All But the Turkey
This week we're hearing from Vicar Daniel Hess of Rural Retreat Lutheran Parish on the congregation's recent "All but the Turkey" feeding event hosted for the Thanksgiving holiday last week.
The East Highland Youth Group and the Parishes they are a part of, Rural Retreat Lutheran Parish, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, and Walker Mountain Lutheran Parish, came together this Thanksgiving to collect, assemble and distribute the “All but the Turkey” Thanksgiving meal bags. The bags were handed out at both the Lutheran Minnick School in Wytheville and through Katie’s Pantry, a free food pantry ministry outside of Grace Lutheran in Rural Retreat. The bags that were distributed included mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams, several types of vegetables, gravy, cornbread, homemade cookies, cranberry sauce and gift cards to the local grocery store to pick up a turkey.
The bags provided everything needed for a wonderful Thanksgiving day meal, short of friends and family gathered around. The idea came from a youth in the East Highlands youth group who suggested the idea as a way to give back this year. Members of all the churches quickly became excited about the idea and came together to bring donations, collecting enough food to create 38 bags and $225 worth of gift cards to be handed out the week before Thanksgiving.
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
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!
Download the 2018 Advent devotional from Luther Seminary
Luther Seminary invites you to use the 2018 Advent devotional, "Hark, the Glad Sound!" for personal or congregational use this Advent. This year's contributing authors are Lois Malcolm, ’89, Professor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary and Kyle Svennungsen, ’14, Associate Pastor, St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.
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
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.
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.
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
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