God's Work. Our Hands.
The week of September 9th through the 15th marked Virginia Synod's 6th annual Week of Service, which coincides with "God's Work, Our Hands" Sunday, the ELCA Day of Service on Sunday, September 9, 2018. We previously reported a number of ways congregations in our synod reached out into neighborhoods to become God's hands and feet, to serve those in need and to share God's compassion with the world. This week, we’re sharing several more stories from our congregations served their communities as some congregations plans were shifted due to Hurricane Florence’s forecast for our region.
Serving All Year Round
Lakeside Lutheran Church in Littleton, North Carolina celebrates God’s Work Our Hands all year long! This year they participated in projects that had them serving their local elementary school, farms in their state, a local child abuse resource and education center, and local food banks.

Lakeside hosted a spring and fall luncheon during school work days that supported local elementary school teachers. Church members served up homemade sandwiches, salads, and desserts for the teachers since there are no resources for lunch in the area, providing a much needed break from setting up and breaking down their rooms at school. Lakeside also assists the school during the school year providing tutoring for the students as needed.
This summer, members at Lakeside became aware of the need for long sleeved cotton shirts for use by farm workers in the southern part of the state. Within four days the congregation had gathered a massive amount of shirts that were boxed and taken to the collection center.

The John 3:16 Center: CARE, a local Child Abuse Resource and Education Center offers a summer day camp for underprivileged students in our area. For six weeks, one day per week, our congregation provided lunch for approximately 25 children and helpers. A group of about 10 members gathered to clean up roadside trash in a one mile area in front of the church and adjacent business.
Throughout the year the congregation also assists the local Food Bank with distribution of food to those in the area that are in need. Lakeside also assisted the United Methodist Church in Lawrenceville, Virginia with the packaging and distribution of food at their food bank.

Unfortunately, this year their week of acknowledgement for Lakeside’s year of service was stalled due to the arrival of Hurricane Florence that caused massive winds and rain for their area. “I feel sure we will be needed in many places in the state in the weeks to come to aid others in rebuilding and supporting daily activities,” shared Betsy Freeman, a member of Lakeside, “We are privileged to have a congregations where all we need to do is ask they step up and answer God’s call.”
Helping Our Mission Partners
St. John Lutheran Church in Abingdon and Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bristol cleared the outdoor chapel at the Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center (HMLRC). On Saturday September 8th 13 volunteers from both congregations met at HMLRC to work on clearing the area of the outdoor chapel, which has some overgrowth . They were met with hard work, good fun and fellowship as the outdoor clearing began to take shape.
Trinity Lutheran Church in Roanoke took part in two service projects as part of their Week of Service. Two volunteers from Trinity put on a bingo game complete with prizes for all the 35 participants at the Adult Day Support Center, Roanoke, of Lutheran Family Services. “One young participant came up all excited after the game to tell us this was the first time in the Center's history of bingo that he was the first to win a prize,” shared Pastor Ken Lane. Trinity Lutheran also worked together to assemble Church World Services (CWS) Hygiene Kits for Disaster Relief. Eleven volunteers packed fifty bags which filled two large boxes we shipped to CWS.
Perfect Timing
Peace Lutheran Church in Charlottesville celebrated their day of service in conjunction with their Fall Kick-Off. Over 50 people participated in several projects which included organizing the warehouse of All Blessings Flow ( allblessingsflow.org), moving furniture from a donor to several recipients through Love Inc. ( loveinccville.org), cleaning and yard word at the church to prepare building for outside groups that use the building, delivery of kitchen supplies that were collected at our VBS to Lutheran Family Services' Day Support Center in Charlottesville.

The service project at All Blessings Flow was particularly special for Pastor Lauren Miller, as she shared, “One of our other projects that I'd hoped to do that day didn't work out, so I found myself needing to find another project for us at the last minute. I called Annie Dodd at All Blessings Flow to see if there was something we could do to help them. Turns out she and her husband had just the day before purchased additional shelving for their warehouse because they had more donations than they could handle, and they were trying to figure out how in the world they'd get the shelves built and all the donations organized on their own. The timing was perfect for a group of 15 people to show up and work for a few hours. She said my call was an answered prayer, and by the end of the conversation we were both in tears, overwhelmed by how God works in these crazy, unexpected ways.”
Helping in Many Ways
Muhlenberg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg participated in a variety of service projects including painting doors the Minnick School, hosting a blood drive, participating in the South Valley Rise Against Hunger helping to fill 23,000 meal bags, and packing lunches for Second Home a before and after school program.
Packing lunches for Second Home was one the most memorable service projects for Diane Bayer who shared that, “Those of us helping with the lunches we amazed by how much the children working grasped the fact that Jesus calls us all to love and care for one another….children in Pre-K through 5 grade classes of Christian Formation shared their excitement about making sandwiches and packing 104 healthy lunches. They talked about how much fun it was to work to help other children have something good to eat.”
The service project not only showcased the young children’s enthusiasm to give back, but also how they learned about the need for these lunches and how they were making a difference for other children, “The older children answered the younger children’s questions about why kids in Second Home didn’t have enough to eat. They explained that many of the parents work but don’t make enough money to pay for everything and that means sometimes the children don’t have enough to eat. This made all the children sad and talked about other ways they can help throughout the year. What wonderful faith forming experience not just for the children but also for all the adults who were helping and listening. Together we all felt the meaning of the words “Our Hands, God’s Work”!
Thank be to God to all who participated in the Virginia Synod Week of Service, and beyond! Every act of service, in every daily calling, in every corner of life – flows freely from a living, daring confidence in God’s grace.
ForwardingFaith Campaign Update
We’re excited to hear stories and updates from congregations who have joined in the ForwardingFaith campaign and creatively spread the good news of faith formation in Virginia during their appeals! This week we've got updates from around the state, and a great story of an appeal ongoing at Grace Lutheran Church in Chesapeake.
Over the weekend, Grace Lutheran Church in Chesapeake in concluded their “Dunk Pastor or President?!?!” fundraiser for the ForwardingFaith campaign, raising just under $750. More money was donated in Pastor Leslie Scanlon's bucket, so she was dunked, but Grace's council president Rich Fraenkel got in afterwards and let people dunk him for extra donations! Grace Lutheran has now appeared surpassed their $8000 goal with plans to donate their Fall Flea Market proceeds to the campaign as well. The Fall Flea Market will be held on October 6th.
In addition to Grace, Chesapeake several other congregations have recently taken part or begun their own appeals for the ForwardingFaith campaign:

  • St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hampton has recently concluded their appeal.
  • Muhlenberg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg currently is holding their appeal and will conclude on October 7th.
  • Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Richmond in recently held their pledge day on September 16th.

The Virginia Synod celebrates the leadership and generosity of the people of God at these many congregations in support of the ForwardingFaith campaign. As a Synod, we look forward to celebrating with your congregation and sharing how your congregation grows forward in faith.
September 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  pilat@vasynod.org  and make sure to follow our
Fall 2018 ACTS Course
This year's spring ACTS course will be held October 20th and November 10th at Grace Evangelical Lutheran in Waynesboro (or at two Simulcast locations). The Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert will present on Lutheran Confessions.

For more information on the Fall ACTS course and to register for this fall's course,  click here .
2018 Lost and Found
Lost and Found is our annual weekend retreat for youth in 7th and 8th grade and their adult advisors. 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 about 8 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. On Saturday afternoon there is large chunk of Free Time during which we will also hold out annual Talent Show. In the evenings you will relax in your Cottage and talk with other youth and adults from your congregation and other congregations about how the weekend is going.

For more information on Lost and Found and to register for the even,  click here .
“Ask, Thank, Tell” Generosity & Stewardship Resources for Virginia Synod Congregations
I look forward to supporting the stewardship ministries of the Virginia Synod though resourcing and collaboration. Below you will find the first collection of resources to provide assistance to Stewardship Teams beginning to plan for the fall. You can download a pdf version of the resources listed below here:  Ask Thank Tell Stewardship Resources August 2018

If you or someone in your congregation is interested in being on the  "Virginia Synod Stewards"  newsletter list, please sign up here:  bit.ly/2M8vXmK .

If you are interested in being a part of the newly forming Virginia Synod Stewards Table, please email me at:  wertz@vasynod.org  for more information.

Peace and hope,
Pastor John Wertz, Jr.
Director for Evangelical Mission
Assistant to the Bishop, VA Synod
Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center Upcoming Events
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  julie@carolinefurnace.org  to learn more.
Fall Fest and Camp-out: October 27-28 2018
Fall Fest is held in the field at St. John's Chapel and features a bluegrass worship service, provided picnic lunch, field games, and pumpkin carving. All are welcome! This is a fun opportunity to come see us at Caroline Furnace, either for the first time ever or the first time in awhile. Please RSVP for Fall Fest on the Facebook event posting if you are able, and sign up online or call us to reserve your space for the camp-out.

For an event flyer, click here, and to sign up for the camp out click here.

*Youth leaders: contact us for more information on the youth group camp-out in the main field on Saturday night!
Wild Women: Wine Retreat: November 2-4 2018
Join us for a weekend of relaxation and fellowship! This retreat is hosted in the Farmhouse, and we will visit local wineries on Saturday afternoon. Feel free to bring a book, your latest crafting project, and your favorite wine to share. Registration closes October 19.

For an event flyer, click here, and to sign up for the camp out click here.
Oktobertfest at Bethel Lutheran, Winchester
Saturday, October 6th from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM Bethel Lutheran Church, 2077 N Frederick Pike, Winchester, VA is hosting an Oktoberfest celebration! Rain or shine come out for food and drinks, German/Austrian Band, local craft beer, free inflatables for all ages, and yard games. Authentic wear is encouraged! Cost is $10 per person. Tickets available at the church, or online at:
www.bethelwinchester.com for will call.

To download a flyer for the event, click here.
Vocal Ensemble Lyra From St. Petersburg Russia in Concert at College Lutheran, Salem
Chants of Russian Orthodox church and folk songs from Russia will be in concert at College Lutheran Church, 210 South College Ave, Salem VA, on Thursday, October 11 at 7 PM. This concert is open to all, with a free-will offering.

Please contact Karen at 540-389-4963 or karenadams@collegelutheran.org for more information.
Luther Manor Celebrates Over 30 Year with their Annual Oktoberfest!
Luther Manor Auxiliary will hold their annual Oktoberfest Bazaar on Saturday, October 14 from 10 AM until 3 PM at Luther Manor, 350 Malibu Drive, Virginia Beach. There will be crafts for sale, a bake sale, 2 cake walks, door prizes, a Silent Auction, Raffle items, and a flea market, German Lunch ($8.50) will be held at noon as well as hot dogs, chips and sodas available for purchase in the courtyard. Vendor Tables may be rented for $15 by calling Luther Manor office at 757-463-3510.
Spiritual Direction Certification Program
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary at
Lenoir-Rhyne University
Holy Listening – We believe holy listening is at the core of spiritual direction. It’s listening to one another, and most attentively to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The real and most genuine spiritual director is always the Holy Spirit.

Everyone is Welcome to Apply – Our primary purpose is to train people who feel called to be such spiritual friends, spiritual companions; however, those who are interested in deepening their own spiritual practices are also welcome.

Within the Christian Tradition – Ours is an experience in spiritual direction grounded in Trinitarian faith. However, we recognize that there is deep spiritual wisdom that can be found in other faith traditions. We will draw on those traditions and will integrate them from a Christian perspective.

  • four intensives, always from Wednesday noon until Saturday noon
  • small cohorts, each with its own mentor

Between the intensives
  • read key books and short reaction papers
  • participate in a closed Facebook group with your cohort and mentor
  • find and meet regularly with a spiritual director
  • find a willing person to be their spiritual directee

  • new intensive groups begin in January of each year
  • application deadline is December 22
  • intensives are held in January and June over a two year period
  • the next cycle of intensives is January 17-20, 2018; June 13-16, 2018; January 16-19, 2019; June 12-15, 2019

  • total cost for the program is $3,000 (price includes tuition and food)
  • participants find their own lodging (limited on-campus housing is available for $25 a night)

Interested? We’d love to hear from you:
Director: Pastor Gary Dreier ( Gary.Dreier@lr.edu ) 803-461-3222
Administrative Coordinator: Pastor Merianna Harrelson ( Merianna.harrelson@lr.edu  or  Spiritual.Direction@lr.edu ) 803-461-3217

Application available at: www.lr.edu/ltss/afl (under the “Certification Programs” tab)
Job Opportunities
ELCA Career Listings
Explore and apply for opportunities available with the churchwide organization or global service on the ELCA Job Board at elca.atsondemand.com
ELCA Foundation Director of Gift Planning
T here are two key responsibilities for this leadership position:
  • Through the direct supervision of a national staff of about 20 regional gift planners (coaching and managing), lead and manage a robust fund-raising program to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward prospective donors of current and planned gifts;
  • Manage the business relationships with ministry partner organizations through on-site visits.
This position is located in Chicago and reports to the Executive Vice President of the Foundation. It requires about 30% travel, visiting regional gift planners, donors, and ministry partnerships.
Application, resume and cover letter  should be  submitted through the ELCA job board . Inquiries about the position may be directed, in confidence, to  Gaye Lindfors of Significant Solutions, Inc . , the consultant assisting with this search.
ELCA Executive Director for Domestic Mission
This senior leadership position brings decisive and visionary leadership to this unit charged with wide-ranging work and relationships with churchwide units, synods, congregations, and other partners. The work involves equipping synods and congregations; developing new ministries, seeking to renew strategic ministries; and working with synods and congregations in programs and strategies for evangelical outreach.
Reporting to the presiding bishop, this position requires about 25% travel. It is located in Chicago.
Application, resume and cover letter  should be  submitted through the ELCA job board . Inquiries about the position may be directed, in confidence, to  Gaye Lindfors of Significant Solutions, Inc . , the consultant assisting with this search.
Prison Chaplain
Do you know someone who might be called by God to serve as our next Chaplain at Marion Correctional Treatment Center? Would you help us find the ONE? Please help us by spreading the news - just ten hours a week!

To learn more, click here .
If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org