Weekly Update
Announcements From Around the Virginia Synod
Walking Together With
 Papua New Guinea

As Christians, we are a part of the body of Christ. Which means that we are not only connected to people in the United States, we also have brothers and sisters all over the world! In the Virginia Synod, we have recognize this global connectivity several ways, one of which is our formal partnership with the New Guinea Islands (NGI) District of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea (PNG for short) is a country right off the coast of Australia that is slightly larger than California. Our relationship with PNG has been the Synod's primary global mission emphasis since 1990.


A Classroom in Papua New Guinea


Matt Wertman was introduced to PNG as a high school student when he traveled overseas with Bishop Mauney and a small team to visit with our global partners. Today he is part of the Synod's Papua New Guinea Task force.

"Our partnership with them transcends geographic distance," he said. "To know that there are always people praying for us and the Church is a comforting thought. Their church struggles with many of the same issues that we are faced with."

While many of our struggles are the same, we also differ in several challenges that we face.

There has been a huge level of success in the ELCA recently with the Malaria Campaign, an effort to raise $15 million to fight malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The goal was reached this year and as we celebrated the success of this project, some in our Synod couldn't help but to question how Malaria impacts our partners in Papua New Guinea.

Tobby Eleasar is the President of the NGI District (similar to the position of our Synodical Bishop) of Papua New Guinea. President Eleasar recently visited Virginia so you may have had the chance to meet him last year. He has shared that Malaria is not just a problem in Africa.

"Malaria is one of the major deadly diseases in Papua New Guinea," he said. "Four of the five malaria species known to infect humans are found in Papua New Guinea and Papua New Guinea accounts for about 36% of all confirmed Malaria cases in the Western Pacific region."

After learning more about the impact of this disease, the Virginia Synod Papua New Guinea Task Force began to talk about how we could help.

Diane Giessler is the Coordinator of Companion Synod Program in Virginia and she has been in communication with President Eleasar about how we in Virginia can help address this health concern.

"It appears that prevention is the best approach, rather than us helping with treatment after malaria has been contracted," Diane said.

"The government has instructed people to purchase treated nets, however few are financially able to do this," she said. "Pregnant women who visit clinics are given nets but not everyone is able to visit a clinic because of the distance they must walk."

The Papua New Guinea Task force has set the goal to work to provide the funding for 5,000 malaria nets for the Lutheran church in PNG to distribute to their members and people in their communities. Each net only costs about $10, a small cost for potentially saving a life.

Bishop Mauney was so excited about this effort that he has already donated to buy the few nets and at our recent Synod event, Gathering of the Ministerium, the offering was dedicated to this project.

If you would like to join the effort to help provide malaria nets for our brothers and sisters in Papua New Guinea, you can write a check to the Virginia Synod with "PNG Malaria" in the memo line and mail it P.O. Box 70 Salem Va 24153 or you can give online.

Highlands Conference held a talent show at the Lincoln Theater on Sunday, October 18. Emcee for Lutherans at the Lincoln was David Winship, Redeemer, Bristol, who was on the mark with his rendition of Martin Luther.  Participants included St. John, Abingdon, choir and band and Robin Homesley gracefully signing 2 numbers; Ebenezer, Marion, band, Diet of Worms; Sue Revels, Faith, Mount Rogers Parish, singing beautifully; and a combined Conference Handbell Choir, which included ringers from Holy Trinity, Wytheville, Grace, Rural Retreat and St. John.  Offering collected was given to Hungry Mother Lutheran Camp, in Marion.
Hungry Mother has just announced the dates for their new Servant Summer Camp for 2016. Enjoy a week at the peaceful mountain facility while also volunteering with several organizations that serve the people of Southwest Virginia. 

Applications are now being accepted. Each group should consister of 5-7 youth per adult. If you will only be bringing one group, one adult male and one adult female will be required. Youth must be rising high school age and above. There will be three weeks of camp with 40 available spots for each week. The fee is $250 per person with some scholarship money available. 

Please click here for more information or email hmlrc@hungrymother.org to request an application.  

UPDATE: Nepal 6 Months Later
We remember and pray for all those affected by the Nepal earthquakes six months ago. Two powerful earthquakes struck the country, with hundreds of aftershocks, killing more than 8,500 and leaving millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance. As a church, through Lutheran Disaster Response, we have been and will continue to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of the people of Nepal.

Lutheran Disaster Response works with an extensive network of partners who are actively engaged with communities on the ground. Within days after the first earthquake, we were able to respond to those affected. And six months later, we are still there, continuing our work with The Lutheran World Federation, Lutheran World Relief and United Mission to Nepal.

The Nepal: six months later resource provides stories and more detail into our immediate response and a look toward the long-term work being carried out.
You Can Still Register for
Lost and Found 
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 Click Here To Find out More and Register!

Spaces for A February Mission Trip to Nicaragua
Spaces remain for Zion, Waynesboro's February mission trip to Nicaragua. The destination is Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua where mission team members will partner with the Centro Infantil Cristiano NicaragŁense (CICRIN), a refuge for at-risk and abandoned children and youth. Leaders Mark and Tami Radecke have led 16 such service-learning/mission trips to CICRIN since 1999. Dates, costs and other information are on Zion's website at http://zionofwaynesboro.org/nicaragua-mission-trip.html. Those interested can also contact Pr. Radecke at radecke@susqu.edu.

Hungry Mother Servant Summer Camp
LARCUM Conference: Dec. 4-5
The 2015 Virginia LARCUM Conference (Lutheran, AnglicanRoman Catholic, United Methodist) will meet around the theme: "The Church, always reforming -
ecclesia semper reformanda." The Rev. Dr. Gerald Christianson is the event's main presenter, providing historical knowledge to properly
approach the upcoming observance of the 500th anniversary of the reformation. Register by Nov. 20 using form on synod website.
Click Here for the Registration Form

Go "On Safari" to Tanzania!
Godparents for Tanzania invites you to join a small group of fellow Lutherans for a Discovery Safari to Tanzania, May 17-June 1, 2016.  See the beauty of Kilimanjaro, the amazing Ngorongoro Crater, the vastness of the Serengeti and, of course, the wonderful animals of Africa!  At the same time, we will be learning from Godparents' students and staff what growing up in a developing country is like.  

For more information, visit our website (click on Safari at www.godparents4tz.org), and/or contact the trip leader, Pastor Dwayne Westermann, to learn more (dwestermann@godparents4tz.org), (540) 353-6341.   
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. 
Do You have an announcement, upcoming event or news story Idea? Send it to fuller@vasynod.org!
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