Monday, February 24, 2014

Why Serve 2014: An Episcopal vocation discernment conference for young adults of color

Young adults of color are invited to examine their gifts and explore opportunities at a June Episcopal Church retreat, Why Serve 2014: We are all called by God, but what does that mean for you?
Sponsored by Diversity and Ethnic Ministries of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), Why Serve 2014 will be held Thursday, June 5 to Sunday, June 8, hosted by Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in Berkeley, CA.

Invited to attend this conference of fellowship, training, discernment, and self-care are young adults (age 18-30) from the Asian, Black, Indigenous and Latino communities of the Episcopal Church, Lutheran Church (ELCA), and other churches in communion with the Episcopal Church, including the Moravian Church, the Old Catholic Churches, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, the Mar Thoma Church and the Churches of South India (CSI) and North India (CNI).  

"Wherever you are on your journey, young adulthood is a time of transition and choices, but you don't have to do it alone," commented the Rev. Winfred Vergara, Asiamerica Minister.  "Join us on the campus of CDSP and continue discovering the possibilities, whether you are feeling called to be a clergy person, a vestry member, a nurse, a father, or a cook; whether you're in school, working, or just in-between; whether you're a regular church-goer, a used-to goer, or a seeker, we hope you'll join us for this transformative experience."

The conference is sponsored by Church Divinity School of the Pacific; the DFMS Asiamerica Ministries, Black Ministries, Indigenous ministries, Latino/Hispanic Ministries, and Young Adult Ministries; and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Cost is $70 which includes meals, lodging, conference fees; fee does not include travel. Registration deadline is May 5. Click here for information and registration

For more information please contact Angeline Cabanban at 212-716-6186 or

Apps and online resources for Lent

The Lent App 
Walk through Lent with beautiful daily devotions in this app from Church Publishing. Illustrated with art by the inimitable Roger Hutchison, author of The Painting Table, and inspirational daily reflections by beloved author and Spiritual Director Mary C. Earle provide food for the journey. A built in journal function let's you record your own thoughts, and you can share Scripture, the daily image, or your own thoughts via email or social media. Available from iTunes here

Love Life: Living the Gospel of Love 
An online Lenten series from the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE). The theme is love in the Gospel of John. Participants will receive a daily short video starting Ash Wednesday through to Palm Sunday. There is a free downloadable workbook that accompanies the series and a resource page and promotional material for group leaders and clergy. This is a Lenten series in which everyone can participate, even if they can't show up in person. Click here for more information and to subscribe.

Concord for Peace & Reconciliation
Written by staff of Wau Diocese in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, this is a simple Lent course designed for use by anyone anywhere. The course works by discussion and prayer, gives an African outlook on Christianity and focuses on particular issues relating to peace. This is the second Lent course created by Wau Diocese and it tries to stimulate participation, discovery and tackle hard issues in faith. Topics include, tribalism, domestic violence, trauma, the causes of friction and what we mean by peace. Click here to learn more.

Lent Madness
Lent Madness is a fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women comprising the Church's Calendar of Saints. The format is straightforward: 32 saints are placed into a tournament-like single elimination bracket. Each pairing remains open for a set period of time and people vote for their favorite saint. 16 saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo. The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch. You can follow the action on the Lent Madness website, Facebook, or Twitter

Episcopal Relief & Development Lenten Meditations 2014
Available in English and Spanish, this year's devotional focuses on creating economic opportunities and strengthening communities, with a particular focus on empowering women. The daily readings are co-authored by a group of leaders from across the Anglican Communion, who bring a range of perspectives as they reflect on Scripture and other sources of spiritual wisdom. You can order a print copy of the meditations or have them delivered via email. Click here to see all the Lenten resources from ERD. 

Simple Changes: Faith and Food During Lent
The Diocese of Olympia Bishop's Committee on the Environment and the Task Force on Animals offers this Lenten series. Each week's theme includes an invitation that challenges us to move into simple changes that can make a difference. Get more info and subscribe to the series here.

Lent 2014 Formation Ideas, Activities & Resources for Children, Youth & Adults
A wealth of information and resources from Sharon Ely Pearson and Church Publishing. Available here.

ChurchNext online course: Introducing Lent
Theologian and author Maggi Dawn unpacks the wonder of the Lenten season in this course available at your convenience on the ChurchNext website. Be sure to check out all the great courses offered by ChurchNext.
Lent for Families is another ChurchNext course you might want to try. This course is filled with practical tips from long-time educator and canon to the Washington National Cathedral Kim Baker who tells us how Lent offers an unparalleled opportunity for families to grow in Christ. It's available at your convenience here
Carbon Fast 2014
How do I take a carbon fast? From Ash Wednesday, 5 March, to 12 April is a time of reflection and action. Each week has a theme with a prayer, a resource to read or watch, actions to take as an individual, some suggestions of community actions you can take and something you can consider doing to change the system. Click here to get started. 

Lent 4.5: A focus on simplicity
Lent 4.5 is a seven-week faith formation program which inspires and informs Christian communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to protect God's creation, embrace Gospel justice and nurture spiritual fulfillment. It offers practical opportunities for people of faith to apply the values of Christian Simplicity to their everyday lives.   
Reflections for Lent: Bible notes from the Church of England
Reflections for Lent, an app available from iTunes here and for Android here, offers a simple way to make space for Bible study and reflection from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday.

Lent 2014 Daily Calendar from Environmental Ministries and Enough for Everyone 
Known in past years as "Tread Lightly for Lent," this daily calendar from the Presbyterian Church is a quick and easy way to stay mindful of all God's creation throughout the season of Lent. In this calendar are reflection questions, readings, facts, stories, and suggested actions to draw you more deeply into relationship with God and all God's creation, as you make your way through Lent.  

A Journey of Heart: Meditations for Lent
This book - available in Kindle and print - by Beverly Foote of All Saints, Virginia Beach and Lynn Dean Hunter of Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach, offers an armchair pilgrimage, a journey of the heart. Individuals or groups who commit to spiritual growth will find this book helpful not only during Lent but at other times as well. Prayers, scripture readings, and meditations for each weekday of Lent, are appropriate for Christians of all denominations. Propers, selected from Common Feasts and Fasts, begin with the Thursday after Ash Wednesday and end with the start of Holy Week. Sundays, traditionally a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, are not included. Questions at the end of each meditation invite the reader or group to reflect, discuss, draw, or write journal responses and to receive in a new, transforming way the unending story of God’s love. Click here for more information.

World Mission Sunday is March 2

Traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday after Epiphany, the purpose of World Mission Sunday is to focus on the global impact of the Baptismal Covenant's call to "seek and serve Christ in all persons" (Book of Common Prayer, p. 305), and to raise our awareness of the many ways in which the Episcopal Church participates in God's mission around the world.

"The Episcopal Church works hand in hand with neighbors around the world and down the block, praying for partner congregations and dioceses, and offering relief to our brothers and sisters during times of crisis," noted the Rev. David Copley, Mission Personnel Officer. "Episcopal missionaries around the world serve as the church's eyes, ears, hands, and feet on the ground."
Currently, Episcopal Church missionaries are located in many international locales, including Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Ghana, Japan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Tanzania, and many places in between.

Resources and information on World Mission Sunday are here. A Bulletin Insert in English and Spanish is here.

Association of Anglican Musicians annual conference includes Clergy Day at VTS

The Association of Anglican Musicians will hold their annual conference - Heart and Voice Uniting - in Washington DC this coming June 15-19. This year's conference will include a Clergy Day at VTS on June 18. Register now - early registration ends February 28. Click here for complete information about the conference and online registration. 

Statement from United Thank Offering Board

Please join the United Thank Offering Board in giving thanks to God for the collaborative work between the Board, staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and members of Executive Council, the result of which is the creation of organizational documents that clarify and implement the work of the Board, grow the ministry of the United Thank Offering, and facilitate the relationship between the Board and Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).

It has come to our attention that some confusion remains over how the Bylaws and Memorandum of Understanding were created, approved and even over their content. The Board wants to share some basic information regarding the process and content with the hope of helping those of you with concerns about the status of the United Thank Offering. Please know that we are always open to questions; we welcome the opportunity to clear up any confusion that may impede participation in the United Thank Offering. Click here to continue reading

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pray for the Congo

At its 122nd Annual Council, the Diocese of Southern Virginia voted in favor of Resolution R-1 which
encourages the parishes in the Diocese to support the Church of the Province of D. R. Congo in the weekly Prayers of the People for peace with justice and to recognize May 30 each year as Apolo Kivebulaya Day in their cycle of prayer in unity with the Anglican Church in D. R. Congo.

The Province of the Anglican Church of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a member of the Anglican Communion, and has been a viable Anglican Church since the days of the Ugandan Missionary Apolo Kivebulaya in 1896.  

Over the past nineteen years, there has been untold suffering in the Congo and in the nine Dioceses of the Congo Church.The Diocesan Episcopal Churchwomen and other members of parishes in the Diocese of Southern Virginia are supporting the Women in the Diocese of Bukavu. The Diocese of Bukavu and the Diocese of Southern Virginia were once Companion Dioceses. This Resolution affords the opportunity for all parishes to become familiar with the need for prayer in The Congo and to provide prayer and support accordingly.  

Presiding Bishop writes to congregations about Good Friday offering for Jerusalem and Middle East

"I continue to be inspired by the Christians who are a small fraction of the population of most of the nations throughout the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori writes in the annual Good Friday letter to all congregations asking them to consider assistance for Jerusalem and the Middle East.
"Time and again in quiet conversation with Christian leaders and in public statements and presentations I witnessed the pain of loss expressed with passion and grief by so many on account of political and social pressures and the cycles of violence which continue in Syria, Israel/Palestine, and Egypt,"  the Presiding Bishop writes. "While there was great sorrow expressed about loss, there was also great hope and expectation that peace and prosperity are possible. "

Funds collected from the Good Friday Offering are gathered and distributed to the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East which includes the Dioceses of Jerusalem and Cyprus and the Gulf, all members of the Anglican Communion.

"I encourage you and your congregation to join in supporting our sister and brother Anglicans throughout the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East through the Good Friday Offering," she concludes.

Information and resources for the Good Friday Offering are available  here. For more information contact the Rev. Canon Robert Edmunds, Episcopal Church Middle East Partnership Officer,

Dedication of historical marker for Bishop Payne Divinity School

On Saturday, March 29 at 11 a.m., St. Stephen's, Petersburg, will celebrate the dedication of an historical marker for the Bishop Payne Divinity School. Established in 1878, the school began as the Theological Department of the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church Normal and Industrial School, and for more than 70 years it prepared black men for the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Giles B. Cooke headed the vocational school and was instrumental in developing the divinity school. Later, the school was named for the Rt. Rev. John Payne, first bishop of Liberia. For more information about the dedication and historical marker, contact the Rev. Willis Foster, or 804-733-6228.

New offerings for Jackson-Feild's residents

Jackson-Feild is pleased to announce that they are providing contemporary dance classes, art classes and re-established their choir. All of these efforts are designed to give residents positive outlets for their time, energy and efforts.

Kate Turner, Admissions and PQI (Performance Quality Improvement) Coordinator is teaching contemporary dance classes. She was classically trained in ballet through the Royal Academy of Dance. She further studied ballet, contemporary, and jazz dance at Chatham Hall and Radford University. Ms. Turner is offering a beginning dance class which incorporates ballet, jazz and modern dance techniques. The children are learning basic dance terminology and practice various movements and positions with the intent of building strength and flexibility while simultaneously serving as an outlet for creative expression.

One of the staples of the Jackson-Field campus for many years was our resident's choir. It was an important party of our spiritual program and gave residents the opportunity to get off campus and experience new opportunities. The choir was disbanded several years ago when the choir director re-located and we could not find a replacement. Thanks to the efforts of David Ausby, our choir is up and running. Our children have always loved singing and sought an organized opportunity to express their God-given talents. The choir practices once a week and will be performing on campus and occasionally off campus.

In September 2013 we added an art program for our residents. Ms. Wilder, an art Teacher for the Greensville County Schools for the past 22 years, is running the program. Her objective is to teach the residents how to be creative and constantly think outside the box. Another objective is to allow residents to express themselves in other forms of communication besides verbally. At times they just want to draw, color, sculpt or even write about what they're feeling. Imagery is extremely powerful and our boys and girls are very creative.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NEW at Chanco! Retreat in a Box

St. Thomas', Chesapeake, parish retreat.
Has your parish always wanted a parish-wide family retreat but the idea of organizing and facilitating a retreat is too daunting? We have the answer for you!  Chanco is proud and excited to announce a new program - "Retreat in a Box." Let us do the work! You just show up ready for fun and faith in God's great outdoors! An experienced Christian educator will present material, lead open discussions, train small group leaders and provide age appropriate materials for all ages.  Learning and fun for everyone! A parish retreat creates community building different from any other activity, encourages playing together and is a safe place to explore challenging topics. It is an opportunity for your parish to host a multigenerational event that builds great family memories and offers an opportunity for all ages to interact. Chanco has just had a cancellation for Memorial Day Weekend, so call now for a fantastic parish event at Chanco during a beautiful time of year! Click here for a brochure with more information on Retreat in a Box. Questions or to book your event today, contact Gareth Kalfas at 888-7-CHANCO (888-724-2626) or at    

Registration now open for Episcopal Youth Event - July 9-13 in Philadelphia

Registration is now open for the popular Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) scheduled for July 9-13, 2014 at Villanova University in suburban Philadelphia, PA.The 2014 event marks the twelfth EYE and remains a popular and well-attended event. EYE 2014 is geared for youth in grades 9-12 during the 2013-2014 academic year and their adult leaders. Bronwyn Clark Skov, Episcopal Church Youth Ministries Officer, explained: "EYE is an opportunity for the youth of the church to meet their peers and church leaders in a richly diverse environment, actively engaging the Five Marks of Mission while in Philadelphia."

If you are interested in attending EYE14, please contact Youth Missioner Ashley Scruggs, or 757-213-3393. The application forms for EYE 2014 are available on the Youth Events page of our website. 

Applications for Seeds of Hope Grants now being accepted

Seeds of Hope grants are available to congregations and diocesan groups (e.g., affiliated institutions, commissions and task forces) within the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. Grants must support the development of new programs or support the expansion of such ministries that are already in action within congregations of the diocese. Click here for more information and application form.  

Presiding Bishop calls for Day of Prayer for South Sudan on February 16

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has called for a Day of Prayer for South Sudan for February 16. Bishop Jefferts Schori is joined in this call by the Rev. Gradye Parsons, the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian General Assembly and the Reformed Church in America.

"The world is increasingly concerned over the rampant violence in South Sudan," the Presiding Bishop said.  "The recent increase in armed conflict, murder, and mayhem has been fomented in part by inaccurate reports of tribal partisanship.  The new nation needs peace, in order that all its people might thrive. The Episcopal Church of Sudan is partnering with others on the ground in that work of peace-building. The Sudanese communities within our own Episcopal Church have been important and effective leaders in this work. I ask your prayers for peace, as well as your awareness and involvement in the lives of our brothers and sisters across the globe. The Prince of Peace serves the whole world.  As his disciples, may we do no less!"

Click here for prayers and other resources from Episcopal Relief & Development.