Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Good Friday Offering for Jerusalem and Middle East

"The Episcopal Church has been in partnership with the Diocese of Jerusalem for a very long time," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori writes in the annual Good Friday letter to all congregations asking them to consider assistance for Jerusalem and the Middle East.

"The offering we collect on Good Friday carries on the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, through support for the many ministries of healing, feeding, and teaching among the dioceses of the Province," the Presiding Bishop writes.

Funds collected from the Good Friday Offering are gathered and distributed to the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East which includes the Dioceses of Jerusalem and Cyprus and the Gulf, all members of the Anglican Communion.  

"May our offering this year strengthen the bonds among all God's people, and bless each one with concrete and eternal signs of more abundant life," she concludes.

The Presiding Bishop's letter is available here

Information and resources for the Good Friday Offering are available here. For more information contact the Rev. Canon Robert Edmunds, Episcopal Church Middle East Partnership Officer, redmunds@episcopalchurch.org.

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.

Holy Apostles', Virginia Beach
Heavenly father, through the effort of two bishops and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit you created a community that is a living sign of the Unity You desire for all people. As a community we have sought to remain faithful to that commitment for 37 years. Father, we love each other and do not want to be separated. We humbly seek your blessing on the Church of the Holy Apostles and pray that you help us move forward to continue the work you have given us to do, that we all may be one. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Trinity, Portsmouth
Almighty and everlasting Father, thank you for the continued blessing of our church home. We thank you for allowing us to rebuild our physical church, and as an extension, our spirituality. Through our current challenges, you have made us more prayerful and better stewards. Thank you for your continued blessings as we continue our Christian formation and evangelism ministries in this new year. Please help us to remain a beacon for the Gospel in our community for another 250 plus years. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. One God, now and for ever. Amen

Author Anne Lamott to speak at Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church conference

Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church will hold its national conference, The Gathering 2015, at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, WA, October 29-31. Guest speakers will be Anne Lamott and the Rev. Becca Stevens. Registration opens March 1. Click here for more information.  

New York Times bestselling author Anne Lamott writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus.But armed with self-effacing humor - she is laugh-out-loud funny - and ruthless honesty, Lamott converts her subjects into enchantment.

The Rev. Becca Stevens is one of the premiere speakers in the United States proclaiming love as the most powerful force for social change. She is an author, Episcopal priest and founder of Thistle Farms-Magdalene, a community of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction.

Light the Way Project at Boys Home

On Wednesday, February 25, a group of students and staff from Boys Home of Virginia will assist at the Greater Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity ReStore location. This project called Light the Way is a show of gratitude to the many area supporters and groups who have helped Boys Home through the years. Named to honor Bishop Heath A. Light, retired bishop for the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, the Boys Home group will provide lunches for the construction manager, building crew and volunteers.

Susan Morris, program assistant for GLHFH, will provide a tour and explanation of the program as well as show how volunteers play a major role in the success of the Habitat for Humanity organization, locally, nationally and internationally.

The students attend the Boys Home School located on the Boys Home campus, in Covington, Virginia. Boys Home School provides residential education for young men who need remedial classes in elementary or middle school or concentrated classes in high school to gain credits towards a high school diploma.

Boys Home students and staff regularly volunteer their time and talents to community services projects, most in the Covington area. Some of the projects are sponsored by the local Alleghany Highlands Kiwanis Club through the Boys Home Key Club or through community involvement.
For more information about Boys Home, please contact Amy R. Hubbard, Manager of the Intake and Evaluation Center at 540/965-7739 or Jodie Weidman, Director of the Boys Home School 540-965-7737.

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards benefits Jackson-Feild

In a three-day session at the 4-H center in Wakefield, 120 high school students recently met for the 2015 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program held by Rotary District 7600. RYLA is a leadership development program run by Rotary International.

The students from high schools across District 7600 which runs from Fluvanna County to North Carolina east to the Eastern Shore participated in presentations, activities, and workshops covering a variety of topics, including: leadership fundamentals and ethics, communication skills, problem solving and conflict management, and community and global citizenship.

An important part of the event includes the organization and planning of a community service project. Members chose Jackson-Feild Homes to be this year's beneficiary. Participants engaged their Interact Clubs and local Rotary Clubs to collect school and art supplies, clothing, personal care items and sporting equipment for the residents at Jackson-Feild.

The items were presented to Jackson-Feild during event. Ms. Shadhri Stith, Senior Residential Supervisor at JFH was thrilled to receive these items that have been put to good use.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

From the Presiding Bishop: On Healing and Wholeness

Healing is the primary work of people of faith and the communities of which they are a part.  Christians, as disciples of One who came to save (rescue, heal, make whole) the world and its inhabitants, seek to heal their relationships with one another and with all that is.

Episcopalians believe this is God's mission and we are its ministers or servants.  We are meant to seek to repair what is breached and broken, to stitch up what is torn, to heal what is sick, to release what is imprisoned and oppressed, to comfort the dying, to encourage the ignored, forlorn, and grieving.  Our life finds meaning in responding to the cries around us and within us, as individuals in community.  We follow One who was himself vilified, tortured, and finally executed for proclaiming the possibility of reconciled relationships in communities divided by poverty, violence, and religion.

The tragic death of Thomas Palermo challenges us all to attend to the work of healing.  We cannot restore what is past, but we can seek reconciliation and wholeness for all who have been affected - the Palermo family, Heather Cook, the biking community and others in Baltimore, the Diocese of Maryland, bystanders and onlookers who have witnessed any of these traumatic events.  

We begin in prayer - lament and wailing at loss and at human frailty.  We continue in prayer - for succor and comfort, for compassion, for transformation and healing.  Episcopalians worship a God who came among us in fragile human flesh and suffered pain and death at the hands of other human beings.  We understand his resurrection to mean that death does not have the final word - and that healing and wholeness transcend the grave.  That healing is never quick or easy, it does not "fix" what has already happened, but it does begin to let hope grow again.

Our task is that hard work of healing.  It requires vulnerability to the pain of all involved - victims, transgressors, onlookers, friends and families and coworkers and emergency responders and community members.  A violent death often divides communities, yet ultimately healing requires us all to lower our defenses enough to let others minister to us, to hear another's pain and grief, to share our own devastation, and indeed to look for the possibility of a new and different future.  Healing also comes through a sense of restored order, which is the role of processes of accountability.

Healing requires hope for a redeemed future for the Palermo family as well as Heather Cook.  Many have been changed by this death, yet their lives are not ended.  They can be healed and transformed, even though the path be long and hard.  Our work is to walk that path in solidarity with all who grieve and mourn.  May we pray with the psalmist, "Yea, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me."  May we also be that companioning presence, the image of God in the flesh, for those who walk through that valley.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

Snow day is the perfect day to register for camp!

The snow blankets Chanco grounds and covers the stunning cross at the bluff.  But while white blankets Chanco's grounds, we are still thinking of sunshine and summer camp!  Home from work and school today?  It's a great day to get on line and get that camp registration done!  With specialty sessions such as Ropes Camp and Mariner's Camp filling fast, and First Session historically filling to capacity, now is the perfect time to ensure the Camp Chanco session of your choice!  Visit www.chanco.org for more information on all sessions and easy on line registration.  Chanco offices are closed today due to road conditions but once open, you can reach us at 888-7CHANCO (888-724-2626) or director@chanco.org with any questions.  Enjoy the snow, stay warm and safe, and relish the thoughts of warmer weather as you register for Camp Chanco today!