Happy New Year! We’ve had a great 2018 here in the Virginia Synod! Now that the year has come to a close we’re taking a moment time now to look back and celebrate the best moments 2018, and look ahead for an exciting new year!
In 2018, the archives housed in the Virginia Synod office were packed away and transferred to The Crumley Archives located on the campus of LTSS in Columbia, South Carolina. The organization was created in response to the 1988 ELCA founding constitution, which called for the establishment of regional archives and the maintenance of congregation archives in each church. Today, they document and preserve the history of Lutheranism for Synods and congregations located in the South and Caribbean.
To learn more about the move of the Virginia Synod archives, and the Crumley Archives, click here.
9- Doing Justice
We welcomed the start of a new bi-monthly newsletter from the Virginia Synod, named Do Justice in 2018. This newsletter lifts up God’s call and command that we, God’s people, do justice. In this newsletter, helpful info about justice ministries in congregations, around Virginia, and through the ELCA.
Daily Devotions were also shared during the season of Lent this year, written by folks from around the Virginia Synod and shared across the Synod’s social media pages. These devotions were written based on 40 Bible verses published by the AMMPARO strategy of the ELCA, focused on welcoming people.
8- Mission Partners
At the 2018 Synod Assembly, we had the opportunity to hear from some of the Virginia Synod’s Mission Partners. There they shared oral and video reports of their great work!
We also heard later in the year about GraceInside from Pastor Colleen Montgomery who took a visit to Keen Mountain Correctional Center. There she shared the important ministry GraceInside provides.
Many Virginia Synod congregations also partnered with our synod’s Mission Partners as part of their Week of Service!
7- Week of Service
A year just isn’t complete without pulling on your”God’s Work Our Hands” t-shirts! 2018 marked the 6th Annual Virginia Synod Week of Service, held in conjunction with the ELCA Day of Service held on September 9, 2018.
All congregations were 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, and to further share their stories of service with the Synod. Stories of service from across the Synod showcased great experiences of service, often in partnership with the Virginia Synod’s fantastic Mission Partners. Click here to read some of the many stories of service shared with the Virginia Synod this year.
6- Discerning Vocation in the Virginia Synod
This year 17 inquirers, individuals discerning God’s call to public ministry in the church, and 10 candidates for ministry, individuals who have discerned a call to rostered ministry in the church and are engaged in the process of formation for leadership, were in attendance at the 2018 Vocations Conference.
In 2018 we also started sharing the amazing things our candidates are up to. We took time to learn what their call to ministry is like from stories they share. Over the last few months we’ve heard from both Danielle Bosdell and Alyssa Kaplan, and hope to hear from more of our candidates this year!
5- Youth Event Highlights
You can learn all about what happened this year, by reading our event recaps:
- Winter Celebration: “Not by Bread Alone”
- 7th Day: “B the 1”
- Bishop’s Day
- Kairos: “Faithside Out”
- Lost and Found: “Lost Hate & Found Love”
4- 2018 ACTS Highlights
There was a lot to celebrate about our ACTS program in 2018! Seven individuals graduated from the ACTS program from Immanuel Lutheran in Bluefield West Virginia, and Central Lutheran in Burkes Garden. This group took roughly four years to complete their ACTS courses.
Our Spring and Fall courses for 2018, “To Speak in Parables: Proclamation of the Gospel in the Parables of Jesus” led by The Rev. Dr. Mark Vitalis Hoffman, and “Lutheran Confessions” led by The Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Wengert gave us a fantastic year of ACTS!
On January 27th of 2018 three rounds of ForwardingFaith Congregational training was held across the state traveling to Blacksburg, Charlottesville, and Woodstock. This event taught attendees how they could participate in the ForwardingFaith campaign, and kickstarted a great year of appeals in many congregations.
Campaign updates were presented at this past year’s Synod Assembly. It was an exciting opportunity to share the great success of the ForwardingFaith campaign thus far, as well as to look forward to the future with more congregational appeals being held in the months to come. You can watch the full ForwardingFaith report from Synod Assembly on the Virginia Synod’s Youtube page.
The congregations that joined in the ForwardingFaith campaign in 2018 all spread the good news of faith formation in Virginia during their appeals! We shared a number of ways that congregations creatively joined in with ourForwardingFaith Fridays series this spring and summer. You can learn about some of these fantastic congregational appeals by clicking here.
Stay tuned to forwardingfaith.org for continued campaign updates and opportunities to get your congregation involved as we continue to fundraise in 2019.
2- 2018 National Youth Gathering
Youth from the Virginia Synod joined over 30,000 other high school youth and adult leaders from around the country for a week of faith formation at the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas. This event was five days of learning, interacting, serving alongside local residents, worshipping, connecting with thousands of other Lutherans, and so much more! The theme “This Changes Everything” constantly focused participants attention on how God’s call, love, grace, and hope shapes everything we do. To learn more about the 2018 National Youth Gathering, click here.
1- New Staffing for the Virginia Synod Office
This year the Virginia Synod Office welcomed several new additions to our staff with Pastor Kelly Bayer Derrick, Assistant to the Bishop, Deacon Lisa Geiger, Candidacy Process Administrator and ACTS Director, Pastor John Wertz Jr., Assistant to the Bishop/DEM, and Pastor Suzanne Stierwalt, Roots & Wings Director beginning their new roles this year.
Pastor Kelly and Deacon Lisa were installed into their new positions in the Synod Office during the Friday afternoon worship service at the 2018 Virginia Synod Assembly. Pastor John and Pastor Dave Delaney, Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries, were installed to their positions during the Thursday Evening Eucharist during Power in the Spirit.