Tuesday, April 21, 2015

James Solomon Russell Feast Day celebrated

By the Rev. Terrence Walker, Trinity, South Hill

The Rev. Dr. John L. Ghee and Bishop Hollerith 
The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia celebrated the Feast of the Venerable Doctor James Solomon Russell, Sunday, March 29, 2015, at the New RZUA Headquarters in La Crosse, Virginia. A native of Mecklenburg County, Russell attended Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute and taught school in North Carolina where he learned of the Episcopal denomination and became a convert. His most notable achievement, along with founding at least twenty churches in Southside Virginia, was the establishment of Saint Paul's College (1888-2013) in Lawrenceville, Virginia, an institution that trained and educated individuals who impact local and wider communities to this day.

Officiating at the service was the Right Reverend Herman Hollerith IV, Tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. Among the other clergy of the Diocese was the Rev. Dr. Joseph N. Green, Jr., who was recognized for over sixty years of service to the Church and to the larger community.

In his sermon, the Reverend Doctor John L. Ghee, Presiding Bishop of the RZUA Churches of America, focused on the concept that divine purpose comes with a plan and with the resources necessary to accomplish that purpose. Referencing Russell's autobiography Adventure in Faith (Morehouse Publishing, 1936), Ghee enumerated the series of events that led to a nationally recognized college in rural Brunswick County, Virginia, being founded by a former slave. Ironically, Russell was also involved with the founding of the RZUA Churches of America.

Present for the service were three generations of the Russell family. Elected officials from Brunswick and Mecklenburg Counties were either on hand or represented at the celebration. A number of local businesses and individuals were sponsoring agents for the commemoration. Music was provided by the Sharon Baptist Church Mass Choir. Following the service, attendees retired to Trinity Episcopal Church for a light repast.

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. John's, Hampton
Almighty and everlasting God, who from the beginning has placed within each one of us all that is needed to succeed in walking the path of the cross, we pray for your guidance of our Evangelical ministry at St John's in Hampton.  We beseech you to increase our understanding and tolerance of those who have yet to find you, allowing our own lives to serve as examples of your love.  We also humbly seek your mercy to remind us what it is like to be new, and ask for your grace as we extend ourselves in service to those on the margins, as well as those in mainstream.  All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Christ & Grace, Petersburg
Most holy and gracious God, we give you hearty thanks for sustaining us as a vibrant congregation of worshipers and servants in Petersburg for nearly 175 years. We ask for your help and guidance as we plan meaningful ways to celebrate our past and seek new vision and empowerment for the years ahead. Refresh and renew us as the footprints of the past lead us into a spirit-filled future of offering hope, healing and hospitality to those both within the church and in the greater community. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.

ECW celebrates 125 years on May 16, honors founder Louisa Taylor Letcher

The ECW will honor its founder, Louisa Taylor Letcher, at the Spring Annual Meeting. Nancy Sands, ECW diocesan president, has declared May 16, Louisa Taylor Letcher Day, in observance of the ECW's 125th anniversary. In 1890, Louisa, a Norfolk resident, and her friend Sallie Stuart from Alexandria, organized the Women's Auxiliary of the Diocese of Virginia at St. Paul's parish in Norfolk. Louisa and Sallie served as co-presidents. When the Diocese of Southern Virginia was formed in 1892, Louisa continued as president in the newly-formed diocese until her death in 1920.

All women are invited to attend the ECW Spring Annual Meeting at Glebe Church in Suffolk May 16 to celebrate ECW's anniversary, meet Louisa Taylor Letcher in person, and to learn about "God Bless the Children," ECW's proposed 2015-16 outreach project, to benefit Jackson-Field Homes and Boys Home of Virginia. Ann E. Chaffins, Assistant Director of Development at Jackson-Feild Homes, and Megan-Drew Tiller, Church Relations, Boys Home of Virginia, will speak at the meeting. "This project is very important to me," Nancy said. "I feel we need to help give these young people a good start in life and let them know that someone cares about them." Your vote is important.
Glebe Rector, the Rev. Ross Keener, will officiate at Eucharist. Contact Louise Boss, ECW corresponding secretary, to register for the meeting, 757-678-5331 or louiseboss@exede.net, by May 9. The $12 registration fee includes lunch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Climate Change Crisis Forum now available for viewing

Now available here is the Climate Change Crisis, presented by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society on March 24. Addressing one of the most significant topics in today's society, the 90-minute live webcast originated from Campbell Hall Episcopal School, North Hollywood, CA, in partnership with Bishop J. Jon Bruno and the Diocese of Los Angeles.
The forum was moderated by well-known climatologist Fritz Coleman of KNBC 4 television news.  Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presented the keynote address. Two panels focused on specific areas of the climate change crisis: Regional Impacts of Climate Change; and Reclaiming Climate Change as a Moral Issue.

30 Days of Action
In addition to stimulating conversation and raising awareness about The Climate Change Crisis, the live webcast served as the kickoff to 30 Days of Action. A range of activities developed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society are offered for individuals and congregations to understand the environmental crisis. The activities will culminate on Earth Day, April 22.  

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.

Emmanuel, Chatham
Heavenly Father, we acknowledge our struggle to be one body, the people you call us to be.  Fill us with your Spirit that we can love others as you love us.  Remove the blinders of our own desires so we may see and minister to the needs of others.  Cleanse us from us all bitterness, fear, vanity, and pride that we may truly listen with respect and speak with love.  Open our eyes to see the strengths of others and our own, even as you open our hearts to give and receive forgiveness for whatever weaknesses we find.  Keep before us awareness that this is your church and we your people, who are not just limited by our brokenness but empowered by your boundless love.  Allow us to see whatever discomfort we encounter can be the threshold to greater life.  We ask this, O Father, in the name of your Son and through the power of your Spirit, for only in your love alone can we find abundant life, both now and for ever.  Amen.

St. Cyprian's, Hampton
Almighty and Most Merciful Father, we thank you for all the blessings of this life. We thank you especially for St. Cyprian's Church and the Diocese of Southern Virginia. We ask you to guide us this year as we work to find more ways to serve our global village and local community. By your grace, equip us to feed the hungry, provide clothing for those in need, offer shelter to the disenfranchised and facilitate access to basic healthcare for those without voice or advocates. Give us the strength to persevere as we invite others to join us in our common life. Help us address the racial and class divisions in our nation that we all may be one. Lead us as we strengthen the faithful, find good and godly ways to restore the absent and open our doors to the stranger. Bless us so that we might move into new ways of being and doing for the sake of those who hunger for spiritual food and thirst for living water. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 

Jackson-Feild in need of folding tables

Jackson-Field Homes is in need of folding round tables. The Home hosts a number of events and outings in its gym which serves as a multipurpose building. These events include the annual prom, college and career day, Beautiful Me self-esteem program, wrapping party for Christmas presents, special luncheons and other events that are scheduled during the course of the year. These tables would also be used outdoors, weather permitting, for quarterly Bible school and other spiritual program activities, for field day, ice cream socials, cookouts and recreational activities.

If your church has unused tables and would like to donate them to Jackson-Feild please contact Ann Chaffins at 804-354-6929 or achaffins@jacksonfeild.org.

Communications Grants available

Communications Grants from the Diocese of Southern Virginia provide congregations within the diocese with funding for development of their communications efforts. Grant funds are intended to assist churches that do not currently make use of digital communications methods to create and implement a new digital communication program. Funds may also be used to assist churches with an existing digital communication program that have discovered needs within their congregation or community that can be addressed with a new digital communication initiative. Click here for more information and application.