Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
The Synod Youth Ministry Intern's Experience  
For this week's Weekly, Youth Ministry Intern Emma Kessler was asked to write a piece on her experience working in the Virginia Synod this summer as well as her personal experiences growing up in the Lutheran Church in Vermont. Below is her account of this summer's Youth Ministry programs, and the impact it has had on her life.
From left to right: Maren Corliss, Emma Kessler, and Emily Pilat
at Power in the Spirit
I was asked in April if I would be interested in being Dave Delaney's Youth Ministry Intern this summer. I talked to my friend, Lauren Harris, last year's intern, and told her that I didn't feel religious enough to take on this task. I didn't go to church every Sunday. I did, however go to the campus church every Wednesday at 9:15. It was a wham-bam, thank you Ma'am service of 45 minutes. I sat down in Dave's office, and after some conversation decided I would take the plunge. I didn't tell him that I didn't feel religious enough to take on the job.

I started June 1st . Before I launch into my experience this summer, I want to take a step back and talk about my upbringing and the church. My Mother is Lutheran, and my Father is Jewish. Growing up we practiced both Christian and Jewish holidays and events. We went to church every Sunday (minus my Father), and he would come around Christmas to see our play. We celebrated Hanukkah, saying the prayer in Hebrew, picking out candles and lighting them. My parents teaching us about two slightly different religions, helped me to find where I really wanted to be, which was in church, whether it be Sunday or Wednesday. Growing up in Vermont we had few Lutheran churches; compared to the south we barely had any churches. For some unknown reason to me, we had no youth events. The one time we did have one it was not just Lutherans present, but other branches of Christianity.
Emma at Kairos
When I started my internship we were about one week away from Synod Assembly. Dave was running the Youth Assembly portion for the teens. I decided to be a small group leader, and it was a great experience. What really amazed me however, was the church service at Saint Andrews on Saturday night; a hall full of LUTHERANS. There were so many I couldn't count them all! I had goose bumps and one time felt my eyes well with tears. We were all there with one purpose: to sing of God's praise. It was an incredibly moving experience.

Our next event was Kairos, with Youth Assembly hot on our heels and only one weekend between the two. I was a small group leader there as well, with the amazing Saundra Larson (who recently moved to South Dakota). We sang, we danced, we laughed, we cried, we ate and we hugged. The one thing we didn't do was get much sleep.
Emma and her Kairos Small Group
After Kairos we had about a week break before Launch started. I got a phone call the Sunday before from my Mother. Our 13 year old, yellow lab, Simon was going to be put down. He couldn't walk. I flew to Vermont the next day on the 4th of July. It was a sunny, warm day with a light breeze. We all sat outside on the grass, the shade of the house providing comfort. The vet came and sat with us. I grew up with that dog and loved him like I love my brother. My faith got me through it.

Thursday I was right back at work preparing last minute details for LAUNCH, an event for just graduated high school students. After LAUNCH I got a bit of a breather, and took some time to attend portions of Power in the Spirit and Theology for Teens. In less than a week I will finish my internship. I have learned so much about Jesus and myself because of this summer. I've become closer to God. I trust him more, and will continue to work on that. Faith isn't stagnant. Faith ebbs and flows; it brings up questions that you may or may not find the answers to. Faith is a journey. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it. Faith, much like you, is a work in progress. Trust the process, trust God, have faith.
Emma with the 2016 Kairos Planning Group
The entire Synod office would like to extend our great thanks to Emma for her fantastic service this summer. Her joy and constant smile has constantly brightened our hearts every day, as she has worked tirelessly alongside Dave Delaney to ensure Youth Ministry programs for the summer went off without a hitch. We wish her well in the coming fall and spring as she remains in Roanoke to finish her student teaching at Roanoke College.
 If you want to submit an announcement, please  check out the Submission Guidelines and send your submission to pilat@vasynod.org.

September 4-11, 2016 will be the Virginia Synod's 4th annual Week of Service! 

The Virginia Synod Week of Service coincides with "God's Work, Our Hands" Sunday, the ELCA Day of Service on September 11.  This year's dedicated day of service also marks the 15-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

We have extended the opportunity to serve to accommodate varying schedules. Last year 70 churches participated in the Week of Service.

All congregations are invited to reach out into their neighborhoods to become God's hands and feet, to serve those in need and to share God's compassion with the world. The Week of Service is an opportunity for everyone to intentionally invest time in service projects outside the walls of the church. Pick a project and prepare to serve others in the name of God's love.

For more information on how you and your congregation can get involved- click here!

Final Call for NLCS Community Impact Grant Applications

National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) is pleased to announce the availability of Community Impact grants for the 2017 year. As a faith-based not-for-profit ministry providing an array of services for seniors, NLCS strongly believes that its mission extends beyond the physical boundaries of its residential communities and is committed to supporting the work of other non-profit organizations, including congregations and community-based programs, that address the critical needs of seniors today.
Each year, NLCS awards grants to organizations that share in the same passion of serving seniors. All grants must address at least one of the following urgent needs faced by seniors:
  • Chronic disease management
  • Navigating and accessing health care and social services
  • Dealing with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and memory loss
  • Social isolation
  • Poverty and financial insecurity
Does your organization qualify? Proposals will be accepted until August 15, 2016. To learn more about the submission of grant proposals visit: 
Questions? Contact us at communityimpact@nationallutheran.org or 301-354-2703 and ask for Community Impact. 

The offering will benefit GraceInside, the non-profit organization that provides chaplains to Virginia's prisons, Matthew Harper, an incarcerated member of St. David's, will preach.

Featuring: John Gonzalez del Solar of Fan Guitar and Ukulele, members of the River City Ukulele Society, and others.
60th Anniversary Celebration at Lutherock-Aug 19-21

Come celebrate 60 years of ministry at Lutherock Lutheran Camp and Conference with us! Join us for a day or weekend of celebration and reconnecting with your brothers and sisters in Christ. The weekend will be full of fun camp activities such as: ice cream making, skits and songs around the campfire, hiking on the property, climbing the Challenge Tower, zipping off the ropes course and so much more! Overnight accommodations are based on availability and require pre-registration. Space is limited, so register early!

Enjoy picnic lunch, recognitions and day activities: Free will offering and does not require pre-registration.
Tent camping: $10/person or $20/per family each night
Moretz Lodge, Cabin Village, Founder's Lodge, or Stone Lodge: $20/person or $40/family each night
Crow's Nest: $30/person or $50/family each night
Rates include meals, lodging and programming for the weekend!

Racial Reconciliation in the Roanoke Valley
Faith leaders in the Roanoke Valley, of any faith or denomination, are you interested in conversation discussing racial reconciliation? Join together Wednesday, August 17th from 9-11 AM at the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia for a discourse on institutional racism in the Roanoke Valley, the need for social justice, and the next steps to be taken.

Please RSVP by email to mhays-smith@dioswva.org

St. Stephen Lutheran Church Theologian in Residence Weekend Sept 16-18
Dr. Mark Allan Powell, New Testament professor at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, and an internationally known biblical scholar, will be the Theologian in Residence at St. Stephen, Williamsburg, Sept. 16-18. His topics will be "Jesus Gets Passionate: The Driving Concerns that Determined his Life and Death, Christ and Culture: Paradigms for Social Transformation, and Things that Divide Us."
Children's Ministry Training
Fall 2016 ACTS Courses
Register Now for Fall 2016 ACTS Courses
Join us October 1st and October 29th at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Waynesboro, Virginia. Hear Dr. Terri Elton address the paradox of ministry leadership, looking at the importance of balancing our role with God's.

Renew and Retreat a Christian Formation Retreat  
Tuesday Oct 4, 4:30 PM - Thursday Oct 6, 10 AM 
Co-Partnered by Camp Caroline Furnace and
Roots and Wings a Christian Formation Committee of the VA Synod

Retreat Presenter:  Debbie Streicher, President of the Christian  Formation Network of the ELCA. 

Debbie will lead us in a discussion about steps needed to immerse our children and youth in faith and creating meaningful milestones, moments that make a difference as they support children, youth and families of all ages in their faith journey.
Come to Camp Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center for a retreat which is specifically designed to support and equip both full-time and part-time professional and volunteer Children, Youth and Family Ministry staff. In addition to an educational component there will be ample time for networking and resource sharing, as well as relaxation, conversation and worship. 

50 Forward Living Well Retreat at Lutherock- Oct 7-9
Gather your 50 (years) & forward friends for an enriching and inspiring weekend in beautiful Western North Carolina. Gain new tools for living well at every age! Retreat features 2 keynote speakers:
  • Jeff Yeager - an entertaining media personality who's been featured on Good Morning America. Author of "How to Retire the Cheapskate Way" and "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Guide to True Riches," among others.
  • Pastor Tom Hafer - author of "Faith and Fitness," "Well planet," and "Aging Grace." He's a physical therapist, certified Athletic Trainer and a national speaker on the connections between faith and fitness.
Other retreat highlights include:
  • Entertainment by "Sound Investment," a fun- loving, crowd-pleasing, 4-piece band featuring classic rock of the '60s and '70s
  • A "farm to table" dinner, including a discussion with the chef
  • Saturday worskhop options to help you live well, peacefully, and faithfully
  • Optional Saturday afternoon outings, including a microbrewery tour, prayerful walking, painting 
Find out more about the speakers, workshops, and other offerings by visiting www.50ForwardLife.com
Clinical Pastoral Education at The Village at Orchard Ridge
National Lutheran Communities & Services, as a satellite of The Eastern Mennonite Seminary Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, develops pastors and chaplains who are reflective practitioners, able to draw upon the best in their theological traditions and the behavioral sciences for ministry that is increasingly faithful and fruitful. Participants are formed in ministry through individual learning goals and through reflection in community upon pastoral practice by means of case studies, seminars and individual supervision.

Units offered in a community of seniors on the campus of The Village at Orchard Ridge-A National Lutheran Community allows the participant to work with a population that they will likely encounter for the whole of their ministry careers. We offer a unique, creative and engaging community that will assist the participants' ability to minister, reflect, engage and grow.

Upcoming Mission Trip to Nicaragua
Zion Lutheran Church in Waynesboro is planning their second annual mission trip to Nicaragua.  They are inviting any congregations or members of Virginia Synod congregations to join in on this wonderful opportunity.  To answer some questions you may have and to explore more information check out the following links: 

Job Opportunities
Director of Youth and Children's Ministry
Faith Lutheran Church, Suffolk, is seeking a part-time Director of Youth and Children's Ministries. The DYCM will direct/coordinate children's programs within the church including Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Christmas Programs, Children's Church, and other youth programs. Full job description available upon request. Applicants must have a valid driver's license, transportation, a minimum of a high school diploma/equivalent, and pass a background check.

Please submit cover letter, résumé, and three references to: 
Al Blanchard, FLC Personnel Committee Chairperson at faith_lutheran@verizon.net.

Required education:
  • High school or equivalent
Required license or certification:
  • Driver's License
All posts can also be found online at  www.vasynod.org/job-opportunities. If you have job opening you would like posted, email pilat@vasynod.org. 
Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story Idea? Send it to pilat@vasynod.org and make sure to follow our
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