Thursday, October 3, 2013

Your diocesan pledge makes it possible

 Youth and Young Adult Ministries: Transformation and Collaboration

Youth and young adult ministries in Southern Virginia embody the spirit of transformation and collaboration. Our shared efforts help teens and young adults to discover their faith and live into their call to discipleship through meaningful programs and opportunities for service. We also empower leadership at the parish, convocation and diocesan levels, offering teens and adults who are called to this crucial ministry the essential tools they need for their work.   

Chanco is the heart of our youth ministry efforts in this diocese. Over the past few years, we have moved strategically and intentionally in order to unite our mutual ministries around a shared mission in this diocese. All major youth events, including EYC weekends for both Junior and Senior High, as well as the Happening program, are now held at Chanco. The revamped team approach to the chaplain program at Chanco has been instrumental in providing necessary pastoral support, quality spiritual formation, and compelling worship services at our summer camp.

Leadership development has also been a priority for our shared initiatives in youth ministry. In recent years we have witnessed a greater spirit of local collaboration in convocations and strong participation at trainings and parish consultations. The EYC Board and Happening Team are both highly effective leadership groups, who not only engage in regular program evaluation and creative planning, but also increasingly function as local ambassadors for our ministries. In the summer of 2014, the triennial Episcopal Youth Event will be held in Philadelphia, and we look forward to sending a large delegation of youth to this important and formative gathering.   

Our college ministries efforts sustain young adults through chaplaincies at the College of William and Mary, Old Dominion University, Christopher Newport University, Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College. We also administer the Bishop Vaché Scholarships which provided much-needed tuition assistance to low-income and minority students. In July 2013, Ashley Scruggs was appointed to be the Province III Campus Missions Coordinator. As the Diocese of Southern Virginia broadens our reach in the Episcopal Church, we also seek to further develop our local mission and vision for college ministries, and we are beginning conversations about strategic planning in this area.

Without sustained giving, none of this would be possible. An investment in youth and young adult ministry is an investment in the vitality of the whole Church. Generous financial support allows us together to build a firm foundation for the future and respond daily to Christ's call to make apostles and share the Gospel. Please prayerfully consider how you might be able to more generously support these essential ministries, whether it is through your time, talent or treasure. Thank you for your investment in the lives of our young Christians.  

Resources and training for church leaders: Financial Management & Communications 

Administrators & Treasurers Workshop
Our Treasurer's Office works hard to manage the finances of our diocese efficiently, effectively, and with complete transparency. For our congregations, the Treasurer's Office is a rich resource for assistance with administrative and financial questions.

Church financial management includes some issues that may surprise and confuse even the most experienced financial manager. We provide training, resources, and one-on-one support to help administrators and treasurers navigate those areas. We also help our churches to stay on top of changing IRS and legal requirements.

This May, we offered a day-long workshop full of practical information, including: property insurance; audits and internal controls; IRS regulations; clergy employment information; personnel issues; and records management. The workshop was very well-attended and participants were enthusiastic:
  • "I found the session to be very informative. Each speaker covered the information very clearly and asked for questions. The procedures I am using as treasurer are good but need to be improved with the information I received from this class. Thank you, for a job well done."
  • "I think the information from the insurance folks was helpful. I would love to have the safety person talk about what he looks for when he does an inspection."
  • "This was a fabulous, useful, well-organized workshop. I learned so much and appreciated the great handouts for future reference and copies of the PowerPoint presentation for easy note-taking. Thank you so much!"
For guidance or advice on church finances, please contact Comptroller Nancy James, or 757-213-3386.

Cleta Norcross of Glebe Church, Suffolk, gets hands-on Facebook training
Communication is vital to the life of a congregation and an important part of the way it connects to and shares the Gospel with its community. The way we communicate today is radically different than it was just a few years ago - and it is continuing to change. Digital tools like websites, email and social networks are important and necessary parts of any communications plan. The diocesan Communications Office is ready to help congregations make the move into the digital realm, and to provide guidance and resources for congregations ready to expand their current use of digital media into other areas, like Christian Formation. Communications Officer Ann Turner is available to answer questions and deliver hands-on training to help congregations communicate better. Communications grants, awarded annually, help parishes obtain the technology they need for digital communication.

"St. Augustine's was thrilled to receive a Communications Grant in 2012. The funds helped us in several ways - acquisition of the (web)site and the purchase of audio equipment." - Rose Parker, Vestry member, St. Augustine's, Newport News

In addition to the weekly Diocesan eNews delivered via email each week, churches can use our weekly Parish News email to share their stories and invite Episcopalians from across Southern Virginia to their special events. Sharing our stories is a great way to get ideas and make connections that grow ministries. Churches can also post stories and events on our Facebook and Google+ pages. These networks are an increasingly useful way to share information and to make connections between individuals and congregations.

"Your diocesan newsletters are chock full of information for everyone. I am so impressed with what is available for us to learn. It's remarkable. No demographic is ignored. I know you and your colleagues have been working non-stop to make sure everyone is aware of what is available. Thank you."  - Jo-Ann Mahony, St. John's, Hampton

To learn more about the assistance and resources available from the Communications Office, contact Ann Turner, or 757-213-3388.