Planning Winter Celebration
Winter Celebration, the Virginia Synod youth event for 9th through 12th graders held its first weekend last week, from January 20th to the 22nd . This coming weekend will be the second weekend for the event. Anticipation is mounting from participants and planners as the final Winter Celebration weekend approaches . Starting tomorrow even more high schoolers and their adult advisors will get to experience all the planning group's hard work (and fun) that shapes this event from beginning to end .

The high school students that make up the planning team this year are Sammi Crittenden of  St. Stephen Williamsburg, Hannah Girard of Salem Mount Sidney, Johnny Kiewer of St. Mark Charlottesville, Kelsey Welch of Good Shepherd Tidewater, Erin Watcher of Epiphany Richmond, and Karl Zimbauer of  St. Stephen Williamsburg.
This planning group has spent months together in preparation before the participants from either week arrived at Eagle Eyrie, the site of both Winter Celebration weekends . In the months leading up to the event, the group worked to shape every aspect of Winter Celebration. From participant t-shirt designs to the scripture that centers both weekends- the group handles it all .

But planning the event isn't their only responsibility. The planning group, along with their advisors and chaplain, strive to make sure the final assembly of the event goes well too . Setting up the stage, holding last minute rehearsals of their skits, assembling small group bags, and organizing t-shirts are a few of the ways this group makes sure the event goes off without a hitch It all seems like a lot of work, given the stressful workload that comes with being a high school student too. For the planning group, it's all worth it. 
"What we're doing is creating so much- and it takes so much energy, but it's worth the workload. It's a very special time, and I wish it could last forever," Karl said of preparing the weekend event. 

From their production, the group has been taking stock of how meaningful youth events have been in their life with their new roles . They know their efforts impact participants of Virginia Synod youth events. "When you come from a small church that a doesn’t have a large youth group- you see at events how much you can grow in your faith and grow with others . There’s so much more to all this than I ever thought. Attending events can bring you closer to the church in ways that just attending church on Sunday might not be able to," Sammi explained .

Hannah followed up on Sammi's thoughts, stating, "Church can be really hard to grasp- it can be so focused towards adults . But Youth Events are geared towards us and how we think , and for me, it’s helped me connect to the church. I want to be more active and to be present in the church like I’m present at Youth Events."

All their efforts will pay off once more in the final weekend of Winter Celebration. The event begins tomorrow evening, with over 290 participants and youth expected to attend.
Winter Celebration 2017 Week 1 Planning Group
Behind the scenes with the 2017 Winter Celebration Planning Group! All their hard work and fun came together to make an amazing week 1, and will be returning for week 2 January 27-29
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7th Day 2017

7th Day is our annual overnight event for youth in 5th and 6th grades and their adult advisors. During the weekend participants are part if a “Shepherd Group” with other youth and adult leaders and explore a story of the Bible through drama, games, crafts, and music. In the evening youth and adults will have time to relax in their Cottages with their congregation and other congregations from Virginia and discuss how 7th Day is going.

For more information, and to register for 7th Day click here
Register Now for the Spring 2017 ACTS Course
Join us March 11th and April 1st at Grace Evangelical Lutheran in Waynesboro (or at two Simulcast locations). Hear Rev. Dave Delaney present an introduction to the Old Testament, providing participants a broad view of the history of Ancient Israel and how their scriptures came to be.

For more information, and to register for the Spring ACTS course, 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.  
To begin the survey click here
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
2017 YAGM Application 
Imagine, for a moment, stepping into an experience that will transform your life. A year dedicated to serving others, experiencing a new culture and living in deep mutual relationship.

If you or a loved one are between the ages of 21-29, consider applying to the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program, a one-year, international, faith-based service opportunity in one of 11 country programs around the world.

The YAGM application is live and ready! Online applications can be found at , and are due Feb. 15, for service beginning in Aug. 2017.

For questions, please contact or call 773-380-2562
Job Opportunities
Philanthropy Director Winchester, VA
For more information or to submit a resume, please email Annette Damron
All job postings can also be found online at . If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at