saturday transportation. Cost is $115 for the weekend or $30 for Saturday.

Pre-Lenten Retreat, February 4-6
All are invited to join us for a time of discussion, preparation and fellowship before the Lenten season. Join us at Buttonwood Lodge to take a look at the Matthean gospel texts for the Sundays of Lent. Pastors and lay leaders are encouraged; all are welcome. Cost is $125 and includes two nights at Buttonwood Lodge, seven meals, and resource materials.
A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land May 1-11, 2020
Pastor Liz Yates, retired Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) pastor, is hosting a visit booked through Bethlehem, Palestine, GoDeeper Tours to Israel-Palestine. This tour company is directed by Boulos (Paul) Aqleh, member and keyboardist at Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem.

The visit will center in Bethlehem with day trips from there and a night in Tiberias in northern Israel. We will visit Bethlehem- including Christmas Lutheran, Nativity Church, and Tent of Nations. For more information about this trip click here.
Job Opportunities
Chaplain- The Legacy at North Augusta
National Lutheran Communities and Services (NLCS) offers a comprehensive suite of benefits to promote health and financial security for you and your family. We believe that taking care of our staff is the best way to take care of our residents, guests and clients. The Chaplain provides a full ministry of pastoral care and spiritual support within NLCS community. This includes performing a full range of professional chaplain assignments in a full-functioning capacity. Considerable independent judgment is used to make decisions in carrying out assignments that have significant impact on services or programs provided to residents, families and staff.

For a complete position description, click here.

If you are interested in this position and rostered in the Virginia Synod, please contact Rebecca Walls directly at 540-389-1000.
Coordinator of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries- College Lutheran, Salem
College Evangelical Lutheran Church (Salem, Virginia) seeks applications for a part-time Coordinator of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries. The weekly working hours will average 20 hours per week with the understanding that some weeks may require more than 25 hours and some weeks fewer than 20 hours. Scheduling will be determined by the Coordinator of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries in consultation with the Pastor.

For a complete position description,  click here.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, résumé, and names and contact information of three (3) references to LuAnn Yates electronically to: LuAnn Yates, Personnel Ministry Team Chair Applications are currently being reviewed. For additional information about College Lutheran Church, go to
Part Time Organist/Choir Director- Christ The King, Richmond
Christ The King Lutheran Church is seeking an experienced Christian musician who will encourage others in their faith through musical leadership and by example.

For a complete position description, click here.

Interested candidates send cv and salary requirements to
ELCA Career Listings
Explore and apply for opportunities available with the churchwide organization or global service on the ELCA Job Board at
If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at