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 helen.sharpe-williams@earthlink.net
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, www.liftingofvoices.org.  
Questions? Contact Lauren Ward at lward@boyshomeofva.org  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 ascruggs@diosova.org 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, nsmithwtr@aol.com. 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  www.boyshomeofva.org 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 helen.sharpe-williams@earthlink.net. 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  rtoll@cox.net or 757-869-8873 or Talley Banazek at talley@banazek.com 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  rtoll@cox.net
 or 757-869-8873. Chanco is located at 394 Floods Drive, Spring Grove, VA.  

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 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. Ticket for lunch is required; cost is $15. Deadline to purchase lunch ticket is Oct. 20. Contact Helen Sharpe-Williams, 757-487-8183 or helen.sharpe-williams@earthlink.net.   
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. 

Annual Council: Nominations for election; Communicator Credentials

The 126th Annual Council will be held February 16-17, 2018 at the Williamsburg Lodge Convention Center in Williamsburg, VA.  
Nominations for election 
The following elections will take place at Annual Council:
  • Standing Committee - one lay, one clergy
  • Discliplinary Board - two lay, one clergy
  • General Convention - one lay alternate (young adult)
Go to www.bit.ly/diosova126 for a Nomination Form and information about the positions up for election.
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 apply for Church Communicator Credentials. Go to  www.bit.ly/diosova126 for more info and an application form.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Response efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to provide technical support and emergency assistance following Hurricane Harvey, as diocesan partners assess damage and respond to critical needs in the affected areas. The storm has claimed at least 42 lives, forcing over a million people to evacuate their homes after torrential rain, devastating winds and widespread flooding.
Currently, Episcopal Relief & Development's US Disaster team is closely coordinating with the Episcopal dioceses of Texas, West Texas and Western Louisiana to provide urgent support. The slow-moving storm devastated coastal communities, leaving them without basic infrastructure. In many of these low-lying areas, there are major power outages and extensive damage to homes and other property. Episcopal Relief & Development is sending direct support to help the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas provide gift cards to vulnerable individuals and families on the westside of Corpus Christi, four inland communities and three coastal areas including Rockport and Port Aransas. These gift cards will enable people to purchase food, water, basic hygiene products as well as cleaning supplies and power tools.
Please continue to pray for impacted communities and contribute to the Hurricane Harvey Response Fund to assist local church partners as they respond to urgent needs.
Congregations can use downloadable bulletin inserts to raise awareness  and support in the aftermath of this major disaster.

Pilgrimage opportunities

May 2018 pilgrimage to Scotland and England
A Pilgrimage to Scotland and England is being organized for May 2018. After a time for quiet and reflection on Iona, the group will travel to Melrose. At Melrose, they will walk the Way of St. Cuthbert, approximately 70 miles, to Lindisfarne.  After completing the Way of St. Cuthbert, they will visit The Shrine of St. Cuthbert at Durham Cathedral. Pilgrims will conclude their time with a visit to Edinburgh. For more information, contact Doris Custer (CusterDD@gmail.com) or Dale Custer (rdalecuster@gmail.com).
May 2018 Pilgrimage to Ireland
If you're interested in a 12-day tour of Ireland, the Friends of Bruton invite you to join them May 1-12, 2018. Click here for brochure and registration information.

Employment Opportunities

Parish Administrator
St. Cyprian's, Hampton, is seeking a Parish Administrator (18 hrs. per week). This administrative position oversees and manages the day-to-day operation and functions of the parish under the direct supervision of the Rector.

Director of Shared Ministry
All Saints Episcopal Church in Richmond is currently looking to fill the Director of Shared Ministry position. This is a part-time, 25 hour/week job. The main responsibilities include: managing and growing the annual and planned giving, communicating with the parish through newsletters, emails, and phone calls, connecting newcomers and current parishioners to All Saints, creating and managing a volunteer team, event planning, and attending Sunday services as well as other All Saints events.

For more info on these positions, go to the Employment Opportunities page of our website. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bishop Hollerith: Help hurricane victims by giving to Episcopal Relief & Development

Dear Diocesan family,

On Monday morning I was in contact with the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, the Bishop of Texas. I offered him both our prayers and support. Bishop Doyle contends that the best thing we can do right now in Southern Virginia is to support Episcopal Relief and Development's US Disaster Fund. To that end I ask that all Episcopalians and all parishes in our diocese consider making financial gifts to Episcopal Relief & Development marked for Texas hurricane relief.

In Virginia we know all too well what hurricanes are like and the devastation they can leave behind. Please be prayerful and generous.

In Christ

Southern Virginia clergy take part in Ministers March for Justice

The Revs. John Boucher, Peggy Buelow and David Teschner participated in the "One Thousand Ministers March for Justice" on Monday in Washington DC. The event celebrated 54 years of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy. "It was a powerful experience in unity across faith traditions and all that would seek to divide us," said Peg Buelow.

Photo L to R: The Rev. Peggy Buelow, the Rev. David Teschner, the Rev. John Boucher at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial.

ChurchNext resources to facilitate discussions about racial justice

There's ample opportunity to talk about racial justice in church these days, and here are some resources to help. ChurchNext has an entire series on the topic:
These courses are available right now and in formats for both individual and group study.

Faithful Dissent: Loving Our Way into a Brighter Tomorrow 
Also in this time of divisiveness and fear, ChurchNext is offering some encouragement - another free class for you and/or your congregation - Faithful Dissent: Loving Our Way into a Brighter Tomorrow, led by Ed Bacon and Stanley Hauerwas. You can register for the course now, but it will not be available to take until Monday, September 11. It will remain open and free through Monday, September 25 - that means you can take it for free anytime, 24/7, during that time period. If you register today ChurchNext will send you an email to remind you. Resources for Congregational use, including downloadable posters, bulletin inserts and a Launch Guide can be found on the registration page as well.  

Jackson-Feild hosts Bible School

"Silly socks" made by students for
nursing home residents.
Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services hosts quarterly Bible Schools each year. Led by our full-time chaplain Rev. Dr. Robin Jones, residents are encouraged, but not required, to participate.
Jones selects a theme for each week-long session, and conducts daily activities that encourage residents to embark on their spiritual journey. Her goal is to help children make sense of their experiences and help them understand and, hopefully accept, God's saving grace.
An important part of Jackson-Feild's Bible School is the service component. Residents make items and donate them to help others. Prior recipients have been our military serving overseas, victims of natural disasters and residents at senior centers.
During this recent session of Bible School, the Jackson-Feild boys and girls made "silly socks" which will be given to residents of local nursing homes. The children had a great time decorating the socks and are pleased to have had a hand in helping others. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Social Media Sunday is Sept. 24

Social Media Sunday is an ecumenical effort to share the good news about building community online. This annual event gives faith communities an opportunity to consider how to reach out online, digitally welcome people, and share their story.

The Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary is offering a free one-hour webinar on August 30 at 3 p.m. to help you get started on you #SMS2017 plans. Click here for info and registration.

Click here for more resources, including a bulletin insert and blessing for digital devices.

National Acolyte Festival is Oct. 7

Join acolytes from across the United States at the National Cathedral in Washington DC for the National Acolyte Festival. This event includes a festival Holy Eucharist with re-dedication of service, workshops, tours and Acolyte Games. Bring your processional crosses, banners, torches, thuribles, flags, and streamers for a festive procession of acolytes, clergy, and vergers. Click here for more info and registration.

Faithful Dissent: A free class from ChurchNext

In this time of divisiveness and fear, ChurchNext is offering some encouragement - another free class for you and/or your congregation - Faithful Dissent: Loving Our Way into a Brighter Tomorrow, led by Ed Bacon and Stanley Hauerwas.

You can register for the course now, but it will not be available to take until Monday, September 11. It will remain open and free through Monday, September 25 - that means you can take it for free anytime, 24/7, during that time period. If you register today ChurchNext will send you an email to remind you.

Resources for Congregational use, including downloadable posters, bulletin inserts and a Launch Guide can be found on the registration page as well. 

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry: Where do we go from here - chaos or Community?

In his message for those gathering to worship on August 20, occasioned by the events in Charlottesville, and the readings of scripture Episcopalians will hear this weekend, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry asks, "Where do we go from here: chaos or community?"
Noting that "the stain of bigotry has once again covered our land" and that "hope, frankly, sometimes seems far away," Presiding Bishop Curry says the way of Jesus of Nazareth shows the way through the chaos to the Beloved Community of God. Commitment to that way, he says, "is our only hope."

Text and video of Bishop Curry's message, along with helpful resources, are here.

Registration open for October session of Episcpoal Latino Ministry Competency

Registration is now open for the October session of the Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency, an innovative nine-day intensive course designed for diocesan staff, clergy, lay leaders, and seminarians to learn cultural competency for Latino ministry.
Offered by the Episcopal Church Office of Latino/Hispanic Ministries, the course will be held at St. James Commons, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Sunday to Tuesday, October 15 to 24.  The course will be taught by seminary faculty, lay church leaders, and clergy with extensive experience in Latino and intercultural ministry. Registration deadline is September 29. Click here for more info and registration.
The October session marks the second offering of the Episcopal Latino Ministry. A future offering will be held at Bloy House, the Episcopal Theological School at Claremont, CA on June 10-19, 2018.

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