Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation
Across the globe Lutherans gathered to observe the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and many great celebrations happened right here in Virginia! From Pastors transforming into Martin Luther to musical celebrations there were many ways that congregations in the Virginia Synod reflected upon our heritage, history, and the affirmation of our central theological convictions.
Fredericksburg Area Congregations
On Sunday, October 29th, worshipers in Fredericksburg enjoyed a combined worship service to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. The service was held at Dodd Auditorium on the campus of the University of Mary Mary Washington. The event was sponsored by The House: Episcopal Lutheran Campus Ministry and organized by Christ Lutheran Church in Fredericksburg, Resurrection Lutheran Church in Fredericksburg, and St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Stafford. The service included featured guest speaker Father Don Rooney and a combined choir from all three churches including Christ Lutheran Church’s Bell Choir.
Charlottesville Area Congregations
A musical celebration on Reformation Sunday was held at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Charlottesville, with a combined choir from St. Mark, Peace Lutheran Church in Charlottesville, Grace and Glory in Palmyra , and Immanuel Lutheran Church of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). Thanks to the generosity of those in attendance, the congregations were able to send $477 to Lutheran Disaster Response .
St. Mark also enjoyed the return of the Marty Party in October. Martin Luther visited the Children’s Moment, and the Sunday School made a paper chain with 500 links in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation!
Trinity Lutheran Church in Stephens City
Trinity Lutheran Church in Stephens City, celebrated Reformation Sunday with a special service of Lutheran Hymns and biblical lessons. A German potluck luncheon followed with fun and games and lots of Luther references. There was a Luther Hymn Tree, the choir loft was decorated, and every member received a hand cut Luther Rose “snowflake” for their Chrismon/Christmas tree.
Bethel Lutheran Church in Winchester
During the month of October, Bethel Lutheran Church in Winchester offered various opportunities to celebrate and honor the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

Over the weekend of October 7-8 the congregation had a special Reformation Celebration weekend. On Saturday, October 7 Bethel held an "Oktoberfest" in our Bethel Park and raised $1000 for Hurricane relief. We had bratwurst, bounce houses and beer! The following day, Sunday, October 8, newly elected Bishop, Bob Humphrey , preached his first sermon in a congregation as Bishop. Interestingly, Bishop Mauney preached his final sermon in a congregation as Bishop at Bethel in August. So, we felt particular "special" to have this bookend experience. We concluded the weekend with a piano recital by Shenandoah piano performance doctoral student, and former Bethel organist, Richard Jeric . The recital was entitled, "A Reformation Recital: German Masterworks".

On Reformation Sunday, Bethel celebrated during Reformation Festival Worship with Confirmation, where our students shared their "faith statements". Pastor Dave Young then tied these together, using quotes by Luther, to our Reformation teaching of the "priesthood of all believers". We concluded the day by hosting a congregational potluck and presentation by parishioners who traveled to Germany on a Reformation 500 trip earlier this year.
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winchester
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church , in Winchester has commemorated  Reformation for the last year. Trees were planted in the spring, Luther hymns were sung, concerts rang out, and Luther's writings were studied. The congregation commemorated the 500th of the Reformation with a beautiful beaded Luther rose ornament, children received Playmobil Luther, all received various books throughout the year and 54 participants went to the Reformation Day Festival Worship at the National Cathedral.
Peninsula Conference
On Sunday, October 29th, the congregations and choirs of the Peninsula Conference gathered to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation with a festival choral worship service. The conference joined together to mark the beginning of our next five hundred years of witness with anniversary liturgy from the LWF Global Commemoration of the Reformation in Windhoek, Namibia last May and with hymns, anthems and instruments reflecting the joy of the church. The combined voices from all the congregations present filled the sanctuary with a joyful noise, reflecting the faith we came together to observe. The choral anthem, a combination of 9th century chant (Of the Father's Love Begotten) and a South African freedom song (Thula Sizwe) was a true example of the vastness of our liturgical traditions begun so long ago and renewed with the teachings of the Reformation.
The congregations of the Peninsula Conference include: Apostles Lutheran Church , in Gloucester, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hampton, Living Water Lutheran Church in Kilmarnock, Our Saviour’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Norge, Reformation Lutheran Church in Newport News, St Mark Lutheran Church in Yorktown, St Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church , in Hampton, St Stephen Lutheran Church in Williamsburg, and Trinity Lutheran Church in Newport News.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hampton
St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hampton is located on Mercury Blvd, the busiest street in town. The congregation posted a Reformation Door outside the church with rotating phrases that speak to the spirit of how the past 500 years can help guide St. Paul's in the future.
Williamsburg Area Congregations
Three Williamsburg Lutheran churches celebrated their joint heritage in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of The Reformation. King of Glory (LCMS), Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church and St. Stephen Lutheran churches held a series of events. The weekend began with delivering their donations to FISH. All three churches regularly support FISH through volunteers and donations. FISH provides food clothing, and small housewares to residents of James City County and Williamsburg who are in need. Since 1975, this all-volunteer organization has served the community. FISH cooperates with social service agencies, United Way, Avalon and churches to help with more than 4,000 requests for food each year.

The celebration continued on Saturday with members of all three Lutheran churches coming together to make cards for our military service members and to pack 15,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger. Rise Against Hunger seeks to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable people. The day ended with prayer and hymn singing.
Porthsmouth Area Congregations
First Lutheran Church in Portsmouth along with the three congregations in Portsmouth, Holy Communion Lutheran Church , St. Andrew Lutheran Church , and Redeemer Lutheran Church (LCMS) celebrated the 500th Anniversary together with hymns, a skit and dinner. The celebration was held at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, October 21st.
Richmond Conference of the Virginia Synod
On All Saints Day, approximately 260 members of Lutheran congregations in the Richmond Conference and local Roman Catholic congregations came together to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation at Epiphany Lutheran in Richmond. The service was based upon the joint Lutheran World Federation (LWF) - Roman Catholic event with Pope Francis in Sweden last year. Youth groups met prior to the service for fun, fellowship, and of course, food. During the service, representative families and individuals signifying different segments of our faith communities read the "five ecumenical imperatives" for Roman Catholics and Lutherans and lit a candle. These imperatives were agreed to in "From Conflict and Communion," a joint document of the Vatican and Lutheran World Federation.
First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in Richmond
First English in Richmond celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on two Sundays. On October 22, the congregation held a joint service with their neighbors at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, highlighting both the Lutheran and the Calvinist poles of the Protestant Reformation. They celebrated Holy Communion together, but in the "Presbyterian in the pews" manner.

On Reformation Sunday itself the congregation celebrated a festive service in their own church with the Schubert Mass in G in place of the usual ELW liturgy. A string quartet composed of Richmond Symphony musicians and augmented choir with guest soloists enriched the worship experience, which was followed by our traditional Reformation Pot Luck Dinner in the Fellowship Hall.
St. Philip’s Lutheran Church in Roanoke
St. Philip's primary Reformation gathering was "Come Together 2.017" on Friday, October 27. The event was about faith, fun, and fellowship. The congregation had opportunities for learning: about Katie Luther, about Reformation history, about Lutherans globally today. They had fun also: singing songs, Five Solas pumpkin ring toss, and a Diet of Worms game. Folks could also gather for Table Talks and make lavender sachets to ward off the plague. All in all it was a fun evening with some really good learning too!

During Pastor Kelly Bayer- Derrick's sermon on Reformation Sunday, the congregation was invited to use social media as our 21st century Wittenberg Castle Church door. They posted thoughts on: How would you describe God? What would you say about God's grace? Etc.
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynchburg
Holy Trinity Lutheran and Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Lynchburg marked the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a joint Vespers service, including Liturgy of Thanksgiving, Repentance, Common Witness and Commitment, on Reformation Day, October 31, at Holy Trinity. The Reverend Msgr. J. Kenneth Rush, Jr., and Linda Contreras from Holy Cross participated in the service.
Tidewater Conference of the Virginia Synod
Tidewater Conference observed the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a joint worship service on October 29 at First Lutheran Church in Norfolk. Members of all the congregations participated in the service as worship leaders, communion assistants and in the choir. It was a festive, joyous occasion!
Grace Lutheran Church in Chesapeake
Grace Lutheran Church in Chesapeake commemorated the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation by highlighting how the Holy Spirit is still moving and reforming!
The congregation’s morning worship services included a variety of special music—an anthem by the combined Grace Choir, an anthem by the Bell Choir, and a trumpet to accompany the sending hymn “A Mighty Fortress”.
On Saturday, October 28th, Grace held a Multicultural Potluck before showing Rick Steve’s new documentary on Martin Luther & the Reformation. Attendees enjoyed a variety of dishes (not just Swedish & German)—all of which are part of the Lutheran Story. That night and again on Reformation Sunday, there was also a Reformation Photo Booth, at which participants were encouraged to finish the sentence “I’m Lutheran and…” with something about themselves that we might automatically associate with “Lutheran Culture.” The Lutheran Church has a rich story—both historically and presently—which is more diverse than we sometimes think to highlight…and the Holy Spirit is moving through it all!
Thank you to the many congregations who shared their photos and stories of how they shared the Reformation in their congregation and in their communities! Check out the hashtag #VA500 on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for more photos and stories shared from Virginia Synod congregations!
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
Lost and Found 2017
Lost and Found  is our annual weekend retreat for youth in 7th and 8th grade and their adult advisors. 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 about 8 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. On Saturday afternoon there is large chunk of  Free Time  during which we will also hold out annual  Talent Show . In the evenings you will relax in your  Cottage  and talk with with other youth and adults from your congregation and other congregations about how the weekend is going.

This year's Lost and Found will be held on November 17th through November 19th

For more information and to register for Lost and Found, click here
RSVP for ForwardingFaith Congregational Training!
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!

For more information and to RSVP, click here
Tidewater Conference Commemorating Luther's Birthday and the Reformation
Dr. Eric Crump will be present a lecture at St Michael Lutheran Church on Thursday, November 9th, 2017 at 7:00 PM. An open forum will follow his lecture addressing A Proposal for the Reformation of Law and Gospel. Dr. Crump will explore the intricacies surrounding natural law, the Decalogue, and Jesus’ great love commandment.

Dr. Crump will also join us on Sunday, November 12th, 2017 between worship services (8:30 AM and 11:00 PM) for Adult Sunday school to continue the conversation surrounding how Lutheran’s interpret God’s Law and the Good News received through God’s Word.

All are welcome to attend these two opportunities to visit with our Professor in Residence as we continue our commemoration of Luther’s 95 Theses.

For more information on this and other Reformation events in the Tidewater Conference for October and November, click here.
“Martin Luther and the 95 Thesis: The Impact of the Reformation on Art and Culture”
First Lutheran’s own Pastor Rick Goeres will be a guest speaker at a special Old Dominion University event discussing the impact of the Protestant Reformation on western art and culture. This event will be held on  Friday, November 3rd , from 4:00 - 6:00 PM at O.D.U.’s Baron & Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, located at 4509 Monarch Way in Norfolk. 

For more information, click here .
The Episcopal Diocese of SW Virginia Presents
Pursuing the Beloved Community: A Continuing Conversation on Race
The Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia is in the midst of sponsoring a series of talks across our region titled, "Pursuing the Beloved Community: A Continuing Conversation on Race".   

The first two talks have already taken place in Lexington and Roanoke. The first talk can be watched in its entirety at  https://youtu.be/h5GgtARL9Ak .

The final talk is in Wytheville on  November 8th, 2017 , which will also be live-streamed. Each event features a presentation by Dr. Wornie Reed, Director of the Race and Social Policy Research Center and Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at Virginia Tech. 

Following Dr. Reed’s presentation, there will be a question and answer time as well as informal discussion.

For more information, click here .
Dodson Lecture, November 16 featuring The Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber
St. John’s Episcopal Church in Roanoke is excited to host the Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber for its Dodson Lecture series the evening of Thursday, November 16.

Thursday morning, we would like to invite clergy and other church ministry staff to attend an informal conversation with her at St. John’s. The talk will begin at 10:00 and run about an hour and a half; we’ll provide coffee and light refreshments (arrive around 9:45 for coffee, name tags and to say hello).
Please share this invitation with colleagues - Episcopalian and otherwise - and RSVP to St. John’s to let us know if you are coming. This is a free event.

Contact: The Reverend Whitney Burton 
wburton@stjohnsroanoke.org 540-343-9341 .
Day of Prayer & Reflection Sponsored by The Lutheran Episcopal Joint Committee of Virginia
The  Northern Gathering of a “Day of Prayer & Reflections”  sponsored by the  Lutheran Episcopal Joint Committee of Virginia  is planned for lay and clergy Tuesday November 14th, 2017 . The Rev. Dr. A. Katherine Grieb, Meade Professor Biblical Interpretation and New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, will lead presentations. Register by November 7th at  www.bit.ly/northdayofprayer .

For more information, click here .
LARCUM CONFERENCE, 2017: “500 Years later: Ecumenical Dialogue as Gift and Call”
December 1-2 in Richmond, VA
St. Stephen’s Episcopal; St. Bridget Roman Catholic
2017 has been an exceptional time for worship, study and workshops in our
congregations and synod to commemorate the 500 th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation and to look at the question: “What is this?” The up-coming LARCUM (Lutheran/Anglican/Roman Catholic/United Methodist) Conference, beginning at 6 pm Friday and finishing at 12:30 pm Saturday, offers all of us (members and rostered leaders) a wonderfully informative opportunity to close the year with the question: “What now?”

Our presenter, Dr. Susan K. Wood, a Sister of Charity, professor, co-author with
Timothy Wengert of a book on Catholic-Lutheran relations and noted speaker will offer:
  • “How did we get here?” Lutherans and Catholics telling the reformation stories together rather than separately to see what a reconciling Church might look like.
  • The significance of 2 documents: “From Conflict to Communion” and “Declaration on the Way.”
  • A view that this reformation observance is one of vulnerability and opportunity in order to move forward in understanding and co-operation.

Contact your pastor, the Virginia Synod office or Pastor Eric Moehring
( ericjohnmoehring@gmail.com; 804-517- 3073) for a brochure. Please register ($35; students no charge) as soon as possible (hopefully by Nov. 17), but know that registrations will be accepted even at the event, Remember to make your own motel reservations (See: “lodging”) as needed. See you in Richmond.
Disability and Youth Ministry Conference
Princeton Theological Seminary
In theology and ministry with young people, disability is often treated as a problem to be solved. Christian leaders approach people with disabilities as a target audience in need of integration into traditional church programming, rather than as full-fledged members of Christian community. But what would happen if the Church were to invest in and affirm young people with disabilities as active members of the body of Christ? How might the Church be reformed and reshaped by God’s work in young people with disabilities? Join the  Institute for Youth Ministry   February 1 – February 2, 2018
where we will engage both scholars and practitioners, striving to create an interdisciplinary conversation that makes a difference in a world of difference.

For more information, click here .
Job Opportunities
Director of Music, Grace & Glory Lutheran Church in Palmyra
Grace & Glory Lutheran Church, a 250 member congregation in Palmyra, VA seeks an accomplished keyboardist and choir director to begin serving as Director of Music by January 1, 2018. Applicants must possess an undergraduate degree in a musical field, be familiar with liturgical music traditions, and be able to lead a diverse group of people of all ages and musical abilities. Depending on needs of the congregation and availability of the candidate, primary duties of this part-time (approximately 20 hrs/wk) position may include playing for 1 or 2 Sunday morning church services and all festival/special services, rehearsing and accompanying the adult vocal and hand bell choirs, and leading music for Sunday School and summer Vacation Bible School. Compensation package of up to $25,000  per year depending on ability and experience, and final determination of duties. 
For a full current position description or to apply, please email  gglcelca@embarqmail.com.   Please include both a cover letter and resume when applying.
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  http://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