Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
Vote Faithfully
This past Monday was the first of three major presidential debates. National Voter Registration Day occurred just a day later. Thanks in part to this week's political focus, many Americans have joined in conversations centered on the Presidential and local elections occurring this November. How then can we as disciples promote positive civic engagement? ELCAvotes is one such initiative that is working to support conversations and turn to action.

The ELCAvotes initative was formed to educate, equip, and encourage discipleship as we take part in the electoral process together. This initiative encourages faithful and non-partisan voter participation by providing faith-based resources around voting and the right to vote.

Our faith compels us to attend to the world through the lens of our relationship to God, and to each other. This includes elections! We can live out our affirmation of baptism through the electoral process, as we "serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus," and "to strive for justice and peace in all the earth."
That said, the importance of nonpartisan civic engagement must be emphasized. Faithful civic engagement must follow the law that any participation by churches in the electoral process is strictly nonpartisan. There are many ways we can take part, so long as we educate and conduct ourselves under the laws surrounding our participation in electoral affairs. Here are just a few examples of how you can join in ELCAvotes this election year:


1. Hold discussions and Bible study in your congregation, synod, or campus with a focus on:

  • Our calling, as Lutherans, to take part in and engage with our government
  • The social, economic and political root causes in denying the opportunity to vote
  • How we as a church together can promote dignity and respect and honor all who live in our communities
  • Faithful decision-making
  • Offering prayer for elected leaders and good government

2. Encourage and facilitate citizens to register to vote

3. Follow #ELCAvotes on social media, and join in the conversation online

Voting Deadlines and Resources
The deadline to register to vote, or to update your address in Virginia is October 17th, 2016.

You can go to elections.virginia.gov for information on registering to vote, and to register electronically. The site also allows you to check your registration status, view what's on your ballot, find your local polling place, and learn more relating to this year's election.

ELCAvotes has produced a bible study to support these conversations! The latest bible study focuses on Luke 3:1-6 with supporting discussion questions and resources. To access the bible study, click here.

ELCAvotes has also created a Civic Participation and Voter Education Guide with the intent to encourage, empower, and equip Lutherans for responsible civic engagement based on their faith values. To access the full guide, click here.

Lastly, ELCA Racial Justice recently hosted a Twitter chat. There, discussion centered on voting rights, as well as voting faithfully. Catch up with this conversation by following @ELCA4Justice or #ELCAVotes on Twitter.
The simple act of voting has a powerful impact. Your vote means that elected officials are accountable to you. Your vote allows you to become an advocate for all the change or consistency that you wish to see in this country. Your voice and your vote matter.
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
A nnouncements
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.

For more information, and to register for Lost and Found 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. You can engage in discussions with your pastor, the Dean of your conference, members of the Bishop's Election Transition Committee (BETC) and at the Fall Conference Gatherings where presentations about the Bishop's Election process and the ForwardingFaith initiative will be made.  
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. 

Will you please be part of our planning by completing a survey? It isn't very long but it is so very important.  
2017 Tour of Germany "In the Footsteps of Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer."
Pastor Dave Young and Pastor Heidi David-Young will be leading a tour of Germany during the late summer of 2017. The tour is entitled  "In the Footsteps of Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer." You are invited to consider joining the members of Bethel Lutheran Church (Winchester) and others as we visit sites in Munich, Prague, Leipzig, Wittenberg, Berlin, and much more.  We will learn more about our Lutheran heritage.  We will visit the Flossenburg Concentration Camp where Bonhoeffer was martyred.  We will learn more about J.S. Bach in his hometown of Eisenach, as well as visit the Warburg Caste, where Luther stayed after the Diet of Worms.  Throughout we will worship together, pray together, and share together.  
Initial deposits of $350 (per person) are due by  November 15th.  The final payment is not due until May 15, 2017.  The cost DOES NOT include the flight. Flights will be booked personally.

Feel free to contact Pr. Young ( pastordave@bethelwinchester.com) if you questions.  Pastor Young and Pastor David-Young are also available for presentations if your congregation would be interested in learning more.

Renew and Retreat a Christian Formation Retreat  
Tuesday Oct 4, 4:30 PM - Thursday Oct 6, 10 AM 
Co-Partnered by Camp Caroline Furnace and
Roots and Wings a Christian Formation Committee of the VA Synod

Retreat Presenter:  Debbie Streicher, President of the Christian  Formation Network of the ELCA. 

Debbie will lead us in a discussion about steps needed to immerse our children and youth in faith and creating meaningful milestones, moments that make a difference as they support children, youth and families of all ages in their faith journey.
Come to Camp Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center for a retreat which is specifically designed to support and equip both full-time and part-time professional and volunteer Children, Youth and Family Ministry staff. In addition to an educational component there will be ample time for networking and resource sharing, as well as relaxation, conversation and worship. 

St. Paul's-Hampton Blessing of the Animals service 
Tuesday evening, October 4th, at 7:00 PM all creatures great and small, furry, finned or feathered, and their human friends and family, are invited to a Blessing of the Animals service on the lawn at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hampton.  

Please keep your animal companions safe with appropriate restraints, and bring pictures of those who are unable to attend.  
The Leadership Program for Musicians Workshop
The Richmond chapter of the Leadership Program for Musicians (LPM) is pleased to announce what promises to be an amazing fall workshop, led by St. James Music Press president and editor Mark Schweizer.
The workshop will take place on Saturday, October 8 from 9 AM -1 PM at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Richmond, VA

Participants will read through music from St. James Press and have a chance to glean some church music wisdom from Mark's considerable experience. Snacks and beverages are included.
The cost is $45 per person, and the deadline to register is  October 1. To register use the PayPal button on the LPM website:  www.lpm-va.org and email your name, address, phone number, and church name to  lpmvacoordinator@gmail.com.
Don't let this pass! Make the most of this opportunity to meet Mark Schweizer, discover new music, and support your local LPM chapter.

The Experience at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS)
The name The Experience was chosen because LTSS believes what you, as a prospective student, experiences is the most appropriate and influential way to determine which seminary is the right place to earn your theological education. During your time with us, we will show you our community and the community surrounding us. You will experience life with our current students and the heartbeat of campus. Also, our faculty will offer you a glimpse of the classroom experience that is essential to your theological formation. We look forward to welcoming you to The Experience!
Jenn Casey, an alum of LTSS and our Enrollment Director reflects, "I remember having a lot of questions during my discernment process and I often wondered if I was the only person with those questions. I also thought I must be crazy for thinking that God was calling me into ordained ministry. I now know I wasn't the only one, but it can be a confusing process!"
We have four opportunities, click on each on for registration information.

Questions? Contact Kohl Friery at 803- 461-3296 or  kohl.friery@lr.edu . If you want to visit LTSS but these events don't work, email Kohl and set up a private visit!
St. Paul's-Hampton is having a Reformation 500 Bookstore! 
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is fast approaching! Do you want to learn more about Martin Luther,  his writings, and their impact on Christianity?  Do you want to reflect on the ongoing impact of the Reformation today? Stop by our Reformation 500 Bookstore to shop for engaging books on the Reformation for readers of all ages and interests! Save up to 50% plus receive free shipping on all Bookstore titles.
Stop by  St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hampton on Sunday mornings, or during office hours Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM  from  September 25th-October 9th to get fascinating books on the Reformation for you and your family.
Our Bookstore is sponsored by Augsburg Fortress, the publishing ministry of the ELCA. The books will include bestselling biographies like Luther the Reformer as well as an atlas of the European Reformations, a graphic novel for young readers, and primary sources from The Annotated Luther series.
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 500 th  anniversary of the Reformation and in coordination with the 175 th  anniversary of the college's founding.

For more information on this and future events from Roanoke College celebrating the Reformation- click here!
You can make a world of difference!

Do you have skills in art or music that you want to share? Do you have a passion for reading? Are you interested in helping with community outings or special events? We would love to welcome you to the Lutheran Family Services helping community at LFSVA Minnick Schools and Day Programs for adults with disabilities. 

Join us in providing abundance for the people who need us most! Contact Leah Hatcher at  lhatcher@lfsva.org  to sign-up or visit  www.lfsva.org  and click "Get Involved."
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 pilat@vasynod.org. 
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