Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
Two Pastors Go Behind Bars

On Wednesday, September 23rd Lutheran pastors, Aaron DeBenedetto and Leslie Scanlon went to prison.  Touring St. Brides Correctional Center, these passionate young pastors learned about the multi-generational impact of GraceInside, up close and personal, in their own hidden back yards.

Hosted by GraceInside, the tour offered a peek into life on the inside for the1200 men incarcerated at the Level 2 facility.  GraceInside, the mission partner of the Virginia Synod that places chaplains inside Virginia's prisons, offered the rare inside look hoping to engage more pastors, church leaders and individuals to see and understand the value of a Christian presence in the prisons.  GraceInside's Supervising Chaplain, Bill Twine, took Pastors Scanlon and DeBenedetto, along with four other Lutheran congregants, (and GraceInside Board and staff}, on a tour including the programs building, yard, inmate print shop, and a housing unit. But the favorite part of the tour was visiting with the men incarcerated there who shared their testimony to the impact of GraceInside.

Chaplain Twine (right) with a volunteer and a graduate of St. Bride's discipleship class
"The tour of St. Brides organized by GraceInside was great timing for me," said Pastor Scanlon.  "I just started serving at pastor at Grace Lutheran in Chesapeake, and St. Brides is part of the wider community that I am focusing on getting to know as I begin this new call.  I enjoyed getting to see the facility, but even more so, getting to hear about the direct impact of the ministry to, with, and by those incarcerated there.  God is present all around us; when we forget God is present even in prisoners, we miss out."

One story that the group heard started with a beautiful postcard celebrating the college graduation of a young woman. A dark haired beautiful young woman with a sparkling smile, she shared how her life was blessed because of Chaplain Twine.  She expressed her gratitude for his impact in her life and reported how she was now accepting a position in ministry! That's all wonderful, but Chaplain Twine has only served at a men's prison. How would he have mattered to this young woman?

Chaplain Twine remembers, "Years ago, I baptized her father!  And later, I married her father to her mother! Over the years, they've kept in touch.  When she went on a mission trip to France years ago, I helped sponsor her." 

That's the story of GraceInside - saving lives from the inside out.  GraceInside's impact doesn't stop with the inmates for when their lives are transformed by grace, the family changes, too.

Another gentleman shared the power of Jesus Christ in helping him disciple other inmates who come into the system, able to teach and care for the spiritual lives of those in his housing "pod" because of the support and training offered through the Chaplain's office.

The graduates from the discipleship class held at St. Brides. 

Rev. DeBenedetto shared, "It was amazing to see God working beyond anything I could imagine at St. Brides. Disciples are being made, disciples that truly get that it is by God's grace alone we are saved. I was transformed by the men I met. Jesus is truly at work!"

GraceInside places chaplains, like Chaplain Twine, in more than 30 prison facilities throughout Virginia.  Since 1920, GraceInside has been the agency trusted by churches, denominations and individuals to work with the Department of Corrections and protect the religious and spiritual needs of the incarcerated.  Supported by those who believe that Jesus Christ offers redemption, reconciliation and transformation, GraceInside honors the command to "visit those in prison." 

With only part-time chaplains in most prisons, imagine the impact in our communities (both inside and out) if we were able to offer chaplains full-time.  Men and women in prison need to know they are loved, remembered and valued because they matter to God. God is moving powerfully throughout our prisons in Virginia. Lives are changing every single day.  That means families are changing...and communities... and the family of God. GraceInside matters!
Renew and Retreat: October 6-8
Renew and Retreat will be help Oct. 6- Oct. 8  at Camp Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center. This is 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. The cost is $60 (includes 2 nights and 5 meals) and day registration is $25. This is you LAST CHANCE contact Diane Bayer (bayer@muhlenberglutheran.org) if you would like to come!

The All Lutheran Women's Retreat, Oct. 9-10
The theme is "First Things First" and will be lead by Dr. Phyllis Blair Milton at the Holiday Inn Patriot, 3032 Richmond Rd., Williamsburg, VA  23185. The event begins Friday, October 9th and concludes Saturday, October 10.  Registrations in $95 and participants make their own room reservations with the Holiday Inn.  A block of rooms has been reserved.

Go online to  http://alwretreat.wix.com/alwr#registration/c3lu   where participants can register for $98.50 (additional is PayPal fees).

Alan Padgett on Paul Hinlicky's Beloved Community, 
with a Response from Dr. Hinlicky
Date: October 8, 2015 3:00 PM
Oct 8, 2015 3:00 PM
Location: Antrim Chapel

Alan G. Padgett, D.Phil. (Oxford University) is the chair of the Theology Division at Luther Seminary, St Paul, Minnesota. He founded the Christian Theological Research Fellowship and is the General Editor for the Eerdmans book series Sacra Doctrina: Christian Theology for a Postmodern Age. His own books have included a two volume history of Christianity and Western Thought; The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity; Science and the Study of God; God, Eternity, and the Nature of Time; and But Is It All True? The Bible and the Question of Truth. Dr. Padgett will critique Paul Hinlicky's major systematic theology- Beloved Community, and Dr. Hinlicky will reply. Dr Hinlicky is the Tise Professor of Lutheran Studies at Roanoke College. His other books have included Luther and the Beloved Community; Rethinking Philosophy and Theology with Deleuz; The Substance of the Faith; Divine Complexity; Before Auschwitz; Preaching God's Word; and Paths not Taken.

Sponsored by the Benne Center for Religion & Society
For more information contact: Dr. James Peterson (540) 375-4919
Job Opportunity:
Director for Outreach and Youth Ministry in Richmond

First English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Richmond, Virginia is seeking a part-time Director of Outreach and Youth Ministry.  The Director will support and expand:  social ministry programs;outreach to young adults (18-35), including the adjacent historic neighborhood and university community; and youth ministry.

 Contact  info@felcrichmond.org for the complete job description, requirements, and application process.
Job Opportunity:
Church Operations Manager in Norfolk, VA
The Church Operations Manager will serve First Lutheran Church Norfolk by ensuring support is provided to all Rostered Staff, administering the physical, finalcial and personnel resources of FLC and providing oversight of the operations and business of FLC. A full job description is available here. Those interested should send a cover letter and resume to staffing@flcnorfolk.com. Questions should be directed to the same email. 
Job Opportunity:
Richmond Congregation Seeking Administrative Assistant

Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, located at located at 9601 Hull Street Rd in Richomond, is looking for a part time administrative assistant - 18 hours a week with flexible daily schedule.  Proficiency in Microsoft Office and prior office work experience (church or non-profit org, a plus) are required. Send cover letter with resume to lcosjobs@gmail.com

You are invited to explore Lutheran commitments to children and youth at Grace Lutheran Church in Waynesboro on October 24 from 9:00 am-2:00 pm. Marcia Bunge, a professor of Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College, will be leading participants through conversations during the day with topics including central Lutheran commitments to children, twelve best practices for nurturing moral and spiritual life, and articulating our values. The cost is $25.00. Click here for the registration form.


Thrivent Financial Event:
Your Legacy; Family, Church Charity

Join Thrivent Financial on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at Roanoke College in Salem Virginia for their one-hour presentation that will help you discover ways to enrich your future and unleash your generosity. Please RSVP by calling 540-491-9993 or emailing blueridgegroup@thrivent.com. 

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