Dollars for PNG Scholars
Last week, the Virginia Synod reached and surpassed our goal of raising $50,000, by contributing $52,319.09 to go towards purchasing mosquito nets for our partner synod, the New Guinea Islands District , of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea! These funds have been sent quarterly to the ELCA Global Missions who have been sending it to ELC-PNG who have worked to distribute it in the Island District. Thank you, Virginia Synod, for all your prayers, support, and hard work to help fight against malaria. From Malaria Sunday to creative fundraising efforts hosted in our congregations, you have helped to make a real difference. In continued support for our partner synod, we are uplifting another way to continue to help:
Some 14 years ago, we learned that the pastors in our partner synod had great difficulty sending their children to school because they couldn't pay the school fees. The pastors are compensated very little, in fact, they are fortunate if their congregation provides them housing. Parents often rely on their children to take care of them in their retirement years. Therefore investing in their children's education helps to ensure they will have good jobs and be able to fulfil the retirement plan the pastors need.
In 2005 the Virginia Synod began the "PNG School Fee Program for Pastors' children". Over the past 13 years, we have made it possible for dozen upon dozens of pastor's children to attend school. Some students we have supported from their early years on through college. Eight men from the district have completed seminary and become pastors. A number of them returned home to serve in NGI congregations. In the past, some of our congregations have even sponsored specific children. This takes some amount of coordination and patience, and as technology is improving there’s a chance for more communication between the congregation and the student that is being supported.
Your dollars can make a difference in a scholar's life!
Donations can be made by check mailed to the Western Office of the Bishop located at P.O. Box 70 Salem, VA 24153. Please send checks to the attention of Richard Hoffman at the Synod Office with "PNG Scholar" written in the memo line.

Donations can also be sent online by visiting the Virginia Synod Giving page.
Five easy ways to connect with the Global Church
My name is Rachel Carle , and I’m deployed in Virginia with the ELCA! I visit congregations and pastors across the mid-Atlantic, sharing stories about my experiences as an ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) volunteer in Cambodia. I’m excited to continue in this role for two more months, and would love to meet you. I’m especially available to share at weeknight services, bible studies, potlucks, council meetings, etc. Please reach out to me at

But… there’s only one of me, and 150 ELCA congregations just in the state of Virginia! Here are five more easy way you can engage with the Global Church today:

  1. Like the ELCA Global Church and Young Adults in Global Mission- ELCA Facebook pages for exciting updates, photos, and videos.
  2. Share a Global Church video at your service as a “temple talk,” or at another fellowship event. I recommend this incredibly moving short film about Reconciliation Lutheran Church and Clinic in Juba, South Sudan. The building just opened on November 16, 2017!
  3. Add YAGM, missionaries, and the Global Church to your prayer lists. It is powerful to take time every week to think about the world. Let me know, and I’ll pass on the good news to our YAGM volunteers; it is powerful for them to feel your support.
  4. Host a “Global Church Sunday.” Check out this planning guide here. Did you know there are nearly 800 YAGM alumni? Contact me, and I’ll help you invite one of them to be your guest preacher or your adult forum presenter that Sunday.
  5. Consider sponsoring a YAGM. There is no minimum donation to “sponsor” a YAGM. By donating, your congregation will receive newsletters, blog posts, and words of thanks from your YAGM volunteer. This year, there are five YAGM volunteers with ties to Virginia, and they all need help meeting their fundraising goals! Click to learn more about them and to donate: Samantha DiBiaso, Jacob Dunlap, Anna Nicholson, Jacob Shelor, and Deanna Torstenson

God is calling us into the world—together!
Deck the Halls!
2017 Virginia Synod Christmas Decoration Contest
Submissions are now open for the 2017 Virginia Synod Christmas Decoration Contest! Congregations and individuals are both welcome to enter their decorations in one of three categories: Chrismons tree, Christmas tree, or Advent wreath for this year's contest!

To enter send the best photo of your decoration to Emily Pilat at from now until Wednesday December 20th.

With your entry photo please include the following information:
  • Your full name
  • Your congregation name and location
  • The category for which you are entering (Chrismons tree, Christmas tree, or Advent wreath)

Only one entry per individual or congregation (ie. if you submit a photo of your congregation's Chrismons tree, a submission of your congregation's advent wreath will not be counted as an entry)!

On December 22nd one randomly selected winner for each category will be announced in that week's edition of the Weekly Update. All three winners will receive a special prize!

If you have any questions about the 2017 Christmas Decoration Contest, please contact Emily Pilat at Best of luck to all who enter, and happy decorating!
Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story idea? Send it to Emily Pilat at  and make sure to follow our
RSVP for 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
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.
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.
Job Opportunities
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

Interested candidates should contact Marva Farrington, Worship Committee Chair, at 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 . 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
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 If you have a position opening you would like posted, please email Emily Pilat at