Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
Youth Take A Plunge Into the Community
"I knew I was just trouble when Caitlynn walked up to me one Sunday with the other youth nearby and said 'hey pastor,'" said Rev David Penman, the pastor of St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Norfolk, VA.

She looked at me and said, 'we want to raise $1000 for Special Olympics for the Polar Plunge. If we meet that goal will you commit to going in with us?' I committed and I knew when those words came out of my mouth that St. Timothy would make sure that those kids raised all the money."

Three youth from St. Timothy pose during the Polar Plunge. From left to right: Mackenzie Van Nurden,  Caitlynn Van Nurden,  and Abigail Patrick.
Polar Plunge is a fundraising event for Special Olympics that may seem a bit crazy when you first hear about it...actually it doesn't make much more sense after you dwell on it for a while but it works. The entire Polar Plunge in Virginia Beach raised over $1 million.

The idea is that people sign up as individuals or teams and they have to raise a minimum of $100 person to take the plunge into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean the day of the event. Splashing around in the ocean in February is no regular afternoon at the beach. A chilly 45 degrees combined with the coastal breeze provides quite a shock for the participants and a laugh for the onlookers.

The thought of that visual was what inspired the youth of St. Timothy's Lutheran Church to ask their pastor to join them if they met their goal.

"$1000 was above what we needed to participate but we thought it was a reasonable goal," said Caitlynn Van Nurden, a youth at St. Timothy. "Since it was going towards Special Olympics, we were really excited to raise the money."

The Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities: with more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries.

Every Sunday the youth's Polar Plunge goal was announced at church and during the week the youth were hard at work promoting their own online fundraising pages where their friends and family could donate.

Members from St. Timothy march towards the water in their bright orange T-Shirts during the Polar Plunge
The largest single source of money raised was from the St. Timothy Pie Auction. Everyone from church made or bought pies and then those pies were auctioned off. There was even a large pizza pie in the mix brought by Ben Alger, one of the youth leaders. Between the auction and through donations at church, St. Timothy's contributed almost $700 to the goal.

After all the donations were counted up, the youth and their leaders had raised over $1600 for Special Olympics and they knew they would have the joy of seeing their pastor take the chilly plunge with them.

"When we were on the beach, as the time go closer to go into the water, Pastor kept making excuses like he heard his phone ringing and had to go get it," Caitlynn said as she giggled while she remembered the scene.

While Pastor Penman enjoyed teasing the youth and sharing that moment, he said that what was really important was that the youth were getting the Gospel.

"One of the things that tickles me is that our youth are getting the message," said Pastor Penman.  The fact that they realize the meaning of the Gospel and are doing something for the benefit for the 'other' is truly amazing for me. Usually youth groups are involved with raising money for things the National Youth Gathering, but here they are with one of the biggest fundraisers of the year and they didn't keep anything for themselves."
 
The youth really are conscious of why they chose to participate in this fundraiser.

"One of the past few Sundays at church one of the things we focused on was getting out in the community," Caitlynn said. "When we found out that the money went to Special Olympics, we got really excited because that was a way to reach out to people who aren't directly connected to our church."

Caitlynn and the other youth are already planning for the 2017 Polar Plunge.
"Pastor said to get him in next year we may need to get $2000. He's raising the bar."



Announcements
We have new submission guidelines for the Virginia Synod! If you want to submit an announcement, please  check out the Submission Guidelines and send your submission to fuller@vasynod.org.
Register for 7th Day! 
Youth Event for 5th & 6th Graders
7th Day  is the Virginia Synod's 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.  7th Day is March 5-6, 2016, from noon Saturday to 1:30 on Sunday at Eagle Eyrie.  

Cost for participants:  $125 



It is that time of the year when TWO reports are due from rostered leaders and congregations:
1.) The Parochial Report - Form A and C (statistical information about your congregation, reported to our churchwide partners). 
The form can be found on the right side bar a www.elca.org/Resources/Office-of-the-Secretary.
2.) Rostered Leader Report to the Bishop - Each rostered leader completes this form and sends it to their Synod Bishop. The various forms are found under the "Synods" tab at  www.elca.org/Resources/Office-of-the-Secretary .

Questions? Contact the synod office!
In the Breaking of the Bread: Lutheran/Episcopal Retreat
Join clergy and rostered leaders for an ecumenical retreat held May 16-18, 2016, at Shrine Mont Conference Center in Orkney Springs, Virginia.  Participants will gain working knowledge of The Book of Common Prayer and Evangelical Lutheran Worship and how to use them to preside with instruction from renowned scholars. Learning and fellowship with national ecumenical officers, bishops, deployment officers, synod staff, and full communion clergy partners in your area will equip you for shared ministries of word and sacrament.

Registration deadline is April 18. For more information and to
register online, visit: VirginiaLutheranEpiscopal.wordpress.com
Regional Informational Sessions for Feeding Children in the Summer Months
Virginia Feeds Kids (The Virginia Synod Childhood Hunger Task Force) is hosting Regional Sessions for congregational leaders to explore feeding children during the summer months.

Link up with a food-providing sponsor and learn how to integrate a meal into your summer programs (like Vacation Bible School). 
Hunger Rumble Youth Retreat in Richmond
Your youth group and advisors are invited to participate in an overnight retreat and juice fast with learning & service based on hunger related issues. 
 
WHEN: FRIDAY, FEB. 26 - SATURDAY, FEB. 27
ARRIVE: 7 PM FRIDAY
DEPART 12:30 PM SATURDAY
WHERE:  Christ the King Lutheran Church
9800 W. HUGUENOT ROAD, RICHMOND, VA
FOR:  8th - 12th Graders.
GROUP RSVP TO: 804-272-2995 or info@ctkrva.org
WHAT TO BRING: a Canned Food item, an Adult Advisor, Juice to drink during the fast, Rice or Beans to break the fast, your Bible, overnight bed & toiletry item s

This event is co-sponsored by Epiphany & Christ the King 
ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission Event
Stewardship leaders are invited to an event where there is the opportunity to either attend the event in person in Chicago or to attend remotely via online participation. 

The event will be Starting at 10:30 AM to Noon CST on Sat. Feb. 27 with s pecial Presenters: Presiding Bishop Eaton  and c  Rev. Stephen Bouman, Executive Director of the   The Lutheran Center.
 
Participation in this event requires online registration.  This can be done at    https://community.elca.org/ELCAStewardCastFeb2016  until midnight on Friday, February 12.   
  
If you have any questions, please contact  keith.mundy@elca.orgor  neil.bullock@elca.org.

"Religion & Spirituality in A Changing Society" Lecture
Diana Butler Bass presents the James H. Taylor Memorial Lectures " Religion & Spirituality in a Changing Society." There will be three FREE lectures at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynchburg, VA. On Friday, March 11 at 7:00 pm the topic will be "Spiritual Revolution: The Rise of the Mystics". On Saturday, March 12 at 9:00 a.m. the topic will be "Experiencing God in Nature: Challenge and Promise" and at 11:00 a.m. the topic will be "Experiencing God in Our Neighbors: Great Command in Action". Please click here for more information.  Please Click Here For More Information
Job Opportunities
All posts can also be found online at  www.vasynod.org/job-opportunities. If you have job opening you would like posted, email fuller@vasynod.org. 
Associate Director for Philanthropy for the Fund for Leaders
This position secures gift revenue in support of the priority fundraising objectives of the ELCA as outlined in its case statement for Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA. It is responsible for identifying, cultivating and soliciting individuals with capacity for leadership gifts to the ministries of the ELCA, and will maintain a portfolio of major donor prospects.
 
This position could be a deployed position with the professional working from his/her home office, and may not require relocation to Chicago. The position requires up to 60-70% travel.
 
Download the Position Profile http://bit.ly/1KsC9Dz
 
Applications and inquiries may be directed, in confidence, to Gaye Lindfors: 651-490-9550; Gaye@SignificantSolutionsInc.com

Manager for Donor Relations for the ELCA Campaign
This position secures gift revenue in support of the priority fundraising objectives of the ELCA as outlined in its case statement for Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA. It is responsible for identifying, cultivating and soliciting individuals with capacity for leadership gifts to the ministries of the ELCA, and will maintain a portfolio of major donor prospects.
 
This position could be a deployed position with the professional working from his/her home office, and may not require relocation to Chicago. The position requires up to 60-70% travel.
 
Download the Position Profile http://bit.ly/1KsC9Dz
 
Applications and inquiries may be directed, in confidence, to Gaye Lindfors: 651-490-9550; Gaye@SignificantSolutionsInc.com

Part-time Executive Director of 
Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries
Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries is seeking a part-time executive director.  The position involves organizing and carrying out day-to-day operations of SVLM, working with the Board of Dirctors and volunteers, representing SVLM in the community.  Candidates should have administrative and managerial skills plus experience in fundraising,, grant writing and working with non-profit organizations.  If you are interested in being the 'public face' of SVLM or know someone who might be, respond to Cathy Christovich  valleycathy@gmail.com  and request a full job description.

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