New Year, New Look!
The Weekly Update is stepping into 2017 with a new style, we hope you like it! Don't worry, we won't let this new look get to our heads.  We will as always provide you with important announcements and unique stories shared from the Virginia Synod on a weekly basis, same as always!
Come In From The Cold
For many of us, chilly winter months mean lots of time spent shut in and bundled up to stay warm and comfortable. At St. Luke's of Culpeper, winter’s harsh weather is an opportunity to open their doors and welcome the homeless inside for warmth, food, and a safe space to rest for the evening. Joined with roughly 22 area churches, and partnered with local businesses, St. Luke’s is the host for The Culpeper Winter Heat Shelter, serving those in need in the bottom floor of their parish hall. The shelter operates for 18 weeks each winter, beginning in mid to late November as a comforting haven from the cold.

The Winter Heat Shelter is working to meet the great need in the Culpeper area, "Last year we served a total of 78 people over four months. This year in the first six weeks alone we have served a total of 42 people,” said Bill Schlegel, a member of St. Luke’s and Treasurer and Vice Chair of The Culpeper Winter Heat Shelter. Last year St. Luke’s had 18 cots available for its guest to rest on, but this year thanks in part to a grant they received funding to purchase additional cots and can now comfortably house up to 33 men, women, and children on cots. 

In addition to bedding, the shelter provides chaperones, warm dinner, breakfast, as well as a bagged lunches for guests staying at the Winter Heat Shelter. These services all provided by volunteers from St. Luke’s and the 22 area churches that work together in this ministry. By the end of this winter season roughly 150 volunteers from the Culpeper community will have given their time to assist those in need. 

Pastor Kate Costa of St. Luke’s is a champion for the ministry provided by the Winter Heat Shelter serving at St. Luke’s, stating that “It’s how you serve your neighbor. Jesus calls us to tend to our neighbors and we are blessed to be in a position to do God’s work.” Doing God’s work at the shelter may take the form of chaperoning, serving meals, or spending time talking to guest and playing games.

For Bill, the shelter’s efforts are a personal cause for him, “I can’t imagine living homeless, but I was in need when I was nine,” at that young age Bill’s father passed away, and his mother was then hospitalized for long-term treatment, leaving him in need of a new home, “God provided an incredible one for me. I had the opportunity to attend a residential school called Milton Hershey School.” There he received housing, education. Now retired, Bill is able to pay the kindness given to him when he was young to those in need now, “It’s a way to share a little, and has been an enjoyable way to get to meet and bring people together different denominations, faiths, and races to serve a common purpose.”

There’s faith Pastor Kate said that this shelter can be a place of support that can lead to independence for those they serve, “The hope is for them to find a place where they are loved, where their worth is the fact that they are a child of God. The primary way we show love is by providing housing and food, and from our actions we hope they find God. We hope this ministry can assist them in becoming independent.”

This ministry is not exclusive to winter months alone. Over the summer St. Luke and four other area churches held food drives, to support the food pantry that feeds the guests staying in the shelter. The year-round mission to assist the homeless during the coldest months of the year is one that has encouraged many volunteers, and members of the community to show continued support for the Winter Heat Shelter.

“Last year, my fellow committee members would frequently say “God is Good” to each other when additional support came our way, or good news about a shelter guest came our way.  We had many opportunities to repeat that phrase. This year, the outpouring of support, and resources- financial, food, supplies, volunteers, and new partner Churches- for this ministry has been overwhelming.  Unfortunately, we see a continuing and growing need.” 

Culpeper Virginia Winter Heat Shelter About Us Video
For additional information on The Culpeper Winter Heat Shelter, or to donate time, money, or food, email  or on Facebook at  Culpeper Winter Heat Shelter .
Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story Idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at pilat@vasynod.organd make sure to follow our
Winter Celebration 2017
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 more information, and to register for Winter Celebration  click here!
Virginia Synod Bishop Election Feedback Requested
It is an exciting time in our synod as we approach the election of a new bishop at our 2017 Synod Assembly. Many of you already know that Bishop Mauney has announced his retirement next year and, so, we are preparing for the tenure of a new leader.
We need the help of congregational members and leaders - that's you! In much the same way as we prepare to call a new pastor in our congregations, we want to prepare to call a new bishop with as much attention and prayer as possible.
These survey results will be helpful for those who are potential nominees, which are determined by ecclesial ballot, to know how we see the ministry needs in our synod. It will also help the 2017 Synod Assembly voting members to know the mind of the Virginia church as they enter into the election process. 
Reformation 500 Observances
As the second oldest Lutheran college in the USA, the mission statement of Roanoke College declares that we "honor our Christian heritage by nurturing a dialogue between faith and reason." In this spirit, Roanoke College announces a series of special academic events from late 2016 through the anniversary year 2017 in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and in coordination with the 175th anniversary of the college's founding.

For more information on this and future events from Roanoke College celebrating the Reformation-  click here!
The Experience at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS)
The name The Experience was chosen because LTSS believes what you, as a prospective student, experiences is the most appropriate and influential way to determine which seminary is the right place to earn your theological education. During your time with us, we will show you our community and the community surrounding us. You will experience life with our current students and the heartbeat of campus. Also, our faculty will offer you a glimpse of the classroom experience that is essential to your theological formation. We look forward to welcoming you to The Experience!
Jenn Casey, an alum of LTSS and our Enrollment Director reflects, "I remember having a lot of questions during my discernment process and I often wondered if I was the only person with those questions. I also thought I must be crazy for thinking that God was calling me into ordained ministry. I now know I wasn't the only one, but it can be a confusing process!"
We have four opportunities, click on each on for registration information.

Questions? Contact Kohl Friery at 803-461-3296 or If you want to visit LTSS but these events don't work, email Kohl and set up a private visit!
Job Opportunities
Philanthropy Director Winchester, VA
National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) is recruiting for Philanthropy Director in Winchester, VA. Reporting to the Chief Philanthropy Officer, the Philanthropy Director is an integral position within the organization, serving as lead in all areas related to philanthropic programs at a specific National Lutheran Community & Services (NLCS) Community. Responsible for cultivation and stewardship programs in support of the fundraising goals established by National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) and The Village at Orchard Ridge (NLCS Community), including capital campaigns. Assures that the institutional fundraising efforts follow excellent management and stewardship practices in stewarding donors and gifts made to NLCS with particular emphasis on the identified communities. Designs, implements and/or maintains a comprehensive fundraising program including annual giving, major gifts, endowment and capital campaigns, fundraising events and other special projects of the NLCS Community supportive of and in accordance with the overall NLCS goals and objectives 

For more information or to submit a resume, please email Annette Damron at 
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