Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easter message from the Presiding Bishop

Rejoice, rejoice and sing, rejoice and be glad... for earth and heaven are joined and humanity is reconciled to God! (From the Exsultet, BCP, p. 286-287)

As the Lenten season ends in Easter rejoicing, note what has been wrought in you this year.  A remarkable cross-section of America has been practicing Lenten disciplines, even some who are not active Christians. There is a deep hunger in our collective psyche to re-orient our lives toward life and light, healing and peace. We share a holy hunger for clarity about what is good and life-giving, and we yearn to re-focus on what is most central and important in life.  

Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death. God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones. We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us. Our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst. Practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us, we have cultivated compassionate hearts. We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus' own passing-over.   

The wonder of the resurrection is upon us once more. May we embrace God's ever-new life with every cell of our being, every yearning of our soul, and every muscle of our will. Christ is risen, death is vanquished, humanity is restored to holy and creative relationship with God's ongoing and eternal liveliness. Praise God who brings light out of darkness, life out of death, and newness out of the stale and moribund. Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Message available on the web here. 

Have you "liked" us on Facebook?

Our diocesan Facebook page is getting lots of traffic these days. We now have over 800 followers. Are you one of them? If not, drop by and see what you're missing. In addition to advance notice of upcoming workshops and conferences, links to resources, and news from our churches, you can follow the adventures of diocesan Comptroller Nancy James and her dog Jake as they visit every church in Southern Virginia this year. On March 27,  you'll also be able to follow the community Stations of the Cross led by St. George's, Newport News, as it happens, 6 to 7:30 p.m. 

Registration open for Safe Church classroom training

Numerous Safe Church classroom training opportunities are now open for registration, including:
  • April 27 at Holy Trinity, Onancock
  • April 27 at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg
  • July 27 at Christ & Grace, Petersburg
  • August 10 at St. George's, Newport News
  • August 17 at Epiphany, Danville
  • September 21 at Grace, Norfolk
For a complete list of all Safe Church classroom training, go to the Workshops, Training & Events page of our website. 

Don't miss it! Register now for our 2nd Annual Stewardship Conference on June 8

Mark your calendar for our June 8 Stewardship Conference to be held at St. Martin's, Williamsburg. You said you wanted stewardship information for smaller churches and more about planned giving and we listened! Our two keynote speakers for this conference will be the Rev. Timothy Dombeck, Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Arizona, speaking on Stewardship for Smaller Parishes, and Jim Murphy, Executive Program Director of Episcopal Church Foundation, who will address Planned Giving/endowments/legacies. Participants will also get to take part in hands-on breakout sessions. Click here for more information and online registration.

Financial & Administrative Best Practices Workshop

Join us on Tuesday, May 21 at Grace Church, Yorktown for a day designed especially for your church's financial and administrative personnel. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn, ask questions, share your experiences, and connect with your colleagues in other churches. Topics will include: employment issues, benefits, taxes, audits and internal controls, property insurance, and more. Registration fee $20 (includes lunch). Click here for more information and online registration.

Vice Chancellor Gordon Tayloe uses his new iPad in continued service to our Diocese

At our Annual Council in February, we recognized Gordon Tayloe for his many years of service as Diocesan Chancellor and, as a token of our appreciation, presented him with an iPad. In a note of thanks to Bishop Hollerith and our Diocese, Gordon said, "I was very much humbled by the reception of the Council and presentation of my iPad at the 121st Annual Council by you and on behalf of the Diocese. I had expected to be recognized, but I had no expectation of the warmth and extended ovation that was accorded me. Then topping it all off, the gifting to me of the iPad was overwhelming."

Gordon is continuing to serve as one of our Vice Chancellors and his new iPad is helping make that possible. After a few lessons with Communications Officer Ann Turner, Gordon is using the iPad to draft and edit legal documents and manage email correspondence, among other things.  

"I thank you and the many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ with which I have had the opportunity to be associated and to have served the last ten years. Despite some "maturity" issues, I very much look forward to continuing to serve in the future. Thank you again my Bishop and friend, the clergy and congregations of our Diocese for so graciously honoring me."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Save the date! Stewardship Conference on June 8

Mark your calendar for our June 8 Stewardship Conference to be held at St. Martin's, Williamsburg. You said you wanted stewardship information for smaller churches and more about planned giving and we listened! Our two keynote speakers for this conference will be the Rev. Timothy Dombeck, Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Arizona, speaking on Stewardship for Smaller Parishes, and Jim Murphy, Executive Program Director of Episcopal Church Foundation, who will address Planned Giving/endowments/legacies. Participants will also get to take part in hands-on breakout sessions. More information and registration coming soon!

James Solomon Russell Feast Day celebration

James Solomon Russell Feast Day Celebration will be held Sunday, March 24 at 3 p.m at St. James', Emporia (609 Halifax Street, Emporia). The Rev. Dr. Grady Powell, Rector Emeritus of Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, will preach. The Very Rev. Christopher Cunningham and the Rev. Dr. Joseph Green will be co-celebrants. The offering will go to support the placement of an historical marker near the birthplace of James Solomon Russell and to support Saint Paul's College. Please make all checks payable to James Solomon Russell Fund and send to: Dr. Angela M. Parker, P. O. Box 184, Lawrenceville, VA 23868.  

Born into slavery on a Virginia plantation in 1857, James Solomon Russell rose to become one of the most prominent African American pastors in the post-Civil War South. As a minister, educator, and found of Saint Paul's College in Lawrenceville, he played a major role in the development of educational access for former slaves in the South and within the Episcopal Church.

Diocesan-wide Day of Service on May 4

The Commission on Ministry Committee on Formation for the Ministry of the Baptized (the MOB) has decided that we need to help folks better understand lay ministry. Our focus is to be a resource for lay people who feel called to something even if they don't yet know what that means for them. Baptism is what makes us ministers. Living out our baptismal promises - how we share the Good News of God's love with our words and actions - is our ministry. The MOB is inviting each of you to participate in a Diocese-wide Day of Service on the first Saturday of May. We are asking each Parish to choose a project in your community that will be a concrete example of God's love for all of His children. We hope that this Day of Service will help you do a little out of the box thinking. You may partner with other parishes, maybe even develop a project for your convocation. Please have someone in your parish let us know (at about the project you have chosen so that we can share and celebrate the work that we are doing. 

House of Bishops offers a Word to the Church: Godly leadership in the face of violence

The House of Bishops, meeting in retreat in Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville, NC, has offered a Word to the Church, "Godly Leadership in the Face of Violence."  

"Our time together has brought us to a new place of recognition with respect to how violence infects, and affects, our lives. We have considered how the reality of violence in our world, our society, our churches, our homes, and ourselves alienate us from God and each other. And we repent that we have too often neglected to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation." 

"As bishops of The Episcopal Church we embody a wide variety of experiences and perspectives with respect to firearms.  Many among us are hunters and sport-shooters, former members of the military and law-enforcement officers.  We respect and honor that we are not of one mind regarding matters related to gun legislation.  Yet we are convinced that there needs to be a new conversation in the United States that challenges gun violence.  Because of the wide variety of contexts in which we live and our commitment to reasoned and respectful discourse that holds together significant differences in creative tension, we believe that The Episcopal Church can and must lead in this effort."

Click here to read the Bishops' message. 

Middle School Lenten Lock-in a big success!

On Friday, March 1, youth from 5 Episcopal churches (Eastern Shore Chapel, Galilee, Old Donation, St. Aidan's, Virginia Beach, and St. John's, Chester) gathered for an evening of friendship and fun.  There were lots of games, a liberal amount of laughter, some disappearing snacks, creative worship and some colorful prayer. A great time was had by all but the leaders could have used a little more sleep! Plans are being made for future convocation youth activities.

7th Annual Canterbury Gala a smashing success!

By Caitlyn Darnell, William & Mary Canterbury

On February 2, Canterbury hosted a fundraising black-tie Gala at the Alumni House of The College of William and Mary. Good food, a good time, and good company were had by all in attendance. The dance floor was alive with couples dancing to the sultry sounds of the William and Mary Wham Bam Big Band, including the Rev. John Kerr twirling an assortment of beautiful young Canterbury women.

The silent auction was replete with exquisite items, including many works of art and vacation packages. The attendees got a break from guarding their silent auction bids with a serenade by The Cleftomaniacs, a very talented William and Mary a capella group.

Altogether, Canterbury raised over $9,000. The sum of the money will be donated to Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro, Belize, the site of our Spring Break mission trip this March. We will be using the funds to build a palapa, an outdoor thatch-roof classroom in which the children can enjoy breezy classes. We thank each and every one of you for attending and/or donating to our cause. We sincerely appreciate your support and hope to see you again at next year's event 

Monday, March 4, 2013

CE-Net hosts Digital Missioner Kyle Matthew Oliver

CE-Net invites you to join them on April 18 when they host Kyle Matthew Oliver. Oliver is the Digital Missioner and Learning Lab Coordinator for the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary. He specializes in helping churches try out new models for faith formation in our digital, connected world. In this session, Oliver will work with the idea of a "faith formation network" to help you think about how your congregation can take Christian formation into their lives beyond Sunday morning. This presentation will be particularly relevant for youth leaders, clergy and anyone working with formation or communications. You can learn more about Oliver's work here.

Join Ce-Net on April 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hickory Neck, Toano. Lunch will be provided for a $7 fee. RSVP to Lynn Farlin, if you plan to attend. 

Annual Council offering benefits homeless ministry

The offering at the closing Eucharist of this year's Annual Council was $1,773. The offering was designated to St. Paul's, Newport News, in support of their programs that assist people who are homeless and in crisis. A Safe Place is a weekday morning walk-in program that welcomes, on average, 200 guests each week who are homeless or substandardly housed. Five days a week, St. Paul's welcomes homeless and low-income adults to shelter, peer counseling groups, and the opportunity to attend to basic human needs. St. Paul's offers basic toiletries; laundry, telephone, mail service, current magazines and newspapers; a place to rest; a place to meet social workers and other support service personnel; and short-term storage for belongings. The Episcopal Church has designated St. Paul's as a center for Jubilee Ministry.

Ridley Foundation Board meets at Ridley Farm

The Ridley Foundation Board members began their recent meeting with a tour of the farm Roberta Ridley left to the diocese for charitable purposes back in the early 50s. It is near Boykins, Virginia. The board will distribute nearly $100,000 in scholarship grants this year to college or seminary students who live in our diocese and maintain a minimal grade point average.

Photo: Samantha Vincent-Alexander, Sharon Coles-Stewart, Connie Jones, David LaSalle, Bob O'Hara, Vee Pitman, David Teschner and Staff Liaison, Nancy James. Also pictured are Harrell Turner, Forest Consultant and Michael Mann, Farm Manager.

Jackson-Feild Homes honored by Virginia Senate

Jackson-Feild Homes was presented a senatorial resolution by the Virginia State Senate. The patron for Senate Joint Resolution #275 was Senator Louise Lucas. Delegate Roslyn Tyler was the sponsor in the House of Delegates.Recognizing the contributions that Jackson-Feild has made and for being a national leader in the service of traumatized children, the resolution called to attention the fact that Jackson-Feild has been a guiding light and source of inspiration for the development of new and best-practices in the treatment of boys and girls.Traveling to the Capitol for the presentation of the resolution were Executive Director Tricia Delano, Residential Counselor Katrice Bagwell, and residents Anwanatta H. and Bessema G. Following the presentation, the group was taken to the floor of the Virginia Senate for formal recognition.

Photo: Residential Counselor Katrice Bagwell, Executive Director Tricia Delano, Senator Lucas, Delegate Tyler, and residents Anwanatta H. and Bessema G.

ECW President and Board members installed

ECW President Barbara Taylor
Episcopal Church Women elected Barbara Taylor, a member of St. Francis, Virginia Beach, as the 40th ECW Diocesan President at the ECW Fall Annual Meeting.  The Very Rev. David Teschner, rector at Christ and Grace, Petersburg, installed Barbara at the October 20 meeting hosted by Christ and Grace.   Other board members installed are: First Vice President, Nancy Sands, Christ Church, Danville; Second Vice President, Katherine O. Patterson, Christ and Grace, Petersburg; Corresponding Secretary, Louise Boss, Christ Church, Eastville, Parliamentarian, Priscilla Salle Condyles, Manakin, Midlothian; Communication Chair, Helen Sharpe-Williams, Grace Church, Norfolk and Church Periodical Club Director, Mary Lou Miller, St. Aidan's, Virginia Beach.
On March 2, Barbara presided at her first ECW board meeting held at Christ Church, Eastville, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Plans for her two- year term in office are to continue ECW's tradition of charitable outreach and giving through annual scholarships for high school students and seminarians in our diocese, the United Thank Offering, the Church Periodical Club and an outreach project approved by ECW members' diocese wide.

ECW Day of Reflection 2012
"The purpose of the ECW is to assist women of the Episcopal Church to carry on Christ's work of reconciliation in the world and to take their place as leaders in the life, governance and worship of the church," Barbara said. "As president of the ECW of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, I pray I will meet that challenge. My predecessors have inspired and encouraged me. My college motto, "To be, to know, to do" has also encouraged me to serve and worship."

Barbara received her Bachelor of Science degree from Russell Sage College in Troy, NY. A retired registered nurse, she worked for 32 years in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Barbara and her husband Herbert settled in Virginia Beach in 1998. They have been married 33 year and have one daughter, Adrienne Michelle.

Wherever Barbara has worked or studied, she has been active in the Episcopal Church. She has sung in the choirs, worked with the ECW and is an Education for Ministry graduate. Now, as a member of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach, she has served as secretary of the parish ECW and serves as a Lay Eucharistic Visitor and a Lay Reader.

Barbara began her service on the ECW Diocesan Board as the Prayer and Worship Chair, moving on to Student Work Chair, then first vice president and now president. "I have learned much and I have received a lot of support and encouragement. I'm looking forward to seeing and meeting many of you at our meetings. Our Spring Annual Meeting is May 18 at Christ Church in Danville."

How energy efficient is YOUR church?

Did you know that a building or manufacturing plant can earn ENERGY STAR certification just like your refrigerator? An ENERGY STAR certified facility meets strict energy performance standards set by EPA and uses less energy, is less expensive to operate, and causes fewer greenhouse gas emissions than its peers. St. Andrew's, Newport News, participates in the Energy Star program "We have used the benchmarking tool associated with this program since 2009 and have qualified for an Energy Star for the last three out of four years," said Bob Lord of St. Andrew's. "Working for an Energy Star makes us better stewards of God's bounty while freeing up resources to support the rest of our mission." You can learn more about the Energy Star program here.