Wednesday, August 16, 2017

UTO celebrates founder Julia Chester Emery's birthday in September


The United Thank Offering is extending an invitation for the Episcopal Church to join in a special celebration honoring the life and work of Julia Chester Emery for her 40 years promoting and establishing the United Thank Offering.
September 25 marks the 165th birthday of Julia Chester Emery. Starting as a young adult leader in the Episcopal Church, she is best known for dedicating 40 years to leadership and promotion of the spiritual discipline of gratitude and for tirelessly supporting mission and ministry all while championing the role of women's work in the church.

Congregations, groups and organizations can sponsor a birthday party for Julia on Sunday, September 24 complete with downloadable photo booth props, with a special thank offering to support the annual Ingathering for United Thank Offering. There are resources available here for your celebration 

Plan now to participate in the Good Book Club during Lent 2018

Forward Movement is excited to announce the Good Book Club - a church-wide invitation to all Episcopalians to read Luke and Acts during Lent-Easter 2018. Participants in the Good Book Club will begin reading Luke the Sunday before Lent, February 11, 2018, and finish up the Book of Acts on the Day of Pentecost, May 20, 2018. We hope you'll join us, and the many churches, individuals and organizations who will be a part of this special project.

Several organizations have already announced partnerships with Forward Movement on the Good Book Club, including Episcopal Church Foundation, ChurchNext, Episcopal Migration Ministries, and The Episcopal Church and Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry. Partner organizations are creating resources or encouraging their constituents to take part in the effort. A list of current partners can be found  here.
The Good Book Club website (goodbookclub.org) lists the daily readings, as well as available resources to support people as they read the scriptures. Resources also will be available in Spanish at clubbiblico.org.
And a note to Forward Day by Day readers: Forward Day by Day will use Good Book Club readings during Lent-Easter 2018, instead of the usual daily lectionary.
For now, you can sign up for updates or learn more about partnering with us at goodbookclub.org. We hope you'll read along with us, and Episcopalians around the globe!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Update from Diocesan Stewardship Commission

Stewardship is a ministry in the Episcopal Church that supports the mission and ministry of the entire church. Though often thought of as the annual fund raising typically done in the fall each year, good stewardship actually reaches into every aspect of everything done every day in every parish. The question is, how can the diocese help its parishes to actually become good stewards in all the different ways out there?

This exciting and somewhat daunting task is the focus of the Diocesan Stewardship Department. Reinvigorated by the leadership of Bishop Hollerith and the Executive Committee, this group re-formed itself in 2016, with Bob Motley and Mike McGraw serving as co-chairs. To learn what was needed, parishes were surveyed on stewardship issues, and a series of informal gatherings took place around the diocese. These results now guide us in our work for 2017-18. To these two dedicated individuals - thank you for all you have done and accomplished!

The Stewardship Department is pleased to announce new co-chairs:

Mr. Al Louer (Bruton Parish, Williamsburg) 
757-253-1209, cnwry@verizon.net 

Mrs. Elise Balcom (Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach)
757-404-2451, emblaw@aol.com

We are looking for new members to join us beginning in September, 2017. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining this dynamic group, please have that person contact one the co-chairs!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Applications accepted for Episcopal delegates to March 2018 UN Commission on the Status of Women

Applications are being accepted for a provincial delegate and up to 20 churchwide delegates to represent the Episcopal Church at the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York City, NY, March 12-23, 2018. The delegates will be able to attend the official UNCSW proceedings at the United Nations and will represent the Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion in their advocacy at the UN, including join advocacy with the group Ecumenical Women. Click here for more information and application. Deadline to apply is September 15.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jackson-Feild elects new officers


Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services is proud to announce the election of new officers.

Elizabeth Feild was elected Vice-Chair. Head of global Management and Professional Development for PAREXEL, Feild has more than 18 years of experience with large scale leadership development. She holds an undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University, a masters from American University, and certificates in leadership development and business coaching from Harvard and Duke. As the great-granddaughter of Mr. & Mrs. George W. Feild - donors of "Walnut Grove" - JFBHS holds a very special place in Feild's heart. Prior to job relocations to England and then Massachusetts, Feild served on the Jackson-Feild board of trustees. Now that she and her family are back in North Carolina, Feild is thrilled to once again be actively involved in continuing the mission of JFBHS.

Anne Gordon Greever was elected Chair. Greever retired as a senior counsel from the law firm of Hunton & Williams where she specialized in labor, employment and civil rights laws and had been the chair of its investment committee for ten years. Greever received under undergraduate degree from Mary Washington University and her law degree from the College of William and Mary. In 2006, she was named to the Legal Elite by Virginia Business Magazine. Greever has served on the board and Vice Chair of the Richmond Economic Development Authority. She is also a past Chair of the Virginia Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Section. Greever first joined the Board of Trustees of Jackson-Feild Homes in 2002.

T. Darnley Adamson, III was re-elected as Secretary of the Board. Adamson has many years of experience in both the insurance and real estate fields and currently owns and operates Green Solutions, LLC, with his son. Adamson attended Hampden-Sydney College, and is active in charitable and conservation causes.

Craig A. Tilley was re-elected as Treasurer of the Board. Tilley has had an extensive career in the finance field working for major banks and corporations in Richmond and is currently a Director of Credit at Owens & Minor. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina where he received his degree in economics.

Applications now accepted for Official Youth Presence at General Convention 2018

Applications are now accepted for high school students who want to participate in the General Convention Official Youth Presence (GCOYP) at the Episcopal Church 79th General Convention to be held Thursday, July 5 to Friday, July 13, 2018 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX. Click here for more info and application.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Canterbury students take part in Campus Ministry Leadership Conference


Two Old Dominion University Canterbury students took part in the Campus Ministry Leadership Conference in Austin, Texas, July 25-28. Chris Ochillo was part of the worship team and Savannah Dunlap represented the Canterbury Center at ODU. The Canterbury Center at ODU is on 49th Street, across from the campus, and offers a welcoming place for students to study, engage with scripture, worship and have meals together. 

Photo: Chris Ochillo with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. 
 

EYE17: An experience to cherish

 By Alex Devin Ellis, St. Andrew's, Newport News

Every three years, in accordance with General Convention Resolution #1982-D079, the Episcopal Church convenes an international youth event so "that the energy of the youth of the Episcopal Church can continue to be utilized in active ministry as members of the Body of Christ." This year, the 2017 Episcopal Youth Event (EYE17) welcomed nearly 1,400 participants, workshop leaders, speakers, and volunteers to the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond from July 10-14. Southern Virginia sent seven youth and two adult leaders to the EYE17 event. Below, Alex Devin Ellis, a youth participant from St. Andrew's, Newport News, shares his experience of EYE17. In the coming weeks, you can look forward to stories from the other EYE17 participants.
 
Alex Devin Ellis at EYE17.
EYE was a special experience, one that I will cherish for my lifetime. It was great to meet people from across America. I had a blast learning new games and hanging out with them. I made a ton of friends that I still talk to, though unlike one of the bishops I don't think I found my true love at EYE. Throughout the week I got to know my fellow Diosovas (other members of the Diocese of Southern Virginia) and really felt a strong bond grow between us. Nicholas Sears and I are like brothers and will be friends for life. We even have plans for a cross country road trip along Route 66 in eight years. Caroline Tyler and I had a great time playing cards and getting to know each other and our new friends. Capitalism is a great game that most other states didn't know how to play and is now my favorite card game. It was great having people that I knew there like the members of my EYC board Clare Harbin and Anthony Alfano, but it was equally as great getting to know new faces of our Diocese, like Peter Hood and Allie Sears.
Though I had a great time with friends, it was also a deep and moving week. Tears were shed but hope was all around. We went around Oklahoma City and viewed different Museums, but when we got to the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum I already knew it was going to be hard to get through. It was a very tragic event that took the lives of many innocent people. Going through the museum I saw many things that brought tears to my eyes. There was a clock that had stopped at the exact moment that the bomb went off, that Caroline had pointed out. When I saw it I just thought of how much more that stopped at that exact moment. Though as the day went on you could feel the love and hope for a better world. As we sang and praised God, in both English and Spanish, you could definitely feel the presence of God.
I went to different sessions during the time at EYE where you could learn about different things going on in the church or about God. On the first day, I went to a session where we could talk to Bishop Curry and ask him question after he talked about the Jesus Movement. On the next day that they had these sessions I went to one where they talked about Kids4Peace and how they are trying to make peace and how you can set up one in your area. Kids4Peace is a where you bring kids from different faiths together and talk about differences and similarities and what is going on the world or in our lives. The second session I went to on that day was about a reflection on the week.
I will always remember EYE17, with all the ups and downs. The pain and the hope, the tears and the love, the fact that I lost my favorite water bottle and how I met amazing people and could have them in my life.

Invite-Welcome-Connect training in Williamsburg

Equip and empower your congregation to bring more people into your church. Live out Jesus' great commission to "Go and make disciples" through practices in evangelism, hospitality, and connectedness. Come be trained in the transformative newcomer ministry method, Invite-Welcome-Connect, created and presented by congregational development consultant Mary Parmer.

In the last four years, clergy and lay leaders from congregations and dioceses across the country have attended this dynamic training and report measurable results after using the materials. This transformative newcomer ministry process has brought new energy and spirit to congregations and sustained, real growth where the essentials of Invite-Welcome-Connect are followed.

This workshop is a cooperative effort of St. Martin's, Williamsburg; St. Michael's, Bon Air; St. David's, Richmond; and the Diocese of Southern Virginia. Cost is $15 dollars and includes box lunch. Click here for more info and registration.

Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group to meet on August 17

The Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group will meet on Thursday, August 17, 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the diocesan office in Newport News. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet with other parish administrators and treasurers to talk about common issues. This month's gathering will also be an opportunity to meet the new Diocesan Comptroller Judy Dobson. 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 to Judy Dobson,  jdobson@diosova.org.  

Diocese of Virginia hosts Intercultural Summit


The Diocese of Virginia will host its second annual Intercultural Summit on September 16 at Epiphany Church in Herndon, VA. It will be a time to meet and network with people of various cultures around Virginia and beyond. Participants will have an opportunity to attend workshops that will touch on topics related to building and growing multicultural ministries. Click here for more info and registration.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry: "I am compelled to oppose these actions and to affirm the moral principle of equal rights for all persons, including the LGBTQ communities. I do so as a follower of Jesus Christ."


In light of President Trump's tweet banning transgender individuals from serving in the military and the Department of Justice's argument that employers can legally discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation, I am compelled to oppose these actions and to affirm the moral principle of equal rights for all persons, including the LGBTQ communities. I do so as a follower of Jesus Christ, as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and as a citizen who loves this country. This conviction is not born primarily of a social ideal, but of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and the witness of our biblical and theological tradition.
Genesis 1:26-27 teaches us that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. This is a divine declaration of the inherent sanctity, dignity and equality of every person.
Further, the sanctity of every human person and the principle of human equality before God are deeply embedded in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. In Mark 22:26 and Luke 13:10-17, Jesus teaches the inherent worth and dignity of the human person. In Matthew 5:43-38, he tells us of God's love for all people equally. In Luke 10:25-37, he commands us to love God and to love every person. Above all, Jesus teaches that we are to treat all others as we ourselves would want to be treated (see Luke 6:31-36).
As followers of Jesus Christ we believe the inherent sanctity, dignity, and equality of every human being as a child of God is part of the moral foundation of our faith. In the Episcopal Church we promise in Holy Baptism to "respect the dignity of every person," and to "seek and serve Christ in all persons."
As Americans, we believe in civil and human equality, as one of the foundational ideals of our country. Discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is a violation of the fundamental ideal of equality in America. The Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." Those rights - and the protection from discrimination - apply equally to all Americans. I truly believe that the overwhelming goodness and kindness and sense of justice of the American people are summed up in the words of the Pledge of Allegiance, which says that we are "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."  Therein is the soul of America!
So, to the transgender individuals currently serving in the armed forces: thank you. We are grateful for your service and for your sacrifices.  We support you and all service members and veterans. You are our neighbors, brothers and sisters in God's human family, and fellow citizens of this country we love.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop & Primate, The Episcopal Church

Episcopal Migration Ministries webinar: Welcome in Action

Episcopal Migration Ministries and the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations are hosting a one-hour free webinar, Welcome in Action: Education, Advocacy and Outreach on Tuesday, August 15 at 4 p.m.
This webinar will provide the latest updates on the travel ban, refugee funding, and upcoming opportunities to engage in advocacy and outreach in support of refugee resettlement.
Leading the August 15 webinar will be Lacy Broemel, Episcopal Church Refugee and Immigration Policy Analyst, and Kendall Martin, Episcopal Migration Ministries Manager for Communications. Registration is required and is available here. The webinar will be available on-demand following the event. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Fall Camp at Shrine Mont registration open

The Tri-Diocesan Council on Aging will hold its annual Fall Camp Oct. 23-26 at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, VA. Click here for a brochure with info and registration form. Back by popular demand will be storyteller, sanctuary gardener, author and ordained minister, Terry Hershey, as our keynote speaker. Bishop Martin Townsend, retired bishop of the Diocese of Easton, returns as chaplain. Once Again we will be entertained by Folk-Theologian Ed Kilbourne. Visit the Shrine Mont website for more info.

ECW Nominating Committee meeting changed to July 28

The Diocesan ECW is seeking nominations for the following board positions to take office in January 2018: Second Vice President, Nominating Committee chairperson, Church Periodical Club chairperson, and Treasurer. The Nominating Committee will meet on July 28 at 10 a.m. at St. Mark's, Suffolk. Contact Deborah Austin if interested, 757-538-1797 or complianceretired@gmail.com.

Order of Saint Helena invites women to explore monastic vocation

The Episcopal Order of Saint Helena sponsors an annual retreat for single women who wish to explore the possibility of monastic vocation. The Come-and-See retreat, held over Labor Day weekend (September 1-3), will provide women the opportunity to learn about and experience monastic life in the 21st century and to gain clarity about a possible vocation. An invitation to this potentially life-changing event is here. Contact vocations@osh.org or 803-426-1616 for more info.

Monday, July 17, 2017

#ForSuchATime - What might you do to participate on July 21?


Episcopal Relief & Development invites you to join The Episcopal Church and our ecumenical partners, to participate in the #ForSuchATime movement. On the 21st of each month through December 2018, the community is called to pray, fast and act to fight hunger and poverty around the world. What might you do to participate on July 21? Click the photo above and learn more here.

Mission of the Holy Spirit: Bridging the Gaps


Mission of the Holy Spirit, Norfolk, is launching a new program this summer called Bridging the Gaps. Sessions will be held on Thursday evenings at the Slover Library in Norfolk, and the focus will be on bridging the communication gaps between teens and their families. Teens will attend every week, and their families will join them every other week. All programs will be spiritual and educational, with a lot of fun and games included to keep participants engaged. If you or your church group would like to sponsor an evening, we need prizes such as gift cards to popular stores and restaurants, and small toys for the younger children, as well as light bag dinners for each participant (example: sandwich, chips, fruit, cookie and bottled water or juice boxes). Of course, monetary contributions are always welcome! Please contact the office, 757-858-0010 for more information.

The Mission of the Holy Spirit is a collaborative effort of a group of individuals, businesses, churches and the Diocese of Southern Virginia.  The Mission's vision is to offer spiritual, educational, and psychosocial services to at-risk, inner-city children, adolescents, and their families. Through Mission programs, many individuals who struggle with social, economic and family dysfunction are able to find hope, set goals, and change their lives.

School supplies needed!
School is out for the summer, but it won't be long before the Mission will be collecting school supplies for our youngsters. We need backpacks, pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, glue sticks, notebook paper, notebooks, scissors, and all of the other supplies listed on your kids' or grandkids' supply list. This is a great project for your church group! Please bring supplies to the Mission by August 21. The Mission is located at St. Stephen's, 1445 Norview Avenue, Norfolk.

Jackson-Feild develops new addiction recovery service


Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services has developed Addiction Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS) to serve children who suffer from both mental health and substance abused disorders.
Many children are suffering from both mental health disorders and substance abuse problems. These youngsters are unable to function in the community despite receiving extensive recovery services and are in need of residential services.
Because of the significant overlap among mental health diagnoses and substance abuse disorders Jackson-Feild has developed a new program that will utilize an integrated treatment model where our therapists seek ways to understand and heal underlying causes of addiction such as trauma, low self-esteem and unresolved pain. This concurrent approach uses two treatment interventions simultaneously.
Located in two renovated former staff houses, the Addiction and Recovery Treatment Program can serve up to six children. They do not interact with the children in our mental health program. Their schooling will be provided by our Gwaltney School faculty in the houses.
The licensed and credentialed addiction professionals help facilitate their healing and recovery by providing clinically directed services designed to stabilize and manage substance abuse symptoms and to develop recovery skills.
Sadly more than 50,000 Americans die annually from drug overdoses. Jackson-Feild's ARTS program is intended to do our small part to address this nationwide epidemic.

Boys Home 5K Walk/Run on Sept. 9


Boys Home of Virginia invites you to join us for our 1st Annual Walk/Run 5K and FREE Kids' Fun Run in Roanoke, Virginia. This event will take place on Saturday, September 9 at the Roanoke River Greenway, Wasena Park. The Kids' Fun Run will begin at 8:45 a.m., followed by the Walk/Run 5K at 9:15 a.m. Early registration will be $25 until August 8. From August 9 until September 9, registration will be $30. The registration fee includes a free T-shirt and "swag bag."
 
Boys Home is encouraging a friendly competition amongst the churches! We invite and challenge you to create teams. If you wish to participate in a group with your church, you may select it when you register at runforboyshome.org. If your church is not listed, contact us (Lauren Ward at lward@boyshomeofva.org  or 540-965-7714) and we will add the church. Church groups will compete at two levels: 1) overall finish among the top four participants in each group, and 2) total contributions raised for Boys Home of Virginia through race registrations, sponsorships, and donations. Winning church will receive a pizza party! Click here for a poster and bulletin insert. 
 
Proceeds from the race will help fund the construction and renovation of two elementary school classrooms on the Boys Home of Virginia campus in Covington, VA.

Leadership Program for Musicians fall classes

The Central Virginia Chapter of the Leadership Program for Musicians (LPM) announces its Fall 2017 schedule of classes. Click here for a brochure. LPM is a continuing education program for those involved in church music.  Although supported by the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church, LPM is open to musicians of all denominations who desire to improve their music ministries.  For more information, go to www.lpm-va.org. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

2018 Annual Council dates changed

Please make note that the dates of the 126th Annual Council have been changed to February 16-17, 2018. Information about the 2018 Annual Council will be posted here as soon as it becomes available.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Diocesan Office closed for Independence Day holiday

The Diocesan Office will be closed Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4 for the Independence Day holiday. The office will resume regular hours on Wednesday, July 5.

Tri-Diocesan Council on Aging Annual Fall Camp

The Tri-Diocesan Council on Aging will hold its annual Fall Camp Oct. 23-26 at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, VA. Details and registration will be available in July.

Back by popular demand will be storyteller, sanctuary gardener, author and ordained minister, Terry Hershey, as our keynote speaker. Bishop Martin Townsend, retired bishop of the Diocese of Easton, returns as chaplain.
Once Again we will be entertained by Folk-Theologian Ed Kilbourne.

Fall Camp is an opportunity to spend time in the mountains of Virginia with other seniors (but we don't have an age limit) from across the Commonwealth and from other states.  The Camp is an attempt to take seriously the spiritual needs and journeys of primarily retired people. We attempt to challenge participants through keynote speakers, workshops, worship and interaction with one another. In addition to the scheduled activities, there is plenty of time to sit on the porches, visit with friends, relax, and enjoy the amazing scenery and to explore the surrounding area.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

St. Paul's, Newport News, inner city improvement project awarded $23,400 UTO grant

The United Thank Offering (UTO) of the Episcopal Church awarded 34 grants last week and one of them went to a project here in Southern Virginia. St. Paul's, Newport News, was awarded a grant of $23,400 for its Inner City Improvement project.

Newport News and Hampton have high rates of drug and alcohol dependent individuals who are homeless and unemployed. Drug and alcohol dependencies result in health crises and repeated arrests and convictions. When released, individuals have no resources with which to re-engage in the community, nor the coping skills to prevent relapse.

The UTO grant funds will be used to provide housing for AmeriCorps volunteers - working alongside St. Paul's clergy, staff and volunteers - as they provide education, outreach and connect individuals and families with services.

St. Paul's project aims, through a holistic approach, to change not just the lives of individuals, but the life of the community as a whole. "Most inner city neighborhoods haven't seen the Resurrection; they're still living in Good Friday. Resurrection is transformational."

2017 Seeds of Hope Grant applications now being accepted

The 2017 Seeds of Hope Grant application is now available and applications are being accepted. Applications must be postmarked no later than August 31. Awards will be announced and distributed no later than November 30.

Seeds of Hope grants are available to congregations and diocesan groups to begin or expand ministries for social and economic justice causes as they relate to the Five Marks of Mission. The Five Marks of Mission are an important statement on mission which expresses the Anglican Communion's common commitment to an understanding of God's holistic/integral mission.

These grants are "seeds" in the form of matching grants when possible so as to act as a catalyst to help parishes and other diocesan-affiliated groups begin or expand their ministries that reflect the biblical call to care and advocate for the "widow, the orphan, and the stranger." It also includes the opportunity for special grants for economic justice causes.

Click here for more info and an application. 

ECW News: New issue of Grapevine newsletter; Becca Stevens to speak at Fall Meeting

The Grapevine
The new issue of the Diocesan ECW newsletter, The Grapevine, is available here.  This issue includes:

ECW scholarship awards 
President's message - "Love thy neighbor" 
Women-to-Women announces new project 
ECW Scholarship award for Malawi 
and much more
Becca Stevens to speak at Fall Meeting
On Saturday, November 4, the Rev. Becca Stevens will be the keynote speaker for the Diocesan ECW Annual Fall Meeting at St. Francis, Virginia Beach. Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, founder and president of Thistle Farms. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and Stevens talk is planned for around 11 a.m.  Parish Book Store will be on hand with copies of Stevens' books.

Webinar: Dementia Friendly America

There are more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer's disease in the United States. Learn about how your community can become a friendlier place for people living with dementia and their care partners. Join this webinar on Dementia Friendly America, July 11, 2 to 3 p.m. Click here to register.

Through the work of over 35 national, leading organizations, the Dementia Friendly America (DFA) initiative is catalyzing a movement to more effectively support and serve those who are living with dementia and their care partners. There are now over 45 communities across 36 states that are part of the Dementia Friendly America network. These communities are working across sectors (such as with partners in health care, business and banking, legal and financial, faith communities, and local government) to ensure they are friendly places for people with memory loss and their caregivers to live.

Join this webinar to learn more about Dementia Friendly America, why it is more important than ever before and how your community can join the movement.

Day of Prayer offered by Lutheran-Episcopal Joint Committee

The Lutheran-Episcopal Joint Committee of Virginia is sponsoring a Day of Prayer on August 19 at Trinity Ecumenical Parish in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. The speaker for the day will be Pastor Richard Bansemer. Pastor Bansemer will lead us in two group sessions 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 details and registration.

Presiding Bishop Curry's message for World Refugee Day


In the late 1930s, as the world was on the verge of being plunged into an apocalyptic Second World War, Episcopalians and the Episcopal Church gathered together and began work to resettle those who were refugees fleeing terror in Europe, helping to resettle families, helping to resettle young people, helping to resettle people in this country in safety and security.
Since the 1930s, Episcopalians have been involved in the work of resettling families and people who are refugees, some 80,000.
At that time, in the 1930s there was a poster that depicted Mary, the baby Jesus, and Joseph. Mary was on the donkey. They were clearly on a journey. They were fleeing Palestine. They were seeking to find safety in Egypt. They were refugees. The poster from the 1930s read, "In the name of these refugees, aid all refugees."
In the name of Mary, Joseph and the Lord Jesus, aid all refugees today, for most of the refugees like the Holy Family themselves, are families, and most are children.
I invite you to observe June 20 as World Refugee Day to learn more about the crisis and to find ways that you can both pray and help in other ways.
God bless you, God keep you, and you keep the faith.

Click here to watch video of Bishop Curry's message.

Click here for Episcopal Migration Ministries' resources for World Refugee Day.

Applications accepted for Stewardship of Creation grants

The Episcopal Church Advisory Council for the Stewardship of Creation is accepting applications for grants that focus on local faith-based projects for mitigating climate change and safeguarding the integrity of Creation.
This marks the next cycle of grantmaking by the Episcopal Church Advisory Council for the Stewardship of Creation, enabled by Resolution A030, Create Task Force On Climate Change, approved at General Convention 2015 and charged with the responsibility to develop a grant process to support local ecologically responsible stewardship of church-related properties and buildings.
Recommendations will be made for grants up to $10,000. Further information regarding this grant process and how to submit an application is available here. Deadline for applications is August 20.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Save the date: Becca Stevens to speak at Diocesan ECW Fall Meeting on Nov. 4


On Saturday, November 4, the Rev. Becca Stevens will be the keynote speaker for the Diocesan ECW Annual Fall Meeting at St. Francis, Virginia Beach. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and Stevens talk is planned for around 11 a.m.
 
Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, founder and president of Thistle Farms. After experiencing the death of her father and subsequent child abuse when she was 5, Becca longed to open a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community. In 1997, five women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction were welcomed home. Twenty years later, the organization continues to welcome women with free residence hat provide housing, medical care, therapy and education for two years. Residents and graduates earn income through one of four social enterprises. The Global Market of Thistle Farms helps employ more than 1,800 women worldwide, and the national network has more than 40 sister communities.

Understanding Addiction & Supporting Recovery: Strategies and tools for clergy and pastoral leaders


This seminar on Thursday, August 17 at Bruton Parish House, Williamsburg, is a unique opportunity for clergy and other congregational leaders to receive the latest information, resources and strategies on how to educate and give hope to individuals and families suffering from the impact of addiction. It is presented by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and The Clergy Education and Training Project® of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA), with its partners SpiritWorks Foundation and the Addictions and Recovery Commission of the Diocese of Southern Virginia. Cost is $15 for lunch. Seminar will be 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here for more info and registration.  
 

Jackson-Feild graduates 10 students

June 9 was a milestone day for ten students at the Gwaltney School at Jackson-Feild Homes as they graduated from high school. The Baccalaureate Service and Commencement Exercises were held at Southside Virginia Community College's Golden Leaf Commons.
 
Five students received their high school diploma and five students received their GED. This was the largest graduating class since 2009. In its 20 year history, a total of 167 students have graduated from the Gwaltney School.
 
Dr. Bill Bowling, Director of Education, presided over the ceremony. Three students, Aureana, Genya and Fidel were the commencement speakers. Their speeches provided everyone in the audience an understanding of how important this day was to them as well as their deep gratitude towards the faculty and staff who helped them along the way.
 
Five scholarships were awarded to students to help them with the expenses to further their education. In addition to the scholarships awarded, there were special gifts that were given to all the graduates. Among these were cash gifts, gift cards, flowers for the girls and wallets for the boys. Helen Sharpe-Williams, President of the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Southern Virginia was in attendance and presented each graduate with a cash gift as a token for their accomplishment. An anonymous donor gave each graduate a $100 gift certificate and each girl a bouquet of red roses and each boy a wallet. Each student also received a class ring that was funded by an anonymous donor.
 
This ceremony is one of the highlights of the year for both children and staff as it culminates and validates the mission of Jackson-Feild and celebrates the accomplishments of it children.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

CE-Net and Digital Faith Formation

For many of us just saying the words Digital Faith Formation can instill feelings of inadequacy, perceived technical challenges or perhaps outright avoidance of the subject.    Fear not! CE-NET has collaborated with Jared Rendell, Partner for Digital Strategies, at Vibrant Faith to present several sessions over the summer to help us reduce our digital angst. 

The first opportunity will occur on June 15 at 10:00 at the Diocesan Center, 11827 Canon Blvd., Suite 101 Newport News. Jared will help us explore some basic information about a few key "must use" digital platforms and guide us in re-orienting our perceptions of the digital landscape.  As we begin to explore the topic the following key points should emerge:
  • Digital formation is not a tool to be used, but rather a space to gather in.
  • Digital formation is not just posted information, but rather active engaged faith formation.
  • You have what it takes to have a digital presence and it is a shared responsibility for all who are engaged in faith formation.
  • Digital formation is a planned, integrated ministry.  It's not a standalone effort but rather it should complement and connect to  our brick and mortar presence
  • Effective digital formation should create opportunities to live out our mission and create ways to connect to each other and to God.
Please join us and share your thoughts.  We will conclude at noon and you are welcome to bring a lunch if you would like to continue the discussion during the lunch hour.  Please confirm you attendance by email, cblack@diosova.org.

"Journey to Generosity" stewardship conference available free online

The 2017 TENS Conference, "Journey to Generosity" was held in May in Minneapolis.  Those in attendance were inspired by three outstanding keynote speakers and eight workshops challenged and trained people on topics from the "Spirituality of Philanthropy" to "Planning Your Annual Campaign."
 
The TENS Board of Directors has decided to make the entire webinar available to all TENS members, FREE! Through our diocesan membership, you can access the videos on the Member Resources page of the TENS website, www.tens.org. If you are interested in any of the workshops, please contact Caroline Black at cblack@diosova.org for the login and password.

New course and one free month from ChurchNext

ChurchNext has two new courses available:
  • Ministering with Millennials - Millennials are the largest generation alive today. They are not only important to the faith community; they are a necessity if we want to bring the church into the new world - a world they will be running in just 20-30 years.
  • Is My Loved One Addicted? - This course is designed to help family members and churches combat the disease of addiction. Jonathan Benz, a certified substance abuse counselor, author and speaker discusses ways to recognize the signs of addiction and what to do once your realize that a love one is struggling with addiction.
ChurchNext is also making a free offer - They will give your church a free, one-month Congregational Membership test drive with no obligation. ChurchNext offers over 300 courses for individuals and groups that can help your congregation learn and grow in their faith. To take advantage of the free offer, just email hello@churchnext.tv.  

Presiding Bishop on the President's action and the Paris Climate Accord

With the announcement by President Donald Trump of his decision to withdraw the commitment made by the United States to the Paris Climate Accord, I am reminded of the words of the old spiritual which speaks of God and God's creation in these words, "He's got the whole world in his hands." The whole world belongs to God, as Psalm 24 teaches us. God's eye is ever on even the tiny sparrow, as Jesus taught and the song says (Luke 12:6). And we human beings have been charged with being trustees, caretakers, stewards of God's creation (Genesis 1:26-31).
The United States has been a global leader in caring for God's creation through efforts over the years on climate change. President Trump's announcement changes the U.S.'s leadership role in the international sphere. Despite this announcement, many U.S. businesses, states, cities, regions, nongovernmental organizations and faith bodies like the Episcopal Church can continue to take bold action to address the climate crisis.  The phrase, "We're still in," became a statement of commitment for many of us who regardless of this decision by our President are still committed to the principles of the Paris Agreement.
Faith bodies like the Episcopal Church occupy a unique space in the worldwide climate movement. In the context of the United Nations, the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, we are an international body representing 17 countries in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia and the Pacific. We also are an admitted observer organization to the UNFCCC process, empowered to bring accredited observers to the UN climate change meetings. Furthermore, the Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the third-largest Christian tradition, and we remain committed to ensuring that Anglicans everywhere are empowered to undertake bold action on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
We know that caring for God's creation by engaging climate change is not only good for the environment, but also good for the health and welfare of our people. The U.S. is currently creating more clean jobs faster than job creation in nearly every other sector of the economy, and unprecedented acceleration in the clean energy sector is also evident in many other major economies.
My prayer is that we in the Episcopal Church will, in this and all things, follow the way, the teachings and the Spirit of Jesus by cultivating a loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, all others in the human family, and with all of God's good creation.
In spite of hardships and setbacks, the work goes on. This is God's world.  And we are all his children. And, "He's got the whole world in his hands."
 
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

The Presiding Bishop's statement is available online here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Practical Resources for Churches assists with all areas of ministry

Practical Resources for Churches (PRC) is an ecumenical resource that works with churches of all sizes and denominations, assisting with all areas of ministry. PRC's goal is to provide time-effective, cost efficient and results oriented programs and services and to use technology as efficiently as possible to assist church leaders to further and enhance their ministry moving forward. The newest and most ambitious project is an Online Resource Center at www.prcli.org. It offers links and online resources in sixteen categories where information can be obtained on a range of sub topics.

The site features lots of webinars and their catalog of previously recorded sessions is free to access. PRC has just released their schedule of webinars for the rest of the year and some of the upcoming events are:
  • E-giving for Every Church (Aug. 8)
  • Getting Ready - For CE Directors (Aug. 10)
  • Let's Kill Sunday School - before it kills the church (Aug. 22)
  • Digital Activism 101 (Sep. 12)
  • Faith at Home - How to support cautiously Christian parents (Sep. 26)
  • Transforming Attitudes about Dementia in the Church (Oct. 3)
  • Faith Formation at Home - Tools your families can use (Oct. 19)
  • Helping Others Find God in the Digital Space (Nov. 2)
  • Reaching People Under 30 While Keeping People Over 60 (Nov. 7)

Southern Virginia mourns the loss of the Rev. William Hoffman

Southern Virginia mourns the loss of the Rev. William Charles Hoffman who passed away on May 20 at the age of 93. The Rev. Hoffman was ordained to diaconate in 1951 and to the priesthood in 1952 here in Southern Virginia by Bishop Gunn. Hoffman served from 1951 to 1954 at Pruden Parish, Gretna, and 1954 to 1988 at St. Bride's, Chesapeake.

A funeral service will be held at St. Bride's, Chesapeake (621 N. Sparrow Road) on Saturday, June 10 at 11 a.m. Clergy: White stoles. Please keep the Hoffman family in your prayers.
 

Jackson-Feild hosts Spring ECW meeting

By Nancy Smith, St. Aidan's, Virginia Beach

The Rev. Dr. Robin Jones, celebrates eucharist in All Saints Chapel at the ECW Spring Annual Meeting hosted by Jackson-Feild May 20.
Shiny new floors, colorful furniture and freshly painted walls brighten up the Marshall Cottage at Jackson-Feild. Even the bathroom is getting a facelift thanks to the ECW's $20,000 donation earmarked for the cottage's renovation. A visit to the cottage to see the renovations was the highlight of the day for Episcopal Church Women from six convocations gathered at Jackson-Field for the ECW's Spring Annual Meeting May 20. "We were happy to see the work that had been done," said ECW Diocesan President, Helen Sharpe-Williams.
The day began with the business meeting in Jackson-Field's recreation hall. The room showed no signs of the students' prom held there the night before the meeting.   Meredith Melo, Assistant Director of Advancement, Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services (JFBHS) welcomed visitors, gave an overview of Jackson-Field programs and served as the renovation tour guide.
President Sharpe-Williams spoke about her president's project, "Love Thy Neighbor." The focus is on ending abuse. She announced Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest, who is president of Thistle Farms, the largest social enterprise in the US run by abuse survivors is the keynote speaker for the Diocesan ECW Annual Fall Meeting at St. Francis Episcopal Church, Virginia Beach, November 4, 2017.          
 
The Rev. Dr. Robin Jones invited the women to celebrate eucharist in the beautiful renovated All Saints Chapel. The chapel was closed in 2011, when Jackson-Field last hosted an ECW meeting. In August 2014, the chapel was rededicated after a capital campaign to make repairs and improvements. The day ended with a delicious lunch. Many thanks to Jackson-Feild.

Get to know Boys Home and how you can help

Boys Home has a new video tour of campus, including drone footage. We would love everyone to come to campus and see Boys Home in action, but we hope this new video tour can give you a better idea of what campus is like on a day-to-day basis.


If your congregation would like a visit from Boys Home, contact Sarah Jones, sjones@boyshomeofva.org, to set that up. Boys Home makes a great mission trip destination as well. Trinity, Portsmouth, and Galilee, Virginia Beach, will both be returning to Boys Home this summer for mission trips. What other ways can you help? Invite your friends and members of your parish to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Donations can be mailed to Boys Home of Virginia, 414 Boys Home Rd. Covington, VA 24426 or online at www.give2boyshome.org. 
 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Presiding Bishop Curry: A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Advocacy

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have issued a joint statement calling for prayer, fasting and advocacy. The statement, For Such a Time as This: A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Advocacy, calls for fasting on the 21st of each month through December 2018, at which time the 115th Congress will conclude. The 21st of each month is targeted because by that time each month, 90% of SNAP (formerly food stamp) benefits have been used, thereby causing the last week of the month as the hungry week in America. The fast launched with a group of national and local leaders doing a three-day fast together May 21-23. These leaders include Presiding Bishop Curry, Presiding Bishop Eaton, and leadership throughout the Episcopal Church.

More about the joint statement is here.

The Presiding Bishop's video message is here.

Full communion proposal for Episcopal Church and United Methodist Church

The Episcopal Church - United Methodist Dialogue group have prepared 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, the result of dialogue for a formal full-communion relationship. The proposal can be found here. In the coming months, opportunities for feedback, regional gatherings, and discussions will be slated.

Church Communicators Manual updated & revised

Among the communications resources available here on our website is the Church Communicators Manual. The manual has been updated and revised. You can download a copy here.  
 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Judy A. Dobson joins the diocesan staff


Judy A. Dobson joins the diocesan staff on May 17 as diocesan comptroller.

Judy has a M.S. degree in Accounting from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. She was employed for 17 years as a special agent of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and was the agency's leading expert on financial investigations. Prior to that, she was a marine police officer for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, and also served in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Judy is a member of Abingdon Episcopal Church in White Marsh, VA (Diocese of Virginia), and has served as the church's treasurer since 2016.

Mark your calendar for 2017-2018 youth events!


Mark your calendar now for these 2017-2018 youth events at Chanco on the James! More info and online registration will be available on the Youth Programs & Events page of our website: 
  • Aug. 13-18, 2017 - Secret Session 5 at Camp Chanco for grades 10-12
  • Oct. 28-29, 2017 - Pre-Happening Staff Weekend
  • Nov. 10-12, 2017 - Happening #67 for grades 10-12
  • Nov. 17-19, 2017 - November Weekend for grades 6-12
  • Feb. 8-10, 2018 - Youth Delegation to Annual Council, for grades 9-12
  • Feb. 24-25, 2018 - Pre-Happening Staff Weekend
  • Mar. 9-11, 2018 - Happening #68 for grades 10-12
  • May 18-20, 2018 - May Weekend for grades 6-12

Certification of Lay Delegates & Alternates to Annual Council

Your Certificate of Lay Delegates and Alternates for Annual Council should be sent to the Diocesan office by June 30, 2017. Click here for information about and the form for sending in the name(s) of delegate(s) and alternate(s) elected by your vestry for Council year 2017-2018.

Your elected delegates and alternates will serve for an entire conciliar year beginning July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2018. This term includes eligibility to vote at Pre-Council Convocation meetings in January 2018, Annual Council February 9-10, 2018, and any Special Council or other called meetings that may occur during this period.

If you have questions, please contact the Rev. Canon Ed Tracy, 757-213-3378 or etracy@diosova.org.   
 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ECW Spring Annual Meeting registration deadline is today!


The ECW Spring Annual Meeting will be held May 20, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jackson-Feild Home in Jarratt, VA.
Come join us as we learn about the deep roots the ECW have with Jackson-Feild. A tour of the campus will include the Marshall Cottage which was renovated using the gift from the ECW last fall. 

Registration and coffee will begin at 9 a.m. and the meeting will start at 9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Following Eucharist there will be a tour of Jackson-Feild and lunch will be served. Gathering will adjourn at 2 p.m.

To register for the meeting, contact Tia Morings, 757-650-8809 or morings1@gmail.com by May 10
. Registration cost is $20 per person. Please advise Tia of any dietary restrictions. Money will be collected during meeting check-in. Registration deadline is May 10, 2017.

Clergy transitions

Deacon Edith Raby retired from Christ Church, Smithfield, on May 1.

The Rev. Kathie Price began as Interim Rector at St. George's, Newport News, on May 7.
 
 

Ireland Pilgrimage Sept. 11-21, 2017

The Rev. Dr. Peter Hogg and Toni Hogg invite you to join them for a pilgrimage to Ireland September 11-21, 2017. The trip will include Waterford, Killarney, Galway, Connemara, Sligo and Dublin. Click here for more information. 

Faith, Art and Creative Expression liturgical arts conference at Kanuga

Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina invites you to join them for Faith, Art and Creative Expression: A Conference of Liturgical Arts, August 20-24.

Explore the Divine through artistic expression led by a caring group of instructors in weaving, needlepoint, photography and choral music. Morning classes are followed by afternoons of continued work or relaxation. On August 21, there will be a special excursion to experience the total eclipse, followed by a special outdoor Eucharist.

For more information and to register, please visit www.kanuga.org/liturgicalarts.

Becoming Beloved Community: Introducing the Episcopal Church's long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation and justice

Following a year of listening, consulting and reflection, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings and officers of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies are inviting Episcopalians to study and commit to using Becoming Beloved Community: The Episcopal Church's Long-term Commitment to Racial Healing, Reconciliation and Justice. The full document is here. Read more here.
 

Thy Kingdom Come: Episcopal Church joins Worldwide Anglican Communion campaign calling for prayer

The Episcopal Church has joined the Worldwide Anglican Communion in Thy Kingdom Come, a campaign initiated by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby calling for prayer by individuals, congregations and families. Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension Day - May 25 - and Pentecost - June 4 - for more people to come to know Jesus.  #ThyKingdomCome
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will lead the Thy Kingdom Come video messages on May 25.
Pledge2Pray
Pledge2Pray kicks off on May 5; sign-up to participate here. Prayer resources for individuals, congregations and/or families can be downloaded here.
After pledging to pray, be a part of the Let the Light shine social media campaign by posting a photo or video holding a candle or tealight, and pledging to pray. Information available here. #Pledge2Pray

Get more info and resources here.

Prepare for hurricane season with resources from Episcopal Relief & Development

Hurricane season begins June 1. Episcopal Relief & Development's US Disaster Program offers a variety of resources to help you, your loved ones, your church and your community to prepare for hurricane season and respond to storms that may occur.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Submit a prayer to the 2018 UTO pocket book of prayers


Every three years, the United Thank Offering gathers original prayers from around the Episcopal Church to create a pocket book of prayers available at General Convention. Last Convention they were able to collect 125 prayers of gratitude in honor of 125 years of the United Thank Offering. This year they are hoping to collect original prayers from nine categories: gratitude, guidance, fear/danger, forgiveness, healing, loneliness, crisis/dealing with disappointment or crisis, love of God, or other. Children, women, men, clergy, seminarians or groups may write prayers for this edition of the booklet and they may be submitted in any language. Prayers can be submitted in any format: collect, litany, free form or prose. Please submit all prayers by July 1, 2017. Prayers must be submitted using this webpage. You'll be asked to select which category your prayer fits into best for the pocket prayer book. You'll also be asked to provide a title for your prayer. You may submit multiple prayers, but you will need to fill out a separate form for each prayer. If you need assistance, contact UTO staff at hmelton@episcopalchurch.org.  
 

Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows becomes first black woman to lead Episcopal diocese


Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows greets the congregation at her consecration as Bishop Barbara Harris, center, and Bishop Catherine Waynick, left, look on. Photo: Meghan McConnell, Episcopal News Service
The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows was ordained and consecrated the eleventh bishop of Indianapolis April 29, making her the first black woman to lead a diocese in the history of the Episcopal Church and the first woman to succeed another woman as diocesan bishop. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry led the service as chief consecrator and was joined by more than 40 bishops from across the church.

Among the co-consecrators at the service was the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion. Before the consecration, Baskerville-Burrows told the Indianapolis Star, "The first thing that comes to mind is how grateful I am to the women that have come before. Barbara Harris will be at my consecration, and when I think about what she's done for me and how I've even encountered little girls saying, 'Oh my gosh. One day, may I discern such a call?' That is just everything."

Click here to read more and to see video of the consecration.