Synod Assembly is our annual opportunity for the 150 congregations of the Virginia Synod to come together and be reminded what it means to be a part of the wider church. Our theme during our June 7-8, 2019 gathering was “Faithful + Bold + Serving”. This year the Assembly was located in the Kerr-Cregger Field House on the campus of Roanoke College in Salem Virginia. There, those in attendance met for both the Assembly business sessions and worship.
During the weekend, Bishop Humphrey, helped explore the theme for the Assembly based off of Hebrews 10.23, “Let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for God, who made the promise, is faithful,” with a keynote presentation that led into group discussion for those seated together.
The Rev. Dr. Sandy Chrostowski, the director of DEM Relationships of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was present at this year’s Assembly to represent the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, bringing good news from the wider church. She shared with us that in 2018 ELCA World Hunger accompanied congregations and partners in over 60 countries, and through Domestic Hunger Grants supported two Virginia ministries, Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry (WARM) in Waynesboro, and IMPACT: Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together in Charlottesville.
ForwardingFaith and the New
Virginia Synod App
The Rev. John Wertz Jr. delivered a report for the ForwardingFaith campaign. He celebrated the success of the campaign, with over $2.74 million in estimated gifts and over 1430 individuals and congregations sharing their support. He shared that thanks to ForwardingFaith, the Virginia Synod is supporting existing ministries such as ACTS and youth events, as well as creating new opportunities like the recent Young Adult Retreat. Thank you to all the congregations and members who have helped us exceed our goal for ForwardingFaith. Pastor Wertz also shared our new Virginia Synod App, created in partnership with Tithe.ly. On the Synod app you can keep up to date on news, upcoming events, event photos, online giving, and more. For more information on the Virginia Synod App and how to download it, click here.
Elections at Synod Assembly
Elections also took place over the weekend. Charles Downs, of Christ in Roanoke was reelected as the Virginia Synod Council Vice President. Blythe Ann Scott of First in Norfolk reelected as the Virginia Synod Council Secretary.
Molly Beyer of Bethel in Winchester, and Darrell Short of St. Paul in Shenandoah were both reelected to Synod Council. Richard Corliss of St. Timothy, Norfolk, Carlton Hardy of St. Mark, Yorktown, Patricia Hunter of Redeemer, Bristol, Timothy Hoffstaetter of Faith in Suffolk, Elizabeth Leonard of St. Philip in Roanoke, and The Rev, Harry Griffith Pastor of Our Saviour in Virginia Beach are the newly elected members joining Synod Council.
Tent of Nations Honored
One resolution was passed over the weekend, honoring Tent of Nations, a working farm in Bethlehem, Palestine that seeks to educate and build bridges between people and the land. This resolution encourages congregations to designate a Sunday in 2019 and beyond as “Tent of Nations Sunday”, for prayer, education, and encouraging visits and attendance at Tent of Nations farming and peace-building workshops.
Worship at Assembly
Worship at this year’s Synod Assembly was brought together with worship planners from across Virginia. They all worked together to creatively envision our new space in the Kerr-Cregger Field House as an opportunity to create a worship space where the assembly meets. Worship planners included Kevin Barger, The Rev. Ingrid Chenoweth, The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick, The Rev. Anna Havron, The Rev. Rachel Manke, The Rev. Heidi Moore, Lenae Osmondson, The Rev. Kathryn Pocalyko, The Rev. Paul Toelke, The Rev. Leslie Webber, and The Rev. Meredith Williams. Each shared their talents presenting a diverse range of services throughout the weekend, and we thank them for all their hard work.
Part of the reshaping the Kerr-Cregger Field House as a worship space for meeting brought forth a new Prayground space for little ones and their parents. At the Prayground parents could rock their child, participate in a quiet activity like putting together a puzzle or coloring, or have some space to take a break during the meeting times.
New Young Adults in Global Mission Installed
Two young women were commissioned for Young Adults in Global Mission. Maren Corliss and Jayme Kokkonen have both accepted one-year appointments as YAGMs to Central Europe, and Madagascar. We lift them both in prayer as they prepare to serve abroad, and look forward to hearing how they are living out this call over the next year.
Virginia Synod Youth Assembly: “Faith Shall Rain”
Turner Barger of Epiphany in Richmond, president of the Lutheran Youth Organization, presented the Youth Assembly report, centered on the Youth Assembly theme of “Faith Shall Rain”. He shared a summary of this year’s Youth Assembly, and raised up how many youth attendees at the assembly are fully confirmed adult members of the church, “We are no longer the future of the church, we are the church- as youth and as adults.”
During the Youth Assembly, the youth held “chat rooms” and discussion groups to discuss and debate the issues that matter most to them. They heard from a variety of speakers who were also a part of the main assembly, including Bishop Humphrey, Pastor Chrostowski, Pastor Wertz, and Pastor Bayer Derrick.
The incoming LYO Board president will be Mairi Bachman of Grace in Winchester.
Linked below you will find two different PDF versions (one full page, one-half page) of the 2019 Virginia Synod Assembly Update to include in bulletins. In addition to the PDF documents, the plain text has been included if you wish to include the update in your newsletter or on your website.
For more information on this year’s Synod Assembly, including access to all of the presentations that were displayed during the meeting sessions, links to our saved live streams, and more click here. To view and share photos from this year’s Synod Assembly, you can either visit the Virginia Synod Facebook page or view them on our Flickr account.