Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Christmas message from Bishop Hollerith

"At Christmas, God says to his creation, I'm willing to experience what you experience, to feel what you feel, to think what you think, to laugh as you laugh, and to suffer as you suffer. I am willing to draw you and the whole world to myself. It's so simple and so elegant. A birth, a gesture of insignificant proportion and yet one of infinite consequence." Click here to watch Bishop Hollerith's message. A transcript of his message is available here

Diocesan office closes for holidays

Bishop Hollerith and his staff wish everyone in Southern Virginia a very Merry  Christmas and happy New Year! The diocesan office will be closed December 24 through January 1 for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Seeds of Hope: Mission of the Holy Spirit

The last in a series about the recipients of this year's Seeds of Hope Grants to develop and expand social justice ministries in Southern Virginia. Learn more about Seeds of Hope grants here. 

The Mission of the Holy Spirit, Norfolk, was awarded two Seeds of Hope Grants this year. One of the grants will fund the expansion of the very successful "Life is a Choice - Get Smart About Your Health!" program. The other will fund "Building Dreams," a new partnership with Old Dominion University Canterbury students to help members of the Mission succeed in school.

The "Life is a Choice - Get Smart About Your Health!" program presents healthy lifestyle choices to the Mission's children and families. Most programs of the Mission are focused on at-risk youth, but this effort brings in family members so that each family works together to improve their health. The program addresses topics like disease prevention, nutrition and exercise and helps families to make healthier choices.

Seeds of Hope Grant funds will allow the Mission to expand on this already successful program. A ten week program in Spring 2013 will continue to provide health education. A partnership with Old Dominion University nursing students provides one-on-one health assessments, individualized recommendations and encouragement for each participant. The program will add a segment on healthy shopping and cooking on a budget to help steer participants away from processed and fast foods that have little nutritional value. The program will also sponsor a Spring Health Fair at St. Stephen's, Norfolk, inviting Mission families, volunteers and supporters and the community at-large. The fair will provide screenings for blood pressure, vision, asthma and more, along with information about community health services and making healthier lifestyle choices.

The Mission of the Holy Spirit began as a ministry of the Diocese of Southern Virginia in 1993 to address spiritual, physical, emotional and educational needs of inner city "at risk" youth in the Norfolk area. For many participants, the Mission has provided the first, and perhaps only, opportunity to hear and experience the Good News of Jesus Christ. A Sunday worship service and dinner have been the core activity of the Mission as well as regularly schedule weekday activities. Most participants suffer from socio-economic related health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and poor nutrition. The "Life is a Choice" program will encourage exercise, an active lifestyle, good nutrition, disease prevention, and an understanding of why good health is so important.

The second Seeds of Hope Grant project is "Building Dreams," a new partnership with the Canterbury Center at Old Dominion University. For younger members of the Mission, the program will focus on reading, elementary level skills and completion of homework. Older members will receive coaching in the skills necessary to be successful in school. The program will be presented one evening each week and will include a nutritious dinner.

When the Mission was started, few of the participants had much hope of graduating from high school. In June 2012, six members graduated from high school and five of them are now attending college. Several other members are starting their second or third year in college. By incorporating the skills and dedication of the Canterbury Center students with a planned tutoring program, the Mission hopes to encourage more youth to seek success in education.

You can learn more about the Mission of the Holy Spirit at www.missionoftheholyspirit.org,
or like them on Facebook (MissionOfTheHolySpirit).

Presiding Bishop's Christmas message

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness - on them light has shined. (Isaiah 9:2) These words were spoken long ago to people living in anxiety, fear, and despair, people feeling bereft of security, safety, and any sense of God's presence.  We hear them early on Christmas, forgetting that they were first spoken hundreds of years before the birth we celebrate.  Human beings across this planet still yearn to know that a more gracious and divine reality is active and evident in our lives.     

The birth we celebrate is meant for this world mired in darkness and fear, yet it also becomes easier to discover in a tiny voice crying in protest over being cold and wet and hungry.  We hear that cry in the midst of war's ravages in Congo and Afghanistan, in the rubble of hurricane and earthquake, in the demeaning of chronic poverty, behind prison bars.  That flickering of hope surges as the world turns to investigate this surprising new life, one heart at a time.  The light grows as hearts catch fire with the same light that illumines the stars, pulsing hope and new life, even out of black holes. Those who search in dark and despair, in dank dungeon and deep devastation, will find divine light given for the world.  Light that will not be put out, so long as any creature remains to receive it, until and beyond the end of time.  The darkness will never put it out.     

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5) Go and look - and discover the love of God poured into our world in human form.  Hope reigns abroad, in the cosmos and in human hearts.  And rejoice, for a child of the light is born in our midst!  

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

Resources for Recovery Ministry for addictions

We now have the "12-Step Liturgies and Intercessions" CD and booklet, "Addiction: Helping Priest and Parish Heal," available for parishes. These resources for recovery ministry for alcoholism, drug and other addictions are available from the Formation office. Contact Caroline Black for more information, cblack@diosova.org or 757-213-3377.

Safe Church training dates in 2013

Safe Church classroom training dates for 2013 have been set and can be found on our website. There is at least one training in each of our nine Convocations. You can find the list on the Workshops, Training & Events page of our website.  

American Friends of Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem offer workshop in Richmond

American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem invites Christians concerned about the future of the church in the Holy Land to an AFEDJ Missioner Workshop on  Saturday, January 12, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Stephen's, 6000 Grove Avenue, Richmond. The workshop is free of charge and lunch will be provided.

For over a century and a half, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem has served the Christian Community in the Holy Land - a community dating from the time of Jesus. Today the Diocese supports 29 parishes, 13 schools, two hospitals (including the major El Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza), and other institutions in Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Since 1996, members of AFEDJ have helped sustain the Diocese of Jerusalem with public support and financial aid, providing over $20 million in medical, school and infant supplies as well as cash gifts.     

At this workshop, Anne Lynn, AFEDJ executive director, with other leaders, will present a lively program where missioners and individuals interested in becoming missioners (young and old, lay or ordained) will get to know each other, share how each of us discovered this compelling cause and what we may already be doing in this ministry, and explore new initiatives. For more information contact Anne Lynn, Executive Director of AFEDJ, aklynn@afedj.org.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Upcoming events for youth and youth leaders

Vocations Exploration Retreat for Youth

January 18-20 at the Gunn Center at Talbot Hall. For grades 9-12. Spend a weekend discerning your individual gifts, future possibilities for ministry, and career opportunities. Click here to download the application.   

Youth Leader Gathering
January 25-26 at Chanco on the James. 7:00 p.m. on Friday- 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. Come to Chanco on the James for an overnight retreat with adults who work with youth from around the diocese.  The event will provide opportunities to network, problem-solve, learn, and be refreshed. Contact Youth Missioner Ashley Scruggs for more information or to register. 

Happening #59
March 8-10 at Chanco on the James. Happening is a Christian renewal program designed for youth in grades 10-12. The focal point of the weekend is learning and experiencing the love of Christ. Click here for more information and online registration. Click here to download the staff application.

Blackstone Weekend
March 22-24, VUMAC, Blackstone. For grades 8-12. Join teens from all over the diocese for a spring retreat at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone, VA! The event includes a variety of activities and opportunities to make new friends and learn more about the church. A special service for Palm Sunday and EYC Board elections will also take place during this weekend, as well as small groups, singing, socials, and so much more!  Click here for more information and online registration. Click here to download the 2013-2014 EYC Board Application. 

Seeds of Hope: Community collaboration to fight poverty

The sixth of seven in a series about the recipients of this year's Seeds of Hope Grants to develop and expand social justice ministries in Southern Virginia. Learn more about Seeds of Hope grants here. 

St. John's, Suffolk, has been awarded a Seeds of Hope Grant to help fund the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk (CAPS). Begun in 2010, CAPS is a collaborative effort to address poverty on two levels: the crisis of an immediate need and the underlying causes of these needs. Currently 24 churches and organizations are participating members. CAPS provides a collaborative and coordinated system to meet the financial, physical, mental and spiritual needs of the community.

The CAPS model for addressing poverty is to create a central intake center for Suffolk at which a Services Coordinator will handle requests for assistance that usually go to churches. Rather than each church handling requests individually, churches will direct requests for assistance to CAPS. The coordinator is based at the Salvation Army office in Suffolk. The program provides a one-stop center for a variety of types of assistance.

CAPS' vision is that Suffolk churches and organizations are united and empowered to accomplish Christ's commission. That individuals and families live with dignity as they participate in CAPS ministries and experience the holistic Gospel transformation.

You can learn more about CAPS at  www.capsuffolk.com or like them on Facebook (CAPSuffolk).

EfM Mentor training January 17-19

EfM (Education for Ministry) Mentor Training will be held January 17-19 at Chanco on the James. At present, both Basic In-Service and Formation training (Transition in the midst of a Changing World) are planned. If you are interested in attending this training, please contact Ann Meyer, Diocesan EfM Coordinator, 757-229-1111 or ann@stmartinswmbg.org. Click here for more information and a registration form.

Join the Mission of the Holy Spirit in changing the lives of young people

By Hank Luhring, Chair, Mission of the Holy Spirit Board of Directors 

At a recent Sunday service, Pastor Keith Josey announced that Tiffani Satterwhite had just been accepted to Mary Baldwin College! All the kids at the Mission of the Holy Spirit were very excited. Tiffani is a shining example of how the Mission works with kids to succeed despite the problems they face in their lives.
The Mission has developed into a community of people looking out for each other, celebrating their successes, and also being there when life is not so good. To me, the Mission is a vivid example of Christianity in action. These kids who face tons more obstacles than most of us come to the Mission and leave with hope: the hope that, despite the bad, God's kingdom is manifest here on earth.
The Mission is doing more than ever. The Sunday service has anywhere from 60 to 80 people in attendance. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings we average 23 kids, being served by 4-8 volunteers. We provide meals on these two nights, as well as on Sundays. So far this year, over 5,000 meals have been served to children at the Mission. We delivered Thanksgiving baskets to over 50 families last month.
We are helping more children and more families than ever before, and are doing it for less. Funding is down 56% from its peak in 2007, yet we serve more kids with more programs.
Because of this, your contribution is more important than ever. It's through your generosity that we can keep the buses running, pay to heat the building, provide meals on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and operate a food pantry so that families don't go hungry.
Your tax-deductible donation to the Mission helps tremendously. As we transition from a season of thanksgiving to one of Christ coming into this world, your donation will help these children overcome adversity through Christian hope and good works.

Help make Christmas merry at Jackson-Feild Home

Not all children have wonderful Christmas memories. What should be a joyous season is often a painful one for the children at Jackson-Feild Homes. They do not have a loving family ... and a majority of their Christmas memories are unhappy ones.

For most of us the Christmas season is filled with symbols and traditions that are happy and fun. Unfortunately for the girls and boys at Jackson-Feild Homes they have been denied these happy holiday rituals. Christmas triggers memories of past trauma which causes sadness and depression. One child's holiday memories include waking up on Christmas morning to find out her mother had sold the toys they received from a community program to buy drugs. As difficult as it is to hear true stories like this, can you image how that child felt when there wasn't a single present under the tree for her?

But you can help make this Christmas the best one the girls and boys at Jackson-Feild have ever had - one they will cherish for a lifetime. The staff at Jackson-Feild Homes goes to great lengths to make Christmas as special as possible - funds permitting.

Jackson-Feild is asking you to make a donation to help ensure that Christmas wishes come true for each and every child in their care These wishes include gifts, decorations, special holiday meals and seasonal outings and activities. To make a gift send your tax deductible contribution to Jackson-Feild Homes, 546 Walnut Grove Drive, Jarratt, Virginia 23867. Or visit their web site,  www.jacksonfeild.org, to make an online or credit card gift. If you have any questions please call the Development Office at 804-354-6929.

Jackson-Feild Homes is a recognized leader in transformational programs for children and families. Founded in 1855, its practices and principles are supported by more than a century and a half of success in the treatment of troubled children. Its residential treatment services represent the standard of excellence in identifying, treating, and healing trauma and in building resiliency in children. It is dedicated to ensuring its children receive the best services possible to ensure they will have meaningful and productive lives. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Seeds of Hope: St. Matthew's expands ministry to the hungry in Chesterfield

The fifth of seven in a series about the recipients of this year's Seeds of Hope Grants to develop and expand social justice ministries in Southern Virginia. Learn more about Seeds of Hope grants here. 

St. Matthew's, Chesterfield, was awarded a Seeds of Hope Grant to help them make improvements to their food pantry ministry. The grant-funded project will allow them to weatherize and outfit an existing garage on their property so that it can be used to store and refrigerate food for their food pantry.

St. Matthew's has an on-going food pantry ministry. People in need of food are referred to the church by Chesterfield Colonial Heights Assistant Ministry (CCHASM), as well as member requests. St. Matthew's partners with Second Branch Baptist Church and the Beach Grange, who provide food donations. They have had no facilities for perishable food distribution, such as fresh vegetables and frozen meats. Expanding their pantry to provide foods other than non-perishable shelf items will provide better nutritional choices for their guests. Also, the expanded storage space will allow St. Matthew's to pursue additional partnerships, which would include the Central Virginia Foodbank.

121st Annual Council registration is open

Registration for the 121st Annual Council is now open. Council is February 15-16 at the Williamsburg Lodge. This year's them is "Let the EPIC Adventure of Church Begin" with keynote speaker Lisa Kimball, Ph.D. Get the latest Council information and access online registration for delegates and exhibitors on our website.  

Annual Council nominations deadline is December 14, 2012. More  information and nomination form are available here. Please complete and mail the Nomination Form by December 14, 2012 to Leah Sicignano, 600 Talbot Hall Road, Norfolk, VA 23505. All nominations must be received by mail as they require original signatures.

CE-Net speaker series welcomes Sharon Pearson

The CE-Net Quarterly Speaker Series welcomes Sharon Pearson, Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing, on January 17, 11 a.m., at Hickory Neck, Toano. In addition to sharing the latest available resources, Sharon will talk about how to adapt curricula and resources to fit your particular context. Registration is necessary and a $5 charge for lunch. Please contact Judy Rieken at jrieken@diosova.org to sign up.

Boys' Home offers gift that fits everyone

Looking for that thoughtful Christmas idea? A Boys' Home Christmas card is a wonderful way to honor someone special or memorialize a loved one. Boys' Home is offering Christmas Cards that are original artworks by residents Malik E. and Vernon G. Their designs received the most votes in a recent people's choice contest. With each $10 (minimum) purchase, one printed original artwork Christmas card with envelope will be mailed to you to personalize and give when you wish.

To order, call Sandra at 540-965-7714 or e-mail sfscruggs@boyshomeinc.org with the total number of cards desired and specify either honor or memorial cards. Or send your entire card list to 414 Boys' Home Road, Covington, VA 24426 and Boys' Home staff will address and mail. No need to worry about shopping - this is a good gift for everyone on your list!

Boys' Home, Inc. was founded in 1906 as a home and school for children in this remote mountainous region of Virginia. Soon, the need for a home for homeless boys, in addition to the educational concerns, expanded its program. Today, Boys' Home continues to help boys whose families either cannot or will not provide for them the support and shelter they need and deserve. Our focus is young men who have great potential, but limited opportunities for success. The stated mission of Boys' Home is to help each young man in residence to strive towards becoming a productive member of society by developing his mental, physical, social and spiritual potentials.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Seeds of Hope: St. Thomas brings Youth Empowerment & Senior Pals to the Freeman community

The fourth of seven in a series about the recipients of this year's Seeds of Hope Grants to develop and expand social justice ministries in Southern Virginia. Learn more about Seeds of Hope grants here. 

St. Thomas, Freeman, was awarded two Seeds of Hope grants this year. One will fund the expansion of their Youth Empowerment program. The second grant will help grow the Senior Pals program.

Located in an impoverished area of the state, St. Thomas' Youth Empowerment Progam offers important enrichment and education for the youth of their community, as well as parents. The program offers both spiritual and cultural nurturing. Youth are able to participate in cultural activities, receive skills development and mentoring. Their parents also can participate in workshops designed especially for them. This year's grant will allow St. Thomas' to add workshops to help single mothers develop skills that will help them find jobs and a sewing class.

The Senior Pals program provides encouragement and support to senior citizens of St. Thomas' community. This year's grant will allow the program to add Emergency Preparedness workshops to their offerings.

These programs have made a measurable difference in the lives of Freeman residents. "I have truly enjoyed the cooking class, learning to use what you have to make a good but healthy meal for the family. May God continue to bless St. Thomas church family." - participant in St. Thomas', Freeman, Senior Pal "Back to Basics" cooking class.

Nominations for Annual Council due Dec. 14

Annual Council nominations deadline is December 14, 2012. Candidates are being sought for the following positions:
  •  Standing Committee: 1 laity, 1 clergy
  •  Disciplinary Board: 1 laity, 1 clergy
  •  Provincial Synod: 1 laity, 1 clergy
More  information and nomination form are available here. Please complete and mail the Nomination Form by December 14, 2012 to Leah Sicignano, 600 Talbot Hall Road, Norfolk, VA 23505. All nominations must be received by mail as they require original signatures.

Ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests on Dec. 15

On Saturday, December 15, Bishop Hollerith will ordain Eve Butler-Gee, Terry Davis Edwards, Roger Alan Hungerford, Henry Philip McQueen, and Wendy J. Wilkinson to the Sacred Order of Priests. The service will be at 11 a.m. at Christ & St. Luke's, Norfolk. Clergy: red stoles.

Presiding Bishop's Advent message: What is it that you are more waiting for?

Noting that Advent is a time of waiting for "the coming of the Prince of Peace, the one who will reign with justice over this world," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori focuses on two questions in her Advent 2012 message: "What is it that you are most waiting for?  And, how are you going to wait this year?" The Presiding Bishop's Advent 2012 message, videotaped in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd on the grounds of General Theological Seminary in New York City, is available here. The text of the message is available in English and in Spanish.

Daughters of the King hold Advent Quiet Day

The Daughters of the King of the Diocese of Southern Virginia invite all women of the Church to share in an Advent Quiet Day, entitled "Mary in Advent".  Our Daughters of the King Diocesan Chaplain, the Rev. Jack Lynch, will guide us through a very special advent experience featuring Holy Eucharist, meditation, and reflection. Our Advent gathering will take place on Wednesday, December 12, from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Christ the King, Tabb. Please bring a notebook or journal and your Bible. The cost of the event is $5, which includes morning coffee and lunch. RSVP to Ronda Toll at rtoll@cox.net.

Online Advent calendar from the Episcopal Church and the Society of St. John the Evangelist

The Episcopal Church and the Society of St. John the Evangelist have teamed up to bring you an Advent calendar using the social network Pinterest. You do not have to have a Pinterest account to view the calendar. Beginning December 2, go to http://pinterest.com/iamepiscopalian/advent-calendar/ each day during Advent. Every day a new window opens offering you a moment of solace and reflection as to the true meaning of Advent and the coming Christmas Season. Each window will reveal a special Advent word, meditation and beautiful image. 

Mission Cross makes a wonderful gift

The Mission of the Holy Spirit is an urban outreach ministry serving an at-risk community in Norfolk spiritually, emotionally, educationally and physically. Its focus is on empowering youth and their families through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Mission Cross was created to honor and support the ministry and community of the Mission of the Holy Spirit. Uplifted hands receive the Holy Spirit: holy hands that worship, praise and heal. Each cross is handcrafted of nails, a gentle reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made for each of us and that we are vessels of the Living God, called to go forth in his name.

You can purchase a Mission Cross and support the Mission of the Holy Spirit. Click here for more information and an order form.   

Brooklyn church is operational base for Occupy Sandy relief effort

Episcopal Church Office of Communications 
The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (Diocese of Long Island) is the operational base for Occupy Sandy. They are training and sending out volunteers into the still affected areas of Brooklyn, such as Red Hook and Coney Island, where tens of thousands of people still have no power. The rector, the Rev. Michael Sniffen, opened the sanctuary for use as a staging point to move goods and supplies. More than 20,000 volunteers have assisted, with 10,000 meals a day cooked and delivered. Donations can be made through the church's Amazon.com registry. Video here.

Church Publishing launches BCP ebook

Church Publishing Incorporated has successfully launched two new eBook editions of the Book of Common Prayer to accommodate a variety of applications and most eReader platforms, including all versions of Kindle, Apple, plus other devices and tablets.

"We're not the first to offer an  electronic edition of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), but we wanted to offer the best version possible in multiple formats to cover the widest range of liturgical needs," said Brother Karekin Yarian, Church Publishing's project manager - eProducts.

Church Publishing's eBook edition, available for all eReaders, contains the complete contents of the authorized 1979 Book of Common Prayer, is fully searchable, and features a built-in Table of Contents. This edition is designed to maximize content accessibility on mobile devices and tablets. However, because eBooks are designed to reflow the text according to the size of the screen of the mobile device, designing this edition to maintain the exact page layout and page numbers of the print edition "was neither possible nor desirable," Brother Karekin explained, "As such, the layout of the content may be different, depending on the device you are using."

Church Publishing also offers a PDF version of the Book of Common Prayer, which is available on the Church Publishing website. Each of these versions is hyperlinked and has bookmarking capability. 

"These eBooks give Episcopalians easy access to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, making it as close as your tablet or eBook reader. I'm delighted that Church Publishing is responding to the needs of the church in this way," said Ruth Meyers, Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and a member of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music for the Episcopal Church.

"Electronic books are becoming fully integrated now within the life of the Church, so we're meeting the needs of our customers with a variety of digital products," said Church Publishing's Davis Perkins, publisher.  "In addition to an already significant assortment of digital resources, including our eHymnals, riteworship, Living the Good News Online, and Weaving God's Promises curriculums, plus more than 500 CPI titles available as eBooks, the electronic editions of the BCP demonstrate our commitment to delivering important content for the Church via every available channel."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Seeds of Hope: Helping Hickory Neck Church feed the hungry

The third of seven in a series about the recipients of this year's Seeds of Hope Grants to develop and expand social justice ministries in Southern Virginia. Learn more about Seeds of Hope grants here. 

Hickory Neck, Toano, participates in the From His Hands (FHH) program started over six years ago with the objective of providing hot balanced meals to approximately 80 people in the Grove Community of James City County once a week - currently 100 meals are served. Grove represents a major portion of low income and individuals/families in need in James City County. There are 13 churches which have united in support of FHH Ministry. About two years ago, FHH began expanding the ministry to include a motel which housed homeless and near homeless individuals and families and an average of 35 meals were delivered on a weekly basis. About six months ago a second motel was added to the ministry and meals are served there every other week.

Some of the churches serving the motels also provide "room bags" including motel friendly foods like canned soups, canned meats, noodles, snack bars, and hygiene products. Families at the motels which have children are often provided with diapers and infant formula and foods.

Currently, the mission is being supported by grant dollars and each of the member churches provides monetary support, as well as volunteers, to buy, prepare and deliver food. The Salvation Army provides a canteen truck for the delivery of the meals. Over the past six years, most of the protein was donated by grocery stores. Unfortunately, the grocery store providing the bulk of the protein went out of business a year ago as a result of the economy.

Seeds of Hope grant funds will be used to help provide protein for the Grove mission, motels and additional "room bags." The grant funds will allow expansion mainly in the motel side of the mission. Currently, in James City County, there are five motels which house homeless/needy individuals and families. The grant will allow the ministry to expand to as much of that population as possible without forgetting their obligation to the Grove community.

Diocesan pledges due December 1

Pledges to the Diocese for 2013 are due by December 1 to allow for the final budget to be presented to the Executive Board and Annual Council for approval. If you have any questions, contact Comptroller Nancy James, njames@diosova.org or 757-213-3386.

Presiding Bishop calls for week of prayer for Democratic Republic of Congo

The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs 
"Pray for an end to the conflict, an end to violence and the atrocities, that the needs of the suffering may be supplied, and that peace may prevail," Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in calling for a week of prayer for the Democratic Republic of Congo from November 26 - December 2. Prayer resources are available here and here

The following is Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori's call to action:
Our fellow Anglicans in the Democratic Republic of Congo continue to experience violence and displacement.  Since April, there has been a significant rise in violence promulgated by a new rebel group, M23, and several existing ones.  The violence has caused the displacement of 320,000 within DR Congo, and 60,000 into Uganda and Rwanda.   

The work of the Anglican Church in Congo continues to be of the highest quality and responsiveness, rooted in the love of Christian for neighbor.  During a visit there in July of 2011, we saw firsthand evidence of the work done by Mothers Union and other groups on behalf of the least of these - women, children, and orphans, all victims of the violence of war.  The internal displacement of hundreds of thousands since then, and the flight of still others into neighboring countries, has made the situation much worse.  Many thousands are living with fear and insecurity, hunger, sickness, and poverty, while they yearn to return home and live in peace.

Archbishop Henri Isingoma of the Anglican Church of Congo asks us to join in a week of prayer for peace in DR Congo, from 26 November through 2 December, initiated by the Congo Church Association.  Pray for an end to the conflict, an end to violence and the atrocities, that the needs of the suffering may be supplied, and that peace may prevail.

I can think of no better way for the Christian world to prepare for the Advent of the Prince of Peace, and I hope and pray that you will join me in praying during the week leading up to Advent.

Online Advent calendar from the Episcopal Church and the Society of St. John the Evangelist

The Episcopal Church and the Society of St. John the Evangelist have teamed up to bring you an Advent calendar using the social network Pinterest. You do not have to have a Pinterest account to view the calendar. Beginning December 2, go to http://pinterest.com/iamepiscopalian/advent-calendar/ each day during Advent. Every day a new window opens offering you a moment of solace and reflection as to the true meaning of Advent and the coming Christmas Season. Each window will reveal a special Advent word, meditation and beautiful image.   

Episcopal Church partners with FaithStreet, a new congregational evangelism tool

The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs 
A partnership between the Episcopal Church and FaithStreet paves the way for congregations to connect their church with church seekers through an innovative church locator that offers much more than a search engine. "Our partnership with FaithStreet will give our congregations a new tool to promote their churches," commented Anne Rudig, Episcopal Church Director of Communication.  "FaithStreet not only locates a church, but works with a congregation to present the mission and ministry done there in ways easily understood by a seeker. It goes beyond address and contact info to providing an ethos or 'vibe' of particular churches."

FaithStreet currently showcases 3,580 churches in all 50 United States, in over 1,500 cities. This includes over 100 church networks and denominations representing churches of all sizes, ranging from five to 10,000 members. "FaithStreet is a tech-startup that is making it easy for anyone to find and connect with a great Christian church in their area," explained Ryan Melogy, Co-Founder. "We're creating a personalized church discovery experience, where anyone will be able to find a great church for them."

"Churches will always be able to create a free profile on FaithStreet," noted Sean Coughlin, Chief Executive Officer. "In the future, FaithStreet will offer paid features, services, and advertising plans. These paid services will be always being optional, affordable and effective."

For more information and to join FaithStreet: www.faithstreet.com.

Episcopal Church offers Advent sermons for children at no fee

The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs 
To engage children in a more active role during worship this Advent, the Episcopal Church is offering a four-week series of lectionary-based children's sermons. Offered at no fee, the children's sermons provide clergy and lay leaders with step-by-step instructions on how to help the children lead the adults in worship. "The sermons were designed for use in small congregations, but are appropriate for churches of any size and with any number of children, ranging in age from young children to youth," explained Sarah Johnson, Editor of Sermons that Work in the Episcopal Church Office of Communication.

The sermons for the four weeks of Advent are available the Sermons That Work website. The sermons are also available in Spanish on the Sermones que Iluminan website

"These materials provide a subject lesson, rather than an object lesson," explained Teresa Stewart, writer of the children's sermon series and founder of Paper Bag Cathedrals, a website for small-church resources. "Instead of linking some outside object to Advent, these work in the opposite direction. The children's feelings - something they know well - are the subject of the exploration. The children will be asked to imagine, pretend and act out experiences that they are already familiar with. Then you can help link these feelings to this Holy Season. Start with their expertise. It's a whole-body, not brain-only, kind of Christian formation. Experiential, not just cognitive."  

The four-week series are:
First Sunday of Advent (Year C), December 2: "Wait and Trust: Remember God Keeps Promises"
Second Sunday of Advent (Year C), December 9: "Wait and Get Ready: Make Things Right for All People"
Third Sunday of Advent (Year C), December 16: "Wait and Dream Big: Expect Really Good News"
Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C), December 23: "Wait and Give Thanks: Celebrate the Promise"

For additional information, contact Johnson at sjohnson@episcopalchurch.org.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Take advantage of our membership in The Episcopal Network for Stewardship

The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) membership benefits are available to all parishes through our diocesan membership. Benefits include formation and training resources, webinars, giving campaign materials and new ideas and insights from contributing bloggers. If you would like to use these materials, please email Caroline Black at  cblack@diosova.org or Nancy James at njames@diosova.org to receive the login information for www.tens.org.

Seeds of Hope: St. Paul's addresses the needs of the aging in Lawrenceville

 The second of seven in a series about the recipients of this year's Seeds of Hope Grants to develop and expand social justice ministries in Southern Virginia. Learn more about Seeds of Hope grants here. 

Saint Paul's Memorial, Lawrenceville, has been awarded a Seeds of Hope Grant of $2500 to support lectures, movies, and cooking demonstrations entitled "Escaping your Comfort Zones" "Your Life Re-imagined."

Saint Paul's and its community are composed of a large elderly population. Every member of Saint Paul's is over fifty. A large number of individuals in their community are as well. The elder generation knows that life does not always go the way you expect it to; sometime the need for help is sudden and unexpected. If plans are in place, it is easier for caregivers to act on their behalf. As a church, Saint Paul's feel it is their duty to provide this information so that individuals can make important decisions without pressure. This grant-funded program will serve individuals from eleven churches, including St. Thomas, Freeman, and St. James, Warfield, as well as the community at large.

Lectures will be on topics that are uncomfortable in most families. Topics will include: Medicare Supplement Plans; Life Insurance; Living Wills; Reverse Mortgage; Wills; Telemarketers; Staying at-Home vs. Assisted Living; How to Fix Quick, Inexpensive, Healthy, Tasty Meals. Resources will come from the office on Aging, AARP and Brunswick Extension. Community Memorial Hospital will also provide assistance.

Your pledge could make it possible: New initiatives

A follow-up to our "Your Pledge Makes It Possible" series on the mission and ministries of the Episcopal Church in Southern Virginia. If you missed any of that series, you can find them all on our website. 

During the Bishop's Day conference in October, Bishop Hollerith outlined the following four new initiatives that he would ask the Executive Board to pursue with him were parishes to give their 10% fair share of giving to the 2013 diocesan budget (initiatives are not in order of priority):
  • College for Lay Leadership - a first-class, ongoing program to offer the lay leadership in Southern Virginia new ideas, new opportunities, and new ways to address issues of congregational vitality in the modern world. Based on the Bishop's Days program, this program would provide a broad framework for ongoing training and development, as well as a community of support for lay leaders in our parishes.
  • Young Adult Missioner - a full or part time diocesan staff position for providing ministry to college age and young adult people. This position would be an individual trained in the newest forms of ministry who would engage the culture, identify possibilities, and challenge local parishes to provide new forms of ministry to this age group.
  • Call an Assistant Bishop - to share in the Episcopal ministry with our Bishop by assisting with Sunday congregational visits, ordinations, Celebrations of New Ministry, etc. An emphasis will be placed on calling someone with experience in small church congregational development. (An assistant bishop is a bishop who has already been elected within another diocese and has either retired or resigned.)
  • Call an Hispanic church planter - to call into the diocese a trained church planter who is not only bilingual, but also bi-cultural. This position would involve helping the diocese identify potential Hispanic communities and to work toward establishing worshiping communities.
NOTE: At present only 20% of churches pledge the minimal asking amount of 10%.

CE-Net Speaker Series welcomes Sharon Pearson of Church Publishing

Mark your calendars for Thursday, January 17, 11 a.m., for the CE-Net quarterly speaker series at Hickory Neck, Toano. Sharon Pearson, Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing, will be our speaker. In addition to sharing the latest available resources, Sharon will talk about how to adapt curricula and resources to fit your particular context. Registration is necessary and there is a $5 charge for lunch. Please contact Judy Rieken at jrieken@diosova.org to register.

News from Chanco

Chanco seeking applicants for Board of Directors
Chanco continues to seek interest in serving on its board of directors.  This is one simple way you can give back to Chanco and make a difference in Chanco's future! Click here for a nomination form. For more information regarding serving on the board, visit our website or contact New Board Member Coordinator, the Rev. Marguerite Alley at ccf@emmanuelvb.org.  Completed applications may be emailed to Marguerite at this address.  Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this important adult and youth ministry of our diocese!

2013 Summer Camp schedule is here!
The session dates for 2013 have been set and registration will go live on our website at www.chanco.org on December 1. Give Chanco for Christmas!  Register before January 1 and save on all sessions ($11 savings for one-week; $21 on a two-week session).  Click here for a flier with the 2013 session dates, ages and rates. We look forward to seeing you back at Chanco "where friends are friends forever." Questions? Contact Registrar Stacey Richards at hospitality@chanco.org.   

Retreat helps prepare for Advent and reduce holiday stress

"While We Wait" is an Advent retreat open to everyone and will be held Saturday, December 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Luke's, Blackstone. We will spend the day preparing for the season of Advent, learning ways to reduce holiday stress and detach from the busyness of the season. The retreat will help us to explore ways to wait, and how we might express our joy even in the uncertainty and waiting. Speakers will be Ellen Johnston, the Very Rev. David Teschner, and Dr. Barbara Morgan. Cost is $10 per person and includes lunch. Scholarships available. Call 434-676-3448 for ticket information. Hosted by St. Luke's, Blackstone, St. Paul & St. Andrew, Kenbridge, and the Diocese of Southern Virginia. Please join us and bring your friends! Click here for event flyer.

Durham Bishop Justin Welby named 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

Episcopal News Service
Following months of anticipation and media speculation, Downing Street confirmed Nov. 9 that the Queen has approved the nomination of Diocese of Durham Bishop Justin Welby as the 105th archbishop of Canterbury. Welby's enthronement as 105th archbishop of Canterbury will be held March 21, 2013, in Canterbury Cathedral.  

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said: "I am delighted to hear of Bishop Welby's appointment as archbishop of Canterbury. He brings knowledge of the immense challenges of the world in which the Anglican Communion seeks to partner in the service of God's mission to heal and reconcile." Read more here

Episcopal Church Veterans Day video message salutes women in the US military

Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
In a special Veterans Day video message, Bishop Jay Magness, Episcopal Church Bishop for Federal Ministries, honors women in the military and calls for recognition of their commitment, service and sacrifice. This Veterans Day, Bishop Magness said, "I want to salute and honor the most often unseen members of our service and veteran community - the women who serve and have served in the military." The video is available here.
Noting that 11% of the US military are women, Bishop Magness addresses "the challenging personal sacrifices that women make while serving their country." He also points to the homeless female veteran population in this country, rising at an alarming rate. Every night, he notes, there are "over 5000 female veterans living on the street."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Seeds of Hope: A Safe Place at St. Paul's, Newport News

The first of seven in a series about the recipients of this year's Seeds of Hope Grants to develop and expand social justice ministries in Southern Virginia. Learn more about Seeds of Hope grants here. 

St. Paul's, Newport News, received a $2500 grant to better equip a volunteer who is a licensed social worker assisting guests of A Safe Place adult day center to connect with essential support systems such as potential employers, healthcare providers, Social Security resources.

God's people who gather as St. Paul's Church are committed to the ministry of hospitality and advocacy: to welcome all people who enter in peace and to offer compassionate care to and voice with people who are hungry, ill, without good and safe shelter, unemployed, excluded, in despair. The justice ministries are firmly grounded in Christian hope. Daily life together is shaped by worship, Bible study, and prayer. Seven days each week, St. Paul's Church opens its doors in inner-city Newport News in the name and love of Jesus Christ.  

A retired social worker has been volunteering for some time to help, during the hours of the Adult Day Center, A Safe Place, guests with issues related to employment, social security support, housing and healthcare. Funds will purchase second computer/printer plus internet access will allow the social worker to help guests communicate with employers, healthcare providers, and especially the Social Security Administration.

To learn more about St. Paul's mission and how you can help, go to www.stpaulsnn.org or like them on Facebook.

Ordination Exploration Process applications now being accepted

Ordination Explorations Process applications are accepted annually from September 1 through December 31. The OEP assists you and the church in providing opportunities for assessment, exploration, and discernment of a sense of call to ordination. For more information about the OEP, go to our website.

Applications for Episcopal Church Young Adult Service Corps due January 4

The Episcopal Church offers untold opportunities for young adults to provide service and share their expertise worldwide through the Young Adult Service Corps. Commonly known as YASC, applications for 2013-14 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."

Current YASC members can be found throughout the Anglican Communion. They are working in administration, agriculture, development, education, and technology. They are serving in Brazil, Costa Rica, Haiti, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania. Read their thoughts and reflections on their blogs here.

Possible placements for 2013-14 include Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama,  the Philippines, South Africa and Taiwan.

The application for the 2013-14 YASC year is available online here . The application deadline is January 4, 2013. For more information contact Katie Webb at kwebb@episcopalchurch.org or 212-716-6124. 

New Episcopal Church resources focus on older adults, faith formation

Two new Lifelong Christian Formation resources focusing on older adults and faith formation in the Black context are now available for congregational use, in adult forums, study groups, educational seminars, and discussion gatherings. "Aging is Changing" and  "Stories of Transformation: Worship, Witness & Work in the Black Community" are available at no cost on the Episcopal Church website.
Aging is Changing
"Aging is Changing" is a five -part program designed to be incorporated into the life of congregations. Prepared by the Episcopal Church Office for Lifelong Christian Formation and the Executive Council Taskforce on Older Adult Ministries, "Aging is Changing" was developed to help clergy and lay leaders identify issues of older adults, their families, and caregivers, and to identify existing local, state and national resources that might be helpful. It also includes best practices from 60 congregations around the Episcopal Church. "This resource is aimed at changing the perception that older adults become less useful as they age," explained Ruth-Ann Collins, Episcopal Church Officer for Lifelong Formation. "It highlights the potential of this generation and signals us to remember that as Christians, we are called by God. And as a church we have adopted The Five Marks of Mission as a way to answer that call." Aging is Changing is available here. For more information contact Collins as rcollins@episcopalchurch.org.

Stories of Transformation: Worship, Witness & Work in the Black Community
This important offering is a series of stories shared from the personal experience of the writers - a seminarian, theologians, parish priests, activists - and is a direct response to the conversation among the young people about the place and role of storytelling in the family. Prepared by the Episcopal Church Office for Lifelong Christian Formation and the Office of Black Ministries, Stories of Transformation is recommended for congregational use by clergy and lay leaders who want to approach faith formation work in the context of the black community, providing readers the opportunity to go deeper into the stories of the black community. "These stories illustrate the rich heritage of a community with the tension between experiences of deep sadness and the abundance of joy inform how the black community celebrate their relationship with God," noted the Rev. Canon Angela S. Ifill, Episcopal Church Missioner for Black Ministries "This is not just for those ministering in black community. It is a gift to all Christians giving us a significant opportunity to get a glimpse into the life of the black community." Stories of Transformation are available here. For more information contact Ifill at aifill@episcopalchurch.org.