Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts get under way

Hurricane Sandy has caused record flooding and left an estimated 6 million people on the Eastern Seaboard without power. Thanks be to God that Southern Virginia came through the storm with no parishes reporting significant damage. As the crisis unfolds, Episcopal Relief and Development is working with affected dioceses to assess needs and to provide critical, life saving assistance, as well as long-term recovery aid in the aftermath. Get more information, and make donations, here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Hungry, And You Fed Me" reflections on Lectionary includes priest from Southern Virginia

"Hungry, And You Fed Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle C" is a brand new book edited by Deacon Jim Knipper, and includes homilies and reflections from some of today's finest homilists, including Richard Rohr and James Martin. This includes work by the Rev. Penny Nash, Associate Rector for Youth, Children & Families at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg. 

"A year ago I launched this project, leading me to eventually reach out to a dozen men and women who are some of the best of the best when it comes to breaking open the Word of God," said Jim Knipper, the book's editor. "My goal was to compile and edit a book that would feed the heart and souls of the readers and act as a vehicle to raise money to feed the hungry and homeless. My hope and prayer is that this book does both."

As Homilists for the Homeless, the book's writers and preachers have generously donated their material so that proceeds from the book can be given to the four charities selected for this volume. This first of three books begins with Cycle C of the Lectionary for Mass, which starts the First Sunday of Advent 2012 (and every three years thereafter).

The book is available at the Bruton Parish Shop and online here. You can also follow Homilists for the Homeless on Facebook.

Jackson-Feild Home admits first boy in 157-year history

On October 16, the first boy in Jackson-Feild Homes' 157-year history was admitted. C.J. is from Southside Virginia, and his placement marks a milestone for Jackson-Feild.

In a special ribbon cutting ceremony held on October 23, Debbie Mehl, Director of Programs, noted that "for more than one hundred years, the Home has provided many blessings to girls. It has provided seeds to plant, roads to follow, people who cared, and inspiration for girls to follow and achieve their dreams. Today, we now offer these same gifts to our first boy, C.J., and eagerly await the hundreds of other boys who will follow."

Much like Jackson-Feild is implementing history-making changes to benefit the lives of children, C.J. is making great changes in his own life. C.J. is at a turning point, and Jackson-Feild is the road that is right for him.

In the next few weeks, Jackson-Feild anticipates the arrival of more boys who - like C.J. - will take the road of recovery that will enable them to become successful, self-sufficient, healthy adults. Since 1855, Jackson-Feild Homes has provided care and hope to girls. The Home now looks forward to offering successful treatment to both girls and boys who so desperately need what they provide - help and healing.

College students in Southern Virginia are grateful for Ridley Foundation scholarships

In July the Ridley Foundation Board met and awarded 44 scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year totaling $87,000. Listen to what some of the recipients have said:

Dear Ridley Foundation,
I can only begin to describe my gratitude for the very generous financial assistance you all have given me. Thank you so much. This past summer I had the privilege of working for Virginia Tech's New Student Programs as an Orientation Leader. Ever since my freshman orientation I had dreams of becoming one. While working in this position, I was able to share my passion, personal experiences and the best advice I could offer with over 250 incoming freshmen. I can honestly say that I have never had a more rewarding job or one that I loved as much. I want you all to know that you have helped me with that dream and I could not be more grateful for your help. Thank you once again for helping work towards my goal of graduating college.
Peter Gunderson, St. Thomas, Chesapeake

Dear Ridley Board of Trustees,
Thank you so much for helping again this year with my scholarship! Words cannot express how grateful I am. I am very excited for this new school year and I don't know if I could do it without your help! Thanks Again!
Darby McClellan, Johns Memorial, Farmville

Thank you so much for all of your help. This is greatly appreciated and is very welcomed.
Again Thank You,
Eric Beard , Grace, Norfolk

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to your foundation for awarding me with your scholarship. It made a definite contribution to my education.
Ericka J Beard, Grace, Norfolk

The Ridley Foundation,
Thank you so much for your support. I will use the money wisely. It is good to know I can find support in the church I love. Go Hokies!
Julie Worley, St. Paul's, Norfolk

To the Board of Trustees for the Ridley Foundation,
Thank you very much for seeing fit to award me a scholarship! The financial assistance provided by you has been a major asset in college, and I feel confident that the education I am receiving will enable me to carry out God's work in the world.
Thank you,
Marcus Starman, St. Martin's, Williamsburg

Dear Ridley Foundation,
Thank you so much for the immensely generous scholarship! My family and I are both very grateful to the Ridley Foundation for helping to make my academic dreams come true.
Thanks again and God bless!
Kerri Kearse, Emmanuel, Virginia Beach

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chanco seeking applicants for Board of Directors

Calling all lovers of Chanco on the James! Whether you went as a camper, a counselor, a Happener, a Cursillista or simply someone who cares about the future of Chanco’s ministry....The Board of Directors of Chanco on the James needs you! The Chanco Board is especially interested in those with a background in finance or development. There will be seats coming open on the board for 2013 and we would love to have some new faces! All board members must be members in good standing of an Episcopal church in the Diocese of Southern Virginia. Applications are vetted through the board and then sent to the Bishop for approval. Board terms are three years in length. Meetings are every other month (the third Tuesday of the month) from 4-6 pm at Chanco. There are carpools from the Southside and potential carpools from the west. This is one simple way you can give back to Chanco! Click here for a nomination form. Questions? Contact New Board Member Coordinator Marguerite Alley at Applications may be emailed to Marguerite at this address. Thank you for your consideration of this important ministry of our diocese! 

Trinity Institute 42nd Theological Conference downlink site in Gloucester

 This year's conference features speakers Richard Rohr and Joan Chittister.

Abingdon Episcopal Church, Gloucester, and Grace Episcopal Church, Yorktown will partner to present The Trinity Institute 42nd Theological Conference via a downlink from New York City. The conference begins on Friday, November 9 and continues through November 10. Registration will begin at 5:00 pm on November 9 at the Abingdon Parish Hall (4645 George Washington Memorial Hwy), and the conference will begin at 6:00 pm. Saturday's session will consist of speakers and small group discussion groups. The theme for this year's conference is Radical Christian Life: Equipping Ourselves for Social Change. Speakers include Richard Rohr and Joan Chittister. 

Sister Joan Chittister will be the keynote speaker on Friday evening. In the 21st century, people seek to cope and to create in a world that is shifting on its very foundations. Economic inequity threatens to tear us apart at the seams. The forces of globalization demand that we rethink what it means to be a community and where our mutual responsibilities lie. It is a time of classic crisis, forged of equal parts threat and opportunity. "Our task is now to be radical Christian communities in the here and now, not fossils of a bygone reality, not leftovers from an earlier golden age. Now we need new wisdom and a new kind of struggle to determine what we must be and do in the midst of changing time. The question is then: What does it mean to be a radical Christian community in times such as these?" Joan Chittister, The Radical Christain Life.

Join us for what will be an interesting and thoughtful workshop. Call 757-898-3261, Grace Episcopal Church, to register early for this event or visit Abingdon Church's website

Boys' Home grad awarded Eagle Badge

Devin VanGundy, a student from Boys' Home Covington, was awarded the highest rank in scouting, the Eagle Badge on October 13, 2012. His Eagle Court of Honor was held in the All Saints' Chapel on the Boys' Home campus.

The Boy Scout motto of Be Prepared has special meaning to Devin. It doesn't mean just being prepared to help others in emergencies or disasters. Be Prepared also applies to being prepared for life, through the challenges that situations sometimes bring. For Devin, one of the challenges involved coming to Boys' Home in the summer of 2011. By persevering, sometimes on his own and sometimes through the persistence of the Boys' Home staff, Devin settled into the structure at Boys' Home and attained two of his primary goals: to complete his Eagle project and to graduate from high school.

The Boy Scout motto and the mission of Boys' Home complement each other. At Boys' Home, preparing also means learning to become a productive citizen by developing your mental, physical, social and spiritual potentials. For Devin, it meant developing a strong heart, mind, spirit and body. 

Devin began scouting on May 28, 2006 when he joined Troop 2826 in Chester, Virginia. After attaining his Life Scout Rank in May 2010, VanGundy joined Troop 66 in the summer of 2011 after first arriving at Boys' Home. He has earned a total of 21 merit badges. These include Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, and Citizenship in the World as well as badges in Camping, Communications, Fingerprinting, Cooking, Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Science, First Aid, Swimming, Leatherwork, Nature, Personal Fitness, Mammal Study, Fishing, Indian Lore, Family Life, Archery, Personal Management and Automotive Maintenance. While in the Boys' Home Troop 66, VanGundy has held the leadership positions of Quartermaster and Senior Patrol Leader.

Devin's Eagle project was constructing feral cat shelters, which took a total of 100 man-hours to complete. Assisting Devin were Chad Whitmer, Scoutmaster, Amy Hubbard, Assistant Scoutmaster, Danny Cale, maintenance chief at Boys' Home and Don Minniear, maintenance staff. Also helping were members of Troop 66.  

Invited to share in Devin's special day were his family and friends, former teachers, scout representatives, Boys' Home staff and residents. Donnie Wheatley, current Executive Director and former Scoutmaster of Troop 66, was the Master of Ceremonies. Other participants were Greg Lemmer, Bonnie Wheatley, Sandra Scruggs, Reggie Gibbs and members of Troop 66.

Devin plans to return to Chester and, in the next few weeks, join Job Corps.