Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
The Gospel in a Digital World:
Making Sermons Available Online
Each week Pastors spend time studying a biblical text, prayerfully meditating, doing background research, and coming up with personal illustrations. All leading up to the sermon that they (usually) deliver on a Sunday morning. If you're sitting in the crowd you get to hear the passion in the pastor's voice, the chuckle after a joke, or even the spontaneous Holy Spirit driven comment that wasn't quite planned.

All the work put in for preparation and delivery is worth it--for that one audience.

Some churches have been recording CDs of sermons for years for elderly shut-ins who can't make it to the service. However, our world is changing and soon even CDs will be a thing of the past. Many churches across the country and some in our Synod are moving to recording the audio and making their sermons available online.

"It's another tool that God can use to spread his message to the World," said Dave Young, the Pastor of Bethel Lutheran in Winchester.
Why Would You Post Audio Recordings of Sermons Online?
  • It keeps people connected. There are many reasons why people can't make it to a Sunday service, especially in our busy world. Families are on vacation, professionals travel for work, students go home on breaks, or older members may not feel well enough to travel to church. There is no substitute for worshiping with your brothers and sisters in Christ, but being able to listen to a sermon you missed while you are on the go or in your own home helps you feel more connected.
John Wertz, the pastor of St. Michael's Church in Blacksburg is one of our Pastors who records his sermons each week. He said, "One college student at our church studied abroad for a year in Australia and he told us how it was comforting for him to hear something from home."
As much as millennials love podcasts (I listen to one every morning before work), audio recordings aren't just for the younger crowd. "We have a few of our shut-in folks who listen online," said Pastor Wertz.
  Guy with Headphones
  • Members can listen again. There is a baby crying. You didn't quite catch what the Pastor said. You zone out. Even if we are in church on Sunday, there's a possibility that we didn't absorb the whole message. If sermons are available online, you have that chance to go back and listen again. Christy Huffman, the Diaconal Minister of Epiphany Lutheran in Richmond, is in charge of recording and uploading the sermons for her church had an email sent to her and the member said,  "I've been listening to the sermons on my kindle and the sound is loud and clear. Sometimes I am not able to follow the sermon from start to finish on Sundays so it great to be able to replay it at home and there are less distractions while I am sitting in my rocking chair."
  • Spreading the Word. "This is another way to be Christ's presence out in the virtual world," said Christy Huffman said. We are called the light. If church members hear a sermon that really impacts them, instead of just telling people about the sermon, they can email them the entire sermon or post it on their Facebook wall.
  • Promotional Purposes. More and more people are going to the internet to look for a church when they move to a new area. Your website is really the first impression and letting people listen to sermons gives them a taste of your church culture and the pastors teaching style.
  • Historical Archives: Remember that sermon you loved from last year's Reformation Sunday? Posting your sermons online gives the pastor and members a way to not only store, but also go back to old sermons.
So with all the positive outcomes, what keeps people from making recordings of sermons available online? For many, the technology seems a little overwhelming or there is fear about how this will fit into the budget.

How much does it cost?
As with anything, you can put as much money as you want into a project. But recording audio doesn't have to break the bank. "For us, the device was really the costly part and that was around $150 for us," Christy Huffman from Epiphany said.

"We have about $50 invested in the recorder," said Pastor John Wertz.
How do you actually make the audio recordings happen?
There are all sorts of resources and articles online and everyone seems to record audio differently.
HeadphonesThe first thing anyone would need is a recording device. For some churches that already use a sound system, it may be an option to move that a microphone picking up a pastors voice to a recording. The simplest solution may be to spend $7 or $8 dollars on a cable hat will convert output from your soundboard into the headphone jack available on most devices. You could also get an external voice recorder, place it up front and the pastor can hit record when he or she starts talking.

Pastor Dave Young at Bethel Lutheran in Winchester has his sound team record his sermon using through the sound board. They then save that file to a USB Flash Drive  and return the USB drive to him after the service. He uses Audacity, a free audio editing software, to convert the recording to an MP3 file which is uploaded to Podbean, a website that hosts podcasts and other audio recordings.

Like Pastor Young, Christy Huffman also uses Audacity to edit the audio files after recording using a Tascam DR05 personal recorder. At Epiphany there are three people delivering sermons on Sunday and the speaker presses the record button and the stop button. If the stop button isn't pressed right after the Sermon, Audacity is a way to edit down the recording. Epiphany has a website that allows the user to upload the audio file right to the site.

Lastly, Pastor Wertz seems to use the simplest method. He uses a digital voice recorder that he takes up front, presses play when he begins speaking and stop when he is finished. The digital voice recorder plugs right into his computer where he uploads the file right to sermon.net.

There are many ways to make sermons available online, it all depends on your church. Each leaders mentioned in this article said that recording and uploading sermons only took 5-30 minutes.

"When you are listening to a sermon, you get the inflections, you get the accent," said Christy Huffman.

While you are thinking about how your church can make use of this information, take a listen to some sermons from our Virginia Synod Congregations:

U.S. Flooding: You Can Help
Flooding has devastated this country this week. The ELCA is providing opportunities to help our sisters and brothers affected by historic flooding in the Carolinas. Give through ELCA Disaster Response and100% of your gift goes directly to help those in need. Click here for more information

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.


Lost and Found Early Registration Deadline is October 19!
Lost & Found: God has Found You
Lost & Found: God has Found You

Lost and Found is our annual weekend retreat for youth in 7th and 8th grade and their adult advisors. 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 about 8 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. 
Lost and Found runs from November 20-22, 2015, from 6:30pm Friday to noon Sunday at Eagle Eyrie.  
Cost for participants:  $160 (early registration discount if postmarked on or before October 19 - $150) Click Here To Find out More and Register!

VA Lutherans Go "Over The Edge" to Support 
Special Olympics
Team Fools for Christ returns to the Richmond Special Olympics, "Over The Edge" fundraiser with new participants: Amy Delph (Messiah, Mechanicsville), Vicar Nathan Huffman (Epiphany, Richmond currently interning at Our Saviour, Norge), and returning team captain, Pastor Lou Florio (Messiah, Mechanicsville). In exchange for donations, they promise to rappel off the Sun Trust Center in Richmond (25 stories above Cary Street) on Saturday, October 17th. All proceeds benefit Special Olympics Virginia. More than just providing year long sports activities, Special Olympics provides education, family and medical support, and social opportunities for those with intellectual disabilities. Please give our team a push toward their $5000 goal. If you can, please donate today. Any amount helps. Send a check made out to Special Olympics Virginia to Pastor Lou Florio c/o Messiah (8154 Atlee Rd., Mechanicsville, VA 23111) or donate securely online: http://bit.ly/1M2flJD

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. 

Deaconess Community's January Term Course
Are you discerning your call to ministry? Have you thought about the Word and Service Roster and wondered "What is diakonia?" Come learn together at the Deaconess Community's annual J-term course "Diaconal Ministry: History, Formation and Spirituality", offered through Luther Seminary! This course will be held January 3-8, 2016 at Mt. Olivet Conference and Retreat Center in Farmington, MN. The Deaconess Community pays tuition for all students. The cost of housing and books is the responsibility of each student. For more information, please visit deaconesscommunity.org/j-term.

New LFS Employee in The Shenandoah Valley

LFS logo new
Lutheran Family Services welcomes June Nabers, wife of Rev. Bill Nabers, as the Development Coordinator in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.  This is a brand new position for LFS in the Shenandoah Valley. June's focus will be developing community relationships, engaging volunteers and raising funds for our programs including Community-based services, Therapeutic Day Treatment and foster care/adoption services in Winchester, our Minnick School in Harrisonburg and our Charlottesville Day Support Program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.   
June brings to LFS a wealth of experience in community engagement and a strong connection with the Lutheran community in the Valley.  

Job Opportunities

All posts can also be found online at www.vasynod.org/job-opportunities. If you have job opening you would like posted, email fuller@vasynod.org. 
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
Director of Worship and Music--25 hours
Emmanual Lutheran, Virginia Beach
Responsibilities include planning all worship and music. Position description and salary details are available by clicking the title link above. Interested candidates should send a resume including educational training and ministry experience, a cover letter explaining your vision for worship and music ministry and references to admin@elvb.org by 10/15/15
Job Opportunity
Director of Youth and Christian Education--20 hours
Emmanual Lutheran, Virginia Beach
Responsibilities include planning and leading Sunday school and youth group activities each Sunday. Position description and salary details are available by clicking the title link above. Interested candidates should send a resume including educational training and ministry experience, a cover letter explaining your vision for youth and family ministry and references to youth@elvb.org by 10/15/15.
Job Opportunity:
Church Office Administrator--15-20 hrs/week
Faith Lutheran, Suffolk
Faith Lutheran in Suffolk is seeking a Church Office Administrator. This position includes Flexible hours.  Basic computer skills, clerical skills, and some financial skills are required. Applicants must be able to work independently, communicate well, and respect confidentiality. If interested please send resume:  faith_lutheran@verizon.net . For questions or comments, please call (757) 686-0468. 
Do You have an Announcement, upcoming event or News Story Idea? Send it to fuller@vasynod.org!
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