Deck the Halls:
The 2017 Christmas Decoration Contest Winners
This month we invited you to show off your Christmas Decoration style in the 2017 Virginia Synod Christmas Decoration Contest! With plenty of fantastic submissions, we're taking a moment to share our three category winners from congregations and families of the Virginia Synod.

Thank you to all who entered! It has been so much fun to see and share the decorations that fill your homes and congregations.
Advent Wreath Category Winner
Grace Lutheran Church of Stony Man Lutheran Parish, Luray

Submitted by The Rev. Alex Zuber
Christmon Tree Category Winner
St. Mark Lutheran Church, Yorktown

Submitted by The Rev. Joel Neubauer
Christmas Tree Category Winner
The Woods Family Christmas Tree (decorated strictly with train ornaments!)

Submitted by James Wood of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Warrenton
Christmas Message from the ELCA Presiding Bishop
View   &   download   a video message from Bishop Eaton
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
Announcements
ForwardingFaith Congregational Training!
Does your congregation want to take part in the ForwardingFaith Campaign? Is your stewardship team looking for a training event, but doesn't know where to go? As part of the Forwarding Faith Campaign, we are offering 2-hour training sessions throughout the Virginia Synod to teach your stewardship team how to conduct a special gift appeal.

A part of this training provides materials and information on how to conduct the Forwarding Faith campaign in your congregation, but you can use everything you learn during the training session to conduct an appeal for a new air conditioning unit, parking lot paving, roof, outreach opportunity, or whatever your ministry needs to fund!

For more information and to RSVP, click here
Winter Celebration 2018
Winter Celebration  is our annual weekend retreat for youth in grades 9 through 12 and their adult advisers.  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 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. 

For more information and to register for Winter Celebration Week 1, click here
For Winter Celebration Week 2, click here
New Executive Director Announced at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center
We are thrilled to announce Tom Powell has been named Executive Director
at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center. Tom may be a familiar
face to some of you!

He is a past president of the Caroline Furnace Board of Directors, parent of a former staff member, an active volunteer at work weekends, and a retreat participant. You may have met him when he was helping with confirmation camp or remember him from his slag dance at the 60th Anniversary Celebration last spring. While his service to camp and infectious fun spirit is appreciated, none of it is why he was hired.

Tom comes to us with over 32 years of professional leadership experience in the military and in the consulting industry. His background in training and adult learning, proven abilities to manage budgets and motivate employee teams, and the clear understanding of loyalty demonstrated by 20 years of faithful service in the National Guard, perfectly equip him to effectively and efficiently run the ministry at Caroline Furnace. These skills and gifts, coupled with his deep personal faith, warm personality, and intimate knowledge of CFLC position him as a leader with great potential to deepen and expand our ability to serve our communities and spread the good news.

Outside of his professional qualifications, Tom also has over 21 years of Christian leadership experience. In addition to his volunteer work at CFLC, he has been an active member of Christ the King Lutheran in Richmond, VA and St. John’s Lutheran in Gore, VA. He has served as Sunday school teacher, youth advisor, and congregational council President, among other roles. He
has served his community as a Scout leader. He has shown an impressive commitment to outdoor ministry, including certification in Wilderness First Aid. He describes himself by saying, “I thrive on celebrating faith and grace while leading teams, managing resources, and collaborating on projects in fast paced environments.”

We are thrilled to welcome Tom and his wife Lee Ann to this new chapter in their journey with Caroline Furnace. Tom will begin his position as Executive Director on February 1, 2018.

To learn more about Tom, and this transition click here.
Caroline Furnace Winter Family Camp
Caroline Furnace invite you to join them for two days of camp fun in the winter December 28-29, 2018.

For more information, and to register, click here.
Caroline Furnace camper registration is open for 2018!
Ephesians 2:8 is our theme verse for the summer. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."

At Caroline Furnace, our campers combine faith with daily life on our 257 acre camp, surrounded by George Washington National Forest and nestled between the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River. Campers experience daily worship and Bible study, plus a large range of activities. Campers may swim, canoe, fish, creekwalk, play small and large group games, challenge themselves on our low ropes course, hike, cook over a campfire, create crafts, learn archery, gain culinary skills, or explore the iron furnace ruins on camp property. Each week, Chaplains from supporting congregations join us in leading the campers in morning worship, Bible study, and campfire and evening devotion.
 
To view the complete summer schedule for 2018, and for more information, click here.
Caroline Furnace BeerReformation Retreat
Caroline Furnace invites you to join them for a weekend (or a day) of faith, education, fun and fellowship! Celebrate our rich Christian heritage, the history and art of brewing and the beautiful surroundings of the Shenandoah Valley January 19-21, 2018.

Activities include sharing your favorite brew, learning the art of food and beer pairings, discussion on the science of brewing since the 15th century, and visiting a local craft brewery. We will also enjoy the opportunity to share our faith stories with a prayer hike, worship and compline time.

Load up your sleeping bag, hiking shoes, and your favorite six pack for a winter weekend getaway! Register online today! The weekend schedule and other details will be sent out before the event.

For more information, and to register, click here.
Caroline Furnace Wild Women Series: Wine Retreat
Caroline Furnace invite you to join them for a weekend (or a day) of faith, education, fun and fellowship January 26-28, 2018.

Activities include a visit to local wineries, a study of Jesus’s first miracle, and getting creative with some wine-themed crafts. Relax, recharge and enjoy community with us at Buttonwood Lodge.

For more information, and to register, click here.
Spiritual Direction Certification Program
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary at Lenoir-Rhyne University
The Academy of Faith and Leadership (AFL) at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) exists to help equip both lay and clergy alike for their lifelong work as ministers of the gospel. This year we are happy to announce our new Spiritual Direction Certification Program here on the campus of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary:

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.

Our next cycle of new participants begins with an intensive January 17 – 20, 2018. The application deadline is December 22.
 
To learn more and to register for this opportunity, click here.
Discover Islam DVD Series
The Virginia Synod has received free copies of a resource entitled Discover Islam, a six video series that is produced by Discover Islam - USA. This resource has received endorsement from the Islamic Society of North America, a partner with the ELCA in our inter-religious work. This is a resource that has helpful information covering Islam Faith & History, Women in Islam; Islam: An American Faith; Islam a faith hijacked, Christians and Islam; and African Americans & Islam.

These documentary videos provide an opportunity to gain a better understanding of Islam, and to explore areas where we have common understanding (e.g. love of God and neighbor) as well as faith differences.

The Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Muslim relations, in partnership with A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago developed a study guide for use with the series. It is available for download on the ELCA website.

At this time, the Virginia Synod has four copies available on a first come first serve basis. If you are interested in receiving a copy, please contact Emily Pilat at pilat@vasynod.org for more information.
Job Opportunities
Chaplain, Virginia Lutheran Homes
The Chaplain is responsible for providing spiritual care, short-term counselling, worship leadership, education and other religious support to residents, families and staff at all Virginia Lutheran Homes facilities.
For a complete job description,  click here.

For anyone interested in applying for this position, they can contact the Becky Walls at the Virginia Synod Office at 540-389-1000 or they can email at  walls@vasynod.org .
Executive Director, Rural Family Development
This position is responsible for providing leadership and management to implement the Head Start Program for Caroline County in concert with the mission and vision of the Virginia Council of Churches/Rural Family Development through the utilization of Federal funding, State and agency policies and procedures.

For a complete job description, click here.

For anyone interested in applying for this position, they can contact the Virginia Council of Churches at 804-321-3300 ext. 100 or they can email Crystal Greenerl at greenerl@vacouncilofchurches.org
Organist, Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Petersburg
Seeking part-time organist/choir director for one Sunday morning service, one adult choir rehearsal, and special services during Lent, Holy Week, and Christmas. Candidates should be familiar with the traditional liturgical service as practiced in a Eucharistically-centered sung service and experienced in a variety of musical styles. Salary range is negotiable with 2 weeks paid vacation. Opportunities for wedding and funerals are compensated separately. The primary instrument is a two manual Rodgers organ with spinet pianos in the sanctuary and the chapel. For information about the church and congregation please visit the church website at www.lcor.net

Interested candidates should contact Marva Farrington, Worship Committee Chair, at marva_farrington@yahoo.com. The position will become available in January 2018.
Director of Music, Grace & Glory Lutheran Church in Palmyra
Are you someone who is an accomplished keyboardist/pianist and looking for a part-time position (approx. 20 hrs/wk)? Have you been involved in a choir and have the ability to direct a choir? Grace and Glory has the perfect position for you! We are currently seeking someone with your abilities to serve as our Dir. of Music for our congregation. Our worship services are held Sundays at 8:30am and 10:30am. If you would enjoy working with a vibrant, growing congregation sharing your gift of music, we would really enjoy speaking with you. Please email  gglcelca@embarqmail.com . It would be helpful to include both a cover letter and resume when inquiring and/or applying. We would be pleased to share a Job Description which is flexible depending upon the successful candidate’s musical gifts. EOE.

 
Grace & Glory is a vibrant, growing congregation in beautiful Central Virginia. We are active in the community and welcome all to join us as "Caring Christians sharing God's message of Grace." To learn more about us and our mission, please visit our website at  www.graceandglory.church.
Director of Youth and Family Ministry, St. Mark Lutheran Church in Charlottesville
The Director of Youth and Family Ministry works with the Pastor(s), staff, lay leaders and others to support the spiritual health of the congregation and specifically the youth, primarily middle and high school age. Provides a connection between the St. Mark family and the growing number of youth. The lead Pastor is the immediate supervisor of the Director of Youth and Family Ministry. To view the full listing and apply,  click here .
All job postings can also be found online at  www.vasynod.org/job-opportunities. If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org