Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Over the River and Through the Woods" to Boys Home Christmas tree farm

Are you looking for a Christmas Road Trip this winter? Don’t pass up the beautiful scenery of West Augusta, Virginia. “Over the River and Through the Woods,” is the theme of this year’s Christmas tree season at the Boys Home of Virginia Christmas Tree farm. Spend your day with us starting Saturday November 29 from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. for our open house.

Features of the farm include family activities, refreshments, photo booth and door prizes. Once again, the gift shop will be decorated with traditional Christmas d├ęcor and will sell wreathes, roping, ornaments decorated by the residents, and a variety of Christmas items.
The 2014 Boys Home Christmas Tree Farm season begins Friday, November 28 and extends to Sunday, December 21. The tree farm, located in West Augusta, is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Boys Home Christmas Tree Farm is managed by Brandon Brown assisted by residents and staff. There’s no better way to enjoy your Christmas than to visit the farm. It is just the right place for good tree selection while helping out our young men.

The tree farm is located off of Rt. 688 at 1118 Bear Wallow Flat, West Augusta, VA 24485. For information and directions call 540-939-4106 or 540-965-7700. Or visit the Boys Home website,, under tree farm or on Facebook at

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New research document: Episcopal Congregations Overview

Based on data received from a comprehensive survey of churches, the Episcopal Congregations Overview featuring updated facts and figures about congregations, programs and practices in the Episcopal Church have been posted here. This information, available for downloading at no fee, can provide important and needed data to congregational efforts for growth, stewardship, fundraising, recruitment etc. Copies are being sent to all participating congregations and dioceses. The research was compiled by Dr Kirk Hadaway, Episcopal Church Congregational Research Officer, Topics included in the Episcopal Congregations Overview include: Parishes and their Settings; Worship; Members; Recruitment and Evangelism; Programs Practices and ministries; Conflict; Leadership; and Congregational Identity.

Applications now accepted online for Young Adult Service Corps

The Episcopal Church offers untold opportunities for young adults to live, work and pray with brothers and sisters around the Anglican Communion through the Young Adult Service Corps. Commonly known as YASC, applications for 2015-16 are now being accepted for the Young Adult Service Corps from young adults between the ages of 21-30.

"YASC provides an opportunity for young adults to explore their faith in a new capacity and to live out the Baptismal Covenant by seeking and serving Christ in all persons," noted the Rev. David Copley, Mission Personnel Officer. "Applicants must have a high degree of maturity and possess a faith commitment and the willingness to be a humble guest, and the ability to be an authentic companion." Learn more and get an application here

Diana Butler Bass to speak at Annual Council

The 123rd Annual Council will be held February 6-7, 2015 at the Williamsburg Lodge Convention Center. You can find the latest information on the Annual Council page of our website. Registration will open soon.

Keynote Speaker Diana Butler Bass

This year's keynote speaker will be Diana Butler Bass, author and independent scholar of American religion and culture. She will address "Awakening and the Work of Transformation," and will help us explore a pattern of change in our lives and congregations that enable us to move to a new place.  

Diana Butler Bass received her Ph.D. from Duke University. She has taught at Westmont College, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Macalester College, Rhodes College, and Virginia Theological Seminary. She is the author of eight books, including most recently Christianity after Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. Her groundbreaking study of mainline vitality, Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith was named one of the best religion books of the year by Publishers Weekly and Christian Century, won the book of the year award from the Academy of Parish Clergy, and was featured in a cover story in USA Today. Her next book will be Grounded: Finding the Spirit of God in the Spirit of the Age, scheduled for publication in Fall 2015. Follow her on Twitter: @dianabutlerbass.

Street named in honor of James Solomon Russell

By James Grimstead, Grace Church, Norfolk

The James Solomon Russell Commemoration Committee unveiled a new sign renaming College Drive to James Solomon Russell Drive last Saturday, October 11, 2014 on the campus of Saint Paul’s College.  This historic event honored the Archdeacon Reverend Dr. James Solomon Russell, who founded this college in 1888 which provided an institution of higher learning for many underprivileged citizens in the surrounding communities.    

 The ceremony was attended by more than thirty community local and out of town visitors.  It opened with prayer and welcome by the Rev. Dr. Terrance Walker of South Hill, VA, followed by comments from program chairman James Grimstead of Lawrenceville, VA, who pointed out that this sign is the first recognition in this town of this great pioneer which can be seen and read from the roadway.  Grimstead thanked the Town Council, the Brunswick County Planning Department and the supporting citizens for all their help in making this event a reality. Mayor William Herrington of Lawrenceville brought greetings from the town citizens and expressed thanks to the committee for having the foresight to follow through on such an historic and important occasion in the Town of Lawrenceville.   

Saint Paul’s College is affiliated with the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Southern Virginia.   The Bishop, Herman Hollerith, IV, is on sabbatical leave and could not attend the ceremony but authorized Dr. Angela Parker, of the Diocesan Standing Committee, to represent his presence at the unveiling.  

The Rev. Dr. Joseph N. Green, an advisor of the Committee and a long-time supporter of St. Paul’s College gave inspiring remarks expressing how deeply thrilled he was to see this long overdue recognition of this renowned educator and spiritual powerhouse, Archdeacon James Solomon Russell.

Members of the Russell family, Mr. Henry Pratt Russell of Hampton, VA, and Dr. Virginia Russell of Lawrenceville, VA,  both expressed their heart-felt thanks to the JSR Commemoration Committee for seeing this project through making it a permanent landmark in the Town of Lawrenceville, VA.   Dr. James A. Russell, past President of St. Paul’s College (1971 -1981) expressed his regret for not being able to attend the ceremony, but sent his thanks and appreciation the for this historic sign marker honoring such a great man.

In addition to the James Solomon Russell sign unveiling the Committee planned another special event that took place at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall.   This second celebration and reception honored the Rev. Dr. Joseph N. Green, Jr., retired Rector Emeritus of Grace Episcopal Church in Norfolk, VA.  Fr. Green spent much of his time over the last fifty plus years promoting the welfare of St. Paul’s College.   He has been very instrumental in bringing together a coalition among the various church memberships of parishes founded by the late Dr. James Solomon Russell.  Dr. Green spearheaded the efforts to bring much needed funds to St. Paul’s College resulting in a $1.5 million donation to the college single parent program.  He was also noted for many of his endeavors outside of his activities related to St. Paul’s College.  He served for twenty years on the Norfolk City Council with twelve years as Vice-Mayor.  This allowed him to be instrumental in bringing several needed housing programs on board and turning a dilapidated theater into a top-rate performing arts center.  Fr. Green received a framed Proclamation from the Committee honoring him for his long outstanding service to this local community.  Also, he was graced with a beautiful poem by Mrs. Annie Walker, president of the JSR Commemoration Committee. (Photo L to R: The Rev. Joseph Green, Jr; Mrs. Annie Walker; Mr. James Grimstead)

The Committee thanked St. Andrew’s host-in-charge and author, Ms. Gay Neale, for their gracious hospitality.  She expressed her thanks and appreciation for this historic sign unveiling celebration for Archdeacon James Solomon Russell who started his ministry at St. Andrews Parish before the construction of St. Paul’s Memorial Chapel was completed.  The Committee also gave thanks to members, Nelson and Queen Birchette of St. James in Warfield, VA, for their special assistance on the program.   The sign re-naming project was co-chaired by James and Shirley Grimstead. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Advent Retreat

There are only 43 days until Christmas! Are you ready? And we don't mean, "Have you done all your shopping?"!  We mean, "Have you reflected upon the season of Advent and given yourself the gift of peace this season?" Spend time at Chanco this Advent discovering tools to develop your prayer life and cope with stress while you join with friends from all around our diocese for joyful fellowship. The retreat will take place on Friday, December 5 beginning with dinner at 6 pm and continue through Saturday, December 6, concluding at 3 pm. Overnight accommodations are provided in the conference center rooms with private bath. All meals and a hospitality hour on Friday night are included. This retreat is designed for adults and the cost to attend is $110.00 for a single room or $90.00 for a double room. To register, contact Ashley Scruggs at Don't miss this opportunity to take time during the very busy holiday season to create space for prayer, Christian fellowship, and peace. We hope to see you there!

Download the 2014 Episcopal Church Christmas card

Congregations, dioceses and individuals can download a printable PDF of the 2014 Episcopal Church Christmas card at no fee here.

The design of the card features artist Joan Covell's depiction of the nativity scene.  Covell's art was the top vote-getter in the recent contest to select the art image. Learn more about Covell here.

For information contact Ana Arias,, or Barry Merer,