Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Johns Memorial remembers 1963 effort to desegregate Farmville churches

On July 28, Johns Memorial, Farmville, was one of four churches that took part in the 50th anniversary commemoration of the “Kneel-In” that took place in Farmville

On Sunday, July 28, 1963, just one month before the March on Washington and Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech, over two dozen local students were arrested for attempting to desegregate downtown Farmville churches. That day, a mass meeting of nearly five hundred people was held at First Baptist Church. After the meeting, various small groups fanned out to integrate several downtown churches. A group of seven to eight were admitted inside Johns Memorial, sitting with Dr. C.G. Gordon Moss (consequently, Moss was stripped of his church officership). Another group was denied entrance to Farmville United Methodist. After being denied entrance to Farmville Baptist, the group proceeded to pray and sing hymns on the church steps and was ultimately arrested for “disturbing the public worship of God.”

Fifty years to the date, these churches -- now integrated -- came together to honor these unsung local Civil Rights heroes. Approximately 150 people took part in a walking tour between four nearby churches — First Baptist, Farmville Baptist, Farmville United Methodist and Johns Memorial. The four-church program and walking tour retraced the steps of the 1963 student activists, beginning inside First Baptist Church. Reflections, prayers and remarks were offered at each site.

A statement from the Vestry was read at Johns Memorial : “We, the members of Johns Memorial Episcopal Church, confess with profound regret and Christian sorrow that our church participated in the complex webs of racism that gripped this community fifty years ago and since … Insofar as our brothers and sisters, especially our African American brothers and sisters, were harmed educationally, socially, and spiritually we wish to say that we are sorry and ask pardon, although we recognize that no pardon is deserved.” Click here to read the entire statement.

“The 50th anniversary program not only commemorates the event,” said Dr. Michael Utzinger, “but acknowledges the positive potential that persons of faith can have to promote racial reconciliation in our community.” Utzinger is a member of Johns Memorial and Hampden-Sydney College religion professor.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Diocesan service of Repentance, Reconciliation and Healing on November 2

On February 16, our Annual Council passed a resolution acknowledging that the sin of racism continues to negatively affect the mission of our parishes in Southern Virginia. The resolution also called for a Day of Repentance, Reconciliation & Healing - a day in which our diocesan family can gather together in worship - and that parishes will annually observe a Day of Repentance, Reconciliation & Healing during the octave of All Saints.

Our diocesan Service of Repentance, Reconciliation & Healing has been set for November 2 at Christ and St. Luke's, Norfolk. The service is intended to be a liturgical moment in an ongoing process of learning. Click here for a flyer to post and share.

The Reverend Canon Stephanie Spellers will be the preacher at the November 2 service. Spellers is the Canon for Missional Vitality in the Diocese of Long Island and the Chaplain to the Episcopal House of Bishops. She is the author of "Radical Welcome: Embracing God, the Other and the Spirit of Transformation" and is the Consulting Editor for Emergent Resources at Church Publishing Inc. Spellers is the founding priest for The Crossing Community, an emergent congregation based at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.

Repairing the Breach resources

The sin of slavery thrived in Virginia and the sin of racism continues to infect and hamper the people and parishes of our diocese. How do we reach a place of material and relational reconciliation and spiritual healing that will lead us to new life in Christ? Our Repairers of the Breach Task Force has prepared the Repairing the Breach study guide, together with the accompanying video, for use in parish communities.  We trust that it provides a structure and resources to understand the past and present influence of slavery and racism upon us as individuals, congregations, and a broader community of faith in Southern Virginia. Click here to access these, and other, resources.

Diocesan Choir forming for Service of Repentance, Reconciliation & Healing

We are forming a diocesan choir to sing for this service. This choir is open to all singers who wish to participate.  There are only two rehearsals for this choir, which will be conducted by Kevin Kwan, music director at Christ & St. Luke's. The rehearsals will be held at Christ and St. Luke's, Norfolk, and will be on Saturday, October 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Saturday, October 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The warm-up on the day of the service (November 2) will be at 10 a.m.  The repertoire for the service (two choral anthems) will be chosen shortly and sent out in September. There is no audition for this choir, but it comes with the understanding that singers will prepare the music before the rehearsals. If you are interested, please email kevin.kwan@christandstlukes.org, giving your name, parish, and voice part. Rectors and choir directors - please forward this information to anyone in your parish who might be interested in this opportunity.

Ghana church destroyed by fire

St. George's Anglican Church, Burma Camp, Ghana was completely destroyed by fire two weeks ago. Although their building is lost, St. George's is struggling to continue worshiping and serving their community. They are seeking donations to help them get back on their feet: clerical vestments (all colors), altar cross, candle sticks, bells, chalice, ciborium, altar palls, cassocks, and surplices. If you would like to provide donations, please contact the Rev. Canon Frederick Walker, rector at St. Mark's, Suffolk, 757-934-0830 or rectorstmarksuffolk@gmail.com. The Rev. Canon Walker is an honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral in Cape Coast, Ghana. 

The ministry of Prison Visitation Society

By David Wynne, Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach  

"I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me."

In addition to KAIROS, the Prison Committee at Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach, also includes a smaller ministry to the Federal Correction Complex (FCC) in Petersburg. The federal ministry is affiliated with the Prison Visitation Society; a national organization that specializes in visits to federal facilities. Although PVS ministers to all facilities, the principle ministry is to inmates with very long sentences for whom the family has stopped visiting.

There are many thousands of inmates nationwide waiting to have a visitor. At Petersburg, in our diocese, there are hundreds. We operate under the auspices of the Rt. Rev. J. Magness, Bishop of Federal Ministries. We have no qualifications, no special skills; we simply go.  

Similar to the Stephen Ministry, we simply provide confidential, non-judgmental listening. Our inmates can be Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Atheist, even Wiccan. In every case, they yearn for a kind presence and a contact outside the environment they endure. Although we do not actively witness, nearly always, sooner or later, God opens a door and when He does, we walk through it.

Last week I visited Bobby and Robert. The drive up to the FCC near Hopewell takes about two hours. Bobby is from Idaho, a former city parks worker; nearing the end of a twenty-five year sentence. His family can't afford the trip east but he only has five years to go. Bobby says he is a Wiccan, but he covets our prayers. When he gets out, God will be waiting. Robert is from New Hampshire, was a flooring contractor. He's 51, four years through a 33 year sentence. His parents are infirm and can't get down. He is bright, hopeful, planning his life after. During the sunshine of their hope and the blackness of their despair, we visit.

If you have some time to contribute, the need is great and every volunteer reports the greater blessing is always theirs. Contact David Wynne at diw1022@gmail.com.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Leadership Program for Musicians accepting registrations for 2013-2014 academic year

The Central Virginia Chapter of the Leadership Program for Musicians is now accepting registrations for the 2013-2014 academic year. LPM is a continuing education program for church musicians, pastors, or those who love music and liturgy of the church and is supported by the Episcopal Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. However, we welcome anyone of any denomination. We meet in Richmond monthly for five months and will be covering conducting, liturgy, teaching new music, and philosophy this year. Please look at our website www.lpm-va.org for more details.  Registrations received after September 1 will be subject to a late fee, so sign up now. Any questions?  Get in touch with the coordinator, Nellwyn Beamon, at nbeamon@ascension-norfolk.org or nadezhda@quixnet.net, or call 757-423-6715. 

Save the date: Episcopal Church hosts forum "Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America"

On November 15, the Episcopal Church will host and produce a forum centering on a critical topic for our times: Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America. Originating from St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, MS (Diocese of Mississippi), the 90-minute ecumenical forum will be live webcast beginning at 1 pm Central (2 pm Eastern). The forum will be moderated by well-known journalist and PBS commentator Ray Suarez. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will keynote the event. Two panel discussions will focus on main themes: Racism in America today - why does it persist?  And  Racism in America's future - where is there hope for change?
"This offers Episcopalians and others an opportunity for continued truth-telling and reconciliation, as we seek a society of justice," noted Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a keynote speaker for the event.  "We say we believe all human beings are made in the image of God.  Do we give evidence of it?"

Panelists will be recognized leaders from faith groups, NGOs, the media, academia and government.  The forum will begin with a thought-provoking video, and viewers will be able to submit questions to the participants during the live webcast. The forum is ideal for live group watching and discussion, or on-demand viewing later.  It will be appropriate for Sunday School, discussions groups, and community gatherings.

This event embodies with two recent General Convention resolutions: Resolution 2000 A-047 on Anti-Racism General Convention 2000:  Resolved, that the Episcopal Church continue its work to overcome the historic silence and complicity of our church in the sin of racism, that we become a church committed to ending institutional and other forms of racism, and that we overcome the historic silence and complicity of our church in the sin of racism; and Resolution A143 of General Convention 2009: to encourage dioceses to study slavery, segregation, and discrimination in their own communities. The event also supports two Anglican Marks of Mission: in dealing with issues of racism a) To respond to human need by loving service (Mark 3), and b) To seek to transform unjust structures of society (Mark 4).

Resources such as bibliography, on-demand video, materials for community and individual review, discussion questions, and lesson plans will be available. For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org.

Report from Task Force for Re-Imagining the Episcopal Church

The Task Force for Re-Imagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) met July 12-13 at the Maritime Institute of Technology in Linthicum, Maryland. The following is a report on their work:

"Since our initial meeting in February, we have been working in smaller groups to
1) ensure that all of our members have a common understanding of our current structures, governance and administration;
2) research both successful and unsuccessful attempts at large-scale change in other Christian traditions, in our own history as The Episcopal Church, and in other kinds of organizations, and consult with individuals who helped lead those efforts;
3) develop a common understanding  of the central marks of Episcopal identity from the vast work that has already been done in that area; and
4) establish the building blocks for a broad churchwide engagement process that we believe will be a critical piece of our work. We heard reports from each of these smaller working groups. Two of the groups offered written reports, and those are available on our website (www.reimaginetec.org) or here.

Our greatest challenge so far has been developing a common understanding of the proper scope of our mandate. We are very conscious of the extraordinary energy and consensus demonstrated by the 77th General Convention about the need for bold and large-scale change in our church. Our work thus far has consisted of vigorous and Spirit-filled conversations about the best ways The Episcopal Church might begin to affect the kind of change that was called for and needed, and what specific areas in our common life are most in need of the kind of reform that convention called for."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Choir forming for diocesan-wide service of Repentance and Reconciliation on November 2

The Diocesan-wide Service of Repentance and Reconciliation for the sin of racism will be held at Christ and St. Luke's, Norfolk, on November 2 at 11:00 a.m. We are forming a diocesan-wide choir to sing for this service. This choir is open to all singers who wish to participate.  

There are only two rehearsals for this choir, which will be conducted by Kevin Kwan, music director at Christ & St. Luke's. The rehearsals will be held at Christ and St. Luke’s, Norfolk, and will be on Saturday, October 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Saturday, October 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The warm-up on the day of the service (November 2) will be at 10 a.m.  

The repertoire for the service (two choral anthems) will be chosen shortly and sent out in September. There is no audition for this choir, but it comes with the understanding that singers will prepare the music before the rehearsals. If you are interested, please email kevin.kwan@christandstlukes.org, giving your name, parish, and voice part. Rectors and choir directors - please forward this information to anyone in your parish who might be interested in this opportunity.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An all new Bishop's Days - you don't want to miss this!

Diocese of Southern Virginia's Bishop's Days 2013 is a whole new experience - new ways to teach, learn, and share. This is an experience that will energize and enlighten your ministry!

Our Bishop's Days this year will be modeled on the popular TED Conferences. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading." It brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers in order to present a series of inspiring talks, each less than 18 minutes long. The creators of TED believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.

There are "Ideas Worth Spreading" in Southern Virginia, so we're having our own TED-style conference. The talks are short, but long on inspiration. The day should give you new perspectives, ideas and ways of thinking. If you let it, it could change YOUR world!

Cost is $15 per person. Lunch is provided. Wardens will have an opportunity to meet with Bishop Hollerith during the day. Go to www.diosova.org for more details, including a full schedule of the day, and to register. Click here for an event flyer you can share.  

The Talks:

Church on the Web: Ministry and Social Media - Hows and whys of using social media as church communities and individuals in the propagation of the Gospel "out there." The Rev. Penny Nash, Bruton Parish, Williamsburg.

Music Here, Music There, Music Everywhere! - How can parishes - big, small and anywhere in between - use music as a tool for outreach? How can you effectively maximize the gifts of part-time music directors? Kevin Kwan, Christ & St. Luke's, Norfolk.

Thank you Martin Buber: New Communities - Christ's admonition to "Love each other as I have loved you" is central to our mission of establishing new Episcopal communities. Join Jewish Philosopher Martin Buber and me as we offer provocative insights into the nature of human relationships. The Rev. Cameron Randle, St. James', Accomac & St. George's, Pungoteague.

The Imaginal Realm: Other approaches to the sacred - Are you tired of trying to re-stock the shelves in your "retail" religious store from week to week? This may be your finest hour... or 15 minutes, as we explore unique environments, including gifts of intuition, insight, and creativity. The Rev. David Tetrault, St. Cyprian's, Hampton.

Detour or Destination? - Have you looked back on events in your life and wondered WHAT IF? Better yet, what events in your life  perhaps reveal unexpected plans that God might have for you? Tom Ager, St. Michael's, Bon Air. (West only)

Two for the Road - Companion relationships and why we need them. Ben Blanchard, Good Shepherd, Norfolk. (East only)

Jackson-Feild elects new Trustees

The Jackson-Feild Homes Board of Trustees convened its annual meeting on June 27 at which time Mr. M. Stuart Bolton, the Rev. Julia W. Messer, Mr. Craig A. Tilley, and Dr. Sala Webb were elected to serve.

Stuart Bolton recently retired from a 37-year career with Dominion Resources. A former district manager and with extensive experience in the tax, accounting, financial management, and regulatory sections, Bolton retired as Vice President and Controller. Bolton has served on the boards of a number of civic and charitable organizations.

The Rev. Julia Messer, a 2010 graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, is the Assistant Rector at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach. Prior to ordination, Messer served as a hospital Chaplain in Kansas City, Missouri, an intern at PBS' Religion and Ethics covering the 76th General Convention, and worked as a Camp Chaplain at Camp Kanuga in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Craig Tilley presently serves as the Director of Credit for Owens & Minor, an industry leader in the field of health care supplies and equipment. Tilley previously worked for Alcoa and Reynolds Consumer Products in the credit office. Active in the community and having served on the boards of several organizations, Tilley is a past president of the Friends of Jackson-Feild Homes.

Sala Webb, a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Medicine, is a psychiatrist and is very active in various medical societies. She has also served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations.

Shrine Mont Fall Camp set for October 21-24

The Tri-Diocesan Council on Aging will offer its annual Fall Camp on October 21-24 at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, VA. Keynote speaker will be Phyllis Tickle. Singer, story teller and folk theologian Ed Kilbourne will be returning this year. Click here for more information. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chanco in need of a camp truck

Chanco is in significant need of a camp truck.  If anyone has a connection to a reliable truck that could be donated, Chanco is in need of one to run errands, move equipment around Chanco, and take our boats for service when needed. Please contact Marketing/Development Coordinator Talley Banazek at talley@banazek.com or 804-399-4019 if you can help!  Thank you! Our friends make the difference! 

Church Media Conference offered September 28

Planning has started for a second annual Church Media Conference to be at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Norfolk, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 28. Pastor Aaron DeBenedetto said participants will learn about bridging the technology gap, webpages, church marketing, advertising, media editing and posting, logo design, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, texting, youth and media, worship music and media, online storage and copyright considerations. To register, go to www.vasynod.org, click on Events.

Boys' Home hosts St. John's, Chester for "Mission Works!"

Boys' Home, Inc. recently hosted a returning mission group from St. John's Episcopal Church in Chester, VA. The group's adult leaders, Ms. Fontaine Gibbons and The Rev. Dale Custer, planned the visit for the end of June as part of Mission Works! The seven youth who came on the "Hill" were very energetic and willing to complete the tasks needed. The main project was removing and replacing landscaping timbers lining the beds for the memorial rose garden. They also assembled a memorial bench, tabulated and sorted Labels for Education and Boxtops for Education. Three youth also helped assemble and finish beds for the cottages.

Mission Works! is an opportunity for youth groups, churches and other organizations to assist in on-campus projects at Boys' Home. Some groups return year after year to share in work and fellowship, helping with a "mission" close to home.

Located in Covington, Boys' Home, Inc. focuses on helping young men, ages six to 17, who have promise, but limited opportunities. Boys' Home has been an integral part of the Alleghany Highlands since 1906 and serves several localities in Virginia, Maryland and throughout the eastern region.

Westminster Canterbury holds 29th annual Super Summer Sale

Westminster Canterbury in Virginia Beach invites you to their 29th annual Super Summer Sale. The sale benefits the Westminster Canterbury Fellowship Fund that insures availability of residency to qualified individuals regardless of financial ability.

This year's sale will be held at Cox High School, 2425 Shorehaven Drive in Virginia Beach and will be open Thursday, August 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, August 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, August 17, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Cash and checks with ID. No credit cards. Return check fee is $25. 

If you've never been to this sale, you should check it out. This is a huge sale, with lots of fine quality men's and women's clothing, china, jewelry, books, glassware, electronic items, kitchenware, linens, and vintage and antique items. 

Jackson-Feild residents help Oklahoma tornado victims

Residents of Rodgers Cottage at Jackson-Feild Homes were touched by the devastation caused the massive tornado that struck the outskirts of Oklahoma City.They were moved to try to help the victims of this disaster which led to a clothing drive both on and off campus. They collected clothing and other items which could be used to help those affected by this tragedy. Pictured are residential counselor Quentin McBeth and residents Al and Kelly. They and others collected items which were shipped to Oklahoma. Residents are encouraged to participate in community service projects. The community service projects help instill in residents a sense of civic responsibility and in the process feeling better about themselves.