Leading the way as a Diverse, Inclusive Community
This article comes from the ELCA publication Stories of Faith in Action, a free annual publication that highlights how God is changing lives through the ministries funded by your congregation's unrestricted offering of Mission Support which is shared with our Synod and the ELCA churchwide organization. Together, we serve God's people across the United States and around the world through our 9,300 congregations, 65 synods, and one churchwide organization. 
Every Sunday after worship, members of St. Paul Thai Lutheran Church in Forest Park, Ill., take part in what might seem like an unusual tradition. They enjoy a potluck meal, and once their food is settled, they engage in some friendly competition—playing badminton.

“Everybody gets to play, no genders or nationalities are excluded from that group,” said St. Paul Thai member Theodore Lietz. The beloved tradition is demonstrative of the congregation’s diverse, inclusive community, which has welcomed people of Thai and other backgrounds since 1985.

More than 30 years later, St. Paul Thai is made up of 70 percent Thai firstgeneration immigrants, and the remaining 30 percent is a mix of other races, said its pastor, Pongsak Limthongviratn.

In the spring of 2017 the congregation was selected to try out the ELCA’s updated version of One Body, Many Members. This free resource consists of downloadable Bible studies, discussion questions and activities aimed at supporting congregations on their journeys to welcome every racial, ethnic and class background.

“One Body, Many Members is really just about having us live out our call to go beyond our walls and share the good news and to meet people where they are and how we create worship communities that reflect the wider diversity of this world,” said Judith Roberts, ELCA racial justice ministries director and resource facilitator.
It can help any congregation facilitate conversation about diversity, regardless of its location or maturity. In the case of St. Paul Thai, the resource provided meaningful enrichment to an already thriving community.

“Diversity makes us strong,” said Monta Limthongviratn, a lay minister at St. Paul Thai. “We don’t exist only for Thai people, but because we live as a diverse community, we try to respond to the needs of other people.”
To watch a video of St. Paul Thai’s badminton fellowship and more, click here.
Your Mission Support dollars are used by the ELCA churchwide organization to create resources like One Body, Many Members ( ELCA.org/Onebody), which aid congregations in their efforts to reflect the diverse country the United States is becoming.

To read more from Stories of Faith in Action, and to learn more about Mission Support   click here.
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
Winter Celebration 2018
Winter Celebration  is our annual weekend retreat for youth in grades 9 through 12 and their adult advisers.  We have Large Group gatherings that consist of singing, energy, comedy, worship and a presentation on our event theme. After each Large Group gathering each person is part of a Small Group made up of youth and a couple adult leaders where participants will get to know other Lutheran youth from Virginia and discuss life, faith and other topics that arise throughout the weekend. 

For information and to register for Winter Celebration Week 2, click here
ForwardingFaith Congregational
Does your congregation want to take part in the ForwardingFaith Campaign? Is your stewardship team looking for a training event, but doesn’t know where to go? As part of the Forwarding Faith Campaign, we are offering 2-hour training sessions throughout the Virginia Synod to teach your stewardship team how to conduct a special gift appeal.

A part of this training provides materials and information on how to conduct the Forwarding Faith campaign in your congregation, but you can use everything you learn during the training session to conduct an appeal for a new air conditioning unit, parking lot paving, roof, outreach opportunity, or whatever your ministry needs to fund!

Upcoming training sessions will be held January 27th:

  • Blacksburg, at St. Michael Lutheran Church from 9:30-11:30 AM
  • Charlottesville at St. Mark Lutheran Church from 2:30-4:30 PM
  • In Woodstock at Emanuel Lutheran Church from 7:00-9:00 PM

Please encourage those interested in your conference to  RSVP for these events.

This campaign’s success has been incredible so far, and it’s up to our congregations now to keep this momentum going!
ACTS 2018 Spring Course: New Testament
This year's spring ACTS course will be held March 10th and April 21st at Grace Evangelical Lutheran in Waynesboro (or at two Simulcast locations). Mark Vitalis Hoffman will present on the parables of Jesus as part of the New Testament ACTS course.

For more information on the Spring ACTS course and to register for this spring's course,  click here
Caroline Furnace camper registration is open for 2018!
Ephesians 2:8 is our theme verse for the summer. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."

At Caroline Furnace, our campers combine faith with daily life on our 257 acre camp, surrounded by George Washington National Forest and nestled between the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River. Campers experience daily worship and Bible study, plus a large range of activities. Campers may swim, canoe, fish, creekwalk, play small and large group games, challenge themselves on our low ropes course, hike, cook over a campfire, create crafts, learn archery, gain culinary skills, or explore the iron furnace ruins on camp property. Each week, Chaplains from supporting congregations join us in leading the campers in morning worship, Bible study, and campfire and evening devotion.
To view the complete summer schedule for 2018, and for more information, click here.
Caroline Furnace Upcoming Events
Caroline Furnace has a busy spring planned this year!

To learn more about our events and register, click here.
System Thinking for Leaders in Faith Communities: Staying on a Principled Course in Challenging Times
Leaders of faith communities are working and living in the context of multiple emotional systems. The leader must not only observe and think, but also act. Bowen theory suggests that a thoughtfully developed set of principles is an essential resource for maintaining one’s course when leading. Bowen theory can offer leaders useful guiding principles, not only for understanding the emotional process swirling about, but also in working toward the mission and purpose of their communities.

This one-day conference is intended for leaders new to Bowen theory as well as those familiar with systems thinking who want to expand their efforts. The conference will also explore connections between Bowen theory and theology.

Join us, at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 915 North Oakland Street (at Virginia Square Metro) Arlington, VA 22203 from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM

For more information and to register, click here.
Trip to Germany with St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Williamsburg
Now that the crowds are gone, members and friends of St. Stephen in Williamsburg are going to Germany for a nine-day study tour, June 13-21! "In the Footsteps of Martin Luther and the Reformation" will visit Wittenberg, Erfurt, Wartburg Castle and much more. $3,646 from Richmond. For more information, click here

If you would like a snail mail copy of the brochure, let Pastor Andy Ballentine know, at pastorab@saintstephenlutheran.net !
Mental Health America of Augusta One Day Workshop: Addressing Substance Use Together
Mental Health America of Augusta (MHAA) is planning to offer our community a Substance Use workshop on Friday, March 9 which is FREE to participants. Four presenters will help participants better understand Substance Use from a biopsychosocial perspective.

For more information on this workshop, click here.
Marriage Announcement
Pastor Cynthia Long (Chaplain at Western State Hospital) and Mr. Dale Diacont were married on Friday, January 12. The couple will reside in Waynesboro.

Our warmest blessings and congratulations to Pastor Cynthia and Dale on their marriage!
Job Opportunities
The Virginia Synod Director for Evangelical Mission / Assistant to the Bishop
The Virginia Synod, in partnership with ELCA Domestic Mission, is seeking a qualified person to serve as our Director for Evangelical Mission / Assistant to the Bishop. The plan is for this full time staff person to live and work in the eastern part of our synod. A churchwide search is underway.

For more information please click here.
Chaplain, Virginia Lutheran Homes
The Chaplain is responsible for providing spiritual care, short-term counselling, worship leadership, education and other religious support to residents, families and staff at all Virginia Lutheran Homes facilities.
For a complete job description,  click here.

For anyone interested in applying for this position, they can contact the Becky Walls at the Virginia Synod Office at 540-389-1000 or they can email at  walls@vasynod.org .
Prison Chaplain, Green Rock Correctional Center
Due to the retirement of a beloved chaplain, Green Rock Correctional Center (Chatham, VA) will have an immediate opening for a part-time chaplain at 130 hours/month or 30/week.

Qualified candidates (1) must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university; (2) must have a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or equivalent degree from an accredited seminary; (3) must be ordained by and in good standing with their denomination or church; (4) where applicable, should be endorsed as a chaplain by their denomination’s endorsing body; (5) CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) units a plus (though not mandatory); (6) church ministry experience helpful; (7) experience working or ministering in a jail or prison setting a major plus; (8) must be willing to promote the ministry of GraceInside to nearby churches, ministries and civic groups.

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and application to GraceInside: 2828 Emerywood Parkway; Richmond, VA 23294 by Monday, January 22nd.

Applications may be requested from Lee Hargrave at  lee.hargrave@graceinside.org or at  (804)-358-7650.
Organist, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mount Sidney
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mount Sidney, VA is seeking an organist. Music is an integral part of our worship each Sunday and we look forward to finding the right person to join us in our mission. For more information or to submit a resume please email:  prderek@gmail.com.
Executive Director, Rural Family Development
This position is responsible for providing leadership and management to implement the Head Start Program for Caroline County in concert with the mission and vision of the Virginia Council of Churches/Rural Family Development through the utilization of Federal funding, State and agency policies and procedures.

For a complete job description, click here.

For anyone interested in applying for this position, they can contact the Virginia Council of Churches at 804-321-3300 ext. 100 or they can email Crystal Greenerl at greenerl@vacouncilofchurches.org
Organist, Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Petersburg
Seeking part-time organist/choir director for one Sunday morning service, one adult choir rehearsal, and special services during Lent, Holy Week, and Christmas. Candidates should be familiar with the traditional liturgical service as practiced in a Eucharistically-centered sung service and experienced in a variety of musical styles. Salary range is negotiable with 2 weeks paid vacation. Opportunities for wedding and funerals are compensated separately. The primary instrument is a two manual Rodgers organ with spinet pianos in the sanctuary and the chapel. For information about the church and congregation please visit the church website at www.lcor.net

Interested candidates should contact Marva Farrington, Worship Committee Chair, at marva_farrington@yahoo.com. The position will become available in January 2018.
Director of Music, Grace & Glory Lutheran Church in Palmyra
Are you someone who is an accomplished keyboardist/pianist and looking for a part-time position (approx. 20 hrs/wk)? Have you been involved in a choir and have the ability to direct a choir? Grace and Glory has the perfect position for you! We are currently seeking someone with your abilities to serve as our Dir. of Music for our congregation. Our worship services are held Sundays at 8:30am and 10:30am. If you would enjoy working with a vibrant, growing congregation sharing your gift of music, we would really enjoy speaking with you. Please email  gglcelca@embarqmail.com . It would be helpful to include both a cover letter and resume when inquiring and/or applying. We would be pleased to share a Job Description which is flexible depending upon the successful candidate’s musical gifts. EOE.

Grace & Glory is a vibrant, growing congregation in beautiful Central Virginia. We are active in the community and welcome all to join us as "Caring Christians sharing God's message of Grace." To learn more about us and our mission, please visit our website at  www.graceandglory.church.
Director of Youth and Family Ministry, St. Mark Lutheran Church in Charlottesville
The Director of Youth and Family Ministry works with the Pastor(s), staff, lay leaders and others to support the spiritual health of the congregation and specifically the youth, primarily middle and high school age. Provides a connection between the St. Mark family and the growing number of youth. The lead Pastor is the immediate supervisor of the Director of Youth and Family Ministry. To view the full listing and apply,  click here .
All job postings can also be found online at  www.vasynod.org/job-opportunities. If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org