The History of Hebron Lutheran Church
This weekend, the Virginia Synod and the community surrounding Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison will all take part to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Hebron! Organized in 1717 by German settlers, Hebron is known as the oldest Lutheran worshipping community in the south. 

The first Lutheran immigrants came to Virginia in 1717 to work at Governor Spotswood's frontier-mining community of Germanna. Others of their co-religionists followed- these were scattered, as indentured servants, over the same northern piedmont region. In 1725, most of the approximately sixty Lutheran families in Virginia moved to the Robinson River Valley. There: "at the very border of the Country under the Great Ridge of Mountains," they formed the congregation and community of Hebron. Worship services were begun in 1726 in their roughly-built "German Chapel."

The wooden church stands as the oldest continually operating Lutheran Church in the United States. Built in 1740 using traditional German building techniques, Hebron is one of four surviving wooden churches from Virginia's colonial heritage.
In 1789, the "German Chapel", played a role in the election of James Madison to the first Congress. Patrick Henry, the governor of Virginia at the time, blocked Madison from a seat in the first Senate, as well as gerrymandered electoral districts, including the Madison area, so that James Monroe would run against Madison for a seat in the House of Representatives. Madison appealed to those in the area surrounding Hebron on a platform supporting a Bill of Rights, and especially freedom of conscience in the new congress. Madison even visited Hebron Lutheran, addressing the members there and discussed constitutional subjects. These visits catapulted Madison to win the election- winning by only 336 votes across his 8-county district. From this election, historians have concluded that the United States might have lost the Bill of Rights had Madison lost the Congressional election.
In 1802 a Tannenburg organ was purchased and installed in the gallery of the church's annex. It was constructed by a master organ maker David Tannenburg of Lillith, Pennsylvania. The organ was originally hauled to Madison by oxcart. It is one of only nine Tannenberg organs still in existence today and is the only Tannenberg organ that is still played in its original home. It is in near original condition. The organ's keys are reverse-colored, made of ebony and ivory.

In 1885 the ceilings of Hebron were adorned with decorative victorian patterned frescoes, painted by Italian painter Giuseppe Oddenino.

Many changes have taken place at the church over 300 years, yet much remains the same, like the three horse stiles  surrounding the church entrances!
This Saturday and Sunday the Virginia Synod and Hebron community will celebrate the long life of Hebron, with worship services led by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Guest Preacher Assisted by Virginia Synod Bishop James Mauney and Hebron Pastor Patricia Covington.

Following the worship service, Saturday will take the time to recognize Hebron's life, as well as the 175th Anniversary of Roanoke College, and recognize the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther and the protestant reformation. The afternoon will feature a historic presentation on Hebron, "God' s People Together: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow " presented by Ms. Judy Ann Fray, Chairperson of the Historical Committee and Longtime Church Member, regards from Roanoke College President Michael C. Maxey, "Roanoke Rising: From a Small School in a Humble Cabin to a First Class College on a Beautiful Campus ", as well as words from Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, "Being Forward in Faith: A 501 Church: Questions and Answers ".

On Sunday, the Hebron community is invited to join together in worship and reflection to celebrate the life of Hebron. The afternoon will feature historic presentations on Hebon, the History of the Church and Congregation by Rev. William Hall, Hebron Pastor from  1970 - 1980, and on Hebron’s 1802 Tannenburg Organ by George Taylor.

For more information on celebrating and honoring Hebron's history, click here.
To watch a video of historic Hebron Lutheran Church in 1940 by the Germanna Foundation, click here
Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at and make sure to follow our
Synod Assembly 2017: Ambassadors for Christ: Forwarding Faith

Synod Assembly is here!  June 9-11  will be our time to get together as the Virginia Synod to fellowship, learn about the wider church, do business, and learn more about worship.  Presiding over the Bishop's election and our ELCA representative  this year will be the  Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla , Executive Director‐ELCA Division of  Global Missions. 

For more information and to register for Synod Assembly, click here
Virginia Synod Kairos 2017
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 for Kairos, click here

Roanoke College's Theology for Teens
Our second annual summer camp introducing teens to biblical and theological scholarship, exploring contemporary challenges & how their faith tradition can meet those challenges. Starting Sunday July 16, 2016 through Sunday July 22, 2017 we will focus on the life & thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer—a church leader who met the challenges before him—we will explore today’s social issues & 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 for T4T, click here

Virginia Synod LAUNCH 2017
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 for LAUNCH, click here

Power in the Spirit 2017: "On Our Way Reforming!"
Hosted at beautiful Roanoke College in Salem Virginia, Power in the Spirit is an inspirational conference for everyone who wishes to explore God’s call to service through joyous worship, Bible study, keynote addresses, workshops, and fellowship. In addition, congregational leaders—teachers, organists and choir directors, choir members,committee or council members, family life consultant, pastors, and others—will find Power in the Spirit nurturing and challenging as they consider their mission and ministry.

The Reformation didn’t “fix” the Church. In fact, you might say it’s just one example of how we’re always “recalculating” our way forward as individuals and as a Church. In that spirit, this year’s theme for Power in the Spirit 2017 is:
On Our Way Reforming!

For more information and to register for Power in the Spirit, click here.

Generosity NOW
There's still time to register for Generosity NOW: an ecumenical conference on Stewardship that will be held in Washington, DC  April 25-27 . Scholarships to cover the registration fee of $299 are available from the ELCA. For more information, please contact Keith Mundy: . See the full details of the conference at
Day of Prayer Eastern Gathering
Sponsored by the Lutheran Episcopal Joint Committee of Virginia the Eastern Gathering will be held on May 17th, 2017 at Chanco on the James 394 Floods Drive Spring Grove, Virginia 23881

Led by Speaker The Rev. John Maxwell Kerr.  Rev. Kerr will lead two group sessions considering how and why to pray, whom to pray with, resources for prayer, prayer and the liturgical year, and will share other personal prayer practices.

REGISTRATION information is at

There is no registration deadline, and you may register in person on the day of the event.
Caroline Furnace: Celebrating 60 Years of Ministry
We want to celebrate 60 years of fun, fellowship, and faith with you! Come for the whole weekend or come celebrate for part of the time, but do come!

Traditionally, the 60th Anniversary is a “diamond anniversary,” but for camp, it’s our SLAG Anniversary.  Join us Saturday, May 27th - Monday, May 29th for yummy food, good fun, and memorable fellowship.

Come celebrate our Slag Anniversary!  Registration closes May 16th  or when space is full. Space is limited. Sign up to reserve your spot today.

To register for this event, click here
For information on the schedule and pricing, click here

Caroline Furnace: Have you registered for summer camp?
It's our 60th Anniversary and we're celebrating with a summer of old favorites and new programs. Our traditional summer residential programs are designed for rising 1st-12th graders. Family camp is perfect for families with younger kids who want to try out camp together.

To register for summer camp at Caroline Furnace, click here 
For information on the 2017 summer schedule and pricing, click here

Job Opportunities
Church Organist/Choirmaster Wanted

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hampton, VA is seeking an experienced organist to lead music at two Sunday morning services, play for weddings and funerals, and direct an adult and a youth choir. This position requires approximately 25 hours per week.

Apply during April 2017 via

Part-time Director of Worship and Music

Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Virginia Beach seeks a part-time Director of Worship and Music beginning in May. 25 hours per week. Salary depending on previous experience. See the PD and application instructions at ELVB.ORG under the “Jobs” tab.

Part-time Church Secretary

Part-time church secretary, 10-12 hours/week.  QuickBooks knowledge needed.  Small church in the Vinton area. If interested, please call 540-342-1715 and leave a message.

All job postings can also be found online at If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at