Virginia Synod Serves 2018
This week marks 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. This week of service provides the opportunity to celebrate who we are as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – one church, freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor.

From September 9th through the 15th, 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, and to further share their stories of service with the Synod! Today we're highlighting some of the many ways congregations in the Virginia Synod have served their communities.
Rise Against Hunger Serving Together
As a part of the Week of Service, 88 volunteers and contributors from 11 Lutheran Congregations from the Southern Valley Conference (Bethlehem, Waynesboro; Good Shepherd, Lexington; Grace, Waynesboro; Mount Tabor, Staunton/Middlebrook; Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg; New Mount Olive, Fairfield; Pleasant View, Staunton; Redeemer, McKinley; Salem, Mt. Sidney; St. James, Fishersville; and Zion, Waynesboro), as well as 1 Roman Catholic Church (St. John the Evangelist, Waynesboro) and The Legacy at North Augusta retirement community, gathered at Kate Collins Middle School in Waynesboro to assemble 23,325 meals with Rise Against Hunger. The meals, which consist of rice, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables, and a vitamin supplement packet, will be distributed in Haiti to children and adults.
St. Luke Lutheran Church in Richmond also had a team of 70 volunteers working together to package 23,544 meals for Rise Against Hunger as part of the Week of Service. The congregation raised $7400 to purchase the food items and supplies needed for this project. This was the fourth year in a row that St. Luke has completed this hunger project with the help of congregation members and friends.

Rise Against Hunger is an organization committed "to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable and creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources," provided the materials and organizational expertise to help these groups of volunteers complete their task.
Making a Differnce
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Wytheville, Rural Retreat Lutheran Parish , and Walker Mountain Parish got together on Sunday, September 9 to serve at the Minnick School in Wytheville. 25 total volunteers came together from these congregations. The volunteers had lunch together at Holy Trinity before heading over to Minnick. The group worked on landscaping, interior painting, and kitchen organization in the Minnick School’s two buildings. The principals of the two programs worked alongside the group, so it was a great opportunity to get to know them and their schools more.
Give people a fish, and they eat for a day. Give them a fish pond, and they can eat indefinitely! At St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Williamsburg, members generosity raised $2,990 to purchase community fish farms through Lutheran World Relief! God's Work, Our Hands!
Blessings Packed
Between Sunday services, about 40 members and friends at Grace Lutheran Church in Chesapeake packed 120 Blessing Bags for local distribution and 50 School Kits for distribution by Lutheran World Relief (LWR).
Members at Apostles Lutheran Church in Gloucester gathered together to work on a variety of different projects, including making health kits for a mission trip to Guatemala, cleaning out a fish pond for a member of their congregation, and cleaning up two yards for some clients of Bay Aging, a local agency that cares for the elderly. The group started the day with their annual Worship in the Park at Beaverdam Park in Gloucester. While the day started off rainy it cleared up enough for the group to go out and work. Despite the rain, it truly was a wonderful day for all who came out to serve!
Backyard Beautification
19 volunteers from Our Saviour Lutheran Church in  Christiansburg worked together to weed, landscape, and beautify at the Lutheran Family Services Group Home in Roanoke. The group was inspired to do this project when they learned that the deck was where residents spent the majority of their day and yet there was only one chair for four total residents. “As we were hard at work, weeding and planting a conversation was overheard between Asher and Kylen Porter and their dad Nathaniel about what the purpose of weeding was. After Nathaniel explained why we were pulling the weeds, he patiently showed his sons the best way to get all of the weed including the roots out of the ground. We were all delighted at the end of the day, when one of the residents came out on the deck and promptly sat in one of the chairs, clearly enjoying the new furniture!” Pastor Wanda Childs shared.
Caring for our Neighbors
At First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in Richmond, about 20 children and adults got to work making and signing cards for the Homebound. It was raining outside the Sunday of their project, but sunny inside as they lived out God’s Work, Our Hands. Adult volunteers at First English made and served a meal to 15 residents at Safe Haven on Hull Street Road. It is a 21-bed, free-standing facility that offers transitional housing with comprehensive and integrated health and support services for  individuals suffering from severe mental illness coupled with chronic Homelessness.
Volunteers at Bethel Lutheran Church in Winchester gathered in between worship services to celebrate God's Work, Our Hands with several projects serving others in their community. Members made sandwiches and laundry kits for the homeless that we gave to Congregational Community Action Project (CCAP), a local homeless services organization. Folks at Bethel Lutheran also made brownies and thank you cards for local first responders in honor of September 11. “It was a wonderful intergenerational event and what was really special was seeing the policeman and the firefighter in our congregation feel appreciated by their congregation. It was really special.” Pastor Dave Young shared of their project.
Serving in Many Ways
At Christ Lutheran Church in Roanoke, about 80 participants set to work on 6 different service projects that let everyone serve in ways that were meaningful to them. Some members at Christ bagged cookies to sell at a Steel Drum concert fundraiser for Congregations in Action (CIA), a partnership of seven downtown and Old Southwest congregations that serves low-income children in Roanoke City schools. Other members of all talent levels got together to knit and crochet prayer shawls.
Youth and adults at Christ rolled up their sleeves and got to work mulching their Community Playground, building handicap accessible picnic tables for the Lutheran Family Services Adult Day Center, and sprucing up the “Light House” where Family Promise of Greater Roanoke guests are served. Family Promise of Greater Roanoke empowers homeless families with children to achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response. Youth from Christ Lutheran had a fun afternoon playing bingo with residents at Raleigh Court Nursing and Rehab.
Thank be to God to all who participated in the Virginia Synod Week of Service! Every act of service, in every daily calling, in every corner of life – flows freely from a living, daring confidence in God’s grace.
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  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: .

If you are interested in being a part of the newly forming Virginia Synod Stewards Table, please email me at:  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
For more details about an event, email​ or call (540) 449-0012.
Fall Work Weekend: September 21-23 2018
Work Weekend has been moved to September 21-23, due to Hurricane Florence and possible flooding. If you're already signed up, please let us know if you will still be able to come on the rescheduled weekend. If you aren't signed up yet, it isn't too late! Join us in giving back to Caroline!

To s ign up click here.
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.
safeTALK: Suicide Alertness for Everyone
September 29, 2018
safeTALK is a half-day training in suicide alertness that will be offered Saturday, September 29 from 9 AM to Noon at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Staunton. It helps participants recognize a person with thoughts of suicide and connect them with resources who can help them in choosing to live. Participants don’t need any formal preparation to attend the training—anyone age 15 or older who wants to make a difference can learn the safeTALK steps.

The Reverend Carl Trost will serve as facilitator of the program. Chaplain Trost has over thirty years of experience on the front lines of suicide intervention, community support and suicide intervention education while serving as a Navy Chaplain and youth pastor.

RSVP by September 14. You can call Christ Lutheran at 540-885-4843. Or email Chaplain Trost at

For more information on safeTALK, click here. For an event flyer, 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: 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 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 14th from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. 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 ( ) 803-461-3222
Administrative Coordinator: Pastor Merianna Harrelson (  or ) 803-461-3217

Application available at: (under the “Certification Programs” tab)
Resourceful Stewards Initiative
Financial wellness is a vital part of a healthy life. Ministers who are in a financially sound position experience greater satisfaction in their work and their relationships, and are more able to freely serve the church and its mission without being encumbered by financial anxiety.

Savings Matching Programs
The church is an active partner in addressing specific needs raised by rostered ministers, helping rostered ministers develop their personal financial and stewardship health. Two Savings Matching programs share financial resources with rostered ministers. These programs match rostered ministers’ contributions to a dedicated emergency savings account and/or increased contributions to their ELCA retirement plan accounts. To learn about the programs, services and resources available to you as a minister or lay person, click here.
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 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