Thursday, July 2, 2015

Praying for the churches of Southern Virginia

As part of our liturgy at Annual Council 2015, each delegation wrote a prayer for their parish. We are sharing these prayers each week in the eNews so that we all can support one another in the upcoming year.

St. Matthias', Midlothian
Gracious and Ever-loving God, we gather with grateful hearts for the many blessings you have so generously given us.  As we give thanks for our friends and family, let us remember the lonely.  As we give thanks for our health, let us remember the sick.  As we give thanks for our homes, let us remember the homeless.  As we give thanks for our food, let us remember the hungry.  May our gratitude spur us to service in the building of your Kingdom and give glory to you, O Father, where with the Son and the Holy Spirit you live and reign now and for ever.  Amen.

St. Paul's, Newport News
Dear Lord, surround us with your loving presence. Lift our spirits when we struggle to serve those in need with so little resources at hand. Encourage and guide our church and search committee as we go through the process of seeking our new rector. Strengthen our resolve to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in downtown Newport News. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you in the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Mission of the Holy Spirit: Breaking the cycle

By Eva Lynn Trump, Administrator, Mission of the Holy Spirit
When the Mission first started in 1993, our primary goals were to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to young inner city people, and to encourage them to stay in school in order to graduate with their high school diplomas. Today, the Sunday worship service averages 60 young people and their families, and we have 20-25 members attending our Tutoring, Music & Art and Life Skills weeknight programs. Our members are not only staying in school to earn their high school diplomas (or G.E.D. equivalent), they are going on to trade schools, the military, and college. We are so proud to celebrate the college graduation of Nikkia Allen from Old Dominion University over Mother's Day weekend, and four more members will be graduating from their colleges and universities by this time next year. As our members have grown and entered college, the Mission is pleased to help each one of them with their college expenses. The following is a letter we received from a Mission member who was granted financial assistance:

I am writing this letter simply to express my gratitude. I am incredibly grateful and appreciative to REACH-Mission of the Holy Spirit, not only for the financial support towards my future endeavors, but also for the recognition of the hard work that I have put in thus far. To me, this educational assistance demonstrates your generosity, faith in community, and interest in my success. With this organization's support, I can continue to reach my academic goals as a student majoring in Social Work at Norfolk State University. I am a strong believer in volunteering within my community and this educational support is further inspiration to continue giving back to the people and places that support me in my pursuits. As I enter my second year of studies, I hope to continue to serve within my community as a Campus and Community Outreach Director of Norfolk State University's chapter of Golden Key International Honor Society. In addition, [I am] a mentor and volunteer at the local community centers and an active member of my student body. I hope to inspire others to volunteer and give back, as I continue on my own academic journey. I would like to thank the REACH-Mission of the Holy Spirit for your recognition and support.

Clearly, this young woman is working hard to break the cycle of poverty that imprisons inner-city young people, and she has been empowered go far in this world.

While the Mission has helped her and others in the past, our bank balance is the lowest it has been in at least 10 years; we may not have the funds to help our college students for the fall semester. We are considering cutting programs at a time of year when we need them most: when children are on break from school and looking for something to do. We want to keep them occupied with spiritual, educational and fun programs, and safe away from the violence and drugs in their neighborhoods.

We are so grateful for all of our individual, church and business supporters, and ask that you consider your donation prayerfully. The work of the Mission is through the grace of God, and we desperately need your help to continue to bring the Good News, quality programs, and educational assistance to our inner city youth and their families.

To learn more about Mission of the Holy Spirit and how you can help, contact them at 757-858-0010 or

Thursday, June 18, 2015

27 Episcopalians ready to serve as missionaries through the Young Adult Service Corps

Twenty-seven young adults representing 21 Episcopal Church dioceses are serving as missionaries in the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) for the 2015-2016 term in locales throughout the Anglican Communion. Andy Russell, from Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, will be serving in the Diocese of Central Tanganyika, Tanzania. Andy will be in Dodoma, Tanzania with The Carpenter's Kids program, which provides education to children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. There are an estimated 40,000 of these orphans within the diocese.  

"This year we witnessed the largest group ever of applications for positions as YASC missionaries," said Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer.   "A record 45 applications from 27 dioceses across all nine provinces in the Church were reviewed.  Of those, more than half have discerned to serve as YASC missionaries. We are proud of our YASC missionaries and of this remarkable achievement."

YASC is a ministry of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society for Episcopal young adults, ages 21 to 30, who are interested in exploring their faith in new ways by living and serving in communities around the Anglican Communion.
Bishop Sauls noted that most of the YASC missionaries will provide ministry work in education, youth work, social services, community development, and agriculture. He noted that YASC missionaries will assist in expanding the relationship with the Mission to Seafarers, will support an existing diocese-to-diocese relationship (Virginia-Liverpool), and will support mission initiatives in the northern region of Haiti by partnering with Episcopal Volunteers in Mission who are serving in the area.
Each YASC missionary maintains a blog, detailing his/her service, reflections and adventures. Andy Russell's blog is Looking Out, Looking In: A Mission to Tanzania.  

Praying for the churches of Southern Virginia

As part of our liturgy at Annual Council 2015, each delegation wrote a prayer for their parish. We are sharing these prayers each week in the eNews so that we all can support one another in the upcoming year.

St. Martin's, Williamsburg
Gracious God, whose peace subdues every storm: give us calmness of heart that we may, with joyful expectation, see you at work in the world and join you as helping hands, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. George's, Newport News
Almighty God, you have called us to be your church and blessed our congregation with compassion for others, deep-seated faith, and a strong commitment to following you through good times and bad.  Help us to create a new vision and find new ways to be Church in northern Newport News, offering hope, help and hospitality to those inside and outside our doors.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen

Boys Home guides boys from challenging circumstances to develop their full potential

By Steve Hansen, Boys Home, Covington

Boys Home addresses the physical, academic, social, and spiritual needs of their residents. In a privately funded, faith-based, residential setting, they provide a stable environment, parallel parenting, and the opportunity to attend either public or their on-campus school. The Boys Home setting of 1,250 scenic acres in the Alleghany Highlands provides an ideal setting for growing boys to experience the simple gifts that living and playing in the outdoors bring.

A few quick facts about Boys Home of Virginia (also known as Boys Home Incorporated):
  • Boys Home is an Episcopal Church ministry started in 1906 by the rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Covington, VA and incorporated in 1925 under the Diocese of Southern Virginia and the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. The bishops of both dioceses continue to play an active role in the affairs of Boys Home.
  • Boys Home is mission driven, not tuition driven. No boy is turned away from Boys Home because of financial reasons. Boys Home receives very little government funding; it is 97% privately funded. No diocese is responsible for our funding so we rely on donations from parishes and individuals and a modest amount of private grant funding.
  • Boys Home employs a full-time, ordained Episcopal chaplain at its own expense. (Boys Home is currently in the search process for a replacement for their retired chaplain.)
  • Boys Home residents come from many states besides Virginia. Currently they have residents from MD, OH, NJ, PA, FL, MO, CO, TN, and NY.
You are encouraged to check these sources of information on Boys Home: website; Facebook; Twitter. Of special interest, the Boys Home website has a number of church resources that can be downloaded here.

The Boys Home Mission Works! Program is a great opportunity for youth groups, women groups, or men groups. Info can be found in the "Spiritual Life" and "News" sections of the Boys Home website and throughout the Boys Home Facebook and Twitter postings.

Your prayers and donations for Boys Home are greatly appreciated by the boys and the staff!

Jackson-Feild annual fishing outing lures young anglers

On June 12, thirty-two residents and staff left campus bright and early to travel to Smithfield for a day of fishing. For many it was the first time they held a rod and reel in their hands, baited a hook and cast a line. Residents headed to their special fishing hole, and volunteers retrieved lines of out the trees and tall grass. When asked, they even removed the catch from the lines of squeamish fishers.

This annual fishing trip is a day that the boys and girls always enjoy, but "Hannah" was most the excited of them all. She landed the biggest fish of the day!

Don Lancaster, host of the radio show Fishing Tidewater, conducted a quick "Fishing 101" giving the boys and girls the benefit of his vast fishing knowledge. Old Point National Bank, longtime host of this event, provided the rods, reels, bait and tackle in addition to underwriting the cost of a cookout.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Praying for the churches of Southern Virginia

As part of our liturgy at Annual Council 2015, each delegation wrote a prayer for their parish. We are sharing these prayers each week in the eNews so that we all can support one another in the upcoming year.

Good Shepherd, McKenney
Gracious God, you have blessed our parish all these years. We ask your continued blessing and for your guidance in the coming year as we reach out and invite others, especially the young people around us, to join in worship each week and to become a part of our Christian community. We ask this through the Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Thomas', Chesapeake
O God, who wonderfully created and yet more graciously gives care humanity over your creation: grant St. Thomas Episcopal Church the power to endeavor to strengthen our stewardship of your church; so that we may improve our ministries to those who are new among us, in need, and the young, all of this we ask in the name of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.