The synod youth events have strengthened my faith in Jesus and have given me a second family in Christ.
Maren Corliss
2015 Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) Board President

I like how close-knit the Virginia Synod is compared to others. I remember when we were at the Youth Gathering, saying hi to other kids we knew. It surprised kids from other synods to see how many people we know within our state. It’s because of youth events that we know each other, some folks don’t even know the people that attend the Lutheran church down the street! We as youth get to become so close and comfortable during youth events.
Kelsey Welch
Virginia Synod youth event participant

I can name a number of pastors in the Synod who went through the youth events. These pastors showed up when they were youth because the community was authentic and the gospel was being spoken to them.

Being a part of it for so long- it’s great to see it still continuing today. It’s the same kind of crazy still.
Paul Henrickson
Chaplain Emeritus of Roanoke College and former Virginia Synod Youth Ministry Coordinator

From an adult’s perspective, I think it’s great for the youth to have an opportunity to fully embrace and partake in the faith formation in a safe environment. It’s fascinating to see how the spirit moves through the younger generation.
Mark Schuetze
Virginia Synod youth event adult advisor

The events help you work through the problems you have in your life. Especially when you have people indoor life that support you.Folks are there for you, and they’re not gone after the weekend- they’re here for the rest of your life. Going to Kairos, and other youth events make you become a family, you get to know another and love one another.

The high school youth events have shaped my faith and helped me form friendships with people around the state. These events are really special because we’re all Lutheran, and we can relate tone another openly about that. I can’t talk to my other friend about the things I discuss at youth events, but being here helps me work out problems I otherwise would not have been able to solve on my own.
Erin Wachter
Virginia Synod youth event participant

We are doing this because of Jesus Christ, the Lord of this Church. He is the one who calls you here. He is the one who invites you here.
Dwayne Westermann
Former Assistant to the Bishop

Coming from a small church, for me being at youth events helps me see the church in a wider scope. I can talk about problems with friends in ways I could not otherwise.

The church can be really hard to grasp- it’s so focused towards adults. But Youth Events are geared towards us and how we think, and for me, it’s helped me connect to the church. I want to be more active and to be present in the church like I’m present at Youth Events.
Hannah Girard
Virginia Synod youth event participant

After our first ACTS course, my husband and I talked about our faith more than we had in our entire married life.
Janet Gomez
ACTS and Power in the Spirit participant

Coming to the events, I didn’t know what to expect and so I came with a closed mind. But that didn’t matter in the end because these events have helped open my mind. The love that I have felt, and that continues outside of the events as well, it’s so moving. Youth Events are a feeling and have become a community like no other. There’s so much acceptance. You learn things about yourself through others and it’s all around an enjoyable experience, every part of it. It’s a very special time and I wish it could last forever.
Karl Zimbauer
Virginia Synod youth event participant

The Synod’s faith formation events take seriously that we have different seasons in our faith lives.
Richard Bansemer
Bishop Emeritus of the Virginia Synod

I think it’s really Important to be with people of the same faith- It’s nice to be around one another. this is a cool environment, to learn and hear from other’s experiences puts my own faith journey into perspective!
Madelyn Cunningham
Virginia Synod youth event participant

I like seeing the community come together. By the end of the weekend, I know my small group has my back, and I have theirs.
Alex Josephson
Virginia Synod youth event participant

As a former youth participant and now coming back as an adult leader Youth ministry holds a dear place in my heart. I have been coming to these events since 2009 and what always brings me back is the community that has been built and passed down through the years. The friendships that I have created at these events are what I believe have help to strengthen my faith and now coming back as a leader I get to share my experiences and help the next generation grown in their faith, and spread God’s Love!
Matt Leonard
Virginia Synod youth event adult advisor

I’ve been coming to these events since my first 7th day, and when I went, I got hooked. I had so much fun, and I knew that I wanted to go to all the events. I’ve kept coming back because of all the friendships that are made, all the closeness, and all the singing and joy. I will always come to these events and make sure to be one of the small group leaders.
Max Kelly
Virginia Synod youth event participant

It’s so great to feel the presence of God and know that while you are growing in your faith, you are also helping others to grow in their faith.
Rachel Robinson
Virginia Synod youth event participant

I’ve only been going to these events for 4 years now and everytime it gets better and better. I feel so close to everyone because they’re all so nice and just let you chill. I have so many friends here and absolutely hate leaving these events because most of my friends here live so far away. I also love it because we get to walk around with friends, there is really good food, we get to make new friends, and of course my favorite thing is the singing and games. There are so many fun games and it’s just an awesome environment.
Emileigh Smith
Virginia Synod youth event participant

I’ve been going to all of these events for four years now and every time I go I have so much fun.  I love being able to get closer God, making so many new friends, and having a great time in small group and large group.  Every time I come and leave I always know that I have grown in my faith.  Coming here is always a highlight of my year and I will never forget any of the times I came here.
Emma Stanley
Virginia Synod youth event participant

I actually believe in God now. Junior year of Kairos really opened my mind to the world of God.
Eric Malarkey
Virginia Synod youth event participant

Just because my children will no longer be of the age to attend the synod events as participants it doesn’t mean my time being here for the youth that are not my own has to come to an end. Being a part of these events has been a big part of my family’s life for so long, and I love that they will always have this community to come home to as adults.
Nicole “Mama Nikki” Smith
Virginia Synod youth event adult advisor

These events are important to me because this community is one you can thrive off of. This is a great place to get a break from the real world-  I want to keep coming back because you never ever have a bad time. You learn so much from each other! Honestly, I could come back just for the songs alone.
Callie Hammer
Virginia Synod youth event participant

Faith formation events provide a new perspective on the scripture we listen to each Sunday. I never thought I’d be this excited to worship.
Connor Speidell
Virginia Synod youth event participant

These events are a great opportunity to grow and make friends. I’ve met so many people I want in my life always.
Matt Boyle
Virginia Synod youth event participant

The main thing is knowing that there are others out there who are experiencing the same as you. There’s more than the negative day to day. It all puts things into perspective about all the positives and blessings in my life.
Thomas Garrett
Virginia Synod youth event participant

My experience at youth events has prepared me to be a better ambassador for Christ by teaching me how to share my faith and show joy to everyone around me. I’ve truly been blessed to be part of such a phenomenal events.
Anna Derrick
Virginia Synod youth event participant

It’s always a learning experience, the multiple perspectives you hear help you grow in your lifetime attempt to read biblically. Hearing from so many great skeapers ACTS has become a primary resource for me.
Eugene McClurken
ACTS participant

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    Call: 540-389-1000

    Virginia Synod, ELCA
    PO Box 70
    Salem, VA 24153