Mary Oliver Broke My Heart
This post was originally published on Pastor Tim Brown of Good Shepherd, Raleigh, NC blog and then published by Christian Century .
The poet helped me to realize how little I knew about a life observed.

I don't remember when I first read her work. I'm sure it was in my 20s. Because in my 20s I knew too much. Everything, actually. And if you doubt that, just ask my 27-year-old self. I would smile and demure and shy away from your question, but secretly answer in the affirmative.
Prayer Request
We lift in prayer the communities and congregations of Shenandoah County, and especially the congregation of St. Jacobs, Edinburg Parish, upon the sudden and tragically violent death of Cindy Dellinger. We lift the family of Ms. Dellinger to God's abundant love and care. We pray for God's abiding presence as the people and congregations cope with the effects of violence in their communities. Grant them peace of mind and a renewed faith in God's protection and care. Help us all, God of mercy, in the midst of things we cannot understand, to believe, trust, and hope in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection to life everlasting.
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
7th Day 2019
7th Day is our annual overnight event for youth in 5th and 6th grades and their adult advisors. During the weekend participants are part if a “Shepherd Group” with other youth and adult leaders and explore a story of the Bible through drama, games, crafts, and music. In the evening youth and adults will have time to relax in their Cottages with their congregation and other congregations from Virginia and discuss how 7th Day is going.

For more information and to register for this event, click here.
Caroline Furnace Family Nights
Caroline Furnace is bringing dinner, games, and a campfire for s'mores to churches across the Virginia Synod. They want you to bring your questions about camp and retreat opportunities at Caroline Furnace! They encourage you to invite and bring anyone who may be interested in Summer Camp or a Retreat. RSVP requested for meal count, but certainly not required. No cost to attend.

Northern VA  - Sunday Feb 10 at 5pm - King of Kings Lutheran Church, Fairfax VA
Upper Shenandoah Valley   - Wednesday Feb 13 at 5pm - St. Paul Lutheran Church, Strasburg VA
Richmond Area  - Sunday Feb 17 at 5pm - Christ the King Lutheran Church, Richmond VA
Tidewater Area  - Sunday March 10 at 5pm - Grace Lutheran Church, Chesapeake VA
Harrisonburg Area  - Sunday March 24 at 5pm - Muhlenberg Lutheran Church, Harrisonburg VA 

*More events to be added. Stay tuned!

To get flyers and bulletin inserts for an event or to RSVP, go to
Upcoming Events at Caroline Furnace
Wild Women: Hiking Retreat : February 22-24 at the Farmhouse
Spring Work Weekend : April 12-14 in the Cabin Village
Board Gaming Retreat :  April 26-28 at Buttonwood Lodge
Pre-Advent Retreat : August 19-21 at Buttonwood Lodge

Call (540)-449-0012 or email  to learn more!
Ask, Thank, Tell: Growing Generous Stewardship
The Virginia Synod and the Presbytery of the James are offering a one-day Stewardship education event with Charles R Lane, the author of “Ask, Thank, Tell” and “Embracing Stewardship” at Three Chopt Presbyterian Church in Richmond on Saturday, March 23, 2019, from 9 AM until 3 PM. The cost of the event is $15 per person. For this event, you have two options to participate. You can register and participate in-person or by simulcast.

Registration is now open to attend either in-person or through the online simulcast. If you haven't spent all of your continuing education funds for 2018, now is a great time to register to attend this event. To register for the event, click here, for more information about this event, click here.
ACTS 2019 Spring Course: Spirituality and Leadership
April 6 and May 11, 2019 we will gather for our ACTS Spring Course. This year's spring course will be led by Dr. Jill Y. Crainshaw Acting Dean at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. This course will explore how throughout biblical history prayerfully listening to God changed the way leaders served in response to God’s call. The participant will learn ways a congregation can prepare and use their many differing personal and spiritual gifts for mission.

For more information on the ACTS Spring Course and to register, click here.
Lecture Series from Professor Emeritus Mark T. Nation at Eastern Mennonite Seminary
Christianity Stand or Falls with its Revolutionary Protest Against Violence: Bonhoeffer's Persistent Opposition to War, Wednesday February 13th from 6:30-8:30 PM at Martin Chapel located at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. For more information, click here.
The ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) application is now open!
The Young Adults in Global Mission is a one-year, international service-learning and faith-formation opportunity in churches and social service ministries for young adults, ages 21-29. The application for the 2019-2020 program year closes February 15th, 2019 . For more information and to apply, click here.

Young adults serve alongside Lutheran companion church bodies and organizations in one of ten country programs around the world, being shaped by the witness of our global neighbors in a cross-cultural journey of faith. For the current program year, the country programs are: Argentina & Uruguay, Australia, Central Europe, Cambodia, Jerusalem/West Bank, Madagascar, Mexico, Rwanda, Senegal, and Southern Africa. Areas of service include, but are not limited to, health and development, congregational ministry, human rights, education, homelessness, addiction recovery, women’s issues and children and youth. All site placements provide opportunities for young adults to confront issues of wealth and poverty; racial privilege; economic disparity and globalization, all through the lens of faith. 

Short-term recruiters will be headed around to ELCA Colleges and Universities, Lutheran Campus Ministries, ELCA Camps, and other young adults ministries throughout the fall speaking about their previous year of service and about the program as a whole! Be on the lookout for their upcoming visits!

For more information visit the ELCA YAGM site at

Also feel free to check out the YAGM Application 2019-2020 Facebook event.
Hearing the Word: And Learning it By Heart Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission Gathering 
In Deuteronomy, we are instructed by the LORD to write the Word on our hearts and to talk about it when we are at home and when we are away, and to teach it to our children. If we are to talk and teach such things, then we can always learn more. At Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond on Saturday and Sunday March 23-24, 2019, together we will immerse ourselves in the biblical story as Pastor Chris Carr shares some parables and other stories with us. We will also have the chance to learn at least one biblical story by heart, allowing God’s Word to get under our skin and work on us in a deeper way as we internalize it and carry it home!

For more information and a flyer, click here.
James R. Crumley Jr. Archives "Friends of the Archives" Banquet"
The annual James R. Crumley Jr. Archives "Friends of the Archives" Banquet" is scheduled for April 4, 2019 at the Lexington County Museum in Lexington, SC from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Mark your calendars! More details to follow!
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
Chaplain Position at Greensville Correctional Center
GraceInside (Virginia's State Prison Chaplain Service) has an immediate, part-time chaplaincy position opening at Greensville Correctional Center (GRCC) - near Emporia, VA. For more information and to apply, click here.
Chaplain Position at Keen Mountain Correctional Center
GraceInside (Virginia's State Prison Chaplain Service) has an immediate, part-time chaplaincy position opening at Keen Mountain Correctional Center (KMCC) - near the town of Oakwood in Buchanan County, VA. For more information and to apply, click here.
VP of External Affairs for Lutheran Family Services
This position is responsible for the oversight of the agency’s marketing, resource development, and communication departments. The Vice President of External Relations will work in collaboration with the Senior Executive Team to build strong internal and external relationships with agency stakeholders, increase awareness of the agency in the communities in which we serve, and assist in the creation of clear and compelling communications that further the mission of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia. For more information and to apply, click here.
If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at