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

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.