Virginia Synod

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Virginia Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Bittle Hall.JPG
Office of the Bishop, Bittle Hall
CountryUnited States of America
TerritoryVirginia excluding Washington, D.C. area
HeadquartersSalem, Virginia
Area42,774 sq mi (110,780 km2)
DenominationEvangelical Lutheran Church in America
Established1988 (lineage to 1820)
Current leadership
Bishop of the Virginia SynodRev. Robert F. Humphrey
Bishops emeritusRev. James F. Mauney, Rev. Richard F. Bansemer, Rev. Virgil (Buck) Moyer, Rev. J. Luther Mauney

The Virginia Synod (similar to a diocese) is one of the 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, consisting of the entire state of Virginia except for several counties and cities in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod.[2] The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was formed in 1988 and currently has over 9300 congregations and 3.6 million members in all 50 states.[3] Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.[4]

Lutheran Bishop James F. Mauney presides at the sacrament of Holy Communion during the Virginia Synod Assembly on June 11, 2016 at St. Andrews in Roanoke Virginia, USA

The offices of the Bishop are located in the historic Bittle Hall[5] on the campus of Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. The synod consists of 257 pastors serving 153 organized congregations within 11 conferences. The oldest congregation in Virginia is Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison, Virginia which was founded in 1717. The newest congregation in Virginia is Grace and Glory Lutheran Church in Palmyra, Virginia which was founded in 2001. The synod partners with the Islands District of Papua New Guinea through the ELCA Companion Synod Program,[6] and coordinates sustainable support for people in need of relief from malarial disease, hunger, and disaster.[7] Within the Commonwealth of Virginia, the synod works to find and feed hungry children and advocate for universal breakfast in the classroom following models such as School breakfast club and Oslo breakfast.[8]


The Bishop oversees the conferences of the synod and serves as the overall leader, mentor, and shepherd of ecclesiastical life throughout the synod.

Note: Prior to 1981, Bishops were known as "Presidents" of the synod, though their functions were similar to those of the Bishop today.


Conferences (lower judicatories) within the Virginia Synod include:[10]

Each conference is headed by a Dean. Each Dean is a member of the Office of the Bishop and serves as the representative of the Bishop to the conference.[12]

History of the Virginia Synod[edit]

The first Lutheran Synod in America was the German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania, organized in St. Michael's church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 15, 1748, with six ordained ministers and an almost equal number of lay representatives from the different congregations. There were, at that time, only eleven Lutheran ministers in all the colonies. As the number of Lutherans grew, Virginia congregations were formed into the Synod of Maryland and Virginia 1820-1829. The Synod of Virginia was established on August 11, 1829. The sixth convention of the Virginia Synod met in Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison County, Virginia on October 11, 1834. Rev. Thomas W. Miller was elected, president ; and Rev. William Scull, secretary. Three candidates received ordination. It was at this meeting that missionary and educational societies were first organized, and which continued their helpful work for many years. Through these ministries, the people became acquainted with Rev. Miller. They afterward extended him a call which was accepted. His parishioners moved him in wagons from his former pastorate in Botetourt County, Virginia and he began his pastoral work among them about the first of April, 1835.[13]

Camps and retreat centers[edit]

The Virginia Synod runs two retreat centers:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 150
  2. ^ "ELCA Synods".
  3. ^ "ELCA Facts". Archived from the original on 2016-09-25. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  4. ^ "ELCA Website News Release".
  5. ^ "The Council of Independent Colleges: Historic Campus Architecture Project".
  6. ^ "Companion Synod Relationships".
  7. ^ "Team 2017".
  8. ^ "Virginia Feeds Kids".
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Stoever, Johann Casper; Schantz, F. J. F. (Franklin Jakob Fogel) (29 March 1896). "Records of Rev. John Casper Stoever : baptismal and marriage, 1730-1779". Harrisburg, Pa. : Harrisburg Pub. Co. – via Internet Archive.
  12. ^ "Virginia Synod Conferences".
  13. ^ "History of the Hebron Lutheran Church, Madison County, Virginia, from 1717 to 1907".
  14. ^ "Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center, Fort Valley VA". Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center, Fort Valley VA.

External links[edit]