Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bishop's Days for Parish Leadership Coming Soon!

Registration for Bishop's Days for Parish Leadership 2011 is coming soon. This year's theme is: Bringing Our Shared Vision to Life: Best Practices for Transforming Ministry. Dates are: October 8 at Good Shepherd, Norfolk and October 15 at Redeemer, Midlothian. Who should attend? Lay leaders, Vestry members, Church staff, and Clergy. Why should you attend? 13 great workshops to choose from, enjoy time with our bishop, network and share ideas, get resources to take back to your church and share. Details and registration will be posted here and at our Bishop's Days blogsite,

Be A Part of Our Digital Resource Library

This year, instead of a resource fair that participants might not have time to fully peruse, we'll be providing all resources in digital format on a flash drive. If your ministry or organization would like to be included in the digital resource library, please contact Ann Turner, or 757-213-3388.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

St. John's Portsmouth Selected for National "missio:engage" Program

St. John's, Portsmouth, has been selected by the national church as one of only 12 English-speaking congregations in the United States to join with 12 Spanish-speaking congregations in an exciting congregational revitalization initiative called missio:engage. The goal of missio:engage is to assist communities of faith in the process of re-rooting their ministries in the communities they are called to serve, with enough critical mass "back home" that this initiative is sustainable and avoids "burnout." This is part of a Community of Practice that is committed to learning publicly in the service of the Episcopal Church at large.  

Over a period of sixty days, Tom Brackett, Program Officer for Church Planting & Redevelopment for the Episcopal Church, will work with a team of coaches to train a core group of leaders in each participant parish. Each member of the team will be dedicated to this ministry, alone. Over the following two years, that core group will learn how to offer radical welcome to newcomers in their community, move visitors from being newcomers to fully-formed leaders, reconnect with the realities emerging in the communities they are called to serve and offer relevant outreach that offers God's grace in ways meaningful to their communities.  

"The people of St. John's are excited and energized to be part of this cutting edge venture for the entire Episcopal Church," says the Rev. Derek Harbin, rector of St. John's. "Our hope is that we can better engage our 21st century culture as we strive to fulfill the twin heartbeats of Jesus: inviting and forming disciples in the faith and caring for those in need in our community and world."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bishop Vache Scholarships Awarded

The Department of College Ministries is pleased to announce the Bishop Vache Scholarship award recipients for 2011. The committee met in July and considered over 30 applications. 
Scholarships were awarded to:
Charles Agbaje, St. James Portsmouth, Northwestern University
Joshua Barker, Christ Church Smithfield, Guilford College 
Santana Belfield, St. Mark's Hampton, Virginia State University 
Charles Daugherty, St. John's Chester, Longwood University
Claudia Hazelwood, Grace Norfolk, Johnson and Wales
Tyshenna Hollowell, Mission of the Holy Spirit, Norfolk State University
Nora Jackson, St. Martin's Williamsburg, The College of William and Mary  
Javan Rogers, Mission of the Holy Spirit, Norfolk State University
Fredsal Walker, St. Mark's Suffolk, Christopher Newport University 
Emily Wheeler, St. Andrew's Newport News, Virginia Wesleyan College
John Wiley V, Grace Norfolk, Virginia State University 
Danielle Williams, St. Augustine's Newport News, University of North Carolina

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Convocation 1 Awarded First Mission Initiative Grant

The first Evangelistic Mission Initiative Grant of $1000 is awarded to Convocation 1 on the Eastern Shore. They will use their grant to produce "Episcopal Churches of the Eastern Shore" brochures that will highlight each congregation's location on a map, with service times and contact information. The brochures will be placed in the Visitors' Centers on the Eastern Shore. Additionally, they will develop a join website highlighting all the churches, events, directions and links. This is especially helpful for those congregations without a website of their own. May God bless their efforts to reach out to summer visitors and new residents.

Grants of up to $1000 per Convocation are available for Evangelistic Mission Initiatives. Be creative! How can you reach out to new people and raise the visibility of the Episcopal Church in your area? How could you better equip the congregations in your Convocation to be more inviting and welcoming? Get more information about these grants here. Share your ideas with your convocational dean. Deadline for applications is October 1.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Seeds of Hope Grant Deadline Extended

Seeds of Hope grants are available to congregations and diocesan groups to begin or expand ministries for social and economic justice causes. The deadline for grant applications has been extended to September 15th. More information about the Seeds of Hope grant and to download an application click here.

St. Paul's, Union Level, Celebrates Final Eucharist & De-consecration

St. Paul’s, Union Level, held its last worship service and was de-consecrated on Sunday, July 3. The final Eucharist was celebrated by The Very Rev. Chris Cunningham, Dean of Convocation VIII and rector of Johns Memorial, Farmville. He was assisted by the Rev. Bob Kerner, priest-in-charge of St. Mark’s, Bracey, who has been the supply priest serving St. Paul’s since 2007. “This service is not about the death of St. Paul’s Union Level,” Cunningham said in his sermon, but “a celebration of life, a celebration of the ministry of God in Christ has ordained here at St. Paul’s for these last many years.”

About 35 people gathered for the service – a bittersweet homecoming for some. “This was once a thriving farm community,” said Kerner, “but not any longer.” The church was founded in 1880 by the Rev. James Solomon Russell, the first African-American priest in Virginia. Russell planted a number of churches in the farm communities of Southern Virginia. While St. Paul’s was always a small church, the shrinking community left it with just six members according to church treasurer Wilson Dortch. Young people moved away for more opportunity, older members passed away. Eucharist was celebrated just one afternoon each month.

While it is sad to see the doors of a church close, the energy and resources that have been put into St. Paul’s can now be redeployed for greater Gospel purposes. St. Paul’s chose “to give up its life for the sake of being faithful to the Great Commission, and to find new places and new ways to extend God’s Kingdom,” said Cunningham, “The life of this particular church and its particular congregation may end today, but the life of the Church, and of each baptized Christian continues.” The faithful remnant of St. Paul’s will join other local congregations in South Hill and Bracey, bringing their faith, wisdom and experience to enrich those communities. Thanks be to God!

You can see pictures of St. Paul's and this final service on our Facebook page.

Book Sales Benefit Mission of the Holy Spirit

The late Rev. Bill Starkey published two books about his life - Exclamation Points: Memoirs of a Life Well Lived and Ponderings. The Rev. Starkey began his work as an author after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. His doctor suggested that good therapy would be to write his life story. Much of Rev. Starkey's ministry was in West Virginia, but he also served as rector at Emmanuel, Virginia Beach; St. Simon's, Virginia Beach; and Emmanuel, Jenkins Bridge. Rev. Starkey was passionate about improving the lives of at-risk youth, so all proceeds from the sales of his books go to Mission of the Holy Spirit. To purchase copies of Ponderings or Exclamation Points, contact Walt Altice, c/o Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 5181 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach, 23462, 757-499-1271. Each book is $20. Checks should be made payable to Starkey Scholarship Fund.

2011 Fall Camp at Shrine Mont

The Tri-Diocesan Council on Aging will offer its annual Fall Camp on October 24-27 at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs. The keynote speaker is Marcus Borg, Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. Chaplain for this year's camp is the Rt. Rev. Ted Gulick. Singer, storyteller and folk theologian Ed Kilbourne will also be there. Click here for a registration form.

Youth Blogging from Episcopal Youth Event in Minneapolis

Fourteen youth and adults from our diocese leave tomorrow for the 2011 Episcopal Youth Event on the campus of Bethel University in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The Episcopal Youth Event (June 22-26, 2011) is a triennial gathering of youth and youth leaders from all over the Episcopal Church and takes place in the year before General Convention. Throughout their travels and time together, our youth will be blogging on their own Tumblr site - Parents, friends and diocesan colleagues will have an opportunity to stay in touch and see what's going on at EYE.

Participants from our diocese include: Bailey Basden- Emmanuel Virginia Beach, Kortney Bodge- St. Thomas Chesapeake, Erica Cooke- Emmanuel Virginia Beach, Conor Davidson- St. Andrew's Newport News, Adrienne Davis- St. David's Chesterfield, Claudia Hazelwood- Grace Norfolk, Audrey Jerauld- Emmanuel Virginia Beach, Eric Marcolini- St. Andrew's Newport News, Anna Marks- St. Aidan's Virginia Beach, Evan McLaughlin- St. Christopher's Portsmouth, Elizabeth Palmer- Emmanuel Hampton, Nick Sarandria- St. John's Portsmouth, Harper Lewis- St. Andrew's Newport News, Ashley Scruggs- Diocesan Youth Missioner. Keep them in your prayers and check their blogsite often for photos and updates!

Chapel Series Welcomes Bishop Gene Robinson

Eastern Shore Chapel's lecture series, The Chapel Series, will welcome Bishop Gene Robinson on November 11 & 12, 2011. Bishop Robinson will speak on "Getting in Gospel Trouble." Bishop Robinson is the bishop of New Hampshire. He holds two honorary doctorates and has received awards from numerous civil rights organizations. His book, In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God, was published in 2008. Friday's lecture is at 7 p.m. and Saturday's lecture begins at 9:30 a.m. Tickets provide admission to both days. Tickets are $45, $35 for seniors 65+, $25 for students with valid school ID. Call 757-428-6763 to purchase tickets or for more information.

New Episcopal Campus Minister Called For ODU

Upon the recommendation of the Old Dominion University Canterbury Board, Bishop Hollerith has appointed The Rev. Gillian Barr as the new Chaplain and Episcopal Campus Minister for Old Dominion University in Norfolk. She begins her duties on August 1.

A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Gillian graduated from the College of William and Mary, where she was a student leader in the Canterbury Association and first developed a passion for campus ministry. Prior to being ordained, Gillian worked for a number of years as a lay professional in Christian formation and in non-profit management in history museums and libraries. She has served churches in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Rochester, Minnesota, as a lay associate for formation. Gillian is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and Virginia Theological Seminary. She comes to Southern Virginia from the Diocese of San Diego, where she has been serving as Campus Missioner to the University of California San Diego and priest associate at Good Samaritan Church in University City, San Diego.

New Wine Process Moves Forward

The six regional listening sessions that marked the beginning of the New Wine Strategic Planning process were completed during Lent. Working with our consultant Sandi Scannelli we have begun to distill the many comments that were gleaned from those meetings. The meetings produced a tremendous amount of data.

One dominating theme was the need for greater interconnection between the diocese and the parishes as well as between parishes. There was a strong interest in building stronger bridges within the laity of the diocese and calls for the diocese to help with this. Many wonderful ideas were shared, although some of the information was more problem solving rather than looking at the diocese from the 3000 foot level. These ideas will all be kept for use when the mission and vision are written.

An important aspect of this planning process is that this is not a top down process, but one that works from the concept of a network that the bishop described at the meetings. The Executive Board made a conscious decision to begin with the people in the pews as we assessed where we are as a diocese in order to begin to look at where we want to go and what we want to be.

As a second step, The Rev. Mark Wilkinson, Rector at St. Aidan’s and chair of the committee, The Rev. Jeunée Cunningham, diocesan Canon for Congregational Development and Sandi Scanneli, our diocesan consultant, presented a summary of these results to the clergy gathered for the Spring Bishop’s Day on May 3rd. The clergy were asked for their reactions to the material gathered. That information has been gathered and will be given to the Executive Board during a retreat day planned for late June.

One of the challenges that our consultant brought to our attention is that we are looking at planning in a new context and for a very different world. Sandi spoke to us about discontinuous change rather than continuous change. Continuous change is change that we can anticipate. For example a rector leaves a parish, we have a search process and a new rector is called. In entering into a planning process in today’s world, the end is not nearly as clear because the world we operate in is very turbulent. Discontinuous change is change where there may not be one clear trusted solution, because the issues and challenges are constantly evolving. What this means is that a traditional strategic planning process may not generate the result we want. The result we desire is one that equips our parishes and the diocese to function in this world where the old answers may no longer be the best answers.

This process may take a little longer than we anticipated. We had hoped to have a mission and vision crafted by Pentecost, but that would be forcing the process and may not result in a mission and vision that will address our needs. Instead, the Executive Board will work on our diocesan mission and vision at its June 23rd meeting, and as necessary, continue the work over the summer, gathering any other information we need to move forward. By early fall, we should have the mission and vision in place, and will be able to deploy our congregational and diocesan resources to build toward our common vision.