Bishop Humphrey COVID-19 Update and Reflections
Click here or on the image above to view the full video message from Bishop Humphrey providing updates and reflections as we continue to socially distance ourselves during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Young Adults in Global Mission Return Home
On March 16 the ELCA called home all active YAGM volunteers, in response to the spread of COVID-19 throughout the world. Both of our YAGM volunteers from the Virginia Synod, Maren Corliss and Jayme Kokkonen have returned home safely. Maren recently shared her final newsletter following her time spent serving in Hungary, which you can read here. There she shares reflections on her sudden departure, as well as some fantastic photos of her life and service over the past several months.

Jayme's most recent blog entry also shares 25 things that she had learned from living in Madagascar during her 25 weeks staying in country. We are so happy to share the amazing work both Maren and Jayme accomplished during their time with YAGM. We pray that their return to life at home is full of patience, and love as they work through the grief and sadness of leaving a newfound home.
Stewardship in Uncertain Times
Life has changed dramatically in the last few weeks and that change is still unfolding. In the midst of this change, people are needing the peace and comfort provided by faith in God. At the same time, as our normal patterns are upended and the nation is struggling economically, we worry about financial resources for our ministries. It is critically important now that we focus on how we tell our story of impact, how we invite people to generosity, how we envision a future where our congregations are more important and vital than ever. GSB Partner, Rev. Mike Ward, CFRE, author of Abundance: Creating Cultures of Generosity is offering a one-hour virtual opportunity to explore stewardship in uncertain times.

Join us on Thursday, April 30 from 10-11 AM for a one-hour virtual workshop with Mike. He will share tangible ideas for responding during this crisis and help you put in place the infrastructure to keep generosity flowing to your congregations. Mike will also point out messaging that you should avoid during this time. A portion of the program will be dedicated to questions from participants. This workshop is suggested for pastors, stewardship leaders, council members and others engaged in congregational leadership. Additional resources about responding to this crisis that can be found at gsbfundraising.com/category/news.


To join the Virginia Synod Stewardship Conversation on Thursday April 30 from 10-11 AM:
Meeting ID: 943 9586 4520
Password: 455353

The workshop will be recorded and shared following the session on Thursday.
Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org  and make sure to follow our
Announcements
Luther Seminary Festival of Homiletics
The Festival of Homiletics is moving online! And because there’s no better time than our current crisis to learn how to “preach a new earth,” registration for the virtual conference is totally FREE! Join us May 18-22, online. On Demand access to all materials and info, costs $75. For more information, visit festivalofhomiletics.com
Join the 75,000 Face Mask Challenge
COVID-19 is threatening vulnerable communities, and Lutheran World Relief urgently needs cloth face masks to send to them. The cloth mask you sew in your living room will provide love and protection to a neighbor in need halfway around the world. How many will you make to help stop the spread? Sign up for more info. www.lwr.org/masks
ELCA Coaching Weekly Zoom Conversation:
Grief and Hope: Societal Chaplaincy For and Beyond COVID-19
You are invited to join this weekly gathering designed to provide encouragement and support for ELCA leaders across the church and throughout society. Participants will hear topical presentations related to how we are called to be Church in the time of COVID-19, as well as an opportunity to be in small group discussions with an ELCA group coach facilitating the conversation. All of this is designed to help us process our feelings in this strange and fearful time and to create a space where we can each name our next most faithful step forward in our unique context.

The April 22 session will explore the concept of “societal chaplaincy” in order to provide tools for responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. This global crisis is producing layers of grief and trauma beyond what most people are anticipating. Religiously informed leaders have particular callings to respond not just to their defined communities, but to society as a whole, helping others name their grief while pointing to paths forward. The insights of social analysis, grief coaching, and chaplaincy each have contributions to make as we move forward together. In preparation for this week's gathering, we highly recommend you read this article in advance: www.ntnl.org/societal-chaplaincy-preparing-for-the-storm-to-come

ELCA Coaching is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Being Church in the Time of COVID-19 - Weekly Gathering for ELCA Leaders
Time: Apr 22, 2020 01:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Password: 648160
2020 Sprunt Lectures at Union Presbyterian Seminary
Join us  May 5-6  for a free lecture series covering the topic Faith formation with children, youth, and young adults in a multi-religious world.

Contemporary times call for a reframing of congregational ministries with young people. Three scholars working on the cutting edge of research will share their ideas about issues facing children, youth, and young adults and what religious communities can do to address these realities. They will highlight the challenges of race, class, gender, and religious identity for young people growing up in societies fraught by division, as well as the opportunities congregations have to support young people’s spiritual flourishing.

For more information and to register, visit  www.upsem.edu/event/2020-sprunt-lectures
Caroline Furnace Quick Updates
  • We are open for outdoor day use at our main property in Fort Valley. Check in/out at a station by the office door. Church leaders: You are welcome to come record worship videos here if you'd like!
  • We remain hopeful that Summer Camp will be unaffected by COVID-19 and are continuing with staff interviews and camper registrations. Any decisions on Summer Camp will be announced on May 15 once we have more info. View the Summer Camp digital catalog here. 
  • We are still booking rental groups for the Summer and Fall seasons! We recognize that our communities will be especially in need of time together on retreat as soon as it is safe to do so. Find rental availability here. 
  • Do you have a quilt group? We would like to share handmade quilts with our Farmhouse guests! This project has been especially well received due to the stay-at-home orders, and we already have a few quilts in the works. We are asking for full and twin size quilts.
  • Registration is open for Caroline Furnace programmed retreats through February 2021. This includes Adventure Weekends, Pre-Advent Retreat, Wild Women Retreat, and BeerReformation. View the Year at a Glance here.
  • Caroline Furnace remains closed to overnight groups. Individuals and single-household groups are welcome to come spend time outdoors at our main property from 9 to 5 each day. Be sure to read the details on our COVID-19 Updates page before you come.

We will share additional updates on our website at  www.carolinefurnace.org/covid19 . We appreciate your continued support of your outdoor ministry, even and especially during this time of uncertainty. We hope to see you again soon!
Job Opportunities
Job Opportunities can now be found on the Virginia Synod website at vasynod.org/job-opportunities If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org.