Welcome to Do Justice, a semi-monthly newsletter of the Virginia Synod, lifting up God’s call and command that we, God’s people, do justice. You will find helpful info about justice ministries in congregations, around Virginia, and through the ELCA. If you have stories of justice to share from your congregation, please share those with me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share them with others in the synod!
The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick
Assistant to the Bishop
Thanksgiving in the Virginia Synod
We invited congregations across the Virginia Synod to share the many ways they served their communities during the Thanksgiving season. These are just a few of the many ways our Synod gave back during this time of thankfulness.
On Sunday, December 1st, the people of Grace, Chesapeake gathered for an Intergenerational Sunday School to kick off Advent, which included tying no-sew fleece blankets and scarves for families in crisis (through Samaritan House). They tied 4 blankets and 8 scarves.
Luther Memorial, Blacksburg
Luther Memorial in Blacksburg hosted a local program called To Our House during the last 2 weeks in November, offering hot food, safe shelter and friendship to 14 persons experiencing homelessness. The men and women we host sleep in the church’s Campus Ministry Center, and over 30 congregation volunteers including The Well students took turns as hosts, overnight chaperones, setup/cleanup, meal prep and serving, and provided transportation.
St. Andrew, Portsmouth
For the past three years, St. Andrew in Portsmouth has partnered with the Portsmouth Police Department in identifying community families that need a “boost”. St. Andrew adopts three families for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and delivers all the fixings for a full turkey dinner and then collects Christmas wish lists. It is a joy for us to be able to serve our community in this way.
St. Michael, Blacksburg
St. Michael in Blacksburg has had a community dinner for the last 26 years. It was started by 5 ladies who were members of the church to fill a need in the community. It has become truly a community effort. Twelve turkeys were provided by Kroger at cost (cooked) and paid for with a grant by Thrivent Insurance company. Volunteers come from all walks of life in the community. This year we had a lady who volunteered with Habitat for Humanity contact us to volunteer before she left the area to go else where. Members of other churches volunteer every year. The Boy Scouts help by going through the line to fill orders to be delivered. The members of the church provide sweet potato casseroles, jello salads, desserts (pies and cakes) Dozens of rolls are provided by one family. This year we served 120 people at the church and delivered 40 take out meals. If you would like any other information, I will be happy to provide it.
St. Philip, Roanoke
Feast at Philips is an annual event hosted by members of St. Philip, Roanoke to serve a Thanksgiving meal to the North Roanoke community the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, St. Philip partnered with FeedingAmerica of Southwest Virginia to serve meals at both St. Philip and a FeedingAmerica Center. Over 600 meals were served and delivered. Additionally, 350 snack packs were packed and delivered to local communities for children to enjoy over the Thanksgiving holiday. St. Philip looks forward to more community partnerships to love and serve their neighbors in the future.