ACTS: Lutheran Confessions
This past Saturday kicked off the second session of the 2018 Fall ACTS (The Ambassadors Community for Theological Study) course in Waynesboro, Wytheville, and Yorktown. ACTS is intended to enrich and equip laity for intentional service as ambassadors for Christ in homes, churches, and in their communities. It provides comprehensive exposure to the foundations of Lutheran faith through classroom and experiential education. ACTS also serves as a continuing education course for rostered ministers.
Led by ACTS Director, Deacon Lisa J. Geiger, ACTS instruction is offered in large-group sessions at a single location (with the option of satellite sites), with breakout small-group sessions occurring across the state each led by rostered leaders or ACTS program graduates. From these sessions, ACTS participants gain a theological grounding for their personal call, equipping them to answer the call to be Christ’s ambassador- be it in congregational leadership roles, or leading throughout the Synod.

This year’s fall course, “ Lutheran Confessions”, focuses on the heart of our Lutheran theology. Participants in this session are studying the content and development of the Augsburg Confession and Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms found in the Book of Concord. The Book of Concord provides the foundational documents for Lutheran faith. By the end of this course, the participants will have an increased knowledge of the importance of grace, “down religion”, Luther’s explanation of the law (commandments that reveal our sin) and the gospel (promises of what God does in creating, redeeming and making holy), and the importance of our daily dying and rising in our baptism as the center of our Christian life.
The Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Wengert served as the speaker for this ACTS Course. Dr. Timothy J. Wengert is emeritus Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Reformation History at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. A parish pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for over seven years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, he received his doctorate from Duke University in 1984 and was on Philadelphia’s faculty from 1989 to 2013. He has authored and edited more than two dozen books, including “The Book of Concord” used in the ACTS course. His translation into English of Luther’s Small Catechism is widely used throughout the ELCA.

This year, the Fall ACTS course had a total of 120 participants registered, affirming that The Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Wengert is a favorite presenter among ACTS participants new and returning! Both sessions showcased his engaging, educational and humorous view of the texts.

Visit to learn more about the ACTS program.
Holiday Graphic 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! From email headers to printable posters there plenty of opportunities to make use of our Advent and Christmas graphics!

You can view and download the Advent and Christmas graphics on our website at If you have any questions about how you can best utilize these resources, please contact Emily Pilat at
ForwardingFaith Campaign Update
We’re excited to hear stories and updates from congregations who have joined in the ForwardingFaith campaign and creatively spread the good news of faith formation in Virginia during their appeals! This week we have some exciting updates from around the state to share with you.
As a concrete thank you to God and the wider church for 50 years of shared ministry, the church council off Messiah Lutheran Church in Mechanicsville offered members of the congregation an opportunity to pledge to the Forwarding Faith Campaign on Reformation Sunday. Echoing 500 years of the Reformation and this year's 50th theme, the goal was set at $5000. On All Saints Sunday, Messiah's 50th anniversary, the campaign chair, Susie Weaver, and council vice-president, Donna Shaw, presented the Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick with pledges totaling $11,585.
In addition to Messiah, Mechanicsville Muhlenberg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg recently took part in the ForwardingFaith campaign, concluding their appeal on October 7th.

The Virginia Synod celebrates the leadership and generosity of the people of God at these many congregations in support of the ForwardingFaith campaign. As a Synod, we look forward to celebrating with your congregation and sharing how your congregation grows forward in faith.
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
Lutheran Disaster Response: Fires in California
Wildfires continue to rage across California destroying over 6,400 homes and wiping out the town of Paradise, located north of Sacramento. Multiple deaths have been confirmed and large-scale, mandatory evacuations are in place for multiple communities across the state's impacted areas as first responders work to gain control of the fires.

Lutheran Disaster Response has already committed dollars for initial relief response. We will continue working with Lutheran Social Services of Northern California and the California synods to respond to these fires. As the fires are still raging, we continue to assess the ever-changing situation to determine the best ways to respond. Your gifts will help us deliver a robust response to address needs in the devastated communities.

Be a part of the response:

Please pray for the people who have been affected and those still in the path of wildfires in California. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need. Pray that God will deliver comfort to those who mourn the loss of loved ones and strength to those who are working diligently to contain the fires and care for affected communities.

Gifts to “ U.S. Wildfires ” will be used to assist those affected by the wildfires until the response is complete.
To learn more about the situation and the ELCA’s response:
  • Share this bulletin insert with your congregation and encourage support.
  • Sign up to receive Lutheran Disaster Response alerts.
  • Check the Lutheran Disaster Response blog.
  • Like Lutheran Disaster Response on Facebook and follow @ELCALDR on Twitter.
  • To download a PDF version of this situation report, click here.
Winter Celebration 2019
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.

For more information and to register for this event, click here.
Deck the Halls! 2018 Virginia Synod Christmas Decoration Contest
Submissions are now open for the 2018 Virginia Synod Christmas Decoration Contest! Congregations and individuals are both welcome to enter their decorations in one of three categories:  Chrismons treeChristmas 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 17th.

With your entry photo please include the following information:
  • Your First and last name
  • Your congregation name and location (ex. Christ Lutheran, Roanoke)
  • 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 20th  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!
Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center Upcoming Events
The 2019 Summer Staff application for Caroline Furnace is live! The online application can be found on their website, along with a shareable flyer. Academic internships are available as well. Call 540-449-0012 or email for more information.
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.
LARCUM Conference, 2018
A Gathering for Laypeople and Rostered Leaders
Today’s social and political climate can leave us at a loss with how to respond in productive and faithful ways. This conference for both laypeople and rostered leaders will take a look at why and how Christian communities have long understood the practices of worship, prayer and song as influences and guides that help us address and counter social division and concerns as well as the separation we may experience within and between our faith traditions. And what better place to sit down together to discuss and practice hopeful and faithful signs and actions that can lead to healing and reconciliation than in Charlottesville?

This conference, titled “Praying, Believing, Doing: An Ecumenism of Liturgy and Life,” begins on November 30, at 6 PM and concludes on December 1st at Noon. The event begins at Market Street Park in front of First United Methodist Church 101 E. Jefferson St. Charlottesville, VA where our bishops will individually offer prayer for peace and unity. Our presenter, The Rev. Dr. Karen B. Westerfield, will then lead us throughout the evening and again on Saturday in seeing how praying, believing and doing affect how we act toward our neighbor and the world, and speak to our quest for justice, reconciliation and peace.

For a brochure, contact your pastor, the Virginia Synod office or Pastor Eric Moehring (; 804-517-3073). Please register ($35; students no charge) by Nov. 17, but know that registrations will be accepted at the event. Or register on line at Remember to make your own motel reservations as needed. See you in Charlottesville.
Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Advocacy Office and Federal Chaplaincies invite you to join us on Thursday December 6, 2018 from 4:30 to 7:00 PM in dedicating our new office located south of the U.S. Capitol building at at 218 D Street SE, First Floor Washington, DC 20003.

Special guests include ELCA Presiding Bishop, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton and invited Lutheran Members of Congress.

Come and meet with our Lutheran advocacy staff; local ministries; interfaith partners; congressional staff; senior chaplains from the military services, Veterans Administration, and Bureau of Prisons; ELCA practicing chaplains; and more.

Please RSVP by email at by December 1, 2018
Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will lead a small delegation in a wreath laying ceremony at the  Tomb of the Unknown Soldier  at Arlington National Cemetery. The event is open to the public and requires no reservation.  
This ceremony follows the Changing of the Guard on Pearl Harbor Day,  Friday, December 7 at 11:00 am . Lay members and rostered ministers of the ELCA are invited to attend. Bishop Humphrey is planning to attend.

For information about Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, visit: .  

Please keep in mind, the walk from the Visitors Center to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is about 10 minutes up hill. Make sure you're wearing comfortable shoes and can make the journey. Also, the tour tram stops at both locations.
Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day
The ELCA is invited to join the global community on Dec. 1 to commemorate World AIDS Day. This is a day for a time of remembrance, awareness and commitment to action, especially in our calling to a strong and faithful response that’s set forward in the ELCA Strategy on HIV and AIDS. Go to for World AIDS Day resources, including a bulletin insert, worship resources and a video message from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.
2019 Ignite the Church Conference
The Ignite the Church Conference is an annual gathering on February 19-21, 2019 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: .
Bishops’ School 2019
Many of us have questions about God and our faith, but don’t always know where to go with them. Many of us would love to talk about our faith, but there isn’t always an easy place to do that. You don’t exactly ask someone across the lunch table at school, “Someone told me ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ That would mean God planned all those school shootings. What do you think?” Bishops’ School is your opportunity to be with people like you – people who want to talk about God, to think theologically. In addition to interactive classroom times, small group gatherings, and service projects, there will be plenty of time for making new friends and having fun! Bishops’ School 2019 takes place at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

For more information and to submit a nomination for Bishop's School, click here.
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.
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:
Part-Time Director of Worship & Music- Emmanuel, Virginia Beach
Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Virginia Beach is searching for a part-time Director of Worship & Music to coordinate and oversee the Worship and Music ministry in our congregation. Work with the Pastor to provide leadership for the musicians, choirs, musical groups, and lay ministry team while bolstering people's connection to God through worship and music. The Director position is part time (approximately 25 hours a week). If interested, please email your resume to
Rector and Dean of the Seminary- Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) of Lenoir-Rhyne University welcomes nominations and applications for a dynamic and innovative leader to serve in the position of Rector and Dean of the Seminary beginning as early as January 2, 2019 and no later than June 3, 2019. The Rector and Dean of the Seminary is a full-time appointment reporting directly to the President of Lenoir-Rhyne University. The primary duties of this position are to serve as the lead academic and church administrator for LTSS and to further develop LTSS as an exemplary seminary within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and among its ecumenical partners.

For a full position description, click here.
If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at