Monday, December 11, 2017

Update on progress of James Solomon Russell - Saint Paul's College Museum and Archives

James Grimstead, chairman, provides this update on the progress of the James Solomon Russell - Saint Paul's College Museum and Archives. The purpose of the museum is to preserve and honor the legacy of Archdeacon James Salomon Russell and the archives of Saint Paul's college, which Russell founded.
The floor plan for the museum display rooms has been completed. Earlier the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors approved using the former school board office at 219 North Main Street for the museum. The museum was granted 501(c)3 federal tax exempted status in April 2017 and has obtained membership in the Virginia Association of Museums.
"This membership gives us direct association with over 2000 other museums in the state of Virginia. It offers training in all aspects of museum operations, gives us access to equipment donations from other museums, and provides school credit to students who visit the museum," said Grimstead.
Another significant accomplishment this year was to purchase a computer system to catalog the archives. With over thousands of items to catalog, the process will take several months. The museum committee also now has an email address:
Grimstead said the next goals are to set up a grant-writing committee, obtain showcases for displays, and to set up a committee to organize the grand opening, tentatively set for May 2018.

2018 UTO Grant applications now accepted

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 United Thank Offering grants. Application forms are available here. The focus for 2018 grants is "Becoming the Beloved Community: Racial Healing, Reconciliation and Justice." Information on Becoming the Beloved Community is available here. UTO grant applications must be endorsed by the Bishop and submitted by the diocesan office. Therefore, applications must be sent to the diocesan office no later than February 2, 2018. This will allow the diocesan UTO Grant Committee to review all applications and select the application that will be submitted no later than March 2, 2018 for consideration by United Thank Offering.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Adopt-a-Canterburian bridges generations

In 2015, the Rev. Tyler Montgomery, associate rector at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, and chaplain to William & Mary, resurrected the Adopt-a-Canterburian program in conjunction with the university. The program pairs church members with W&M students to lend them support and friendship during their time at the university.
"Our first year, we had 25 sign-ups," he said. "Now we're up to 55. In three years, we've doubled the number of students adopted. The feedback has been really positive. With few exceptions, it's worked out really well."  
The program was recently featured in William & Mary's university communications. Click here to read about this successful program. 

2018 Safe Church training schedule

Safe Church classroom training for 2018 has been scheduled. Now is the time to start planning for your new vestry members, lay ministers, teachers, vacation Bible school volunteers, and others to get the necessary Safe Church training. In addition to the scheduled classroom training, online training is also available. Current diocesan policy requires re-certification every three years for online training and every five years for classroom training. Click here for more information on Safe Church training and requirements.
  • January 20, 2018 - St. Mark's, Hampton (registration closes Jan. 16) Register here.  February 3, 2018 - St. Barnabas, North Chesterfield (registration closes Jan. 30) Register here
  • February 10, 2018 - Epiphany, Norfolk (registration closes Feb. 6) Register here.
  • February 24, 2018 - Bruton Parish, Williamsburg (registration closes Feb. 20) Register here
  • March 10, 2018 - Merchants Hope, Hopewell (registration closes March 6) Register here
  • April 14, 2018 - St. Paul's, Suffolk  
  • April 21, 2018 - Holy Trinity, Onancock
  • April 28, 2018 - St. Paul's & St. Andrew's, Kenbridge
  • May 12, 2018 - Galilee, Virginia Beach
  • June 2, 2018 - Trinity, South Boston
  • September 8, 2018 - Ascension, Norfolk
  • September 22, 2018 - St. Andrew's, Newport News
  • October 13, 2018 - St. Aidan's, Virginia Beach
  • October 27, 2018 - St. Matthias', Midlothian

Westminster-Canterbury to host pilgrimage to Israel

Westminster-Canterbury, Virginia Beach, is hosting a pilgrimage to Israel April 6-15, 2018. It will be led by David Hyman, a well-known tour guide in Israel and who has led trips for Galilee, Virginia Beach. The Rev. Doug Gray, Westminster-Canterbury chaplain, will be offering Bible teachings as well. Cost is $4690 per person, double occupancy, or $5710 per person, single occupancy. Air travel, lodging, transportation in Israel and meals (except lunches) are included. Click here for a pilgrimage brochure. For more information contact the Rev. Doug Gray, 757-496-1651 or   

Episcopal Migration Ministries offers Epiphany curriculum

Episcopal Migration Ministries is offering an Epiphany Curriculum, which includes free resources to oversee a faithful and meaningful Epiphany 2018. Designed for Adult Christian Formation, the six-week Epiphany Curriculum is ideal for congregations, individuals, adult forums, discussion groups, and other church-based gatherings. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of Episcopal Migration Ministries, refugee resettlement, the stories of our new American neighbors, and how God is calling each of us into this work. Click here for more information and to download the curriculum. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

2018 Annual Council: Fear and Love in a Divided World

Registration is now open for the 126th Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, February 16-17, 2018 at the Williamsburg Lodge Convention Center. Bookmark this page,, for the most current information about Annual Council.
Scott Bader-Saye, Ph.D. 
Keynote Speaker: Scott Bader-Saye, Ph.D.
Scott Bader-Saye is the Academic Dean and Helen and Everett H. Jones Professor of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. His publications include two books, Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear and Church and Israel After Christendom. His topic will be "Fear and Love in a Divided World."

Registration & Hotel
You may register individually or you may register your entire delegation. Early registration through January 12, 2018 is $125 per attendee. Clergy spouses/partners, youth aged 18 and younger, and college students may register at the $50 rate. Payment is due no later than Jan. 12, 2017 to avoid a $25 late registration fee. Registration for exhibitors is also open. Attendees will need to make their own hotel reservations. Discounted rates will be available at the Williamsburg Lodge and The Woodlands. Click here for more information.
Nominations for Elections at Annual Council
The following elections will take place at Annual Council: Standing Committee (one lay, one clergy); Disciplinary Board (two lay, one clergy); General Convention (one young adult lay alternate). Get more info and the nomination form here
Youth Delegation Application
Every year a special delegation of 12 youth in grades 9-12 are invited to attend Diocesan Council. Click here for more info and an application form. Applications are due by January 19, 2018.  
Communicator Credentials
Church communicators play an important role in connecting their Convocations and congregations with Council while it is in session and afterward. To help facilitate this work, the Council registration fee is waived for church communicators who submit this application form no later than February 2, 2018. 

Thank you for your support of Episcopal Relief & Development

The Rev. Keith Emerson; St. Paul's, Suffolk; Diocesan Episcopal Relief & Development Coordinator 
I am deeply grateful to the people and parishes of our diocese who have given money to Episcopal Relief & Development over the summer months (July-September). It has been a time of incredible need and we in the Diocese of Southern Virginia have responded generously. During this period, we made 555 contributions for a total of $112,144.37.
I am grateful for donations made by the following parishes and organizations:
Water & Sanitation and Hunger Food Security
Emmanuel, Franklin
St. John's, Hopewell
Sudan Relief Efforts
Bruton Parish, Williamsburg
Undesignated Gifts
Emmanuel, Hampton
Christ Church, Amelia Courthouse
St. Stephen's, Newport News
Church of the Advent, Norfolk                                                    
Christ and Grace, Petersburg
St. Luke's, Powhatan
All Saints', Virginia Beach
US Disaster/Hurricane Harvey Relief
Christ Church, Amelia Courthouse
St. Luke's, Blackstone
St. Mark's, Bracey
St. Thomas', Chesapeake
St. Matthew's, Chesterfield
St. Cecelia Guild, Eastville
Emmanuel, Hampton
St. Martha's Guild, Hopewell
Manakin, Midlothian
St. Andrew's, Newport News
St. Paul's, Norfolk
St. Michael's, North Chesterfield
Christ and Grace, Petersburg
St. Mark's, Suffolk
Old Donation, Virginia Beach
Emmanuel, Virginia Beach
Good Samaritan, Virginia Beach
Christ the King, Yorktown
Once again, thank you to everyone who has contributed. Together we are healing a hurting world.

October United Thank Offering donations bountiful

Ronda Toll; Christ the King, Tabb; Diocesan UTO Coordinator 
Donations to the United Thank Offering (UTO) collected during October ingatherings throughout the Diocese have been coming in at a swift and steady pace - what a blessing! Monies will be collected and sent for 2107 through December 10, 2017. Please send donations to Ronda Toll, Diocesan UTO Coordinator, at the following address: 42 Cherbourg Drive, Newport News, VA  23606.  
ECW Falls in Love with New UTO Prayer
The National UTO Board recently created a simple prayer (memorable and easy enough for children to recite) that can be said when making an offering in a Blue Box. This prayer, which will soon be featured on Blue Boxes, was shared by the Diocesan UTO Coordinator at the ECW Annual Fall Meeting on November 4. The reaction was immediate. The ECW loved it! Here's the new prayer: Almighty God, I give you praise for blessing me in many ways. Create in me a grateful heart and with this gift, a blessing start. Amen.

Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group to meet in Newport News on Dec. 14

The Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group will meet on Thursday, December 14 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at St. Stephen's, Newport News. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet with other parish administrators and treasurers to talk about common issues. Bring your own lunch. Beverages will be provided. There's no agenda for this gathering - just an opportunity to get together, share, encourage, support, and ask questions. RSVP the Diocesan Comptroller Judy Dobson, at or 757-213-3386. St. Stephen's is located at 372 Hiden Boulevard, Newport News. 

Advent resource for Preparing to Become the Beloved Community

A newly developed Advent resource is now available to help Episcopalians everywhere to take up Jesus' ministry of reconciliation and healing. Every congregation will soon receive in the mail Preparing to Become the Beloved Community, a multi-fold poster and resource pack with prayer, reflections and activities for each week of Advent. The resources can also be downloaded here. Preparing to Become the Beloved Community was developed by the Episcopal Church's Racial Reconciliation Team. The resources are designed for group use among all ages, including adult forums, Sunday school, women's and men's groups, Advent preparation, vestry meetings, and more. Click here for more information.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bishop Magness speaks at retreat for combat vets

Bishop Magness was the keynote speaker at the closing ceremony for the Welcome Home Initiative retreat for combat zone veterans. During the ceremony, Bishop Magness presented the Rev. Nigel Mumford, retreat leader, with a Chaplain's (camoflage) stole.  
The Welcome Home Initiative program is an intense, focused three-day retreat for military veterans, and their spouses, who served their country in combat and may be suffering, in varying degrees, from post-traumatic stress. Click here to learn more.

Grants available from The Episcopal Church

Young Adult & Campus Ministries grant info available  
It's time to start the process of discerning whether to apply for a 2018 Young Adult and Campus Ministry Grants, which provide funding for dioceses, congregations, and community college/tribal college/university campuses for an Episcopal ministry (or ecumenical ministry with an Episcopal presence). The online application will open on January 2, 2018.  However, information is now available and a webinar has been slated to assist in discerning the application process. Click here to learn more. A one-hour webinar to discuss the grants process and answer any questions has been slated for webinar on Thursday, December 7 at 4 p.m. Space is limited. Register here.
Episcopal Evangelism grants available for local and regional efforts
The application process is now open for the new Episcopal Evangelism Grants Program, designed to fund local and regional evangelism efforts in the Episcopal Church. Episcopal institutions (congregations, dioceses, provinces, schools, monastic communities, Episcopal organizations and other Episcopal affiliated entities) are eligible to receive these funds. Regional collaborative partnerships with non-Episcopal entities are welcome, but an Episcopal entity must serve as the project leader, active manager, and reporting agent. Grants are available for up to $2,000 for an individual congregation and up to $8,000 for multi-church, diocesan and regional collaborations. Groups receiving funding are expected to make a significant financial contribution toward the project, as well. Click here for more information.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Presiding Bishop on Texas church shooting

Presiding Bishop Curry offered his comments during a visit to the Scottish Episcopal Church in Aberdeen, Scotland. Text is below. Click here to watch video.
I'm in Aberdeen, Scotland, where last night we had a service at St. Andrew's Cathedral, giving God thanks for the deep roots of the Episcopal Church here in the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Scottish Episcopal Church is indeed the mother church of the Episcopal Church, and we give thanks for the ties that bind us together.
But even as we gave thanks last evening, we received word that in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a gunman entered the First Baptist Church, and now some 26 people have been killed and many more wounded and afflicted. I offer this prayer for those who have died, for those who are suffering, for those who are still healing from physical wounds, and the emotional, spiritual and mental scars. As I pray and invite you to pray the prayer the Lord taught us. I invite you to pray that God's will might be done, that God might guide us to find a better way, to find concrete steps so that this kind of thing doesn't happen anymore. But above all, we pray for those who suffer and for those who have died. Will you pray with me?
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen. The Lord bless you and keep you.  
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give us all his peace this day and forevermore. Amen.

Campus Ministries retreat at Chanco

The Episcopal Campus Ministries from Christopher Newport University, Longwood University, Hapden-Sydney College, Old Dominion University, and College of William & Mary joined together for an overnight retreat at Chanco this past weekend. With the theme of "Sabbath Time," the students centered their retreat around the Daily Offices, and concluded their time together with Eucharist. Taking time to nourish themselves in the beauty of God's creation, the students joined together for praying, hiking, zip-lining, rock climbing, guided meditation, and time around a campfire. The students enjoyed having time to be together as members of campus ministry in Southern Virginia. 

2018 Clergy Compensation Guidelines available

The Executive Board has approved a cost of living increase for clergy and lay employees of 2% for 2018. Click here for the 2018 Clergy Compensation Guidelines manual.

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Becky Crites left Epiphany, Danville, on September 30, 2017.
The Rev. Dr. Regina Christianson left Emmanuel, Chatham, on October 16, 2017.
The Rev. Gini DiStanislao will leave St. Paul & St. Andrew, Kenbridge, on November 5, 2017.
The Rev. Dr. K. Drew Baker will leave Epiphany, Danville, on November 30, 2017.
The Rev. Gini DiStanislao will begin as Rector of Manakin, Midlothian on December 1, 2017.
The Rev. Lisa Green will begin as Associate Rector at St. Martin's, Williamsburg, on December 11, 2017.
The Rev. J. Scott Baker will leave St. Stephen's, Newport News, on December 31, 2017.

James R. Chisman recognized by Jackson-Feild

In recognition of and appreciation for 33 years of outstanding and dedicated service to helping children and furthering the mission of Jackson-Feild, the Board of Trustees of Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services (JFBHS) presented Chisman with a personalized captain's chair at a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Chisman's ties to Jackson-Feild are long. For more than twenty years, his father was a member of the Board of Trustees, and Jimmy himself currently serves as the Chairman of the Jackson-Feild Homes Foundation.
By his own wry admission, Jimmy could all too easily have been a Jackson-Feild child himself. "I was an underachiever as a youth," says Chisman. "I had a number of role models, and - but for the grace of God - I didn't wander down the wrong path."
Chisman has served in a number of important capacities including Treasurer of the Board of Trustees. He was also the campaign chairman for our Act of Faith capital campaign which raised $3,000,000 for campus improvements and for our endowment.
Chisman has devoted countless hours to provide opportunities that improve the quality of life for the boys and girls at Jackson-Feild. Very often, he works behind the scenes to help procure necessities either at no cost or with deep discounts. While he is very committed and faithful in such efforts, Chisman gets particular pleasure and satisfaction in planning events and activities that directly benefit the children.
When asked why it's been so important to him to support the work at Jackson-Feild, Chisman says, "When I look back on my youth, I realize that there is a thin line separating success and struggle, and it's important that we provide our youth the opportunities and support to help them overcome their obstacles."
JFBHS is blessed to have such a wonderful donor and champion, and Jimmy Chisman cherishes and values his efforts and the efforts of his father. "Not a day goes by that I don't think of JFBHS and the children."

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Directory of spiritual directors

For several years, the Rev. Mike Ferguson convened a group of spiritual directors for a monthly gathering at the diocesan office. Whenever I received a request for names of spiritual directors, I would always contact Mike. Since his death, we no longer have a designated contact person for this ministry, even though we receive requests on a regular basis. To that end, we are asking anyone who is doing spiritual direction, to send contact information to Caroline Black at so we can begin to compile a directory. Thanks for your assistance.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

CE-Net meeting on Nov. 16

CE-Net (Christian Education Network) will hold an informal face to face meeting on Thursday, November 16, 2017 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Diocesan office in Newport News. Please join us as we catch up and discuss future CE-Net meetings. We would love to hear your plans for the upcoming Advent season as well as how your summer programs went.  For those who wish, we can head to a local restaurant for lunch after the conversation. Feel free to pass this invite along to anyone who you think would be interested! Please RSVP to Jennifer Nauroth,, or Lynn Farlin,

Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group in Farmville on Nov. 16

Attention parish administrators, treasurers, and anyone (staff or volunteer) involved in the financial or administrative functions of your parish -- on Thursday, November 16, John's Memorial will host the Administrators and Treasurers Lunch Group. This is your opportunity to learn, ask questions, share your experiences, and connect with your colleagues in other parishes. There is no agenda other than the one you set. Bring your own lunch. Beverages will be provided. Please RSVP Judy Dobson, Diocesan Comptroller at Johns Memorial is located at 400 High Street, Farmville. 

ACS Year-End Documentation Training Dec. 6

ACS trainer Fred Forry will offer a one-day training on year-end documentation on Dec. 6 at the Diocesan Office, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. This is an outstanding opportunity for ACS users to get training on these vital processes. ACS is only offering one other year-end training in the Virginia-North Carolina region. The morning session will focus on contributions and the afternoon will cover financials. Participants should download and bring ACS year-end documentation to follow along in class. Cost of training is $50. Lunch is provided. Click here to register.

Lutheran-Episcopal Day of Prayer on Nov. 14

The Lutheran-Episcopal Joint Committee of Virginia is sponsoring a Day of Prayer on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Arlington. The Day of Prayer will be led by the Rev. Katherine A. Grieb, Meade Professor of Biblical Interpretation and New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA. Rev. Grieb will lead participants in considering how and why to pray, whom to pray with, resources for prayer, prayer and the liturgical year, and will share other personal prayer practices. Click here for more info and registration.  
Day of Prayer in Richmond  on March 8 
There will be another Lutheran-Episcopal Day of Prayer event on March 8, 2018 at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Richmond. This day will be led by the Rt. Rev. Susan Goff, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Click here for details and registration for that event. 

Trinity Institute 2018: Values in Action

St. Paul's, Newport News, will be a Trinity Institute Partner Site for the 2018 conference to be held Feb. 2-3, 2018. Mark your calendar and plan to attend this important event.
We all want to create a better world, and that requires action and connection. Discerning shared values is crucial to forming powerful partnerships and moving forward with courageous intention. Explore how you and your community can set a collaborative course at Values in Action, a Trinity Institute conference designed to help you get grounded and connected so you can get going. The 2018 conference features leading activists, theologians, authors, and experts on how to integrate core values into strategic and effective action, including the Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, and Pádraig Ó Tuama, poet, theologian, and mediator.    
Click here for more information and registration. Cost is $20 per person and includes both days, and lunch on Saturday.

Episcopal Church-United Methodist Dialogue offers report

The Episcopal Church-United Methodist Dialogue Committee met in Washington, D.C., to continue its work on establishing a full communion relationship between the two denominations. The committee has adopted a draft proposal for full communion entitled A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness (The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church, A Proposal for Full Communion) and is seeking feedback from laity, clergy and bishops in both denominations before an official resolution could be presented to respective legislative bodies. Click here to continue reading.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Where Love & Addiction Meet: An evening with Sandra Swenson

Where Love and Addiction Meet, An Evening with Sandra Swenson will be held at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, on Monday, Nov. 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. SpiritWorks Foundation Center for the Soul invites you to an evening with Sandra Swenson, author of two books about her journey as the mom of a son suffering with the disease of addiction: "The Joey Song" and "Tending Dandelions." Her most recent offering, "Tending Dandelions," is a collection of honest meditations for mothers with addicted children. While Sandra writes from a mother's perspective, the evening promises to be a meaningful experience for fathers and other family members as well. Ms. Swenson will read passages from her new book and answer questions after each. The reading will be followed by a Q & A. After this portion of our event, we will move from the church building to the Bruton Parish Hall for a meet and greet/book signing. Click here for more information and to reserve your FREE ticket. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Invite-Welcome-Connect training Oct. 21

St. David's, N. Chesterfield, made a "cardboard testimony video" last week, sharing what members have found at their church home. What's a cardboard testimony video? Check theirs out here and come to the Invite/Welcome/Connect workshop with Mary Parmer on Saturday, October 21 from 9 until 3 at St. Martin's, Williamsburg. This diocesan event is co-sponsored by St. Martins, St. David's and St. Michael's, Bon Air, and you will be inspired by great ideas for any budget. Click here for more info and registration. 

Bishop Magness: Pray for Holy Land pilgrims

Dear Friends,
As many of you know, from Oct. 17-28, many of your fellow parishioners and friends will be accompanying me on a spiritual pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Given the spiritual intent of this trip, I am requesting your prayers for us. While we are always interested in having a safe pilgrimage, the primary reason that I ask for your prayers is for spiritual enhancement during our time in Israel and Palestine. Since I like to pray for people by name, here is the listing of pilgrims: Fritz, Claire, Eric, Judy, Sam, Jane, Grace, Ginny, Betty, William, Ellen, Ann, Dan, Diana, Al, Rachel, Frank, Charlotte, Jay, Nora Ann, Margaret, Lee, Nancy, Michael, Holly, Lizzie, Jay and Carolyn. In advance of your offering of prayers, I thank you for the support you will give us.

Oct. 20 deadline for tickets to ECW Fall meeting

Women and men are invited to come hear the Rev. Becca Stevens
speak at the ECW Diocesan Fall Annual Meeting, Nov. 4 at St. Francis, Virginia Beach.  An author, a Daughter of the King, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, Becca is founder and president of Thistle Farms, the largest social enterprise in the US run by survivors of domestic violence. The Nov. 4 meeting is from 9 to 11 a.m. Becca will speak from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Lunch will be served at 1 p.m. A lunch ticket ($15.00) is required. The deadline to purchase lunch tickets is October 20. Contact Helen Sharpe-Williams, 757-487-8183 or
Thistle Farms is a powerful global community of women healing from prostitution, trafficking and addiction. They employ 50 survivors through social enterprises: Thistle Farms Home & Body, Thistle Stop Cafe, and an artisan studio. Thistle Farms Global helps employ more than 1,500 women. 

Gathering for EfM groups on Oct. 22

EfM groups in Southern Virginia are invited to a special gathering on Sunday, Oct. 22, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. There will be light refreshments and conversation with EfM Executive Director Karen Meridith, Diocesan EfM Coordinator Ann Meyer, and your fellow EfM mentors and participants.  Click here to RSVP.  

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Lorna H. Williams began as Associate Rector for Children & Youth at St. Andrew's, Newport News, on October 1, 2017.
The Rev. Robert K. Marshall will begin as Rector of Redeemer, Midlothian, on October 22, 2017

Virginia LARCUM Conference 2017 is Dec. 1-2

The 2017 Virginia LARCUM Conference will be held Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2, in Richmond, VA.  This year's conference is "500 Years Later: Ecumenical Dialogue as Gift and Call." The keynote speaker is Susan K. Wood, SCL, Ph.D., a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas is professor of systematic theology in the Department of Theology at Marquette University. She is currently president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. Click here for the conference brochure and registration information.

RVA TALKS book and group discussion of "Blues for Mister Charlie" by James Baldwin

James Baldwin's "Blues for Mister Charlie" is an epic drama that confronts us all with the truth of just how widely we are still divided by race in America. This discussion will actively engage the audience examining the questions of race and racism as subject to our own perspective; framed by our history, cultural norms and personal experience.  The stories we know, the ones we have been told, and our lived experiences inform our beliefs and opinions about race in America no matter what the circumstance. Can we create healing space and employ restorative practices as we endeavor to work together and move forward towards change and conciliation? This will be a facilitated discussion on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. It is a collaborative program of The Conciliation Project, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, and the African American Repertory Theatre Company. Please read Blues for Mister Charlie prior to the program. The play will be staged at University of Richmond April 18-22, 2018. St. Mark's is located at 520 North Boulevard, Richmond.  

Church Leadership Conference 2018

The Church Leadership Conference 2018 will be held at Kanuga Conference Center March 2-4, 2018. This year's conference is "Equipped for Every Good Work: Practical Tools for Tough Times." Kanuga and the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) partner to offer practical tools for the challenges of congregational leadership. Speakers and presenters will address core needs in strategic planning, church leadership and finances. Click here for more info. 
The Church Leadership Conference is an annual gathering of vestry members and other congregational leaders for practical learning, reflection and formation. The conference is designed in partnership by the Episcopal Church Foundation and Kanuga, and the focus is to strengthen, equip and re-energize church leaders for church leadership and ministry. Each year the conference gathers expert speakers and workshop leaders from around the Episcopal Church, to teach, inspire, and share practical tools, ideas and resources. In 2018, there will be four specialized workshop tracks for participants to dig deeper into an area of their need. The tracks are: strategic leadership, financial planning, creative communications and a Spanish language track. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Bishops' messages on Nevada, resources

Message from Bishop Hollerith: 
By now you have heard that the people of Las Vegas, Nevada, are suffering through a terrible tragedy - one that the news media is defining as the worst mass shooting in US history. Please pray for those who have died, those who mourn, and for healing of the injured. The Diocese of Nevada is offering its healing ministry to the many affected by this tragedy. Pray also for our nation, as we continue to be a country plagued by gun violence.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Primates of the Anglican Communion prayed to honor the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada:
Presiding Bishop Curry presented a video message here.  

We were greatly distressed to learn of the dreadful events in Las Vegas last night. The scale of the loss of life and the numbers of injured is truly shocking. We are sending our deepest condolences to you and to the people of your diocese - in particular, the people of Las Vegas.
We are praying for the families and friends of those who have died and for the many people who have been wounded. We remember, too, everyone else caught up in this tragedy - including the emergency services (first responders). We pray that the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ will be with the people of Las Vegas as they endure this trauma.
Liturgical Resources from Bishops United Against Gun Violence
A Christian Response to Gun Violence, a ChurchNext resource for groups or individuals

A Lifting of Voices concert to benefit Boys Home

Boys Home of Virginia announces A Lifting of Voices, second annual celebration of uplifting a cappella music. The concert is free and includes four of the Richmond area's finest a cappella groups coming together to perform songs from across the musical spectrum. Every song has been selected to fill your heart and lift your spirit and all proceeds go to children who need our help at the Boys Home of Virginia. The concert will be held at the Robins Theatre at The Steward School in Richmond, Virginia on Sunday, October 29 at 3:15 p.m.
All successful men were once boys. But not all boys become successful men. That's why Boys Home of Virginia is so important. They provide care for boys aged six through eighteen who have encountered obstacles and need a second chance to succeed. Since 1906, the Boys Home mission has been to provide care and education to help boys develop physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. They operate with 97% private funds and no boy is turned away because of their family's inability to pay. As they grow, costs also rise and Boys Home must find more supporters like you to take part in raising successful young men.
To learn more or to reserve your seat today visit,  
Questions? Contact Lauren Ward at  or (540) 965-7714

Don't miss the October Lock-in at Chanco, Oct. 13-14

Join us for a lock in for all teens in grades 6-12 and their adult advisors. This event will include a campfire, icebreakers and games, camp activities, chapel and a fun, won't want to miss party! This is a great opportunity for all parishes to have an already planned for you EYC event.  Just bring your youth and show up! The lock-in is also the perfect time for camp friends to reunite and an opportunity to meet many new ones. Don't miss this fantastic fun fall youth event at Chanco! Ten percent of the proceeds for all diocesan fall youth events will be donated to help the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma through Episcopal Relief and Development. Questions? Contact Youth Missioner Ashley Scruggs at or 757-213-3393.  Click here for more information and registration. We look forward to seeing you there!

A Word to the Church from the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops

The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops Gathered in Fairbanks, Alaska (Diocese of Alaska), September 21-26, 2017. The bishops came to Alaska to listen to the earth and its peoples as an act of prayer, solidarity and witness. Click here to read the bishops' message.
A Prayer for Our Time and for the Earth
Dear God, Creator of the earth, this sacred home we share; Give us new eyes to see the beauty all around and to protect the wonders of creation. Give us new arms to embrace the strangers among us and to know them as family. Give us new ears to hear and understand those who live off the land and to hear and understand those who extract its resources. Give us new hearts to recognize the brokenness in our communities and to heal the wounds we have inflicted. Give us new hands to serve the earth and its people and to shape beloved community. For you are the One who seeks the lost, binds our wounds and sets us free, and it is in the name of Jesus the Christ we pray. Amen.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Changes on the Jackson-Feild campus

For 162 years, Jackson-Feild has been helping children. Throughout every change in focus, Jackson-Feild has adapted and modified not only its programs, but its physical campus as well.
Over the summer, two one-time staff houses that had until recently been serving as classroom space for the Gwaltney School have been reconfigured to serve more children for a variety of treatment programs now and into the future. In order to replace this physical space as well as support the continuing needs of the Gwaltney School, an addition has been built onto the administration building providing two classrooms and a multipurpose room.
Families, placing agencies, donors, and the community can rest assured that Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services will continue to provide high quality evidence-based psychiatric, residential, educational and recovery treatment services for children who suffer from severe emotional trauma, mental illness and/or addiction.

Data from 2016 Parochial Reports available

The Rev. Canon Dr. Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention, has announced that data from the 2016 Parochial Reports of the Episcopal Church is now available here. At the same time, he has released analysis of the data, available in a variety of ways available here. Canon Barlowe noted, "The 2016 data reflects a continuation of recent trends, although rates of decline in such key figures as Average Sunday Attendance have decreased." He also observed, "Overall, congregational income through pledges and other offerings has remained constant," even as overall number of congregants has decreased. Read more here.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CE-Net: Digital Formation Part 2

On October 5 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the Christian Education Network (CE-Net) will continue our exploration of digital faith formation that began early in June with a more hands on approach to the topic. CE-NET has partnered with Jared Rendell, Partner for Digital Strategies, at Vibrant Faith to take us one step further in exploring this topic. Utilizing a recent news event and one social media platform, Jared will demonstrate how social media might be used from a faith perspective, to engage individuals. This session will be offered via Zoom so there is no need to fight traffic or tunnel congestion to be part of the experience.  
Given the news headlines, we are finding that our communities are searching for ways to make sense of and respond to the community and world events with a faith lens.  Unfortunately, the time needed to plan bricks and mortar programs often means that a window of opportunity to engage people has passed. Digital media produces an instant platform to connect faith to what is happening in the world.
Click here for more details and registration. Webinar is limited to 25 participants. 

Diocesan Connection newsletter available

The July-September issue of the Diocesan Connection newsletter is now available. The newsletter offers a digest of stories from our weekly Parish News and Diocesan eNews. Please print and share a copy with church members who do not have email, and post a copy on a bulletin board or in your narthex. You can also download the Diocesan Connection from the News & Publications page of our website. 

Clergy Continuing Education Grant applications due Oct. 1

The purpose of Clergy Continuing Education Grants is to support programs that are essentially theological in emphasis. Programs designed for training in special ministries, or those which would in other ways enhance the effectiveness of an individual in his or her ministry are also welcomed. Applications are due by October 1. More info and application form are here

ECW: Fall issue of The Grapevine newsletter is here

The Grapevine is a quarterly print-ready newsletter of the Diocesan ECW. Click here for the Fall 2017 issue. If you have news to share, or know of someone who would like to be added to the mailing list, please contact Nancy Smith, The next deadline is October 31, 2017.  Many thanks for your help sharing the news! 

School is back in session at Boys Home

August 16 was a red-letter day at Boys Home. The first day of school is always met with excitement, but this year began differently since all of the residents are now being educated on campus. Each school day, the entire student body meets in the gymnasium of the Greer Education Center to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, take attendance, and pray. Students who wish to participate in sports are able to join teams with the local county school system if a particular sport is not offered through Boys Home. The move to educate all students on campus enables class sizes to be smaller and creates an environment where students can receive the academic assistance they need to succeed.  
Associate Director Chad Whitmer says that the progress so far is "as expected." He reports that the school is "right on target for where we thought we'd be at this point."  
When it comes to how Boys Home Liaisons and their churches can pray, Chad asks that "we be given the insight and understanding as to why boys do what they do and that the staff be given the means to help the students realize the value in developing a Christian worldview."
Visit to learn more about Boys Home and how you can support this ministry.

Jackson-Feild goes fishing

An annual rite of fall for the boys and girls at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services is a trip at Buckroe Beach Fishing Pier in Hampton for a day of saltwater fishing. Old Point Trust and Financial Services sponsors this event in conjunction with the City of Hampton Roads Parks and Recreation.
Seventeen young anglers - most of whom had ever been saltwater fishing - arrived bright and early and ready to fish using rods, reels, tackle and bait provided by Old Point. Don Lancaster and Matt Smith with two other fine volunteers helped the children.   Don provided brief "Fishing 101" instructions where he showed the boys and girls how to bait hooks, protect their hands from the fins, and release the hooked fish. The kids had so much fun that many did not want to leave. One young man who never had been fishing was so excited and happy he was beside himself.                                                      
When asked why he volunteers each year, Lancaster responded "These youngsters have had so many challenges in their lives. It does your heart good to see them have such a good time enjoying the simple pleasure of fishing."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

ODU Canterbury welcomes students

Old Dominion University Canterbury welcomed new students at a Fall Fair last week. Kuma, Chaplain Wendy Wilkinson's therapy dog, was there to encourage students to stop and talk at the Canterbury table. There was also a cookout with the "Archgriller of Canterbury" and the first Candlelight Eucharist of the semester. If you know anyone who is a student, faculty or on staff at ODU, please encourage them to stop by the Canterbury Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Bible study is offered at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and Noonday Prayer and lunch are offered on Thursdays beginning at 12:30 p.m.  

Register now for Fall youth events

10% of the proceeds from all of our Fall Youth Events will be donated to help the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma through Episcopal Relief and Development.
October Lock-in at Chanco - Oct. 13-14, 2017. For grades 6-12. A lock-in for all teens in grades 6-12 at Camp Chanco.  This event will include a campfire, icebreakers and games, camp activities, chapel, and a party. Register here.
Pre-Happening Staff Weekend - Oct. 28-29, 2017. Staff application here
Happening #67 - Nov. 10-12, 2017. For grades 10-12. Happening is an experiential weekend retreat for teens that may just change your life.  Come and see what it's like to be transformed by God's love!. Register here.
November Weekend - Nov. 17-19, 2017. For grades 6-12. November Weekend will feature large group games, small group discussions, camp activities, creative worship and music, and a dance. Register here.
December Lock-in at Chanco - Dec. 8-9, 2017. For grades 6-12. This event will include a campfire, icebreakers and games, camp activities, chapel, and a party. Register here.
Youth Delegation to Annual Council - Feb. 16-17, 2018. For grades 9-12. Application here

ECW Annual Fall Meeting features Becca Stevens of Thistle Farms

The Diocesan ECW invites you to join them on Saturday, November 4 for their Annual Fall Meeting and Love Heals Conference at St. Francis, Virginia Beach.
The keynote speaker will be Becca Stevens, founder and president of Thistle Farms, the largest social enterprise in the US run by survivors. She has been featured in The New York Times, ABC World News, NPR, PBS, and CNN. In 2011, the White House named Becca "Champion of Change" for her work against domestic violence.  
The ECW meeting will be 9 to 11 a.m. Becca Stevens will speak from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. Lunch served at 1 p.m. Everyone - men and women - are invited to attend. Ticket for lunch is required; cost is $15. Deadline to purchase lunch ticket is Oct. 20. Contact Helen Sharpe-Williams, 757-487-8183 or Click here for a flyer you can share or post in your church. 

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Warren Hicks will begin as Priest-in-Charge at St. Mark's, Hampton on October 9.

Special Cursillo Fourth Day at Chanco

Cursillo is an opportunity to grow in faith and spirituality, share a deeper understanding of the teachings of Jesus, and belong to a continuing community that gives support and encouragement to help Christians carry out our baptismal vows. We are blessed to share in this community with one another and are excited to welcome our newest Cursillistas, those attending upcoming Cursillo #163, to our community!
During this special Fourth Day gathering on October 21, 12 to 4 p.m., at Chanco on the James we will share in a potluck lunch, hear a message from our Lay Director and a witness talk, and will hear a presentation on the upcoming capital project plans for Chanco and how Chanco's future plans will support Cursillo's continued ministry with improvements to make Chanco a more accessible, comfortable and vibrant place to do God's work.
We hope you'll join us for fellowship and to rejoice in music and share in worship together. Questions? Contact Ronda Toll at or 757-869-8873 or Talley Banazek at or 804-399-4019.   

A reflection from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry: "It may be that we cannot solve everything, and we cannot do everything. But we can do something, no matter what."

Whether it is the pain of the events of August 12 in Charlottesville, or Hurricane Harvey, or Hurricane Irma, or wildfires in the West, or an earthquake in Mexico, there's been a lot of pain, a lot of suffering and hardship. In times like these, it's easy to grow weary. It's easy to be tired.  And it's easy to be downcast, and to give up. What can I do? Click here to read or watch Bishop Curry's reflection. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

ECW reception Sept. 24 at Chanco on the James

You are personally invited to a unique event on Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. created especially for the ECW to learn more about how you can be a part of the future of Chanco's ministry.
The purpose of the ECW is to empower the women of The Episcopal Church to carry out Christ's work throughout the world. Our common denominator is our love of God and the desire to do His work. Come to Chanco to enjoy fellowship and refreshments while we hear about how Chanco's future plans will support the ECW's continued ministry with improvements to make Chanco a more accessible, comfortable and vibrant place to do God's work through programs that minister to women, families and children.
We look forward to seeing you there and sharing more about Chanco's bright future and how it can support the important programs of the Episcopal Church and the ECW.
Questions? Contact Ronda Toll at
 or 757-869-8873. Chanco is located at 394 Floods Drive, Spring Grove, VA.